No Strings Attached
For the better part of a half century I have met my share of successful people and in most cases I am sorry to say that I was better off with the illusion rather than the reality of who or what I expected them to be.
During the past two years it appears that the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. They say that if you want to be successful in a particular field you should learn from those who have succeeded in that area, what you aren’t told is that acquiring that education often comes with a steep price tag. Purchasing books, attending seminars, and buying DVDs, CDs etc. from the likes of The Donald, Suze Orman, or dare I say, Tiger Woods appears to be the norm however, over the past two years I have met three individuals who have changed my somewhat jaded opinion on the topic. Actor John Billingsley, writers L.A. Banks and Jonathan Maberry are three of the most down to earth people that I have ever met.
This past Sunday my daughter and I decided to take a ride to the Barnes and Noble in Willow Grove, Pa. to attend the monthly gathering of a group meeting called the Writers Coffeehouse. The online invitation describes the gathering as “a bunch of writers sitting around talking about writing…with coffee. No agenda…just chat about the latest trends in the industry, about markets, about pitching and selling, about frustration, about keeping the inner fires alight, about dealing with our families, about how damn tough it is to make it as a writer at the best of times and what writers can do to stay afloat in these troubled economic waters.”
Wow, my first thought was, hey this guy must have been following me around. He knows exactly what I have been dealing with lately. I have been an author for sometime now and the one thing that you quickly learn is that being around great writers will help make you a better writer. The gathering was informal and everyone was given a chance to speak. Mr. Maberry moderated the event. His extensive knowledge of the industry is impressive. During the three hour session Mr. Maberry along with a little help from his friends in the Liars Club (a group of networking publishing professionals) answered questions and gave sound advice on everything from signing autographs to setting goals when you are writing a novel.
Last month I was invited to sit on a few panels at Phil Con in Cherry Hill N.J. My first panel was an hour before Mr. Maberry’s True Blood panel and since just about everyone in my family watches the show we sat in on the panel. On the two occasions that I have been in his company he has always been willing to freely share his knowledge of the business and his personal experiences along with a few do’s and don’ts without being preachy or condescending, there’s no pretentious B.S.
During the Writers Coffeehouse a variety of subjects were discussed including editing your work, drive by book signings, word count, how to push through a mental wall, and more. Those who say that if you want to be successful in a particular field you should lean from those who have succeeded in that area are right but, it’s even better when there are no strings attached.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Yesterday I released a free science fiction short story, and so far the downloads have exceeded my expectations. I just posted it yesterday, I didn't do any promotions and it's already gotten as half as many downloads as some of my other short stories, that's been up for much longer. This one is different than the other short stories, Dimensions in Time, Lost in Translation and A Matter of time.
This one is titled Planet of Doom and it introduces a new character in the Escape 2 Earth universe. This story takes place in the Escape 2 Earth universe, but you do not have to read Escape 2 Earth or Return 2 Earth to understand it, but if you did you would have a better understanding but those two books aren't essential to read to enjoy the story. This story is more connected to the third novel than the previous two, but the third one isn't out yet, so it's all good.
The story begins after Return 2 Earth, the Planetary Alliance have requested the services of intergalactic detective Da’Quan to find the rouge Deltorian warriors Dajus and Mallobo for their crimes. Before Da'Quan can begin he is trapped on Akanon, also called Planet Doom. He learns that Akanon is controlled by humanoid killer robots. He must escape and return to his mission in time before the robots find and kill him.
Sounds good right? Good enough to jump at this free short story, did I mention that it is free?
Planet of Doom
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
In perfect health
In perfect health
Doctor Who is one of the very few shows on TV today that I would call great entertainment. I have been a fan for over twenty years and yes it was hard to watch when it began spiraling out of control during the years of the 7th Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and his companion Ace (Sophie Aldred). I was happy to see that when the show was resurrected the producers went back to the roots of the original show and brought back old enemies like the Daleks, the Sontarans, and the Cyberman. In addition to writing good stories they also did a great job with casting the actors. Life was good, so you can image my surprise when I heard that Russell T. Davies and David Tennant were both leaving the show.
I recently attended this year’s PhilCon 2009 and listened to a group of Dr. Who panelist share their thoughts about the new Doctor. Although there were a few cracks about the age of the new Doctor for the most part the general consensus was to take a wait and see attitude. I am, on the other hand less optimistic that the 26 year old Matt Smith can pull it off.
Will the new young Doctor be pulled over by the Inter Galactic Police for flying the Tardis under age?
Also discussed was the upcoming (for us who have to wait for BBC America) Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars. I wondered how so many people were able to see the special before I did, but my daughter explained that there are ways. I think I'll just sit tight and wait for it to air. The panelists had very good things to say about the special so my interest is a bit more than just piqued.
I suspect that the new producer/writer Steven Moffat wanted a younger doctor so that he could add more romance to the show. I read somewhere that he intends to make several changes. Mr. Moffat’s resume is solid and he appears to be the logical replacement for the departing Davies but new guys always want to leave their mark and that makes me nervous. Will he redesign the Tardis? Will the doctor have a girlfriend? Will he bring back the Time Lords planet of Gallifrey, only time will tell?