On The Speaking in The Public

It will not come as a shock to anyone who has met me in person that I am not a natural talker. I am comfortable in silence, or at least in staying silent while the world surrounds me with its endless noise. In conversations, I typically end up following the lead of a more talkative person, quite happy to listen while occasionally commenting, asking questions, making puns, or interjecting random sympathetic noises. When it is down to me to take the lead in conversing, I’m hesitant, sometimes stuttery, and often my sentences wander off when I realize I have no idea how they’re supposed to end.

So you’d think that there are certain aspects of self-promotion that would be more difficult for me–doing interviews and participating on panels at conventions, for instance. These do, in fact, elevate my anxiety levels, and I’m usually looking forward most to the experience being over, so that I can scuttle back to my silent comfort zone. But then the weirdest thing happens — I’m doing the interview or participating on the panel, and I find I’m enjoying it. I’m chattering away–still hesitant, stuttery, and sometimes meandering–but I don’t care because I’m talking about things that I love–the strange places I find ideas, my influences, and things I’m writing.

Take the interview I did with Greg Walker on A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book a couple days ago. Between a desire to be ‘on’ and sound like I actually had something to say, my usual pre-speaking anxieties, and a couple large mugs of coffee, I was dialed up toward the high end of my talking abilities. (It also helped that Greg’s a good conversationalist, keeping me going while keeping me from meandering too far afield from talking about Brutal Light. People like me are helped a lot by people like him.) We probably could have gone on for a lot longer than the half-hour of the show.

As for panels, the four I was on for ConClave helped ease my mind on the prospect of my clamming up in the presence of other writers who were better talkers who could gab at length. I was less caffeinated at these events, but was determined to put in my commentary and not be That Guy. To my surprise, I enjoyed the give-and-take, and had fun. (Though, being that they were ninety minute panels, as opposed to the usual sixty, I can’t say they would have gone on for a lot longer than the assigned time.)

The key for me in both situations was preparation. A couple of the panels–the ones on social media marketing and the future of publishing–I did some advance reading on, to give myself a better idea of what the issues and sub-issues were, and to get me thinking on things I’d only nebulously thought about before, if at all. For the interview, I went over the guest interviews and guest blogs I’d done for my virtual book tour, just to refresh myself on how I’d answered some questions and to get me in an expositional frame of mind. (One thing I added that was not in the blog tour–my relating of dark fantasy to noir films and fiction.) It’s a lot easier for me to be ‘on’ when I’m prepared to be ‘on.’

So… it turns out that The Public Speaking is not quite so vexing for me as I’d expected it to be. Of course, it still stirs anxiety, in roughly inverse proportion to the amount of time until I have to do it. But now I also feel like I’m looking forward to it as well… and that’s a good feeling.

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Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and several previously published and forthcoming short stories. He can be found via his website, his blog A Taste of Strange, as @gwox on Twitter, and in many other far-flung places on the Internet.

A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book — Tonight at 6:30 pm EST (3:30 pm PST)

I’m going to be on Jennifer Walker’s show on Blog Talk Radio, A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book, tonight, talking about Brutal Light, writing in general, dark fantasy, where I get my ideas, and other such things. It’ll run from 6:30 pm to 7:00 pm EST, and will be streaming live during that time. If, for some implausible reason, you fail to gain the urge to rearrange your life so as to hang on my every erratic, meandering word, it will be archived there for you to listen to in your own good time.

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Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and several previously published and forthcoming short stories. He can be found via his website, his blog A Taste of Strange, as @gwox on Twitter, and in many other far-flung places on the Internet.

Are You Linksperienced?

The writing proceeds apace at Chez Olson, after some bumpy days where I was not sure what the hell I wanted to write–not because I didn’t like what I was writing, but because I had several ideas that all wanted to come out at once. For a while, I thought that Entering Cadence, my ‘science fiction noir’ novella, would be what occupied my winter, until it decided it wanted to be a novel instead. I knocked out the first draft of a short horror story, “Goldilocks Zone,” then had to decide whether to return to Entering Cadence or start in on one of these other ideas.

The idea that won was to revisit a very old short story of mine, The Morpheist, and rework it into a dark fantasy novella set in a biopunkish future (once again, showing no respect for genre boundaries–tsch!). For the first time in a long time, I’ve been meeting the (admittedly modest) daily writing goals I’ve set for myself, and expect to have a first draft done by mid-April (stopping only to revisit, revise, polish, and send out “Goldilocks Zone”). After that… it’s either back to Entering Cadence, on to an as-yet-untitled biopunk SF story targeted for an anthology, or over to True Places to see if I can take the salvagable first half of that and turn it into a decent standalone book.

(As far as Starless Midnight–the projected sequel to Brutal Light–goes, that’s also a possibility, but low in priority at this point. Maybe by fall I’ll be ready for it…)

In the meantime, here are links! Yay?

I’m going to be on Blog Talk Radio’s A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book, hosted by Jennifer Walker, on February 29th from 6:30pm to 7:00pm. Jennifer will be interviewing me on Brutal Light and other writerly things, and I’ll be doing my best to keep my brain from locking up due to the stress that comes to me from trying to keep my train of thought from leaving the station before all the words are done boarding. Drop in and listen! (It’s not really ‘radio,’ it’s streaming, so if you’ve got a good internet connection, you should be able to follow along. Also, it’ll be archived, just in case you decide not to rearrange your life so as to listen live.)

Lincoln Crisler recently released a free story on Smashwords (you’ll need to log in or create an account to see it) to promote his soon-to-be-released anthology, Corrupts, Absolutely?. (And yeah, that anthology is one of the new releases I just talked about above.) Check it out!

Here’s something that’s simultaneously both cool and worrisome: Google will be selling ‘heads-up display’ glasses by year’s end. Cool because… well, come on. Worrisome because you just know people are going to be wearing these while doing other things, such as walking and driving and who knows what else, and it’s only a matter of time until we hear someone caused a multi-car pileup because they saw that a store they were passing had several funny cat videos on their YouTube channel.

Speaking of biopunk, here’s an article on some of the real-life bio-hacking that some people are already doing. This has ‘beginning of a SyFy Channel movie’ all over it…

I used to like eating hot, hot foods. In college, I would snork up jalapeno peppers straight out of the jar, and afterward, for years, I’d grow my own chili peppers. I’ve mellowed somewhat on that (my orders of Indian food never go above ‘medium,’ which is ‘hot’ to most sane people), but this article on the world’s hottest pepper tempts me to the challenge…

Here’s Five leadership mistakes of the Galactic Empire that you’ll want to avoid, especially if ‘force choke’ isn’t an option on the table for keeping your employees in line…

Finally, here’s something (originally brought to my attention by Naomi Clark) that I just loved: the opening of Mega-Shark vs. Giant Octopus, retold as a heartwarming children’s story. It is made of awesome.

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Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and several previously published and forthcoming short stories. He can be found via his website, his blog A Taste of Strange, as @gwox on Twitter, and in many other far-flung places on the Internet.

I’m Over on Ash Arceneaux’s blog…

I’m over on Ash Arceneuax’s blog, talking about the writing and rewriting of Brutal Light, and what the Deros had to do with it. I can’t promise it’s completely accurate–I based it off the notes the night gaunts kept–but it is something to keep in mind when writing. That and bacon.

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Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and several previously published and forthcoming short stories. He can be found via his website, his blog A Taste of Strange, as @gwox on Twitter, and in many other far-flung places on the Internet.

Free Brutal Light Tie-In Short Story Now Available From Smashwords

Something You Should KnowMy dark fantasy/urban fantasy short story Something You Should Know” is now available for free from Smashwords. It’s a stand-alone tale set in the world of Brutal Light, taking place a few months before the ‘present day’ action in that book:

A homeless woman, Rennie Kalick, has been given the ability to turn the painful memories of others into weapons, and has used this power to seek revenge for wrongs done to herself and those like her. But Kagami Takeda, whose connection to the merciless, godlike sea of light known as the Radiance was responsible for this gift, wants to take it back. A short story set in the Brutal Light universe.

Though technically it’s a prequel, in that it takes place before Brutal Light, it’s written as a stand-alone story that can be enjoyed without having read my book, with very little in the way of spoilers. (Of course, my hope is to attract more readers for that book, which is my ulterior motive for this whole deal…)

Formats available are .mobi (Kindle-compatible), .epub (Nook-and-many-other-ereader-compatible), .pdf (Adobe), and .pdb (Palm). There should soon be a version that can be directly downloaded from BarnesAndNoble.com for the Nook, and eventually one that can be directly downloaded from Amazon.com for the Kindle. All DRM-free, so you can freely share it, so long as the file is unaltered and remains free.

Thanks again for reading, and I hope you enjoy it!

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Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and several previously published and forthcoming short stories. He can be found via his website, his blog A Taste of Strange, as @gwox on Twitter, and in many other far-flung places on the Internet.

Link-o-pation

So, we’re now six days into 2012, that exciting, unstable year with Roland Emmerich’s sweaty handprints already over it. I’ve just started on writing a dark science fiction novella, Entering Cadence, while continuing researching things in preparation for the sequel to Brutal Light. I’m determining which conventions I’ll make the extra effort to go to this year (beyond the Michigan-based ones I attend every year). I’m also working on some surprises for this month and next. Good times!

But you’re not here to listen to me be enigmatic, you’re here for a blog entry! Or possibly lutefisk. With that in mind, I direct your attention to these links…

Author J.E. Gurley’s new book of horror Blood Lust is now available for a very limited (that is, for today and the next three days) time for free as a Kindle download from Amazon.com. If you have a Kindle (or a Kindle app for your computer or phone), check it out!

Author Karina Fabian has launched the 30 Minute Marketer, a series dedicated to helping writers market their books. It’ll come out weekly (depending on donations) and breaks down marketing tasks into easy-to-fit-into-busy-schedule bits. Well worth a look if you’re a writer like me who wants to do more with marketing but can never seem to find the time.

A new anthology will soon be open for submissions: Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous, edited by Tim Marquitz. In a world where the light has faded, what creatures will make their presence known to man once more? Submissions are open from 1/15/12 to 5/15/12.

There’s a Facebook meme thingy going around where people are posting links to videos on YouTube featuring the song that was at number one on the pop charts when they were born. Here’s mine: In the Year 2525 by Zager and Evans. A song that somehow manages to be both haunting and annoying at the same time. (I think I would have liked it if I’d been born one week later, though, so I could claim the Rolling Stones’ Honky Tonk Woman. 😛 )

One more video, from the ‘Epic Rap Battles of History’ series: Gandalf vs. Dumbledore. Because it’s Friday, and it’s made of awesome.

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Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and several previously published and forthcoming short stories. He can be found via his website, his blog A Taste of Strange, as @gwox on Twitter, and in many other far-flung places on the Internet.