Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Who Owns the World? A reaction to Kindle Worlds

As you probably know by now, Amazon has announced that they will be launching a new Kindle Direct program called Kindle Worlds.  Fan-fic authors can submit their work in one of the official licensed worlds and if accepted will find their work for sale on  Along the way, Amazon gets all kinds of benefits and perks and young fledgling authors who have been writing fan-fic for fun or for practice can now add "for profit" to their reasons for doing so.

John Scalzi, who himself is brilliant in all things writer-advocacy, has a great post up where he dissects the actual agreement.  I'm going to spring board off of that myself here.

Spring boarding off of this there is one fundamental underlying question:  Who owns a world?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Where have all the game stores gone?

So here I was all ready to blog about the latest in snarky reviews on Good Reads followed by a possibly unprofessional response on an author's blog leading to the latest internet Tea Pot Tempest when I got news of a store closing.

Let me put some context here.

When I started teaching, my room was a common place for nerds, geeks and dorks to hang out after school and have a shared space where it was okay to talk about DND characters, video games, and RPG's. 

A few years ago I got a note from one of the guys who would hang out saying he had purchased a game shop and was selling the games we had talked about after school.  

Sadly, the game shop is closing.  Amazon, Walmart, and all the other "get more for less" stores took their toll, and the profit margin wasn't enough to keep it going.

So in lieu of a post tonight, we're heading up to East Lansing for a guy's night of comics, and games and good memories.  I want my son to see a game shop, what gaming used to be, before the age of Overnight Delivery and On Demand Comics.

It's a bittersweet journey.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Weekly Update 5/11/13

The week opened with two days of inservices, followed by a day off due to a sick out by our bus drivers (long story and I'm not even sure what happened really), and then two days of work.  It was a very short week for me at the day job yet oddly tiring all the same.

On Mind the Thorns:

Sadly, no update this time out, but I can assure everyone that the next chapter is in the works.  However, as you will see below, it might be delayed just a pinch.

On Bastion: The Last Hope

Bastion came back with an update following the KC130 crew, this time from the point of view of one of the copilots.  We get a chance to see the group from a different angle, meet a different character, and find out a little bit about what exactly is happening.

On Fictional Omens

Owing to a wacky week I went back to the archives and found a great post about writing in 1st person and why its so hard.  Which is ironic because this week saw another dust up of "Authors Behaving Badly" as one tried to defend his rather casual writing style and his informal treatment of the audience.  I may write more on it, if I feel I want to take the risk, as his response to the review got him pretty slammed.

At home:

As a heads up, the next few weeks are going to be crazy at work as we end out the school year.  Final grades are due, and for the first time in a long time it looks like I'll need to clean out my classroom in case I teach somewhere else in the fall.  Finding time (and energy) to compose is going to be tough.  So everyone knows Mind the Thorns will get another chapter before Memorial Day weekend, and Bastion has three more posts before the buffer is exhausted.  After that it may go on hiatus for a few weeks to rebuild the buffer as we move into summer.  The one perk of teaching is that I will have time this summer to muse and write in and around spending time with the kids and the family.

Plus my parent's cottage now has high speed internet and Wifi so I can go work up there as well.

And.... your weekly video:

A few weeks ago Wil Weaton was asked what he might say to a woman's newborn daughter about why it was awesome to be a nerd.

Here goes:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Repost: Narrators- The Challenge of 1st Person

This is from the archives given that this week has been kinda bat-crap crazy for me.  It also reminds me that I need to get some serious work done on my next few chapters too....

The 2011 Smurf movie introduced us to a variety of unique smurfs, among them Gutsy (a kilted smurf) and Narrator (shown above).  At one point in the movie, while Narrator is describing the ongoing battle scene another smurf looks at him and shouts "Really?  Now?"  At this Narrator shrugs and says "It's what I do."

When it comes to 1st Person Past Tense writing I find that the idea of the narrator is profoundly problematic and one of the least understood or acknowledged challenges in writing, especially among young or new writers.  There is a distinctive appeal to having someone relate their accounts of events in their own words.  We, as readers, are treated to their thoughts, their statements of their feelings, and their interpretations of the story.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Weekly Update 4/4/13

Up and down and up down went the emotions of the week.  One drama led to another and then another.  Most of them were work related (not writing work the kind that pays the bills)  but all in all it was not a bad week.  Just one that kept the hits coming.

Like a jack hammer.

On Mind the Thorns:

It does seem that polls are borked so I'm going to be looking for something other than the Blogger resident poll system to keep tally week by week.  The winning vote ~appeared~ to be to rescue Emma so that's what Regan's going to do.  Of course, technically the vote was to ~try~ to save her.  I never said if she was already too far gone or not.

We'll just have to wait a week and see.

On Bastion: The Last Hope

This week was a hiatus week with no update.  I should be hearing back from my friend in the Marine Corps tonight or tomorrow so that will give me a little bit to get the chapter edited and posted and from there it looks like we're on track for a good 4 week run without break.

On Fictional Omens

Last weekend a major dust up took place for author Charlaine Harris, the woman behind the wildly popular True Blood novels also known as the Southern Vampire stories.  Long story short, spoilers to her final book in the series leaked and many "fans" were none too happy.  I took on the issue of Reader Entitlement in this week's Fictional Omen.

At home:

Okay so Amazon Prime has this thing going where you can watch pilots for original shows that they will put on the "air" next season.  We watched a few and here are our votes:

  • Zombieland The Series - Green Light
  • Alpha House - Yellow
  • The Onion News Network - Red
We'll watch more and get back to you.

And.... your weekly video:

How am I just now finding out about this amazingly talented young woman?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Charlaine Harris, Southern Vampires, and Entitlement

This is the second take of my title.  The first was "Charlaine Harris is not your B***H".  It seems very posh to quote Mr. Gaiman these days and well, it seems to fit.  Specifically it comes, so the legend goes, from a time that Neil Gaiman was asked how a fan could ask GRR Martin to write faster because they were so anxious to see where the Game of Thrones story line went.  His answer?

You don't.

And that quote started to make the rounds again as authors weighed in on the recent debacle related to the much anticipated end to the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampires True Blood series.

But, given that ChibiNeko did that for her blog, I thought I'd write up my take on the whole thing under my own title.

The best write up of the event is here at the Blog of one Mary Janice Davidson, author of UNDead and Unwed and other stories of Vampire Queen Betsy. Edited:  I originally mistyped the title of Ms. Davidon's Queen Betsy series as "Dead and Unwed" rather than "Undead and Unwed".  For clarity here's the actual book.  In fact, I need to really apologize because so much of Mind the Thorns and my own efforts to write to a similar audience was influenced by having read the first two books in that series.