Bundle of Badassery

Immerse_Or_Die_Bundle_Covers

Hang on, breaking out the ShamWow voice…

“Savvy” readers check for a book’s publisher and if they don’t see a big house, they turn up their nose. Indie books are the new vanity press. If those authors could write, they’d have an agent and a New York address. Everyone and their dog is a writer now, but most of them are trying to sell what their pets are leaving behind.

Right?

Wrong.

In the indie explosion, I’ll admit, things have gotten confusing. Readers have borne the brunt of the onslaught and their suspicion of the indie scene is rightly deserved in some cases. People have been burned by shoddy books – bad grammar, no grammar, covers only Daredevil could appreciate, and way too many goddamn vampires.

(Okay, fine, there’s still a market for vampires. They’re immortal after all.)

But I will admit, finding a good indie book can be tricky. So my friend Jefferson Smith at Immerse or Die has done all the hard work for you.

Jefferson has reviewed, picked apart, and then torn into individual pixels, over one hundred select indie books. Once he was done, he ripped through the survivors and compiled a bundle of indie pub goodness that rivals anything the paper mill lobbyists in New York have to offer.

Yep, you heard it here. I’m labeling these books as some of the best fiction available, regardless of their publisher’s zip code. Care to prove me wrong?

Head over to StoryBundle and NAME YOUR PRICE to get a peek. You’ll get five full-length, expertly written, beautifully packaged, and meticulously edited books for WHATEVER YOU WANT TO PAY. Care to pay at least $12? Then you’ll get the whole collection, nine books in all. Want to drop New York prices and shell out a hundred bucks for all nine digital books? Hey, I won’t stop you, but if you do that, you might want to send some of that money toward a worthwhile charity while you’re there. We’ve got you covered with donations to Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now.

These aren’t the books you download and leave on your reader until the zombie apocalypse hits and you lose access to the cloud. These are the books you download and stay up all night with because you simply can’t put them down.

Why are you still here?

Go. Get. This. Bundle.

Writing Stuff You Don’t Even Know You Want Yet

Read on and learn how to get a FREE copy of my upcoming novelette, Empty Quiver.

This past weekend I hosted Write Club over at my house. (Yep, I’m about to break the first rule.) Essentially what happens is a few of us local writers get together and crank out words between breaks for tea (coffee, beer or a shot of bourbon have also sufficed), surfing for book covers on Fiverr (this is not done with any sincerity), and berating the Za for watching anime instead of writing (the Za is an extra dimensional being who sometimes graces our lowly reality with his presence).

Friday was a small group with only three of us from the North Branch Writer’s Crit Group. We were talking about our current projects and fellow author Laura Maisano who writes Urban Portal Fantasy of the best kind (her book, Schism, hits the shelves in just a few weeks – check her out on Facebook, Twitter and her site) pegged my genre as the weird-shit-nobody-else-is-writing. Or something like that.

She’s right. I’m a strange person despite all my outward attempts at normalcy. But all writers are a little crazy. Ask Ben and his wuxia fiction being crafted outside the censorship controls of mainland China where that epic genre was born. He’s writing transformative stuff you don’t even know you want yet.

Me, I’ve gone from writing about an angsty, smart ass teen in a superhero world to writing about serious, grown adults in that same world and now on to an OCD bugman in a traditional fantasy world where he doesn’t quite fit in. Nobody asked for bugman-identity-crisis-fiction, but you’re gonna WANT IT.

Confused yet?

I hope not. I hope I don’t scare you guys away with the weird, trippy stories my brain cranks out. Crimson Son had its share of weirdness (Charlotte anyone?) beneath the snark. Despite the outward appearances of being a superhero novel, it was anything but. I write fantasy with a twist.

My next offering will be Empty Quiver: Tales from the Crimson Son Universe. This is a novelette with five solid stories and a cover which was most decidedly NOT purchased on Fiverr. Allow me to demonstrate:

Empty Quiver: Tales from the Crimson Son Universe

IT BURNS! ITS SO GOOD IT BURNS!

New stories, new characters, and new secrets about the Augment program are revealed to help ground the events of Crimson Son. EBooks of Empty Quiver will be FREE to my mailing list subscribers.

Other exciting news: I’ve got more digital appearances lined up for April and May. I’ll be recording a podcast this weekend with the crew over at Kulture Shocked wherein we will discuss the finer points of Samurai Cop, perhaps one of the best bad movies I’ve ever had the privilege of being tortured with. Then, in May, fellow writer and blogger Angélique Jamail has invited me to corrupt some youth. Expect a blog post rundown of how tragically that one ends.

And don’t forget, if you don’t already own Crimson Son, or even if you do, the epically badass bundle from Immerse or Die is out THIS WEDNESDAY! Get your copy along with eight other amazing indie books from Storybundle.com!

Just Say No to Originality

Archer_Vice_IntertitleOnce again I find myself on the cutting edge of creativity and originality. Or, well, maybe just a few inches behind that edge. Possibly more.

Like when I wrote a book about the nineteen year old son of a powerless superhero, shopped the manuscript around a bit, decided to go self pub and then Steelheart hits the shelves.

Or when writing that exact same book, I decided to include elements of Spencer’s struggle with PTSD and sometime during the second draft Iron Man III was released with a similar character arc. In fact, I even briefly described a group of terrorists in the book (lackeys of the Djinn) who had undergone a backwoods version of the Augmentation process and were unstable human bombs. (I cut that entirely.)

This time I’m not actually ahead of the curve, but with Netflix, I can pretend like I was. I don’t watch much television only because I keep a pretty hectic schedule and not because I’m too hip for the boob tube (see what I did there?). I do binge watch a few series on Netflix when I can.

So, lo and behold, when I was in the middle of a bout of insomnia and catching up on whatever Netflix-purgatory season Archer was showingI found that I was once again ahead of the creative curve, in that uniquely sleep-deprived, hipster-enabled-time-travel sort of way. Turns out, the entire plot arc for  Archer Vice was based on exactly the same premise of one of my stories in Empty Quiver: Tales from the Crimson Son Universe.

Codename: Danger tells the story of Reggie, an Augment who was given a sixth sense for danger. The events take place right in the middle of the covert era of the program. Augments have been moved under the purview of the CIA and are no longer fighting openly on the battlefield. They’re running in secret operations and proxy wars where the government requires plausible deniability.

Originally, the story opened with Reggie playing back seat driver for a Humvee racing down an IED-laden street. It was an image that captured the fear and urgency I wanted for the story. But the events were way out of whack with the universe’s timeline.

I’ve regularly used real world history to guide Crimson Son. I suppose this could be considered borderline historical fiction – Augments standing in for nuclear weapons, taking part in real world covert actions. (Want to see the inspiration for Crimson Mask’s bunker apart from the Fortress of Solitude?) For the story, I needed to dial back the clock from the early 2000s to the early 80s. I needed an event that tied into US covert operations with Reggie’s personal history.

I went with the Iran Contra affair.

During that odd confluence of events, the U.S. supplied support to the Contra rebels and even direct payments to known drug traffickers so they could provide “humanitarian assistance.” In the years to come, a Senate investigation and several journalistic efforts revealed these details. There were no direct links made but there was plenty of indirect evidence that the program had influenced the spread of cocaine inside the U.S.

Apparently the writers of Archer found this seriously fucked up situation to be worthy of their brand of scathing, raunchy satire. If you’re into that sort of thing, like I am, they were right. It’s a hilarious backdrop for their season.

Not so hilarious is the fact that I’m still riding right behind that creative curve. One day, I’ll overtake it and do something really original. Then again, maybe not.

Several times I’ve had authors tell me they have ideas which have never been done before. One I recall was a non-fiction Tao of Star Trek type book, but with a different “Tao” than someone had ever inserted into their Trekkie convention program-filler. The other was a sci-fi book based around the central premise of biological uplift. Because nobody had ever done that before…

It isn’t that either of these were bad ideas, but where the authors were getting it all wrong was in their insistence on the untainted originality.

Why? Because there are no new ideas. This has been known for some time now.

The venerated sci-fi, dystopian classic, 1984 was very nearly a re-write of the lesser known Russian novel, We by Yevgeny Zamy.  (A novel which Orwell had read and reviewed.) More recent dystopian fiction like Hunger Games owes a substantial debt to Battle Royale, which has an open tab with Running Man, Lord of the Flies and on back to 1984; the chain is never ending.

Everything has been done before. It’s all about the execution. Your voice. As a writer you don’t sell ideas but your individual take on those ideas.

Hopefully, my own take on that dark, confusing piece of US covert affairs works out. I can’t wait for you guys to let me know. If it doesn’t, well, step into the hipster bubble of non-current-TV-watching with me and check out Netflix’s latest Archer season. Apparently, they called dibs.

Keep Writing and Ignore the Noise

Writing great literature is about writing things that last. Stories that transcend current trends and attitudes. Stories that can inspire a broad group of people regardless their happenstance of birth. Writing like that needs to be recognized.

To try and recognize writers who can pull this off, we have a dizzying array of literary awards: Stokers, Hugos, Nebulas, to name a few. All have their own complicated pasts and presents. All have been mired at one time or another in scandal. This year is no exception.

This year the Hugos have seen a coalition of writers calling themselves “Sad Puppies” step forward to champion their own slate of candidates. Presumably this is in reaction to a so-called agenda of “Social Justice Warriors”. Both claim to want literary work judged on its merit and not by the race, class, or orientation of the author.

To me, diversity is a good thing and we should all seek it. I’m stoked about any group that brings attention to underrepresented viewpoints. For a writer, it is manna from heaven because your writing is the sum total of your experiences. The more of a chance you have to be exposed to new perspectives and new situations, the more depth you can bring to the characters and places you put on the page.

I also understand why the majority feels unfairly targeted. As a “white” dude, I can tell you my life is very different from a person in America with a darker skin shade, but as a writer, I can say my whiteness and penis-havingness hasn’t done a damn bit of good for my acceptance rates. This is a tough game for anyone involved all the broad-brush painting of any pigmentation (white black or otherwise) is off-putting.

What this really boils down to is that the literary scene needs a shake up. I’m on board with that. Historically, we haven’t had diversity in our fiction. If you want someone to answer for that though, don’t target writers, turn to the damn publishers. Even then, I think it often comes down to economics for the too-big-to-fail publishers. Will they make more money pitching stories to the majority or a minority? (If you really want to explore unbridled viewpoints, check out some self pub.)

But below the surface I sense a partisan clash of egos which I’m not down with. As an American, I can tell you that shit doesn’t work. I’ve watched our government be crippled by the same crap for years now.

Hopefully these groups can rise above the dysfunction and get back to looking for amazing literature. Regardless, I’ll always cheer for whoever wins. I know full well that every author, no matter their circumstance of birth or ideology, has to fight hard for recognition in this insanity we aren’t sure whether to call a job or a lifestyle or an obsession.

By all means, if you are a writer and either of these camps appeals to your sense of justice or activism, or whatever, jump on in and get involved. If you do, try to do so with a modicum of diplomacy. Otherwise, just keep writing and ignore the noise.

For fans – find writers you love. Search for them in every conceivable place. Leave no page unturned. We’re notoriously difficult to locate but once you find us, we’ll do our best to feed your imaginations in our own unique, individual way.

I AM HERE

I can sorta draw, too...

I can sorta draw, too…

A super short post today, hopefully I get another one online tomorrow. However, I wanted to leave this message:

I AM HERE

A little explanation is in order.

I get all kinds of info on my traffic stats. One of the really cool ones is a list of search terms which people used to land on my page. My favorites are: “dildos and vibrators” (I can explain that one) along with “Fat kids men nipple play” (I can’t…really…)

But recently this one popped up and I had a little nerdgasm: “where is russell linton who made eyru rpg”

Back around 2000, I started a DnD campaign that ultimately ran for the better part of a decade. I poured hours and hours into world development, map making and even custom rules for the then open license Dungeons and Dragons 3.0 (and later 3,5). At one point, I decided I might as well put all that stuff out on the net. For free.

I setup a website which was originally intended for use by my group. Eventually I opened it to the public and even grew a fairly decent sized mailing list. Using my l33t publishing skills, I threw together a PDF and tossed that out in the wild too.

After the campaign ended, I tried to keep the site going and failed. I’d burned out on DnD (after, oh, three decades give or take) so I started using the website as a place to experiment with a new ruleset. It never went anywhere and about seven years ago, I took the site offline.

Then, maybe a decade after the heyday of my experiment, this site gets that little hit from Google.

Naturally, I went out to ego surf and low and behold PEOPLE OUT THERE SAVED THAT STUFF! EyruRPG is still alive and kicking. I don’t know if anyone uses the source document, but someone curated it on Scribd. People even talk about it on message boards and add it to lists of celtic campaign settings. ITS A THING. Nothing big. Nothing mind blowing,  but it wasn’t simply lost in the digital tide.

Damn. Who’d a thunk? So, to whoever was searching – I’m here. Alive. Mostly well, except for the sanity thing but that’s a given with writers. Thanks for remembering!

Release Schedule for 2015

Today, I’ve been re-evaluating my overall strategies for getting fiction into your face. You might notice a few minor changes here and there and there may be some major changes in the works for my site, so stay tuned. For now, here’s a schedule for the rest of the year and a note about FREE stuff!

Fictional Work Publishing Schedule for 2015

April 15th: The Immerse or Die Story Bundle hits the digital shelves. Check back for more details or sign up for the mailing list so you don’t miss out! Eight amazing indie books, including Crimson Son, and YOU NAME THE PRICE for the whole bundle!

June 2nd: Empty Quiver: Superhero Tales from the Crimson Son Universe

Empty Quiver (n.) – A U.S. Military reporting term to identify and report the seizure, theft, or loss of a nuclear weapon.

This will be a novella (about 30,000 words for you author types who are interested in such things). There are five powerful short stories, each detailing pivotal moments in the life of several known and unknown Augments from the Crimson Son pantheon:  Fat Man, Hurricane, Aurora, Danger, Ember.

Behind these stories is the evolution of the Augment program, from military weapons meant to overwhelm a persistent enemy to a covert force deployed to expand U.S. power, they trace the history right up to the events of Crimson Son. Did the government lose control of a dangerous program or was control only ever an illusion?

Sign up for the new release email list and you’ll receive a FREE advance reader copy of Empty Quiver in ePub or Mobi format!

December 1st: First Song, Book One and Two

I know, ambitious. I’m going to try my hardest to get these books out to you guys at the same time and before the end of the year. Book one ends on a cliffhanger and I don’t see any reason to make people wear down their nails for weeks on end before they find out what happens.

First Song is off-center fantasy like Crimson Son was off-center superhero fiction. Spencer’s voice is absent – the protagonist in First Song has neither snark nor angst. For Sidge, life is good. He’s an Ek’Kiru, a bugman, raised by human monks in an isolated temple on the edge of an eternal storm. The only one of his kind there, he sees the humans as his brothers and the temple as his life.

He can recite the twelve thousand verses of the Forge with perfect accuracy and enjoys even the most menial task given to the acolytes. Diligent, careful, and respectful, his favorite things are to sweep, sew, and organize his chaotic Master’s shelves. Life requires order and the Temple provides that and more for Sidge. He wants nothing but to make his Master proud and ascend to the rank of Cloud Born.

Before he can do that, he must learn to channel Vasheru’s power. Learn to focus and meditate despite the world constantly twitching along his sensitive antennae or fluttering in his nearly 360 degree vision – nearly 360, for he does have a blind spot and he never saw her coming.

He must also complete a pilgrimage to stand at the edge of an ancient enemy’s domain. There, he will decide where the Truth lies and what his place in a timeless age will be.

Of Superheroes, Zombies, and Bugmen

zombified_3News, news, and more news!

Yesterday I finished polishing up the Crimson Son anthology for my editor to again polish and make all shiny. I know, I already told you that – even gave you a sneak peek. I’m excited to get those stories out to you guys and I had a lot of fun writing them. Release is set for early June so keep an eye out here for cover reveals and more.

Yes, I’ve yet to decide on a name. Part of it is indecision, the other part – I’m working on my overall marketing strategy with Amazon. This novella / anthology is something of a test of those procedures which I’m ironing out for my next big release.

Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean it’s a haphazardly arranged book of filler. No, these are some of the best stories I’ve written to date. Yes, it’s a short piece and gives only a little taste of the history in the Crimson Son universe, but there is plenty of depth to each tale. And I don’t mean to be a tease, well, I do, but I’ve been toying with an idea: a Crimson Son sequel.

I never intended one. Crimson Son was meant to be a stand alone. Hell, it started as a short story. All I wanted was for Spencer to escape that Fortress of Solitude. He did. It was messy, and I read a review that said he always seemed like a kid in over his head. Yeah, that’s pretty much it in a nutshell. He’s not your typical hero. None of those guys are.

But he was also only a kid who, by the end of the book, had just started to find himself. There’s more to his story percolating under the surface. In fact, it straight up kicked me in the nuts one day and I had to fight to keep focused on my current projects. Not only that but some of these Augments that showed up for the anthology, I’m itching to write more about.

I’m hesitant to put a date on this. If it happens, probably sometime before The Winds of Winter hits the shelves. No, definitely before then. We’ll see how the short stories go over first.

And don’t forget the Immerse or Die bundle due out in the next few weeks! Between that and the anthology, I’m looking for a proof of concept for both my marketing attempts and for the future of Crimson Son.

I’ve already committed to a fantasy series that I’ve got a ton of faith in. Another quirky book about a young man…um…bugman…trying to find his way. First Song, Book One will be out at the end of the year and with any luck, Book Two will be released at the same time.

I also finally have solid news on my zombie story, An Apocalypse of Zombies. Zombified III will be released June 1st! There are some fun stories in this one, none of which take this whole Zombie thing too seriously – which is good. I gave up on taking those shambling organ donors seriously a long while ago.

In my tale, Robert the zombie finds himself crippled by a starving chihuahua. In his zeal to still compete for human brains, he ends up inadvertently ending the Zombie apocalypse. It’s a sad tale. A tragedy. A real tear jerker in the laugh-until-you-puke sort of way.

Okay, book and story updates, done. I should also have another article up at GeekDad this week, so keep an eye out over there as well.

Thanks again for reading!

Advice by the Kilo

I'll let you decide the value of my self publishing learnings. With a fortune cookie, at least you get the cookie.

I’ll let you decide the value of my self publishing ramblings. With a fortune cookie, at least you get the cookie.

Care to partake of my questionable wisdom? Head over to the Iconoclastic Writer and prepare to be astounded by my list of 5 Things I learned Self Publishing.

This isn’t really advice or another drop in the flood of “I can show you how to self publish, too!” posts and books and seminars and videos. Just my ramblings on the subject and a few straight up lessons I’ve learned. There is no “BUY MY SEMINAR FOR MORE SECRETS!” agenda and, as I plainly state, it could all be bullshit.

I met Carolyn at ConDFW this year during a panel on magazines and e-zines. Like most con panels not moderated by Tex Thompson, the topic sort of meandered and the description in the con booklet was provided mostly out of a sense of obligation than anything else. Apparently the things I said landed somewhere near the mark and she asked me to write a guest post for her blog.

I’m hard at work today on the upcoming anthology. Five stories of Augments, new and old, that shed some light on the murky past of the entire super soldier program in the Crimson Son universe. Let me thrill you with this excerpt (which has yet to be picked apart by my editor) from the story, Codename: Danger

Fear soaked Reggie’s shirt. Well, humidity was mostly to blame, but the fear was there. He’d traveled the world on the government’s dime. Of the places he’d been, the humid ones were his least favorite. Remote ones his second least. This place was both. But the fear was a regular hazard of the job.

Sweat. Jitters. A tug at his stomach which could be anything from a threaded knot to a clenching fist. Right now it was a steady pressure.

“What are we at? Two brownstar? five?” Winston asked Reggie. Winston, which wasn’t his real name, knelt in front of a pile of canvas bags to the side of the runway. A pair of bug-eyed mirror sunglasses rested on his forehead and he squinted at Reggie scrunching a nose caked with sunscreen. An open guayabera and a t-shirt underneath, he looked exactly like a white dude in Central America who was trying too hard.

“I don’t know. Two. Maybe three.” Reggie had worked with his CIA handler long enough to develop something of a code to describe his danger sense. When they were in deep shit, brownstar ten. An annoyance, something that might slow them down but not likely get them killed, a three or less.

“Only the one bag?” Winston stooped and dug for the bottom. “Only this one set you off?”

Standing before the pile, he wasn’t sure. Every last canvas lump tugged at his gut. A steady pull – nothing mortal, but palpable. Winston dragged a bag from the bottom and unzipped it slowly.

Inside were stacks and stacks of white bricks.

Reggie knew exactly what it was. He’d seen it before outside the neatly taped and stamped rectangles. Powder. Stuff you could cook into little white stones like shattered sugar cubes and melt in a spoon. Wedge in a glass pipe.

Winston dug through the bag, lifting the bricks like he were delivering a newborn and placing them on the ground. He tested the weight of each in his hands and examined the lining of the bag. “You sure? There’s nothing here.”

“What the fuck do you mean, ‘nothing there’?”

His handler squinted into the blazing sun behind Reggie. “Nothing that isn’t supposed to be.”

“It’s a pile of coke, motherfucker!” Reggie looked at the dirt road leading to the airstrip. The clearing was edged by rolling hills braided with crops. Further out he could see the deeper green of a jungle canopy rising along smooth peaks. The dust had settled and the soviet truck loaded with rebels was already out of sight. “We just gave a bunch of kids some machine guns for a pile of coke. You don’t see a problem?”

Winston sighed and started returning the bricks to the bag. “What are you, MacGruff the crime dog? We lost the last shipment and nobody can say what happened. I brought you to make sure the delivery wasn’t dangerous. Like a bomb or tracking device.”

“Looks plenty dangerous.”

Winston stood. “Getting soft on me, Danger?”

Amazingly, I’m still on target for our June release. I have yet to decide on a title. Might go with Empty Quiver or the centerpiece story The ‘Cane Train and Other Tales. Yep, that crazy one-legged speedster is back starring in his own story. That will be worth the price of admission alone.

Misty Morning Meditations

Misty morning with Old Man Willow

Misty morning with Old Man Willow

I headed out into the woods this week and took along a copy of The Fellowship of the Ring . The weather was cool, the Texas sun mostly hidden, and the bugs not yet out of their winter slumber. Spring and Fall in the Lone Star state are the ideal times to get outside without melting or freezing or being devoured.

The first night it rained all night and on into mid-morning. The sun popped out long enough to warm things and bring a thick mist to the woods the next day. Turns out, reading about Frodo’s journey while hearing the patter of rain on your tent and breathing the earthy smell of the woods and the sweet fragrance of damp pine needles is a pretty unbeatable combination. Waking up surrounded in mist only added to the enchantment.

Reacquainting myself with this fantasy classic…no…seminal work…masterpiece? I’m not even sure how to describe it. The influence can’t be understated – and not just books. I fell down an internet hobbit hole recently chasing down songs and music which Tolkien’s work has inspired, but I’ve got a whole post on that topic I’ll hopefully get up at GeekDad next week. However, one thing kept nagging at me as I read.

I’m pretty sure if it were submitted somewhere today, it would be lost in a slush pile.

I’m not saying this because of any issues with how it might’ve aged – prose or simplistic themes or any other thing which may need updating – I’m saying that it wouldn’t make the cut regardless.

Who is the audience? Children? Teenagers? Adults? Where is the protagonists romantic interest and can a ring or a bromance really fill that void? Who the hell is Tom Bombadil guy we spend so much time with at the start? Why do we have so much word count getting to know the gossip about all the Hobbit families from the Shire to the Eastfarthing then leave them behind?

But re-reading it, I was enthralled. I know, at this point, the Lord of the Rings is ingrained in the collective fantasy consciousness. It’s really impossible to think of it objectively, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that a book like this now would never see the light of day.

Sure, plenty of High Fantasy in the LotR vein has been published since, but have there been any transformative fantasy books? Evolutions of the form that transcend and inspire even partly as much?

Looking at popular lists of fantasy works you see the same names repeated, over and over. Many have created influential works of their own. And while I don’t think we’ve stagnated, I’m not sure if a work of fantasy has been published that recasts that mold in any unique, seminal way. Are we all still writing about Middle Earth? Stuck between the Shire and Mordor?

The other thing which has definitely changed is publishing itself. We sell author personalities as much as the stories they tell. In many cases, it becomes impossible to objectively evaluate an author’s work apart from their image. By all reports, Tolkien was put off by the rabid fans his work inspired. Nowadays, instead of shying from such attention like Tolkien might, you hit the circuits of conventions, signings, and speaking engagements.

Despite the lack of social media and that constant barrage of branding and marketing when it was written, LotR stands on its own and I’m not sure anyone out there is looking for a replacement.

I know, I know. I’ve asked more questions than given answers. And this post is off the deep end of my normally light-hearted geekery and self-pub talks. If I had to guess though, I’d put money on that next evolution of fantasy being just as likely to be uncovered in the Wild West of the self-pub scene as on the shelf at B&N…as long as such shelves are still around.

Any thoughts on this fantasy fans? Answers to my annoyingly open-ended questions?

Killer Fiction from the Indieverse – IoD Story Bundle

IoD_StoryBundleLast Friday I spammed out a quick announcement about a really exciting promotion. One I’ve been itching to tell you guys about for a while now. Like a crawled-through-a-pile-of-insulation sorta itch. Today I’d like to give you more details to whet your appetite.

I know I’ve mentioned Jefferson Smith’s killer website, Immerse or Die before. “Killer” because it eats bad indie books for breakfast. Too be fair, he’s got very stringent criteria for who passes his 40 minute treadmill test, and he always provides a thoughtful analysis. At times, he even explains why he might be wrong about his assessment of a given title. But the fact is only 13 books out of 114 have made the cut.

I was so relieved to know I’d made it into that elite group with Crimson Son that I did a little touchdown dance (thankfully this is before the vlogging began…). Little did I know, there was a second even more excruciating test vetting not just a forty minute chunk but the entire book. Only eight survived that – including, Crimson Son.

I’ve read several of these books: Strictly AnalogThe Commons and Century of Sand, all of which I was turned on to by Immerse or Die. I’m a really picky reader. I’ve got an inner critic that won’t shut up. I can’t read a cereal box without bitching about the prose. And you know what? The inner critic mostly kept his damn mouth shut through those few hundred thousand words.

So when Jefferson contacted me and said “Hey, do you want to be in a bundle of awesome books?” I replied, hell yeah.

Jefferson has really taken the bull by the horns here. He’s heard the constant complaint of how terrible indie books are. About how “savvy” readers ignore books that aren’t stamped with a big name publisher (like say 50 Shades…AHEM). How the indie-verse is something like Reaver space in Firefly – you venture in and terrible, horrible, awful things will happen to you in the most awkward order imaginable. You’ll stumble across someone’s Grandpa in a Box or a pack of raping velociraptors (or both…in a box) and when you finally emerge, you won’t have a shred of humanity or literary sense left.

But Jefferson strapped a few dozen hastily-published trunk novels to the front of his Firefly and flew directly into the heart of this supposed no-man’s land. There, he found prose that rivals anything you’d pay outrageous trad-pub prices to read. Prose that isn’t propped up by million dollar marketing campaigns or famous authors lending their names to John and Jane Doe.

And on April 15th, every last one of these incredible books will be available on StoryBundle.com for the low-low-low price of WHATEVER YOU WANT.

Yep. You name the price.

Even if you already have Crimson Son (if you don’t and you are reading this – the killer robots are EN ROUTE TO YOUR HOUSE…), you simply can’t beat this deal. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Noir, Time Travel, Steampunk, SUPER HEROES – you name the spec-fic flavor, this bundle has it. You won’t find any canned, re-heated, re-packaged, microwaveable, trad-pub ideas here either. Fresh, free-range, non-GMO, innovation and supremely well-executed fiction only independents can bring to the table.

Now you get to put up with the wait along with me.

Itch.

Itch…

Itch……