You know, I wish we didn’t need to have this conversation, but yeah, we do.
Everyone 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 →
I’ve never considered myself a nostalgia kind of guy (says the writer of steampunk). If I do look back, it’s only to see how far I’ve come. I try not to look back in anger, or in ennui, but I look back more in consideration and contemplation. I’ve caught myself looking back at MOREVI: The Chronicles of Rafe and Askana lately, that first book from over a decade ago. Maybe I’m doing that as it’s come up in conversations online. Funny how it tends to do that.
MOREVI has got a following, I know, especially in the podcasting circles. I had an old friend from JMU tell me how much they enjoyed Rafe Rafton, and that makes me smile…
…especially when I think about all the mistakes I made back in that book.
It’s hard for me to re-read or even listen to MOREVI. I still am very proud of the story, don’t get me wrong. It’s an epic pirate adventure with heroes, villains, intrigue, romance, sex, explosions, swordfighting, more explosions…
I am still processing the life and death of David Bowie, and then this morning I saw it pop up on Facebook. I was trying to confirm it before I said anything to Pip, but then it downed on me: the news was just breaking. Alan Rickman, star of stage and screen, had died of cancer at 69. Identical to David Bowie.
I’m going to say it again. Fuck cancer. (#becausePGH)
I’ve been a fan of Alan Rickman’s work for decades. He raised the bar for villains in Die Hard, and sure, that’s what everyone knows him best for; but I still recall watching him in Sense and Sensibility and thinking, “This is Hans Gruber…and this time, he’s totally stealing this movie!” As I recall, Sense and Sensibility was marketed more as a vehicle for Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant. The movie also gave Kate Winslet a lovely introduction to American audiences. It was Rickman’s Colonel Christopher Brandon, though, that completely won over hearts everywhere. Any movie Rickman appeared in could be promised at least one solid performance; and when you read his biography and see the amount of accolades he received for his work over the decades, it’s no surprise whatsoever as to why we loved him.
Usually when an artist, actor, or celebrity of note dies, the alert gives a quick one line explanation of exactly why you should know this person. “John Q, backup singer for the Flying Wallabees…” or “Adele McManohan, artist of the painting Godzilla in Spring…”—something like that.
This morning, I looked at my phone and read the alert.
David Bowie dies of cancer aged 69.
No preface. No lead-in. No explanation as to what he was famous for. Just—boom.
And not under “Entertainment” but “Top Stories.”
That’s how big Bowie was. The man lived a life in the arts for five decades. He pushed boundaries, lived a life both dangerous and glorious, and he continued to do what he loved right up to his death.
Here 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 →
Hi, Star Wars. It’s been a long time since I’ve reached out to you like this, so I don’t know if you remember me or not. I was that pudgy nine-year old kid who met you back in 1977. The trailers (although back then I just called them “commercials”) scared me a bit because there was this terrifying guy in a black mask that looked like a nasty piece of work, so I wasn’t sure if you and I would get along. My older brother told me I had to see you, so I did.
I went back to the theatres another 39 times in the year you were in Richmond. I saw you at Cloverleaf Mall. I saw you at Chesterfield Mall. I saw you at the Ridge Cinemas. I saw you at the Capitol Theatre. The best time, though, was at the Bellwood Drive-In. At the drive-in, I made a great audio recording of the movie (so I could play it in the background while playing with the toys) and I saw previews for this thing called a “sequel,” The Empire Strikes Back. I have memories of my mom dropping me off at an afternoon matinée and Christmas shopping while I sat through two showings back-to-back. I collected the original figures, all twelve of them. (The Jawa was the toughest find.) I sent in the proof-of-purchase seals to Kenner for my free Boba Fett. I got the toys all the way up to Return of the Jedi. (Too many toys to try and collect.) I remember getting you on VHS and watching you over and over. I knew the dialog. I read every issue of Bantha Tracks. And I remember in May 25, 1983 when my dad (completely out-of-the-blue) took me out of school and bought us tickets for your first showing of Return of the Jedi. Some of my best years were spent with you in a galaxy far, far away.
If you remember me now, you’re probably surprised by this letter. I’m writing to say “I’ve missed you.” Last night reminded me of that. And what we’ve been through. Continue reading →
See, what’s happening within the Star Wars fandom—in the wake of other “real fan” movements—is nothing new. It’s just more public. “Real” fans who draw lines in the sand, piss all over a movie poster or toy collection (mint-in-box, of course), and claim to be the Keepers of the Sanctity of Insert-Your-Favorite-Science-Fiction-Sacred-Cow-Here, thanks to social media and the Internet, are making their voices heard; and are exhorting to extreme measures to protect their Precious.
To understand just how dangerous a mentality this is, you can take a look at my own experiences. Experiences where I was on both the receiving and the giving end of this kind of “real” fandom.
Let me take you back to the 1990’s. I’m thinking the summer of 1996. Yeah, that sounds about right… Continue reading →
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…
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.
Yes, 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.
If 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.
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:
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 →