Friday Link Pack - 11/14/14

Friday Link Pack – 11/14/14

Friday is here! That means it’s time to share a few links I’ve found over the last few days. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Let me know! All right, let’s get to it.

Old Broken Road:

Happy One Month Birthday Old Broken Road!
My latest novel, Old Broken Road, is now one month old and it’s getting great reviews. Pick up your copy and tell your friends!

What Are Readers Saying About Old Broken Road?
Reviews are starting to come in and they’re looking really good. In this post I highlight some of my favorite quotes. I’m flattered and really happy to hear everyone is enjoying it so much.


Amazon & Hachette End Dispute Over Online Book Sales
Finally! Let’s all get back to writing rad stuff now. Okay?

Amazon Beats Google & Wins Rights To The New gTLD .Book
Amazon now controls the generic top level domain .book and I’m curious to see what they do with it. It’s an interesting turn of events, but not that surprising based on Amazon’s positioning.

Who Said It, James Joyce Or Kool Keith
My friend Evan shared this with me and it’s not only hilarious but way more challenging than I expected. I ended up getting 6/10, my friend Dawn got 9/10! How’d you do?

Killing The Sacred Cows Of Indie Publishing: I Have To Sell Books Quickly
In this article author Dean Wesley Smith talks about book sales and speed and expectation vs. reality. Totally agree with him but it’s nice to be reminded. (Thanks to Lauren for sharing.)


The Work Of Christian Rex Van Minnen
Take a dash of realism, a bit of Salvador Dali, and part Pablo Picasso and you’d be close to describing the work of Christian Rex Van Minnen. It’s very very cool, and somewhat disturbing. (Thanks to Kari-Lise for the tip.)

This animated video from Rino Stefano Tagliafierro takes classical paintings and adds subtle pans and animations. The result is… well, beauty.

Illustrated Famous Movies With One Letter Removed
Illustrator takes famous movies, removes a single letter, and illustrates the results. The result is fantastic visions of cinema like Obocop and Aging Bull.


Rosetta Photo Gallery
This week humanity landed a probe on a comet, which itself is an incredible feat. Now we’re just now starting to see what a comet looks like up close. The Rosetta mission has this incredible photo gallery showing what the Philae probe is seeing.

The World’s Worst Playgrounds Are Where Fun Goes To Die
Ummm… so these are terrifying.

Ghostly Ship Graveyards From Around the World
Last year io9 gathered these haunting and eerie photos of ship graveyards from around the world. After looking through these images I feel like I need to re-up my tetanus booster.

10 Commandments For Con Men
Lists of Note shares notorious con man “Count” Victor Lustig’s advice for the up and comer. (Thanks to Steve who shared this with me forever ago.)

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

The Descendant
This story fragment follows the “harmlessly mad” Londoner who is confronted with a copy of the Necronomicon.

Gif of the Week:

Despite all my rage, I am still just Nicholas Cage.

Friday Link Pack 07/11/2014

After the Storm by Kari-Lise Alexander
We’re back! It’s time to share a few interesting links I have found throughout the week. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Let me know!

First Thing First:

It’s my wedding anniversary! Happy Anniversary to my lovely and talented wife of 11 amazing years. If you are unaware: Kari-Lise is an amazing pop surrealism painter. You can see her work on her website or over on her blog or her Instagram account. She’s incredible. (That’s her art up top!)


HarperCollins Pivots To Sell Print And Ebooks Directly To Readers
Good for HarperCollins! Publishers should have been doing this long ago. However, part of me wonder if this isn’t a fallback for their own upcoming price negotiation with Amazon. Amazon/Hachette 2: The HarperCollinsing.

UK Author Income Survey: Another Publishing Bombshell
An in depth look into the income of UK authors, both independent and traditional. I’d wager than these numbers are similar stateside as well.

Backing The Wrong Horse: Why Choosing Sides In The Amazon/Hachette Feud Is A Moron’s Choice For Writers
Michael A. Stackpole, author of many many sci-fi books that enthralled me growing up, lays out his own case against picking sides. I am happy we agree.

Cory Doctorow On Intellectual Property In A Digital Age
Authors, just in case you missed it, make sure you listen to this keynote from Cory Doctorow on Amazon/Hachette, DRM, copyright laws, platform channels, privacy, and more. Worth your time.


Super Pixel Quest
This is very much worth the five minutes to play. Funny, unique, and fun.

Inferno By Steph Davidson
This is how modern internet art is done. Take note.

Miniature Medieval Interiors Carved Into Raw Marble By Mathew Simmonds
Love these. It’s like someone made a miniature Petra then divided it up in parts. (Really they’re based on Westminster Abbey and Ely Cathedral.) It’s really neat to see architecture from this perspective.


100-Year Old Photos Reveal The Dark Side Of Antarctic Exploration
Incredible photos from Captain Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition and Ernest Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party. The story behind these is both amazing and tragic. I recommend you look it up.

An Abandoned Bangkok Shopping Mall Hides A Fishy Secret
In the last Link Pack I posted a series of haunting photographs by Seph Lawless documenting America’s Abandoned Malls. This is sorta related, only with less America, more China, and a lot of fish.

A Pyramid In The Middle Of Nowhere Built To Track The End Of The World
Incredible photographs showing a old US military radar facility built to track incoming missiles. It’s not a site anyone often sees and it’s kind of haunting.

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

The Shadow Over Innsmouth
I have featured this before, but since it’s Kari-Lise and my favorite H.P. Lovecraft story and it’s our anniversary I’m featuring it again! For fun, compare it to the original discarded draft.

Farewell Gif of the Week:

Weird Al is the best. THE BEST!

The King Ain’t Dead

The King Ain't Dead
If anything tragic has come from the Hachette/Amazon fight it’s been the fracturing of the writing community as a whole. While neither side is disclosing details we know the argument is centered around e-book pricing. As far as I can tell Amazon wants to charge what it wants at retail, and Hachette is demanding they follow their MSRP. Amazon has responded by inserting artificial purchase delays into the book buying process, and as a result Hachette will see a slump in sales. The LA Times has a good (if not somewhat biased) write up on the whole situation, if you’re not caught up you can check it out here.

Among authors new lines are being drawn in the sand. Some folks are calling for unions. Others are filling out petitions. We have authors like David Baldacci, Donna Tartt, and James Patterson taking sides with publishers and indie powerhouses like Hugh Howey, J. A. Konrath, and Barry Eisler siding with Amazon. Recently Amazon has tried to sway the Hachette authors by offering them 100% of their ebook commissions while the dispute continues—an offer Hachette rejected. This offer was quickly dismissed by Roxana Robinson, president of the Authors Guild because it “encourages authors to take sides against their publishers.” Even Stephen Colbert is getting involved. Long story short: the whole thing is a mess and it’s getting messier.

Because, Reasons

Obviously we can all see where everyone is coming from: the authors we see choosing sides have skin in the game. Hachette and other big publishers have helped make Baldacci, Tartt, and Patterson very successful through traditional avenues while Amazon has allowed guys like Howey, Konrath, and Eisler to reach their audiences in new and exciting ways. The reasoning from each side makes sense and there’s a knee jerk reaction in all of us to defend the platform which has empowered our success. But author’s joining sides in a fight over positioning and distribution seems like a waste of time when, in reality, the platform doesn’t matter, it’s content that does.

Content Is Born Platform Agnostic

At our core author’s are content creators, and content reigns supreme. The beauty of our creation is it can (and should) live anywhere. With the arrival of eReaders, smartphones, tablets, and print-on-demand services it has only gotten easier for our readers to access the content we produce in a format of their choice. If one distribution channel disappears there are literally hundreds of other ways for readers to get ahold of the content they want, and there are more opening every day. It’s important to do what we can to embrace those new platforms, after all do you care how a reader reads your book? No. You just want them to read it and enjoy it.

Problems arise when an author isn’t the sole owner of their content, when they allow another company to control distribution, and that company refuses to be platform agnostic. Sometimes this is advantageous for the author: they get a big advance, they don’t have to hire a freelance editor, they don’t have to worry about cover art, and someone else handles promotion, etc. If that’s what they want, then by all means go for it, there’s certainly a lot to be said for removing all those extra distractions and focusing only on your art but making that decision does come with a cost. We’re seeing that cost first hand in the Amazon/Hachette dispute.

Long Live The King

Unfortunately, this fight isn’t going to be resolved anytime soon, and this won’t be the last time this happens. These sort of disputes have happened before, they’ll continue to happen. Locking oneself into one camp or the other feels like a mistake. If you’re willing to do the work try to remaining as agile as possible. It is beneficial for not only you, but also for your readers, and the content you create.

Those of us on the sidelines who aren’t getting involved, who are focused on our craft, and watching this all play out without picking sides, we’re the real winners. Platforms change, and there’s always something new that we don’t see coming. Amazon is a significant portion of my own sales, but Hachette and Amazon could disappear tomorrow and I know something else will step in and fill the space they’d leave behind. History sides with those who are prepared to take advantage of whatever is next.

In the end your book doesn’t care where it lives, and readers rarely care how they get your book, they just want to be able to acquire it as easily as possible. Who ever wins this fight won’t matter because, in the long run, as Bill Gates wrote in 1996: “content is king.” That puts content creators in a good position, so, long live the king.

Friday Link Pack 05/30/14

The 2013 Winners Of The Nature Conservancy’s Annual Photo Contest

It’s time to share a few interesting links I have found throughout the week. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Let me know!


Bring Reading Rainbow Back for Every Child, Everywhere
Reading Rainbow—the single most influential show in my young life—ended in 2009. Levar Burton, with the help of Kickstarter, is bringing it back! Donate, even a buck helps and goes a long way.

Eisler & Konrath Vs. Hachette
Indie publishing powerhouses Barry Eisler and J. A. Konrath teardown the Hachette memo in their typical snarky style. Regardless of where you stand on the debate, in my opinion the real loser in the Hachette/Amazon fight is the authors and their readers, not the giant publishing company or the giant tech company.

95k Words Later… Red Litten World is finished!
I finished a manuscript! I am excited about it. Now back to work.


Letter To A Young Artist # 1
Fantastic and candid letter from a talented older artist to young artists everywhere. Very much worth a read for any creative. Thanks to Kari-Lise for sending this my way.

The 2013 Winners Of The Nature Conservancy’s Annual Photo Contest
Stunning nature photography, my favorite is the bear on page 2. Beautiful.


Arcade Font Writer
This is way too much fun, write… well, whatever you want in the font/style from your favorite 8-bit video game. Thanks to Steve for the tip.

Meet the Ragtag Vigilantes at War With Mexico’s Cartels
A side to the fight in Mexico we don’t usually see. Fascinating and terrifying stuff, someone should write a book about these guys.

U.S. Measles Cases at 20-Year High
Yay. Thanks vaccine deniers. This is just what we always wanted: more preventable disease. Nothing beats putting a society in risk. Thumbs up.

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

Winged Death
One of Lovecraft’s ghost written works. I honestly haven’t read this one, and this is a note to myself to rectify that over the weekend.

Farewell Gif of the Week:

Nature is Crazy