InConJunction XXIX panel schedule

I’ve got four events at InConJunction this weekend, all on Saturday the 6th. I will be in the vendor room for the rest of the time. For those of you who support me on Patreon, I am very likely to bring a recorder and post these to the site over the next couple of weeks. Remember: just $1 a month gets you access to almost everything on the site, and $2 a month gets you a whole novel!

Independent Publishers on Indie Publishing: 10:00-12:00, Indianapolis Ballroom A

Reading: Favorite Fun Chapters: Sometime during 3-4:00 PM, Indianapolis Ballroom B. I don’t know exactly when and I haven’t decided what to read yet. I think something from Tales but we’ll see.

The Challenges and Joys of Microfiction: 4:00-5:00, Indianapolis Ballroom A.

World Building for Authors and Game Designers, 6:00-7:00, Indianapolis Ballroom B.

I’m hoping for my reading to be near the end of that section, so that I don’t have to be away from my booth for that whole time, and I did end up cancelling one event where I got double-booked by accident and another where I just wanted another hour in the vendor room. Six hours of programming spread over three days would have been okay; six hours of what is usually the biggest day of the con … eh.

One way or another, if you’re going to be at the show, come see me!

GUEST POST: Writing for Yourself vs Writing for an Editor, by Steven D’Adamo

At least one guest post today and tomorrow, as brain melt starts to set in.  Steve’s good people.  Be nice.  

Bio: Steven D’Adamo is a writer based outside of Baltimore, MD. He co-founded Red String PaperCuts with a friend and fellow writer to discuss books, music, and poetry, and argue about life from their armchairs. His fantasy adventure novel, The Warden of Everfeld: Memento, will debut at the end of 2017. To catch a glimpse of his fantasy universe, check out the dark fantasy horror, “Wolf’s Moon Night,” published by Five on the Fifth. Aside from his website, you can find Steven on Facebook, Goodreads, and NaNoWriMo (dia820).

For Whom Do You Write? (Hint: it always changes!)

Most of us say that we only write for ourselves, that it doesn’t matter how the outside world perceives our stories because we poured our hearts and souls into creating them – that’s all that really counts!

Most of us are at least partially lying.

As I spent months upon months crafting the first draft of The Warden of Everfeld: Memento, it really did feel as though I was writing it exclusively for myself. No one laid eyes on my “alpha” draft until it was finished. I wrote it the way I wanted to, and I was proud of what I had accomplished.

I sent the draft to my alpha readers to have a look, knowing that they would critique my story and send me feedback. But my four alpha readers were close friends and/or family; people I trust with my life who I knew would accept my story as a labor of love whether or not it was any good.

Why the Second Draft was not for Me

The good news is that most of them liked it even it needed a whole lot of work. (And boy did it!)

But then I started writing the beta draft, and suddenly I felt the weight of my readers over my shoulders. I wanted them to see my story as fully fleshed out as it appeared in my head, without all of the plot holes and shoe-horned character development.

I accepted this change in mindset as an evolution; I hand-picked these four readers to open my story up to, and they deserved to read the best version of it I could create. I owed it to them to make WoEM the best damn story I could. Their opinions were all that mattered to me.

Critical Consumption

Four weeks ago I began working with a proofreader to review and revise my beta draft. She is also a friend, but as a high school English teacher, she actually has a ton of expertise in critically reviewing literature, the nuances of grammar, and stringing together beautifully constructed sentences.

We agreed to have a “test run” for her editing services to figure out what kind of project she was getting herself into. I scrolled all the way up to the top of my beta manuscript to read through the first few chapters before sending them to her.

I was immediately more concerned than ever about the little things that I knew would need to be reviewed or corrected eventually, but which I had passed over in my attempts to just write the damn story:

  1. Minor in/consistencies such as the precise ages of my characters, their years of birth in relation to important events in their lives or the story at-large, and even obvious things like how a made-up fantasy word was pluralized
  2. Use of adverbs and gerunds. Every writer’s blog ever harps on cutting down on this type of language. I took these suggestions with a grain of salt, because many sentences just sound unnatural without the occasional ly or ing. But knowing that I was sending this thing to an English teacher, I became hyper-sensitive to these words.
  3. Use of inner character monologue versus normal narrative to convey a character’s feelings/thoughts. Okay, so my editor actually brought up this distinction after reading my few batch of chapters. We had a long discussion about via email trying to agree when inner character monologues were appropriate. We came to an agreement, but it was such an Aha! moment for me that it changed the way I wrote my narrative in the final chapters of my beta (which are still in the works).

I am sure there will be many other instances of this as I review my beta to send to my editor. These are changes I would have had to make anyway to make my book appropriate for public consumption. But in my head, these were eventualities.

Hiring a proofreader has expanded both the real and potential audiences for my story from people who love me enough to tolerate my fantastical nonsense to people who will analyze and dissect every piece of my writing ability.

Fortunately for me, my editor is doing this in an effort to improve the beta manuscript.

Once the final version is published, no one else will do this for me. The stakes have been raised.

In which I defend myself against something no one accused me of, and other bits of nonsense

510Cy7ZwEHL._SX338_BO1,204,203,200_I watch a lot of Hulu, right?  Lately we’ve been binging all of Scrubs, which means that generally if the television is on in my house and there isn’t some sort of childrens’ programming on that’s probably what we’re watching. Hulu’s been promoing this program lately that appears to be about a fat old rich white guy who gets accused of rape.

Be it known to the world at large: at this particular point in my life I find it really fucking difficult to arouse any sympathy for old rich white men accused of rape, and I sure as shit am not interested in watching television programs that cast said old rich white men as the victims.  Can I just fucking watch Scrubs, please?  Maybe advertise other light comedies?  And not this show, like, ever again?  Thanks.

A warning: this part of the post is going to be kind of ill-formed and unfinished, as it’s still a work in progress in my brain and I’m not at all sure how I feel about any of it, so don’t expect me to come to any  conclusions.  I had a dream the other day where a former student (and I am one hundred percent certain that she will both see this and know who she is) sat across a table from me and lectured me about representation and cultural appropriation in my work.  I’ve been reading a lot about both issues lately (the recent spate of articles about the whitewashing of Nnedi Okorafor’s The Shadow Speakers is only the newest example) and as someone who has actually written a science fiction book and deliberately made sure to get the black woman on the cover it’s kind of an important issue to me.

So, yeah, here’s the thing: I’ve got two books in the works right now featuring women of color as the leads.  The lead race in my fantasy series is matriarchal.  And my short stories tend to feature non-stereotypically-western cultures.  I’m not good enough about writing LGBT+ characters but when you come down to it there are precious few straight relationships in my books either for some reason.

I do not write this to be awarded cookies. I don’t want cookies.  In fact, I’m starting to wonder if I’m approaching all this the right way at all.  Do me a favor, and go read this, and then read this.

I’m torn as hell on this and still thinking about it.  But it’s on my mind at the moment.

I leave for Denver in, like, three days.  I am still not looking forward to it.  At all.

GUEST POST: The Future of Publishing – Science Fiction Today, by @CompGeeksDavid

Dudes the wedding still isn’t for FOUR HOURS.  This day is too damn long.

One of the ongoing series of posts on my blog, Comparative Geeks, we call Science Fiction Today – where we take a current real-world issue, largely ignore its current real-world situation, and consider it from the future. From the perspective of science fiction. Some problems have some iconic Science Fiction solutions, some are more obscure, and sometimes we’re left asking if readers have some suggestions. Still, it rarely fails that an issue has been considered through the lens of the future: usually with both a positive outcome, and a negative.

In planning blog posts, at some point I left myself a note with the idea for “Science Fiction Today – Publishing.” I’m sure it made sense to me at the time, but looking back, I’m not sure I can think of a lot of examples that really change how we think about publishing. Why is that, you think?

Well, for one thing, most science fiction is printed, in books or in magazines (or for most of the classics, first in magazines and then books). In anthologies. In comic books. They’re printed, published, physical things. A lot of science fiction in other media is adaptations of these printed works, and the universes that aren’t – like your Star Wars and Star Trek – have huge book collections backing them up as well.

So for the writer, imagining the future, I could see how it would be hard to imagine their own role in a wildly different format or style. Because it also changes the role of your reader. Changes what the activity they might be doing is. It changes how they found or purchased or are consuming your book.

Still, there were examples – such as the tablet-looking pads that they read from in Star Trek. Not really far-off as a concept from e-readers of today, with the Cloud Library of today being the ship’s database of materials. Of course, Picard being old-fashioned and archaeology minded, he still read physical books too…


But counter-point to an example of a different format like that, there are plenty of examples where there are still physical books. Maybe the most vivid in my mind is Fahrenheit 451, and the “firemen” who burn books – something that would be incredibly difficult to do today. Or there’s the modern classic Doctor Who two-parter set in The Library, a whole planet that is a library. It has a database of all the books ever written, it’s true – but it also has physical copies.

When I was looking through post ideas, trying to think of what I could write to guest post here for Luther, I came across this post prompt and thought that this was a perfect one. Because self-published authors like Luther are changing the face, changing the future, of what publishing looks like – in ways that I think science fiction has still not caught up to.

On the one hand, you have this whole new world of digital books, many of which have never seen a print edition. You have digital copies of print books, competing with themselves in some respects. You have digital comics, with subscription services letting you read older comics as they get digitized. Amazon has a digital library too, of books that Prime subscribers can read for free. And plenty of self-published books are available for free – joining a great deal of writing going on for free online as well, like webcomics and fan fiction.

Other media are changing their output as well. Take movies – very few bigger-name movies are skipping their traditional home, movie theaters (one of the best examples being Luther’s beloved Snowpiercer). And increasingly, when we buy something on disc, we find ourselves getting Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy packs – they’re covering all their bases. Rather than compete between the formats, charging to give you all of them. And things keep changing on the subscription availability model for movies and TV – the studios don’t want things to always be available to people.

Not really a lot of innovation and change there, and still not easy for just anyone to break into. No, if you want to see that in the video arts, something like YouTube is the place for that – a format that has completely left any idea of “publishing” behind, and has done away with a lot of the middle-men.

So really, not a good comparison to book publishing. No, that’s still its own thing, and the idea that everyone has a story inside of them seems not only to be true, but to be something that now anyone could potentially tap into. That their story could be written, be self-published, and even be read! And if not a full story, well, blogs and other sites have been taking a big chunk out of newspaper and magazine publishing.


Consumerism itself is changing through all of this, and so too might our science fiction ideas about consumerism. Maybe we might actually be moving in the direction of Star Trek, with its society without want – after all, they read books on a Kindle like we do. Or maybe we’ll just end up amassing more stuff than we know what to do with – like my growing collection of e-books I haven’t read. Either way, I’m having trouble thinking of what the final outcome might truly look like in a science-fiction story.

So with that, I open up the comments to you: what do you think the future of publishing looks like? How are we going to be reading – and being read – in the future? How will people find and find out about things to read? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

You can find David for the time being on Comparative Geeks (moving soon!), or on Twitter @CompGeeksDavid.

The last SEARCHING FOR MALUMBA post for a minute

IMG_2872First, two small announcements, one of which Twitter got yesterday:  the final cover price from Amazon will be $15.95, which is all of 30 cents above the minimum they’d let me charge for the book.  It’s a bit higher than I wanted, but the book’s pushing 500 pages and over 115,000 words, so at least you’re getting some material for the money.  Ebook cost will be my typical $4.95.

Second: while CreateSpace still doesn’t do pre-orders, barring some sort of shipping-related disaster, the print edition will be available day and date with the ebook edition on October 27th.   Right now they’re telling me I’ll get my proof next Wednesday, which should be plenty of time for me to find and fix any errors and have the book ready for release.

Finally, a request: if anybody wants to help me out with publicity– interviews, guest posts, anything like that– get in touch with me, either by leaving a comment or by emailing me.  I’ve got a thing or two lined up but more is always great.

And now I’ll shut up about my stupid little book for a few days.  I promise.  🙂