Monday, July 30, 2007

and the other one

The other podcast that got me started is Tee Morris’s Survival Guide to Writing Fantasy. The title however is misleading, because it has nothing to do with writing. Tee himself says there are people out there who can, and are, doing a far better job than he ever could. What he talks about is the promotion of the book, getting your name out there, how to hustle.

Too many authors think the work is over once the publisher prints the book. If you want to fade to obscurity then go ahead. The truth is in today’s publishing climate; you have to hustle your own books as best you can, show that you’re willing to do your part.


Listen to his podcast.

Tee is funny, sometimes a ham, and willing to defend his position, even if he might be wrong. But that just adds to the charm of his show. The ‘podiosphere’ is still a small family and it seems everyone knows everyone. Tee is no exception and happily plays commercials (bumpers) for other podcasts. Occasionally, he has a dedicated ‘mailbag’ show where he responds to questions and comments emailed or voicemailed to him. He also has interviews with authors and others in the industry.

But SGTWF is more than that, it is also a means for Tee to promote himself, an opportunity he makes to the fullest. Tee is also considered a pioneer in that he was among the first to offer a podcast of his book "Morevii: Tales of Rafe and Askana." And just recently podcasted "Billibub Baddings and The Case of The Singing Sword".

He also has a segment called Whisky Tango Foxtrot, (did I mention there is a tongue-in-cheek military style to the show?) where he hears of someone in the business who has done something completely and insanely wrong, the kind of thing that makes one thing What The Fuck?

The funny thing is Tee doesn’t always take his own advice, but then who ever does. Still, Survival Guide to Writing Fantasy is a very good show with a unique and helpful premise and worth a listen.



I like podcasts.

For the uninitiated, podcasts are downloadable mp3 files uploaded to the internet for whomever wants to listen. For the most part they resemble radio talk shows. Though many corporations are clueing into this new media, most podcasts are done by amateurs (not getting paid) talking about their personal interests. From Albacore fishing to Zoo reports (sorry, but I don’t feel like being clever), if you got a microphone connected to your computer, a program to convert to an mp3 file, you can get your opinions out there.

This is a great medium for those who always thought they should have been in Radio, but it’s even better for authors who want to get their work heard. And it's a way of advertising yourself to potential readers. They old saying, "You have to spend a little to make a lot," is true in the "podosphere."

So, let’s talk about podcasts. I would like to start with the podcast that got me hooked, but there are two, and I honestly can’t say which came first. So, I’ll go alphabetically.

Dragon Page – Cover to Cover.

This is a show that interviews Science Fiction and Fantasy authors, Big and Upcoming. At first it was hosted by Michael Mennenga and Evo Terra. They talked of news in the industry, had an author interview, talked a little afterwards, then had a showcase--"Welcome to my library"--where they read the backcover blurbs of books authors sent them.

Though I found Mike maudlin at times, and Evo too smarmy, they were a good team and had a genuine passion for the genre. They spawned other podcasts including Slice of SciFi and Wingin’ It. I still listen to Slice of Sci Fi, but after listening to 20 minutes of listening to what beer they were drinking, I gave up on Wingin’ it.

That may not be the actually history and evolution of the shows, but it’s the history of how I listened to them.

With so much to do, it appeared that Dragon Page was on the chopping block. Then something great happened. Evo Terra left the show.

Evo was a fine interviewer, but if the author was not hard Science Fiction, the smarmyness really came out. This made him a unique interview and a personality on the show, but I could have done without it.

The other great thing that happened was Michael Stackpole joinning the show. Stackpole is a New York Times bestseller with his own podcast, and shares both his experiences in writing and the industry.

Summer Brooks, who besides having her own show, Kickass Mystic Ninjas, also co-hosted the other shows with Mike and Evo when she could, became a regular. With this new cast the show took regained life. With the addition of Brian Brown who seems to have taken the mantle of Fan Boy, (not a slight, he seems to know about everybody), I believe Cover to Cover to be an infinitely better product.

It’s not perfect. When a guest spouted personal politics some fans took issue. Mennenga seemed to backtrack on the issue, claiming to be on the fence, but sounded wishy-washy. Meanwhile, Stackpole explained his position clearly and concisely.

My take, if it’s your show, and there are no real sponsors, (podcasting doesn’t pay) say what you want as long as your not spreading hate. If you don’t like global warming then go ahead and say so. If you think Bush is the next coming of the Messiah, then say so. If you have someone who wants to rebut, have him on. If you want. It’s your show.

Sometimes, controversy works.

Anyway, very minor points in an otherwise entertaining and informative show. If you like Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and recently branching out to mystery, give this show a try.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Snape killed Dumbledore!!

Did a power read of the last Harry Potter book. This is rare. If I can get in a 2nd chapter of a book in the same day I’m on a role. But for some reason I have to pound down Harry Potter. Why? Because everyone talks about the damn thing. Everywhere you go, someone in the background (usually a teenager) is talking about it. When Half-blood Prince came out I was in a shopping mall and two groups of teens greeted each other by shouting, "Snape killed Dumbledore!" And I had just read the thing the day before.

This year I was on vacation and couldn’t buy the book till the Tuesday after the release date. Sadly, all the adult covers had been sold by then, at least in the five stores I checked. I let Kat read first, because she can power read. Then it was my turn and I must admit I gave her a run for he money, though my reading sessions lasted much longer. To put it in perspective, whenever I put the book down, my soon-to-be two-year-old would chase me around with it. I guess she thought it was some new appendage of mine.

So, as I mentioned earlier, I don’t do book reviews. Let’s just say, if you are a fan, you’ll like it.
Regarding my Critters situation, I received a reply from the boss and if I can get my crit ratio up my, story will be in the next weeks batch, which is fair.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Summer Update

Originally, I had intended this blog to be a showcase for my many publications and appearances.

Don’t laugh.

So far, other than a possible go ahead for a story sometime in September, I haven’t had much to brag about. Of course I try to console myself with the fact that I had been writing the ‘BIG BOOK’ and not short stories, but that really doesn’t help.

Don’t worry, I’m not suicidal. I’m not even depressed, just a little embarrassed.

So, since I have this stupid blog I’m going to do all things I’m not supposed to, which is, give my opinions on things. You as a reader will soon learn that I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. Nevertheless, you might find it entertaining.

Firstly, what I’ve been doing this summer. Well, started off by picking up the cold that had been going through the family. Weird cold, too. Essentially a hacking cough with fever lasting well, hell, I still have the cough—though not so bad. During that time I managed to fix up a short story and sent it out, but not much else. Last weekend I went to my sister-in-law’s boyfriend’s cottage in the Haliburton area. Damn beautiful place that has been there for two generations and has become an eight-bedroom bungalow. Good food and good company and I thank Sue and Ed for the invite.

Got burned by Critters Online. They have a policy where if you fall behind in your critiquing ratio any stories you have in the queue get bumped. Well I was sick as I said earlier then went away for a week, so I was behind. I managed to get a critique off Wednesday morning, but apparently it wasn’t soon enough.

This ticks me off. I had to wait some six weeks to get that damn story. Yeah, yeah, I know, if I had kept up my ratio I wouldn’t be in this mess. Still…

Did some research for a story. Did you know that when the shuttle returns from the International Space station, it’s carrying the station’s garbage? That makes the shuttle the world’s most expensive garbage truck.

Okay, that's it for now.