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Upcoming Release!

I just wrapped up a two-day run at the 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival here in Southern California. I’ll have a more detailed after-action report on the people I met and some interesting shenanigans on Day Two a little later.

But for now, I wanted to let you all know about my next scheduled story release. On May 15th Superversive Press’ Planetary Anthology Series continues with, Earth, the fourth book in the 11-book series. Mercury, Venus and Mars are already out.

My story, Extinction Point, is the third of eighteen incredible stories in the collection.  Find out more about this book here: Planetary Earth.

And don’t forget, later on this year the Pluto edition will be released, edited by yours truly. It will feature 17 great stories, including some by a few of the people appearing in Earth. (Yes, I will be in Pluto with a story as well.)

In addition to Earth and Pluto, I have been confirmed for Luna and I am still waiting to hear how my submissions for Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and Sol will fare. I could be in seven of the eleven books in the series. But even if it is only just three, the entire series should be quite incredible.

But until May 15th, you should grab your copy of the Dragon Award finalist, Escaping Infinity. It is available in e-book, print and audiobook formats.

 

 

About ConCarolina’s Ringo Debacle…

Conservative creators are being banned from Cons.

Conservative creators are being threatened at Cons or if they even attempt to attend a Con.

Conservative creators are being attacked and bullied on social media.

Conservative creators are having their social media platforms deleted and demonetized.

Conservative speakers are having their public events canceled.

Conservative speakers are having their public events shut down by protestors refusing to let them speak.

The reasons being given for this targeting?: “Conservatives are bad people that could not be trusted. Conservatives have bad thoughts ideas that should not be heard. If we don’t silence Conservatives, if we don’t put Conservatives in their place it will be the end of our society.”

Are you okay with that?

If you said yes, go back and replace all of the words above in bold with “Blacks” and all of the words in italics with things like “banned from sitting at a lunch counter”, “barred from riding in the front of the bus”, “banned from voting”, “barred from going to school with whites”, and “threatened if they attempted those very same things.”

Are you okay with that? Are you still okay with what is being done to conservatives these days?

Because if you are then congratulations are in order: You are Jim Crow. For those born after 1970, that isn’t something to be proud of.

While the attacks on conservative political pundits have been frequent and well-publicized – remember the Antifa-led rioting in Berkeley on numerous occasions whenever a conservative student group invited a conservative to speak? There have been many other instances of speakers’ events being canceled because of violent extremist protestors that I am sure you have heard of.

But that vitriol hasn’t been limited to politics. Conservative comic book and game creators have been under siege for some time. They have been attacked by trolls and keyboard commandos intent on getting social media content banned and demonetized.

Conservative authors have been coming under fire in recent months as well. Jon Del Arroz was banned from WorldCon76 – despite being a paid member of the Con being held in his hometown – for no other reason that he is “one of those” and “those people” can’t be allowed to mix with the right sort of people, you know.

By the way, Del Arroz attended WorldCon76’s Hugo announcements. Despite being banned because “he might cause trouble at the Con” he was allowed into the smaller ceremony. To the surprise of no one – on either side of the issue – Jon caused not even one iota of trouble. Nor would he at WorldCon76 and the people who banned him know it.

They know this because he wasn’t banned because he “might” cause trouble. He was banned because he is an outspoken Conservative.

On Monday, ConCarolinas banned best-selling novelist, and a conservative, John Ringo from attending this year, despite his being announced as an invited guest. They couched the “mutual dis-invitation” as being done out of concern for John’s safety at the Con because a small handful of people decided just having Ringo in the same city they were in would mean the end of their lives. I am not exaggerating. This is exactly what they think.

The Con runners know John is no threat to anyone. They know he wouldn’t swat a flea – unless said flea was armed with a howitzer and aiming it at people.

But, instead of throwing out those people who were planning on coming to the Con to confront John and perhaps even attack him physically, they punished the victim. They asked the victim to go away and not defend himself from this assault.

This shameful decision will only embolden these people to continue their assaults on conservatives. In their world, only they decide who gets to speak and who gets to shut up. Only they get to decide who can earn a living in peace and who must be crushed into complete ruin. Only those that fully toe the party line are allowed to go about their business unmolested.

We’ve seen many examples of people with similar thinking throughout history. My grandfather and millions of others have fought against them in wars throughout the 20th Century.

We know them by the names of Nazis, Fascists, Communists and Socialists. Their leaders were Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Mao. The only difference between those men and their 21st Century counterparts is that this generation of liberty-deniers haven’t killed anyone – yet.

So if you have found yourself approving of what is being done to conservative creators and speakers over the last few years maybe you should take a step back and take another look at the company you’re keeping.

Being compared to Jim Crow is bad enough. You don’t want to find yourself lumped in with Bull Connor.

A Tough Job

As I have mentioned before, I am co-editing the Pluto edition of Superversive Press’ Planetary Anthology series. I just sent out an e-mail saying “how sorry I was that your submission did not make the final cut” to over a dozen authors.

In nearly every case, their story was great. Unfortunately, those 14 stories got beat out by

Grim_Reaper_Cutout

The Grim Editor Reaper. How I felt when I sent out the Rejection e-mails.

21 other stories that were just a little bit greater. I felt like an utter heel having delivered the bad news because I know exactly how I feel when I am on the receiving end of one of those rejection e-mails/letters.

 

I am confident that we have a great collection of stories for the book, due out later this year. But I wish we could have found a way to get all of them in. My approach has always been to encourage everyone to write and find a way to get their story published. So telling 14 folks “no” was no easy task for me. I cannot imagine how someone does this on a daily basis. So I guess we can scratch “Acquisitions Editor” off my list of potential jobs.

While you are waiting for Pluto to hit the bookshelves and Kindles, be sure to check out the three editions currently out:

Mercury

Venus

Mars

Earth is due out in one month and will mark my first entry into the series “Extinction Point.” I have two other stories confirmed at this point, “Polar Shift” in Luna, and “Yes Neil D. Tyson, Pluto Is A Planet” in Pluto.

I have written and submitted four other stories: “At Homeworld’s End” for Sol; “Icarus Falls” for Jupiter; “The Last Human” for Uranus and “The 13th Medallion” for Neptune, and am awaiting a decision on all four.

I’m hoping I will get acceptance e-mails for them. But if I get a rejection for one or all I will certainly understand. Having just gone through the process myself, I don’t envy those four editors the task ahead.

 

 

Anonymous Keyboard Commandos

I found myself talking to a young aspiring writer over the weekend who was looking for advice. As an aside, it was the second time in a week another writer had come to me looking for advice. While I am flattered they chose me to reach out to, I kind of found myself checking in the mirror to see how many more grey hairs were popping up.

In the case of my weekend conversation, the young writer was asking about establishing himself as a writer and trying to decide if they wanted to write under their real name or under a pen name. The primary concern was keeping their writing career separate from their regular life, especially in their social media accounts.

I can sympathize and I understand their concern. My personal philosophy has always been to put my name – my real name – behind every word I write. Whether that be a newspaper or magazine article, a short story or novel or even on Twitter, Facebook or some other social media.

I’m old school that way and maybe even a little stubborn too. If you ever read The Final Reflection by John M. Ford you’ll read an old Klingon proverb: If I hadn’t wanted it heard, I wouldn’t have said it.

After two-plus decades of writing for newspapers and several more years of writing short stories and novels, I’m a big enough boy that I can take the slings and arrows that comes with being “out there” in today’s digital age. Still, I can see the reason for, and the attraction of, writing under a pen name.

It would be much easier for me to shut down everything with my name on it. Wait a bit and then start producing content under a pen name. I doubt anyone would be the wiser if I did. And given some recent run-ins with some gutless keyboard commandos online the allure of a pen name has become a bit stronger.

The trolls I’ve mentioned here in the past like Aaron Pound and Mike Glyer over at Vile 770 and others are easily dealt with and, once the ugly reason behind their attacks are revealed (bigotry, misandry and petty jealousy, etc.), just as easily ignored. The hateful trolls (see above for their reasons) that hide behind silly fake screen names (Contrarius, JJ and Camestros to name a few) are somewhat frustrating as they are able to use that anonymity to avoid paying the price for their hate.

There are companies that hunt down these trolls and expose them. One even recently reached out to me to offer their services to hunt down and reveal for all the world to see one of the more somewhat annoying trolls. It was tempting but ultimately I declined for one very important reason – to take that path would be to lower myself into the gutter where they live.

That was the first piece of advice I gave my young inquisitor: Don’t lower yourself to their level, no matter what they do.

Which led to my second piece of advice: If you are willing to take the heat that comes with putting your name and your beliefs on the line then do so, but expect the path ahead to be rough. But, if you just want to write your stories and be left in peace, then yes, take a pen name.

A few years ago I would never have said that. But in this toxic time where the outrage mob is constantly on the lookout for a new target to acquire perhaps the best move is to just stay out of the fray.

Who knows, maybe in a year or two I might get tired of it myself and activate the pen name I’ve already established, write my stories in peace and quiet and let the keyboard commandos rot in their own hate.

Putting On My Editor’s Hat Again

There’s a new website that launched on April 2, 2018. You can find it here: www.urban-fantasy.com and it covers the wonderful genre of Urban Fantasy. I recently told you about Secret Stairs: Tribute To Urban Legend, an anthology of 34 short stories that I was fortunate to be a part of. It was published by Silver Empire Publishing about a month ago and has been at or just below the #1 Horror Anthology on Amazon.

Well Russell Newquist, who runs Silver Empire, was so thrilled with how Secret Stairs has done he decided to launch a website to explore the entire genre in books, on television and in movies. He reached out to me, given my 20+ years experience with running newspaper departments, to serve as the website’s Managing Editor and I happily accepted the position.

We’ve already started posting content to the site with much more to come. So give it a look and be sure to let us know what you think of it.

Audiobook News!

So this just happened…

Screenshot (131)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat this means for you is that sometime around April 9th the first book of the Jack Del Rio series will be available as an audiobook.

Theo Holland does a great job narrating this book and will begin work on Betrayals in a few weeks. We’re hoping to have it out sometime in September.

In the meantime a 2018 CLFA Book of the Year Finalist, Escaping Infinity, is out as an audiobook and this new format is selling like hotcakes. Get your copy today right here!

EI_AUDIO_COVER2 copy

An Anthology Worthy Of Your Support

There’s a kickstarter campaign for a new anthology that you should really check out. Yes, I’m in it. But that’s not the only reason why you should help get it to print. It’s a sequel to a successful anthology and promises to be just as good as the first one.

My Peculiar Family 2 3D CoverHere’s some info:

My Peculiar Family Volume II – Celebrations is the second anthology of unusual tales that seeks to uncover the bizarre family history of Chyna Dale.

When Chyna discovers antique tintypes of family members she never knew existed, she becomes obsessed with uncovering their mysterious identities.

Why hasn’t she heard of them before? What were they like? Most of all, what can this hidden familial bloodline tell her about herself and her past?

Plagued by questions, Chyna soon discovers that the deeper into her history she goes, the more peculiar her family becomes.

Sixteen established and emerging writers who have been featured on the hit show Sci Fi Saturday Night have been united to explore the strange family history of Chyna Dale in this thrilling new collection of short stories.

 

My Peculiar Family Volume II – Celebrations is the second anthology of unusual original tales like none ever published before! This volume combines many well known and emerging writers, who have been on Sci Fi Saturday Night and unites them, writing together in a shared universe to discover the lost family of Chyna Dale . What makes this series so original is the fictional family of Chyna Dale. When she discovers a box of old tintype photos in her attic, her quest becomes finding out who they are.

Here’s the kickstarter link: My Peculiar Family, Vol. 2

 

 

Advice To New Writers

I’ve been making a lot of appearances on radio and YouTube shows, and answering questions for online interviews, and almost all of them have one question in common: What advice do I have for new writers?

Mostly, I’ve stuck to one answer: Keep on writing. No matter what anyone else may say about your work, never let their remarks stop you from writing. You have a story, a voice, and it is as worthy of sharing with the world as anyone else’s is.

But today I’d like to expand on that answer just a little. Trolls. Ignore them. Totally. bf17ea1b8aa857778138b91de51b96a0Completely. Absolutely. They bring nothing useful to you, not even the same level of amusement the cat has with the mouse it has caught but not yet killed. In the writer’s case, the online troll is not even worth the time it takes you to kill it.

When confronted with the online troll your best bet is to block it (yes I said it, it does not deserve being treated like you would a normal human being) and move on. Facebook, Twitter, even your own website/blog provider has tools that allow you to block them and never hear from them again. Use it and do so without ever engaging your troll in the first place.

Nothing good ever comes of such an engagement, you’ll never convince the troll that they are wrong about you, or whatever issue that was being discussed when they appeared on your online feed, because they simply don’t care. In fact, the troll lives only to attack others in order to make themselves feel better about their own sorry existence. article-kxlppupxmz-1462627888In a sense, they are mentally deranged individuals and no matter what you say or do they will simply ignore you and continue attacking you.

The best thing you can do is give them no oxygen. Attention, oddly enough your attention specifically, is what they crave most. You are only feeding them when you respond. So stop feeding them. And don’t go chasing after them somewhere else online either. That’s still feeding them.

And the temptation to go after them in their own house will be very strong. It is a human response to hit back when someone has attacked you, especially when you feel the attack was unprovoked or unwarranted.

I know all of this because I’ve gone through it the last two years and it took me awhile to learn the lessons above. I’m kind of old school that way. Hit me with a stick, I drop a thermonuclear bomb on you, etc. etc.

And I had some real winners in my troll box to deal with. Mike Glyer (not-so-lovingly referred to on this blog as ChynaMike, Lord of the House of 770 Vile Aromas), Camestros “Don’t Call me Toby” Felapton, Aaron Pound (an attorney for a Federal Agency who blogs about SF/F) who is so charming he once advocated physically assaulting a woman he disagreed with online in a tweet that I have a screenshot of in case he tries to deny it, Jim C. Hines and Paul Weimer and a few others I’ve had the “pleasure” to encounter.

OpinionBut not too long ago I finally decided to shut off the oxygen to my trolls and suddenly they just don’t matter to me anymore. From time to time I hear that they are in their own little hangouts – along with their ever-shrinking circle of troll friends – like Beavis and Butt-Head, laughing at each other’s little “jokes”.

And you know what I think about that? So what? Who cares? Let them. Because outside of their cosmically insignificant circle of like-minded morons no one cares about what they say anymore. Certainly no one whose opinion matters to me in the slightest.

You want to know what 99.9% of this world’s population does care about and is eagerly awaiting to hear? Your next story. Which you won’t be writing if you are wasting your time chasing after these blathering buffoons. So stop doing it!

Go write your next story! That’s exactly what I am doing instead of wasting my time on these useless individuals and their infantile foolishness.

Now that I have finished When The Gods Fell (Due out on September 4th) – and while a New_TIMELESSfew more anthologies that I have submitted to for you to enjoy will be coming out over the next few months – I am starting a (for now) five-book children’s science-fiction/fantasy series, Timeless, inspired by my eldest grandson and my next sci-fi/fantasy novel, Firstborn’s Curse.

I’m writing, all part of #PulpRev, and I have many stories to write and share. So do you.

So why are you still sitting there reading this? Quit wasting time.

GO WRITE!!!!

RIGHT NOW!!!!!