News, Updates, Recap

Hey readers! It’s time for an update! So let’s start with the biggest thing on everyone’s mines: Covid-19, AKA the Coronavirus.

By now I imagine no matter where you are in the world you’ve been affected by this thing, and it’s no different in where I am. In pursuit of slowing the spread of this thing to manageable levels, public gatherings have been limited to ten people, no more, by law where I’m at.

For entirely understandable reasons, mind. I don’t disagree with it. I bring it up to illustrate how serious things have gotten over these last few weeks.

But everyone’s dealing with that seriousness fairly well. I say fairly because I have no idea why everyone got it into their heads that toilet paper was the new gold. For that matter, after going to the grocery store last night, I also have no idea why people are stockpiling Oreos and ice cream. The chips and popcorn I somewhat understand, as everyone’s ready to look at nothing but entertainment for the next few weeks, but Oreos? Ice cream? The latter isn’t even a good survival food, since you have to chill it.

Or maybe I’m just being picky and everyone really wants comfort food right now. Regardless, I’m getting away from the topic at hand, which is Covid-19 and its effects.

The big effect? Book sales have slowed massively. Saw a news article about it the other day, and it confirmed what I’d already seen. This week has been dead. Which, since book income is my only income right now, is not a good sign.

There’s not much I can do about either. After all, it’s a symptom of a pandemic, and I don’t have any control over that. This last week people have just been hunkering down, getting ready to ride things out. Maybe once that’s over and people are in the “ride” phase they’ll start buying books again, but it seems right now they’re more worried about other things.

Oreos, I guess. No, I’m not stopping harping on that one. Who loads up on Oreos in a disaster?

Still, if sales are dead for me they’re probably dead for a lot of other authors and creative types out there. Which … hurts. It takes a lot of work to even get both arms on a rung of the ladder of success in creative fields. Getting your feet kicked out from under you is brutal.

With luck, this downturn is temporary, and people stuck at home quickly decide they want some reading material to make their day better. If not, well … I don’t know. A bummer of an answer, but times like these are full of uncertainty and difficulty.

A bit depressing, sure, but I can’t help that. Sometimes bad news is bad news. So then, onward to some better news!

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News Update: Fireteam Freelance, Patreon, Parliament of Wizards, and Coronavirus

News post! All the news I’ve got for you this week! Or at least, today. Starting with Fireteam Freelance news!


Fireteam Freelance

So, it would seem that Fireteam Freelance is slowly but surely gaining momentum, especially with the launch of the second episode! Now, I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news? There’s more coming, including this Saturday. The bad news? This Saturday’s update won’t be the next episode, but rather an interview interlude. There will be another episode soon, but I don’t want to promise anything yet. However, I did make a lot of bonus content in advance, so … Yeah, come Saturday there will be more content, just not episode three.

The next episode is titled Underground Orbit, by the way. But until then, how’d you all like Blackout? It ran a bit long, I think, but I was having so much fun with it I didn’t really mind. I hope you all had as much fun reading it as I did writing it. The power saw scene in particular …

Well, anyway, I hope you guys have enjoyed it. More is on the way! Now, next up, let’s talk about Patreon!

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OP-ED: Hollywood Clearly Doesn’t Want Video Game Films to Succeed

Okay, remember how I said I’d post tomorrow? Well, I’m posting today. You’ll get a post tomorrow. This news I just received … Well, it set me off, and a post had to be made.

I saw Sonic the Hedgehog over the weekend. And you know what? It was actually pretty dang good! But you know why? Only because Paramount reacted to the massive and rightly earned horror the public recoiled with upon seeing their “improved” version of the iconic character.

Sonic Redesign

Seriously. Remember this abomination of terror? The redesign of a classic character that Paramount did only because they apparently wanted to “prove” they could do it better?

Here’s what Sonic actually looks like in the games, by the way, so you can see how badly they screwed it up:

tsr_sonic

Only after being absolutely flattened by angry and horrified responses from the general public did Paramount push the film back and decide to change the final film into something actually resembling the the character whose name they were using, giving us this:

Sonic Redesign 2

Which, you’ll agree is a lot closer to the actual design of the character whose film again, they claimed they were making. You know, they just wanted to improve it.

So why am I talking about this (and exposing you to the horrors of Paramount’s “improvement”)? I mean, I didn’t even get into the absolutely awful choice of music for the first trailer, but I digress.

So why talk about this? Because I firmly believe at this point that Hollywood is doing its best to damage every video game property they can get their hands on. Why?

To damage the competition.

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Apologies for Vanishing

Hey readers! I live!

Yes, I know I kind of went completely silent after Monday (and given this post-LTUE week, probably not the best idea). But … it wasn’t just you guys I went silent with, nor was it for a lousy reason.

Okay, well it was lousy, just not in the way you’re probably thinking: I caught the con-crud. That’s right, a fusion of who knows how many cold viruses knocked me on my butt pretty good. Monday was okay, Tuesday was a little worse but not too bad … but yesterday? Yesterday it had advanced to a fever, which kind of wrecked my writing for the day (not only did it take a lot longer to put a sentence together, but I half expect that when I look at what I wrote today I’m going to find it wanting).

Good news, though. Last night I bundled up under what would normally be way too many covers and burned the fever out over the course of the night. I’m still sore, stiff, and coughing a bit, but I’m at least on the mend. And mentally competent enough to get back to work and see how much of what I wrote these last two days holds up.

With luck it won’t be too bad. But then again, writing while sick never feels that way at first …

Anyway, I apologize for the delay this has given to updates for the site. Yesterday or today would have been a post-LTUE post talking about some of the stuff I chatted about with other authors at LTUE, but right now I think I’ll wait until tomorrow to get Fireteam Freelance caught up,.

Speaking of Fireteam Freelance, what have you readers made of it so far? I know it’s been a popular post to read, but no one’s said anything. Maybe you’re all waiting on a bit more material before passing final judgement, in which case I’ll keep my own thoughts confined for now. But are you enjoying it? Looking forward to it?

Actually, while I’m writing, I should give you all one bit of post-LTUE news (and commentary): A Dragon and Her Girl, from the reviews dropping in so far, has been warmly received.

I actually finished reading through my copy Tuesday night, and it’s a delightful amount of fun. If you like dragons and heroines in any supply, you should definitely take a look at grabbing a copy.

Anyway, slowly returning to human semblance (or as close as I get, anyway) and coming back to life. More tomorrow!

Invisible Censorship and Books

I made an interesting and alarming discovery a few weeks ago.

Like most authors, I happen to love reading books as well. Between my local library, the occasional purchase, and my Kindle, I go through a good number of them every year. I have my entire life. Sands, in my small-town library, if I happened to be around the librarians would sometimes ask me if I knew a book a patron was asking about. I read a lot.

So, naturally, I gravitate to places online that talk about books. Forums that offer book reviews, or book chats, etc etc.

It was on one of these forums that I discovered an extremely disturbing trend.

Let me catch you up. One of the book places I hung out at quite regularly—or did, before this discovery, which all but killed my interest in it—was a place for book recommendations. It was pretty simple and straightforward: One person posts what they’re looking for, be it a historical romance with specific traits, or just something like what they’d already read and enjoyed, like Dune. Then, participants could post replies listing, detailing, or talking about other books that the poster might be interested in.

Good idea, right? I sure thought so. And so I went to it. It was fun dredging my brain sometimes for lesser-known authors or books that someone might have missed, or thinking “Oh, what was the name of that book!” and digging back several years through my Goodreads list to find it.

It was pretty good … Or so I thought.

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Novel Submission Update

All right readers! Update here! So, many of you may recall a few months back at the beginning of summer how I spent two weeks working on an unsolicited Halo manuscript sample? Which I fired off at the 343 folks?

Well, as of yesterday, I have an official response. They’re passing on it. In fact, they’re not even open to looking unsolicited manuscripts. Their process (mostly) is to tell their current publisher they want a book, wait for that publisher to pick an author from their internal stable, and go from there. So they automatically deny unsolicited manuscripts.

Why post about it if it’s just (effectively) a rejection? Because I know from comments that a number of you were really curious about it and looking forward to news on it. Well, I’m sorry to bring sad news to you, but the offer has been passed on. The rights holder isn’t interested, and that’s that.

Which does, sadly, mean that the sample manuscript will likely never see the light of day. Granted, I could always do the “file off the serial numbers” thing but … No. There are people that do that, simply re-purposing something written for one work and setting into another, but … I’ve got to be honest, that wouldn’t sit well with me. It’d just be an obvious mirror, and that’s not my style. Plus, writing a whole book in that mirrored style? I’m sure you guys would rather see [REDACTED] all the sooner.

So yeah, those readers that were excited by the idea of me maybe having my name on the cover of a Halo book, well … That’s publishing. At the very least, you guys have got Jungle coming this fall (look for a cover coming soon, by the way), and Fireteam Freelance plus [REDACTED] coming after that. So I hope you stay excited for those. And don’t stop reading some of those Halo books, because a lot of them are quite fun (as is the setting, part of the reason I wanted to contribute to it).

So yeah, they’re passing, which means the manuscript goes into that quiet, sunless vault of “stuff you won’t see.” At the very least, I got a fun week out of writing it and my Alpha and Beta readers got to enjoy a neat jaunt through a different setting from ColonyJungle, or Shadow of an Empire.

So, now you fans know it’s not going to happen. I’m still working on Jungle, which is definitely looking at a fall release now, as summer is almost over. This one is going to rock your minds, folks. Look for more on this one soon, and even preview material to start the hype train rolling before long.

That’s it, the news is up. Gotta get back to work on Jungle. Also, if you’re a Dusk Guard follower, note that the new chapter will be up in a few hours, since it’s Tuesday!

Are Libraries Bad for Authors?

Before we stumble into a cliche-filled moment of drama where inferences are made off of the title, I’ll be blunt: No, I don’t think so.

Let me say that again. Are libraries bad for authors? No, I don’t think so.

MacMillan, on the other hand (one of the larger book publishers), does.

Remember about … I want to say eight months or so ago, but it may have been longer, when Tor went ahead and decided that libraries were a threat to their business, since they let people check out books “for free” (the library pays for the book at a high price, mind). And therefore, they were going to be barring libraries from purchasing new copies of their books until a set time after release so that readers would be forced to buy them, rather than reading them at a library?

Well. apparently this idea is catching. MacMillan is the latest publisher to jump on this train. Now normally I’d sort of shake my head at this and move on, because this is just more book drama with publishers trying to recoup a market that’s slowly and steadily slipping away from them, but then in the news release, something else caught my eye. Something that really said a lot to me, personally, about how MacMillan is seeing things.

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