Tuesday, October 30, 2007

No Write Way 6

(No Write Way 1-6.)

When you quietly complete your first edition, buy a handful of copies and get them off to people who's opinion you trust. Ideally these will be fellow writers or editors, but barring that, well-read friends will do just fine. The caveat of this gift, of course, is that they must actually read it and provide you with useful input.

The value of this kind of input cannot be overlooked, however it takes real skill and sensibility to provide genuine criticism. A good critic suggests solutions to the problems that they encounter, and they deal strictly with the work itself. Also take the time to listen to the people who purchase your first edition- some of them may be valuable critics as well. Just make sure to completely ignore those who go straight for the character assassination. Chances are they haven't even read your book.

If you make your first edition available for free as a PDF, you will also broaden the potential range of people who will be exposed to your work. "For free, you say?" Yes. Cory Doctorow covers the reasoning behind this quite well in this article, so there's no reason to re-state it.

(Alterati.com article.)

Monday, October 29, 2007


A weekend of half-embodying Hunter S Thompson (it wasn't a perfect transformation, as it has been in the past), nevertheless has rendered my brain inert.

So, instead of something useful, let me provide what teh internets are best at:

teh metaphorz are thick and fast, (395)
no can has literal translationz.
ganga cat is watching ur fourth wall.
waiting for rainz.
cloudz in teh sky ar far ways.
datta means give!
in a moment u lives, transitory,
no can has recording.
dayadham means be compassionate!
u thinks bout prisoner,
thnks ur in prison,
damyata means have self-control!
u r boat on calm seas,
at least on good day

lolcats wasteland.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mick Mercer's review of Veil of Thorns: Cognitive Dissonance

Mythos Media

Although working at another end of the noisy bastard spectrum to History Of Guns, Veil Of Thorns, and other P. Emerson Williams projects, provide the same alternative. Just when you have become used to experiencing your guitar stimulants, your ethereal relaxants, your electronic placebo, along comes Doctor Thorns, like a knight in deliberately ill-fitting armour and bellows ‘No more!’ causing all patients to fall from their beds. Where a lot of old-school Industrialists make deliberately obscure, ugly amateurish trash and new Industrialists churn out whatever club-friendly sounds they hope will land them a big record deal, there are some artists wading sternly through the same muddy waters with more artistic sensibilities. Veil Of Thorns may make threatening music but it is not without gentler asides, and often presents itself in alluring form. This is their most stylish work, but some of the thorns have an extra edge.

It’s really just down to P. Emerson Williams on virtually everything but the live drums of James Curcio, whose alarming novel I am currently reading. That’s the thing – music and other genuine influences, with P. himself a very talented artist, as I am sure many of you realise. It infuses what might be a trudging sound and throws light into murky corners. ‘Peripatetic’ has a dark rhythmical flow below a bright needling guitar and the drums stay furtive, the vocals commendably aghast, the song briskly cantering into action. It is actually hard to follow the vocal narrative but maybe that’s a good thing? ‘A Weirdness Less Expressed’ is great. If ever robots develop their own Thrash genre with a glaring sheen and viciously seedy bass pulses they will point to this song as a formative spark; more keenly urgent vocals and liquid guitar unusually catchy at times.

‘The Enigmatic Rarely Atone’ is slippier, as guitar slides away from the gleaming, undulating core. ‘Fallacy Decides Initiative’ lurches off after the seamless intro into a sighing, tumbling exercise, but ‘Delusions Of Excitement’ has low key, sweeter sounds and a dignified comeliness, deeper slopes and a playful atmospheric element. ‘Surgically Dream Like’ does what it says on the bloodbag, the cello providing a blurred setting, as though orchestral ocean liners were calling to one another, Industrial whale song!

‘Languishing In The Rusting Valley’ is not the worse holiday brochure ever, but a fractious combination of tingling guitar and grating rhythm in a plainly enjoyably melodic cacophony, as pert as the ungainly ever get. ‘Corrode And Engulf’ is deep growliness, like an ambient intestinal voyage. ‘Night Access Hallucination’ is a weird entity, being spindly, addled art-rock, with a touch of the Frank Zapata about it, with ‘Anomalous Breaks’; fun, not fearful. Austere, like monks hungover on mescaline, and then the title track itself sends you home with a cold bowl of sonic porridge.

They’re one of the few creative outlets for these more tangled sounds, and this gets the thumbs up, being a fine record, and one which some people might find easier to get into than earlier works as it’s got elements you’d recognise. Okay, you may develop extra thumbs with prolonged exposure, but what is life without risks?

By Mick Mercer.



Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hobo high fashion

So I've been beset with some pretty horrific allergies lately. As a result, I've taken to my old habit of wearing pajamas all the time.

However, apparently my new pajamas are high fashion to the homeless people in the city. Last night as I walked about five blocks, I was approached by three different homeless crazy women, saying things such as:

"Oooooh! I love your pants!"

"My you look fabulous tonight!"


Apparently I know my market.

In other non-news, Fallen Nation 2nd edition is presently backed up on other people's desks. It may be a little while yet before it's out, and I am certainly chomping at the bit, in part because I'm getting happy with how it has shaped up in the last editorial run. I'm ready to bring it down the mountain.

Friday, October 19, 2007

No Write Way 5

So, let’s suppose that you’ve written your novel. You’ve pulled your hair out on the editorial process (and probably received an inordinate amount of contradictory advice), and burned your eyes out on layout.

Now, after the headache from your “celebratory binge” wears off, it’s time to get your first edition out to the world. Note that at this point, the trajectory for self publishing differs from approaching an agent or publishing company, and it is the former case that we’re going to be dealing with.

There are quite a few self publishing options out there. A google search will avail you just fine, when it comes to hunting them out. But how to compare them side-by-side with that nagging, throbbing hangover? I’ll help a bit by comparing two of these services, Lulu and Booksurge. I’ve used them both, so I’ll be speaking from experience. I will also show you how they can actually be used in tandem to maximize their upsides.

(Alterati.com article.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Going swampin'

I wrapped up my part of the Fallen Nation 2nd editions edits tonight. I'm taking tomorrow off. Like watching the History Channel in my underwear off. I have a crate full of various kinds of sherries and ports. None of you can stop me, though it's possible some of you can join me, especially if you are interested in trading back massages.

As that gets passed on down the lane to get it back to the market, Peter and I are getting ready to "go swampin.'"

You'll hear what I mean when it comes out of the water for you. Or when I post it and you see it, whichever happens first.

(BTW: I don't know why but the 1st edition mysteriously appeared on Amazon again. Don't bother with her, she's an unsightly bitch. The 2nd ed will be up soon. Oh yeah, one other thing...)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Update from the trenches.

This'll be the third night in a row that I've worked till after 5am (almost 6 now) on editing Fallen Nation: Babylon Burning.

I'm sending out the final chapters this weekend for punctuation grammar type copy editing (round 2), and then to Tovarich for re-layout.

Then... it's off to the printer/distributor. Amazon may not pick it up for a couple weeks after that.

My back is killing me, and my eyes feel like they're about ready to strike. But I've fixed so many of the flow problems I was having with the first edition, it almost seems a fair trade. (I just hope that any new typos that may have popped up will be caught in copyediting so I can move on and never have to re-visit production on this project. I'm growing to love the book, but it's time to move on.)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Why I Pay For Showtime.


Since the success of HBO's Six Feet Under, many series on subscription based networks (HBO, Showtime, etc) have continued to up the ante on the theatrical and conceptual possibilities of episodic basic television. Though I do not envy the production team's task on these projects- attempting movie-level quality at the pace of television- I have very much enjoyed the results. There is little doubt that the ad-based major networks have been scrambling to produce their own brand of edginess, but from what I've seen it simply can't compare, thanks to boardroom and FCC restrictions, to say nothing of the restrictive lash of the advertiser's purse strings. House is a good example of this kind of show, a mind-numbingly formulaic foray into the hospital drama milieu that is only saved, partially, by Hugh Laurie's gravitas. (It does help that his character pops vicodin, LSD, and just about everything else he can get his hands on, and then operates on patients. To that point, Hunter would be proud.)

So, to follow up the recent article on Dexter, (New American Hero, by Jason Stackhouse), here are some other series you really should check out.

Monday, October 08, 2007

smallworld podcast interviews subqtaneous

Interview with James Curcio and P. Emerson Williams of subQtaneous.

We discuss the lyrics of P. Emerson Williams; how subQtaneous helped create relationships; the many versions of "Double Bind"; why it took so long to release their CD, Some Still Despair In A Prozac Nation; why subQtaneous ws formed when so many of the musicians live all over the country; similarities to Pigface; the members who make up subQtaneous; the Abyss of Hallucinations; the complications of working with so many people; what was surprisingly easy recording Some Still Despair In A Prozac Nation; recording "Wake Up"; why the recorded the album in so many different studios; the guitar stylings of Scott Landes; post-punk political commentary; Mythos Media; the influence of Joseph Campbell.

Featured songs are:

1. "Double Bind"
2. "Equinox"
3. "Wake Up"

Listen to the podcast.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Other World

We are told that documentaries should be produced objectively, never-mind that the camera itself merely provides a proxy of subjective experience, and can lie through omission just as easily as our eyes can. Apparently Jan Kounen didn’t come in to school that day, and for that we can be happy.

Though The Other World provides some interesting and rather traditional “talking head” interviews with the likes of Alex Grey, Moebius, Jeremy Narby (the author of The Cosmic Serpent), and many others, the most unique aspect of this documentary is that it attempts to provide a first person perspective of a very subjective experience. That is, the use of psychedelics in shamanism, and the function of the shaman as a guide through exploration of our oft-forgotten interior world. This is not common territory for a documentary, and some stylistic fumbling is to be expected as a result.

(Alterati.com article, includes movie.)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Follow the Not Free

OK imagine all the copyfight battles are over. And the outcome isn’t some corporate legal Satan-tech locked down media delivery system. Or some kind of shrug-inspiring compromise like micropayments or flat-rate schemes. Imagine that information has become truly free. Technology advanced to such a point where downloads happen as fast as changing a channel and is so easy to use that your cyborg grandma can operate it with her new vat grown arms. Large media corporations slowly crawl to a halt, drained and exhausted by irrelevance, futile hands outstretched trying to stop the tsunami of data. A thousand, than a million, than a billion file sharing sites bloom … so impossible to keep up.

Jason Lubyk's put together what I think is the good beginning for a conversation on the subject of the future of music.


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