Amazon: Insane or Brilliant?

So probably the biggest news on Twitter (well, my feed at least, which includes a lot of writers and literary types) is that Amazon is getting into the Fan Fiction business with its Amazon Worlds initiative. I can safely say I never, ever saw that coming. I doubt anyone did. Fan fiction is like the redheaded stepchild of writing (I can say that as I am a red head, and who knows, maybe my mom will remarry, after my dad dies I mean). Although a lot of people produce it, and a lot of people read it, it does not very much respect in the literary community. Like none. Some people are dead set against it, and think it is the worst thing in the world. Personally I don’t care much either way. I have neither read nor written any fan fiction. But I think it can be successful.

People like being comfortable. They like familiar characters and situations. If some writers out there can tap into what makes the licensed properties successful, they will probably also be successful. Currently the only properties licensed include Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and Vampire Diaries, so I doubt I will be throwing my pen into the ring anytime soon, but they promise more licenses will be coming soon. I don’t know if any major properties (Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter etc…) will ever fall under the realm of Amazon Worlds, but I am sure they can generate enough content with lesser known properties. And there will be a market for this. Amazon has just created it. Amazing.

From the Dark Side

I was recently given the honor of having my work appear in a charity anthology called From the Dark Side. Not only does this eBook have some of the best names in new fiction that I know, all of the proceeds are going to the Letters and Light Organization, a non-profit charity that promotes youth creativity. So, you can read short woks by myself, James Melzer, Jennifer Hudock, Jake Bible, Nicole Ireland, as well as poems by Kate Sherrod and Acadia Einstein, content in the knowledge that your hard earned dollars are going to help someone find their inner muse.

Go get it, please.

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Smashwords

The Dark Journeys Winner!

Hey people,

As you might remember, I promised a signed copy of my first novel, Lost Gods, to someone who went out and commented on the first pile of Dark Journeys interviews. Now that I have a second to breath again, I have taken the time to find the winner.

The envelope please.

Wow, this glue is strong.

What is this envelope made of, bamboo? It’s impossible to rip.

Does anyone have any scissors?

Yes, that Katana will do nicely, thank you.

The winner is Morgan Elektra!

Congrats, Morgan! I’ll be in touch via some manner to get your address so I can send you your prize!

Thanks to everyone who commented, or in some way supported Jenny and her blog tour!

Winking Existence Part 3 – Conclusion

This is the third part of a story, if you haven’t read part one and two, check out these links first:

Winking Existence Part One

Winking Existence Part Two

I was back in the safe room, I could feel cool, fresh air, the white of the walls was swimming into focus. “More power, shouted my assistant.”We almost have him. More fucking power!”

Well, it was nice while it lasted. I hit the pavement again, lay still for a minute, wondering which parts of me didn’t hurt. I lifted my head from the ground, looked around for my homeless friend. There was no trace of him, or the bike. I pulled myself up, blood dripping on the street beneath me. I was tempted to give up, find a nice comfortable place to curl up and wait for my inevitable death, but the stubborn part of me just wouldn’t give up. Stubborn and stupid are usually on the same page of most dictionaries.

Blood dripped from shoes as I shuffled along the street.I watched for something,anything that might help me,another bicycle, a wheelchair, even a scooter, but I saw nothing.

I had walked for at least an hour when I came to the crest of the biggest hill I had ever seen. It was at least half a mile long, and steep, going straight down into a valley, before going back up again. Four lanes of traffic had gone up and down this hill, but now there was as silent as a photograph. Once this had been a busy street, but now it was the pupae stage of a corpse, there would be nothing left here in a little over an hour. It would take me that long to just get down this hill and up the other side. And then I would be dead.

Still a solid yellow glow on my bracelet. I would not be getting home until I could further away from the epicentre. The cars didn’t run, but they could still roll. I traced a path down the hill. There were a few cars stalled, but most of them were pulled off to the side of the road, I would have  mostly clear path. The bottom of the hill was a different story, the pile of cars was enormous, the EMP must have gone off as people were fleeing down the hill. Suddenly without electronics, people would have rolled to the bottom, crashing and scraping into each other. I might be able to go around the pile and drift up the other side of the hill, if I was careful.

The biggest car near the top of the hill was an old Jeep. It was solid looking, with a roll bar, probably the safest vehicle around. I took a minute to figure out the controls, popped it in neutral, and slowly, ever so slowly, pushed it over to the top of the hill.

I was agony, my bruised and battered body screamed at me with every exertion. Sweat poured down my neck and back, spots swam in front of my eyes. I gasped for breath, but I made it. The Jeep started rolling.

I jumped into the driver’s seat, and just had enough time to get the seat belt on before the roll really began. I picked up speed quickly, the hill was just that steep. My knuckles where white on the steering wheel.

Faster and faster I went. I had to fight the urge to stomp on the breaks, I couldn’t give up any momentum. I raced down the hill, the landscape blurring in my peripheral vision. The pile of cars rushed up at me, tonnes of deadly twisted metal and glass, prepared to become my tombstone.

I wrenched the steering wheel to the right, pulling into a gas station. The jeep bucked as it hit the curb, I was tossed into the air, but still, I managed to hold on to the steering wheel.

I grazed the side of another car, bumping tit out of my way, giving up precious momentum. I was past the majority of the cars now, back on the road, on the other side, about to head up the hill.

I hit a pothole, the jeep lurched forward and tilted, canting at a sickening angle. The sound of tearing metal filled the air as the axle ripped from the chassis. I was thrown forward, seatbelt just stopping me from crashing into the steering column. However, I would have yet another bruise.

Finally the jeep was still. I clambered down, finding myself only a little way back up on the other side of the hill. I hadn’t made it as far as I had hoped, but still, I had managed to cover a lot of distance, with only some bruises to show for it. I was still alive, so that was a good thing.

The hill stretched before me, going up and up and up.  It wasn’t as steep on this side, but it was long. Very long. The sun was beginning to touch the horizon, I knew I had very little time left. I could hear the distant rumble of thunder, and I knew it was beginning.

The bracelet was still yellow. I had to move on.

I forced myself to trot up the hill, I couldn’t run, not in my state, but walking would not get me very far. I could taste metal on my tongue, feel static crawling up and down my skin. I passed under a bridge, and could see the crest of the hill before me.

Still I went on, pausing only to throw up.

At the top of the hill my bracelet started to glow green, a bright, solid green.

I looked back toward downtown. Black clouds spun in an ugly circle, lightening crashed in the sky.

The explosions started then. I fist of fire rose in the sky, engulfing downtown. The explosion roared in my ears.

My bracelet was still green.

I watched as the wall of fire came rushing at me, buildings turned to cinder, trees evaporated in the heat. All of Toronto’s history, destroyed in one freak occurrence. A storm, seeded with chemicals to break a longstanding drought, burst forth with explosive force. Thousands of simultaneous lightening strikes, more powerful than a  nuclear bomb, had destroyed the city and surrounding areas.

The wall of fire grew closer.

My bracelet shone green.

I waited.

Dark Journeys Contest Update

Hey people,

The Dark Journeys tour is still going strong, with Jenny heading all over the Internets, chatting with some of the best minds in fiction, audio, and audio fiction. I am holding off on the contest to give you all a chance to get out and leave a comment on all of the blogs, here is the original list:

May 2010

May 14, 2010: Jim – Yes, THAT Jim

May 17, 2010: Edward G. Talbot

May 19, 2010: Morgan Elektra of Trickster Moon Productions

May 21, 2010: Ramblings of English with Chandra Jenkins

May 24, 2010: Paddy’s Wanderings with Patrick Pillars

May 27, 2010: Drew Beatty

May 29, 2010: Scrivener’s Circle with David Sobkowiak and Laura Frechette

The Journey has continued, and she has also visited the following places:

June 2, 2010: Nicole Ireland

June 4, 2010: Mary Rajotte

June 7, 2010: Scott Roche

June 9, 2010: Superficial Gallery

June 14, 2010: Slushpilehero

June 16, 2010: Jason Warden of ShadowCast Audio

June 18, 2010: The Feckless Goblin

I encourage you to visit the rest of the tour, but to be entered in the contest, you ONLY have to visit and comment on the first group. Good luck, and play safe.

Friday Fiction – Winking Existence Part One

Hey people,

I started playing around with the theme of time travel. Here is the first part of my first effort. It’s rough, I’m not heavily editing it right now, but I thought it was worth a read.

I will post part two and three next week!

Winking Existence – Part One

I knew when my head slammed against a brick wall something had gone wrong. I fell to the ground on my hands and knees, broken glass tearing into me. I shouted in pain and pushed myself up, brushing the glass away. When my vision cleared, I could see that I was in a dirty alley, a far cry from the sealed safe room I was supposed to materialize in.

Something had gone very wrong.

I check my status bracelet. Not surprisingly, the thin silver band looped around my right wrist glowed a steady red. Danger.

My hands and knees were sliced up, but they were not life threatening injuries. What I needed to do, and quickly, was to figure out where the hell I was. The alley opened onto a deserted street, filled with abandoned cars, as though strewn there by some petulant god. The air was cold; I could taste it on my tongue, acrid and coppery. I felt an icy chill in my veins when I realized where I was and how much trouble I was in.

I pushed my hands in my pockets, trying to find some warmth, and retrieved a folded piece of paper. I scanned it, reading the message that my partner had left for me.

“If you’re reading this, be grateful you are not dead. I decided that we needed a more dramatic test of the device, so instead of sending you back five minutes, I thought 50 years would be more interesting. Sorry if you are disappointed, but rest assured I will make sure people remember you for your contributions to the project.”

Betrayed by my partner, left to die in the middle of history’s greatest disaster. I always knew that asshole was a fucking cliché, I should have sent him back.

There were two things I needed to do. The first was to get out of Toronto, the epicentre of the disaster. After that I needed to find some way to signal my assistant. As long as she wasn’t involved, she should be at the safe room, wondering where the hell I was. If I could get far enough away, I might be able to get a signal, might be able to get back to my time. If I lived that long.

None of the cars would start, that much I knew. The Canadian government had blanketed the area with electromagnetic pulse bombs, hoping to control the carnage. History would show that it was a terrible idea, but I was in the middle of history now, living through it. I figured I had about two hours left, if I could make it far enough away, I might just survive.

Most of the cars were pointed in the same direction, I assumed that the people who lived here would know which way to go. I ran along empty streets, dodging cars, broken glass from shattered windows underfoot. Even the greatest natural disaster in history did not dissuade looters.

Within a few blocks my knees were screaming, blood ran down my pants. I bent over, hands on my thighs, panting. I would not get very far by running. I had spent too much time in a lab, not enough time in the gym.

I had to keep moving. I had a deadline, and in this case, the word dead would be literal.

Up ahead, on the next block was a sporting goods store. Looters had smashed the windows already, so getting in was not going to be much of a problem.  I scrambled through the shattered glass, careful not to cut myself anymore, and looked for something I could ride.

That’s when I winked out of existence.

To be continued…

Introducing Jenny Beanses! AKA Jennifer Hudock

I believe she needs no real introduction. However, she is the author and podcaster of The Goblin Market, she is taking readers on a 12 part Dark Journey, she is one of the founders of The Creative Alliance, and is the editor of two upcoming charity anthologies, From the Dark Side and Farrago.

Without any further ado…

So, who are  you and what do you do?

I am an emissary from the Old Gods sent to Earth to monitor human behavior and report back in written form so they can plan the best way to wreak havoc on mankind… seriously. I’m a storyteller. I have been telling stories as long as I can remember. I write all day long every day. Some of it is actually fiction, but right now most of it is creative nonfiction and news commentary on a variety of online blogs.

You write a mix of horror, dark fantasy, and more traditional fantasy. As an author, how do you juggle the genres? Is there any genre you find more compelling to write?

There is something that has always appealed to me about making the unbelievable believable. I’ve seen a lot of weird and unexplainable things in my own life, so I like to mirror that type of craziness back into the world. No matter which genre I’m writing in, I’m primarily focused on creating intense characters that readers or listeners can relate to. Through their personality and the way they approach the events and situations in the stories, I have this hope that readers can feel them as people, someone they can relate to on a personal level.
What made you and James start up the Creative Alliance?

Patrick Pillars and I were talking about the creative movement in our generation. How the Internet has really changed all the rules right now, and left a wide gap open for the creative world to mold and shape itself. As creators, we realized that in every memorable creative movement from the Romantic writers to the Beat Generation, it wasn’t just about one type of creativity, or just one memorable icon. It was a whole community of people who worked together on some level.

I talked with James about this extensively, and we started kicking the idea of putting together an online place where the people in the community we’re a part of could reach out and share their creativity, knowledge and approach to the changing times in an effort to make a greater impact as a group. So we set up The Creative Alliance.

We are working together as a community, not just for our own individual goals and such, which is a great thing.

What’s the deal with the Podcaturday Podcast?

Podcaturday, w00t! Acadia from Superficial Gallery has always been really cool about linking to people on his blog, especially on Saturdays. In fact, that was how I met him over a year and a half ago. Someone on Twitter said, “Get some free exposure for your blog today by sending this guy your link.”

One afternoon, Acadia asked me who I knew that podcatted (yes, podcatted) because he wanted to try and network with some podcatters and get them some more exposure. From there, he asked me if he was going to link to Podcats, if he should have a podcat, and he came up with an idea to record a 1 minute podcast about things he could say in under a minute.

Then we started playing around with FreeCallRecorder.com, and came up with an idea to just ramble on about whatever popped into our heads, and Podcaturday: The Weekend Roundtable Discussion, was born. We hook up on Skype every Saturday morning and just talk about whatever comes up for about an hour. On our second episode, we invited James to join us, and the chemistry the three of us had was so good, we decided to make it a regular thing.

It’s just nonsense… but it’s good nonsense, and I hope more people check it out because we really have a great time doing it.

There has been a lot of discussion regarding the free vs. paid model recently. You give away the podcast of Goblin Market, and you sell your stories for a small charge. Can you tell us about these two different systems, and the advantages they have?
Giving away Goblin Market has definitely introduced me to a lot of people, both in a networking sense, and a fanbase sense. I haven’t put Goblin Market up on Podiobooks yet, but it’s still managed to get about 15,000 downloads just on my website, which is such a great thing. Giving it away for free is an investment in your fans. You give them a piece of yourself in its entirety, and in a sense, you prove to them that you can provide good content, or not, in some cases.

There is a hope that through establishing yourself and building a little credibility by giving away your work for free, they will in turn tell others about you. When you do publish work, whether it’s through a publishing contract deal, or on Amazon or Smashwords, people at least know what they can expect from you as a writer. It’s touch and go marketing, and it doesn’t always work in terms of selling your fiction, as a lot of authors have discovered, but everything is changing so rapidly we have to do what we can.

For me, I want to get my work out to as many people as possible because that is why I write. So I will keep experimenting with both models as long as it keeps getting my work out there to new readers and listeners.

Goblin Market is finished, and there are only a few more Dark Journeys left. What will be coming up next?

Well, I am working on the sequel to Goblin Market, Jack in the Green, and plan to start podcasting that sometime this summer. It’s not finished yet, and while I know a lot of people recommend finishing your work before you start podcasting, most of the people who recommend that don’t even actually follow that themselves. I have a feeling that having the pressure of putting out new episodes will help me stay on track with writing. I promised myself I wouldn’t start podcasting until it was at least halfway complete though, so I can get a good head start.

I am also editing two charity anthologies this summer: From the Dark Side, which all proceeds will go to the Letters and Light Organization, and Farrago. Farrago is an effort to help raise money for Michael Bekemeyer’s film project.

On top of that, I am working on a novel called Running Down the Moon, which I want to get traditionally published once it’s finished.

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be, and why?

I would be an oak tree because the oak is a powerful symbol of my Celtic ancestry.
My thanks to Jennifer! If you haven’t already, go check out her work!

Lost Gods eBook Deal!

More and more of my friends and fellow podcasters are selling their work at Smashwords.com, and for good reason. When you purchase a book there, you are getting it in any eBook format you want. Your story is readable on every eReader that I know if. There is no DRM, so you can have a copy on your home computer, your laptop, your smart phone, hey, even your iPad if you got one of those.

It’s a good deal is what I am saying.

I’d have been buying a bunch of eBooks there, but I would like to do more to support my friends. So here is the deal, if you buy a Smashwords book from the following list of authors, email me, and I will send you a coupon so you can get the Smashwords version of Lost Gods for only 99 cents, and I will throw in my short story Double Deal for free!

So, buy any story, email me, get a novel and another story for only 99 cents.

Here are some people you can check out:

Scott Roche – Pulp Horror and Fantasy meet and have children that are Scott Roche’s stories.

James Melzer – Canada’s OTHER greatest podnovelist – UPDATE – James reminded me his stuff is all free, so to take part in this deal, just leave him a review. That’s right, get HIS STUFF FREE, review it, and then get MY STUFF FREE (or greatly reduced). What could be better than that?? Free CANADIAN fiction!

Jennifer Hudock – Urban Fantasy, Zombies, what more could you want?

John Mireau – Canada’s OTHER OTHER greatest podnovelist, SF master.

Paul Cooley – the Feindmaster himself.

Nobilis Reed – He brings the spice to the party. Spice is a euphemism for erotica, just so we are clear. UPDATE – Nobilis has a whole page at his site dedicated to where his stuff is for sale, so if you get ANYHTHING from him from ANYWHERE, let me know and I will include you in the deal! Check it out here:  http://nobiliserotica.com/site/book-index/

Xina Marie Uhl – The book is called Necropolis. What else do you need?

Cheryl Dyson – This one has a gauntlet. A THROWN gauntlet. Go check it out.

Made In DNA – He lives in Japan.  JAPAN, people. And he writes about Hyperviolence and Sex. At the same time.
So, support your friendly hardworking neighbourhood author, and get some fiction from me! Just drop me a line at drewbeatty at gmail dot com, and I will send you your coupon code!

The joy of editing

Share photos on twitter with TwitpicOne of the least pleasant tasks for most writers is editing. Once the story or novel is finished, authors are done with it. But editing a finished work is an important part of the process. It’s not enough to run a quick spell check, a manuscript takes careful and thoughtful consideration. One thing I do to help me with the editing process is to print out a copy and break out a trusty pen.

I know some people will be shocked by this. Yes, I understand the advantages of editing on a computer, and believe me, i do a lot of that as well, but there are specific reasons that I use the printed page as well.

The first reason is that I find more mistakes this way. The human brain is trained to process information in different ways. While I can correct the majority of my errors on the computer, there are some that slip by. The majority of the reading I do on the computer is scanning, and that is how I process information. Editing is not scanning. You need to look carefully and slowly. Paper helps accomplish this.

I also find that the story becomes more alive for me. I grew up with paper books, and while I love eBooks, the physical nature of the paper helps me to make the worlds I create more concrete, more real. I find that I can not only find basic grammar and spelling mistakes, but I can also find blocks of dead or dull writing, and make them stronger. There is an immersive quality to writing on paper that just doesn’t exist on the computer.

There is an environmental concern, yes. I try to purchase recycled paper,  and it goes into the blue box. I also try to reuse pages, printing on the other side, or finding another use for the pages to help offset the expense, both financial and environmental.

So, when will you be able to see the fruits of this editing? Stay tuned for some announcements soon.

If you have any editing techniques that help you, feel free to share them in the comments.

Edward G. Talbot is rocking the shorts

Ebook shorts, that is! This Mayday, May 1, 2010, Edward G. Talbot is releasing two ebook collections of short stories. A Funny Pair of Shorts contains three humorous shorts, while  A Horrifying Pair Of Shorts has three horror stories. Each set is only 99 cents!

Being the upstanding writer-type he is, you can read a sample of the stories, so you know what you are getting into.

For all of the details, including a groovy contest, go to Edward G. Talbot’s site right now!