Tag Archives: life

War Journal 76: The Book Deal

The joy of pages!

When I first started the war journals, I didn’t have a single pro sale to my name.  You guys have watched me work my craft, work that slush, going from none to one to dozens of sales.  The best part of the road to fortune and glory is the trench victories and I recently earned another.

I got a book deal.

Okay, small yet loyal fanbase, before you get to celebrating with your boy, here’s the thing.  I didn’t take it.

They were really nice people, I mean that, and while the royalty breakdown wasn’t overly generous, I thought it fair.  The reason I didn’t take the deal boiled down to they wanted last and final say over editorial changes.  Me?  I’m used to contracts where editor and author agree upon changes.  Sure, those contracts were for short stories but that kind of freedom allowed me to provide you guys with my own special blend of story sauce.  I didn’t want the blend getting diluted and while the folks offering the deal promised not to tweak too much, I didn’t even wanna take the risk of the blend getting diluted.

So I’m back out in the breeze, guys.  Back in these trenches.

I actually don’t mind that at all.  I got my special blend with me.  I got y’all, you folks that come around when I post because something’s stirring, whether it’s a new story published or new misadventure in this biz.  Apparently both these things… the special blend and you fine folks who’ve always appreciated it… are really important to me.

Which is why I’m gonna self-publish the novel.

Self-publishing is definitely more adventure (and work!) than I originally signed up for or wanted.  But I guess I already got what I wanted from the book deal… people from the gatekeeper side of the spectrum approached me and said, “Your novel, we dig it, we wanna make money on it.”  Cool.  I just don’t like gates, unless I’m deployed and on the base side of one.  Then I’m a gate fan.

I suppose it wouldn’t be a war in the trenches if I didn’t try to take the hill every now and then.  Stay tuned as this shakes out, as I attempt to take over the novel game without a publishing house to outfit me.

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War Journal 68: Leapolution II

I looked this good 4 years ago... the hell have I been eating?

I looked this good 4 years ago… the hell have I been eating?

Leap Day!  Some of you, two handfuls in fact, remember the last time I posted on Leap Day.  It only comes once every four years, so that first time I wanted to catch my blog in its infancy and see how it grew the next time Leap Day rolled around.

For the many more that are new, here were the stats back then:

I was in Afghanistan.  That kinda sucked.

I had 2 out of 3 pro sales to make SFWA qualifications.  I would later learn that one of those sales didn’t count.  At the time, that sucked even worse than Afghanistan.

I had 16 subscribers.  16!

I had a fierce thirst for more.

Now, four years later, and the only thing that’s still constant is the thirst!  Current subscriber count is 169, which is awesome.  I’m SFWA recognized.  I’ve sold 12 stories at pro pay to places such as Intergalactic Medicine Show, Daily Science Fiction, AE: The Canadian SF Review (making me an international player!) and the Unidentified Funny Objects anthology.  Speaking of, I also became an associate editor, directly affecting the landscape of speculative fiction comedy.  And it kinda rocks reading the work of other writers in the trenches, trying to get their funny on while battling the slush.

Who knows where we’ll be the next Leap Day.  Maybe 1699 followers and a book deal?  Your man can hope.

In the meanwhile, thanks for hanging out with a brother.  It’d be a lot lonelier in the trenches without you.

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War Journal 64: The Shower

Life’s been pretty uncomplicated for me since my return to the States.  Got a job, went to work, wrote some stuff, then rinsed and repeated a few times.  This isn’t a complaint… while 2014 was fairly low key in terms of writing milestones and side quest completions, the pace was welcome and probably necessary in the ongoing story of my life.  But on the ass end of that slow boiling year, as if setting the tone for 2015, my wife gets implored by a long time friend to host and coordinate her baby shower.

When my wife received this message (email, text message I can’t remember which) she looked at me.  It wasn’t the usual look of lusty admiration.  She didn’t have a song in her heart, but a question on her face.

“Should I do it?” she asked.

“Yep,” I answered, quick, sure, full of confidence.  My wife’s a craftswoman, a top notch designer, and a ruthless perfectionist.  I absolutely knew if anyone could design an awesome party, it’s her.  I figured with all the hours she’d be spending on the shower, I’d have plenty of time to play my PS4.  Normally she asks for a bit of help in projects, but not this time.  I’m a dude… about as foreign to baby showers as women without veils are in Saudi.  I’d be of practically no help.  So I started thinking about level ups.  Hell, maybe I’ll actually do something useful on the ass end of 2014 and write too.

The joke was on me… I didn’t do much PS4-ing or writing.    When I wasn’t working at my job, I was an unpaid employee for Shower Inc.  I was going to stores to buy materials.  I was going back to the stores to buy more materials.  And I was being brought to her workstation (decidedly not a playstation) so she could get my opinion on the ballerina girls or the diaper cake or the xyz.  The thing is, she’s an awesome designer, and I’m NOT, so she wasn’t really asking me for my opinion, because I’m of the mind to buy the party supply store’s only options and call it a Wednesday… she was really asking me if her ideas were sound.  And they were, cause she’s an awesome designer and I still have my original blog wallpaper because well… I mean… it fits, right?  At first I figured it was just for the first few days, week at the most, but I got word that our family friends wanted to invite men to this baby shower… go new school with it.  That meant planning men’s game, which meant more input which meant no end in sight.

Here’s where I shorten the long story… we spent what I think was a month but felt like a lifestyle planning, plotting, designing and shaping this baby shower.  My wife spent countless nights up and awake–planning, crafting, creating the perfect decorations, researching the funnest games, drinking the strongest coffees.  I know because sometimes I woke up for water and got dragged into “what do you think of this…” scenarios.

But the day came and, just like I knew, she pulled off a pretty much perfect party.  The guests marveled at the decorations.  They raved about the food.  Several people told my wife they had never seen such a beautiful arrangement, and they had been to showers and events that were professionally planned and catered.  Many guests took pictures of the set pieces.  One person told me we should open up a business; we could take pictures of this layout and put them into a portfolio.  That’s when I started taking pictures myself.  Not too many, as I was still in my Bentley Farnsworth assistant role (which is a really busy role), but those pics are below for your viewing pleasure.  Sorry if they’re blurry but, again I was busy.  And remember, virtually all the decorations you see are handmade, custom built for this shower.

photo 3

That’s the diaper cake.

photo 4

 

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The Ornament

My Christmas tree went up around Thanksgiving.  I think it’s an awesome tree, very well decorated, which means I definitely didn’t do the decorating.  Who knows how that monster would’ve turned out!

Anyway, my wife’s looking at the tree and she’s like “something’s missing.”  Again, it looks awesome to me, but what do I know, she’s the decorator.   “What’s it missing?” I ask.

“Your personal ornament,” she answers.

My son Chance has a small star he made when he was a little kid that hangs on the tree.  My wife has a pair of ballerina shoes that she hangs in the tree.  All I’ve been hanging on the tree was my assumption that it needed nothing else.  That assumption was throwing the whole design off.

She wanted me to give her a special ornament.

I don’t know where they sell special ornaments.  There’s no section in any store I’ve been in yet.  What the hell do you hang in a tree that’s special to you?  How can I have so many damn questions about what to hang when I’m already looking at two examples?

“I’m trying.  I got nothing,” I tell her.

She thinks for a moment.  Then she goes to work.  This is what she shows me.

tales of beamoninside

In case you can’t read the cursive, it reads “The Tales of Beamon”.  Inside, each page has the name of one of my published short stories, and a few gems that never got “published” but are still her favorite reads.  See the steampunk inspired gears on the outside?  She made all this from like regular paper and sheer ingenuity!

Now, this is what I call a special ornament.  I should try to sell custom versions to other writers… it’s beyond anything I could’ve hoped for in terms of finding something that really speaks to me.  It hangs on this tree.

treetree closeup

I hope you folks are having a great lead into Christmas like I am.

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