Want Diversity? Start Supporting Indie

Hey readers, got a short post for you here today. It may not have escaped your notice in recent weeks (or maybe it did, and you’ve spent your time better than I) that the book industry, specifically traditional publishing, has been under fire.

Okay, in fairness, that’s nothing new. The traditional publishing industry has been suffering for years. That’s why Simon & Schuster is up for sale. But right now it’s under fire from readers for a reason that, given the current political climate in the United States, you can probably guess at.

Yup, the publishers are under fire for diversity. Or rather, for a lack of it.

Before I go further with this post, I want to make one thing clear: I actually agree with this concept, but for entirely different reasons than most locked in this battle would probably agree with. Most of them are painting, as they put it, a lack of books from certain ethnic groups or a lack of good royalty for those books as a deliberately targeted act of racism.

I’m not so sure. At least, not in the way most of the accusers seem to think. Personally? I think it’s far more likely that it’s the same story repeated a thousand times with the traditional publishers: They’re out of touch, behind the times, and refusing to adapt to the modern era. They’re “risk averse” to anything they don’t understand, and buddy, there’s a lot they don’t understand.

So basically, while many are accusing book publishers of being deliberately racist, I think that’s giving the publishers too much credit. It’s an “achievement” of ignorance as much as anything else. Ignorance and willful refusal to adapt. Not at all helped by many publishers trying to kill as many birds with one stone as possible and push out books that “hit” every margin the publisher hasn’t at once.

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Another Project Complete! The News Rolls in Again

Most of you can probably guess what this post is about. Yesterday, I put my fingers to the keys one final time, and wrote the last line of Fireteam Freelance.

That’s right. The whole thing is now complete. All episodes.

Do I have thoughts on it? Oh yes. I’ve noted from the beginning that an episodic story like this was definitely an experiment. I won’t say what those thoughts are at this juncture, because you readers haven’t finished the story, and I don’t want to inadvertently color your expectations. Though I will say some of the episodes coming up have some of my favorite scenes I worked on through this series, and I don’t feel at all that my time was misspent.

Naturally, of course, this means that there will be another episode this Saturday. Episode 9, Apatos, will be live at 8 AM mountain time, and after the events of the last episode, you absolutely will not want to miss it.

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First to Fifty

I’ve been pretty quiet this week, as many of you may have noticed. No posts after Being a Better Writer save this one (a few days later), etc. But … I’ve had good reason.

For starters, I’ve been in the middle of the finale for Fireteam Freelance all week. Yeah, the big ultimate showdown. So as you can imagine, if I’ve been writing at all, it’s been on that rather than anything else.

But that’s come with some other complications as well. See, Monday night I started developing a sore throat.

Sands and storms, right? By Tuesday it was especially pronounced, and well … with Covid-19 going around and a sore throat being one of the symptoms, I went into deeper self-isolation (read, I didn’t leave my place) these last few days waiting to see if any other symptoms would appear.

Thankfully, none have, and as of today, the sore throat has almost completely vanished outside of a faint occasional itch showing where it once was. Bullet. Dodged.

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Fireteam Freelance Episode 8 Drops This Saturday

So, you readers may have noticed that there was not anything new for Fireteam Freelance this last week.

It was by choice. It was an off week, by which I mean there was an episode the prior week (Episode 7 – Missing Persons) and these episodes have come out every other week. Which does mean that yes, episode 8 (Last One Out) drops this Saturday.

So yes. Set your alarms and mark your calendars! Episode 8 of Fireteam Freelance arrives this Saturday, and it’s one you won’t want to miss.

But yeah, last week there was no bonus content. That doesn’t mean it’s done, not yet. But there was a good reason for the break. After this Saturday’s climactic episode, there will be another bit of in-between content in the week following.

After that? Well, I’m not sure. About bonus content, I mean. Hit the jump for more.

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A Brief Post Concerning the State of Things in the US

Those of you who are in the US most likely know what I’m talking about today. Those of you outside the US have most likely picked up tidbits, given the amount of non-US news crews covering everything (and finding themselves assaulted for it), so I don’t need to rehash the events surrounding the death of George Floyd or the subsequent protests and then riots sweeping across the US here. If you somehow haven’t gathered much on what happened (another cop killing someone on camera in cold blood with no repercussions) … well that parenthetical is likely all you need to decipher, along with a decent imagination of “Well, how would people react to that?”

Now, I’m not going to go into a lot of depth on this today. Be aware that that depth does exist. If you wish to find records of police brutality, videos of Australian news crews being clubbed with batons, or old men beat up by police until they’re lying bleeding on the pavement for the “crime” of trying to get to their home or waiting for a bus.

So what am I going to say on this? A few things.

First, the murder of George Floyd was wrong. As is any of the racial profiling that still sticks with a lot of people in the US. I think I’ve made it pretty clear over the course of seven books that I think judging someone based on the color of their skin is an utterly asinine practice that no one should engage in. Positive or negative (yes, it’s just as bad to assume someone is “good” because of a skin color as it is to assume something bad about them).

People. Are. People. We’re all human beings on this little rock we call Earth. Blue, green, purple, whatever. Judging someone based on the color of their skin is wrong.

You want to make a judgement on someone, do it by something that matters, like the content of their character.

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GoFundMe for Uncle Hugo’s Bookstore Open Once More

Quick update to the post from this weekend concerning Uncle Hugo’s Bookstore. The GoFundMe is officially open once more and being run by bookstore folks (confirmed on Uncle Hugo’s Facebook page here). So if you’d like to help donate to Uncle Hugo’s in the wake of this tragedy, you can rest assured that your money is going to the right place.

Here’s the link. Let’s restore the oldest independent Sci-Fi bookstore in America!

Uncle Hugo’s Bookstore in Minneapolis Burned Down During Riots, GoFundMe Open

So this one hit me a little.

I’ve never been to Minneapolis (and this post will not be about the rioting or the situations associated with it, as I’m not trying to invite a firestorm of angry, opinionated people). I’ve never once set foot in Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore. I’ve never even ordered from them.

But I have heard stories about them. This is the place that picked up a self-pub book to sell before indie was a real thing and started sending it to publishers with notes along the lines of ‘here’s how many copies I bought, why are you not publishing this?’ From the stories I’ve heard at cons and from other authors, they’ve flat-out kickstarted a lot of careers.

The store itself is only halfway regarded as a store by many, given that the owner loved collecting rare Sci-Fi books. Many also referred to it as a “museum of Science Fiction literature.”

And well … last night it was burned to the ground. Complete loss. Here’s a picture of what the place normally looked like:

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Here’s a picture of it this morning that was uploaded to Facebook. Linking, since it’s not my picture.

Given the stories I’ve heard about this place, this one hit even me. I’ve never even been there but I’ve heard the stories.

Worse, it seems that the insurance will not cover civil disturbance. At least, not to the degree that would be needed to recover from such a loss.

A GoFundMe page has been started to raise funds for recovery from this. EDIT: The GoFundMe is now open again and verified! Huzzah!

 

The Stable Instability

Hello readers! Never fear, I’m still alive. Just hard at work on episode #10 of Fireteam Freelance.

Episode ten? Why yes, I am getting that far ahead. Which is good, because these last episodes are probably going to be pretty titanic. “Season finale” and all that.

Of course, having a pretty good buffer does mean that this Friday will see the release of the next big episode: Missing Persons. I’m pretty pleased with how this episode turned out. Not only did we get a neat view of a future cityscape, but we also got to see a seriously cool action sequence. And some more puzzle pieces clicking together …

Anyway, that will be up this Saturday, so be sure to keep an eye open. We’ve passed the halfway point with Mandatory Takeout, so things are coming together and moving with a swifter and swifter pace, and again, I’m pretty pleased with some of the action sequences from this Saturday’s episode. They’re pretty crazy.

So, moving on to further news: Facebook advertising is now rolling forward. It’s still somewhat experimental, and I’ll admit I don’t have the strongest grasp on it yet (a lot of this is very much learn as you go), but I desperately needed something to combat the abject slump that came about with the reopening of the economy. Sorry, partial reopening. A topic which I won’t get into outside of saying “It’s divisive.”

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Happy Memorial Day!

Unsurprisingly, when I posted last Friday, I absolutely forgot that today was Memorial Day! It had registered at some point in the back of my mind, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I connected things far enough to realize “Hold on a moment, I don’t do Being a Better Writer on Memorial Day. It’s a holiday.”

So there won’t be a Being a Better Writer post today. Instead, go out and celebrate Memorial Day! Or honor it, if that’s open to you.

colony-finalAnd if you’re looking for something to do, well, why not grab a copy of Colony and get caught up for your Fireteam Freelance binge?

Either way, enjoy your Memorial Day, all of you, and I’ll see you another day! And if you’re really bummed there isn’t a new Being a Better Writer post today, hit that search bar on the side and browse some old ones! Even I forget how many there are these days!

Updates, Queries, Facebook, and More

Hey folks! Who’s ready for a weekend?

I certainly am. This week has been, no mistake, all over the place. I’m looking forward to some relaxation when the weekend hits, that’s for sure! Not too much, though. I’ve still got work on Stranded to think about. Slowly but surely, that story grinds forward.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about today. Well, outside of reassuring some expectant readers that it’s still coming. No, today’s post is a bit of a grab bag post, talking about everything that’s been going on. Such as Fireteam Freelance.


Last night I put the finishing touch on episode #9 of Fireteam Freelance, and it was a good one. I’m not going to spoil how, or why, but I think it may be one of my personally favorites in the series to date.

You readers, of course, are still on episode #6 (Mandatory Takeout). So I think it’s safe to say the backlog is building up pretty well right now. Today I start episode #10, which marks a noted shift as, well, it’s near the end of the season. Again, no spoilers, but with a name like Swift Tilt, those of you invested in the universe can probably make some good estimates. And if you’ve been carefully hording your puzzle pieces so far, trying to piece together everything … get ready. That’s all I’ll say.

Granted, you’ve got some time yet. Tomorrow’s update will be another interview, the second-to-last, this time with the team’s close-combat specialist, Ursa. The Saturday after that will see the release of episode #7, Missing Persons, and you are not going to want to miss it. The week after that? You’ll have to see, but I think many of you will find it worth the wait.


Now, that’s not all the news I have on Fireteam Freelance. For those of you readers here that are familiar with the website SpaceBattles, I’ve begun considering posting episodes of Fireteam Freelance there on their fiction boards. Why? Well, I’ve noticed a few other posters of original fiction posting material that has come from their work elsewhere, and it could be good publicity. Those of you here who hail from SpaceBattles, what say ye? I know you’re here, since I see the link-trackbacks from time to time. And I am on SpaceBattles myself.

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