Setting Realistic Self-Publishing Goals

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Artists are dreamers by nature.

Through my experience working with (and for) a good number of creative people over the years in different media, I’ve noticed a common thread that binds most of them together. They think big. They have bold dreams and high expectations.

Disenchanted authors are commonplace in self-pub blogs and forums, and I wanted to pass on some pragmatic advice that has helped keep my expectations tempered. Hopefully it will help other beginner authors set attainable goals.

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“Bloodstone” Review

BloodstoneBloodstone by Karl Edward Wagner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I count myself as a fan of “dark fantasy”, and Bloodstone was an excellent find in the genre. If you enjoy Conan and other grim worlds, the realm of Wagner’s anti-hero Kane should be right up your alley.

I ran across this book while scouring for older fantasy works, since I have been getting a bit bored with a lot of the modern fantasy I’ve been checking out as of late. Plus I have been playing Dark Souls, and it put me in the mood to read something set in a brutal realm. Kane is an interesting character, enigmatic and self-serving, but he’s the type of guy you love to hate. Wagner’s universe is oppressive and unforgiving; full of demons, vicious sword fights, and dark sorcery. His prose is DENSE, and the vocabulary he uses to build his vision demands full attention. I found myself re-reading pages to ensure I knew what was happening.

If I can level a few criticisms, the middle of the book lags a bit, but it’s not so horrible a slog that I became bored. Also, the authors penchant for “SAT words” (he was also a psychologist) ran a little rampant and he picked a select few to overuse. You can only read the word “coruscant” so many times before it becomes irritating. There was also some verbiage that I can only describe as medical terminology that arrived late in the story and felt a bit out of place.

Outside of those minor faults, it’s an excellent story that pulls no punches in creating an intense atmosphere that blends dark fantasy and science fiction. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a challenging read that is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the “Tolkien-esque” heroic high fantasy.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Self-Publishing an eBook on a Budget

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I’ve read many articles that explain how first time self-published authors should go about preparing their inaugural work for public consumption. There are many accepted opinions on the subject, from folks with more experience than myself, but I have been hard-pressed to find much content that provides alternatives for hobbyists or people on a shoe-string budget.

Full Disclosure: I am a hobbyist author. I take it seriously, as I’m passionate about writing and enjoy sharing my creative works, but I never intend for it to replace my current career. That said, these are opinions I’ve formed through patterns of observation, so take them for what they are worth. I hope some of this advice might help others like myself who are having trouble finding a discussion targeted at an audience who isn’t trying to “make it”.

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Zombies Ate My Neighbors (A Retrospective)

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Editor’s Note – This post originally appeared on the horror media blog Terrorphoria.com

I fired up my Wii Virtual Console yesterday and sat down to reacquaint myself with one of my favorite games from the 16-bit era. Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a classic, and if you haven’t played it, you don’t know what you’re missing! I have fond memories of renting this from my local video store and having no clue what it was about, but thinking it had to be great because of the zombies on the box art. I miss the “pre-internet” days of gaming when you could still be surprised by something.

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Writing Tip: Overusing “Said” as a Dialogue Tag

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As I continue my quest in self-publishing, I read so much advice about “the rules” of writing. A common piece of knowledge dispensed about penning dialogue is to only use “said” as the primary dialogue tag.

What’s a dialogue tag?

A dialogue tag is a clause of two words or more which attributes speech to a particular speaker. “Hello,” John said. Hello is the dialogue. John said is the dialogue tag. The tag makes clear that John is doing the speaking, rather than Mary or Chris or the dining room table.via EditTorrent

The popular theory behind employing “said” as your weapon of choice is that it supposedly disappears as a reader is scanning the text, and through some psychological magic they treat it like punctuation.

I’m here to tell you that’s not (always) true.

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