Cover Reveal — Nick Kelly’s Catwalk: Lineage

IMG_4643Nick Kelly is no stranger to this blog. You may have remembered his blogpost back in March when he talked about “crossing the line” in writing. The book he was talking about then was Catwalk: Messiah, his first novel and one I had the pleasure of reading this summer.

Best described as “cyber-noir” or perhaps Blade Runner if Marvel Studios produced it, Catwalk: Messiah follows Leon “Catwalk” Caliber, a former Washington D.C. cop, now hired hit man on the west coast of the United States. You would think being a gun-for-hire in a sprawling megapolis of the future would be complicated enough, but Catwalk is good at what he does on account of the cybernetics that not only keeps him alive but also enhances his physical abilities.

The cost isn’t too bad…until you take into account that every enhancement replaces part of his humanity. Now, Cat has to keep hold of what makes him human lest he becomes what he hunts.

Nick and I have talked a lot about his first novel; and never at a loss for words, Nick and I will probably be talking over a scotch or three about what’s coming soon from his dark, twisted imagination… Continue reading

If You’re Reading This Blogpost, I’m Down Ten Pounds. #ThanksFitBit

chubby_teeFebruary 4, 2013.

That was the last time I really gave a damn about my health.

What happened? Well, if you read that blogpost, you heard my mea culpa on how I had successfully gained all the weight I had lost back in 2007. While pictures, thanks to Photoshop, can lie; it was the steampunk outfit I attempted to get into at the Emerald City Steampunk Expo that did not lie. This was when I returned to MediFast. I blogged on February 4 how happy I was on my progress. Down twenty pounds. I was thrilled.

Then, a week after that post, I went from thrilled to unemployed.

So what did I discover in 2013? Tee Morris, award-winning author, podcaster, and unbelievable beer snob is a stress eater. And yes, it’s a real thing. And yes, I’m really good at it. Continue reading

Unexpected Monday Surprise: A Cover Reveal

steam_teeIt’s been a month.

I’ve been trying to get back into a groove, what with the new job (nearing a month being here and it’s been great!) and how that will affect my writing calendar. We’ve managed to get in a steampunk tea in Shepherdstown, West Virginia (photos from S4 by Bruce Press Photography are available for viewing and purchase) and a fantastic weekend at Steampunk unLimited (thank you to everyone who stopped by and said “Hi!”), all of which has kept me from getting back to the blog. My wife-of-infinite-awesome may need a cooler title, as Pip is keeping me in check with a variety of things, and finally I stole a pocket of time to talk to you about one of them. We’ve got some great news coming down the pike; but last week we were (pleasantly) surprised by our publisher-of-infinite-awesome, Ace/Roc Books, as they revealed to the world the next cover in the adventures of Books and Braun.

I now present to you The Diamond Conspiracy, the fourth installment in the award-winning Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series: Continue reading

A Game of Wait and See: The Hullabaloo over “Hullabaloo”

Hullabaloo-poster

I’ve been getting tagged all week on social media platforms about the successful IndeGoGo-finded project, Hullabaloo. I was originally going to respond to this via Facebook, but it started to get too long, and thought this better suited for a blogpost.

First off, this definitely needs to be said — congratulations to the animators and creative team behind this project. After my own experience with Kickstarter, both the positive and the negative, it is always awesome to see brilliant, passionate crowdfunded projects not only hit their goals but surpass them. Well done, Team Hullabaloo. You kicked ass, and even grabbed the attention of io9 in the process. That is tremendous work, and I admire that.

Second, it’s nice that when people think of steampunk, they think of me, my wife, and the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. We’ve been working hard since breaking into the genre and it means a lot to me that people are curious as to my thoughts on steampunk creations.

So, what are my thoughts? Continue reading

Stranger on a Train XXX: A Perspective on Death

My friend, Patrick, is dying.

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Thing is, he didn’t know he was dying. He wasn’t feeling good so he went to the doctor to try and figure out what was going on.

That was July. It’s now August, and he’s dying. The cancer moved that quickly.

Fuck cancer.

People have been asked to send well wishes to Patrick, to let him know how much he means to them. What I’m seeing on my various feeds have been people struggling to do so.

I just wanted to say that while the reason totally sucks ass, it’s okay to feel pain, like you want to cry, like you want to scream into the Void and give it the middle finger. What you’re feeling isn’t wrong. Cry. By all means cry…

…so long as you take this moment to tell Patrick what you feel.

I didn’t get that chance with my buddy Jon whose funeral was last week. I didn’t get that chance with my theatre mentor, Glyn. I didn’t tell P.G. Holyfield how I truly felt about him when I last saw him at Balticon, when I was surrounded by friends old and new, by people who meant so damn much to me.

I didn’t say it then, but a couple of days ago, I got a second chance.

A moment to say “I love you, Patrick.” presented itself and I took it. He knows. I should have told him sooner, but he knows now.

No, I fucking hate why I had to tell him, but I told him. I wasn’t going to piss away this moment, and the three of us—Pip, Patrick, and me—bore everything. We made this moment ours…

…and we cried.

Yes, it’s going to be hard. Yes, you will cry. It’s okay. Cry. So long as you speak your heart. When will you get that chance again?

I love you, P.G. Thank you for coming into my life. Thank you for making me part of yours.

When you are done with telling Patrick what you feel, dig deep and give. If you can’t give, share.

We are not losing one of the good ones…

We’re losing one of the best.

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Finding that Perfect Pitch

YSP_003The 2014 World Fantasy Convention is fast approaching (Yeah, I know, it’s not until November but when you think that next week, it’ll be August. The season of pumpkinfying everything will soon be upon us!) and is a very different experience compared to other cons. In fact, calling World Fantasy a “con” is innacurate. Sure, there are panels, Guests of Honor, readings and signings, and even a few fun get-togethers, but this convention is a place where business, serious networking takes place, and where new novels find a home.

Representing your novel, along with showing how marketable your novel could be, you think would be easy for writers. After all, writers can put words to thoughts, weave then into gripping stories and engaging characters, and easily create heroes, villains, societies, and worlds where readers happily lose themselves.

But pitching a book? It might surprise you how many writers can’t do this. Continue reading

Villains and Why We Love Them

Peter Capaldi as Cardinal Richelieu in the BBC's The Musketeers.Last night, I was watching The Musketeers, the new BBC series featuring Peter Capaldi rocking the Van Dyke and redefining diabolical as Cardinal Richelieu. He’s pretty badass in The Musketeers, but not chewing the scenery or twirling his mustache (which I would imagine is hard to resist because dat stache!) kind of way. Capaldi is working the dialogue like a boss and creating a foil against our heroes that makes you sit up and take notice. There’s a mind and a motivation you connect with on a visceral level, and sometimes it’s difficult to take a side against Richelieu as he makes villainy look really, really good.

That and the wardrobe. And did I mention DAT STACHE?

Watching Capaldi in this role has me of late considering villains, what makes them compelling versus comical characters, and why they are so important in writing.

Your villains—or antagonists, if you want to use the fancier term for “bad guys”— are as high a priority to develop as your heroes. They need to resonate with you, lest they reduce themselves to nothing more than set dressing hell bent on destroying said set along with any major players that happen to be in the vicinity. Continue reading

Stranger on a Train XXIX

Four days of Photoshop. Eight lessons with a few bonus skills added into the mix. I have to work a bit on Day One of Level 2; but once I took a lesson from Kacy Catanzaro and took a steadier pace, Day Two more than made up for my stumble.

Did you see this woman rock the American Ninja course? #MightyKacy indeed.

I’m digging Photoshop CC a lot. Good program. Now I need to take a serious look at Lightroom. I’d like to see if we (that’s Mike Witherall and I) can turn it into a class. I don’t see why not.
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So the people behind Snowpiercer‘s Facebook page put that image online this morning. It’s a stitch, especially when you consider the film. Lot of “in” jokes here, so kudos to the fan who created it. Inspired works like that just remind me of how incredibly talented people are everywhere, and I’m lucky enough to get to share my stories. I’m gearing up to do it again, too. The edits for The Diamond Conspiracy arrived today, so it’s time to level up and work on the next adventure of Books & Braun. We are dealing with a lot in this one, so I look forward to returning to that world…

…Monday.

First, I need a nap. A really big one. Photoshop is a demanding mistress.

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Stranger on a Train: XXVIII

Knocked it out of the fucking park.

No, I don’t like to brag. Not my thing. Too many times when I’ve been kicked in the teeth by those in Corporate America, but today I’m shouting it from the rainy rooftops: The kid’s still got it!

It’s been a long time since I’ve taught Photoshop and this time it was CC. New territory, but damn, I love Photoshop. Still, I needed to bone up on my Photography Fu. I don’t know when I’ll be asked to teach it again, but I had a blast. I even did PJ Schnyder and Kreg Steppe proud and gave a talk about shooting in RAW.

Not the same as shooting in THE RAW. Totally different thing.

Glowing reviews, and one student even got approval to stick around for Level 2. So one down, one to go. I think I got enough to teach an intermediate level PS CC course. If not, I’ll make something happen. Giving them the “Oh, cool!” moment makes the commute worth it.

Got caught in the bad weather on the way to the train. Not much else to do but sing “A Little Fall of Rain” and keep walking. It wasn’t too bad of a stroll, not like the rain could hurt me now. Beside — the rain will make the flowers grow….

Team Valjean, bitches. FTW.20140715-163458-59698987.jpg

Snowpiercer: The Best Science Fiction Film of the Year (that Hollywood wanted to fail)

snowpiercer_ver20_xlgIf you’re a fan of film, especially science fiction and film, you may have heard of this low budget “art” film, Snowpiercer. Describing it as an art film may insinuate this dystopian action-suspense film carries with it an air of pretension, but give me a moment here. Based on a French graphic novel, a South Korean director assuming the big chair, and featuring an international cast including Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Kang-ho Song, and Ah-sung Ko, Snowpiercer could be one of the most outstanding films of the year. Terrifying, daring, and compelling, this stunning work of science fiction, hailed by critics and science fiction fans, was initially released in eight theatres.

Yes. Eight. As in, not ten.

What. The Hell?!

At the end of this review, this dark tale—in its own way—offers you, the moviegoer, a happy ending. So read on. Continue reading