More Words, Free of Charge

Introducing the “Freebies” tab. See it up there at the top? Feel free to give it a click. Or, if that’s too much effort, here ya go: CLICK ME FOR FREEEEEEDOOOOOOMMM

There are three (well, four, kinda, you’ll see) stories for perusal free of charge. If you’re a die-hard day-one fan, you may have seen these before, but it’s my hope to periodically add something new from “the vault” and open it up for public consumption.

That’s it; blog post over, have a great day. Hope you like ’em!

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The Martian Theory

While hauling my earthly goods from California to Colorado, I listened to the audiobook version of The Martian by Andy Weir. I was intrigued by the self-published success story, and decided to give it a go. You should too, it’s a fantastic book. Here’s a blurb, paraphrased from the Amazon product description:

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, [astronaut Mark Watney] finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive…. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?”

My wife and I loved the central character so much, we started saying I was Mark Watney-ing whenever I’d creatively solve a problem around the house. It’s the new MacGyver-ing.

Now then, beyond a simple book recommendation, I have a theory about the book. Very, very minor spoilers follow. As someone who hates spoilers, trust me, you’re fine.

I originally described this book to friends as, “a near-future where we’ve started manned missions to Mars,” but upon further reflection, I’m going to update that stance. It’s not a near-future, it’s an alternate-present. All the technology for these fictional Ares missions currently exists. The only problem is that we haven’t spent billions of dollars on space travel and Mars research.

Here it is, my theory on The Martian: In the story-world, the September 11th attacks never happened. Instead, we spent all of those billions of dollars funding NASA and manned missions to Mars.

Think about it. There’s never a mention of a terrorism. There’s never a mention of 9/11. There’s never a mention of tightened regulations, security, or a slashed NASA budget. The world comes together on a cooperative level with such ease, it fits the political atmosphere of an America that hasn’t been at war for well over a decade.

The Martian takes place in a parallel universe where there is no Global War on Terror.

For those who’ve read the book, I’d love to hear what you think about my theory, or if you have any theories of your own. Do you think it’s an alternate-present where there was no recession either? And if you haven’t read the book yet, don’t forget to check back in once you do!

Your Life as a Comic Book

I’ve had STAR WARS on the brain a lot lately. In fact, tonight I’m going to watch the three-prequels-in-one film, Turn to the Dark Side that I managed to download off vimeo before it was yanked down. But enough about that for now.

With this blog post, I’d like to assure my die-hard Click Your Poison readers (you do exist, right?) that I’m still hard at work on CYP#3 — SUPERPOWERED — the title that asks if you’d be a hero or a villain if you had fantastic skills. Well, I am still hard at work. And as part of my process, I found this hilarious collection of faux-comics featuring “real life” supervillians. Check it out, they’re great:

download1download2download3download4download5download6

(Originally found via College Humor)

A Writer’s Resolution

Image credit: Geoff Whaley

A week into the New Year, I’ve finally decided to write a post pertaining to my goals in 2014. I have personal resolutions for health and happiness, but I’d like to keep this post focused on my goals as an author and as the owner of this blog.

The first, as an author, is a fairly straightforward one: Complete the next book in my Click Your Poison series.

As far as a blogging resolution, I feel a bit hesitant. But… I think I should embrace being a “blogger” — and for me, that’s easier said than done. I have a voice in my head saying, “Why should you shout your opinion at the world? Why should anyone care?”

Well, in order to silence that voice, I pledge to post more often and more honestly about the two things that should draw you to this page: 1) My writing, and 2) My journey from unknown writer to self-published rock star (gotta dream big, right?)

This year, just like this kid, I'm resolving not to lose my sense of humor.
This year, just like this kid, I’m resolving not to lose my sense of humor.

Topic #1 will include include progress updates and samples (hooray, samples!), and will involve the community when and where I can. Maybe I’ll bounce story ideas off you, give polls, or even host contests for naming characters, businesses; that kind of thing. It should be light and fun.

Topic #2 will focus on what I’ve learned in this business from pitfalls and successes. This will primarily be of interest to other writers. In that vein, I’m introducing a new topic: Lessons Learned (to be populated gradually over the year)

Happy New Year and best wishes in 2014!

-JS

STAR WARS Myers-Briggs Personality Chart

Too cool not to share! I found this on Geek in Heels where it looks like it’s going viral. What’s your type? If you want to take the test, you can do so here.

I haven’t taken one of these tests in years, so I took it again and got INTJ… I guess as someone who plots multi-universe books, I probably could have guessed I’d get “The Mastermind.” What about YOU? What character are you?

Ding-dong, the Witch is Dead

Hey! Amazon deleted that 1-star review written in Dutch!

Haters need not apply

 

It would appear that the 1-star review of INFECTED was deemed invalid by Amazon’s filters, but… Why do you care?

I doubt you do. This post is a blending of narcissistic and cathartic, which I believe comes out to narcotic, and fits the definition of a substance offering a hollow, fleeting happiness that will consume your life if you let it.

But that’s what blogs are for, right? Sharing the good and the bad. Exposing shortcomings.

Like this one: I actually cared about a review written in Dutch that said my book “wasn’t for people with actual zombie experience” (according to google translate), whatever that means. In my dark hours I would see zonder inspiratie flash across my mind and I’d wonder if maybe this was the one guy who had it right. Maybe my writing is uninspired. Maybe he’s the only one with the guts to tell the truth.

The fact that the review was taken down (no, I did not “flag” it or anything of the sort) doesn’t eliminate doubt. Comes with the territory, I guess. But it helps.

I’m in trouble if and when my books ever go wide and–God forbid–thousands of people review it and some small percentage is negative. I realize that will happen, and I’ll be fine. Even if all those negative reviews get to stay up, I’ll know that all the positive reviews are unquestionably valid.

See? That’s what this did. It’s a good thing. Okay, enough narcotic. It’s Halloween! Time for a zombie author to celebrate.

Oh, and if you hear a scratching at your door, you may want to look through the peephole before you open up to give out candy:

    You never know what's lurking out there...
You never know what’s lurking out there…