Authors & Self-Promotion: Why This Isn’t Someone Else’s Job

delilahThis week has seen a week of self-promotion posts. Not necessarily a week of authors hardcore-pimping their latest book or sounding from the rooftop news about their latest work-in-progress—and it should have been as Delilah S. Dawson released Hit while Pip and I kicked off the fourth season of Tales from the Archives—but a week of writers blogging about self-promotion. Two authors of infinite awesome—Chuck Wendig and the afore-mentioned Delilah Dawson—posted strategies on what to do (and what not to do) when it comes to talking about your own work. Continue reading

A Thank You Note from Tee Morris

20140121-202530.jpgBeen searching for a writing topic of late (and I have at least two “authorly” blogposts that just need a few more words and a spit-polish before they go live) but the start to 2015 has truly been a mixed bag of nuts. I’ve been Vaguebooking a little around it, but it’s February now and I think I’m starting to see daylight again. The past week afforded me a moment to take a step back to take stock in things, and it came to my attention that I did not do something that happens often on social media. You will see those panicked calls to prayer and for support when things go south in a life. These calls happen often, and sometimes when the follow-up’s come, we wish they wouldn’t. Usually, it’s bad news.

Not this time though.

This isn’t my story. This isn’t Pip’s story either. It does involve us, though, directly. Thing is, it’s not my story to tell; but I will say this much: someone in our family went in for what was described as a “common procedure” but things went south. Pip had flown back to New Zealand for what was supposed to be a week of recovery. Her trip turned into a waiting game. “He could come out of it. He could die…” we were told. A far cry from what we were expecting. Pip and I turned to you all—Christians, Muslims, Wiccans, Buddhists, Atheists, and everyone in between—and asked for your support. Whether they were prayers, blessings, or just thoughts of kindness, you all were there. Each and every one of you.

I know bad things happen; and sometimes, even after people rally around you and shower you with love, bad things still happen. This isn’t me saying “Because of you, everything’s okay!” This is me saying “Thank you for sparing a moment to keep us in your thoughts, hearts, and prayers.”

The dust is settling now, we are all recovering, and things are returning back to normal. We’re okay, and we’re all happy and healthy.

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The support you all showed me and my family reminded me of the same support you all bestowed on me during my job hunt during 2014. Actually, this job hunt started back in 2012 when I had been let go at Intersections. To say “It’s been a bumpy ride…” would be an understatement, but throughout it all you all have been there to keep me going. Sure, I had the writing and the Kickstarter project success to take in and keep me going. There was also a lot of things happening behind-the-scenes that felt like anchors around the ankles. I needed to keep going, keep pushing; and plenty of mornings, I felt lost with no drive whatsoever.

IMG_0450Sometimes, it would be one comment. Sometimes, it would be several comments. Here. On social media. In real life. It would be that support, a moment of positive reinforcement, that would get me out of bed and keep me going. You all kept me, my awesome wife, and my incredible kid in mind, and I don’t know if I ever took the time to say “Thank you” and I apologize for that. It’s been an eventful start to the year, and I wanted to take a moment and give kudos to you. You were there, and you helped me through it all.

Thank you.

Now, I’ve got a book to release, some writing to accomplish, and more days ahead of me. You’ve made it with me this far. I hope you continue this journey with me, together.

Talk to you later.

Hybrid Authors: The Best of Both Worlds

Depending on who you talk to, stepping into the publishing industry today is something akin to tap dancing in a mine field. There are the seasoned veterans who are struggling along with some publishers against changing technologies and market demands. Meanwhile, the independently published continue to rattle their sabers and proclaim without question “Our way is the only way!” in an militant fashion frighteningly similar to the traditionally published authors of less than a decade ago.

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As for myself, I have seen this “Us Vs. Them” nonsense back when “Social Media” was referred to as “New Media” and the ambitious creators behind this bold, cutting edge content were aiming to topple Old Media. I remember these days well as Apple had just opened the door to podcasters and it looked like these mavericks of media were going to fulfill their self-proclaimed prophecy as the featured podcasts were all people I knew, all shows either on my iPod or in my listening cue.

Within a year, the Featured Podcasts on iTunes were HBO, Discovery Channel, ESPN, and Oprah Winfrey. Oh, and those mavericks were either working for Old Media or contracting with them.

I look at what is happening now in publishing and think “Good Lord, here we go again.” Continue reading

Stranger on a Train XXV

An entirely different kind of day.

First day back to work for a lot of people today, and you can tell everything just feels different. I saw a lot of people smiling this morning. I noticed a lot more kindness from strangers.

And yeah, I noticed a much longer line at the Starbucks. Welcome back to the daily grind, DC!

It was also a different kind of attitude at the contract job. The Account Manager wants me to bring a fresh set of eyes and ideas to the channels. The guy training me also commended me on how quickly I was moving in picking up the voice of the individual accounts, faster than people anticipated. I even got the go-ahead to post, which I did. So today was a bit of a confidence booster.

This year really hasn’t been all doom, gloom, and downward spirals. Writing-wise I’ve never had it better. I know, apart from the stage, I’m happiest when I’m writing. Editing Dawn’s Early Light brought that home. I’ve enjoyed some accomplishments I never dreamed in me, and I find myself back on the precipice again. Pip and I are right on the cusp of something huge, and all it’s going to take is that one nudge, that one magic moment, that could keep us writing full time. I wish I knew what we needed to do, but until then we’re just going to have to remain on this path. Guess I’ve been thinking about that razor’s edge with the James River Writers’ Conference beginning tomorrow, then next week taking part in Octopodicon out in Oklahoma. Pip and I have been given rock star treatment this year. Seriously, like motherfucking rock stars. By some fantastic people. Doctor Q. Doctor Midnyte. ConTemporal. Authors After Dark. They have all been little blessings.

I just don’t want to let anyone down.

Interview for a full time gig tomorrow, and then it’s back to Richmond—my hometown—for some serious talk about writing, both the craft and the business. Then next week, Oklahoma. Lots of travel, and time away from Sonic Boom. That’s the downside.

But we’re having a Family Movie Night. Guess what Blu-Ray we’re rocking on the home theatre tonight?

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Stranger on a Train XXIV

A day of surprises.

Started a brief gig today without knowing a lot of the details. This is why I’m on the last train out of DC and into Virginia. On the train at 6:15 this morning to clock in. Heading home, I’ll get off this train at 8.

That is what you call a long day.

How was the first day? Truth be told, I don’t know. I’ve become a lousy judge of progress in the workplace considering my last few gigs. As far as I know, I did well. This commute is a mess though. I’ve been looking for jobs in DC, sure, but this felt a little outrageous. 90 minutes one way?

It’s only for three weeks. I’ll manage.

I think, in the social media/digital team, I’m the oldest. I am fascinated by the willingness of these interactive marketers to work well into the night. Clock in at 9, take your lunch at the desk, leave whenever. Seven. Eight. It’s all good.

Maybe I’m of a different mindset. When your job becomes your life, it’s going to affect you. Right?

Then again, I think about the extra hours I put into Bloodshot, into Dawn’s Early Light, into all my fiction…it’s about the passion. Doing what you love. Giving it your all. That I can understand.

The last surprise of the day — I watched John Hodgman from The Daily Show post on Instagram today. I walked right by him, and I even did a double take. The things you see in DC when the government is in timeout…

Would have loved to shake your hand, Big J…but I had a train to catch.

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Untappd: A Social Network for Beer Snobs

I’ve been wanting to do app reviews on Imagine That! Studios alongside my bits of social media advice appearing there, but the first app I wanted to review really seemed more appropriate for my personal blog on account of the subject matter: beer. More to the point — living the lifestyle of a beer snob.

IMG_7501Untappd is a social network for those who love beer. It’s not just for beer snobs like me but for lovers of beer on all levels. Whether you are happy and content with your Budwiser or Miller Lite, or if you are an adventurer in sampling unique brews from across the country and around the world, Untappd connects beer lovers, breweries, and ice cold brewskis. At the core of the app are the reviews. When your first round arrives, you search for your beer in the Search bar across the top. Once you tap your beer, you select “Check-In” and are offered a field where you can type in a brief review (140 characters), add a photo of either what you are drinking (or who you are drinking with), rate your brew (and the slider allows for 1/2-star reviews), and add in your location. If you sync up your Twitter and Facebook feed with Untappd, you can send out your review and photos by tapping the Twitter and Facebook icons. On tapping “Confirm Your Brew” your review is shared online. The more reviews you share, the easier you can connect with friends on your respective social media networks.

UPDATE, 20 April, 2013: Untappd also recognizes cider and mead, so if you are more into those libations, you can find them in Untappd, or create your own custom entry. Continue reading

Stranger on a Train: The Return

Day One. And I’ve been looking forward to this post since last week when I said “Yes.”

It’s my Spring Training, as it were; and I’m re-acclimating myself to the sights, sounds, and smells (yes, smells — someone brought McDonalds in my car) of a
morning commute. I’m back in the world of the working, and I’m doing what I love, this time with the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. I was pleased to have slept last night as I was wound up tight. Am I nervous? No, not at all. The Meso Foundation needed someone that had blogging, podcasting, Facebook, Twitter, and the works covered.

It’s all good, guys. I got this.

I picked out this shirt this morning. On purpose. This is my way of ending a chapter with a killer closing line, as well as a “thank you” to everybody as my old stomping grounds of Intersections. I learned a lot while I was there, and a part of me still missed it. But as Grant says on Ghost Hunters: “On to the next.”

Now I got Instagram to help me with my pictures. I’m having way too much fun with this app.

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5 Things to Do after You Lose Your Job

Tee Morris, Adventurer...for hire.It’s hard to believe, but last Friday marked a month since my last day at Intersections.

For the past four weeks, I’ve taken in a lot. Good and bad. Of course, the irony of all this is that when I was hired by Intersections, the Recession was in full swing. And at the beginning of 2012, where a variety of news outlets from around the world were all noticing an economic turnaround at the beginning of 2012, I was downsized.

In this month, from the day I was let go to now, I’ve learned a lot. Granted, each layoff is different. Some involve severance packages. Others do not. Some employers treat you with respect. Others waste no time in getting you out of the door. It’s hard to predict how bad news like this will come, but I can say — after a month of letting the dust settle — there are at least five things to keep in mind when Corporate America pulls the rug out from under you. Continue reading

So Long, and Thanks for All the Tweets: My Final Friday at Intersections

Staying on track.You might have noticed a few enigmatic tweets from me on Friday. I got a few responses of concern but I was okay. Still am.

No, really, I’m good. January 6, 2012 was a date for the books so I’ll just go ahead and kick off this blogpost with what happened.

Somewhere around 10:15 a.m. last Friday, I was told my services at Intersections, Inc. was no longer needed.

If you’re expecting a complete and utter meltdown against my former day job, you’re not going to get it. Never will. I will only say this: Continue reading

Worldcon — Where I’ll Be

 

Next week, at this time, I will be kicking off a few days of panel appearances at Renovation: the 69th Annual World Science Fiction Convention in lovely Reno, Nevada. If you are out west for the extended weekend, here is where I will be appearing during the weekend:

  • Social Media for Writers (moderating), Fri 11:00 – 12:00, A03 (RSCC)
  • Introduction to Steampunk: What Is Steampunk and Why Is it so Popular? (moderating), Fri 13:00 – 14:00, A13 (RSCC)
  • Writers Collaboration Panel, Sat 11:00 – 12:00, D05 (RSCC)
  • Steampunk versus Alternate History (moderating) , Sat 13:00 – 14:00, D03 (RSCC)
  • Autographing: Sat 14:00 (with Pip Ballantine) , Sat 14:00 – 15:00, Hall 2 Autographs (RSCC)
  • KaffeeKlatsch: Sat 17:00 (with Pip Ballantine), Sat 17:00 – 18:00, KK1 (RSCC)

Saturday night may very well be an all-nighter for Pip and myself as we are scheduled for an early Sunday flight out of Reno (the only flight we could get out of Reno that returned us to DC at a decent time…), but grab us anytime between Thursday and Saturday as we will be there at WorldCon!