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Showing posts from 2015

Special Holiday Post: Christmas List, Krampus List and Links

Happy Hallow-Days/Scary Nightmare Before Christmas! Photo Credit: I apologise for posting so late again, but I wanted to make this a special Holiday edition. And after spinning the gears to the point of going brain dead over what to include in this post, I overloaded the stocking with so many ideas that I couldn’t even put them all here due to lack of time. So I’ve included both a Christmas list and a Krampus list of chain-jingling links. What’s a Krampus you say? You’ll soon find out, and better here than in your room at night during this Holiday Season. But first I want to update you a little on The Hidden . Amazon's Preview Tool and  The Hidden I had said a while back that I’ll be releasing The Hidden for beta readers  but I may release an excerpt of it for previewing first. Just this weekend I found out about Amazon’s Create Space’s Preview tool which allows authors to post excerpts of their books before publication so people at large can read

4 Far Out Sci Fi and Fantasy Finds

I apologise for the delay in posting. My car had been in the garage/shop for a full two weeks and I just got it back Friday. I was going back and forth to the shop to find out what was wrong and then I had to wait around for the tow truck to have it towed to a different garage. So that pushed me back in many of my projects including my short stories I’m working on for The Hidden and the cover illustration I’m making for it. Oh, yeah and after all that fuss I was told nothing was wrong with my car to begin with! Maybe it’s playing tricks on me because it’s jealous and doesn’t want me to succeed in my writing career and so has a mind of its own like Christine or that ‘70s horror flick The Car . Then Saturday I was at a holiday charity drive held at Empire ComicsVault in Sacramento. They were collecting for Toys for Tots and artists were there doing work on commission for a children’s home. So I haven’t really had time to get together a topic for an article this weekend and so decid

Du Bois' Recently Found Sci Fi Story and a Call for Beta Readers

What's the ideal Christmas present for a hardcore science fiction/fantasy reader to open up? Maybe it's a newly discovered sci fi/fantasy story but not necessarily by today's greatest authors such as Ben Bova and Corey Doctorow. Perhaps it's not even by any of yesterday's greatest yet today's classics such as Heinlein. It may be by someone who was never that well known to write in the genre yet who had a major influence in U.S. history, particularly on the Civil Rights movement. The ideal Christmas present for a hardcore reader of sci fi may be a story by W.E.B. Du Bois who actually wrote more science fiction than probably most of us speculative fiction geeks would ever have thought. I was so amazed when I found out about his most recently uncovered story, that I had to do an article on it at Why the Christmas present analogy? You might find the answer in the article which I encourage you to read. Photo Credit: Carl Van Vechten/Wikimedia Comm

Atomic Rockets: Hard Sci Fi Writing, Reading and Atompunk Resource

I hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving. Mine was groovy. I just spent it with the family, which is good enough for me. I was sure to look out for giant man-eating turkeys and I hope everybody else did too. It was a super day of giving thanks for the many good things we have, which is often a lot more than we think. So many people think too much about what they don’t have. Some think they don’t have enough money, enough friends, enough recognition . . . The list can go on. But you can add to that list that some feel there’s not enough high quality science fiction literature out there. That may be true to some extent. One person who feels that sci fi literature for the past two decades has been poor, in the science part particularly, has a website out that addresses the problem. That website is called Atomic Rockets which you can check out at . It is a resource for both science fiction writers as well as readers who want accurate science

The Artist’s Vision Vs. Corporate and Audience Expectations

Photo Credit: I'm so behind on my upcoming short fiction collection, The Hidden . I still have several stories to revise for it, and then the cover illustration to make   in which I'm planning on coming out with two versions of: a pre-release version that will be hand-made, and when I say “hand-made” I mean drawn and painted by yours truly with “old school” tools such as a pencil and coloured pencils; and the final release version which I will digitally produce. Why two versions? Personally, because I believe that digitally produced art cannot replace the natural energy and human spirit that goes into freehand art. And so I still respect and empathize with that small niche audience out there who prefer freehand art. But I don't discriminate against the majority either. If they’re willing to pay for digital, photorealistic art on book covers then I'll provide them that option, even though it’s not my thing. This reminds me of George Lucas’s issue w

3 Ideas From Creature Con That Can Enhance your Horror fiction

Photo Credit: I said several weeks ago that I would talk about some writing techniques I learned of when I attended Sinister Creature Con back in October. Even though this con emphasised special cinematic and make-up effects in the horror genre, I picked up on three good tips there that can be useful in any media of horror fiction including books, movies, TV and games. In fact, these tips can be used in other genres besides horror. So doing the following can enhance your fiction writing: 1      1)  Determine an end point to your piece. Fon Davis of Industrial Light and Magic, the special effects company for the Star Wars films, talked in his panel about doing this when he discussed his work on model building and sculpting. He said that many special effects artists like to make their work perfect by making it appear real to the last detail. That’s always been my case when it comes to writing fiction (and so now you know why I run so behind on my stories). Bu

Sweepstakes Winner and Possible Return of a Sci Fi Pulp Magazine

I hope everybody had a far out Halloween! I know I did. It started with a trip to Empire Comics Vault in Sacramento where they had a Halloween mini con and a big sale to go with the occasion. Unfortunately, I got there too late for the con, which only lasted until 3 PM. But the sale was still going, including the free comics they were giving away which I definitely took advantage of both yet without going much over five dollars.  In the evening I attended a family Halloween party and then came home and watched Dr. Terror’s House of Horror , starring Christopher Lee, on a VHS tape I bought at a con several years ago. And, of course, not long after the clock struck the witching hour, I looked up the winner of the sweepstakes who was selected by good ol’ Rafflecopter. And the Winner Is . . . . . . Alex Cavanaugh! I, again, congratulate Alex. He receives a book package consisting of novels The Queen of Darkness by Miguel Conner and Blood Moon by M.R. Sellars, plus a signed copy of

Happy Halloween! The Sweepstakes Deadline is Extended!

Happy Halloween, everybody! If there’s anything I like better than Halloween, it’s Halloween on a Saturday! Which means most of us don’t have to return to boring reality until moanday Monday. So I’ve decided to extend the Halloween sweepstakes to midnight tonight, PST. Therefore, once the clock strikes the witching hour this giveaway turns back into a carved pumpkin (and so is over). So enter your chance to win free books now! All you have to do is answer this question: What is your favorite book to read or movie to watch around Halloween? You may leave your answers in the comments coffin below if you’d like. But whatever you do, you must leave them in the sweepstakes box above that in order for your entry to be acknowledged by Rafflecopter (where this giveaway generates from). Please see last week’s   post for more important details on how to participate and for important terms and conditions. Again, I hope everybody has a Happy and safe Halloween! Until nex

Far Out Fantastic Halloween Sweepstakes 2015

Photo Credit: Update, October  31,  2015, 10:00 PM: Because the sweepstakes deadline has been extended (see below), the winner will not be announced until next weekend's blog post but he/she will be notified before that at the contact information they provided. Update, October  30,  2015, 10:59 PM: The sweepstakes below has been extended to midnight, November 1 (PST)! What do you get when you put witches’ brooms together with vampire hunters’ and witch hunters’ artillery? You get sweep stakes , or more like sweepstakes . That is, the Far Out Fantastic Halloween Sweepstakes that you can enter for a chance to win a big treat! No purchase necessary. The treat: a three-book set consisting of a copy of the short fiction collection, The Fool’sIllusion , and two novels! This set approximately totals an original retail value of $33. All you need to do to enter is answer the question at the end of this post. This giveaway begins at midnight on Tuesday

6 Pics from Sinister Creature Con

Sinister Creature Con was a blast. I was there most of the day. Even though it catered more to the cinematic special effects and make-up crowd, I found a lot of great inspiration and motivation for my own art, the art of words particularly. I want to share with you that inspiration and the tips that came from it but it’s been a long day, so tonight’s not the best time. I would do it next week but that’s when I want to give you a chance at winning a giveaway through a Halloween contest and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to fit both in that weekend, especially since I have a family gathering to go to that evening. So it will probably be either Halloween weekend or the weekend after. But I would like to share some photos* with you that I took at the con which you’ll find below. Most are of attendees who came in costume which theirs and many others’ were really out’a sight! Two furries (or hairries?) Three cousins in costume, from left to right: Michael J

What's Happening in the Halloween Season

Halloween is one of my all-time favourite holidays and we're more than a week into the month of October. So your ghoulru has decided to conjure up this list of Halloween-related events happening now in the Sacramento area where he is broadcasting this blog from. I know many of you are not from here, but I have a couple links that might be of use to you that may direct you to some special Halloween events near you. A list of Halloween Events   Sacramento Horror Film Festival , Oct. 9 – 11: Yes, that's right. This festival of fearful films by indie directors is going on right now! It was started back in 2007 and has been going since. It shows both feature and short films. Sacramento Area Authors talk about their post-apocalypticnovel , Oct. 16: Authors Louis Grivetti and Sargent Reynolds talk about their latest novel, The Cave , set in a post-apocalyptic future, at The Avid Reader bookstore in Davis. But no zombies in this one (unless they make a surprise appearance; y

Book Giveaway and Keeping Up with the Science Behind Sci Fi

A Change In Offerings I got so tired of waiting for Amazon to reflect the reduced price for the hardcopy of Fool's Illusion that I decided to change the 2 nd Anniversary offer to an ebook giveaway. So between now and 11:59 PM Tuesday the 3rd of October you can download a free digital copy of The Fool'sIllusion . You do not need a Kindle device to download or read. If you click on the link that says “Read On Any Device” at the book’s Amazon page, you can download a free app that allows you to read the book on your desktop, laptop or any handheld device the app supports.   A Change In Topics: Sci Fact In Sci Fi Photo Credit:   Last week  I said that I might discuss my options for publishing my upcoming book, The Hidden . However, I decided to switch topics and discuss science fact in science fiction, which I kind of went over last time, particularly in relation to the story I'm presently working on . But I thought I would go into a little more


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

The Fool’s Illusion’s 2nd Anniversary

Photo Credit: Steven Rose, Jr. Well, today did not only mark the last official day of summer but it also marked the 2 nd 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 T he Fool’s Illusion ’s page at Amazon throughout