Contest Update

It’s the big President’s Day Sale weekend and since I can’t actually lower the prices, I’m giving away bonus gifts to anyone who pre-orders between now and Midnight CST on Monday Feb. 15th.

Pre-order during that time and you may choose ONE (1) of the following:

1. A character named after you in one of the three books (your choice whether they’re good or evil or just chaotic neutral). Just email me after your pre-order goes through and tell me what kind of character you would prefer and I’ll see where I can fit it in.

2. A bad to terrible poem written just for you on the topic and in the style of your choosing. Just email me after your pre-order goes through and tell me you want the poem to be a sonnet about dog vomit or a haiku about a frozen pizza or whatever. Your choice as long as it’s not offensive (and I get to decide what’s too offensive) and won’t take to long to throw together, i.e. – no epic prose poems about pizza eating shellfish superheroes.

3. A signed JPEG of either me or the cover of my book with a poorly scrawled inscription of your choosing (again, as long as it’s not offensive). Just email your choice and the inscription and I’ll break out MS Paint and get to work. Trust me, it will be ugly. But unique.

I will attempt to fulfill these requests as long as they are reasonable (as defined by me). If not, I’ll work with you to come up with something that is reasonable (as defined by me), otherwise you can cancel your order.

Also, this offer is valid only for people who haven’t already pre-ordered a copy of Dangerous Thoughts.

Hurry and pre-order now to get your free gift before time runs out!

Rejecting Agent Carter

(Not to reiterate the dire nature of our situation as a society, but I’ll just take a moment to remind you that the forces of people who are (probably) pro titty-twister, pro swirly, and anti-D&D are at this very moment WINNING in the contest that will decide all of our fates. Go here and preorder my book to strike a blow for everything we believe in!)

If Hollywood Executives sat down and had a serious discussion about what show would most likely attract the loyal viewership of me, Jake J. MacMillan, they would undoubtedly come up with Marvel’s Agent Carter.

I like action. I like period pieces. I’m seriously into strong female leads. The character of Howard Stark feeds right into my childish belief that one man working in his garage can revolutionize the world and Jarvis is simply a delight.

Hayley Atwell is a wonderful actor who is both beautiful to look at and listen to. They’ve even gotten rid of the most egregious sexist pigs from the first season – we get the point, men are pigs, but these guys are no fun to watch. In short, there is absolutely no reason for me to not get hooked on this show.

And yet.

So that brings us around to today’s real lesson: It’s Not Personal. Every time you send a screenplay or a novel to a literary agent and you don’t hear anything back except maybe a form letter rejection slip that they don’t even bother to template your name into, you are consumed with an urge to FIX THE PROBLEM. All caps because those are your feels and they’re strong.

Rip open that screenplay and start digging through the third act for trouble spots. Drag out the novel and run a rake through it to pull out every last poorly formed simile. Make all the changes you want, but try to remember you’re not in a valid feedback loop. No one has told you there’s a problem. All they have said is it’s not for them.

That’s why you have to send every manuscript to every breathing agent in the world and get passed on by all of them twice before you can write that manuscript off as a lost cause.

Now if you get the note, “All characters speak with the same voice” back from thirty of a hundred agents, then you might just have a problem with tone. On the other hand, you might also find that the 101st agent says, “I love how all the characters speak with the same voice. It’s all obviously in his head!”

That’s a judgment call.

On the other hand, my agent was really excited to go out with my time traveling detective novel only to have every publisher come back with the same response, “Lovely, but we have no idea how to market it.”

Boom. There is no misreading that dead cat bounce.

 

Genius Minus One

(Remember, I’m still fighting for my life against the armies of evil and need your support to make sure America is safe from the future. Go here and pre-order my book to do your part in the fight against communo-fascist-represso-non-normative forces allied against me.)

What does a sixty watt bulb feel like when it’s illuminating a hall closet?  It feels like the brightest bulb in the world.  It feels like the king of light, the vanquisher of darkness, the torch of brilliance… But what does it feel like suspended in front of one of those searchlights small town car dealerships believe will drag you into their lots of gently used Chevrolets?

It feels like a penis coming fresh out of a swimming pool in February.  It feels like a match trying to light a fart in a hurricane.  It feels like a moderately-to-minimally creative person listening to Max Landis throw off unused ideas like sparks from a steam engine revving so high it’s tearing itself apart.

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Kill Them. Kill Them All.

(Before we get started, I’m just going to remind you that I’m locked in a cage match of death over at Inkshares and I need your support to get out of it alive. Go here and pre-order my book. It will have the effect of giving me a chainsaw so I can KILL THEM. KILL THEM ALL) I now return you to our regularly scheduled post:

There are all sorts of substandard prose out there these days. I’m convinced everyone with access to the internet thinks they were born to write. Unfortunately, they were also born out of reach of a dictionary, thesaurus, grammatical guide and the McKee book on Story.

There’s bad writing:

“Hello, Sheila, my former wife to whom I was married for seven years.”

“Hello, Bob. Yes, we were divorced just two years ago.”

You think I’m kidding? I’m not kidding.

There’s also weak writing:

He felt like someone was watching him.

No.  He had the feeling someone was watching him. That’s stronger but still wastes an opportunity for metaphor: He felt eyes crawling up his back, watching for the slightest twitch of movement.

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Contest Update

As of today, I am in 3rd place. That’s super good news but there’s still a long way to go. So if you’ve been sitting on the sidelines, trying to decide whether my book is worth backing, now’s the time to decide that, yes, it’s definitely worth it and go here to make a difference in a grown man’s life:

@nerdist Inkshares Science Fiction competition

Remember, your mother will be proud of you for following through.

Hope

I came to science fiction through a wall of shelves filled with paperback books in my father’s office. It was like my own personal library. I could just walk in, peruse the exotic looking covers with their abstract 1960s speculative art and take a book whose title captured my imagination.

Slan or The War With The Newts or Starman Jones. I even read the Foundation series by Asimov even though they were super dull, had no space battles and the covers weren’t even interesting.

I guess the books covered my father’s fascination and eventual lack of enthusiasm for the genre, starting in the 1940s (Slan) and going all the way to the late 1960s (Dune and Stranger in a Strange Land). There was a little bit of Philip K. Dick in there but for the most part this library was restricted to the first wave of speculative writers and as such it was mostly hopeful work that viewed technology as a means by which man would better himself and his condition.

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Big Announcement

Okay, guys, here it is: I’ve decided to submit Dangerous Thoughts to the @Nerdist Inkshares competition.

“What does that mean to me?” you’re wondering. Well, first off, it means no more serialization here on the site and no more copies for sale on Amazon. I’m going to leave what I have but only as a teaser to get you motivated to get over to Inkshares and pre-order your copy.

That’s right. It’s come to this. I’m holding the rest of the story hostage until I get my pre-orders and win the competition. If you want to know how it ends, you’re going to have to do your part and pre-order your copy.

It comes with prizes! Plus, you’ll be making publishing history.

Flash Physics

I’m a big fan of the CW’s Flash series even though I was never a fan of the comic books. For me, as a kid, getting to the bottom of the stack of the latest haul of comics and finding the Flash or Aquaman or, let’s be honest, any DC property, signaled that it was time to go outside.

I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why I didn’t care for DC at the time. I was far too young to understand the concept of a tragic hero, of deep seated flaws embedded in every source of power, of how we empathize with heroes more when they’re not invulnerable. I just thought the stories were kind of pointless and the threats against the heroes seemed to be arbitrary and made up.

Red kryptonite does what? Yeah, yeah, whatever.

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The Force Awakens

In 1999, a friend and I started to notice the advance viral marketing for a movie called The Matrix. There wasn’t much at first, just a few very short commercials that included that amazing scene where Trinity leaps into the air, goes into bullet time, and then plants a perfect crane kick on a cop’s chin. It was the first inkling of a movie that would change the style of action films forever.

The website, www.whatisthematrix.com (I checked, it’s no longer active) yielded just the most intriguing tidbits about the movie. As my friend and I got more and more hooked on hunting down information on the web, one of our coworkers turned to us and said, in a tone so smug I can’t reproduce it in text, “There is only one movie opening this summer.”

Of course, he was talking about The Phantom Menace.

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It Follows

I know I’m a little late coming to this party but I don’t see many horror movies in the theater because no one I know will go with me and there’s something supremely creepy about a grown man watching a horror movie by himself in the theater. Since I am so late on this, everyone has already spoken to how good this movie is. All I can do is agree and talk about something other than its quality.

Spoilers Follow.

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