Hard to believe. It's already the middle of February. My how time flies when you're having one helluva good time!
I have five stories published on Amazon and five more in the works. Once this year is done and in the can, I'll have only one-hundred forty more tales to scribble. Hard to believe it was only four years ago when I started on this writing adventure, and what a fascinating trip it has been!
Most folks take stock of where they've been and where they intend to go in the year ahead around New Year's Day. I love Christmas too much to take time out for that sort of thing during that wondrous holiday, which for me, the festivities don't stop until after my birthday on January second. Hell, I still haven't taken my Christmas tree down, and Valentine's Day has just passed. I guess I'll get to that sad task sometime in the next week or so. Decorating for Christmas is so much fun. Turning the lights off and packing up the jolly trinkets until next Christmas, not so much.
My wife is a peach for putting up with my eccentricities regarding Christmas. When we started dating over thirty-two years ago, I still had my Christmas tree up in May. Of course, she decided it was high time to call it quits for that tree. The needles had just about all fallen off of it. If you asked me, it still had a some something about it. Saying goodbye has never been a strong suit of mine.
Over this past year, I've made great strides, and more than met every one of my goals. Like I already said, five of my tales are out there for human consumption. I'm still a million dollars shy of being a millionaire, but the E-Books are selling pretty well. Somebody is liking them because the reviews have all been stellar. So far, I haven't received any bad ones. My brand of dark fantasy isn't for everyone, and I'm sure someone won't like what storms through my mind and will let me know all about it. You can't please all folks all of the time. So far, that's a bridge I haven't had to cross yet.
Last May, I got this website up and running. Since then, I've made some fifty posts to my Thought Train and this fantasy blog. Surprisingly, I've found the time to post pretty darn regularly to this website, and still have been able to write more stories. I don't know who's coming to this site and reading my posts, only that lots of people are landing here each month.
I just added a link to my Store Page, which will cycle through on the Home Page as well, for the free Kindle App Amazon offers. Although the App is free, many have asked how they can read my stories when I don't offer them in a paper format. I thought I'd make it easy for those who are Luddites like myself, and made the link available with the click of a button. Before I embarked on this writer's journey, I had no clue about digital books either. Except for a couple of magazines I still receive by mail because I'm too lazy to cancel the subscriptions, I don't read anything not available in a digital format. My pone has become my library, among other things. Technology still baffles me, but I'm learning to appreciate it as late to the game as I am. It turns out, after all, you can teach an old dog new tricks!
When you don't have a publisher to inform the world you exist, as a self published author, you need to market your work. That was a trip to wrap my head around. I'm still learning how to market effectively, but have made great strides in that regard as well.
After trying out each of the social media platforms, most I gave a few months to understand their quirks, I settled on Twitter because people who use that platform seem to be the most open to new ideas and products. Twitter is also the most user-friendly. Since opening my Twitter account a little over a year ago, my Twitter following has grown to more than twenty-two thousand followers. Most every day, another one hundred followers jump on board, with many of them Retweeting my Tweets and making comments and queries about my work. Things are looking good for me on Twitter.
At root, marketing is about cutting through all the noise to get the world to know you exist. There are literally millions of books out there, many of which are simply unreadable. Getting people to understand your stories are worth their time is what marketing in the digital age is all about. This is especially so in my case, where my books can't be plucked from a shelf in the local bookstore and perused. Twitter has become my link to both this website and my Amazon Author Page, where my books are always waiting to be discovered and bought. To that end, my experience on Twitter has been most fruitful.
The last piece of what I accomplished last year was opening an account on Patreon and setting up a Creator Page on that platform. Now, what in tarnation is Patreon? That is a platform that links artists with those who wish to support the arts in an intimate way. I began that leg of the adventure last August. So far, it hasn't grown much, but I know it will. My posts on Patreon are longer and more involved than what this website was designed to handle. My Patrons(those who commit to a pledge of at least a dollar a month) get to read stories and articles I post just for them. These posts delve into the goings-on in my fantasy world that most likely will never make it into any story I will publish, but are nonetheless interesting tidbits and tales.
Now, for the juicy stuff. Much is in store for the coming year. I plan to continue my regular posting to this website. There's no need to fret about that point. Since I'm not one to screw around with what's working, I'll continue to do everything I've set into motion.
This year I plan to see what my stories will look like in a video format. I'm looking into getting people to act out some scenes from my stories. The video will be far from a professional quality, but the experiment should be interesting nonetheless. My Patrons will probably be the first to view the finished product. If all goes well, I'm contemplating putting some of these clips as extras in the backs of my future E-Books. An exciting proposition. Digital technology does have its advantages, and I see the digital revolution creating possibilities never before possible with standard paper formats.
The other thing I'm working on is putting out there a Puzzle of The Month for my Patrons to solve. I've already devised several puzzles, some fairly easy and some, much more difficult and involved. The idea is to create a trap to be disarmed or a crime scene to be solved, similar to the situations with which the characters in my stories have to contend. At the end of each month, I'll post the answer to that month's puzzle. If all goes well, March should be the first installment. You will be able to check out the first two or three month's puzzles because those will be Public Posts and will be able to be viewed by anyone and everyone. I expect this endeavor to be a linkage between my stories and role-playing games I so love and adore.
Something's definitely in the air. Something really good. Hopefully, you can catch some of it because it's got my creative juices flowing. Until next time, let your mind wander through all manner of fantasy realms, especially the dark ones!
I've been writing, editing, and rewriting the five stories I plan to produce this year. With any luck and yes, Lady Luck plays a major part in this tedious process, my next story will be ready by May or June. My editors will have plenty to keep themselves busy. Hopefully, they don't revolt on me.
When my internet connection went down and in the midst of fixing it, a thought occurred to me like a shot from The Dark. At first I was too annoyed to pay much attention to the notion that did its best to distract me from the task of unplugging all of the cords to allow the router to reset. This Luddite likes the conveniences technology offers, but detests everything involved with achieving those advantages. While waiting for things to come back online, the idea struck me again. Since I had some time to kill and needed a diversion from my annoyance, I gave it some thought.
Before I knew it, an hour had passed. See what I mean when I say how distracting ideas can be? Oh, what is this concept? See, I'm still distracted by it!
Anyway, the thought involves a series of ideas, all wrapped around one another. That's what took so long to noodle through, and why I ignored it at first. I knew it wouldn't be a fleeting notion. Once I unloaded the Thought Train, the simplicity of the idea struck me to the core. It's something that never occurred to me before that "aha" moment. I don't know why, but it didn't.
I still haven't told you what it is? Oh, yea. Patience, My Dearies. Coolness doesn't happen everyday, not for me. When lightning strikes in a bottle, one just has to marvel in its glory.
Alright, alright. Enough basking. What would happen to a single point of reality that has already been isolated from all others, if it were to be divorced from time, infinity, and paradox?
See what I mean? The notion is a complex one. The simple term for a point of reality that has been isolated is a singularity. Check out my latest Passing Thought on my Thought Train for an elaboration of that concept. The go-to idea of disavowing or divorcing the singularity from time or infinity would be to call it a paradox. By taking paradox off the table of possibilities, one is left with a conundrum. What now? Does the point collapse, or does something else occur?
Concepts are the basic building blocks of reality. Time and infinity are two of the biggest. Paradox serves as a gap-filler, or release valve. In any event, paradox does much to maintain cosmic continuity when reality is faced with alterations that bring into question its fundamental integrity. Taking time and infinity out of the equation, does just that.
Without time, the space can have no past, present, or future. Infinity provides possibility. Without that, one might ask, just how limited is this space, and how is this point able to maintain its integrity? Since movement is a concept with a time component, without the element, does it mean nothing can move around within the space, and what would those implications be? Take paradox away as well, and if this point had a personality, it would be heading straight for an existential crisis.
I need to do some more thinking on this problem. It has piqued my interest, but I need to finish up some editing before it gets too late in the morning. I do need to sleep sometime. If any of you have any ideas about this conundrum, do drop me a line. Otherwise, keep it dark and real!
The release of my newest E-Book, The Shade's Tale, has brought a flurry of questions about the power underlying The Cosmos about which I write. I take for granted the power of ideas because that has been the basis for the power structure of my universe for so many decades and is the way I think about reality. I forget my readers are new to my notions of power. With that in mind, now seems to be the appropriate time to explain some of my thinking about ideas and power.
To get a full grasp on what I'm talking about and a true understanding of my thought process, you need to rethink the way in which you view ideas. To me, concepts are so much more than a dictionary definition. Ideas have a life all to their own and are all but tangible to me. They are completely substantial to the characters I write about in my stories. Thus, the fantasy aspect of my work.
I begin with the dictionary definition of any given idea. Then, I think and go broader. I let the concept rumble through my mind without any preconceived notions of where the idea should go, or how it should move about within my cerebral space. I ask myself a series of questions.
What are the ramifications of the given idea? How does the notion move through reality? Does it sashay, or does it flit about? What does the concept feel, and how does it do that? With what other notions does the idea associate or struggle against? How would it feel to reach out and touch the idea? Would it feel hot, cold, sharp, soft, or like something else? If it could talk, what would the concept say, and how would it communicate? What does the idea look and smell like? What is the notion's connection and importance to The Cosmos? Is it central, peripheral to existence, or does it have some other relationship?
If you think about these questions and allow your mind to wander as you read my stories, you will become immersed within a fantasy world full of characters you will come to adore and others you will love to hate. It will be an experience unlike any other. At some point you will wonder why other authors haven't treated ideas in this manner. Fantasy will never be the same for you. That will be the moment the penny will drop, and your understanding of my work will have fully materialized.
My friends and family have long thought my personification of ideas to be strange, maybe even a bit bizarre. This manner of perceiving concepts is what has made me successful with every endeavor I've ever undertaken. It's what has made my role-playing games different, and the reason behind the unique quality of my stories. I see no point in writing about what has already been written. My brand of dark fantasy goes where no other writer has dared or seen fit to tread.
Not all ideas are equal. Some concepts are wild, unruly, and simply out of this world, while others are simple and down to earth. The juxtaposition of ideas is where the true conflict within my stories reside. Characters wield concepts to get their desired results. Their very existences are notions unto themselves, as are the physical properties that surround the characters. They combine ideas to express their intent and accomplish feats, some of which are simple and straightforward, while others are beyond the pale.
My characters imaginations are their only limitations. Even The Cosmos is an idea to contend with in the scope of my stories. The resolution of the butting of heads when ideas collide is where the meat of my tales reside. If this point is all you come away with at this moment in time, then you are a long way toward understanding my creative process and most importantly, my story arcs.
Hopefully, this post answers most of your questions. If not, check out some of the posts within my Thought Train. Many of those posts expound upon some of the big ideas found within my stories. Until next time, keep it dark and fantastical and remember, ideas are more powerful than the pen, which are mightier than the sword!