Monday, December 31, 2012

Short, Sweet, and To the Point.

[For some reason the original contact me link didn't save.  This has been rectified.]

So, as promised, the "big" news.

On November 2 I received an email that had me stunned.  Someone working for ICM Partners asked me who holds the film and TV rights for Subject 12 and all following works in the series.  I was also asked if I had an agent.

Just to be absolutely clear on the matter for anyone reading this, the answers were then and are now "myself" and "no".

I replied (after doing some due diligence by vetting the individual as best I could with internet searches) within 24 hours.  My e-mail was brief but I passed along the requested information.  I had some time constraints preventing me from being more thorough in my reply.

A week later I sent another e-mail because I hadn't heard back yet.  This e-mail was a little more informative and friendly as I was far less occupied (I was watching the merchandise at a psychic fair during the night because the hotel had no way of locking the rooms to prevent intruders when I sent the first one) when I replied.  I felt it was better to reply promptly than take the time to butter the buns before serving, as it were, the first time.

So, now it's December 31, 9:40PM and I have heard bupkis from her, ICM Partners, or anyone else.  I don't know if this is because my e-mail replies bounced, were eaten by spam filters for some reason, I haven't been patient enough (almost 60 days so far), I didn't meet criteria for continued discussion (the lack of an agent), whoever thought of it lost interest in the idea, or whatever.  Suffice it to say, the fact that I haven't heard back from one of the largest entertainment firms in the world (look at any top-ten list of talent agencies in Hollywood and you'll see them in the top five or even the top two on virtually every one, and check out their website for both information and a telling lack of flourish) for an unknown reason after they approached me has been a bit disheartening.  Still, it hasn't stopped me from doing what I can to get more ready for you guys to read.

I'm not holding my breath to hear back from them.  I haven't yet and I won't.

So, as there has been interest in the past...  I am the exclusive copyright and rights holder to Subject 12, The Grand Granger, and all future works unless otherwise noted.  I currently have no agent.  I'm not looking for one but I'm also not against the idea of having one -- I just don't feel like jumping through a bunch of hoops again only to be ignored like I was the last several times I've tried.  As such, if anyone has any questions or whatever, feel free to contact me.

Thanks for reading and have a fantastic new year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Well, I Survived

I survived the horrible storm that just passed. It dumped in excess of 10 inches in my driveway, which I had to shovel out over the course of 2 days. My back, my knees, and my left arm all hurt and don't want to work very well, but I did survive and I did get myself dug out so I at least I won't starve.

Despite the fact that it seems the snow plow driver on my road has a vendetta against me, I have to say that, all things considered, things could have been a lot worse and I am in okay shape.

It looks like I will be sharing thr information that I have been keeping secret since early November with you, but not until New Year's Eve. Unfortunately, at this point it is entirely too anticlimactic to be really worth mentioning. I'm just going to do it because I'm stubborn like that.

Work continues on  my projects, so with any luck I will have something good to announce shortly. Thank you for your patience!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Subject 12 is now a KDP Selects Exclusive.

Post title says it all, really.  Now that all the holdouts have finally released Subject 12 from their catalogs, Amazon is the exclusive place to buy a copy.  The good news is that if a Prime member wishes to borrow it I can now get paid for said borrow.  As this impacts ~.1% of my readers, I'm not going to make a big deal out of this.  Mostly just making a note of it.  Also, as said before, if you purchased a copy through any other outlet then you should still be able to get a copy if you change devices or experience some other hardware hiccup.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cliffhangers, Novellas, and Google Plus.

It's come to my attention that the endings of both Subject 12 and The Grand Granger have left some readers, shall we say, unsatisfied.  I assure you that this was not intentional, and I'll attempt to explain why in this blog post.  I'll address The Grand Granger first as that one is easier to explain.  I apologize if I speak of issues I've spoken of regularly.  I don't want to sound like I'm complaining or repeating myself, but I also don't want a new reader to come across this blog and feel left out or obligated to dig through everything I've said so far just to be in the loop.

The Grand Granger is a novella.  Novellas are currently out of favor with the American public for some reason I cannot fathom as they fill a useful niche in the storyteller's ecosystem; longer than a short story yet shorter than a novel they allow more character and plot development while allowing for a faster pace than a traditional novel as well as the quick satisfaction and brevity of a short story.  Many of our greatest classics are novellas, especially in the realm of science fiction: War of the Worlds comes to mind, not that I'm trying to put my work in the same league as Verne's.  If you look at the Hammer's Slammers novels by David Drake (and I recommend you do as they're great reads if you like military sci-fi), they are collections of short stories and novellas.  Stephen King writes a lot of novellas.  I give you the following link for the list:

Novellas, like short stories, don't have much fluff.  As a result they pack a lot of punch in a small spaces.  Also like short stories, when they end, they end.  There isn't much more to say, so they don't usually say any more than they have to.  This is why The Grand Granger ends the way it does.  Some might find it abrupt, but that's where the story ended.  While I don't currently plan on giving Xii and Reg any more "screen time", that's not to say they won't appear again.  Their story, for the moment, is over.  That doesn't mean I won't be writing more in the Tal'Red universe, just that the characters you've seen so far may not be making another appearance.

Subject 12 ended on a cliffhanger of sorts.  This was, at the time, a matter of necessity.  While I find some people are capable of writing upwards of 10,000 words in a day, my output is much lower.  Part of that is physical, some of it psychological.

My arthritis causes my hands to hurt when I type too much, my back hurts because of my crappy office chair (there was $200 well spent, not), and I get chest pains from the bad angle I have to sit at in order to type on my PC for any length of time (again, office chair) -- and none of this can be helped with even OTC pain medication because I can't even take acetaminophen without experiencing gastric issues that can last for 24 hours.  I'm a rather large man and require a plus-rated office chair to sit in, so I can't just run to Office Max or Walmart and pick up the $69 special and expect it to last more than a few days.  I also spend upwards of eight hours a day in a chair, so it has to be durable.  As such, my research has lead me to the inexorable conclusion that I need a 24-hour chair rated at more than 300lbs as the one I currently have is rated at 300lbs (though I thought it was supposed to be 350 when I bought it, which I got to make sure I'd have a lot of reserve) and was showing signs of fatigue after two weeks of use.  As for the psychological reasons, I find writing to be a very intense and often emotional experience.  I agonize over things, and I'll spend hours researching minor points just to make sure I'm not making a mistake.  While this may lead to a superior product, it really cuts into my output some days.

I try to output at least 1,000 words per day when I'm writing regularly, but that's hard for me to do most days because of everything else I have going on, arthritis issues (some days I can't even hold a pen to write with, let alone type much), or just plain writer's block.  However, unlike these writers who slam out 10,000 words a day during NaNoWriMo (or as I call it, November), I find that I prune very little of what I write unless it's utter trash.  I sculpt and massage and shape and hammer on what I write until it's in the proper shape, or temper it until it's the right hardness, but I don't cut 30% of my writing from first draft to final.  Actually, I find I'm adding anywhere from 5-10% of the first draft's word count per revision (or the equivalent if not more in rewrites).  If I do find something that needs to be cut, be it a sentence or a few thousand words, I cut it because sometimes things just don't work, or the story's gone in a new direction.

What I'm trying (and failing) to say is that I just ran out of steam by the end of Subject 12, and I think it really showed in some of the errors that crept in despite a substantive and at times exhausting editing cycle.  At the time I simply couldn't write any more.  The story wasn't finished -- isn't finished, unless I die before I can get Rogue up for you guys -- but I couldn't write any more of it.  I had a choice; delay publication and try to get the story wrapped up in another chapter, which would be doing you, me, and the story itself a huge disservice, or finish it on a cliffhanger and write a whole novel as a sequel.  I chose the latter for two reasons.  First off, comic books (which Subject 12 is both an homage to and send-up of) are the epitome of cliffhangers.  Denying that would be pointless and flat out wrong.  I felt justified for this very reason.  Secondly, rather than trying to condense everything to ~20,000 words, by giving myself an entire novel to stretch in, I'm allowing myself to do justice to the story as it could, nay, should be.  I owe it to my readers as much as to myself to do it justice, so I will do my best to do so.

Speaking of Subject 12, I've finally gotten the feel I needed for the characters in the story I'm working on in Reagent Protocol, which will be an anthology of three stories (See, that pesky novella crops up again.) as I've mentioned.  They will tie into Subject 12 quite nicelyBanshee you're already familiar with, and I've given you the outline for the story I'm working on now.  The third one is in preliminary planning stages.  I can't say as the whole thing will be worth the wait, but I hope it will be well-received.  I will keep you posted.

As the title of this post indicates, and as I've alluded to a few times, I've been giving thought to the concept of opening up a Google Plus page.  I've received a single piece of feedback on the matter, and it indicates that I might get more feedback if I open said page.  Well, I don't want people to think I'm hard to reach, or difficult to speak with once I've been reached, so I'm thinking it'll be a project for the new year.  I look forward to hearing from you, even if you just want to say "hi" or "you suck".  I actually already have a G+ account activated; I just haven't done anything with it yet.  I'll have some free time coming up soon, so hopefully I can look into it a bit more.  Everything I post here will be cross-posted there, so this blog may even become a bit pointless -- but I'm not giving up on it.

Anyway, it's time to wrap this up.  My traffic from Belgium is back so Bonjour, mes amis!  Comment allez-vous?

Thanks, everyone, for reading and Happy Holidays!

(Bonus paragraph!)

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I hoped to share some really big news with everyone.  Unfortunately, the whole idea seems to have died.  If I don't hear more by the end of the year I'll probably tell everyone about it in the new year, with details, just not e-mail addresses or names.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

That was interesting...

I mentioned Belgium in my last post and suddenly I stop getting hits from Belgium.  That makes me curious.

I took Subject 12 off Smashwords yesterday afternoon and most retailers have removed the book from their catalog.  I do hope that I can get it back up soon, but only when I've cleaned up the typos and have final say over the output.  We'll see.

I've received zero feedback on the Google Plus idea, which is what I've basically expected.  For those in the know, I don't need to explain what the advantages of setting one up would be, but for those that don't...

Google Plus is similar to Facebook, but not as invasive, and with a few nice features Facebook just doesn't have.  It'd allow easier interaction, among other things.  Just an idea, but nothing I'll lose sleep over if nobody thinks it's a good idea.

Well, back to the grind!