Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Latest Review/Errata

First of all, I'd like to say to whoever did the anonymous review of "The Vimana Incident" posted on its Furplanet order page, thank you for your honesty and I would love to talk to you in detail about how I might have improved it. I'm making a serious effort to improve myself as a writer and reaching out to anyone willing to call out the flaws in my work.
I know this review was a particularly honest one because these were things I was concerned about, but had a hard time fixing. This was my attempt at writing the best story I could with my current abilities but it shows that I'm still lacking.
Lt. Aksakova's backstory is one I particularly regret being stumped on how to develop more because she is an interesting character, being a female officer, the one Soviet member of the crew, and asexual. She's the odd one out in so many ways and I wanted to tell more about her, but I was struggling with pacing and was afraid it would slow the book down. A good writer should know how to fit something like that without breaking pace, though, and I'm embarrassed to say it's one of the things I still haven't figured out.
This also means I didn't quite succeed in what I set out to do, which was to write a book with all of the best qualities of a Philip K. Dick novel but none of its drawbacks. Instead, I've got ideas, and those ideas are good, but I'm hitting a wall when it comes to developing them and setting a steady pace. I've seen that exact same critique of Dick.
I don't want to be just a carbon copy of him; I want to be better and I have a clear set of objectives on how to do that. I just need someone who has actually read my work to help me with a bit of advice.
If the writer of that review is reading this, please get in touch. PM me or send me an e-mail (my first name_my last name at yahoo dot com) and let's talk writing.
Also, one major Errata I MUST acknowledge before someone calls me out on it: In the acknowledgments I described Johnathan Lethem as an "editor" when what I intended to say was "award-winning writer and one of the editors of Philip K. Dick's Exegesis" but overlooked the passage in my revisions. My sincerest apologies to Dr. Lethem, this was not intended as a slight but was an innocent oversight on my part.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

"The Vimana Incident" Now Available From Fusselschwarm!

My readers in the EU will be happy to know that "The Vimana Incident" is now available from Fusselschwarm!

I missed the announcement, as it has apparently been available for a little while now, but I thought I'd go ahead and mention it.

You can purchase your copy here:

http://www.maennerschwarm.de/Laden/htdocs/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=67&Itemid=121#Novels

Or you can stop by the Fusselschwarm table at any of the conventions or book fairs they attend.  Also, be sure to check out @fusselschwarm on Twitter.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Folie A Vingt (Short Story)

Detective Collins walked out of the interrogation room, wiping his brow. The 54-year-old investigator's eyes were surrounded by dark circles, his face pink and his brow clammy.
His colleague, Lt. Samantha Byrne, looked at him with concern. "So how many is that now?” she asked.
"Twenty," he said.
"Twenty?" she echoed.
"Twenty people. All of our witnesses. They all have the same bogus story. Not one of them has told me anything different," Collins said as he sat down in a swiveling office chair, Resting his elbow on the arm rest and letting his broad chin rest heavily on his knuckles.
Lt. Byrne paced the floor, gazing at the tiles. "This could be some kind of cult thing. They were all in this together, maybe Mr. Allison planned this. He could have been... I don't know, rationalizing his own sacrifice," she said, exasperation heavy in her voice.
"Okay, let's think about this," Collins said. "Maybe Mr. Allison or Father of Mystic Light or Reverend Boogedy-boo or whatever they called him planned for his own people to kill him. Why would they call us in a blind panic to come stop whoever did this before it got them too?"
Lt. Byrne sighed. "Well I don't know, but it makes more sense than the alternative..."
"...You mean that a ritual sword flew off the back wall, across the room, and embedded itself in Mr. Allison's skull? Well, I'm out of ideas, so if you have any good ones, I'd like to hear them!" Collins screamed.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Selection From "The Vimana Incident"

This is without a doubt my favorite scene from the story, and it was fun to write!  In this scene, two characters from 1939 encounter a museum full of artifacts from the later half of the 20th century.

"The Vimana Incident" can be bought as an e-book from baddogbooks.com or as a paperback from furplanet.com.

********************

Ned and Tom, meanwhile, were surrounded by what could only be described as the collective detritus of the whole of Western Civilization. There were preserved outfits showing the rapid shifts in fashion that defined the Twentieth Century, cars, appliances, toys, furniture, and screens showing some of the surviving films of the era.

"Hey, check this out!" Tom said excitedly as they came to a sleek two-door car with long, flowing lines and fins. It looked like a space ship from a movie serial or the sort of comics they sold to ten year old boys at newsstands. "There was a replica of one of these in the Vimana's gaming system, a Studebaker Golden Hawk," the wolf explained. "It's gorgeous, isn't it? can't wait for the future!"

Parked next to it was a car with a very similar look, but much shorter, about two thirds the size of the big American car and stubbier in its proportions, black and white two-toned with a red interior and lots of Chrome, but with a long black number plate on the front and its steering wheel on the right-hand side... British, Ned realized. A plaque below the car identified it as a Sunbeam Rapier and explained that it had been styled by the American Loewy studio, that had also designed the Studebaker next to it. The fox tilted his head, a bit puzzled to see such American styling on a British car.

"See? It really is the look of the future!" Tom said excitedly.

"The future can keep it," Ned replied.

Ned's misgivings about the future of design were somewhat confirmed by the deteriorating quality of the artifacts from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Steel and wood had been replaced by plastic and rubber, that hadn't aged well in the increasingly poor air quality of the late twenty-first century, as the plaque on a badly-deteriorated Nintendo Famicom from 1989 explained. It was accompanied by an artist's rendition of how the faded, cracked plastic and rusted metal connectors had once looked, bright red and white with strangely utilitarian decals.

The plastic objects, sad though they were, must have been plentiful, as witnessed by the many displays of cruddy, corroded toys and appliances from the later half of the century.

The paper items from that period had survived in better condition, though were apparently much rarer and treated accordingly. There was a paper crown from a Burger King on display, dramatically lit and with thicker glass around it, as if it were the crown jewels of a lost empire.

"Take a look at this, Tom," Ned said, pointing at the paper crown. "Look at this and tell me how wonderful the future's going to be!"

"I don't understand," the wolf said, his ears sagging. "Everything in the first half of the century seems so well made, then after about 1970..."


"It all turns to rubbish," the fox finished.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Where I Am As An Author

As you probably know if you've read the posts in this blog so far, I am a small press author and I don't make a whole lot off my writing.  It started out as something of a hobby, writing from within the furry community where making a living off of any sort of work is unlikely; it's a small, mostly Interned-based community that enjoys stories, art, and other media involving anthropomorphic animal stories and although sexual material is definitely out there, non-sexual stories and art still sell decently well.

The first book I published (also the first manuscript of any sort I actually sold copies of) was a dieselpunk action romance called "Basecraft Cirrostratus," and yes, it did play somewhat to the sexual aspect of things.  I've been told by a few non-furry readers, though, that aside from the sex it's actually a decent early attempt at a story, kind of in the vein of "The Rocketeer" and "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" in a dystopian setting inspired by the neoliberal crony capitalism and dominionist politics of the 2000s.  As such, it was hardly "porn" so much as an adventure story with erotic scenes.

It got decent reviews, and was greeted enthusiastically enough that I began to think that maybe I would eventually have what it took to support myself as an author.  I was called out on being too brief and breezy in my pacing, sort of the opposite of what you hear about amateur authors most of the time.  There were also minor issues with forced dialog and a plot just a little too fraught with convenient coincidences (though I did lampshade it somewhat in the sequel by having all the loose ends from the first book come back to haunt the protagonists).  But after a while, sales slowed and I decided to put something else out.