Sunday, April 10, 2016

6 Years. and 800 Blogs later, Still alive

When I started this blog five years ago, it was to drum up publicity for A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller, book one of what would become The Pius Trilogy

After a while, it was the only way to sell my books.

Then I went rogue from my agent, and did the entire Pius trilogy myself. Books two and three came out in 2014.

Now, six years since we have started, and 800 blog posts later, I guess we should be looking back and asking: what the hell are we still doing here?  Especially now that the Puppies have taken over the blog?

You'd think that this would be something obvious.  Look above, under the giant blog banner. You'd think I don't get much clearer than that.

But, when I posted one of my Sad Puppies Bite Back posts over in the comments of a blog called File 770, I was met with some ... interesting replies in the comments. Including derision, people who thought that SPBB was about threatening the anti-Puppies, and people who wondered what the site was even about.

And people wonder why I don't read comments on most websites. The term "cesspool of stupid" comes to mind. Who allows these people out in public? There should be a license to be on the internet some days.

Not that I'm cynical or anything.

But, it did occur to me that there would be some people confused about what this site's common thread was, considering we've veered so wildly from the original point of glorified marketing.

So, what's it all about?

It's about stories. How do you create them? How do you shape them?  How do you assemble dreams when the world is so busy trying to stomp on them and take them away from you? That's why I dissect political opinions of Superheroes, or examine bad comic book storylines, or try to predict where things are going.  That's why I look at faith in fiction, to see just how much of the writer goes into the story, and how much should go into the story.  This blog will also address the Catholic faith in particular because, well, I'm Catholic -- it's part of me, and who I am, and part of my stories, so it comes with the package.

But, as fiction is not just about how a story is made, but also about the process of selling it. That's why I look at women in fiction, or the politics of publishing, etc.

Also ... it's about marketing. I'm not dead yet and I'm still writing and publishing books. I have a publisher now, and I'm not afraid to use them.

(Honor At Stake, now #2 suggestion for best novel for Sad Puppies 4 -- subtle plug, subtle plug).

That's why I allowed my brain to be taken over by a parody universe that won't leave me alone. I mean, it's not like I can make money on Sad Puppies Bite Back yet, despite how popular it is.

Okay, I may not be able to make money on it at this point. May. Not.  Why not?  Because I use the real names of real people, like George RR Martin, and Scalzi, and the Haydens, David Gerrold, Moshe Feder, and additional psychos.

Yes, they're parody -- and boy, are these guys a parody -- but there are also lawyers, and you don't need to have a leg to stand on to file a lawsuit. And while I would probably win any lawsuit, and any countersuit, the legal fees would probably kill me before we got to the countersuit phase.

However, there might be a few ways in order to rub the serial numbers off of this. Only if I scrub really, really hard. If you've looked at Set to Kill, you probably have a good idea of what I can do for Sad Puppies Bite Back, if I work at it.

And, of course, now that Sad Puppies Bite back is up for two different Hugo awards? I should at least consider publishing it.

If it gets a Hugo Nomination? It's more than likely I will publish it. Why? Because it would be a Hugo nominated work, and I don't think anyone would want to draw attention to the fact that they are so thin-skinned, they can't take a joke.

But, one disaster at a time, folks. One disaster at a time.

However, even if I can't sell it, Sad Puppies Bite Back has brought hundreds of people to my blog, and has improved my sales a lot. It won't get me into the big money territory, but it's a lot more than I've been getting.

It's also gotten me some interesting friends along the way, which is an improvement for an introvert like me.

So, to the trolls who lurk under the bridge at File 770, that's what the blog is about.

As for all you newcomers who want a laugh, or want a book recommendation, or some music to listen to as you pen your destruction of an alien civilization, or comic book trivia, or just want to look into the brain of a deeply deranged writer, welcome, my friends, to The Pius Geek.

The party is just warming up.

Because of this mischegas that is my life, I've made some great friends, like Sarah Hoyt,  Ann Margaret Lewis, Karina Fabian, Daniella Bova, Daria Anne DiGiovanni, Margot St. Aubin, Dawn Witzke, and Matt Bowman, the Novel Ninja.

I've read some awesome books, like Amy Lynn, Ordinance 93, The Watson Chronicles, the Book of Helen, Stealing Jenny, and a whole slough of others. Slew? Slough? Oh, you get the idea.

And these people.  Wow.

Heck, due to Kia Heavey, I have a new model for Manana Shushurin, now that the previous model is far, far too respectable to be associated with the likes of me.  She was before, but I guess she finally figured that out. :)  Kia is an author, and I recommend her books. Heck, I have.

Ann and Karina have been responsible for dragging me into the Catholic Writer's Guild. And if they weren't (it's been so long, they may not have), they're a large chunk of the reason I've stayed.

There's the CLFA, and that's also a long story.

Margot was largely responsible for the gun shop visit of 2014, and accompanied me to the first Catholic Writers Guild conference that I was a guest at.

I've lost some good friends.  One of my first beta readers for A Pius Man died before it was published. The first artist for the site, with whom I was acquaintances since college, and I drifted apart.

This blog caught me one of my best friends, author Rebekah Hendershot, and we managed to burn that bridge, with each other still on it. Heck, we burned that bridge so thoroughly, I think I've completely edited her out of the history of the website, with perhaps one exception.

Yeah. When things go badly, they go badly.

This blog has gotten me some of the best things in my life, and has taken away a few.  It's been a bumpy ride, almost from day one.

Along the way, I've shared with you how I invest myself in my work, dissected my life to show you how it enters my writing, given you the story of everything that has been important in my life. You folks know when I'm single, when I'm hurting, and when I'm going to lose myself in video games.

I've shared my wonder at emerging technology, my irritation at politics and the comic book industry, my love of reading and even the music du jour.

I'd like to thank you all for putting up with me that long. I never thought I was that interesting.  This blog has lasted has still longer than some relationships I've had.

And now, I have an almost constant readership of over 4000 people a month, give or take a few hundred.

Now if only you would all buy The Pius Trilogy, Honor at Stake and Codename Winterborn....

Yes, I'm joking.  But you can't blame a guy for trying, can you? :)

Looking back on some of the strangeness, these are the all-time top blogs ever read on this site as of this minute.

1) Who would Captain America vote for? An election special:
This one is still on top. Odd though, huh?  Written back for the Presidential election of 2012, I was fed up with politics, and thought it much more amusing to speculate on what comic book characters would vote for who. I still like it better than most modern politics.  The hits on this one used to equal an entire month of viewership on the blog....

But then #2 happened.

2) Sad Puppies Bite Back.
The first journey down the rabbit hole. Yes. It was a one-shot that spiraled so far out of control, I really don't see the end of it. But people are still coming to the blog just to read them.  I'd publish these, but I'd really like to avoid being sued by David Gerrold or John Scalzi, or any of the other Puppy Kickers.

This is where it started, with Larry and Brad and Sarah.  And from what I've found? All of them I've SWATted found it funny.  Who knew?

3) Sex, DC Comics, and ... wtf?
Yup, it's still here. Right after the dawn of DC's New 52 Universes in 2011, the comics had gone into a sideways spiral of strange. I think this had something to do with sex being in the title.

4) This one is also still here.  Waaaay back in 2010, I ripped apart all of the Disasters to Marvel At: A Comic Discussion, with every stupid decision that Marvel comics had made for the previous 5 years.  Sadly, some of those decisions are still going strong.

5) Sad Puppies Bite Back (Part two)
This is where things start going really odd. And I probably should have seen it coming that things were going to really go sideways ... "sideways" as in "The Puppies have taken over my blog."  I think part one got suggestions of nominating this for a "Best related" award from the Hugos.

6) Cry Havoc! And Let Slip the Puppies of War!
This was after the Entertainment Weekly's libelous article about Sad Puppies, written and published without talking to anyone within Sad Puppies. At all. Yes, really.  Believe it or not, in retrospect, this was not what got me really into the Sad Puppies bandwagon. That was when someone decided to go after Brad Torgersen's wife. Then, then I had a meltdown, and decided someone needed a stern talking to.

7) Puppies Come to WorldCon  (SPBB III)
This was going to be The End. Period. Dot. Final. The last straw. The Puppies were going to come to the Hugos, and it would have to end there. Why? Because there would be nothing left for me to write until the Hugos came out. It was a perfect out, right? Right?

8) Snarky Theology 4: "Things that go boink in the night."
Yeah, this one is still here.  From the Easter of 2011, it's still on the top ten list. I can't get rid of the damn thing. I had tried to play nice and explain my faith, and tenets of Catholicism to the average person.  That ended in disaster and a flame war, and a few other things going wrong along the way.

But, once again, Sex scores well on the site.

This is still freaking strange for a blog all about Catholic thrillers.

9) Sad Puppies Bite Back XI: Puppies with Teeth

Yeah ... I'm not sure what part brings people to this chapter of SPBB than any of the others. Is it SWATting Jim Butcher or Peter Grant? Shadowdancer? Having a final reckoning with Andrew Marston?

Yeah. I have no idea.

10) And a surprising newcomer, a post I only published about three weeks ago: #SadPuppies ask -- who's rabid? It was a brief look at some of the psychosis among Puppy Kickers ... maybe Puppy Kickers adjacent ... and John C. Wright, Vox Day, and File 770 linked to it.

This is going to be an interesting year.

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