Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rish Outcast 21: Metacast

Rish talks briefly (alright, semi-briefly) about the point of the podcast and ruminates a bit about creativity.

To download the episode, right click HERE and save to your infernal device.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Rish Narrates "The Early Conundrums" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch on Audible

Last summer, Kristine Rusch put out a collection of her "Spade/Paladin Conundrum" stories, which I had done the audio versions of.  Her agent asked me if I'd like to record the audiobook for the collection as well.  Now, I'd been told before (and many more times since then) that novels sell much better than short stories, and that a collection is closer to the former than the latter.  So, I was excited at the prospect (especially since I had done 80 to 90% of the work on this already, so in a way, it would be like free money).

I'm not sure what, exactly, happened between last summer and February, but I finally got the contract to produce the audio, and within a couple of days, I had the whole thing done.  It contains a new introduction by the author (which was oddly enjoyable to record, since it reminds me of the Dunesteef and my own author's notes), and the five extant Spade/Paladin stories, "Stomping Mad," "The Case of the Vanishing Boy," "The Karnikov Card," "Pandora's Box," and "Trick or Treat."

It's available at this link.

I know I pooh-pooh the whole money-making aspect of writing and audiobook work, but it would be pretty grand if this sold a lot of copies, because a) I would find ways to spend the cash, and b) Rusch might feel the push to write (and publish) more of these convention detective stories.

And then we can collect those into a second collection, hopefully not titled "The Humdrum Conundrums."

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Writing Update - The Notebook (but not that "The Notebook")

I did mention a few weeks ago that I started on a sequel to "Birth of a Sidekick," which is a story I published, audio-booked, and podcasted, but feel free to buy it anyway.*

Well, I do continue to work on it, nearly every day.  It's already eclipsed the size of the first story, and shows no signs of stopping.  In fact, there was a point last week or so where I realized I could just write "The End" and continue the narrative in the next installment.  It may actually have been a wise choice, but ah well, I forged on.

I'd say I'm about at the two-thirds point, and if I haven't finished it by the end of the month, then I'm even lazier than I realized.  I'd like to talk about the story's theme, and how having a theme in mind changed the way the story went, but I could easily do a whole post about it (and how I'm scared it's gonna be nearly novel-length, even though it's not supposed to be), but I don't want to be here all day.

I do need to finish the dang thing soon, though, because I went ahead and entered my name for the Masters of the Macabre contest (for the fifth time), and this year, they want an audio drama (with other voices, sound effects, and music in it), which is, frankly, more ambitious than 90% of writing contests.  And maybe even for me, we'll see.

In a related (semi-related?) story, I finished out my notebook this week.
Now, I guess I should explain why this is--if indeed it is--significant.  I write my stories longhand in spiral notebooks.  I do this because I am too distracted when I'm at a computer, and because my experiences with laptops are almost wholly negative.  I keep planning on getting a new laptop, and use it only for writing (which is easy to say, and damned difficult to actually pull off), but for now, I write my stories on paper.  It's frustrating for the (few) people who want to read my work, though, because there are no easily-shareable ways of letting them read the stories, save scanning, photographing, or transcribing my scrawls.  In fact, I vaguely remember asking once if somebody wanted to try their hand at typing up one of my stories, so that I wouldn't have to do it, and I can't remember if there were any takers.

Regardless, doing my writing in this way is pretty darn inefficient, in that it's all in one single location, so if I lose the notebook (as I did with the one I took to work, and wrote "A Lovely Singing Voice" in, only to find it again months later), those pieces are gone forever.  I like to think that I get an easy rewrite when I sit down and type up the stories, but it's actually an easy way to get typos into a second draft, when I should be cleaning them up.  Also, people ask me how many words I've written on something, and unless I go through and count them (which I've only ever made the mistake of doing a time or two), I'll never know.

Even so, it is pretty great to have filled another notebook, and to soon start up on another one.**  This is gonna sound self-indulgent (but hey, it's a blog, what else are they for, unless it's to generate ad-revenue, which is even more self-indulgent, you arrogant, money-hungry bastards), but Tom Tancredi recently asked me about claiming to write a lot of stories, so I thought I'd take a moment to look through it, before it gets tossed in the closet and covered with dirty clothes, like the last two notebooks.
I don't know if you can see this picture or not, but it's of the first page, the folder part, of the notebook.  It's got a printout of an old (unfinished) story, "Training Program" there, and then a list of stories in the notebook, with asterisks by the ones that were actually completed.  The next page starts with the story I was calling "Baby Talk," from where I had left it in the notebook before ("Who the hell are you?" Alex asked me.  I couldn't help but laugh.).  But here's the project list from that first page:

Baby Talk/Say Uncle
Sin Eater (western vampire story)
carnival story (Mick Attends)
space opera
Caller I.D.
Parsec song
Greetings From Sector 19 (squad report george lucas)
percy jackson/devil daughter story
christmas zombie story 2 (TRU)
Caller I.D. sequel
Balms & Sears
The Gold Bug
Subtext 2 (text from dead students story, "Callback?")
Van helsing script
Murdertown 1 Mile
A Lovely Singing Voice (rewrite)
plane crash (alt history tale)
From Another World
3 witches tale (Expected Visitor)
Lost & Found (teleporting boy story/Finder of Lost Children)
Annabel Lee
Unpleasant Truths
Superman-type tale
Birth of a Sidekick sequel

That's quite a bit there, no?  It didn't include author's notes and journal entries and additions to pieces like "The Calling" and "Like A Good Neighbor" and "Last Contact" and who knows how many ideas for stories that never went anywhere.  It made me realize that I wrote "Caller I.D." to please some longtime reader of my blog, and I never put it out there.  I really ought to do that soon.

Remind me.
This third photo is just of a random page in the notebook, with three things on it: a list of stories I might put into a collection called "Something Weird," a half a page from "Sleeptalkin' Gal" where Eli watches the episode where Kevin calls the pretty girl on the phone (this part didn't make it into the audiobook version, unfortunately), and the beginning of a story I wrote for a contest, which will eventually be published as "Greetings from Sector 19," but was there called SQUAD REPORT GEORGE LUCAS (sadly, this story won that particular contest, I type with head lowered in shame).  It's got the names of the two main characters at the top of the page (to keep them straight), and the date of the story has 2041 crossed out, and 2106 replacing it.

Writing can be difficult, but boy, can it also be fun.  As I complete this notebook, and continue on with my BOAS sequel, it's remarkable how enjoyable this tale has been to write (at least the first draft; I may be horrified by how bad it is when it comes time to type it up and start fixing things).  My worry had been that this story would be boring, and that it's overly long, but I think I had those same fears on the first one, and people seemed to like it quite a bit.

Dean Wesley Smith's attitude has been: put out all your stories (for people to buy and read), and if one is bad, figure out why it was, and focus on not doing that in your next story.  I wish that I could follow his instructions/commands to the letter, and self-publish ever single one of them, happy to spend the money, and not care if somebody dislikes one or two (or all).

I am working on it.  Seven of those above stories have seen publication, so I'm not completely pathetic.  I dunno.  I do like the whole notebook thing, though I'll admit that it's not as efficient as it should be, and I really ought to become more efficient.

In my blog-writing as well.

Rish "Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook" Outfield

*This probably ought to be its own post, but I just wanted to say that SOMEBODY'S been buying my audiobook recordings over on Audible.  It used to be that I'd log in there, discover I hadn't sold anything, and if I was lucky, I'd find the number increased by one when I'd try back in a week.  Now, though, it increases every time I log in.  I wouldn't go so far as to say I sell a copy a day, but it's darn close.
And that's a pretty good feeling.  I've got one more book finished, and I just reached the halfway point on a second Dean Wesley Smith book (in narration--the easy part, not in editing--the uneasy part), after which I will begin another E.C. Tubb book.  All of which should add up to more sales.  If I can keep this up--and the sales continue--I could effectively retire and live off royalties, oh, somewhere around 2051.  Not bad, eh?

**Right now, I'm using the aforementioned "Lovely Singing Voice" notebook, which I used to keep under the passenger seat in my car, and would fish out only when I got an idea for a sketch or a song to use on the Dunesteef.  There's still an abandoned Valentine's Day 2012 sketch in there that would be a fake commercial for "Love Songs For One," which would've been a bunch of songs about eating, dancing, and sleeping alone.  Also, an abandoned Barbie sketch (a Batman parody, "Barbie Begins"), which I tossed when Liz M. stopped working on Dunesteef episodes.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Rish's Performance of "Suns of Liberty: Revolution" available on Audible

Seems like a long time ago, but I narrated a superhero novel by Michael Ivan Lowell called "The Suns of Liberty: Revolution," and that book is now available to purchase over at Audible (and I assume other places).  Here be yon link.

This takes place in a future America ruled by iron-fisted corporations.  A sort of superhero rises up and challenges the authorities, and soon, others are inspired by his example.  But the government develops super-soldiers of their own, as well as a weapon able to wipe entire cities off the map.

You know how I feel about superheroes, right?  If you feel the same, check it out.


Sunday, March 08, 2015

Rish Outcast 20: Creature Feature

Rish presenta otra historia que perdiĆ³ una competaciĆ³n hace poco.  

Rish presents another of his recent contest-losing stories, this one entitled "Creature Feature."*  One-time TV newswoman Carly Page arrives at an old lighthouse with a plan to interview the man who lives there, but actually hopes to catch a glimpse of a sea monster.

With luck, maybe Renee Chambliss will join Rish on this one, or Fake Sean Connery will treat us with a song.  Either one, but surely, not both.

To download the episode, right click HERE and save to your dee-vice.

*Aka "Lighthouse View."

Thursday, March 05, 2015

The Pros of Cons

            “Do you see all these people?” Tom said, holding the boy close.  They’d made a quick run to the bathrooms, and both gone “to the potty,” then washed their hands.  At the drinking fountain between the restrooms, Tom had been reminded what it had been like as a young man, being around fandom in a setting like this.  The comradery, the knowledge that what thrilled and fascinated you had the same effect on these people, the reassurance that, at least for a weekend, you were surrounded by friends.

            He tried to explain this to the boy, hoping Gino would understand his point.  “Even though we’re all strangers to one another, we all have a connection.  We’re all the same, in a way.”

A week or so ago, I went to a local annual convention (actually, it was more a conference or a symposium, one intended for writers, but still a couple of people dressed as anime characters or steampunkers) that has been going for twenty or thirty years now (I first went, semi-begrudgingly, in 1996 or so).  I hadn't been there--despite the mutha happening practically in my own backyard, in many, many years, but an old college friend of mine mentioned it to me (along with, "Do you still write?  You were the best writer!") and I started thinking about it.  My friend Jeff was going to go (it was he that first dragged me to it back during the Clinton Administration), but then he sort of lost interest (because he no longer writes, or harbors dreams of being a writer), and by then, I, knowing myself, feared I would regret it if I didn't go.  I was talking to Renee Chambliss, and she suggested I be a man and just attend the damn thing, alone or no.

So I did.

I can talk a bit about the content of it later, but the thing I wanted to mention, the whole reason I'm blogging this right now, instead of audio editing (which is just as fun as it sounds), is that, at the end of the symposium, I saw people--writers, amateur or professional--saying goodbye to one another, hugging, and actually shedding tears that the event was over for another year.

It gave me pause.

The above two paragraphs are from my short story "Unconventional," where a newly-divorced geek takes his little boy to his first (and last?) comic convention.  Is it a great story?  HellifIknow, but the above IS a great sentiment.  (And you're welcome to pick up a copy, available at this link)

Watching those people hug and get all emotional spoke to something in me, who had gone to the Spockdamn thing by myself, and had the opportunity to go to this thing (which was cheap, nearby, and surrounded by free parking) for the last half-dozen years, and never even considered it.*

I will definitely go next year, and will try to find another con between now and then to attend.

Last year (2014) was the first year I was unable to go to the San Diego Comic Con since I started attending back in 2005.  I'm still a little angry at them because a) they sold me a Thursday ticket and a Sunday ticket, but wouldn't sell me a Friday or Saturday one, b) refused to give me a refund on those two tickets when I let them know I couldn't go and wanted to cancel, and c) even though I paid for said tickets, they refused to let me register for the '15 show early because I didn't technically attend the '14 show.  Bastards.

But it really was disappointing not to be able to go last summer (it's my one yearly vacation, and I had to be content that I did drive to Las Vegas with my friend for a couple of days in January), and when it came time to try for SDCC 2015 tickets, I discovered I desperately wanted some.**  

Anyway, I like conventions.  I ought to go to more.  Did I say that already?  I ought to get in some kind of writer's group, be around people who try to create with words.  I ought to make a friend or two.  Or ten.

But yeah, I ought to take advantage of the conventions that keep happening around here (I suppose I live in a fairly affluent area, if they can afford to have four to six conventions a year in the state).  I looked up another one in May, and I ought to decide right now to attend it, since a) I can afford it, and b) I'm surely have nothing better to do that weekend.  The question is whether I (also) dare go to this one alone.

Rish "Conventional" Outfield

*I also had to ask myself the question of whether I was actually a writer, with aspirations to BE a writer in the future, because the people around me really did act like they were writers, taking down notes in addresses like it was the farligging Burning Bush that was speaking, and planning to write (and sell) several books this year.

**Though, in the spirit of full disclosure, I didn't want them enough to call in sick at work so I could be home to try to buy some.  No, I pretended to be an adult, and was there for my whole shift, even though my boss made me feel less than 100% welcome.