rummages of the mind
Discussions, Information and Education
Celebrating Black SciFi
It's February, Black History Month.
Science Fiction is on the rise and with it Black authors spreading the words of the universe. What better way to celebrate and reflect on Black achievement. Last November Book Riot compiled a list of 11 Black SciFi authors to read right now. I was featured in the article for the Core trilogy Omnibus, Threads of Conceit. I encourage you to check out the review along with the other amazing authors. Just click this link and have at it.
Convention Crunch Time
We're coming back around to another Worldcon, this time taking place in San Jose, CA. And, of course I am running all over trying to get last minute graphics printed and waiting on boxes of books to arrive for inspection. Preparing for big conventions is a lesson in chaos. There is so much to to consider logistics wise. How big is the space? What are you bringing? What equipment or accessories do you need? Pricing, placement, staging, etc. It's like having fun in a whirlwind of hell. You know you're in the sunken place, yet there is a sense of elation.
Past Worldcon's you would have found me at a booth with multiple authors. Back then, I had three, maybe four books out. Another author came to me and advised I consider not teaming up again. It made sense. Instead of trying to promote six authors works with each having four plus titles, I can focus on a little under half with my own. So, I'm taking his advice and this time I am going solo with nine (9) titles.
Also bringing the new Boundary Shock Sci-Fi Quarterly which has one of my shorts within its pages.
The year started off strong with the release of my new series, Curve of Humanity. A six book mega story that dives into the human condition in the face of aliens crash landing. My goal was to have books 1-4 at Worldcon76. Life decided to stick its foot out and trip me. But, I was not too derailed. Books 1-3 are now available and I will have them at the show.
Needless to say, I am excited, overwhelmed, and totally ready to take on the big dogs. I hope to see some of you there. Come find me and say hello.
Fall into the season
It’s that most wonderful time of the year again. Moments of good cheer, curling up in front of the fireplace with a hot cup of sweet liquid and a good book are in season. Especially for those of you who like a bit of nightmare and despair. That’s right, I’m not talking about Thanksgiving or Christmas. Halloween is upon us! Prepare yourself.
This is a great time to revisit two titles that bring the shivers and gore
Tired of the usual scary tales with happy endings? Are Creepshow and Tales from the Crypt right up your alley?
I have the perfect fix.
Welcome Despair is a collection of short stories where fate rigs the odds and throws a dirty hand.
A young corporate office worker with nothing left to lose finds himself with a group of hunters who don’t discriminate when it comes to prey. Children on a ravaged planet are abducted by the enemy and learn just how strong they can be. A jaded reporter interviews the leader of a prominent neighborhood. One soul is chased into a plane of existence with no signs of escape.
Each story opens a doorway into fear, pain, sorrow and blood. Looking for happy endings? Not here.
Come, settle in and Welcome Despair.
The holiday is not complete without vampires. Dark, brooding, and sexy. They make every night an adventure. Unless, you’re a millennial vampire who brings shame on their coven.
Fed up and disgusted with the new generation of vampires’ ignorance and lack of social grace the elders implement a new decree. Re-education is in order so they ship the blood thirsty ingrates to boarding school in hopes they catch some common sense. And the young ones don’t like one bit.
War is coming.
As successors to take over their covens they must buck up and act responsible for once in their lives.
Losing the battle means extinction but it may be too much of a burden for this group of spoiled blood suckers.
Check out Blood Doctrine and get ready for book two, Blood Dominion, coming Summer of 2018.
So, climb into an old rickety rocking chair, wrap up in your favorite blankie and indulge by flickering candle light all things that make your skin crawl.
I will be unleashing a slew of new titles. Six books are slotted for release in 2018, bringing the total to fourteen, so catching up now is easy and you get to see what floats your boat. With that, I have openings for beta readers. If you’re interested in taking the plunge to help in the creation of new books, contact me via email. Every beta reader gets a signed print copy of the book and (if you want) a mention in its dedication page.
Have feedback about any of my books so far? Want to know more about your fave character(s)? Lay it on me.
I am always on a quest to make my stories better for you.
The next newsletter, coming mid December, will be my year in review and a snapshot of what’s in the works.
I Hope to see you at one of my book signings and until then;
Have a wonderful holiday season.
Yes, this time I mean those other two well-known festivities. When I grab my mug of ‘more rum than egg nog’, I’ll raise it in a toast:
Well, hello again
Yes. So you've noticed. I have been absent for quite some time. There's a perfectly legitimate reason for it. You see, as much I would love to write full time and not work for the man, I still have to pay bills. Thus, I am now wholly employed by a big corporation working 12 hour shifts. An excuse? Not really. I like to think of it as a temporary set back.
That being said, I have three more books to kick out before the dreaded December which marks the end of 2016. My five year plan is to get four novels and one short collection out each year for a total of 25. 2016 marks year two and I am sort of behind with four novels down, one collection and two more in the wings. Needless to say, my brain is overloaded.
Did I mention all my books going forward will be under the MAJart Works umbrella? Yep, I have an imprint company now as well. See? I've been busy. Just not writing too much.
All that is changing.
With a newfound resolve, I am going to hunker down and put myself on a strict schedule like the one when I went to school full time, worked, ran a biz and did writing. Don't worry, I will still find time to give this page an update more frequently.
Warrior. Beast. Ambition Whore.
I am all these things.
Say my name!
Worldcon was held in Spokane Washington this year which is somewhat close to home. Or so I thought. Nine hours watching the most boring scenery go by and then tumbled into the Convention Center for booth set up. My plan right out of the gate was to shmooze with the elite, pick their brains, maybe learn a new trick or two. Over the next five days after arriving, I did just that and also attended some really awesome panels.
Book sales were minimal but I had a inkling of that going in. Sold only Book One and not the whole trilogy and that seemed to be the norm for about every author I spoke with. A lot of try and see if they're interested in the rest kind of deal. Since this gave me more time to do other things, of course I was editing Welcome Despair in the wee hours.
Oh, and the free books, and the parties and a Sushi place that served what could possibly be considered a disgrace or innovation with a dish called the Montana Roll. Yes, I ate it because...I had no idea and I'll try anything at least once.
Things got kind of crazy as I realized how small our planet truly is when people I randomly spoke with knew the same people I did. Fate? Coincidence? Cosmic monkeying? Who knows? Anywho, it was a blast. Looking forward to the next one in Kansas City, MO.
On the Verge
"Editing is fun!" -- No one, EVAR!" Sean Hoade www.seanhoade.com
Book three, Bonds of Contrition is done and now in the editing process and I am amazed by my progress. It was daunting at first, going one word at a time, line by line, becoming more painful by the hour. Core of Confliction was one story. As I went through, I found that some of the elements were so far ahead of the main story that I decided to split it. Yes, it had turned into a two book thing. In the midst of all this, I was still in the process of learning my craft, (still am) and came across two books; Plot Perfect by Paula Munier www.paulamunier.com and Characterization by Victoria Lynn Schmidt www.victorialynnschmidt.com. A revelation occurred and I found that each section of the story had its own theme thus a trilogy was born.
Why am I revisiting this now? Because I am proud of myself for, as Chuck Wendig www.terribleminds.com demands, finishing my shit. After 8 years of procrastination and not writing AT ALL, I finally decided in November of 2013 to regain my passion. The bare bones of Core of Confliction flowed out of me during NaNoWriMo and I completed it in 26 days. Two years of tweaking, three editors who gladly took my money and a new fire in my loins (No, not an STD), I was confident to unleash my newly born flawed child to the world. It has been a journey that I should have taken years ago but I know now that I was not ready.
Self doubt, fear of rejection, being a chameleon willing to change for whatever the audience wanted regardless of how much it harmed my soul. The things said to me left me discouraged.
"Your language is too advanced, you need to dumb it down."
"Writing isn't a real job. You need to go for a real career and do that writing thing later."
"There are too many genres together, you should just pick one and stick with that."
***Crickets*** That is what I got whenever I pitched a new story idea in Creative Writing Class in college.
All these words were pounded into me for decades until I turned 40 and realized I was miserable. I wasn't doing what I was passionate about. My original reason for going to film school was to learn the biz and become a scriptwriter/director/film editor because I felt that since I was going to be able to write, I may as well try passion number 2; Film.
So, I never thought I would be writing again, let alone a trilogy, And to add to my pride, I have another novel 75% complete and a fifth at the halfway mark. With an arsenal of baby birds, stemming from the age of 15, inside spiraled notebooks stacked high in a plastic tote, I have 62 works in progress to choose from. My goal is to write a novel every two months and yes, I can do it. If no one bothers me for eight hours I can kick out 8-10K words. Bragging? Not even! That is slow compared to some of the writers I know.
I want readers to enjoy my stories and fall in love with my characters. I want to bring someone a little bit of joy to escape into another world not theirs. To feel free, as I do, to broaden their creative minds. My journey into the published author world is just beginning. Always, learning, evolving and seeking out those who resonate with like minded tribes.
Now, I look forward to completing the last installment of Core of Confliction, Bonds of Contrition, and many, many, many more stories to come! May we all reap the rewards that the universe has to offer us.
All Hail H.P. Lovecraft
So I went to CthulhuCon PDX over the weekend and was, to say the least, mind blown.
While waiting in the lobby for registration, I encountered Sean Hoade, Leeman Kessler, David Heath and Michael Carlyle. We take an awesome pic together. Great start I would say. But wait...there's more. It gets even better.
Panels: The first panel was Neo-Paganism and Lovecraft. Had no idea there was some correlation so I got educated on the subjects. Next up I sat in on Dracula vs. Cthulhu. Now Dracula does have a large fan base but Cthulhu worshipers are on the outside fringe. During External Monsters, the panel dove into the human condition and our need for fear. Lastly, I attended the panel about the Lost Worlds of Lovecraft. It was so eye opening that I have a need to research Lovecraft's Mythos.
In between all the panels, I was bale to catch an awesome short film that used puppets called Mill at Calder's End by Kevin McTurk. Very compelling and reminiscent of The Lady in Black. Had a blast laughing during Ask Lovecraft performed by Leeman Kessler and stood watching in awe as artists competed against each other in themed drawings. In 90 minutes, pieces of original artwork was created.
Word Horde Press was present listening to pitches and I decided to throw one of my projects in the ring. Never know unless you try, right? By the end of the first day, it was time to wind down with Liquor with Les (Leslie Klinger, that is). Afterwards, I ended up at the Lovecraft bar in NE Portland for Firbolg Publishing's Anthology release. Tried Absinthe for the first time. Whoo Hoo!!
Day Two: It was an easy day with more panels, amazing artwork, great company and a power lunch with said company.
I met some of the best people on the planet and found my geekdom was still intact. I would name drop all the people I connected with but it would take up an entire paragraph. Needless to say I gained more friends and insight into the world of Lovecraft.
And, I shit you not...Cthulhu
This weekend marks the kick off of CthulhuCon in Portland, Oregon and I am gearing myself up for the extreme weirdness. Any one who grew up on B rated horror and science fiction is aware of the twisted world created by H.P. Lovecraft. The sheer mind fuckery of it is what drew me to his work and may have influenced my affection for psycho thrillers and gore.
I have been to many fantasy, comic and science fiction conventions but never one solely dedicated to one creator's work. The name itself raises eyebrows and the Lovecraft uneducated will ask "What's a Cthulhu?" then scrunch their face up when you try to explain. I will not attempt to do that. Many a show (and a LOT of Anime) have numerous interpretations of the demon so pick your poison.
After the convention ends and I am able to recuperate, because I am sure that is what will be needed, I will report back. I have no idea what CthulhuCon holds but I am sure you will want to know what treasures I laid eyes on. Hopefully, my eyes will still be intact and not gouge out with a spoon.
See you on the flipside
Cover Art and Mania
In the process of reinventing myself and giving my work an upgrade, I have found that one thing all authors get all manic about: Cover Art. You see, we can write stories til the cows come home but if there is no cover for the book...well.
Now, we could just slap one on and call it a day but that benefits no one. Who's going to pick up a book with a crappy cover and hope the contents is better than the outside? We DO judge a book by its cover, let's not be dishonest with ourselves here.
That being the case, an artist must be found, and not just any artist. One whose works resonate with your own. An artist who knows about deadline. (Artists can be fickle and a little funny about when the creative juices will flow.) The author needs to have a tremendous amount of patience but willing to unleash the hounds when the dam is about to burst.
So, I am in the process of getting the covers for my trilogy complete by two artists and there is a deadline. That line is getting dangerously close and I have found myself in the authors' panic mode zone. Oh, and I realized too late that I actually published book one under my real name. Those of you who bought it now have a limited edition pre-copy. Things have been....Manic!
On that note, I have some tweaking to do once I hear back from beta readers of Book 2 AND formatting new covers, when I get them. Have a great Easter everyone!!
DON'T EAT PEEPS!! BLEH!!
Plot ... Not so Perfect?
I posted this on my wordpress but felt it should be here as well.
Maquel A. Jacob
Lover of the Arts, a foodie and down for a wine tasting tour year round.