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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Delays

Three concaved, pyramids stand in an alien desert with a starry background.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Doalex



I apologize for Amazon not yet putting The Fool’s Illusion at its reduced price that I talked about in the special FI anniversary post earlier this week. If you missed that one, go check it out to read more about that fantastic deal in celebration of FI’s 2nd year anniversary. Amazon seems to take long with its price changes, something that we indie authors have no control over since we only price our books through them (besides publishing through their self-publishing services) and don’t display the price in the online store itself. Again, I will update you here (at the Fantastic Site ) once I find out the reduced price is displayed and therefore when the book is actually selling at that price. Because it’s hard to say when that will be, I can’t tell you at this point when I will post notice of that. So you don’t miss out on this limited offer, subscribe to the blog in the form below on the right-hand side or follow it by email.

It’s not only FI’s  anniversary but also an aunt and uncle’s wedding anniversary that the family celebrated today. I just got back and so because it’s already late I’ll have to keep this post short. I apologise. It’s been so busy of a day that I didn’t even get around to continue revising my short story that I’m currently working on. I’m in the middle of working the character development into the story which is a hell of a lot harder than it first seems. I’m trying to show the protagonist’s motivation while trying not to tell it so much or simply show it in his thoughts, but to show it through his actions and interaction with the other characters.

This story is particularly harder than most of my other ones because it takes place on an alien planet that’s geographical elements are different than Earth’s and so it’s because of this is why the crew in the story get marooned there. I’m not a scientist as much as I love reading about science. So I have the deeper research I have to do when it comes to science fiction like the one I’m now writing.
Next time (in our regular weekend post) I might talk about my publishing plans for my new short fiction collection, The Hidden

How much scientific accuracy do you expect when you read or watch science fiction? Let me know in the box below.


Until next time . . .

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Fool’s Illusion’s 2nd Anniversary

A ghoulish jester holds a blood-stained chain saw while a young woman looks on from inside a coffin.
Photo Credit: Steven Rose, Jr.





Well, today did not only mark the last official day of summer but it also marked the 2nd Anniversary of The Fool’s Illusion! As I said in my last post, I would have a special offer for you to celebrate the occasion. Well, there’s both good news and bad. The good news is that the special offer is a $4 price reduction of the print copy at Amazon! Therefore the regular price is $12.99 but, for a limited time, I’m making the book available for only $8.99! The bad news is that I set the reduced price only yesterday and didn’t realise until after that Amazon takes three to five business days to put the reduced price into effect. The price reduction should be in effect by this Saturday. I’ll notify you here as soon as I find out. The best way to keep updated on it is to subscribe to my blog which you can do on the form towards the bottom of the right-hand side sidebar. Or you can keep checking The Fool’s Illusion’s page at Amazon throughout the week. 

I apologise for the delay. For now let’s just wish The Fool’s Illusion a Happy Birthday!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Horror is the Exorcist

The other day I was doing some research for a client’s project when I came across this article at TheVerge.com. The article talks about a small Congolese film production group that made a zombie movie. According to the article, this short film was a way to confront the true horrors and trauma of the violence the group and much of society in the Congo face. When a bad experience strikes, it stays with you for a long time. Unfortunately for some, like many of the people in the Congo, it stays with them for life. That’s why the ghost, zombie and other archetypes of the undead are so popular in the horror genre because they embody our deepest fears, our worst experiences and the emotional wounds that result from them. The horror story exorcises our personal demons.


By the way, the movie, entitled The Mysterious Dream, isn’t a bad one. While it may not be anywhere near blockbuster status, it has some good cinematography and is reminiscent of the zombie films of the 1960s and earlier because it was shot on reel rather than so much on a digital camera. I strongly suggest you check it out.



Credit: Peace Forever Studios



The Demons In Our Lives

We all have personal demons of one sort or another. Life is chaotic. Seemingly, at least. All of us have been through some experience we never want to repeat again. Some of us have been victims of violent crime, domestic abuse or, which was my case, bullying. These experiences as well as others have left negative impacts on our lives. Some of us are emotionally scarred by these experiences more than most people. 

Because these experiences are so impacting, we see the world as chaotic and without retribution such as when a violent racist gets off free because of some legal loophole or even a corrupt act in the system. We tell ourselves, these things aren’t supposed to happen, especially to those of us who do good most of the time and have been brought up to respect the well-being of others. The chaos of the situation seems so bad to some of us we need to come to terms with it and put it in some sort of order and, therefore, give it some sort of meaning. Religion has done this throughout the ages, but religion doesn’t work for everybody. So those who can’t make sense of their past traumas turn to art.

Horror Channels the Demons

Horror is one of many genres in art that we artists and writers turn to to make sense of the chaos. Horror exorcises us of those demons called fear and trauma similar to the way the priest in the movie The Exorcist does with the possessed girl. Reading and writing horror is a way of channeling the otherwise pent up energy that comes from tension and anger caused by bad experiences like a medium channels evil spirits from a house. What we can’t do in real life to channel that bad energy such as carrying out violence and destruction to those who wronged us, we do through characters in fiction.

In other words, horror in storytelling is a form of therapy like all art. In fact, it may be the best therapy of all the genres because it deals with our innermost fears the most. It does this through the metaphor of the monster.


Preview of Coming Attractions

The Fool’s Illusion turns two years old this Tuesday 22 September! Look out for a special blog post to celebrate the occasion along with a special offer! If you’re concerned you’ll forget and miss that offer in your busy life, which all our lives are, then subscribe to this blog where indicated below in the right-hand sidebar.

Until next time . . . 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Return of the Short Sci Fi Story and Demand for Smaller Books

An "Amazing Stories" cover depicting two astronauts floating in space.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Radio-Science Publications



I just started reading Larry Niven’s novel from the ‘70s, Protector, and so far it’s been really grabbing and thought-provoking. I’ve been reading a lot more novels for about the past two years even though I’m more a short story person both as reader and writer. Over all, short fiction isn’t as well-received as it was in the earlier half of the 20th century. It may be better received in the sci fi and fantasy genres than it is in other genres such as mainstream. But even among speculative fiction for the last decade or so, the short story has been dwarfed in popularity by larger works. Until now. The literary market is beginning to lean towards shorter works again.

The Short Story Returned

For the past year, media and literary organizations have been reporting on the return of the short story. Sources everywhere from the New York Public Library to Writers Digest have been indicating this. What has made the short story so popular again? Author Anne R. Allen says in an article at WritersDigest.com that it’s due to e-readers and other handheld devices people can download stories to, including smart phones. This is especially the case with anthologies. But short fiction’s return isn’t only limited to electronic format. It is becoming popular in print as well, especially in anthologies. An article in The Independent says that the short story is making a comeback from both established authors as well as ones early in their careers.   

This boom, or re-boom, includes science fiction and fantasy authors. According to The Independent, Margaret Atwood has a collection out that has been critically acclaimed in the last couple years. Only this weekend, io9 said “we’re living in a new ‘golden age’ of short science fiction.” It’s as if the sci fi pulp era has returned reincarnated, only the stories are of even higher quality overall. io9 also said in an article from last month that MIT has been putting out its own annual anthology of short science fiction since 2011, science fiction inspired by today’s cutting edge technology.  Contributing authors to this anthology have been notable ones such as Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, Charles Stross and Annalee Newitz.

Shorter Books Trending

I took a webinar on self-publishing not too long ago where the presenter said that shorter books are beginning to sell more and so are in higher demand than they were a few years ago. Before that I was concerned whether I’d have enough stories ready for my upcoming collection, The Hidden, to make it worth the while publishing but because of this trend in the book market maybe I’ll have enough after all. If that’s the case, I may be able to release it by mid November. We’ll see.

Do you prefer reading short fiction or longer fiction? Feel free to leave your answers in the box below.

Until next time . . .




Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Sci Fi and Fantasy Guide to Read A Book Day

A cartoon owl sits on top of a book.
Photo Credit: Openclipart.org



Labor Day isn’t the only holiday we have this weekend. Although it may not be official, tomorrow, Sunday the 6th of September, is National Read A Book Day.  people are encouraged to read a book. So don’t just take a break from work, but take a break from burning your eye-balls out from the TV, computer, and cinema screens and read a book. Although some like to read books on a computer screen of some sort, I prefer my book in print and so like to feel with my hands what I’m reading; I like to hold the art of the book binding. But what medium you read on is up to you. As long as you forget the video for the day and read a book--or even better, read several books--you will be truly celebrating Read A Book Day which is what I plan to do.

For those of you who are not sure which books to read, I conjured up this list of past blog posts featuring book titles to help you. Most of these are sci fi and fantasy books since this is primarily a speculative fiction blog, but if you follow my blog that’s probably what you read anyway. If you don’t then at least you’ll have some recommendations from a genre outside your usual one and may even end up liking it. Who knows? Maybe there will be a Read A Science Fiction/Fantasy Book Day sometime in the future to encourage people to read books in the genre. I also added to the list a couple book titles that you can find at Amazon.


A List to Help You With National Read A Book Day


Yes, it’s a list within a list. I thought there was no better way than to begin an end-of-summer reading list than with a summer reading list. Especially since I never got around to making a summer reading list this year.



In here, I talk about Adam Douglass’s and Kim Stanley Robinson’s books. So you’ll see some titles by them. Plus, there’s a link to another book list in this one.  So that gives you more options for sure.

Though we’re a long ways off from December, the books in this post are great for reading at any time of the year.

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
This is probably one of the best books to read on a literary holiday such as Read A Book Day since it’s about books in the future.

The Fool’s Illusion, Steven Rose, Jr. 
If none of the titles in this list or at its links interest you, you can purchase a copy of my book of short fiction that is sure to entertain you. In fact, it will be three years old the 22nd of this month! Look out for a special anniversary blog around then.


Now, what am I planning on reading this Sunday? I’m going to try to struggle through the bad writing yet good story of Ian Fleming’s Doctor No (one of the earliest James Bond novels), read a story or two from Fred Saberhagen’s Berserker, and start one of three novels from the ‘60s and ‘70s by Larry Niven: Protector; World of Ptavvs; or A World Out of Time.

What are you planning to read for National Read a Book Day? Feel free to leave your answers in the box below. Other than that . . .

Until next time . . .