In need of a pick-me-up this Tuesday…

Been groggy all morning, and on my first cup I was reminded of this delightful mantra…

IMG_6522

This parody of “The Mentat Mantra” (first heard in the 1984 film version of Dune) called “The Programmer’s Mantra” apparently was originated by Mark Stein at Sunday morning at Boston’s Arisia in 1993.

Words to live by, I’m telling you.

Cover Reveal: The Ghost Rebellion (Book Five of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences)

 

Welcome to Cover Reveal Day, and I can tell you this, we are very, very happy with the end result…

steampunk-groove

When we kicked off that Kickstarter back in October, today seemed very far off but we’re here. This means we are one step closer to the release of The Ghost Rebellion, the fifth book in the award-winning Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series. Kickstarter Backers will be getting their copies in May, but the book will be available to the general public (in both digital and eBook formats) on June 8th.

Today, you can pre-order the ebook now.

The amazing creative team that made this cover possible:

And here it is… Continue reading

What You Do When Your Book Gets a Bad Review

 

You know, I wish we didn’t need to have this conversation, but yeah, we do.

GOT-pleaseEveryone has their own way of dealing with reviews, and let’s be frank—not everyone will like what you do. Reviews, good or bad, are part of the territory. Reviews are a rite of passage for authors, the objective points-of-view that sit down with the final product and say, “Holy crapbuckets, this is the best book I’ve ever read!” or “Many trees died to make this book. Avenge them.” Whenever a new work hits the shelves, virtual or literal, I am always on edge. You have been working closely with editors and peer readers who all invest a part of themselves in your title because they believe in what you do; and if you are fortunate, these voices because they believe in you are going to be blunt, honest, and sometimes cruel to be kind. “My job as an editor is not to change a book,” I heard Ellen Datlow say on a podcast. “My job is to take a good story and make it great.” Continue reading

Don’t Make Resolutions. Make Commitments.

 

iStock_000013954253_LargeHere comes the end of 2015. How was it? I’m hoping the year was kind to you. I know that, maybe, there were highs and lows; but I hope the highs were up there and lows not too shallow.

Right now, you’re seeing a lot of blogposts either looking back through 2015 or looking ahead to 2016, and as we close in on the countdown, I wanted to ask you all a favor: Knock it off with the New Year’s Resolutions. Let’s focus on getting shit done. Let’s make commitments for 2016. Continue reading

Remember the Post I Made Two Days Ago?

Things have been moving pretty fast…

KS_checkin-04a

So how am I feeling right now?

Well, after this, ESPN hanging out at my alma mater, and an amazing All Blacks game

psyche

It’s official: The Ghost Rebellion is happening without question, slated for a May 2016 release.

Now, with 22 days remaining, we look ahead to some of those exciting Stretch Goals we talk about in our Kickstarter video, and some killer Add-Ons we weren’t expecting to roll out for another week such as…

  • Leather keychains from Brute Force Studios
  • Autographed prints from Verena Vorsatz
  • Tee-shirts from the Ministry proudly commemorating this incredible Kickstarter
  • …and much more!

With our base goal met, we now look ahead. Let’s make the most of the time remaining and make this a Kickstarter people will talk about. For now, thank you, one and all, for not only taking Pip and me on a wild seven-day roller-coaster ride, but for believing in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. The success of this Kickstarter and this award-winning series would have never happened without you!

Now—onward to those stretch goals. Share this Kickstarter on your favorite social media networks and check-in with us on Periscope for the latest news.

Kickstarting a New Project on a New Social Media Toy.

So, over the weekend, this happened…

In a nutshell, Pip and I attended Steampunk unLimited 2015, launched a Kickstarter for the fifth book in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series, and had a blast with friends and fans throughout the weekend.

12005665_10207806377498556_512412240_oYes, I know I said “Steampunk unLimited 2016” in the video and all I can do is blame my lack of coffee and the desire to time travel, but I digress…

This Kickstarter really has come out of the box strong. We were already at the 50% mark within four days. I don’t think we saw that kind of love even for The Ministry Initiative. We’re doing all we can to keep the momentum going, and are optimistic that not only will we meet the initial goal for The Ghost Rebellion but we may also see some of those stretch goals come to fruition. There’s a lot of possibility ahead, and we are pretty stoked.

So’s one of our stretch goals—V’s Cosplay—who put together a quick little doodle here of Eliza using “grenade incentives” to get people to pledge.

Since we are talking about possibilities, how about we chat a bit about that video posted above.

IMG_5524If you’ve been paying attention to me on Twitter (as well as Books and Braun), you may have noticed a few tweets taking you to the official website for Periscope. If you haven’t heard of this new platform, here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve learnt in two weeks of testing, filming, and posting. Periscope offers you the ability to stream video from your smartphone or tablet, and opens your live broadcast up for comments and “Hearts” (Likes) that  interact with you and your content, all in real-time. You can video for as long as you like, and Periscope will continue the stream for as long as your data connection remains.

So you can see how much fun an app like Periscope would be at an event like Steampunk unLimited.

As for what you can do with Periscope from an author’s point-of-view, there’s a lot of ideas I’ve been kicking around, and if you want to read about those ideas, swing on over to One-Stop Writer Shop where I take you on a deep dive with the app. It’s a lot of fun.

So we are off and running with our Kickstarter. Please make sure to let people know about what we are up to!

KS_checkin

The “A-ha!” Moment in Writing

 

You see this?

BrickWall1

If for some reason you don’t, this is a brick wall. I sometimes come across them when I’m writing. Nothing—and I mean, nothing—is more frustrating than knowing the direction you want a story to go, but you are staring at this instead:

BrickWall1

This sucks.

I felt like I’d been staring at one of these with The Ghost Rebellion. Don’t get me wrong. I have an idea of where Pip and I want to head with this next Ministry adventure, but I found myself staring at that wall, thinking “All right, I know where I am at presently. I know the next point I need to reach. How do I get there?” I am working the grey cells, running bullet points from notes, setting up scenes, asking questions I’ve written on the white board again and again… Continue reading

4 Things that Star Wars Fans Should Be More Upset About than Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath

 

chuck-wendig-aftermathSo, if you might have heard, author Chuck Wendig released a book.

Chuck is the author behind Star Wars: Aftermath, the first (of three) books bridging the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Since its release, both Jedi and Sith alike are losing their midichlorian-laced shit over this book.

The common threads amongst haters are:

  • Chuck wrote the story in 3rd person present tense. Very different from previous Extended Universe books.

    • In Aftermath, we meet a character that is gay.

    • This is Star Wars done in the style of Wendig. If you have not read some of his other works like Blackbirds or Zeroes, this is a very different approach.

    • There is an unexpected crossover between new Star Wars character Norra Wexley and Marvel favorites, Rocket Raccoon & Groot.

Okay, I might have totally made up that last one, but those other gripes are what a lot of panties twisted in special knots only learnt at Jedi Summer Camps. After reading thinly-veiled attempts at hiding homophobia or anti-Disney sentiments behind various “This is bad writing…” comments, I’m a bit stunned. Star Wars fans are pissed over a gay character and Chuck’s style? Seriously? After everything we’ve dealt with across six movies?

Over the decades, we fans have weathered some serious missteps. And no, I’m not talking about:

  • Midichlorians
  • Jar-Jar Binks
  • The feeble attempts to have Han Solo appear to shoot in self-defense

We’ve talked about those (and continue to talk about them) at length. What I’m talking about is the kind of writing or direction that should have made fans call them out to the center of the octagon, but I’ve rarely seen happen. If you really want to be pissed off about something in the Star Wars universe, have you considered… Continue reading

5 Things to Help Keep Your Works-in-Progress in Progress (and Avoid Overcommitting to Other Projects)

 

IMG_4191.JPGIf you have been listening to the podcasts, you may have heard that I’ve got a few ideas percolating in the brain. This week, with the close of the summer rapidly approaching, I’m looking at the following projects:

  • Various short stories for the final season of Tales from the Archives
  • A novella for a special collection of science fiction, available only at RT 2016
  • A new fantasy epic, co-written with Pip
  • The fifth novel in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series
  • An urban fantasy novel (that has been sitting on a back burner for WAY too long…)

These works-in-progress are just that: in various stages of progress. That sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Five projects, and today I got an invitation from this guy… Continue reading