Saturday, January 25, 2014

A New Background for a New Year

I told you that before the month was out I would have a new background for the blog and here it is! It's actually borrowed from a cover of the 1953 issue of the science fiction/fantasy magazine, Weird Tales. The artist for that cover was Frank Kelley Freas. You may have noticed that I made a slight change in the font for the blog's title, too. Let me know what you think of these changes. Do they work? Do they match the content of the blog okay? Leave your comments in the box below.

Until next time . . .

Thursday, January 9, 2014

2014 in a Crystal Ball?

Photo Credit: This is a derivative form of a page taken from the September 1941 issue of Weird Tales via Wikimedia Commons. The bold text at the end has been added by the blog's author.

I can’t say I’m a prophet or a soothsayer, medium, fortune teller, whatever you prefer to call them. And so I can’t predict anybody’s future, perhaps not even my own. But I can anticipate my own future as far as planning for it goes and so I do believe we are all capable of determining our own futures. Can we predict them? Probably not, at least not to any kind of precision. So while I can’t see 2014 in precision through a crystal ball, I can plan for my future of 2014 as a writer. This can be done through making new year’s resolutions. But because the past determines the present which in turn determines the future, I will first look back in the crystal ball of anticipation at my accomplishments of 2013.

The highlights of my writing accomplishments of 2013:

I self-published my first book of short fiction. The Fool’sIllusion has been my most important success if 2013. Fool’s Illusion is a venue where my short fiction has been gathered in one place for the first time in my life and so it will make my writing known to the world more and so as a writer I won’t be hiding in the shadows of the literary industry as much. It’s also important because it has helped me market my material better even though I’m a writer and artist much more than I am a marketer.

Several copies of The Fool’s Illusion were sold. This comes along with publishing, especially since it happened almost instantly. I’m not saying it occurred overnight (at least not literally). But I didn’t expect it to happen so soon. How did I make it happen so soon? I learned from other writers--on their blog posts, in articles and at convention panels--how they sold their work. Speaking more practically, I made my work known before publishing it. I marketed Fool’s Illusion through promotional book marks at related events such as sci fi/fantasy conventions. I updated people about it through venues such as A Far Out Fantastic Site, Facebook and Twitter. But not all of this accomplishment was done by me alone. Part of it was made possible by family and friends who I made my book known to early on. Without their interest I probably would not have sold a single copy yet. So I’m very grateful to them.

I did two live readings. One was at the Sacramento Public Library’s Natomas branch. The other was at WesterCon in Sacramento back in the summer. Both were a reading of either a story or story excerpt from Fool’s Illusion. This also helped promote the book before it published, since it was in progress at the times of the readings. I’m very grateful to Sac Public Library, my self-publishing group that I belonged to at the time, and both the staff and fellow attendees of WesterCon for these opportunities.

I returned to my local critique group. I attended meet-ups with a writers’ critique group in Davis several years ago but had to put my attendance on hiatus. It was last summer when I finally returned and received a very warm welcome-back from people who had not even been with the group when I attended it last. I’ve also received useful feedback from the group showing what needs improvement and what works in my writing. The group has been very encouraging of my work while yet being honest with it.

Fool’s Illusion received its first two reviews. My book of short fiction received two really good reviews on Amazon , one that can also be found at I am grateful to both writers of these reviews.

My writing resolutions for 2014:

Write a short story every two weeks.

Post at the Far Out Fantastic Site more regularly. I’ve probably come across as pretty inconsistent about posting here. While many writers post weekly or monthly on the same day of the week or month, many others of us get very busy with not only our writing careers but life outside them. This is especially so with us self-publishing writers. But because I know what it is for a reader to become overly anxious to read the next post of a favourite author, I’m going to try posting here at least twice a month on either a Friday or Saturday.

Change the Far Out Fantastic Site’s appearance. Many of you who have been following the Site for a long time are probably sick and tired of seeing the same background and graphics. I admit, even though in my opinion the design is not bad, it’s not much to stare at after two or three visits. So I have in the plans to put up a new background, hopefully a full, concrete scene with activity going on such as bats flying from a castle’s towers toward you viewers (not to attack you, I assure you). But since I’m not a computer wiz (I’m more a computer enthusiast) it has taken me a while to make this move, but it is in progress and I have selected several potential backgrounds. You’ll see a new background before the month is out.

Distribute copies of Fool’s Illusion to Sacramento area bookstores. Exactly when this will be and which stores I do not know yet. But I’ll definitely keep you updated.

Directly sell copies of Fool’s Illusion at conventions.

Do a virtual book tour. I still haven’t reached the planning stage for this yet, so I’m not sure when this will happen. I need to talk to other bloggers and look at other online venues for this. So I’ll also keep you updated on this as well.

Publish in literary magazines. It’s been a long time since I’ve used literary magazines as a venue for publication. But because Fool’s Illusion is published, which has been a very tough but exciting project, I may submit my fiction to magazines again and take a short break from self-publishing.

So there are my accomplishments for last year, and my resolutions for this new year of 2014. What are yours as writers, artists or readers? Are there any changes you’d like to see here at the Fantastic Site that I haven’t mentioned? Please let me know by leaving your comments in the box below.

And Happy New Year!