Tag Archives: self pub

Hot Mess: Journey’s End

Putting together Hot Mess: speculative fiction about climate change was a challenge. I wrote two stories I’m extraordinarily proud of. I worked with four other writers, an illustrator and a graphic designer to publish the piece as both an e-book and a physical one.  The experience of releasing the anthology was emotionally and artistically rewarding.

That said, after a lot of thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that Hot Mess has reached the end of its journey.

It’s not that I think the threats posed by climate change are over – far from it, even if there was a historic climate agreement reached in Paris over the weekend. There’s still just as far to go, and it’s just as important now as it was four years ago when the anthology was published. Senator Bernie Sanders, my favorite prospective presidential nominee, has said repeatedly: climate change, more than even terrorism, is the single greatest threat to national security that the US faces.

This weekend’s agreement, which relies on governments around the world cutting their dependence on and use of fossil fuels significantly, is the first baby step towards that. With targets that are to be discussed and met every five years throughout this century, it’s a long-term plan for a long-term problem. Climate change didn’t just happen overnight, after all. Closer to home: Buffalo just smashed through a 116-year-old record because there hasn’t been snow yet. That’s right – earlier today, in Buffalo, New York, in the middle of December, I was walking around in a light jacket.

(And by the way, I’m sorry if I’m rambling a little – there were a lot of different and tangentily-related lines of thought that went into this decision, and putting together a coherent blog about it is harder than I thought it would be.)

When I first thought about taking Hot Mess down, something surprised me. I would have expected to feel a sense of sadness or dread, but instead I just felt…lighter.

Tangent: approximately one million years ago, when I was trying to decide where in England I was going to study for my junior year abroad, I had two choices: Kent, which was the program my university sponsored, and Middlesex University, in London – a program I’d applied to through another SUNY school. Each option has its appeal, and I couldn’t decide which to do. My mom gave me some advice that served me well then and has ever since: When you’re trying to make a decision and you have two choices, imagine you’ve chosen one or the other. Live with that for a few days. See how you feel. If it feels right, then do that. If not…move on to the next possibility. I wound up studying in London, and it was one of the best years of my life.

When I thought about taking down Hot Mess…it just felt right.

So…yeah. I’m not sure that it’s even that important that my thought process on this be clear to anyone else – I’m pretty sure that it’s not, so far, and I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg on the vast cloud of ideas that have led me here. But I do know that I at least wanted to give people a heads up, that Hot Mess: speculative fiction about climate change will be taken offline at the end of this year. I’ll migrate the reviews its received from Amazon and other sales venues to a page here on my site (just to make sure they’re not lost), and that will be that.

In other words, you’ve got about two weeks to decide how many copies you want to buy before this one goes away. Avoid disappointment. Order now. Information below. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

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Hot Mess: speculative fiction about climate change will go out of print in the new year; order your digital and print copies before December 31st, 2015.

SHORT FRICTIONS, Coming Up Shortly!

A robot I met some time ago, on the Upper East Side. Not in any of my stories. But doesn't he look dapper?

A robot I met some time ago, on the Upper East Side. Not in any of my stories. But doesn’t he look dapper?

For the last month or so, I’ve been receiving helpful comments from wonderful people who’ve taken time out of their lives to prepare for advance reviewing of SHORT FRICTIONS – my upcoming collection of short stories. Their assistance has been invaluable, and the book you’ll eventually read has already been made leagues better thanks to their thoughts and comments.

So when do you get to check out this fabulous new collection of stories about vampires, robots, evil corporations and more?

One thing’s for sure: it won’t be long, now!

I’ve met with the designer – the stylish Sarah Hartley (who was responsible for the gorgeous cover of HOT MESS) and she’s working on some frankly brilliant ideas for the SHORT FRICTIONS cover. I hope you’ll like it. I know I love what she’s thought up so far.

I really can’t wait to share this collection of shorts – and a play! – with all of you. Most have been written in the last few years, with one outlier that dates back to my college days. Some, you may have seen in other places in the past. Others are fresh and new and clean and excited to be allowed out into the world.

The e-version will likely debut in August on several platforms, shortly ahead of the print one, and don’t worry – I’ll keep you updated. Just enter your info into the subscription widget – upper right hand side of this blog entry to make sure you don’t miss the new release. Or give me your email address (I’ll never sell or share it), below:

 

Alloy, Kindle, Fanfic & E-Publishing

Some quick thoughts regarding Amazon’s deal with Alloy Publishing and the discussions I’ve read about it.

Most of that discussion seems like it’s centering around the down-the-road implications of Amazon’s deal: when will Harry Potter fans be able to write for fun and profit? If 50 Shades was so profitable, why is this deal specifically banning pornography/erotic fiction?

One thing I notice is missing from the discussion is the connective tissue played by Alloy Publishing’s role in and relationship to a multimedia experience for its properties. In this context, one sees quickly that Alloy has positioned itself in a way that makes this Amazon announcement practically inevitable.

For a start, Alloy’s advertisements and guidelines have always represented the company as a packaging (in addition to publishing) company. This is borne out by the company’s successful franchises – Gossip GirlPretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries and so on. They existed as books long before they stalked our screens, looking sultry, via the CW. Alloy is a publishing entity that has been clear from the submission point onward that it’s also interested in multi-media moneymaking.

The Amazon/Alloy deal signals a potential sea change for legally monetizing an entertainment arena that has existed in a gray area for decades. It can also be seen as a difficult-to-replicate pairing of two unique companies with particular agility in the online publishing arena and specific interest in forging new slivers of profit from the interest and participatory nature of their active online fans.

The real question, for writers interested in this self-publishing opportunity, is how far-reaching the effects of this initial Kindle Worlds program wind up being.

The Alloy announcement concerned three distinct properties, belonging to a single division of a larger entertainment behemoth. There’s nothing in the press release linked above that signals successfully completed talks with anybody outside of Alloy, let alone Warner Bros.

Writers outside the three fandoms of Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and The Vampire Diaries probably have a long wait on their hands, but it seems clear to me that these three fandoms represent a litmus test for the idea of formally coupling of fan fiction and corporate profitability.

 

The Favorites: 9/12/2012 Edition

I mark a lot of things as “Favorites” on Twitter, hoping to get back to them and see them later. Here are some of the pieces that wound up being quite interesting:

http://write-shoot-cut.com/2012/09/01/short-film-38-kinetic-edinburgh-2012-walid-salhab/|
@Neil_Rolland made this clip available after it was screened at Write, Shoot, Cut in Edinburgh. A gorgeous panoramic in stop motion photography, by Walid Salhab, a lecture at my Alma Mater (now Queen Margaret University, they’ve dropped the College). A captivating series of images. No narrative structure, but as a test piece for a film Salhab hopes to make in the future, it certainly shows off the dreamy, atmospheric qualities of the shooting technique.

Edinburgh’s landmarks – Waverly Station, the castle, the Balmoral Hotel, Leith, and the breathtaking views down closes and campuses make one choke up a bit. Salhab’s sample footage combines familiar landmarks and different lighting states, with recognized events including the Hogsmanay fireworks and traffic running over Arthur’s Seat in the daylight, into a montage of Kinetic Edinburgh’s view of this exciting city.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/31/obama-clint-eastwood_n_1845457.html?utm_hp_ref=politics
The most retweeted joke of the Republican National Convention didn’t come from your run-of-the-mill tweeter – it was this graphic posted by the @BarackObama twitter feed in response to Clint Eastwood’s speech to an empty chair.

 

http://theferrymanswife.blogspot.com/2012/08/promo-prep.html?spref=tw
A fellow Queen Margaret student has recently released the above title, “The Ferryman’s Wife” (by Georgina Merry) via Kindle. Here’s her blog entry about the process of getting out word about the piece. Good for those looking at others’ experiences in self-publishing. The book itself looks like YA fiction with a supernatural slant.

 

And finally (because that’s enough interesting stuff to look at for one day’s entry), a great piece of information I snatched off Twitter the other day:

 

 

Thanks for reading.