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Brood Parasites Chapter Sixteen

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Rejoice and holler, Brood Parasites chapter sixteen has been published and is read and waiting for your eyes!  Wherein we find out Gatha is more then she lets on….

It’s also been added to the BP page on this humble blog, but I know Wattpad is better optimised for mobile devices.  Who says I don’t think about you guys?

Happy reading!

MIchael

Just Keep Swimming

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Alrighty, blog updated!  Looks a bit lacklustre compared to the last one, but hey, it works, which is always a bonus on something you want to, well, work.   You may also noticed I posted Brood Parasites onto its own page.  I’ll be updating it alongside the Wattpad project, but given how optimised Wattpad is or mobile devices I’ll be keeping that updated as we go along.

Anyhoo I did have a reason to post today, and that’s to say I’ll be posting a series of vlogs onto my YouTube channel.  This isn’t going to replace the blog, but there’s a certain ability to hide behind the keyboard here, whereas when I sit in front of a camera I feel a little bit more laid bare* (*nudity will not feature – thank god for everyone involved), and I’m hoping it will force me to be more honest with myself about my creative output if I feel I’m sharing it with everyone.

I’ll also be taking the opportunity to talk about, well, whatever I feel like talking about – the difficulty into writing around a full time job and  family, whatever happened in publishing that week, various facets around writing and storytelling – that kind of thing.

The first log will be uploaded in the next day or two, and please, let me know what you think!

Michael

Aaaaaand We’re Back!

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Hello from Michael’s website take 3!  I know, it looks fairly, well, yeah…. that’s what it looks like.  but the last one, while looking pretty damn nifty, wasn’t very usable.  So!  We’re back to this blank blog form.  Which is fine for the moment, but I’ll be prettifying it in time.

In the meantime,  Brood Parasites continues apace, and Deadzone: Infestation from Mantic Games (background and story by yours truly), has begun to reach backers.  The feedback and buzz has been fantastic, and has left me feeling very warm on the outside when I wake up to comments like this:

If you haven’t read it (to change game systems a bit) the fiction in the Deadzone Infestation book is about my speed. It sets up the situation, explains what each faction is doing there and sets the stakes, but leaves the end of the story to the players. Some of the best game fluff I’ve read for a while, both in terms of quality and for doing its job as game fiction.

Always nice to know what you were aiming for hit the mark.

OK so, onwards and upwards.  Brood will continue to be serialised, and I have some more stories being published later this year.  But first, let’s get this wesbite sexy…..

Michael

Lost in the Flood or hide Behind an Imaginary Paywall? – Or, ‘Why Patreon May Not Be For You”

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So Brood Parasites is off Patreon.  I gave it the good old college try, but in the end getting traffic there was just too hard.  There’s the usual issue of just trying to get people interested in your work, bu in Patreon’s case I believe another issue was the prevalence of dollar signs everywhere.  Well, that’s Patreon’s raison d’être; monetise art.  But in my case I wasn’t trying to do that, just get people to read Brood.  I was offering it for free, but there will always be a kind of invisible barrier to most people who feel they should be paying for something, even if its being freely offered, and will avoid it.

Or maybe not.

That was another reason I feel I wasn’t making any progress on Patreon was the complete lack of any traffic oversight.  I could have had thousands of people reading me (note – there’s no way in hell this was happening), and I could never know.  The only way to track that was through paying backers, and, well, that wasn’t my intention.  I felt a little icky asking for money for something which wasn’t complete yet.

So, I’ve moved the project to Wattpad.  Here there’s no question the art isn’t free, and tracking traffic is much easier.  However, not I’m very much underneath the flood.  There’s a lot of writing there.  A.  Lot.  And the search function, while better than Patreon’s is still very much slewed to already popular works.

Still, I feel I’m further ahead of the game.  I’ve started at the beginning again, but we’re already up to Chapter Fivem so come on down and re-read the beginning of the adventure.

Michael

State of the Pate, Take Two

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Hola, bienvenue, willkommen, and indeed whatup.

March already? I swear time speeds up as you get older. Not even a free day seems to make a difference, Except, of course, to the Brood Parasites Patreon. Finally free of other freelance work we managed to put out four chapter in February, and I don’t see why we can’t do five in March. Things are steaming along nicely, and we’ve even started to get the word out. I’ve been busy contacting book blogs from across the world and last week Annie at Snuggle Books (love the name), put out the first piece about Brood Parasites, which can be found right here.

And yesterday Damien G Walter, one of the Guardian’s sci fi writers, gave us a nice little boost over Twitter:

Will this feed through to more backers? Well… I don’t know. I’ll admit my business model doesn’t exactly encourage it, with the only bonuses being e-book files and an audio version. Ii’m wondering what I could do to entice more backers…. Backer only short stories set around the novel? Character back stories? I’ll have to think.

Long story short (too late?) – everything’s ticking along nicely.

Until next time, ta ta.

Michael

Love the Art, Hate the Artist?

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Picture the scene; it’s 1998, your esteemed narrator still has the fresh glow of youth, long hair and the body of a Greek god (one of the above is untrue), and at the time is at a music venue in Wolverhampton with a friend who ran their marketing dept. There’s a band playing on stage, loud, not too heavy, touching lightly on melodic. They were quite good. Afterwards I was at the bar when the singer came up to it. I tried to speak to him. It was approaching 20 years ago and I still have yet to meet another person with the ego and sense of self entitlement which exceeded this knob-end of biblical proportions. All I wanted to do was say I liked his work and have a quick chat about influences, he didn’t even bother to say anything after it became apparent I wasn’t there to sign him and just walked off. “What are they called again?” i asked my friend later. “Coldplay, I think,” she said. I sniffed. “Shit name.”

And I stand by that, but that’s not my point. Since then they’ve achieved some modest success, and douche-singer married some lady with a fruit fixation, and if I’m quite honest I like the sound of some of their songs. Some of them I like quite a lot. Would I ever purposeful listen to them? Hell no, because they’re a bunch of egotistical dicks (backed up by said friend – so’s Craig David in case you were wondering (the venue staff were specifically instructed ‘not to look Craig in the eye’)), and there’s plenty of great music out there that I don’t think I need to make the effort and separate the art of the artist.

Coldplay, yesterday... I swear this wasn't me

Coldplay, yesterday… I swear this wasn’t me

This is something which has been popping up again and again recently. If you’re part of the sci fi and fantasy publishing community you would have almost certainly seen it brought up in the 2015 Hugo awards and the whole sad puppy debacle, or more recently with replacing the bust of HP Lovecraft as the statue for the World Fantasy Award. “Love the art, not the artist.” Well, I can’t, and to my ears it sounds like a last ditch attempt at defending a) the artists’ repugnance, and b) the tacit sign the defender harbours some agreement with what makes them repugnant.

I’m thinking more about this now as I move along with my own work. Part of what is selling my work is me (*waves*). In an age where the artist is more than ever responsible for advertising their work, the artist themselves becomes a part of that marketing. Who am I? What do I think? Who do I say would win in a fight between Batman and Superman (answer – whoever sold the tickets). If I strike a chord with the reader they’re more likely to buy into what I’m selling,

But does that mean I need to make myself as a person more likable? Mmh, good question.

I’m sure each person asked would have their own answer, and mine is no, no I do not. For a start I reckon I’m a pretty likable person as is (I even help my elderly neighbour take his rubbish bins out, and I worry that when we move the next people to live here might not), but also having opinions is what makes a person a person, it defines our character. Will I offend some people? Honestly as a writer if I don’t offend someone I think I’m doing something wrong, but most people are emotionally mature enough to know that not sharing an opinion does not mean you write someone off totally. Having opinions gives you something to talk about. Don’t believe me? At the next office party try having a conversation with someone without any.

So, yes, have opinions, pick a side, get off the fence. Do not be afraid. If you take anything from this little rant let it please be that – Do. Not. Be. Afraid.

Michael

How Not To Be A Dick

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I’ve been told I’m too honest. Not in the way of telling friends they do look fat in that or at job interviews, just in general and specifically when it comes to looking after myself first. But the thing is, I don’t see that as a failing. I’m sure I have lost on out some opportunities along the way, but I’m a firm believer in karma and being at peace with oneself, ad judging by how happy I am in life I reckon I’ve been proven right.

But I have a point for bringing this up.

My wife’s cousin and her boyfriend are visiting at the moment from overseas. Great people, and it’s their first time in Australia, so we’re showing them all the bells and whistles. Anyway, when I was chatting to the boyfriend he told me he was made over $200,000 last year, and in Macedonia; not the greatest economy in the world. Of course I asked at what he told me he runs blogs with millions of followers and it’s all ad revenue, and if I wanted he would show me how to do the same and also how to maximise the reach of my own work.

Of course I said I’d love to, so he did, and…. Look, I’m not judging. The job situation in Macedonia is hard (40% unemployment for under 25s), so you do what you have to, and that kind of environment promotes a certain entrepreneurial spirit. But what it basically is is viral clickbaiting. Rewriting popular articles from major newspapers, and pushing them across all social media with fake accounts as recommendations.

Look, it obviously works, and no one’s being hurt, so as I said I’m not judging, but when he offered to do the same for this humble blog I had to decline. This blog is me talking about my work, I’d even go as far and risk sounding pompous as to say my art. It’s a reflection of me, and if I had to trick people into buying my work, well…. You get the idea.

And then yesterday, this happened:

The TL;DR version is author who pushed his own work (successfully) through fake fan accounts takes it upon himself to cyber bully and harass other authors who say that’s not on, then comes across the implacable giant who is JK Rowling. There’s a link to Jeremy Duns’ blog there and it’s well worth the time to find out how not to act as a writer. I wouldn’t be surprised if the prick in question finds himself without a publisher soon.

But that’s what I mentioned before; karma. The world caught up to him.

I’d like to think I’m part of the world, not better or apart from it (as the stain above did). I’m also so humbly British the idea of presuming my work is worth pushing onto people I don’t know brings me out in a cold, tea-flavoured sweat. But both the two stories above have actually taught me a lot, and one of those lessons was I’m not giving my work the chance it deserves, and there’s enough info there for me to begin taking my work, and the Patreon account in particular out into the world without being underhand about it.

So, 2016 shall be the year of readership. This begins with you (*wave*). So, thank you for reading.

Michael