Mar 15 2014

A above U

I’ve been getting things done in that behind the scenes way, which makes for updates filled with lots of blank spaces where I’m not comfortable detailing some projects yet. There have been, however, a few milestones that can be reported.

Firebird rising!

Resurrection House has a new logo, which has come about in order to unify the disparate imprints under the common brand. To that end, there is now an Arche Press and a Underland Press. We’re going to build out more distinct catalog sites for each press as we get closer to the first books shipping this fall.

(And when I say ‘we,’ I truly do mean ‘we’ as I hired Darin Bradley this week. He’s Editor to my Publisher, but really, he’s good at things where I’m not, and we’re going to tag-team the whole adventure for awhile.)

There is still a mailbox full of stories to read for XIII, and I’m working my way through them. There’s still another two weeks to submit a story, and I suspect there’s going to be a rush of submissions near the end. Oooh la la!

Bringing on some help with Resurrection House is also going to ensure that I have a wee bit of my own writing time still, and as there are plans afoot there, this is a good thing. Nothing to confirm yet, but I’m working on lining content up in a way that will provide some much needed continuity to projects.

Feb 20 2014

The Dazzling Life of a Publisher

I’m sitting in a hotel room tonight, working on vetting a recent scan of a Jack Cady novel with a plastic bottle of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and really awful cable television for company this evening. This is the gritty in the trenches life of an independent publisher. Terribly glamorous, I know. But sometimes you have to get out and visit your distributor and talk with the sales team. Visit a bookstore or two. See how other places shelve their books. And do some talking about books.

It’s a hard life.

At least I got some time at Aquarius Records. It would have been more satisfying if I hadn’t misplaced my carefully prepared shopping list this morning. But I did all right, regardless. One of the more interesting things I found today was a label called Khrysanthoney, which purports to be “black-pop,” as in black metal shoegazer pop. See? You didn’t even know you were missing it from your life until now.

I also found a used copy of Thomas Pynchon’s The Bleeding Edge at Shakespeare and Co. in Berkeley. The nice gentleman working there was surprised that a) they had a copy, and b) Pynchon was still alive. “They’re teaching a class now,” he said. “They usually only do that when the author is dead.”

For the record, the delightful people at PGW were very kind and supportive, and listened attentively when I ran through the whole Resurrection House spiel again. And then they gave me some preliminary numbers for orders for the fall season, which were in keeping with what I was expecting to hear. After that, they gave me marching orders: Blurbs to find. Galleys to make. Marketing to do.

Back to work.

(Why couldn’t HBO be re-running the first few episodes of True Detective on the few nights that I have access to HBO?)

Jan 12 2014

Back in the Saddle

This picture was taken during the filming of the Mongoliad trailer. There was an entire section of the script that revolved around Joe Brassey and I in the office, typing and thinking. Eventually, we’d go upstairs and hit each other with swords. The hitting each other with swords bit is the only part that stayed in the final cut. Because, well, apparently Joe and I are even more awkward on camera than Neal.

Anyway, I was poking around at 750words.com this morning in an effort to find a way to track word count metrics, and realized I needed a profile picture. Something with me and a laptop in my “office,” AKA the comfy chair. I had to go back nearly two years to find evidence of me actually writing. That should tell you something.

But, yes, there was writing this morning. And yesterday too. Must have something to do with the fact that I finalized four books in the Fall schedule last week, and got cover art for those same books all taken care of. One of the big milestones in the first months of Resurrection House is in the can. I have books. They have covers. There are manuscripts in place. I suppose I can take a bit of time to myself and see if I remember how to do this writing thing.

That, and three books are starting to bang against the insides of my head. HERE BE MONSTERS, ANGEL TONGUE, and something I’m calling EVERGREEN. I’m going to try to finish two of the three this year. Maybe all three. We’ll see how it goes. I had two of the three on my list last year too. We see how well that turned out.

Jan 07 2014

Leaving 2013

We’re a few days into the new year now, and I’ve already got a dozen lists of things to do, which is better than a box full of “things partially attempted and mostly unfinished,” isn’t it? I considered making resolutions and posting them to various social media places so that folks could call me on them later, but I realized that my list would be short.

  1. Let go of fear.
  2. Seize opportunities as they present themselves.
  3. Make creative mischief.

Which is pretty much the list that led me to founding Resurrection House, and that seems to have been one of my better ideas last year. I’ve acquired almost twenty books already (though, only four of them are front list). I have more than thirty novels in the submission queue. I announced a reading period for the XIII anthology about three weeks ago, and I’ve already received more than a hundred submissions (pushing 450K in total word count). It’s only going to get crazier, I suspect.

2013 was a pretty good year for creative work for me, too, and so perhaps it isn’t a bad thing that I spend 2014 working behind the scenes. Earth Thirst came out in January, and then promptly disappeared into the morass surrounding the sale of Night Shade Books. Mongoliad Book 3 came out in April, which was a nice cap to that arc, and then Katabasis came out in October, and no one seems to have noticed yet.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Sales have been good on the fourth Mongoliad book, but there’s a certain strain of ‘I didn’t know it was even out/planned’ in the commentary. For the record, Siege Perilous—the final Mongoliad book—is out at the end of the month.

There were two Foreworld novellas last year: Beast of Calatrava and Seer. Beast, along with The Lion in Chains (co-written with Angus Trim) and The Shield-Maiden (written by Michael & Linda Pearce) were collected in print as the first volume of SideQuest Adventures, back in August.

Fairwood Press and I assembled my short fiction into three ebook editions: The Queen of Faith, The Hollow Prince, and The King in Scarlet. A combination of factors prevented us from getting the last one into all of major outlets before Xmas, which is unfortunate as the final story in that volume is the long awaited Christmas story that I’ve been sitting on for many years.

That’s a lot of words. No wonder my brain is tired.

I’ve been waking up recently with my head filled with half-remembered narratives though, which is a sure sign that my brain wants to get back to story-telling.

Dec 03 2013

Closing and Opening

I didn’t get many words down for NaNoWriMo. Not many at all, and that’s indicative of where my head is at lately more than anything else. Disappointing, sure, but there are other things going on. I spent a little time updating the bibliography last night, and finally put up The Hollow Prince page. The second ebook collection has been out for more than a month, and I’ve been remiss in actually telling people. To overcompensate, I also put up the page for The King in Scarlet, the last of the triptych.

In looking at my bibliography page now, there’s an interesting sense of closure. The very first entry on it is “A Christmas Wish,” my first story back in 1996. The King in Scarlet contains the [redux] version, and I’m struck by the current state of the bibliography is the entirety of my writing career come full circle. I have nothing planned for 2014 (other than putting the three short fiction collections into a print volume), and 2013 was an incredible year of output. Which says something because it felt like 2012 was a pretty banner year as well.

But, because writers writer long before writers get published, this also says that I didn’t write much in 2013. Nor did I blog much. These things might be connected. Maybe they should be. I don’t know. Shortly before Thanksgiving, I went off into the woods with some friends, and had an opportunity for some reflection. Said reflection is still percolating through my brain, but I had a very vivid dream this morning that suggested that I should get on with things. And so I shall.

Oct 30 2013

In the Trenches

It’s the first of November, which means National Novel Writing Month. I haven’t participated in four years or so, because I’ve typically been under some deadline or another and haven’t had the time or energy to devote to this sort of group insanity. This year, though, well, I’m not under deadline (for the first time in three years), and I don’t have any active projects under contract. I do, however, need to get back into the regular practice of writing every day as I’ve been remiss lately. So, yeah, Nanowrimo for me this year.

What’s the goal again? 60K? How does this thing work?

Anyway, I’ve got a profile over there. Tag me as a writing buddy if you like.

Oct 29 2013

Katabasis Release Day

It’s new Foreworld book day around here. This is Katabasis, the fourth volume in The Mongoliad Cycle, and the one that I will look back upon as being one of my favorites. The three volumes of The Mongoliad were a thrilling rollercoaster ride, but Katabasis holds a special place in my heart because it’s the book where there’s a lot of payoff. Not just for those who have been following The Mongoliad, but there are a number of little rewards for those who have been reading the SideQuests as well. Everything comes together—for me, at least—in Katabasis.

There’s one more to follow. Siege Perilous, written by our favorite stand-in, E. D. deBirmingham. There are a few loose ends regarding the Church and a mysterious cup that need resolving . . .

While we’ve been tumbling toward this date, I’ve been quietly getting things done on the Resurrection House front. The latest news post takes about getting distribution taken care of (PGW, for those who are following along), as well as news of a few acquisitions: two books by Darin Bradley and one by Forrest Aguirre. Fall 2014 is starting to shape up nicely. Now, to do editorial letters, source cover art and design, get the books into the system, and start the marketing machinery. Ah, there’s nothing like the “can do!” entrepreneurial spirit.

Aug 27 2013

This. Yes, this. One thousand times, yes.

THIS IS RESURRECTION HOUSE

Launching . . . now . . . right here » resurrectionhouse.com

Aug 01 2013

Post Funk

I spent the last two days in a bit of a funk, brought about by that irksome between project doldrums, a tweaked neck, and a bit of the summer malaise. I attempted to flush it from my system by getting out of the house and spending time with some of my delightful friends, which also resulted in an opportunity to visit Paper Hammer up in Seattle. The storefront of the Might Tieton artistic community, Paper Hammer is chock-full of letterpress goodness. I went looking for ideas that could be used for the print edition of The Potemkin Mosaic and came away with thoughts of accordion books and message bottles.

Otherwise, I’ve spent a few days noodling on the opening of HERE BE MONSTERS. I suspect that’ll go out in a few days and we’ll see what Mr. Agent Man can do with it. I still need to do some more marketing for Queen of Faith, as well as some outreach for Earth Thirst.

I’m spending a lot of time thinking about presentation and new projects and big ideas. But it’s a lot of thinking yet.

Reading: Rob Ziegler’s Seed.
Watching: Justified – Season Four.
Listening: David SylvianGone to Earth [disc 2]; Scylla Unreleased Demos*.

*Wikipedia claims these are a “poor quality bootleg,” but it’s basically Curve as an overdriven garage band playing IN YOUR GARAGE, which is still better than 90% of the crap out there.

Jul 29 2013

Summer Escapism

I embraced Summer Escapism a bit over the last few days, and caught both Wolverine and Red 2. I was somewhat surprised by the former, and still have a headache from the latter.

Matt Patches has a great article at film.com about James Mangold’s inspirations for Wolverine, and while I think some of them are a little forced, it’s nice to see someone trying to break out of the staid mediocrity of the summer tentpole. And I completely agree with the third act failure. I had almost forgotten I was in an X-Men film until the last act. The bits with Jean Grey are great.

And Marvel doesn’t quite get the concept of the teaser. They should look at Fast and Furious 6 for an example of how to do it right.

As for Red 2, do you remember that scene in Despicable Me 2 with the shark wired with dynamite that is strapped to a rocket? Yeah, that’s the sort of shark that Red 2 tried to jump. I think Bruce Willis has invented quite a career for himself over the years, and no end of admiration to him for making it work (there’s a scene in the first Expendables where he tries not to smirk while in a scene with Schwartzenegger and Stallone, in a very ‘Who knew I would be the guy with an actual career in action films?’ sort of way), but I think we’ve reached that point where it’s time for something new for Mr. Willis. He can certainly show up and keep collecting checks for shooting things and giving us that wild-eyed look of exasperation, but I think I’m done opening my wallet for that.

What a waste of talent. I hope they all got decent travel packages.

Eh, okay. Any scenes with Byung-hun Lee or Helen Mirren in them were great. And Brian Cox’s shoe-sniffing Russian spy stole every scene he was in. Well, both of them, anyway.