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Archive for April, 2012

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They Bring Him In On A 5150

Haven’t poked around over here for a bit as I’m still recovering from the last few days of L.A. Festival of Books (where I signed a few copies of CITY OF THE LOST, including someone’s oddly cellophane-bagged copy that was clearly headed for eBay – good luck young entrepreneur, hope it makes you a few bucks), house guest (The lovely and wonderful Fraulein Sabrina Ogden was in town and set fire to crashed on our couch bringing along with her the entire niceness quotient of Salt Lake City) and general book related madness.

I had the opportunity to hang out with Herr Chuck Wendig while he was in L.A. shooting scheisse porn for some coked out German producer named Himmler signing his new novel BLACKBIRDS at the Festival of Books and at Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach. Many Bothans died books were defiled.

And amidst all this madness there is news! YES, NEWS!!!1! More…

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Guest Post – Chuck Wendig Talking Blackbirds

 

There’s this book which you may have heard me going on about called BLACKBIRDS by Chuck Wendig. I got a chance to read it a while back and it’s phenomenal. It’s brutal, and beautiful and poignant and fucking hilarious. Sometimes all at once.

It’s about Miriam Black, a woman who can tell how you die just by touching you. It’s a pretty fucked up power to have. Once she knows there’s no going back. What’s done is done and there’s no changing fate.

Or is there?

I asked Chuck if he’d like to pop over here and talk a little bit about Blackbirds and some of the challenges he had in writing it. Surprisingly he said yes.

Actually he said, “I do this and we’re square, right? I get the pictures? AND the negatives?”

Yeah, he’s a funny guy. Like I’d ever give up the negatives.

Take it away, Chuck.

*** More…

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And They Say People In L.A. Don’t Read

This weekend over 150,000 people will get together on the USC campus to celebrate books.

150,000. For books.

That’s a lot of readers. More…

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A Whole Slew of Cool Shit

I was looking around this morning and relized there’s a ton of cool stuff happening.

CITY OF THE LOST

First off, there’s a new review over at Examiner.com that popped up last Friday.  Four stars! Woot! People are still digging the book.  That’s nice to know.

Deadly Treats

Now out in digital format is the Halloween themed anthology DEADLY TREATS with my zombie short story WORLD’S GREATEST DAD about a father given a second chance to make things right, and then inevitably fucking it up because he’s an idiot loser.

It’s free for today, so grab yourself a copy, would ya? There’s some good stuff in there, and I’m rather fond of the story.

Don’t Read This Book

I got proofs a few days ago of the anthology DON’T READ THIS BOOK set in the dark, twisted universe of the game Don’t Rest Your Head, that includes my short story, DON’T LOSE YOUR PATIENTS, about a trauma surgeon pulled into the hospital of his nightmares.

Edited by Chuck Wendig with stories by Ryan Macklin, Monica Valentinelli, Will Hindmarch, Greg Stolze, Robin D. Laws, Mur Lafferty, Harry Connolly, Richard Dansky, C.E. Murphy, Josh Roby, Matt Forbeck, and Laura Ann Gilman, this antho is incredible.

It will be out some time in the next month or two and believe me you want this book.  Oh my god, these stories are good.

L.A. Times Festival of Books

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is this weekend at USC and I’ll be signing copies of CITY OF THE LOST at the Mysterious Galaxy booth (#372 in Founders Park) at 2:00 Sunday afternoon.

Mysterious Galaxy is having a bunch of authors over the weekend and will be posting their full schedule in the next day or so.

And Friday night the Mystery Writers of America are hosting a little pre-Festival shindig at Skylight Books where you can meet some of your favorite authors.  Or even me.

Blackbirds

And because it can’t all be about me, Chuck Wendig‘s fantastic book BLACKBIRDS comes out next Tuesday. Really, you need to pick this one up. It’s great. If it doesn’t win awards there is something seriously wrong with the universe.

He’ll be at the Mysterious Galaxy booth at the LAT FOB this Sunday, too, and he’s signing copies Tuesday night at the Mysterious Galaxy store in Redondo Beach. You should come out there and heckle support him.

Seven Wonders

Oh, and I’m reading a new novel by Adam Christopher and you’re not. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA… *ahem*

It’s very good.

So, how about y’all? What cool stuff do you know about that I don’t? Sound off in the comments and tell me about it.

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A Few Thoughts On Geek Pride

A few days ago Nick Mamatas posted Let us put an end to Geek Pride on his Livejournal. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with him and I’m not saying anything about the merits of his post. But it got me thinking that maybe it is time to put an end to Geek Pride.

And replace it with something better. Geek Enthusiasm.

The thing about pride as it pertains to a subculture, or the perception of a subculture, is that it’s separating. It starts with a default position of “I’m different and different is good.” And pretty soon, if you don’t watch it, it turns into “I’m different and different is better than you.”

I’m not saying don’t be proud of your accomplishments, or the things you enjoy, or even that you’re a geek of whatever flavor. Fuck no. But don’t take that pride and turn it into your own personal jingoism. All that’s going to do is alienate you from other people and that shit stops flying once your balls drop.

I went to high school with two guys big into death metal. Remember how in high school music was a Big Fucking Deal? Well, one of these guys was an asshole. You know the kind of guy I’m talking about. He’d go off on your choice in music and tell you you were an idiot for liking whatever band wasn’t his.

But the other one? He didn’t give a flying fuck, it was all cool. He just wanted to share what he liked with you and he wanted you to share what you liked with him. If it wasn’t your thing, okay. But you get him talking about some band and by the end of the conversation you wanted to be a fucking roadie.

The difference, besides one guy being an asshole and the other one not, was his enthusiasm. He was passionate about what he loved and that passion was infectious.

I mean, mostly. I’m still not a fan of death metal.

Anyway, my point is that you can hole up in your basement and scowl at the world or you can take your passions and share them with everybody else.

There’s this thing called Geek And Sundry that started a couple weeks ago. One of the shows is Tabletop, where Wil Wheaton sits down with a handful of gamers and, well, plays a game.

I have never seen anyone describe the rules for a boardgame with so much giddy enthusiasm.

I don’t know who half these people are, so it’s kind of like watching Celebrity Poker with a bunch of happy hobos they pulled off the street. I’m not, as they say, “plugged in”.

But this is like the guy in high school who could talk your ear off about some death metal band and make you want to go on tour for three years in the hopes that you can watch them make it big in Belgium.

Then there’s this thing by Penn Jillette that’s been floating around.

It’s a quote from an interview at Gameinformer from a few years back where he talks about an episode of Bullshit! where they examined video game violence.

Excellent point that. It’s easy to dismiss the things you don’t know just because you don’t know them. Folks who do that? They’re the asshole in high school who shits all over your taste in music.

So you have a choice. Whether it’s about your passion for video games, role playing games, obscure crime novels, knitting, jai alai, vintage spanking porn or whatever, you can push everyone away and wear it as a badge of honor that, frankly, nobody gives a fuck about.

Or you can let your enthusiasm shine through and share it. If it’s not somebody else’s bag that’s fine. It doesn’t have to be. But maybe it is and they just don’t know it, yet.

So, yeah, I think it’s time to set aside Geek Pride. Replace it with Geek Enthusiasm.  It’s more useful.

I invite you to try it.  What are the things you’re passionate about?  What gets your engine revving?

Let your geek flag fly in the comments below.

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Khan Of Mars – So That Happened

Yesterday Evil Hat Productions’ Dinocalypse Kickstarter to fund a series of Golden Age pulp novels hit $30K.  In fact, it’s already gone over $30K.  It’s the second highest highest funded fiction project on Kickstarter.

Psychic Dinosaurs!

That means my novel KHAN OF MARS, wherein the intrepid Professor Khan, hyper-intelligent ape and professor at Oxford, finds himself on Mars fighting to save the Red Planet from dastardly deeds most foul, is a go. More…

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If It Ain’t On The Page It Ain’t On The Page

There’s been a lot of foofaraw over the video game Mass Effect 3, lately. More accurately, about it’s multiple endings that aren’t all that multiple.

All of the endings are, to one extent or another, dark, which is fine. Happy endings are bullshit as far as I’m concerned. But the problem is that none of the endings make sense and they all invalidate the story and the choices you’ve made up to that point. It’s a pity because the rest of the game is so well done, cliches and all.

For some spoilers and well thought out reasons why this is a problem, look no further than Mr. Chuck Wendig, who wrote at length about it.

A few days ago Bioware, the company that developed the game announced that they were going to be releasing a new ending in the form of free downloadable content that would better explain the previous ending.

Think about that for a second. They’re not releasing a new ending, or even a new optional ending, they’re releasing a rebuttal to all the people who played the game and said, “That’s a stupid ending.” More…

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“Insert Cool Thing Here”

A friend of mine was lamenting being a “newbie writer” the other day because her story outline had a plot point along the lines of “Stuff happens?”

Joke’s on her. Even veterans do it.

First off, kudos for even having an outline. Being organized enough to do that is harder than it looks. A lot of people don’t bother, or can’t wrap their minds around it. I know authors who never outline. Others who’ve just done a three paragraph synopsis and still others who do vast corkboards full of index cards. I know a guy who did it on a cocktail napkin. Some just jot down a page or two.

And all that’s fine. When it comes to how our brains work we’re all special snowflakes. More…

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Let’s Get This Party Started, Shall We?

Welcome!

So, whatta ya think of the new digs?  Snazzy, yeah?  I’m getting a jacuzzi and a disco ball installed next week.  Maybe something in leopard print.  Gonna paint “Snuggy Bear” in big letters on the side of the van and all that.

Anyway, I figured it was time to put on my big boy pants and get this place spruced up and good to go.

Now for those of you coming over from my other blog, L.A. Noir, I’m not letting that one go away.  I’m just splitting things up.  This one’s to talk about writing, random thoughts, nude mud wrestling, that sort of thing.

L.A. Noir is getting back to its roots, talking about the seedier parts of my fair city of Los Angeles; crime, politics, weird L.A. history, shit like that.  If you don’t want to go over there that’s fine.  I’m duplicating the feed here.  You can get to it by clicking on that link up top that says, unsurprisingly, L.A. Noir.

Check the place out, click on some links.  I got stories and essays in the Other Writing page.  Read a few stories.  Let me know what you think.  Still cleaning that page up a little, but it should all work.

And, if you’ve a mind to, check out CITY OF THE LOST, my debut novel out now from DAW Books.  You can click that link up top there and read all about it.  Even the first few chapters.  If you like it you can pick up a copy.  Links to places you can get it in lots of different formats are right there.

I hope to have a lot more here and at L.A. Noir soon. Thanks for stopping by.