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.

TWS_hybrid

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?

20131017-181630.jpg

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.

20131016-192434.jpg

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.

20120419-070215.jpg

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!

Losing Your Heart (and Your Preconceptions) in San Francisco

You might have seen last week on my Facebook or Twitter stream a series of check-in’s from San Francisco. If it looked like I was having fun, I was. I caught up with my best friend from high school, touched base with a friend from Intersections, and even found a really fun Tiki Bar just across from my hotel! The funny thing was I was working (seriously, I was…), although it was the last thing I expected to do so passionately. I was expecting to be miserable, frustrated, and counting the minutes until it was time to go home.

This was one of those times when I was thrilled to be wrong. Continue reading

The Tough Choices (Part I: Silencing the Techie Talk)

You know that blogpost I’ve been promising concerning Rafe, Askana, Billi, and their respective futures?

Make sure you’re sitting down, because this is it.

I could just make it short and sweet, but you all deserve a lot better than that. Also, I don’t think I can do that. I try for “short and sweet” and then, after I say what I have to say about what I really need to touch base on, it’s 3000 words later.

Besides, would you all expect any less from me? After all, if you’re reading this blog, chances are you’ve bought one of my books. Do I have to remind you how big Morevi is?

As many of you know, the previous year came out of the corner swinging haymakers like a wrecking machine. Rough seas had actually hit in 2009, but it was the beginning of 2010 that changed everything for me and my daughter. While I was counting on change in 2010, I didn’t foresee things changing as dramatically and as quickly as they did. I think Pip put it best when she said to me “Life around you is accelerated.”

I felt those G-forces most assuredly last year.

This blogpost is about the professional choices I had to make in 2010, and what is facing me in this new year. Those of you asking about Rafe, Askana, and Billi may not be thrilled with these decisions (Heck, you may flat out hate what I have to say…), but I am considering the grander scale of what I want to make a career. This means tough choices, choices you all as fans of my work should know about.

And instead of slamming you all with these touch choices in one grandiose blogpost, I’m breaking these tough choices up into a series of blogposts. I’d rather not melt your brains with a few thousand words. No need to serve the entrée and dessert with the starter, right?

So, let’s begin with a favorite of Tee Morris fans. Let’s start with where I opened my mouth and choked on my Reeboks. Continue reading