Monday, April 28, 2014

Honor At Stake, and publishing

Cedar Sanderson

Last week, I announced the news: I've been picked up by a real, honest-to-God publisher. Notice I didn't say much about it. I'm not exactly excited about it. I'm not gushing about it.

Imagine if you just finished moving furniture for a whole day.  Are you going to go out to a party to celebrate by dancing, and getting more sweaty, or are you going to plop down on the couch and take a nap?

I've been moving this particular piece of furniture for ten years. And I tripped over it. That was it. Dumb luck, and an acquisition editor with a high reading speed and an empty in-box.

Do I regret the self publishing? Hell no. In fact, if I weren't trying to be social online, I wouldn't have tripped over this, so, saying that God works in mysterious ways isn't exactly true. Mildly annoying ways, sometimes, but not much on the mystery.

The book is a vampire novel entitled Honor At Stake, and it's going to be include all the usual vulnerabilities you ever read in a copy of Dracula, because removing the religious defenses against vampires is just bull. It allows vampires to be your standard overpowered enemies, and we only survive based on their good graces.


Now that I'm going to be working with a "real publisher," who will help me market my book, pay for an artist to cover my book, get me into actual bookstores, what does that mean for The Pius Trilogy?

Well, the publisher, Damnation Books, part of Eternal Press .... yes, I now work for Eternal Damnation, Inc ... will not touch self published novels with a ten-foot pole. They might take the sequel to Codename: Winterborn, mostly because it won't be so tied to the sequel that you can't read one without the other.

If you've read A Pius Legacy, you realize that book three, A Pius Stand, isn't going to be that easy to read without the other two books.  So, yes, A Pius Stand will come to an Amazon shelf in short order.

Will I party that day? No. But I'll flop on the couch and take a nap.

But Declan, you ask, what does that have to do with the cute redhead on your page?

The cute redhead is Cedar Sanderson, a fellow author. This coming Saturday, her book, Trickster Noir, is coming out as a freebie on e-book

Cedar Sanderson is interesting. She's half-way through a degree in microbiology, "just getting to the interesting bits." A former military brat, she grew up in Alaska (when the family became nailed down to one place). She grew up learning to hunt, fish, trap, garden, forage wild edibles, prospect for gold and gems, survive in the wilderness, camp, can, butcher, cook, bake, paint, research, and blow stuff up along the way. After Alaska, her adult life, was spent in New Hampshire, before moving to Ohio.
So, she's got a colorful little background....AND she's a cute redhead.  Yes, I have a thing for smart women. And cute redheads. Shut up.

The book is described as follows.
Book two in the Pixie for Hire series, Trickster Noir picks up where Pixie Noir ended. Lom, the little pixie with the tough-guy mentality, has proposed to Bella. All should be well, but their happily-ever-after is in grave danger. Threats from both Underhill and the human realms are closing in on them, and the fairy princess raised Alaskan redneck has to learn on the job, and fast!   

So, while you're waiting on A Pius Stand, you might want to check out her stuff.  Seriously, you can't beat free, now can you?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Reasons to check spam

Have you ever had one of those days?

Few years back, I did a novel that was basically "Catholic vampires," where I kicked the mythos into compliance with standard theology, and then did a little rewrite of history since 1789, and....

Anyway, one of my Facebook groups wanted something "Dark." A fellow member was an acquisitions editor, and had nothing in her email.  So, I sent in my book, and well....

Nothing happened. At all.  No word, no nothing. I got a reply at 1pm the next day saying that it was received.

That evening, I was cleaning out my spam folder.  There was a response 6pm, that very day.

Anyway, I got a contract in the mail today from Damnation Books. They want my novel Honor At Stake.

And this is why you check your spam folder.....



Thought I'd share the joy.

Don't worry, if you're interested in A Pius Stand, I will publish book three no matter what.

Happy Easter......

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Winter Soldier Bigfoots Agents of SHIELD. It Gets Better.

Yay.  Marvel's Agents of SHIELD has finally gotten really interesting. And I don't mean an individual episode, I mean the entire series, several of the characters who weren't before, and the writing in general.

How did we get here? And better yet, where do we go from here?


So, I was talking with Matt Bowman, the Novel Ninja, and he noted.
Matt: Agents finally woke up and realized "hey, we've had most of a season without real character growth. What up wit dat?"

Me: I think it was "Hey, we can't do anything really because Cap2 is going to come in and step on us like Godzilla. Let's do NOTHING until Cap2 comes out. Hail Hydra"  [Best use of Gary Schandling ever]

Matt: I need to write a blog post on it and then link to your argument on the subject. 

It then occurred to me that I should probably have an argument on the subject.

Obviously, you know where parts of this is going. After an initial start that I felt was kinda positive, they had a steady downward slide, especially when compared to other shows. What was the excuse for Agents of SHIELD's piss poor performance?

"We didn't want to have a Marvel movie tie in series. It needed to build up to that."

And yet, nothing happened until last week's episode, which was a direct tie-in with the new Captain America film. Nothing.  No character development, no character, nothing.  The best episode before that?  THE TIE-IN WITH THOR: THE DARK WORLD! The episode that happened the week after the DVD came out!

And they were "building up to" Hydra as the primary villain? Really? Hydra came out of NOWHERE on this show.  There was no buildup, no hint, no whisper, nothing that indicated that it had survived WW2. The closest they got to Hydra was episode two, where they found a Hydra weapon in Brazil, ripping off a 1970s novel and film, The Boys from Brazil. And it was such a throwaway episode that I found it painful.

Ooooo, but this was the plllaaannnn.

No, Jeph Loeb, head of Marvel television, you don't get to pretend you had any idea what was going on. Chekov's gun says that you have to show a hint of a plot point before you can fire it, and you didn't show us anything aside from some crappy tinker toys. I have been told that they knew about Hydra since Day Two.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

We spent a lot of time on Captain America: The Winter Soldier last week. At the end of the day, how did it turn out?

Pretty darned good, really.

I'm pretty much in accord with the Novel Ninja, or Howard Taylor.  However, I disagree that while the villain is simple, I don't even think we need to have his motivations. It's a long story, but self-explanatory when you see the spoilers below.

Some things not mentioned in either review.  There is the return of Peggy Carter -- yes, the British love interested from the first Captain America. And it is possibly one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the entire film. And that was from the first twenty minutes. I seriously hadn't expected tears from a Marvel film. Really, I hadn't.

I'd like to know how much money did they pay Gary Sinese to be the narrator for a Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian.

If you thought that Nick Fury didn't have much to do in the other films, or wasn't all that much of a badass, this is the movie where you get to see just how many people it takes to get the drop on Nick Fury. Answer: more people than the bad guys have at their disposal.

Also, they had a GREAT setup for Avengers 2, as well as Cap 3, while maintaining its own self-contained main plot. There might also be a Black Widow spinoff, and maybe one other.

And the Falcon? Totally awesome. He steals every scene he's in, and might have been able to steal the movie. I also loved how he knew what Steve Rogers was thinking solely on the basis that they'd both been in war zones.

Also, Agents of SHIELD is screwed.


How much did I get right last week?

Nick Fury doesn't stay dead. Color us all shocked. In fact, I think this film might be a setup for a Nick Fury movie, where Sam Jackson can say the line "Screw you, David Hasselhoff."

Black Widow kissing Captain America is about surveillance. Check.

Robert Redford as bad guy? Check. Is he the Red Skull? Nope. He is HYDRA, however. Because this is Captain America. Like Hellboy, there are always Nazis.  Yes, he is talking to the Winter Soldier in the trailers.

There was NO Red Skull in this movie. At all. But Dr. Zola does make an appearance, and that was interesting.

We have a little bit more of Black Widow's backstory in this film, but not a lot. The movie continuity still has Natasha as a member of the KGB, but ScarJo is 28. When the USSR fell, she was SIX. I felt I was stretching it when Manana Shushurin was involved with them at age ten.

Yes, Agent 13, who is only identified as "Sharon," has a part to play in this movie. Though it's not as big a reveal as I thought it would be. Seriously, I expected it to be a surprise twist, and not so much.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dissecting the Winter Soldier trailers

Well, yesterday was a little long-winded, wasn't it?

Today should be a little shorter.... yeah, no, probably not

Here’s my rundown of stuff you can draw from the assorted promotional materials.

Some of these are SPOILERS, you HAVE BEEN WARNED.

And some of these are ... well, they are MAYBE spoilers, bit and pieces collected from what we know of the Winter Soldier plot (covered yesterday) and the Marvelverse at large, and just plain old-fashioned speculation.

So, SPOILERS and SPOILERS...maybe.

In the words of Heath Ledger, here ... we .... go! [below the break]