Tag Archives: hutchins

It’s An HNoR

iPOS6 I write for my own enjoyment (though I do have a target audience in mind when I write most of my stories) but there are a handful of people I hope to earn the Head Nod of Respect from one day. These are people who aren’t celebrities by any means (though some have audiences far larger than mine). They are creators whose work I have known for some time and whose work I in turn respect and enjoy. I won’t list those people (that would feel like I was begging for attention), but I will list some people who I believe have earned it from me.

You need to check out the stuff these people produce. I’ve sung their praises before, but you can’t say too many good things about a person.

JC Hutchins – He’s one of the reasons I got into podcasting my own fiction. He consistently tells amazing stories in interesting ways. He also likes to try new things and isn’t afraid to set those things aside when they don’t work.
Paul Cooley – One of the smartest horror writers I know. If you like a good scare, you need to be reading his work.
Terry Mixon – I’ve just started reading Terry’s work. Not everything he’s written is my cup of tea, but he knows his ish when it comes to writing.
Christiana Ellis – One of the funniest and most gentle spirits in the world of podcasting. She’s put so much amazing stuff out into the world I just can’t begin to list it.
Mike Plested – He started a podcast on getting published and then worked his butt off to get it done. If you like good YA or heck, just good fiction period, you need to check out his stuff.
Tee Morris – One of the father’s of podcast fiction; Tee has a biting sense of humor, amazing taste in beer, and constantly surprises me with the variety of fiction he tackles.
Jared Axelrod – Seriously one of the most multi-talented artists I know. I can’t say enough good things about what he’s done for me as a creator (whether he realizes it or not).
Philippa Ballantine – Another early presence in the podcast arena, Pip has gone on to be quite the success with her husband and writing partner Tee and on her own.
Skinner Co. – I’m a podcast junky and I know how hard it is to put good work out there on a regular basis. These three people do that and then some. They’ve built a tremendous community and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.
Jake Bible – Seriously one of the most thoughtful and hardest working writers I personally know. He’s living proof that horror writers can be sweet, kind, and not at all what you would expect.
Starla Hutchton – A savvy business person, a great writer, and a sharp designer; Starla is a whole lot of talent in one package.

I hope to give more head nods down the line. Please feel free to give your own in the comments and provide links!

Review – The 33: Pramantha by JC Hutchins (Audiobook)

I’ve long been a fan of I reviewed the first part of this story early this year. I just finished listening to it and I’m here to tell you how it held up. This is not a podcast. JC is charging for it.

Synopsis: After cutting a deal with a mysterious recruiter, Addison Creel is thrust into a world he barely understands. He’s been called to join The 33 — a group of thirty-three misfits tasked with protecting humanity from ruthless criminals, malicious technologies, black magicians and hostile supernatural beings.

Addison’s first day on the job brims with brainbenders: teleportation, sorcery, nanotech. But that’s easy compared to his first mission: Investigating a rash of violent, shocking suicides at a high-tech, high-profile commune in Washington.

Will Addison’s unusual gift — and the gifts of other The 33 members Bliss, Azael, Mad_Ana and John Swords III — be enough to thwart the twisted epidemic before it spreads?

Production: The production on this is straight forward. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles here, but the sound quality is good.

Grade: B+

Cast:  JC is a quality narrator and brings a unique voice to each character that he portrays. This dramatic reading displays those talents.

Grade: A

Story: As I said in the original review, this story opens with a bang. The pace never lets up. If there’s one thing Hutch is phenomenal at, it’s crafting a story that take you for a wild ride. And when I say “craft” that’s not hyperbole. I know Hutch and he’s the kind of writer that agonizes over every detail. That shows. It does mean that he’s not released as frequently as he would like, but Pramantha is a finished product. So you don’t have to wait if you get this now.

The best thing about this story, in a story that seems full of “best things” for my money is the character development. Each of the characters is very unique, and they all possess a depth that’s almost shocking in a thriller. It would be tempting for me as a writer to take a few short cuts or to sacrifice some development for sheer streamlining, but he doesn’t do that.

The other thing that this story is chock-full of are face splitting grin moments. Whether it’s a call out to a bit of pop culture or a bit of inventive dialog, I found myself smiling and nodding along.

The finale certainly lives up to all of this buildup. There’s a TON of gore, violence, action, and adult language so this one’s not for the kids. But if any of that appeals to you then buckle up and take this ride. I guarantee you won’t be sorry.

Grade: A+

Verdict: I am as off the hook pleased about this story taken as a whole as I was by the first episode. I not only recommend that you go pick this up, I beg you to. It’s purely selfish of me. I want him to keep on writing in this universe. Whether/how quickly that happens is entirely reliant on sales. He’s putting a massive effort into this and naturally to pay the bills if it doesn’t pay off then he’ll move on to other projects.

He’s started releasing the second “adventure” in the first “season”. He’s taking a TV approach to this and these are his terms for them. He also released an interim story which was free to his newsletter subscribers (subscribe to his newsletter) and cheap to everyone else. You might want to pick that up first since it’s a prequel of sorts to Pramntha. Regardless of listening order it’s just as good, though a bit lower key.

The four ebooks that make up Pramantha will cost you $7.96. The audio books will cost you $11.96. Or you can get a set including both for $15.96. The audio clocks in at approximately seven and a half hours. It was imminently satisfying. I got the bundle and it cost me a little less as a subscriber (you should subscribe to his newsletter). I also recommend buying it directly from him. Support your local indie!

Grade: A

Buy direct from JC’s site.
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Yummy Serials (Giveaway!!!)

I have been a fan of serialized fiction my whole life, everything from comic books to the old school radio serials (no I’m not that old, but I had some on tape… You know, cassette tapes? Sheesh, maybe I am old.). The idea of getting to that cliffhanger only to have to wait until next week or next month was both insanely frustrating and incredibly cool. The last few years have seen something of a resurgence, with podcasts and e-books making it easier for people to produce this sort of content. I’ve got three great examples that I’d like to share with you and then I’d like to give you a chance to win some neat things!!

Skinner Co., consisting of JRD Skinner, Jessica May, and Opoponax, have put out 365 episodes of incredible pulp fiction with over ten different interweaving plot lines. They’ve also done nearly a hundred episodes talking about their passions and giving other people a platform to share theirs. A better example of the old school style infused with new blood and a huge heart you’d be hard pressed to find.

You can find their particular brand of madness at http://flashpulp.com/ and I want you to walk… No, run over and subscribe. I’ll wait. And if you’re a junkie like me you’ll kick them a buck or two.

The next bit of serial goodness has been mentioned on this here blog before. The 33 is a… well let me let Hutch tell you:

Standing between us and certain extinction is an unlikely league of saviors: THE 33 — thirty-three men and women blessed with unusual abilities, and even stranger personalities.

John Swords III leads the misfit crew. It ain’t easy. His lieutenants Bliss and Knack want to either kiss or kill each other. Other operatives are defiant, dysfunctional or downright deranged. The enemy is relentless and organized, poised to jumpstart the apocalypse. And Mr. Ins, The 33’s mysterious benefactor, exerts his absolute will over the group, pursuing an agenda all his own.

But one thing is certain — The 33 aren’t good guys. They leave damnation and salvation to the experts. Their mission: Maintain the status quo. Ensure the survival of the human race. Hold the line.

Part A-Team, part X-Files (with a dash of Hellboy and Global Frequency added for apocalyptic spice), The 33 is a high-stakes genre mash of action, sci-fi and supernatural thriller.

Once a month he’ll be putting out an e-book and an audio book sharing this adventure. You can find it at The33.net

Finally, we come to Matt “F’n” Wallace. He’s just released a new e-book called Slingers. You can get it here. He’s using his expertise as a combat trainer, pro-wrestler, and sharp writer to weave an action packed narrative.

Meet Nico. He’s currently falling 30,000 feet above the city of Hanoi to his death while the entire world watches.

And they can’t wait to see him hit the ground.

Welcome to Sling City, an arena in space where Judokas, sumo wrestlers, football stars, and stick fighters compete in the global combat sport of the future. Sling City is more than a stadium, it’s an entire microcosmic world filled with its own cultures, traditions, wars, and secrets. Some of those secrets are about to get out, and while all eyes watch the action-packed struggle of The Games take place, the men and women who compete in those games will have to unravel a disturbing mystery that’s cropped up at the heart of the home where they live, work, play… and die.

SLINGERS is the beginning of an exciting new five-part ebook series from the author of THE FAILED CITIES and SUNDAE.

The first part will set you back a whopping $.99 and each subsequent part (longer than this intro) will be $2.99 or $1.99 if you get it straight from him.

None of these things are expensive and they all go to supporting some awesome indies. But I understand if you’re reluctant. You may not know these guys from Adam’s house cat. So here’s what I’m gonna do. For the next week you’ll have opportunities to put your name into the hate and win either the first episode of Pramantha (the audio/e-book bundle) or the first e-book in the Slingers series. That’s my gift to you. To do it, all you have to do are things like tweet about this, review some independently produced work, and tell me what your favorite serials are. That’s serials with an s. Here are the details. Now go forth and spread the word!

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Interview With JC Hutchins

I had the pleasure of reviewing The 33 by JC Hutchins recently. I quite enjoyed it, but had a couple of questions for Hutch. He was king enough to answer them.

What made you decide to release The 33 as a serialized audio/e-book, rather than doing it all at once?

I wish I had a satisfying, entrepreneurially-sound answer for you! Honestly, The 33’s release model is the way it is because that’s how I’ve always envisioned it. Since 2008, I’ve wanted to create something that plucked some of the most interesting storytelling models from episodic TV and serialized comic books, and mash them together: a combination of standalone “monster of the week” stories and cliffhanger-driven multi-episode adventures. The 33’s 12-episode “TV season” approach provided a good umbrella to unify these stories, and gave me the flexibility to weave in a mythology and meta-arc — a bigger picture narrative — that can conceivably span several seasons of The 33, and numerous spinoffs.

Also, I can’t release the episodes all at once because they haven’t all been written yet! This was deliberate, for a few reasons … but these reasons ultimately hail back to TV and comics.

Firstly, as adventures of The 33 are released month to month, I’ll be able to watch the online conversation about them ebb and flow. I’ll get a sense of my audience’s expectations, what it likes (and doesn’t), fan-favorite characters, that sort of thing. That information will help inform the world of The 33 and its characters. I couldn’t make those diagnoses and directional changes if a full season of The 33 had already been written.

Secondly, the model embraces a bit of unpredictability and “controlled chaos” for my creative process. If I’m fascinated by an emerging social trend or technology that I’ve read about, I can immediately get to work on a standalone The 33 story, using it as inspiration. That flexibility is very cool, and impossible with traditional prose fiction models. While I have no ambition to craft a “ripped from the headlines” series ala Law & Order, there’s something to be said for timeliness and cultural relevance, especially when the release schedule is designed to permit it.

Thirdly, the month-to-month writing and release of The 33 gives me a chance to watch sales figures, and adjust my own expectations. If it becomes obvious to everyone, especially me, that the series is an entrepreneurial failure and no one’s buying the episodes, then — speaking plainly — there’s little reason to invest the effort in writing and promoting it. TV, comic books and novel series face this scenario all the time, especially in their formative days. If the series doesn’t get traction in the marketplace and the revenue generated doesn’t justify the expense incurred to create it, more episodes won’t be “ordered” by “the network.”

Now, to be clear: I’m nowhere near making that decision right now, and won’t be for many months. If the sales of The 33’s first episode are any indication, the series is in great shape, and will thrive for months to come. I’m committed to pursuing my passion for this series, and will write as many The 33 stories as the audience is willing to meaningfully support.

What are the unique challenges that you face in writing something like this as opposed to a novel?

The most intriguing challenge so far has been being thoughtful about how and when to reveal certain secrets of The 33’s mythology, world and characters. In some respects, I’m playing a longer game now than I ever was, writing a standalone novel. I need characters who don’t just have problems — they’ve got BIG problems. Heck, their problems have problems! This approach ensures a long-term (and heaven willing, multi-season) road of growth for my characters.

Same goes for the weird “day to day” world seen in the series. The 33 is set in a present-day America where science and sorcery coexist — where the world is threatened by ruthless criminals, malicious technologies, hostile supernatural beings, giant killer robots, you name it. I’ve developed a few “rules” for The 33’s world; these are creative cornerstones that permit even the most outlandish technologies and mythologies to exist, all together. But those explanations need not be dumped into The 33’s first episode. An episodic approach empowers me to shift that worldbuilding to future adventures, if needed. It allows me to tease some of the mythologies and tech — and heroes and villains — of The 33 and pay off those teases later. This requires some creative restraint, which is definitely a challenge for me!

Finally, there’s a much larger meta-mythology powering universe of The 33, and a superthreat looming over it that defies imagination — or at least, the imaginations of the characters occupying that universe. If the series is successful enough to support multiple seasons (and even multiple prequels, or spinoff series), that narrative “marrow” will slowly be revealed. I’m being very judicious in my approach with that. I want to weave hints of this meta-mythology into the DNA of The 33, and glance upon them occasionally in ongoing episodes … but make them “hide in plain sight,” if that makes sense.

If this is a success do you think you’ll make it available as a paper book?

That’s a great question, and my answer hinges greatly on the definition of “success” — a definition I haven’t yet settled on, and one that will likely shift in the weeks and months ahead. A paper-based product is probably a ways off, though if the sales of The 33 radically exceed my expectations — and if there’s vocal demand for a paper-based product — I’ll certainly consider it!

The “need to know” about The 33’s unconventional storytelling model: The 33 is J.C. Hutchins’ latest fiction project, released as monthly ebooks and digital audiobooks. The 33 isn’t a novel — it’s a short story series with recurring characters, told over TV season-like arcs. The 33: Season 1 is currently planned for a 12-episode release.

More information about The 33 is available at http://The33.net.

Bio: J.C. Hutchins crafts award-winning transmedia narratives, screenplays and novels for companies such as 20th Century Fox, A&E, Cinemax, Discovery, FOX, Infiniti, Macmillan Publishers and Harebrained Schemes. He has been profiled by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR’s Weekend Edition, ABC Radio and the BBC.

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Review – The 33 by JC Hutchins (Audiobook)

I’ve long been a fan of JC Hutchins’ work. For those not in the know, his book trilogy 7th Son was a fan favorite in the early days of podcast fiction. Since then, JC has built a career in freelance writing and transmedia story telling. He’s been talking about a project called The 33 for years and he’s finally decided to release it in a serial audio and e-book format.

This is not a podcast. JC is charging for it and I’m not reviewing the full run, since it’s not complete yet. But I believe in this project, and I want to let you know if it’s lived up the the standard that he’s set.

Synopsis: The 33 is J.C. Hutchins’ latest fiction project, released as monthly ebooks and digital audiobooks. The 33’s adventures are told in multi-part and one-shot short stories. Season 1 will contain 12 episodes.

Your safe First World existence isn’t safe at all. Our planet is a war zone, besieged by secret attacks from ruthless criminals, malicious technologies and hostile supernatural beings.

Standing between us and certain extinction is an unlikely league of saviors: THE 33 — thirty-three men and women blessed with unusual abilities, and even stranger personalities.

John Swords III leads the misfit crew. It ain’t easy. His lieutenants Bliss and Knack want to either kiss or kill each other. Other operatives are defiant, dysfunctional or downright deranged. The enemy is relentless and organized, poised to jumpstart the apocalypse. And Mr. Ins, The 33’s mysterious benefactor, exerts his absolute will over the group, pursuing an agenda all his own.

But one thing is certain — The 33 aren’t good guys. They leave damnation and salvation to the experts. Their mission: Maintain the status quo. Ensure the survival of the human race. Hold the line.

Part A-Team, part X-Files (with a dash of Hellboy and Global Frequency added for apocalyptic spice), The 33 is a high-stakes genre mash of action, sci-fi and supernatural thriller.

Production: The production on this is straight forward. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles here, but the sound quality is good.

Grade: B+

Cast:  JC is a quality narrator and brings a unique voice to each character that he portrays. This dramatic reading displays those talents.

Grade: A

Story: This story opens with a bang (six bangs actually). Much like 7th Son, he sets the hooks into his readers right out of the blocks and never slows down. The characters are memorable and all bring the typical Hutch flavor to the party. He does an excellent job of establishing the universe he’s playing in, one fairly analogous to ours, and avoids pesky exposition that would slow the plot. Even where he has to do a little bit of it, he manages to do so in a way that kept me riveted. As I said, this isn’t a finished story yet, so it leaves you hanging at the end.

Grade: A+

Verdict: In case it’s not obvious, this is a stellar piece of work. It feels a little odd reviewing an unfinished product, but much like a TV show, Hutch has made it clear that if there’s not an audience for this then it won’t continue. I really, really want this to succeed. As much as I agree with the tagline “The World Needs The 33”, I will say even more loudly that the world needs more fiction by JC Hutchins. I personally want to know what happens next. So I highly recommend that you check this out. For purely selfish reasons.

As I mentioned, this is a product you’re going to have to put down some money on. How much? The e-book for this first part is $1.99 from the major e-book retailers. The audio is available only from Hutch’s site for $2.99. You can get both of them for $3.99 or if you sign up for his newsletter there might still be a discount available. This series is in four parts and that means you’ll pay about $8 for the book or $12 for the audio. I personally think that’s worth it, provided that the quality stays at this level. I have no doubt that will be the case.

Grade: A

Buy direct from JC’s site.
Barnes & Noble

A Thrilling Giveaway

7th son deceit JC Hutchins — mentor, friend, and author — is doing something awesome. He’s giving away a signed print copy of his book 7th Son: Descent if you buy either of its sequels in e-book form. I’ve got my copy of the print book from its first run. So I’m here to do a giveaway of my own.

Drop a comment here. I will choose two people from the comments and buy them a copy of 7th Son: Deceit, the second book in the series. JC will then send you the print copy of the first book. You’ll then have more than enough reason (I hope) to buy the third book. This opportunity evaporates at the close of the old year, 12/31/12 at 11:59:59 PM.

Need a teaser? Here’s the skinny on what the series is about!

As America reels from the bizarre presidential assassination committed by a child, seven men are abducted from their normal lives and delivered to a secret government facility. Each man has his own career, his own specialty. All are identical in appearance. The seven strangers were not born, but grown — unwitting human clones — as part of a project called 7th Son.

The government now wants something from these “John Michael Smiths.” They share the flesh as well as the implanted memories of the psychopath responsible for the president’s murder. The killer has bigger plans, and only these seven have the unique qualifications to track and stop him. But when their progenitor makes the battle personal, it becomes clear John Alpha may know the seven better than they know themselves…

Balticon Day Zero

I had a great time at Balticon. I recorded an update each day, but was unable to edit/upload them. I figure I’d share them anyway.

Day_Zero_Update, Thursday May 26th. Apologies for the pops. I hope future updates won’t have them.

SiglerFest – A mini con for and by horror/sci-fi author Scott Sigler
Ravenwood – An excellent podcast by Nathan Lowell
Paul Cooley
J.C. Hutchins
Mur Lafferty
Cooley’s New App! – Video coming soon!!!
Jim aka Synaptic Jam

Glorious Self Promotion

Just wanted to drop a quick note on two things that have happened recently.

First, I dropped the new, extended version of “Fetch” on Smashwords. You can check it out here. The first half is available for you to read or you can listen to the audio version on the Every Photo Tells site. They were kind enough to drop a blog post about it today, too.

Second, JC Hutchins, author of 7th Son and Personal Effects: Dark Arts, had myself and Zach Ricks on his podcast to talk about Flying Island Press. It was a blast and you should listen to it ASAP.

Give It Away Now

So none of you good folks that are reading this are likely to be new to the idea that there’s a lot metric butt load of free content out there on the internet. Here I’m talking strictly about the legal, self published stuff. There are comic strips, novels, music, movies and more and all of this costs you absolutely nothing. It seems crazy and a lot of people really don’t understand it. I have been and will continue to be not only a cheerleader but an active participant in this community for years now and even I’m only beginning to “figure it out”.

For some people this seems to be mostly about finding a way to make inroads into the traditional publishing model. The thought being, if I can get a large enough fan base, then I can get the attention of the “gate keepers” at the big publishing houses and they’ll print my stuff and sell it. This has worked with varying degrees of success for authors like Scott Sigler, Pip Ballantine, and JC Hutchins, who all have struck deals with big labels. For others like PG Holyfield, Nathan Lowell, and Tee Morris their efforts have lead to deals with smaller publishers (and in Tee’s case publication of his non-fiction with big houses).

The traditional road is not one that others seem to be striving for. There’s a more “do it yourself” flair in authors like Cory Doctorow and Matt Selznick. While neither would eschew traditional publishing (and Cory has been published by Tor), it seems that they want to use all possible channels to get their stuff out there and cut out the middle man. That’s not to say that the aforementioned authors aren’t open to all ideas, I’m just talking about where their focus seems to be to me at the present time. Matt talks quite a bit about the neo-patronage idea. If I understand it correctly (and he may not have used these precise words), it’s about finding a smaller number of fans and dealing directly with them. I think that’s laudable.

So, why am I writing about this? Well two blog posts have come to my attention recently.

In the first, JC Hutchins let us know that the 7th Son sequels are not going to be picked up by his publishers thanks to the first novel not meeting their sales goals. He also says that he fears that the free model working as it has for some may be a fleeting moment and that he will no longer be contributing to it, at least not for a while. I felt saddened by his news, but I have to ask, is that me being selfish? If I truly want to be supportive of a fellow artist whose work I enjoy, shouldn’t I be more okay with his decision? I should, but I’m soooo used to that teat. Rather than being patient and waiting to purchase the works when/if they come out, the little voice in me wants to lament that I won’t get the fix I’ve come to expect. I mean I purchased Personal Effects: Dark Arts, but I didn’t purchase 7th Son. Intentions to buy it aside, that money still sits in my pocket and not his and I gave him only half of the financial support I could have.

The other blog post was from a source I’d never heard of. Astonishing Adventures Magazine is shutting it’s doors. John Carlucci says, “We deserve to get paid for what we create.” And you know what? That’s a valid way of thinking. The magazine wasn’t generating the revenue it needed to and so it closed. He also said, “I’m tired of killing myself and not making the smallest of footsteps ahead.” That’s worthy of consideration too.

So, is “free” dead, simply dying, or what? Well I think that it’s too early to tell. I, for one, certainly hope not and I intend to continue putting out free content, while hoping to figure out how to get paid in the meantime. But this whole thing raises a question for me. Do we “deserve to get paid”? Should we kill ourselves, spending all of our spare time and energy in shaking our butts and trying to “get ahead”?

I think the answer to that, at least for me, is no and no.

I don’t get to decide that I “deserve” to get paid. Now that’s not to say that I don’t think what I write is worth something. And yet here I be, writing words I have no expectation of earning a nickel for. I think that for me, it’s about writing something that’s worth your time. If you decide that that time is worth your money, well that’s your call. Would I like to get paid? Oh absolutely. Money is great. I’d love to quit the day job and spend hours and hours creating. Even then though, isn’t it the audience that decides whether or not we deserve to get paid? If I don’t buy JC’s book (provided I am capable financially) then isn’t that me deciding that he didn’t deserve it? If I don’t buy it then he didn’t earn my money, did he? (And for the record I do intend to buy it. He did earn every red cent that I will eventually give him.) keep in mind, I’m not certain of everything in this paragraph, this is me thinking.

One thing I think I am sure of though is that I’m not killing myself for anything. Maybe that means I don’t have what it takes. If I’m not willing to shed blood, sweat, and tears and shake my tail feathers as hard as some out there do, then maybe I won’t make it. I think I’m okay with that. I do want to write. I do want to write professionally. I will sweat for that. I will lose sleep over it. I will likely even cry over it at some point. But proverbially kill myself? Sacrifice my every waking moment or very nearly? No, I don’t think I’m in a place to do that, especially for zero/nominal return. Kudos to those of you who make the sacrifice and I hope it pays off.

So all of this said, why do I put out free content? I don’t expect that it will get me published. I don’t think it will get me a lot of kudos/feedback, though it has garnered me more than not podcasting has. This whole podcasting thing started out as and continues to be about me creating more and learning more. I’ve also made a lot of friends and met a metric butt load (can you tell I’ve got a new pet phrase?) of awesome people. I’ve written more as a result and am trying to hone my craft (that doesn’t sound too writerly at all, does it?). So that’s why I podcast and that’s what I expect. That’s why I give it away. If it has any side benefits, like Random House or Dragoon Moon Press offering me a contract or me getting an agent, then I’m not gonna cry. Ultimately though, even if it does, it’s up to the audience to decide what my writing is worth in terms of dollars and cents.

Am I right or am I waaaay off base here?


Matt Selznick clarified his neo-patronage concept. Here ’tis:

Hi Scott — great post; thanks for including me in it. I wanted to clarify a few things.

It’s nice to be included in the same sentence with Cory — yeah, we share some DIY sensibilities, it’s true — and we’re both (he on a larger scale than me, of course) published by third parties. You mentioned Tor with Cory — my first book, “Brave Men Run — A Novel of the Sovereign Era” is published by Swarm Press and hasn’t been available in it’s self-published paperback form since July of 2008.

You mentioned neo-patronage. Neo-patronage doesn’t have anything to do with dealing directly with a small number of fans. Neo-patronage is a compensation model that asks everyone who takes value from their experience of a piece of art to compensate the artist accordingly. The idea is that the audience is the arbiter of value… if you think the experience of reading “Brave Men Run” for free online is worth $5.00, or $20.00, or $50.00… great! If you think it’s not worth anything, fine.

Under neo-patronage, if you enjoy a book, that author did, in fact, earn the right to be compensated by you, since the author provided you with a service — an experience you would not have otherwise had and, presumably, you enjoyed. So I disagree with you there — even if you haven’t paid the author, they still earned the right to be paid.

When someone does work or performs a service, they deserve to be compensated — just like when you go to your day job and do your work, you deserve to be paid whether or not the boss actually pays you. You’d be put out if you didn’t get paid for work you did, right?

That’s the thinking behind neo-patronage. Pay what you think the work is worth, and never assume that something available “for free” has no value.

Podcast Pimpage

It’s been a loooooong time since I’ve done this so here goes.

There are these things called podcasts that you should really really really look into. They’re free serialized audio files that you can play on your computer or download to your MP3 player. They run the gamut from audio books and audio dramas to self help and inspirational. I listen to a lot of them and am going to try and give you a run down of the best ones. So buckle up buttercup, this may take a while and if you subscribe to even one it will be a fun ride.

Fiction I’m Currently Listening To-

7th Son – This is by no means a new one. JC Hutchins podcast this bad boy for the first time back in 2007. Getting the word out now is particularly important because JC has a print deal with a major publisher and this goes live in its print version later this month. I will definitely be dropping more information on the blog when it happens. This is a sci-fi thriller that is hands down the best in that genre that I have had the pleasure of experiencing in some time. The basic premise is covered in this trailer. If that doesn’t make you strap in the earbuds I recommend you have someone check your pulse. If you listened, then you heard that right. Even if you don’t “do” podcasts he is giving away serialized PDFs/Blogtext versions of the book through other websites. No reason for you not to at least give it a look (unless pulse pounding, edge of your seat fiction isn’t your bag).

Fetidus – This is a dark trip through the slimy underground of Washington DC, but not just any Washington DC. In this universe there has been an apocalypse. Zombies, ghosts, and who knows what else have been unleashed on the world. And just like in the real world they have their own Political Action Committee. FETIDUS is the Foundation for the Ethical Treatment of the Innocently Damned, Undead, and Supernatural responsible for making sure that they are treated fairly. James Durham; author, musician, and producer is responsible along with a full voice cast, for for bringing us in to that world and fleshing it out and flesh it out he does. This work is one that you don’t listen to so much as you experience. He won two awards for it and is muchly deserving. I will warn you that this world is a dark place and not for the squeamish. Well worth your time.

The Gearheart – The tagline for this podcast is “Magic, Adventure, and Gunfights” and it delivers on all points. Alex White brings us the story of a secret society of wizards called the Seekers of the Arcane Unknown. They are charged with keeping the knowledge of magic from the populace at large while combating threats to their world and to the political powers they are in league with. A great mix of mystery, political intrigue, action, and suspense this story has been a lot of fun so far.

Great Hites – This is a short fiction anthology podcast and the truly cool thing about it is that anyone is welcome and encouraged to participate. Write your story according to the prompt and send it in. Can’t record? Now problem, they’ll do it for you. Right now Jeff Hite is asking for submissions for 10K word creation stories. Got an idea along those lines? Send them in.

Harvey – Is author Phil Rossi’s latest novella. This dark tale takes place in a little town of the same name. Harvey has some dark secrets and musician Calvin Hubbard, who only wants to make a little music and have a little fun, gets mixed up in the middle of it all.

How to Succeed in Evil – An efficiency expert for super villains is at the heart of this story. He gets tired of the latest crop of villains’ inefficiency and inability to listen to his stellar advice and takes matters into his own hands. This thing is absolutely LACED with humor, at times dark, but ever present. Patrick McLean is working on getting this published and I highly recommend that you give it a listen if you’re into seeing genres flipped on their head. Seeing a comic book world through the eyes of a smart and ruthless villain, that becomes likable through McLean’s excellent craft, is a trip worth taking.

Tumbler – Brand Gamblin is writing the sort of science fiction that I am rapidly becoming very fond of. It takes characters that seem as real as my next door neighbors and puts them in a futuristic world that’s less about ray guns and aliens and more about life on the frontier of space. Libby Carter lost everything that means anything to her, so she hitches a ride on a rocket in an effort to become an asteroid miner. Things don’t go quite as expected and she has to make the best of it. Can she survive? Tune in and see.

A Traders Diary – This is another one of those sorts of science fiction stories I’d like to here more of. Nathan Lowell tells the story of Ishmael Wang over the course of five books (so far). His mother, a university professor and his only family, dies and with her any chances he might have at a future. Or so he thinks. In desperation he joins the space fairing equivalent of the Merchant Marine. Starting out as nothing more than a mess mate on a trading vessel that sails the stars, isn’t his first choice, but it’s his only shot. He’s a “land rat”, one unwise in the ways of space, and no one else will take him. These stories are all about how far hard work, perseverance, and a little bit of luck will take you.

Well this post grows long and there are a lot more fiction casts I’ve wither listened to or will be listening to in the days/weeks/months to come, not to mention the non-fiction. More on the latter in a future post. Meanwhile if you’ve already listened to all of these you should also check out Metamor City, Murder at Avedon Hill, V & A Shipping, and anything Scott Sigler, Mur Lafferty, or Tee Morris puts out. You should also take a gander at Podiobooks. They have over 300 titles.