Ever hear the phrase “your eyes are bigger than your stomach?” Ever hear the phrase “best laid plans of mice and men often go awry?” Or maybe you’ve heard the phrase “dammit, man, can you do anything according to plan?” Well, that last is really in my head, but still…you get the point.
I’ve been working on my novel Flames for what seems like forever. I stopped writing it to work on The Black and then stopped writing on it again to get The Black: Arrival written and published. On top of that, I had to put off finishing the book one more time to finish Daemons of Garaaga. That’s a LOT of delays.
And that’s not even the whole story, so to speak. I wrote nearly 20k words before I dumped them and started over. Writers hate dumping that many words and I’m certainly no exception. But as the story grew in my mind, I knew I was on the wrong track. So a little scorched earth was the only way to go.
Time is a problem. It flows past us like a flood choked river when we’re not paying attention. It stops dead when we worry about something or are waiting for the next shoe to drop. But when you’re trying to make a deadline or attempting to create something new and interesting, time dilates. Each hour seems to jump by in seconds and you’re left wondering how you are ever going to catch up.
I already posted one rant from 2015’s Balticon. Guess it’s time to write another.
I mentioned in the first essay that there were two instances of snobbery and disinformation at the con. So let’s talk about the second one.
I was at Balticon this Memorial Day weekend. What is Balticon? It’s a science fiction/fantasy/speculative fiction convention for writers, podcasters, fans, scientists, gamers, and etc. It features a large number of tracks and panels regarding a variety of topics. As you might imagine, I’m mostly involved with the literary and podcast tracks. I’m a frequent panelist on those two tracks talking about podcasting, audiobooks, writing, editing, publishing, etc.
Years before the internet really got rolling for normal people, writers seeking publishers and agents scoured “Writer’s Digest” magazine and its annual big book of bozos to submit to. These books were awfully expensive and were essentially a telephone directory of magazines, book publishers, freelance editors, and agents to whom you could submit your writing. This ridiculous tome was the vaunted rosetta stone for authors looking to break in. However, it didn’t seriously vet anyone on the list.
It’s no secret that many of my tales are “niche” stories. My Garaaga mythos, the Fiends collection, hell, even The Street, are acquired tastes. These stories and series spend most of their time languishing on the sales charts. If I sell 2 or 3 a week, I’m lucky. And when I put them on sale for 99¢? Not much changes.
Yet I can write non-niche books. The Black has been the most marketable book I’ve ever written and it has sold more copies than I ever dreamed possible. I’m certain the first paraquel, The Black: Arrival, will sell about the same or perhaps even better than the first installment.
My mind is infected. Hell, my soul is infected. And I’m not the only one. The infection? The scourge? The greatest threat humanity faces is the disease that medical science has not only ignored, but seems incapable of addressing. What am I talking about? Why, the dreaded “series disease,” of course.
I’m 44 years old. I’ve been playing computer games off and on since I was ten. Arcades. Atari 2600. Hell, even some game on a PET luggable back in the day. If you don’t know what that is, go look it up and laugh.
In the 90s, my friends and I held quite a few LAN parties. We played Quake, Tribes, Star Craft, Unreal, etc. Bottom line? It was a relatively inexpensive way to share camaraderie and waste a Saturday. Back then, I was all right. I had my moments of brilliance, but I was always just a somewhat good gamer. I couldn’t last five minutes in the online world of crazed pre-teens and pimply faced youths that did nothing but play over and over again. Plus, their internet connection was usually better than mine.
Way back in August, I wrote a post about having to put my Johnny fiend to sleep. It was tough. I cried for days. 6 months later, I’ve had to say goodbye to another of my furry fiends.
Indiana Cooley, known as the “Indie dog,” was my friend. He was the first dog my wife and I rescued. We adopted Indie from a rescue group and had to drive to hell and gone to pick him up. Because we only had one car at the time, we took my wife’s Jeep Wrangler. Big mistake.