The History of Books: Part 2-ish

Anyway, out in fiefdoms, the peasants… er readers were growing restless. This new sorcerer named Congo came along one day and started messing with people.

“Hey,” he’d say, like every conversation ever in the history of humanity began, “would you like to see a neat trick?”

And the peasants would say, “Hell yes, entertain us, but be careful, if you use your wizardly sorcerer powers, we’ll call you a witch-demon and put you on the rack until you confess.”

To which the sorcerer replied, “What? I thought this story had moved into like the 20th or 21st century by now. I have to go change costumes into 15th century period fashion.”

But then Congo, the great sorcerer, showed them the trick. He let them choose an item they wanted to buy, and then he would teleport it right to their front door. Or barn door. Or hovel door. Congo didn’t care, he could make items appear right at anyone’s door that had a legal address in a proper zip code.

This caused another revolution of sorts, but it really had nothing to do with The Publishers. Yet. Soon though, the tides of war arrived on the publishing shores, and they had no choice but to take up arms and do battle against the evil sorcerer. For the evil sorcerer Congo was now teleporting books to the doors of peasants everywhere, but this particular spell, according to The Publishers, not only teleported the book to the front door of a peasant… er customer, but a side-effect of the spell is that it also nicked a few cents worth of profit out of The Publishers’ coffers.

The battles raged for a while, but eventually the sorcerer won the ability to demand the terms of a treaty. He didn’t outright destroy The Publishers. He wasn’t really an evil sorcerer. He was pretty damn intelligent, as he knew that his own trick depended on The Publishers doing their job to work. How could the sorcerer teleport books to a peasant’s house if there were no books to teleport because the great sorcerer had destroyed The Publishers who produced the books?

(side note: This wouldn’t be the last time The Publishers clashed with Congo. There’s some more conflict in Chapter 2.5 somewhere. I’m too lazy to look it up, but trust me, Congo The Wise is a very tricky trickster, and The Publishers, by Chapter 2.5, are these old dudes like from The Dark Crystal, which is a kick-ass movie if you’ve never seen it… you really should check it out. Jim Henson and stuff. It’s going to be cheese, but it’s a totally awesome badass cheese. Like Pepper Jack cheese or something.)

And during a night of drunken debauchery with an entire ballroom full of virgins or rappers or something, after almost setting the King’s couch on fire with a slurred Power Word, it came to him. The sorcerer’s epiphany was that he could craft a new spell, one more powerful than any he’d ever crafted, that would teleport the books directly from the author to the peasants. Customers. Sheesh.
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Launch Sequence I (a “Genesis-6” story in “End of the Line” universe)

SOME of you have arrived because you’ve read “End of the Line.” Some of you are probably VERY angry at me for what I’ve done to humanity. I would like to remind you, before you launch a plasma grenade through my window, that EotL is just a story. Fiction.

I would also like to remind you that as bitter and depressing as EotL was, it of course was NOT the end… though I doubt anyone will be prepared for what becomes of humanity. Don’t worry, it’s pretty good. Keep in mind that I’m judging my own writing, so you should be wary of any claims I make about it being “pretty good.”

Right. The chapter preview at the end of EotL is “Launch Sequence II.” What you are about to read is actually the first novella of the sequel, and takes place before LS-II. Don’t worry, it all ties together. EVERYONE DIES! Haha, just kidding. Maybe. We’ll see.

ONE

My mother held my hand so tight that it began to hurt. She gave me a soothing look, but I could see the fear in her eyes. I didn’t really understand what was happening, but I knew that all of the adults were scared. The thunderous booms that filtered down through the underground complex resonated regularly. Every thump caused Mom to jump a little, and each time she would squeeze my hand even more.

“Mom, you’re hurting me,” I said after another powerful explosion made the world around us vibrate.

“I’m sorry, honey,” she replied, relaxing her grip, then giving me a quick hug while holding a small smile on her face for a few seconds. “I’m just nervous.”

Another boom, this time louder than any previous, rumbled down the walls. I could hear other children crying, whimpering in the line all around us, along with the voices of parents doing their best to soothe them. Just like my mother was doing for me. I wondered again if I was dreaming.

—|—

A week ago, I was playing in the park, beating my friends at video games, and practicing with my school’s basketball team. At ten years old, I didn’t pay much attention to the adult things like the news unless my father left the tablet screen open to the cartoons, though some of the cartoons made no sense. Chancellor Ryley was a woman who looked almost like my mother, and I didn’t understand why some cartoons showed her as a donkey, or why the aliens we were at war with were stuffing apple pies into her exaggeratedly large mouth.

Sometimes I liked to read the sports section. Earth was two hundred light years away, but they had all of the best leagues and sports, as some sports couldn’t be played on colony worlds if the gravity or atmosphere wasn’t right. Once in a while, my own name was in the local sports section, along with those of my teammates. Sometimes we got our pictures in the news as well. My father printed a hardcopy of the time I made the news by scoring the winning basket in the championship game when I was eight.

It was a distraction from the hushed whispering—sometimes even shouting and shoving—that the adults did over what was happening in the Coalition. All of us kids were told not to worry about any of that, only to focus on the next game, the next day, the next homework assignment. It was easy for me, though it made me uncomfortable around certain adults, as they sometimes forgot to stop worrying and focus on the next game, day, or work assignment. Continue reading

It’s Harder This Way – Chapter One

And finally tonight, many, many, MANY readers have been waiting for some sign of life concerning a sequel to “It’s Better This Way.” Well… “It’s Harder This Way” is getting dusted off and is in the queue. Here’s a sample. Keep in mind, it hasn’t been heavily edited (or even lightly edited). Enjoy! I’ll update as more gets written ;).

1. Onward and Forward

“Mr. Greggs, sir?” Spider asked, skidding to a halt in front of me.

“Spider,” I said, trying not to laugh at his name, “just call me Evan.”

“Evan, sir,” he said, fumbling the words. I could tell that it was hard for him to keep the Mister title from slipping out. “There’s an army scout coming up the road.” He looked back, as if the scout had been stalking him, then back at me. I nodded for him to go on. “He’s coming to you and Mist… Tony.”

“Okay,” I said, glancing over at Tony Galliardi. He shrugged. “Make sure he finds his way to us, and make sure no one says anything. Go.”

We watched him run back down the road, an all-out sprint at first, then after a sheepish look back at us, he smoothed out into a jog. I picked up my pack, shouldered it, waited for Tony to do the same, then began walking south again along the Willamette Highway.

“Who do you think taught him manners like that?” Tony asked as we put one foot in front of the other.

“No clue,” I said with a chuckle. “Is he a Farm kid, or from one of the outer reaches?”

“He’s one of the Davies’ kids. From up on the northeast edge.”

“Huh,” I said, trying to place the family to the location. “I don’t remember them. Seems like a good kid, though.”

“Let’s just hope he doesn’t fall on his knife while trying to slice into an apple.”

I laughed, imagining the gangly teenager tripping over his own two feet, especially around council members. We stopped when we came to the small bridge over Big Marsh Creek. Tony gave the halt signal to the… soldiers behind us. I didn’t want to call them soldiers, as they definitely weren’t that. They passed the signal back down the line, where it would eventually reach the rear, almost a mile behind us. Continue reading

“End of the Line” published!

“End of the Line” is a pretty dark tale about the last dozen human soldiers left in the galaxy as they witness the horrors of war against an alien enemy who knows (nor shows) no mercy. It’s an adult tale, so it has profanity, violence, and adult situations (like sex stuff but nothing graphic).

Give it a read on your Kindle (it’s exclusive to Amazon for the first 90 days) for $2.99 by clicking on the image below!

Many, MANY special thanks to Trevor Smith for painting such a gorgeous cover, and to Rebecca Weaver for doing such great typography!

“End of the Line” cover update #5

Trevor Smith is done with the ebook covers for “End of the Line,” and now Rebecca Weaver is working her magic with the title/author typography. These are not final versions, but they are looking pretty awesome!

"End of the Line" alternative cover - title test #1

“End of the Line” alternative cover – title test #1

"End of the Line" main cover - title test #1

“End of the Line” main cover – title test #1

“Enforcer” promo w/BookBub

So… today (Dec. 23rd), I’ll find out what everyone is talking about when it comes to BookBub promotional power.

If, by the way, you arrived here thanks to BB’s promo of “Enforcer” and you do NOT want to hold me down and make me drink a gallon of bleach, then I appreciate that very much.

Regardless of whether you liked or absolutely hated “Enforcer,” please do me a favor and leave me a book review at the retailer where you purchased/downloaded it.

Also: If you are super-mega rich (like, stinking + filthy + disgustingly rich), then here’s my “Wish List”
(Yes, it is a vacuum cleaner, and yes, I’m not full of shit when I say vacuuming the floor is one of my favorite activities. It’s where I come up with all of these lame story ideas. It’s unexplainable. So I’m not even going to try, other than to assure you that yes, vacuuming the floor is seriously one of my most favoritistical life activities. For reals.)

 

Techological Evolution = Societal Evolution (+ a warning?)

Let’s talk about Travis and his paranoid delusions. Or maybe they’re just my fears? As someone who has spent half his life in the high tech industry, I’m pretty familiar with the way a lot of the industry operates. I understand hardware, until it gets down beyond the silicon where there’s a lot of math and electrical current and all that. I understand software down to the part where you have to code the actual language of it. I understand the internet both from a user perspective, as well as from a technical perspective.

On top of all this knowledge-y goodness, I’m also old. I’ll be 41 in a couple of weeks. This gives me a lot of experience, but it also gives me a good deal of perspective. I’ve been alive long enough to actually see trends develop. A lot of you younger readers, you’ve grown up with the internet and instant communications. To you, this is just normal. This is how it is. It’s sort of like when I grew up with TV or electricity (okay, I’m not that old, but you know what I mean). It’s something you take for granted.

Now, knowing what I know about technology, business, and human nature (and money, let’s not forget money, and religion, I guess, though religion doesn’t play a part in this at all as far as I can tell), I’ve watched the world grow up with this new internet “thing.” There’s still some of us who are scared of computers, and don’t understand the internet. I’m pretty sure when I was born, there were still those who were scared to death of color television and didn’t understand why it was important to put men in space.

I’ve watched how technology has evolved the social structure of civilization, and has done it possibly more rapidly than any other huge leap in innovation ever has in our history. I grew up remembering a billion phone numbers (733-9329 was our home # for… forever, like twenty years or more, and 733-5776 was the number of the car dealership who had the most annoying asshole I’ve ever seen on TV doing their commercials). I grew up having to get up and change the channel. I also remember remote controls having five buttons only: power, channel up, channel down, volume up, volume down.

My mother told me about remotes that only had one button. You clicked it, and the channel went up. That’s it. To get all the way back around, you just clicked it a bunch of times. But, and keep this in mind, there were like… three TV networks back then, and that’s about it. The Star-Spangled Banner played at midnight, then it was six to eight hours of snow because the TV stations shut down for the night.
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Chuck Wendig is as clueless as James Patterson and John Scalzi (and NYC publishing houses)

You know what’s not funny? That these three ignorant morons, along with Hachette, Mike Shatzkin, and some other dummy I can’t remember (but Joe Konrath will alert you to who it is) keep lying about Amazon and self-publishing. I could go into a rant, but I’ll just let Konrath do it instead, since he’s much better at it than me:

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2014/07/fisking-chuck-wendig.html

Trust me, there’s more. Just read a few entries below the Chuck Wendig thing on Konrath’s site, including how Stephen Colbert, a man I used to respect, opened his big, stupid mouth and spewed the same lies.

Basically, what it boils down to is this: None of these people believe Amazon should provide you with ebooks that cost less than $9.99, and they don’t believe you should read self-published ebooks. Since all self-pub ebooks are trash, according to them. I guess including the ones by Konrath, Eisler, HM Ward (who has turned down multiple multi-million dollar publishing contracts to keep self-pubbing), Elle Casey, Hugh Howey… I could go on, but I’m ranting, so I’ll quit.

They also believe that you, the reader, are too stupid to make good reading choices, and that it is their (publishing house’s) job to hand pick the literature that they believe is quality. Because, you know, they’ve never picked anything that wasn’t top quality. Because they never published 50 Shades of Gray, or whatever stupid fucking book Snooki from Jersey Shore has her name and face plastered on. I could go on forever here, as well.

Bottom line? Traditional publishing houses, and a lot of big name traditionally published authors believe readers are ignorant, stupid, and must be told what is good literature, and must patrol the literary world to make sure you don’t read anything they have vetted. Oh, and since they vetted it and it is guaranteed to be top quality literature, they want you to pay $10+ for ebooks (a lot of them costing as much if not more than the paper versions).

Le $.99 / Free Sale (this weekend)

This weekend, I’m offering all of my books at either $.99 or Free @ Amazon!

Angry Sale

Including my latest release “Diabolus”

All Of My Books Are FREE today (May 10, 2014)

So, you know, if you want something awful to read, have at it:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00C9IVXH0

(I wouldn’t recommend it, though)