“Your relationship with the reader is sadomasochistic, and you are supposed to be the sadist.”
-David Brin

I thought I was getting into the right profession, but this seals it.

From the video:


Get email notifications of new posts:


Tags: ,


I’ve Another Reason to Admire Steven Erikson

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III   in On Authors

Steven Erikson, Author of the Malazan Book of the Fallen Series

Steven Erikson, Author of the Malazan Book of the Fallen Series

Over at Life as a Human, fantasy author Steven Erikson is in the midst of an appropriately epic series of blog posts under the heading, “Notes on a Crisis.” Part VIII is titled, “With Regret.”

First reason for admiration: Not only has Erikson written an awe-inspiring 10-part fantasy series, he’s sticking by the roman numerals with this blog series, already up to VIII. The man is not afraid of big numbers, and he’s got the attention span to back that up. Much respect.

But the topic of “With Regret” is a serious one, and it demonstrates one of the best potentials of both celebrity and of writing: The ability to transform an audience with mere words. It demonstrates one of the greatest virtues an author can possess, perhaps the only virtue that matters: The ability to be honest with his readers.

I’ll let you read his story, and only say that it unravels his regret surrounding the death of his mother, and then of his father. It took the words of one of his characters, a gift from his subconscious as he wrote the tenth book of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, to open up the floodgates:

Today, a fictional character uttered the opinion that the only worthy place to die is in someone’s arms. And in the wake of that utterance, everything just sort of tumbled down inside.

Tags: , ,


Eric Miles Williamson Interview, “The New Henry Miller”

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III   in On Authors

Author interviews can be tame affairs. But Eric Miles Williamson had some interesting things to say in this Huffington Post interview with Anis Shivani, in which Williamson plays well the part of The Iconoclastic  Writer. It’s a long interview, so I’ll pull out just a few of the many provocative threads.

“Writers should write for the dead writers and the writers yet to be born,” he says, “for only they are worthy of our labors.” Without agreeing, I respect his sentiment and his quest. For example:

My copy of Shakespeare sits on my desk so I can remember that I suck, so that I feel bad about what I’m presuming to do. Every writer should feel like a failure. A writer who thinks he is a success is a bad writer.

Here’s the part, about how he learned from jazz soloists not to write every day, that really turned my head:

Methods. They vary according to what I’m writing. I’m not one of those writers like Hemingway or Jack London or Updike or you, Mr. Shivani, who writes every day. I personally don’t think it’s good for one’s art.

When I was making my living as a professional jazz trumpeter I once met the great alto saxophonist Phil Woods. He’s without compare as a soloist, better, in my opinion, than even Charlie Parker. Parker, if you study his solos, his improvisational patterns, falls into rote patterns, repeats himself, sometimes for up to three or four measures. And it’s not a deliberate self-citation, either. It’s that Charlie Parker, like so many artists, would find himself confronted with an artistic situation and respond with a statement he’d made before. I’ve done this myself in any number of essays I’ve written, and I’ve found myself, unfortunately, doing it in my fiction. This is to be avoided. Phil Woods never makes this faux pas. Faulkner does, Miles Davis does, Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor, Picasso and Van Gogh and even Bach. Not Phil Woods.

So when I met him I asked him how he did it, how he managed never to play the same lick twice. He told me that every five years he took a year off from his alto sax and played a different instrument, like the flute, for a year. By playing a different axe, he was forced, because of the physical and tonal differences, to rewire not only his thinking, but his physical relationship to his artistic medium. So when he went back to his alto saxophone, it was an alien to him, new once again, something to explore and understand and through which he could express himself differently than he had before alienating himself from it.

That’s passion for writing.

Tags: , , ,


Mock Cover: Good?

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III   in My Work

If I release my novel independently as an ebook and POD book, is this cover is good enough, or should I hire a professional to design a new cover?

p.s. I may drop the “DEUS EX KARMA,” which would free up some room, maybe for a front cover blurb.

Deus Ex Karma: The Black God's War Mock Cover

Tags: ,

Seriously, get this.

Product Description

Survival tips for 21st century writers, from best-selling authors Kevin J. Anderson, M.J. Rose, Heather Graham, J.A. Konrath, Gayle Lynds, Alexandra Sokoloff, Jonathan Maberry, and more. How to develop your craft, improve your writing, get an agent, promote your work, embrace the digital age, and prepare yourself for the coming changes in the publishing industry. Edited by Scott Nicholson.

Other contributors include Elizabeth Massie, Harley Jane Kozak, Douglas Clegg, Brandon Massey, Mur Lafferty, Dean Wesley Smith, David J. Montgomery, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Robert Kroese, and Adrienne Jones. Covering art, craft, and business, the ever-evolving manual supports the writing blog writegoodordie.blogspot.com.

All proceeds benefit the non-profit organization Literacy Inc., which promotes reading among teens.
My Amazon review reads:

Over Thirty Carefully Selected Essays on the Craft and Business of Writing

I was attracted to this collection because of the many contributing authors I admire in it, and also because I knew Scott Nicholson (whose novels I’ve recently become a fan of) would do a great job with selecting helpful and interesting advice. ‘Write Good or Die’ met all of my high expectations.

The version I purchased contained 22 articles focused on specific areas of craft, and 11 articles focused on practical business matters for writers. Every single piece was worth reading, and the collection broadened my horizons and got me thinking about the craft and business of writing from new points of view–all of them from either successful or otherwise qualified contributors.

The current price is criminally low, and the proceeds from its sales support a writing-oriented charity. I give it as emphatic a recommendation as I can give.

Get it at:

Smashwords (Free, multiple e-formats)
($0.99 for Kindle)
Write Good or Die Blog (pdf)

I also recommend Scott Nicholson’s other books, too, like “Drummer Boy” or “Red Church.” Scott’s a very cool guy and in my opinion an outstanding writer. Thanks for putting this together, Scott.

Tags: , , , , , ,


Passion for Writing: May 20th, 2010

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III   in Passion for Writing

Mark Twain: “When you catch an adjective, ill it. No, I don’t mean that utterly, but kill the most of them – then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together, they give strength whenthe are wide apart. An adjective-habit, or a wordy, diffuse, or flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.”

From Tom Dupree, a great modern history of reading, on how women came to play increasingly more significant roles both within the publishing industry, and as readers.

Critters.org conducted a very interesting price survey on ebooks, and what prices people think are “fair” or too high.

On Jim C Hines’ blog, there’s an interview with a mysterious fantasy author who has decided to use a pseudonym. He talks about his decision to do so.
Why Your Book Isn’t Selling has some decent advice about selling books, though more at a beginner’s level.

Here’s something for both writers and non-writers: A fantastic list of 50 Things Your Customers Wish You Knew by @Sonia Simone. Some of my favorites:

1. I don’t need you to be perfect, but I do need to know I can rely on you.
5. A friendly voice on the other side of the phone [Moses: or, insert other media] means more than you can imagine.
9. I want to tell you what would make this relationship better for me. Why don’t you ever ask me?
19. I like to get little goodies no one else is getting.
20. I don’t understand how to use your Web site, but I can’t admit that because it would make me feel dumb.
28. I want to buy your product, but I need you to help me justify it to myself.
34. I have the attention span of a goldfish. Go too long without contacting me and I’ll simply forget you exist.
45. I believe I deserve much more than I’m getting.

If you’re on Shelfari, I just set up my account last night. I may join GoodReads soon, as well.

And finally, a five-second video of my three-year-old saying grace at the table: “Thank you all dis food–AMEN!” The kid is passionate about blessing food!

Tags: , , ,


Kij Johnson’s “Spar,” Nebula Award-Winning Short Story, 2010

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III   in On Authors

Warning: Mature, sexual content to follow.

I just read “Spar,” Kij Johnson‘s short story, winner of last night’s 2010 Nebula short story award. You can read it here, but know that it’s full of mature content. Its opening sentence:

In the tiny lifeboat, she and the alien fuck endlessly, relentlessly.

My first impression of the entire story was that I thought it was quite creative, and so I understood why it won the Nebula award, but that I didn’t particularly like the story. I felt better about feeling that way after reading Kij say that she herself doesn’t like it at all. A fuller quote from her is: “This is a story I love without liking it at all … It’s a difficult story to read, and it’s hard to see past the graphic aspects to what the story is really about.”

I thought the sexual references cheapened the story a bit, and that the ending could’ve been stronger.

Then I read her explanation of the meaning of the story, which I suspected I’d missed, and I smiled. I reread the story and smiled some more. The story’s repetition of words like “cunt,” which felt a bit gimmicky to me initially, made more than perfect sense when the story became candid allegory.

Before you consider reading Kij’s explanation of “Spar,” you might want to read the story itself. Can you figure out what she’s saying first (it’s a lot more fun that way, isn’t it?)?

I think I came close at one point while reading it, but I didn’t quite get it until I read about it from her directly.

Now I’m really glad the imagery of “Spar” will stick with me.

Congratulations on the award, Kij!

Tags: , , ,


Passion For Writing: April 22nd, 2010

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III   in Passion for Writing

Kurt Vonnegut: “Our power is patience. We have discovered that writing allows even a stupid person to seem halfway intelligent, if only that person will write the same thought over and over again, improving it just a little bit each time. It is a lot like inflating a blimp with a bicycle pump. Anybody can do it. All it takes is time.”
Cec Murphey has a great couple of cautionary articles on using the progressive tense (-ing verbs). Part 1. Part 2. Cec Murphy’s blog is fantastic, btw. That reminds me to go add him to my blogroll …

Marian Schembari asks, “How horrible is your About page“? She offers suggestions on what to do and what not to do.

The difference between an alpha and a beta reader.

@Zoe Winters has a nice piece on how to be a patron of (support) independent writers.

C. Patrick Schulze explains How to Get Your Self-Published Novel Reviewed

@Xander Bennett offers advice for (screenplay) writers on how to write a kick-ass protagonist:
1 – Make her WANT SOMETHING.
2 – Make her INCREDIBLY GOOD at what she does.
3 – Have her CHANGE enormously.

See his article for his arguments on each point.

And here’s a video of me and my 3-year-old son, in which he thinks he hears the smell of poo-poo, then suggests it’s hiding:

Tags: , , ,


Passion for Writing: April 15th, 2010

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III   in Passion for Writing

“Anyone who says he wants to be a writer and isn’t writing, doesn’t.” -Ernest Hemingway.

Darren Rowse writes on the ProBlogger blog about: 4 Classic Mistakes I Made In My First Year of Blogging [and How I Got 1000 Subscribers Anyway]

Michael A Stackpole forecasts that traditional publishing distribution may crash in 2012, based on Michael Shatzkin’s estimates.

Steve White, aka Novel Dog blogs about four current authors who have succeeded thanks to their moxie, hustle, or genius rather than following a strictly traditional paradigm @ScottSigler, @JAKonrath, @JCHutchins, and Bruce Holland Rogers.


James Frenkel, longtime Tor editor, says on a PW blog: “Good writing can be, to some extent, learned. Good storytelling, however, seems to be a talent, not a learned skill.”


Kevin J Anderson explains how he writes his first drafts by dictation, while hiking in nature.


Watch out. It’s a geek debate. The David Gemmell Award Is Bad for Fantasy. No, sucka, it’s not.
Finally, this cat is better than you:

Tags: , ,

Joe Konrath is a thriller writer, a genuinely good guy, and a very successful ebook seller for the Kindle. He’s blogged about the surprising value of e-rights. Yesterday, he hosted an incredibly valuable chat on Twitter about ebooks while saving an average midwestern city from a meteor that was about to destroy it (I know, amazing right?). Anyway, he handed down some hard-won tips about publishing to Kindle that I collected for you and yours. Before I list his tips, here’s a larger, overriding point that he made:

“Bottom Line: Ebooks aren’t the future. They’re the now. Exploit your erights, keep the $$$.”

Self-Publishing Kindle Mistakes

#1: Pricing too high. People don’t want to pay more than $5 for an ebook.

#2: Amateur cover. Unless you have crazy mad Photoshop skills, get a pro to do it.

#3: Expecting instant success. You’re 1 book out of 500,000. Help people find you.

#4: Spelling/grammar errors in book description. Duh!

#5: Not checking your preview. You have to proof read it, make sure it is perfect.

#6: Forgetting about it. Once your book is live, it requires occasional attention from you.

Kindle Ebook Success Tips

#1: A good book. Well written, no formatting errors, no grammar/spelling problems.

#2: Good product description. It should read like back jacket copy.

#3: The more ebooks listed, the easier you are to find, the more you’ll sell.

#4: Add teaser chapters for your other books in the back matter of your ebooks.

#5: Trade chapters with other authors to include in back matter for cross pollination of fans.

#6: Post links to your ebook on your website, blog, and www.kindleboards.com

#7: Price it between 99 cents and $3.99. This is the most important tip of all.

#8: Experiment. Change covers, prices, promo techniques, descriptions, and track sales.

Ebook cover art tips

#1: Hire a pro. Expect to pay between $200 and $1000 per cover

#2: Make sure it is readable as a thumbnail–most covers are seen when tiny

#3: Don’t make it too “busy.” Clean and simple is better.

#4: Brand yourself. Your covers should look similar, or have a common theme.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll considering following my blog, or adding it to your own blogroll.

-Moses Siregar III

Tags: , , ,

Page 9 of 10« First...678910