Behold! My Next Big Thing, or Something [writing]

WritingSo, I was tagged for this Next Big Theme writer meme going around. Twice in fact, by Bernie Mojzes and then by Lee Mather. And finally, I slouch into action and answer!

Essentially, this meme is ten questions about one of one’s work-in-progresses. I’ve got two at the moment: a mad science novel tentatively titled This Island Monstrous and a biopunk novella I’m just starting on second-drafting, The Morpheist. TIM will take a long time to finish, never mind find a publisher for, while I’m hoping to get The Morpheist to a good home sometime early next year. So I’ll make The Morpheist the subject of this here thing.

1. What is the title of your book?

The Morpheist.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

In the late nineties, when I was making my first stabs at writing short stories, I wrote a short called The Morpheist, set in a vaguely cyberpunkish future, wherein my protagonist and a techno-dream-eater entered a relationship for reasons that were especially sketchy for the techno-dream-eater. It was not a good story, exactly, but there was the kernel of a good story there, rooted in ruminations I’d had at the time about the nature and value of dreams.

So, casting about for something to write last year (after Brutal Light was published and my idea for Entering Cadence went to pot), I looked it over and decided there was Something I Could Do with it. I decided to recast the future it was set in as more of a biopunk-esque setting, as so much of what I read of future science these days points to a convergence of the technological and the biological. I didn’t want to expand the short story, though, so I came up with a new situation and set of protagonists, with the protagonist from the old story showing up as another character (which also allowed me to break up and include the old story, rewritten heavily, in interludes).

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Science fiction.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

The only one I have a clear idea for is my main protagonist, Cal. As I was writing it, I thought increasingly of a youngish version of Adrian Brody. It wasn’t until I saw Skyfall, though, that I realized Ben Whishaw (Q) was close to ideal.

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?

“In a world dreams and the technology to make them real have all but merged, Cal Silen seeks to rid himself of his ability to dream by hiring a rogue dream-eater with a tragic past, a hidden agenda, and enemies determined to expand their hold on millions of minds.”

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Of course these are the only two possible options, aren’t they? Pffft.

Being as it’s a novella, I don’t see this as something to shop to an agent. I’m also not keen on self-publishing, given my low visibility as an author right now. So, I’ll look for a small publisher for which this kind of material will be a good fit.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

About 2-3 months.

8. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

I’m sure there are comparables, but I’m drawing a blank right now as to what they would be. The world it’s neither dystopian nor utopian, exactly, but rather a sort of collision of a number of dystopian and utopian trends. The story itself is about the place and function of dreams, and what might be lost if the ability to dream is given up.

As far as influences go, there are several, starting of course with Paul di Filipo’s Ribofunk, which both started the biopunk subgenre and attempted without success to give it a less derivative name. William Gibson’s Neuromancer is up there, particularly as regards the ‘original’ short story. Probably also a few volumes from Philip K. Dick.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

As is usual with me, it’s a confluence of things. I follow futurist news with great interest, and find myself caught up in speculation about how trends in nanotechnology, biotechnology, virtual reality, social interaction, body modification, and climate change might play out. I’ve long had an interest in dreams, lucid dreaming, and nightmares, and their value in our lives, beyond being a purge of subconscious detrius.

10. What else might pique the reader’s interest?

Despite the subtext of dreams and their meaning, it’s not weighted down with metaphysical speculation (unlike, say, Brutal Light). It is science fiction, and while I’m only a layperson in my understanding of the science I delve into, I do try to be true to it as I can. I also embrace, as much as I can, how effing weird and perverse I think the future is going to be.

So… now it’s my turn to tag some hella-talented writer folks whose next big things are things I would love to hear more about. There’s some what I know have already posted their answers, or at least been tagged to do so, so I’ll try not to be duplicative. I hereby tag Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Eric A. Burns-White, Greg Fishbone, Su Halfwerk, and Emmy Jackson. (Which in no way obligates, as I didn’t ask beforehand, and even if I did, it still doesn’t obligate, so I don’t know why I even brought it up.)

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Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Photo: Andres/Bigstock.com.

Links are what they are and that’s all they are [links]

LinksWhere has the week gone? Hmmph. Once again, I’ve not gotten much writing done, due to a combination of business, tiredness, and procrastination. I’m also suspecting I need to stop putting off going to the eye doctor for a new prescription–though my contact lenses are mostly good, my glasses are getting further and further off, to the point where I have to take them off if I want to read (when I don’t have contacts in). I suspect that factors in to my procrastinating tendencies.

There’s a meme going around in writing circles called “The Next Big Thing,” in which an author answers a set of questions regarding a project he or she is working on. I’ve done been tagged, and my answers will appear next week. This week, though… you get links!

There’s something recently started up called Rolling Jubilee, focused on buying up debt (held by U.S. consumers) that’s being sold by banks to a speculative market of debt buyers (with the intent of abolishing the purchased debt, rather than trying to collect it). An inspired idea!

Large-scale commercial production of biofuel from waste is close to starting up. This looks like a game-changer for ethanol and other alternative fuels.

TheOatmeal.com put up this awesome comic on various aspects of the creative life. I loffed.

Here’s a Tumblr account near and dear to my heart: Why Authors Are Crazy. Loads of snark on the publishing process as seen from the authorial perspective, mainly in the form of reaction .gifs.

That’s… about it. (Told you I had the tiredness.) Have a weekend, why don’tcha.

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Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Picture: 3poD/Bigstock.com.

Getting my brain cells all lined up and stuff [events | writing | pictures]

Authors at Schulers

(Left to right: Sidney Ayers, DJ Desmyter, Gary W. Olson (i.e. me), Cindy Spencer Pape, Megan Parker, Roxanne Rhoads, and Nathan Squiers)

A couple weeks ago, I did a couple of signings back-to-back: one at Schulers Books & Music in Lansing, Michigan, and one at the public library in Davison, Michigan. They were both multi-author events, as evidenced by the picture above. While they ended up being a bit sparsely attended, I had a great time nonetheless, talking with various readers and fellow authors. The library signing was especially cool for me, as it took place in my hometown’s library, which I observed had changed very little in the twenty-one years since I’d left, and it makes me happy to know that it now has copies of Brutal Light and Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous in its system (which means that so does the Genessee District Library system its part of).

The following week was a blur to me, for various personal and family reasons not to be gotten into here. Much of this week was lost to distraction, both due to the recent U.S. election (the results of which pleased me overall) and getting a replacement smartphone (and having to fuss with it to get everything set back up right). But I’m getting back into the swing of writing.

I’m nearly done with the first quarter of my Untitled Mad Science Novel (which I’m tentatively calling This Island Monstrous, until I think of something better). It’s taken me much longer than I anticipated just to get this far, but I’m pleased with how it’s going. Soon, I’ll be switching gears and going back to work on my SF biopunk novella The Morpheist, with a goal of getting it rewritten, edited, polished, and ready to send out somewheres by the end of the year. That’s pretty much it for my rest-of-the-year writing plans; anything I may have blathered on about before (such as rewriting my old Electricity in the Rain serial fiction) is back on the shelf.

As for next year… that remains to be seen. Anytime I plan, it seems, life gets on with the thwarting, so I’m just gonna play it by ear.

Books on Shelves

(Picture from the shelves at Schuler’s, including both Brutal Light and Fading Light.)

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Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. First photo: Someone in the audience at Schulers. Second photo: Gary W. Olson.

Reminder: Signings in Lansing today (10/24/12) and Davison tomorrow (10/25/12) [events | brutal light | fading light]

Brutal LightJust a quick reminder for Michigan folks reading this blog, today (Wednesday, October 24th, 2012), at 7 p.m., I’ll be at Schuler Books & Music in Lansing, Michigan, participating in a multi-author panel discussion on paranormal fiction, then signing copies of my dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and the dark fiction anthology in which I have a short story, Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous. Then tomorrow, I’ll be selling and signing even more copies of Brutal Light and Fading Light at the public library in Davison, Michigan… which will also be a multi-author event, the Flint Fang Fest Book Signing. Addresses for both are on the other end of the links.

Also, congratulations to Jen Lavinski, the commenter who won the PDF copy of Karina Fabian’s Neeta Lyffe 2 that I was raffling off last week!

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Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Brutal Light cover art: Dawne Dominique.

Karina Fabian: Keeping Zombies Fresh [guest blog]

Good morning! Author Karina Fabian is back on this patch of virtual real estate today, talking about her new book, Neeta Lyffe 2: I Left My Brains in San Francisco (the sequel to her popular Neeta Lyffe: Zombie Exterminator).

I’ll be giving away a free PDF copy of Neeta Lyffe 2 to one randomly chosen commenter on this blog entry! (That is, on my main blog itself, where these missives originate, not on places they are echoed, such as my LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, or Tumblr accounts). Comments must be in by Saturday, October 21st, 2012, 11:59:59 e.d.t.

Karina FabianKeeping Zombies Fresh: guest post by Karina Fabian

Gary asked me to write a blog on “how to keep zombies fresh.” He was probably talking about the genre, but pffth! What fun is that? Instead, I offer you the trials of Josie Gump, who (in Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator), mistakenly believed her late Jebadiah, who came back from the grave to plop himself in the easy chair to demand beer and watch Jerry Springer, was somehow still a person, but “life-challenged.” May I present, Mrs. Josie Gump:

I’m a pretty ordinary person, living a quiet, contented life with a loving husband and four great kids. However, I have a brain crowded with characters who live far more interesting lives than I ever will. (Mind you, they also experience a lot more pain and stress, so I am not looking to trade.) I write their stories in order to get them out of my head before it explodes, and because I love their adventures so much, I want to share them.

Well, this is all rather personal, but the Zombies Are People, Too Movement asked me about I was “keeping things fresh” with Jebediah. No one’s ever asked me for my housekeeping tips, before, and well, Jeb didn’t much care about the house as long as the food was ready when he got home, the beer was cold, and the TV screen clean.

Anyways, I have to admit, it has been a challenge. At first, it seemed all right–easier, even. Death has changed him, you see, and while I don’t want to talk bad about nobody, Jeb used to keep tight hold of the money. Now, though–now, I tell him I want a little extra for new curtains or a better broom, and he just grunts his assent. And he did show up kind of dirty from digging himself out of the grave, but he didn’t have any problem with me sweeping him off with the whisk broom. Just so long as I didn’t get between him and the TV, of course.

It’s gotten worse, though. First, that reporter mentioned a smell. I thought he meant the house! I threw him out, even sic’ced Pinky on him. I’m so embarrassed now, because he was right. I’ve kind of run through most of the commercially available products. In desperation, I even tried B to Z FreshAire. I mean, it says “Bathrooms to Zombies.” Jeb did not like that! One spray, and he started groaning, was so mad! I threw it out. Later, I found out, it’s zombie repellant! How horrible is that? I’m so glad for ZAPT; they’re trying to make that poison illegal. Anyway, there’s this expensive stuff called Orange Blaze that gets your house all citrusy, but it’s expensive, so if you can’t afford it, lots of Freedbreezy works.

Another unfortunate problem with the “differently living” is, well, insects. I tried the natural methods–mint, basil, and lavender–but I finally had to break down and get some repellant. I worry about the dogs, but at least my Jeb never leaves his chair. I mean, even if I have to run an errand, he just waits so patiently for his next beer! It’s really a change; he just so gentle now. Of course, I’d be glad for any suggestions. I think there are some creatures making a home inside the chair. I’m so embarrassed. I’d call an exterminator, but they all seem to specialize in zombie extermination, now. I have to think of my Jeb.

In the end, it wasn’t the challenge of keeping Jeb fresh that drove Josie over the edge. She finally turned off the TV in the interest of keeping their marriage “fresh,” whereupon Jeb tried to eat her brains and she realized he’d lied to her again. She went after him with the shotgun, then sold her home, packed up the dogs and became a spokeswoman for “Zombies Are People-NOT!”

Conclusion: While there are probably as many ways to keep zombie stories fresh as there are writers, keeping the zombies themselves fresh is quite a challenge.

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Neeta Lyffe 2 I Left My Brains in San FranciscoAre you the next “Zombie Idol”?

Karina Fabian is looking for someone to sing the theme song I wrote for I Left My Brains in San Francisco. She has the words and the tune; but they need a singer. They are offering prizes for the best singer, the most creative audition video, and are giving one in ten entries a copy of the e-book. The details are at http://fabianspace.blogspot.com/p/are-you-next-zombie-idol.html.

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Blurb:

Zombie problem? Call Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator–but not this weekend.

On vacation at an exterminator’s convention, she’s looking to relax, have fun, and enjoy a little romance. Too bad the zombies have a different idea. When they rise from their watery graves to take over the City by the Bay, it looks like it’ll be a working vacation after all.

Enjoy the thrill of re-kill with Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator.

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Bio:

If there’s such a thing as ADD of the imagination, Karina Fabian has it–in spades. Craft books, devotionals, serious science fiction, comedic horror and chilling fantasy–she follows her interests and the characters that tell her their stories.

Even before she could write, Karina strung tall tales about everything from making human pyramids in Kindergarten to visiting alien worlds. Her first attempt at novel writing was in fourth grade; she completed her first novel in college. However, her first published work was an anthology of Christian science fiction, Leaps of Faith, an EPPIE finalist for best anthology in 2006. Her next anthology, Infinite Space, Infinite God, featured Catholic characters and themes and won the EPPIE for science fiction. The second Infinite Space, Infinite God anthology came out in 2010.

Watching the comedy improv show, Whose Line Is It, Anyway, inspired her noir-style dragon detective, Vern. Vern and his partner, Sister Grace, have solved mysteries and saved the Faerie and Mundane worlds numerous numerous times in the DragonEye, PI stories and novels. Their serial story, World Gathering, won a Mensa Owl; and the novel, Magic, Mensa and Mayhem (Fabian’s first published novel), won the INDIE for best fantasy in 2010. The second DragonEye book, Live and Let Fly, came out in April 2012.

At a friend’s request, Karina wrote a funny story about a zombie exterminator, which grew into the Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator novels. The first, Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, won the 2011 Global E-Book award for best horror, and was runner-up in the eFestival of Words for best YA.

She also writes serious science fiction. Her SF novels, Discovery and The Old Man and the Void, are currently under consideration, and she’s working on the next DragonEye novel, a superhero spoof, Gapman.

Karina has a strong faith, which she explored in her devotional, Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life, which she wrote with her father Steve Lumbert, and which won the 2011 Christian Small Press Publisher Award. She also writes Catholic school calendars and has written three craft books for the Little Flowers/Blue Knights clubs.

Fabian is married to Colonel Robert A. Fabian of the USAF, and they are currently enjoying a long distance relationship while he’s stationed in Iraq. They have four children, an overgrown pup, and a harried cat. When not writing, teaching writing, or chatting about writing, she’s hanging out with her kids or swinging a sword in haidong gumbdo.

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Excerpt:

Survival Hardware hadn’t seen such a rush of customers since the last Armageddon prediction coincided with Black Friday.

Manager Clint Sanders rubbed his hands with glee. Oh, Marley, if only you hadn’t gotten drunk and decided to go zombie hunting. Was it only last Christmas?

He hurried to Customer Service, crafting an announcement in his mind. “You want to live! We want to live! That’s why you are going to file calmly to the back if you need a suit.”

Yeah. Sense of urgency, plus that “We’re in this together” crap.

He got to the counter and nodded at Bitsy, who had rung up a chainsaw and a half-crate of bleach.

God bless survivors. Clint continued to the back. Out of habit, he checked the exit door, even though it was always locked from the outside. He needed to delete Marley’s old code from it.

He cleared his throat. “Listen up! You want to live! We want to live!”

The exit door clicked.

“That’s impossible!” he declared. The store fell silent.

“Boss?” Bitsy’s voice ended in a squeak.

“That’s not what I meant! Security team to customer service!”

He reached under the counter for a shotgun. Bitsy grabbed the chainsaw. They had filled them that morning–another example of the excellent service at Survival Hardware.

The door swung open, and the zombiefied remains of his late business partner, Marley, staggered through.

Clint to blasted him with the shotgun. The impact knocked the Marley out the door.

Clint used the gunsight to scan the parking lot. “He brought friends! Call Nine-One-One. I’m putting this place on shutdown.”

“Screw that! I’ve been prepping all my life for this!” With a howl of challenge, Bitsy dashed out the door. She swung low and decapitated her former boss before moving on.

Thundering footsteps signaled the customers following in her wake.

He gaped at the carnage while Dirk called 9-1-1. It’d be too late by the time they got there. All that’d be left was to clean up the zombie parts and get the customers back in to pay.

God bless survivors.

***

Find Karina at:

Website: http://fabianspace.com, http://dragoneyepi.net
, http://zombiedeathextreme.com
Blog: http://fabianspace.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karina.fabian
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/KarinaFabian
Google +: https://plus.google.com/103660024891826015212
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/10981939-karina-fabian

Find Neeta Lyffe 2: I Left My Brains in San Francisco at:
http://zombiedeathextreme.com.

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Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Photo: Karina Fabian. Neeta Lyffe 2 cover art: George Silliman.

October Events: Signings in Lansing and Davison [brutal light | fading light | events]

Brutal LightOn Wednesday, October 24th, 2012, at 7 p.m., I’ll be at Schuler Books & Music in Lansing, Michigan, participating in a multi-author panel discussion on paranormal fiction. With me will be authors Sidney Ayers, D.J. Desmyter, Bruce Jenvey, Megan Parker, Cindy Spencer Pape, and Nathan Squiers. After that will be the selling and signing of books, including my dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and the dark fiction anthology in which I have a short story, Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous.

After that, I wake up naked in a cornfield outside of Grand Rapids, wondering what happened.

Fading LightOn Thursday, October 25th, 2012, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., I’ll also be selling and signing even more copies of Brutal Light and Fading Light at the public library in Davison, Michigan… which just happens to be my home town! Once again this will be a multi-author event, the Flint Fang Fest Book Signing, with fellow authors Cindy Spencer Pape, Bruce Jenvey, Roxanne Rhoads, Nathan Squiers, and Megan Parker also on hand.

I once blinded (for a few seconds) Olympic hockey champion Ken Morrow at this library. True story.

So if you’re in either vicinity at those times, save the dates, as I hope to see you there!

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Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Brutal Light cover art: Dawne Dominique. Fading Light cover art: Jessy Lucero.