Friday Link Pack 10-16-2015

Friday Link Pack 10/16/2015

Friday is here! That means it’s time for the Friday Link Pack. My weekly post covering topics such as writing, art, current events, and random weirdness. Some of these links I mentioned on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Do you have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Let’s get to it…


This will be the last week for the Red Litten World category. If you haven’t picked up your copy there are plenty of ways. Paperbacks can be purchased from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, or direct from My Store. EBooks can be purchased from  KindleKoboiBooksGooglePlayNook, and of course, My Store. (Always DRM Free.)

Red Litten World, 1 Week Old
A week after the launch I reflect on the happenings around Red Litten World. I discuss early reviews, direct folks to inspiration, the delay I experience with some minor printing issues, and more.

Jazz Saints Of The Bell Forging Cycle
In the first entry for my ongoing series, Wild Territories, I explore the reasons behind the Jazz Saints that crop up through The Bell Forging Cycle. I look into individual songs and explain why I selected them.


Three Reasons Your Writing Career is Stuck
Author and blogger, Kristen Lamb, offers some tough-love advice on shifting your attitude, changing your perceptions, focusing your time, and unsticking your writing career.

See the Sketches J.R.R. Tolkien Used to Build Middle-Earth
Yay! A maps link (and a bit more)! If you’re a fan of Lord of the Rings, then do yourself a favor and check out these early sketches and notes for Middle Earth. Heck, if you’re a fantasy fan at all this article and the associated imagery is worth your time. Show’s how much work Tolkien put into his world.

100,000 Books Sold – What Happened?
Indie-author John Ellsworth, writer of legal thrillers, discusses his career and what it took for him to sell his first 100,000 books and what he plans on doing to sell many more.

How to Market Your Book to a Niche Audience
Handy advice from BookBub on how to sell to a specific audience. From nailing down that metadata to creating a solid social campaign strategy.


The Most Mysterious Star In Our Galaxy
Strange things are circling a very distant star located between the constellations of Cygnus the swan and Lyra the harp. Is it a natural occurrence or some enormous an ancient superstructure? Maybe Commander Shephard knows? Scientists are struggling to find out. [Thanks to Mike for sharing this.]

It Could Be Worse
Charles Stross takes a serious look at China’s new and controversial Citizen Score. A dystopian dream made into a creepy reality. [Thanks to Jim for sharing this.]

Holy City Of The Wichitas
My favorite blog, Atlas Obscura, looks at a little piece of old Jerusalem smack in the middle of Oklahoma’s Wichita Mountains. Bonus points for their use of the pun: faux-ly land.

Monty Python Releases 14 Minutes Of Unseen Animation From Holy Grail
I have always really enjoyed those weird little animations in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. So I was extra excited when the A.V. Club shared this look at never before scene footage from the classic movie.


Taman Shud Case
“The Taman Shud or Tamam Shud Case, also known as the Mystery of the Somerton Man, is an unsolved case of an unidentified man found dead at 6:30 am, 1 December 1948, on Somerton beach, Glenelg, just south of Adelaide, South Australia. It is named after a phrase, tamám shud, meaning “ended” or “finished” in Persian, printed on a scrap of paper found in the fob pocket of the man’s trousers. This turned out to have been torn from the final page of a particular copy of Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a collection of poems attributed to 12th-century poet Omar Khayyám. Following a police appeal, the actual book was handed in – six months after the body was found, a businessman (given the name Mr. Francis) said his brother found it in the back footwell of his car at about the time the body was found. The book was handed to Detective Leane who made the decision to keep the finder’s real name out of the papers. Imprinted on the back cover of the book was something looking like a secret code as well as a telephone number and another unidentified number.”


The Call Of Cthulhu
So, oddly, I don’t think this has ever been a featured story of the week. This is one of the biggest (and some might argue one of the best) of Lovecraft’s story. Also, the only tale to feature the tentacle-faced monstrosity himself, Cthulhu.

When you’re done reading this, make sure you go and read my Guest Geek editorial, Cthulhu The Wimp.



Friday Link Pack 04/17/2015

Friday Link Pack 04/17/15

BOOM! It’s Friday! That mean 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? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Enough chatter, let’s get to it…


How To Talk About Your Novel
I have been to a few conventions now and it surprises me how many authors aren’t able to talk about their books with readers and other authors. It’s important! Thankfully, author and editor J. W. Troemner has some great insight on how to solve some of the common pitfalls folks have when discussing their work.

Goodnight Dune
It’s no secret that Dune is amazing. If you appreciate Frank Herberts masterpiece like I do, then you’ll love the classic children’s book Goodnight Moon retold with an Arrakis theme. (If you’re more of a George R. R. Martin fan, Laughing Squid put together a Goodnight Westeros for you.)

One Indie Author’s Debut Year Income
We’ve seen authors talk about their year-to-date earnings, and it’s awesome to see folks so open about the money they’re making (or not making.) Romance Authors Jessi Gage opens up and compares her 2013 to her 2014.

Top 105 Blogs And Websites For Writers
It’s always good to have a stable of great sites to read. In the name of excess, e-booksindia had put together a list of one-hundred and five blogs and sites for you to browse. Here’s a handy list of some great resources for writers.

I’m Doing A Live Reading This Saturday, Here’s How You Can Tune In
If you missed my post from yesterday, I am doing a live reading using the new app Periscope and you can tune in. Hit the post for details. See you tomorrow!


Antigirl – A Love Story Documentary in the City of Angels
I love it when artists bear their souls. So often we feel like we’re alone in our journey of creativity, it’s encouraging to know others out there go through similar struggles. With that in mind I highly recommend you watch this rad documentary about the journey of Tiphanie Brooke and Mike Polson, two incredible LA-based artists.

The Art of Alyssa Winans
Beautiful artwork from illustrator and game artist Alyssa Winans. I really dig her See America series, but all her work is solid. I’m a fan.

Nicolas Martin, Paintings
If you have been following my blog for any length of time you’ll know that I love atmosphere. You see why I dig French artist Nicholas Martin’s work. Moody and beautiful. See more on his website as well.


Professor Decodes 10 Words From Mysterious Voynich Manuscript
One of histories weirdest mysteries, the Voynich manuscript has remained untranslated since its discovery. Now Stephen Bax, a professor of applied linguistics at the University of Bedfordshire in England, has translated ten words in the strange codex. More info on his site.

Mapping Migration in the United States
I love maps. So when I saw this New York Times map showing the migration patterns within the United States I knew I’d be sharing it here. Interesting how so many folks in our melting pot of a nation don’t move too far from home. West stays to West, East to East, and South to South.

Arcology: Cutaways Of The Future City-Hives That Never Were
The futurist idea of arcologies is a mainstay of science fiction. I even play with the concept in the Bell Forging books. So when I saw this post from Cory Doctorow about Paolo Soleri’s 1969 book: Arcology: The City in the Image of Man. It was something I was very interested in. The book sounds fascinating, but the images… you need to see the images. [Thanks to Steve for sharing this.]

Random Wikipedia Article of the Week:

Agloe, New York
Agloe is a fictional place in Delaware County, New York, that became an actual landmark. In the 1930s, General Drafting Company founder Otto G. Lindberg and an assistant, Ernest Alpers, assigned an anagram of their initials to a dirt-road intersection in the Catskill Mountains: NY 206 and Morton Hill Road, north of Roscoe, New York. The town was designed as a copyright trap.

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

The Curse of Yig
Don’t mess with the snake god.

Gif of the Week:

They see me rollin'...

Friday Link Pack 04/10/2015

It’s Friday! That mean 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? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Enough jibba-jabba, let’s get to it…

The Hugos & Puppygate:

I am not going to spend any time commenting on this as the internet doesn’t need another block of text to sift through. But, since it’s “rocking” the sci-fi/fantasy world, I feel that I’d be remiss not to at least mention a few articles. Basically it’s about what you’d expect:


The Hermit Life: The Isolation Of Writing And The Necessity Of Others
Fellow writer and my good friend J. Rushing explores our consistently lonely existence as writers and his solutions on injecting a bit of human interaction into his life. (You should also subscribe to his blog.)

Sorry, Ebooks. These 9 Studies Show Why Print Is Better
“Better,” for now. Look, I don’t care how you read. Just read. Still, interesting information. Wonder how long it’ll remain valid. I think we’ll see a fundamental shift in the near future.

10 Twenty-First Century Bestsellers People Tried to Ban (and Why)
The stories behind people trying to ban books is always fascinating to me. History has proven that when one tries to impose prohibition the effect is usually opposite of the intent. What was it Mark Twain said? Oh yeah: “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits. Fanatics will never learn that, though it be written in letters of gold across the sky. It is the prohibition that makes anything precious.”

A Book Marketing Truth Few Experts Will Admit
When it comes to marketing, a lot of writers listen to experts and are frustrated with results. Angela Ackerman brings some advice about setting expectations when it comes book marketing.

A Norwescon 38 Debriefing
Last weekend I attended Norwescon in SeaTac, Washington. In this post I breakdown all the stuff I experienced. Spoiler: I had a great, if not somewhat exhausting, time.


The Art of Sandeep Karunakaran
Since I spend a lot of time immersed in the Lovecraft fandom I occasionally come across some great artists. Recently I found the work of illustrator Sandeep Karunakaran and fell in love. I’ll probably feature him in a Visual Inspiration post in the future.

Science Fiction And Fantasy In The Marvel Universe
Seventies nostalgia blog, Diversions of the Groovy Kindhighlights a 1978 article from FOOM magazine featuring some incredible art. The cover alone is worth seeing.

Michael Tunk, Collages
It’s no secret I love westerns. (Hell, just read Old Broken Road.) So when I found this western/modern collages by Michael Tunk I fell in love. They’re both fascinating and evocative. See more on Tunk’s tumblr.


Two Medieval Monks Invent Bestiaries
Admit it, you always wanted a glimpse at the hilarious conversations going on behind the scenes as monks illustrated their illuminated manuscripts. Thankfully The Toast is here for you. Two Medieval Monks is now a whole series, so don’t forget to check out Two Medieval Monks Invent Dinner Parties and Two Medieval Monks Invent Maps. [Thanks to Emily for sharing this.]

Own Your Own Submarine Pits
For the small price of twenty-one million dollars you to can own your own private submarine pits used during the Cuban Missile Crisis. What’s twenty-one million these days? [Insert your favorite San Francisco housing-price joke here.] Seems like a bargain for land that will be underwater in the few decades.

The DEA Has Trippy Looking Patches That Make You Kinda Want To Do Drugs
I love patches. So when my friend Tara shared this link I was all over it. The title isn’t lying, these are some trippy looking patches. I mean, that’s a scorpion wearing headphones. [Thanks to Tara for sharing this.]

Random Wikipedia Article of the Week:

“Fox’s hunch is that the sound nicknamed Bloop is the most likely to come from some sort of animal, because its signature is a rapid variation in frequency similar to that of sounds known to be made by marine beasts. There’s one crucial difference, however: in 1997 Bloop was detected by sensors up to 4800 kilometres (2982.582 miles) apart. That means it must be far louder than any whale noise, or any other animal noise for that matter. Is it even remotely possible that some creature bigger than any whale is lurking in the ocean depths? Or, perhaps more likely, something that is much more efficient at making sound?”

Of course, we mythos fans already know the answer…

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

The Statement of Randolph Carter
The main character from Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle attempts to explain to police why he was found wandering a swamp in shock and what happened to his friend Harley Warren.

Gif of the Week:

I could not stop laughing.

"There are thriving communities still out there that want more! They want to hear your voice, and if you keep at it, you’ll eventually find them and they’ll eventually discover you."

Ignore The Market. Tell The Story You Want To Tell.

Recently, over on KBoards there has been a discussion going on about finding success as an author in the current market. It’s worthy of discussion. After all, it’s always helpful to share what has worked for you. It’s a big reason why I started this blog, I want to share my experience and I hope you glean something useful from it. But, I had to pause when I read a post from someone on how reading through that thread was depressing them. This was sparked mainly by the heralded success of romance fiction—something they didn’t write—and its perceived market and potential profitably compared to their own genre.

Often authors get sucked into the comparison game—indie authors especially. They look at what others have done to achieve success and the kneejerk reaction is to emulate them. Likewise, they get disheartened when they pour so much of themselves into a work and the market seems to ignore it. It can lead to frustration, depression, and animosity. Instead of telling the stories they want to tell or sticking with their work, they end up chasing promises while trying to placate the desires of the market. It turns the market into a hungry monster. Instead of a place to share and sell work it becomes something else. It slumbers like an evil beast forged in the dark fires of jealousy and thrives on our desire for explosive and immediate success.

“Oh!” It will say in its sultry voice. “You’re writing an epic fantasy? No. No one cares about epic fantasy anymore, we’re all into hard science fiction these days! Didn’t you see the sales numbers for the last bookstore blockbuster? Your numbers are a pittance in comparison! Didn’t you see how Famous McAuthor did their giveaway? You should have done the same! Why didn’t you write a character like that popular one? Yours are boring in comparison!”

As long as you keep feeding it, the thing will never be silent. The mystical market monster cannot be appeased. Even success won’t sate its hunger. It’ll always want something else, it’ll always cause doubt, and it’ll always frustrate. You sold ten thousand books? Well, Famous McAuthor sold one hundred thousand. You sold one hundred thousands? Well they sold a million! On and on it goes. It’s easy to see how it can spiral down for anyone.

Yet… the market monster can be defeated. During interviews I have often been asked what my advice is for new writers. My best advice is to ignore advice. Advice will only get you so far. Everyone’s path to success is different. Keep working hard and keep trying new things. Don’t dwell on what others are doing. Ignorance, in this case, is bliss.

“There are thriving communities still out there that want more! They want to hear your voice…”

Sure, there are always cases of instant success but for the grand majority of people it takes time. Focus on craft. Write your stories. Tell what you need to tell and please, stick to it! It doesn’t matter if someone believes that “dystopian is played out” or “no one cares about steampunk” or “vampire romance doesn’t sell.” There are thriving communities still out there that want more! They want to hear your voice, and if you keep at it, you’ll eventually find them and they’ll eventually discover you.

That’s one of the best things about the internet and our connected culture worldwide. It’s what allows for stories like Homestuck to get told, find an audience, and become runaway successes. (If you haven’t heard about Homestuck, educate yourself.) None of the big publishing houses would have even considered giving the creator—Andrew Hussie—the time of day. He forged his own path and it took years but eventually his story found its audience.

So when it comes to your own creations, I really want to encourage everyone to keep doing what they’re doing. Keep writing. Keep perfecting your craft. Keep making quality products. Ignore everything else. Those three things should be your focus. Chase the stories you want to tell and ignore the market monster. You’ll be a lot happier and it’ll show in your work.

Now, get back to writing.