Saturday, November 26, 2016

Tunes - The Auditory Stimulus You've Been Missing

Hey there kiddies! Are you visual writers? 'Cause I totally am. What better to bring an epic movie scene in your head to life than the power of some sick beats, chill ambiance, or a death metal screamfest?
As I write this I'm listening to some pretty chill stuff, but in honesty, I spend most of my time listening to heavy metal, rock, and electronica to write. I feel it helps inspire action scenes, which I'm writing a lot more of recently.
I almost feel as though this is a "duh" post... I mean, if it is, just tap out now, I'm not going to blame you.

So, I've been writing Revolt:
If you can't tell from the cover, it's a bit of cyberpunk, even a bit of adventure, and a whole lot of action. My super slick (and slightly crazy) heroine, Hopper, needs a lot of inspiration to bring to life.
For Revolt I listened to a lot of Celldweller (ok, I won't lie, I always listen to a lot of Celldweller/Scandroid/Circle of Dust), Bring Me The Horizon (Doomed especially, love that song right now), Starset (because space!), and then copious amounts of trance/techno from various artists (my current favs being Seven Lions, Tiesto never leaves the list, and DJ CHEFF ^_^)

I need to get back in the headspace of writing Earth's Peril, because the next book on the list to tackle is Eli's Revenge (tentatively named, I'm really not sure if I'll follow Eli or not. His story on Earth is a bit boring... lots of walking and survival stuff, Vendum telling him how much longer it's going to take and what the other robots around the world are doing etcetc... HOWEVER, Bedelcast's story is interesting as fuck.) That was a long sidetrack. Alright, so I'm a little tipsy... sue me. How I'm going to get back in the headspace of writing the EP series will of course be to read the first book, and then jam out to the same stuff I did when writing it, lots of epic alien and space movies too.

Back to the Duh part of this post from an even longer sidetrack.

1. Identify the mood of your writing

It's important to know what kind of feeling you want your readers to be experiencing when they're consuming your media, because then you can correctly select the tunes to stimulate that atmosphere! Writing a laid back, slow love scene? Probably going to want some Sneaker Pimps. Needing a main character who is about to defy a regime, likely want something mainstream and easy to digest like Five Finger Death Punch. About to go into an epic, final boss type battle; bust out the Apocalytpica.

2. Verify that your mood matches the music, matches the scene you're writing

If one of these components are not like the other, the scene's likely to come out a little janky. Which is fine, I guess. You can always edit later. But I honestly feel if you're not in the headspace to write a certain thing, you should not do it. Lots of author promote the "power through" mentality, which works... but you'll end up wanting to rework it later. I'm rambling... mostly because I, once again, feel like this is duh territory.

3. Lyrics can mess up your flow

I've noticed that some of my best writing comes when I've listened to a song so many times, I know all the words and don't even need to comprehend the lyrics, because I know them, OR when there are no lyrics, OR when the lyrics are in a different language. I've listened to a LOT of Eisbrecher, Megahertz, Oomph!, and Rammstein. But also, a lot of F(x), Boa, and other really silly Korean boy bands.

Welp, that's about as much Duh as I can handle. I hope this was useful for you, or entertaining at least... peace out kiddies.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

MileHiCon: such a different experience!

Hey hey kids. So, if you follow my posts (which, I'm guessing the only person who reads these are my mom... HI MOM!) you'd know that I did MALCon in August. Well, that was an experience, lemme tell you what. But MileHiCon, holy cow... what a different kind of experience.
As you well know, I was in the vendor room for MALCon, but for MHC, I was on the Author's Row. Here's what I learned:

1. Respect your mates

My row was probably one of the best positioned, and it made a huge difference for sales. Unfortunately, my mate and I got trapped in a bit of a corner, and so traffic flow sucked when there was a ton of people. The most important thing to do it respect your mates, because A.) It's the right thing to do, B.) They'll respect you back, C.) You're gonna see these people again... likely at the next con...... and D.) You're all going to have more sales and a better time if you do.
Let me define what I mean by "respect" because it isn't just the courtesy of not farting in your booth space, it's much more.
My mate didn't have any sci-fi in his lineup. It was all zombies, murder thrillers, one military, and one high fantasy. I did not have any zombies, murder thrillers, or high fantasy in my lineup. When either one of us got to chatting with a person, and realized they didn't want to read our genre, we pointed them at the person we knew had what they were looking for. This was good for everyone. Instead of the person saying, "Oh I'm not into that stuff," and walking off, we passed them along to someone they would buy from, and typically they did.
Not only the above, but I had a good fricken time with my mates! We got a little tipsy, laughed, told stories, kept each other entertained during lulls, watched each other's booths when we were away (and even made some sales for each other!) and exchanged really useful information. All in all, this was the best takeaway and the best part, my new friends ^_^

2. Presentation is more than what's on the table... but that matters a lot too

I was not the only author without a mega banner hanging behind my head, but just about. They're not super expensive and they're really friggen cool looking. Get one.
The backs of my books are super boring... The art is cool, because the artist I had for each one was an illustrator, but not particularly awesome graphic designers. I'm a graphic designer (so says my degree), and it's about time I put that to work. Book backs shouldn't just be a wall of text. They need to have flavor, and personality. Because most of the cool illustrations are going on on the front, the back needs something else to keep it intriguing. Spice that shiz up with some InDesign layout awesomeness.
You'd think this one would be a no brainer... but make sure people can actually pick up your stuff and look at it. The first and second days I had my books further back so that all of the free shit (stickers, bookmarks, chapstick, candy, newsletter signup, etc) was all up front and grabbable. Wrong. Fucking. Move. I ended up (due to my mother's prodding) rearranging everything at the end of the second night, and it did result in a better pick-up-and-touch rate for people, but not necessarily a higher purchase rate.
Shiny shit at an angle is hard to see... Glossy book covers look friggen awesome, but gloss makes it invisible when there's reflected light pounding your potential customers in the eyes. Remove one of the three factors (light isn't really doable, so scratch that, two factors): Get some mat books (I have one and it seemed to pull some people in well!), and don't put your glossy stuff at an angle.

3. Medicine bag needs to be more inclusive

I learned from MALCon that I needed to carry tums, advil, and excedrin on me. I totally did that for MHC, but it wasn't enough. My medicine bag needs more... importantly, it needs purell... When you're on author's row, you shake a lot more hands than when you're a merchant. Purell... Purell your fingernails. Purell your wrists. Purell for your eyes sometimes because yes, you will see some shit...
Not really medicine, but medicine for my phone... bring a portable charger (and remember to update your Square software before the con, fortunately I did)
Caffeine and snacks.

4. Don't be anti-social

Another duh moment, but if you don't step outside your comfort zone and flag some people down, you're never going to get a sale. If you don't get any sales, stay positive. There's nothing worse than a whiny little bitch on author's row. I sold least of the other 3 authors in my row, but kept my shit positive (mostly with dry martinis), and stayed upbeat, because I wasn't there to make money. Let's get that clear (wow we're diverging from the topic here). It's not about the money. It's not about the money. Cons are about meeting fellow authors and learning as much as you can from them, meeting fans (or potential new fans), making real connections, and selling a few books, praying the people you sell to will review them (or even read them in the first place).
So, don't sit in your corner and hope people will come to you and ask you what your books are about. They won't. Get off your ass, work up 20 seconds of courage, and say hi to someone. The common phrases we used were "What do you like to read?" or "What do you love in a book?" or even got specific because Stant Litore is fucking amazing and say "The eternal question: Aliens, Zombies, or Tyrannosaurus' in space." That always got a laugh out of people ^_^ Stant is the friggen best.

Alright, this is going too long... here's a few pics. Peace out kiddies.

Monday, November 21, 2016

It's time to Revolt

That's right kiddies, time to rise up against the corporations and take your life back, whatever life you have left after getting your arm and leg ripped off and replaced, your guts torn open and put back together, your... wait... who am I talking about here? Someone specific? Mayhaps... Alright, I can't hold it in any longer!!!

Jen has departed, leaving mechanically augmented Hopper at the top of a dimensionally phasing building wondering what's next.
Riding home, she encounters the strange but intriguing Ravin, a man so desperate to make a change in their cruel world, Hopper's never fully sure she can trust him. Her thirst for revenge against the doctors of The Mill shapes the revolt of their century as she adopts Ravin's quest for freedom and unravels a secret which cuts deeply into her heart.
Return to The Mill with Hopper and Ravin on their bloody adventure to destroy the source of the depraved experiments and save the world from the true evil that plagues it.

Welcome to the next installment in the Verge of Desolation series: Revolt.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Neon Demon - A Movie Review

I know, I know... I'm books... but this is too much to pass up. The Neon Demon, an Amazon Original, starring Elle Fanning (didn't even have to look her up), Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, and Abbey Lee... 6.4 on IMDB, 54% on Rotten Tomatoes... f*ck all those f*ckers. PS for this paragraph, not censoring myself from here on in...

This movie was ridiculously good. An all too brief view into a world 99.9% of people could never understand with a sexy retro neon twist. I don't know how else to describe it than that.

So many of the scenes were undeniably perfect, the character behavior fantastic. Elle delivers a kick-ass performance, as usual (I love this girl). The very word narcissism quivers when it thinks of her. She is perfection, she is the embodiment of everything and everyone in the fashion industry. She is a goddess.
Until she soaks up her fame too far, casts off people she shouldn't, leaves herself open for ambush. A diabolical glance at what it is to be a model (fucking yuck), and what these psychotic bitches do behind closed doors.
Let us define beauty, absolute. This movie covers it in such a way that leaves you hollow and jealous. Fuck this movie. It's amazing.

I have no other words to say. See it.

Night Kiddies.