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

Happy New Year From This Word Monkey!

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Hola, and welcome to 2016.  I hope all your holidays were fun and filled with whatever libations you enjoy most. Of course now the break is over and it’s back to the keyboard….. kind’ve.

The fam and I have come down to Rye on the Mornington Peninsula for some R&R before the day jobs start again, but for some of the us the work never ends, eh?  So right now you find me in the hellish, temporary office slaving away…..

I know, it’s awful.

But seriously, with the kids ready for the beach at pretty much every moment and wineries to go explore I still do need to get the works down.  It’s now 7:45am and I’ve been up since six, editing down some sci fi background for Mantic games.  It’s important to grab what times you can to write, and if you don’t have any to grab, make some. History is written by the people who set their alarm clocks quietly very early and woke up before the screaming starts.  I think Napoleon said that.

But I think I hear the first stirring of little feet, so I have to go. Have fun.

Michael

I’ll Miss Sleeping

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So here’s the thing – I used to love Doctor Who growing up. Peter Davidson and Sylvester McCoy were the Doctors at the time, and I hung out for each episode every week being enchanted and frightened in equal measure.

Then the show was cancelled and I grew up, until when the series was revived I was too busy to watch. If an episode was on TV when I was flicking channels I’d try and give it time, but when you have so many other things to do it carried on just passing me by.

Until yesterday, when I decided to make an effort to get back into it. So I googled what episodes to begin with and….

…look, this is a long winded way of saying the Weeping Angels are effing terrifying and I’m never sleeping again.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice

He’s going to find out who’s naughty or nice

Santa Claus is not subject to the data protection act

Well, it’s that time of year again when the world turns just that little bit more crazy. Count that double for me – I’m still getting used to a southern hemisphere Christmas where “Oh the weather outside is frightful” means a whole different thing and the outside Christmas lights are solar powered.

But even though my day job knocks off next week I do not, nosiree. First off I’ve been contracted by Mantic Games to write some more background for their incoming Warpath wargame. I’ve already done some with their Deadzone: Infestation tabletop game, so this is familiar ground, but fairly in depth, but I’ll get through it.

Secondly, and more importantly, Brood Parasites is chugging along nicely on Patreon, and need more words for the engine. The first audio chapter is up on YouTube and backer can expect chapter two before the week is out and the fifth chapter to their audiobooks before Christmas (thank you, guys!), plus I have to chase up the finished artwork for the cover. This is hugely exciting, but fair time intensive. But you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And then of course there’s the matter of Christmas with two little boys. But they’re good kids and very reasonably choose to sleep every night (with a loose interpretation of ‘choose’), so there’s always time at night… in between Doctor Who episodes.

Anyway, may your December be filled with happiness and good cheer and I’ll see you on the other side.

Michael

Juggling Writing and… Writing

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Alternate title – State of the Pate #1

In case you missed it (and why did you miss it? I’ve talked of barely anything else for the past month) I launched Brood Parasites on Patreon early last month, a serialised steampunk novel, and I’ve been getting quite a few positive messages about it….. and I also keep trying to the type the title as ‘Brood Pasties’ which may or may not mean I’m constantly peckish.

Anyway, it’s going well so far.  Not a great many backers, but making enough to buy a yacht (even a small one) was never my aim with Brood rather to just get people reading my work.  I can only guess from the messages people are, but the the thing with hosting something such as a project on a different site means you lose any sense of traffic.  Which is a pain, but then again the trade off is I gain potential access to all the traffic on Patreon.com.

So, we’re plodding along happily, up to Chapter Three already and an audio version of each chapter on the way.  And by the Second Law of Sod a massive freelance piece of work falls in my lap.

Just before Christmas.

When my wife’s cousin will be coming from overseas and we’ll be hosting.

Yah, it’s like that.

I said in the project’s opening page paying work would have to come first, but you can’t half tempt fate by beginning something new and big.

However, in a very un-Michael like move I am prepared!  I wrote a very long way into Brood before I started just for such an eventuality.  I could very easily do nothing on Brood until this freelance project is over, and the Patreon would jug on its merry way.  I won’t do that, of course – any feedback or suggestions will be taken on board, but the thing is I’m prepared if need be.  Preparation and being aware of your possible workload is key, especially when you have readers and clients relying on your output.

So, it looks like I’m in for a hectic Christmas and new year, but it’s going to be hectic with decorating the house, little boys opening presents, and creating, for which I have you to be thankful to.

Michael

News From The Front….. /Pathe Voice

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There is no other word for this. It’s awesome. Just awesome.

War photographer Matthew Callahan has used every gram of his professional experience (and his admirable collection of Clone Trooper toys) to document the conflict of the Clone Wars, and the results are staggering…

Galactic Warfighters Bridges The Gap Between Science Fictional War And Reality

Galactic Warfighters Bridges The Gap Between Science Fictional War And Reality

There are so many more, and they’re all worth your time checking them out on either Matthew’s website or Instagram.

Michael

Deadball – Drainpipes for Strike Posts

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Isn’t it, wasn’t it, mmh? (if you were a teenager in 90s Britain that’s hilarious, trust me).

Yes! Mantic Games has just released ‘Drainpipes for Strike Posts’, an anthology of short stories based around their wildly successful Dreadball game. It features stories from such talents as Guy Haley, David Guymer and, ooh, me!

Dreadball

The Dreadball universe is nice and open, and what’s lots of fun to write in, I hope you like it. The anthology is available through Mantic Digital for thethe low price of three British Pound, guvna. SO why wouldn’t you go read it?

Michael