shine like thunder

Struggling with Wattpad and the Return of Fate's Harrow.

attachment-529fa0c1e4b0d415cdb8da5a

Coffee is life

Yesterday, I sent out the Newsletter, and started on the massive project to restart the zine next year.  If you didn't get your copy, you can read it here and sign up to receive it here.  I have so many irons in the fire, it is a great way to keep from missing something.

Calling all Beta Readers

I also added many of my previously published works to the Beta Readers group for a one last pass before the relaunch of my Scifi/fantasy series, Our Solemn Hour.

  • All 5 Issues of Fate's Harrow
  • All 4 Legends of the Jade Moon Novelettes
  • The full text of Shine Like Thunder

If you want to help with this read through and get early access to drafts of new stories, join the Beta Readers' GroupAs always everyone who helps edit these works will get a shout out in the Acknowledgements and a free ebook version of the final text.

The Return of Fate's Harrow

I know you caught that.  Yes, for the first time in 7 years, my bestselling book Fate's Harrow is coming back!

I am so excited to make this book available again.  I believe all the rights considerations have been taken care of, so I can finally get the book back into print.  If we can keep on schedule, it should be available by December 16th!

Stepping up on Wattpad

Wattpad is an interesting place, and I have dabbled with it from time to time.  I added a bunch of previously unpublished stories there to get your feedback.  Hopefully, I can get my head around the site and community over there.

If you have any advise for me on that, please share.  If you would like to follow me over there, here is my profile.

I am trying to open up

Openness is the secret power of the internet.  I know that is not a shocking statement, but it is something I have struggled with for years.  I am trying to be more open with what I am doing and how I am doing it.

No journey is worth taking if you have to take it alone.  If you want to walk this path with me, Join the Project: Shadow group and follow me on the various social networks.

Being a part of something special makes you special

An example of a social network diagram.
Image via Wikipedia

Community is a base essential.  Even loners like to pride themselves on being part of a proud tradition of mavericks.  We all want to belong.  The question is: Belong to what?

There are two schools of thought:

  1. Belong to something popular
  2. Belong to something meaningful

Often, we feel like we have to choose one or the other.

Belonging to something Popular

The easiest choice to make to sign up for what your friends are doing.  I read a lot of blogs that discuss techniques bloggers can use to create this sort of peer pressure among your readers to bring their friends in.  The whole Web 2.0 phenomenon centered around this idea.

  • All my friends are on My Space, so I should be on My Space
  • Now the majority of my friends are on Facebook, I suppose I should join that.
  • Wow, all these people I want to keep up with are on Twitter.  I guess I need to join that

On and on it goes.  Each of these sites give us metrics to make us feel popular: Friends/Followers/Subscribers.

The problem with fame is that the more you have (real or imagined) the more you want.  It is a drug.  Social acceptance is the souls most addictive narcotic.  Like with any addiction.  Our priorities start changing.

My breaking point came when I was promoting Shine Like Thunder.  At one point, I was “participating” in 19 separate social networks on a weekly basis, and 7 more every other week.  Add that to my blogging, podcasting, and I didn’t have any time left to write…  You know, the reason I started this mess to begin with.  I had contact with a lot more people, but made few friends. I was hooked on the drug.  I fed the addiction while letting my passions wither.

Belonging to something Meaningful

All I really want, and I think all any of us really want is the sense that we are a part of something meaningful.

A meaningful community feeds us with enthusiasm and purpose.  That is the cost of popularity.

My favorite band, Kiss, and my favorite show on TV right now, Glee, understand this.  They preach and practice the celebration of difference.  We need to do that too!

Personal Checklist

I realized that in my personal life I need to ask myself some basic questions:

  1. What am I doing that fills my life with a sense of purpose and meaning?
  2. How can I better connect with people to make friends and not just followers.

Social Checklist

And on a broader field:

  1. How can I push the social networks I belong to work together better?
  2. How can I be more social and less promotional and vain?
  3. What can I do to fill my own life with more meaning and purpose?

I am still working on answers to these questions, and I am sure I missed quite a few that should be on the list.  What did I miss?  Do you have any suggestions?

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A Story with 3 Genres

Mongolian Writing - a place for God`s meditation
Image by Jeff Bauche._.·´¯) via Flickr

An idea hit me. One that I love. One that I really want to write, but I have one little problem...

I am not sure what genre to set it in!! The basic idea is to explore spirituality, power, and the power of relationships to save people.

I know that is a little vague, but it is a complex story with a generic outline that spans four novels at the moment.

My biggest problem is that I can see the story existing in three different settings

  1. My existing Barrens End setting, where Liquid Sky, Fate's Harrow, and Shine like Thunder take place.
  2. A new modern supernatural horror setting that would be somewhere between the Vampire Chronicles, Harry Potter, and the Cthulu Mythos.
  3. A unique hybrid fantasy setting, a kind of sword and sorcery/dark fantasy/supernatural horror/steampunk thing.

I can honestly see the story in each of these settings, and how each will affect the plot. I am partly looking for comments, and part thinking out loud. I am really unsure which way to go.

What would you all like to see?  I am really open to suggestions

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Racism in The Last Airbender Casting and Margaret Cho

avatar: the last airbenderActivist/Comedian Margaret Cho posted a set of emails from her fans about the casting of M. Night Shyamalan's film version of Avatar: The Last Airbender. She frames the problem very well:

I am never surprised when Hollywood takes a story with Asian characters and casts white people instead of Asians. This is so typical and happens with such frequency! I always thought that in order to make our presence known in entertainment, we should be writing, bringing our dreams and realities to the cinema, but now even telling our own stories isn’t even enough.

Why is it better to have white actors play the roles of Asians? I don’t understand. Because it sells more tickets? I am not white and I have had no trouble selling tickets. Maybe the powers that be should ask me what to do. I would tell them. “The Last Airbender” is the last straw to a lot of people (Margaret Cho Blog):

We were initially excited about the movie, and the idea of a trilogy, but were given pause when we saw the cast.

Avatar: The Last Airbender casting characterss avatar: the last airbender casting actors

It is hard to understand what M. Night Shyamalan was thinking when he cast this movie.

I have said for a long time that Speculative Fiction is one of the most racist film genres.  It is not uncommon for white actors to be cast in the role of other ethnicity.  It is hard to get an SF movie cast if the main character is non-white (take Green Lantern for example).

My Experience

All of my books have non-white leads, and my latest book, Shine Like Thunder has a Gay Persian as the main character.

I have received a frightening amount of hate mail and personal confrontations about the ethnicity of the characters from white readers.

You would think SF readers would be more open minded.

Why would M. Night Shyamalan do this?

To me, that is the big question.

I think the casting was intentional.  They believe the film will attract a larger audience with a white cast of heros and a brown cast of villains than it would if they followed the example of the series.

This is all about money.  Hollywood consistently underestimates the intelligence of the American people, and almost always aims for the lowest common denominator.  This is less a sign of racism on the part of Hollywood as it is an sign of Hollywood's belief about how racist the American people are.

I would love to hear your opinions about this.

If you are interested in getting involved with the movement to effect the casting, check out:

Fan Works and Creative Commons

In Reply to my post "Dream of a Fandom Economy," Clive from Fan Cinema Today wrote:

It's an interesting idea, but it takes such efforts out of the realm of fan production, making them more akin to independent contractors. Would a studio license out its intellectual property if the money was right? Could a franchise survive an avalanche of sub-direct-to-DVD product if people were asked to pay for it? Perhaps, but if money is involved, then they’re pro productions, regardless of how qualified the cast and crew may or may not be. Professional work is measured on a very different scale by studios and viewers (not to mention unions), so if someone holding the purse strings is saying ‘no,’ they likely have their reasons, whether it’s that the franchise is too valuable, or that even high-end amateur work just isn’t pro enough.

Not that many studios threaten to sue anymore, although it does happen from time to time. Lucasfilm fired off a Cease and Desist order to The Dark Redemption in 1999, so you won't see them buying that one any time soon! Meanwhile, Shane Felux, who made Revelations in 2005, won the Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge the following year when he made Pitching Lucas; the result of that is that Lucasfilm owns the rights to it for the next 10 years--it's part of the contract that all nominees in the contest have to sign.

You can read about both these stories in-depth in my upcoming fan film book, Homemade Hollywood, which incidentally, goes into the topic of whether studios should buy or license fan works as well (to be honest, that first paragraph at the top of my reply was cut-and-pasted direct from my manuscript!)

Originally posted as acomment by fanfilmbook on dashPunk using Disqus.

I am not sure that it would move these productions from the realm of Fan Works to the realm of professional work. What I am proposing is a reinvention of both the models of Production and the relationship of copyright to fandom.

Toward A Creative Commons Franchise

Creative Commons License

If a writer or company truly wanted to leverage their fanbase, they would license their content under a Creavite Commons or similar license.  Such a license would spell out in simple, human readable terms what the fans are allowed to do with the copyrighted work(s) in question.  For my books, I use a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.  This means others may modify my works so long as they give me attribution, share the work under the same license, and do so in a noncommercial way.

Licenses like this are important for both the copyright holders and the fans.  What would this offer the copyright holder?

  • They empower their fans to give them free promotion through derivative fan works.
  • They allow their fanbase to become more involved with their property which will allow they to become more involved and deeper connected to the original work.
  • By allowing their fans to produce derivative works, they are able to fill in the gaps between releases at no cost to them.
  • They increase their footprint which will help them to convert more casual readers/viewers into fans.  An increased fanbase will increase sales.
  • With fans providing them free advertising, they will be able to focus their efforts more on content than marketing.

Fans would benefit from this approach nearly as much as the copyright holder.

Star Trek and Fandom

After Star Trek was canceled in 1969, Gene Roddenberry allowed fanfiction to thrive.  In reality, he probably saw no future for the series, and saw no reason to enforce his copyright, but whatever his reasons, the flowering of fanfiction reinforced the love fans felt for the series.  It also kept these fans activated until the animated series premiered in 1973, and again from the end of the animated series in 1974 until the first movie in 1979.

Fanfiction filled the gaps between releases of official content, and played a large roll in growing the fanbase of the series so the movies and subsequent series were even possible.  Fanfiction continued to serve this function until the death of Gene Roddenberry in 1991.  In the years following his death, the studio reminded fans what precarious footing they had as Paramount began sueing fan publications and fan sites for copyright infringement.  I know many people who were sued for simply continuing activities they had been allowed under the gentleman's agreement.

As a result of these prosecutions, and the decreasing quality of the show as it suffered from a lack of vision and leadership in the absence of Roddenberry, the fanbase began to dissolve.  Ratings fell, and attendance in the theaters fell with it.

The Status Quo

Now, all fanfilm and fanfiction exist with this same legal sword of Damoclese hanging over them.  New gentleman's agreements have been brokered, or studios have simply stopped suing over fans' infringement of copyright, but there is nothing ensuring that they will not begin again.

As Clive pointed out, "Lucasfilm fired off a Cease and Desist order to The Dark Redemption in 1999, so you won't see them buying that one any time soon! Meanwhile, Shane Felux, who made Revelations in 2005..."  What is stopping them from sending out the Cease and Desist orders again?  Nothing but the feeling that it is presently not in their best interests.

The Moral Argument

The financial argument for adopting Creative Commons or similar licenses are clear, but I think there is also a moral argument as well.  In my post, Fanfiction and Culture, I take the creative commons argument to its extreme:

Most of what we consider classics today were written by people who wrote in a setting they did not create with characters created by others, in other words, FANFICTION! All primal storytelling is fanfiction, telling retelling, embellishing and adding to that characters and setting that the storyteller enjoyed. This is the art of a story teller. Virtually every folktale and myth falls into this category (read the rest here).

This is the cultural cycle stories used to flow through.  What enrages me most about popular media is how often they use terms like myth, mythology, mythos, legend, and saga to describe their works, while simultaneously keeping them from entering the cultural cycle real myths do.

Copyright holder have a responsibility to culture to allow their ideas to follow the natural flow tales historically took and Creative Commons is a way for them to do this while maintaining their right to be the sole content creator allowed to make money off their ideas.

Creative Commons and the Fan Economy

What I proposed in "Dream of a Fan Economy" was that copyright holders should either purchase or license the best fanfilms and fanfiction and release it in a way so that both the original copyright holder and the producer of the fan work can both profit.

It is too easy for any franchise to become bogged down by group think, and if they infused fresh ideas from the fan community into their official releases they could discover new avenues they had never realized were their before.  Many franchises utilize rooms full of writers to crank out content for them.  It is strange to me that any company would turn down any possible source of revenue.

Dream vs Reality

I am not as naive as I might sound right now.  I do not expect any established franchise to adopt the model I am proposing, but that does not mean that I do not see it as something future franchises might use.

I put my money where my mouth is.  My books, Liquid Sky and Shine Like Thunder are both released under just such a license, and I know if I saw a fan work I loved I would try to bring it into the fold to reward its producer for their great work.

As media becomes increasingly fractured, new business models have to rise up to fill the void left behind by the failing studios and publishers of today.  I am not sure this is exactly the right model, but it is a proposal in the right direction.

I am curious what you think.  How could a copyright holder set up a viable, symbiotic relationship with their fans?  We need to find a path ourselves, because the big boys are not even looking.  Before you comment, read Clive's brilliant piece at Fan Cinema Today in response to my previous post

Looking at vamp's from their gooey inside

Vampires from a core essence perspective are:

  • cursed with a hunger or desire that is difficult at best to satisfy
  • must feed off of life
  • have powers beyond those typical of the group they came from
  • evoke a sensuality / sexuality / eroticism
  • are fairly invulnerable with a juxtaposition of a major weakness.

dem bones dsem vampire bones By Robin HuttonWith that essence in mind one could create vampire like character in any story or setting and give them a fresh new light.

One example that I love is in Shine Like Thunder.  C. E. Dorsett created the Bhuta's which are vampire like characters but set in space where they meet all of the elements but take on a whole new light.

Can you think of other examples of nontraditional vampires, like our modern day golddigger character?

(Photo by Robin Hutton)

Project: Shadow Newsletter August

Hey everyone! Project:Shadow HQ is now up to 41 members! Thanks to everyone who is spreading the word, great job! If you haven't already invited your friends to join the party send them an e-vite AT http://rurl.org/bol or put a Project:Shadow HQ badge http://rurl.org/bom on your web site, blog or MySpace profile!

Shore Leave

Shore Leave was Wonderful this year.  we had a great time and really enjoyed getting to visit with HQ Members there.  Eric has a full write up over at dashPunk.com

Shine Like Thunder

Shine Like Thunder the book is out!  By C. E. Dorsett, Shine Like Thunder is the first book in the Tales of the Silver fox series in the rich and deep setting the Barrens End.  For more info http://TalesOfTheSilverFox.com

Get your shopping done with us at ProjectShadow.com/shop. We set up a store so that you can get your shopping done in one stop, stores include Amazon, Hot Topic, and Sharper Image. Not only is it convent but it also helps to support our work here at Project: Shadow. We also have cool t-shirts, posters, and other merchandise available.

The Blog Has a New Look!

We did a full overhaul of the Project: Shadow Blog.  "we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability..." and so we did.  the Project: Shadow Blog is now called dashPunk.com.

Project: Shadow Podcast

Covering SF news and opionions, for fans by fans. Listen Live, daily, on TalkShoe http://rurl.org/a8j. Subscribe to the podcast and get the show notes at ProjectShadowInformant.com.

Project: Shadow Informant

Liquid Sky Chapbooks are Out!

The four chapbooks are out for Liquid Sky.  For More Legendsofthejademoon.com.  The Book titles are The Child Of Centuries, Dividing Souls, Back from the Dawn, Nemesis

What is on YOUR mind

Thanks to all of the members who have shared with us your latest comments?  Thanks to Ryan who started the discussion asking about "The other side of history..."  The full discussion is at http://snurl.com/3bsb7.  If you have a topic that you would love to discuss with the group the Forum is your place.

Supporting Project:Shadow helps us to bring you more and better content projectshadow.com/supportus/index.htm!

Eric

http://hq.projectshadow.com/

ProjectShadow.com

BarrensEnd.com

dashpunk.com

legendsofthejademoon.com

talesofthesilverfox.com

fatesharrow.com


Netflix, Inc.Netflix lets you rent, watch and return DVDs from home - Try free for 2 weeks

  	 Fandango - We've Got Your Movie Tickets!Don't wait. Guarantee your seat before you go and  avoid a sold out show. Skip the box office lines and buy movie tickets at Fandango.com.

Project:Shadow Newsletter July 2008

Hey everyone! Are you concerned about keeping up to date on the latest Speculative Fiction, Culture, and Tech news? Would you like to talk with other like minded fans of sci-fi fantasy and horror? Then join us at the Project Shadow HQ at  http://hq.projectshadow.com/where you can share with us your favorite finds or talk about your latest fascination. The conversation is here!

Shine Like Thunder

Shine Like Thunder the book is out!  By C. E. Dorsett, Shine Like Thunder is the first book in the Tales of the Silver fox series which like Fates Harrow and Legends of the Jade Moon are all set in the Barrens End.  To get a copy or to read it free online go to lulu.com/content/2690234.

Like to shop? Need to shop? Get your shopping done with us at ProjectShadow.com/shop. We set up a store so that you can get your shopping done in one stop, stores include Amazon, Hot Topic, and Sharper Image. Not only is it convent but it also helps to support our work here at Project: Shadow. We also have cool t-shirts, posters, and other merchandise available.

Theater or Renter?

Thanks to the members who are sharing their position on Theater or Renter.  Each month Brian is posting the list of up and coming movies with information about them and links to the trailers in the HQ.  Members are watching the trailers and then giving their opinion as to wether they will rent or watch the film in the theater.

Project: Shadow Informant

Listen Live, daily, to our podcast Project:Shadow Informant: Monday through Friday at 1:30 est on TalkShoe http://rurl.org/a8j. You can also subscribe to the podcast and get the show notes at ProjectShadowInformant.com. On the Project:Shadow Informant we cover news and topics related to the speculative fiction culture. Its great fun, join us!

Liquid Sky Chapbooks are Out!

C. E. Dorsett has finished the rewrite process and the four chapbooks are out for Liquid Sky.  More Information is available at Legendsofthejademoon.com and you can get your copy at stores.lulu.com/dashPunkBooks.  The Book titles are The Child Of Centuries, Dividing Souls, Back from the Dawn, Nemesis

What is on YOUR mind

Thanks to all of the members who have shared with us your latest comments?  Thanks to Bill who started the discussion asking Does Steampunk/Clockpunk have to follow the rules of physics?  The full discussion is at http://tinyurl.com/63toco.  If you have a forum topic that you would love to share with the group go to the HQ and share!

Thank you for your interest! Supporting Project:Shadow helps us to bring you more and better content! Your support can take a variety of forms like doing your Amazon shopping projectshadow.com/shop/index.htm through us or making a donation projectshadow.com/supportus/index.htm!

Eric

http://hq.projectshadow.com/

ProjectShadow.com

BarrensEnd.com

dashpunk.com

legendsofthejademoon.com

talesofthesilverfox.com

fatesharrow.com


Netflix, Inc.Netflix lets you rent, watch and return DVDs from home - Try free for 2 weeks

  	 Fandango - We've Got Your Movie Tickets!Don't wait. Guarantee your seat before you go and  avoid a sold out show. Skip the box office lines and buy movie tickets at Fandango.com.

Shine Like Thunder is Out!

As we were leaving to go into town today, the mail lady pulled up and dropped off a package. I tore it open and began to beam with excitement at the sight of a brand new copy of Shine Like Thunder! The cover looked better than I could have imagined! I couldn't help but giggle for hours afterwards. There is something very special about seeing a story you poured your heart and soul into in print.

I have approved the galley, and the book will show up in book store catalogues over the next 6 weeks, but if you want a copy, you can buy it now [here]. It is available as a digital download and as a printed paperback. I cannot wait to hear what you all think of the new book.

I feel that I should warn you though. This book is the darkest story I have written in years. It rides a fine line between planetary romance and dark fantasy. It takes place shortly after the events in Liquid Sky.

Alone in a remote garrison of his father's empire, Saahdia Ghassan sits alone in his sanctum, watching as the darkness draws nearer.

Suddenly, the ground shakes. Invaders fill the sky. Ordered to find help they flee only to be struck down on a remote and desolate world.

Now the ship is lost and their attention turns to survival. With demons haunting the dark forest and their malevolent leader hungering only for power all the while a terrible thirst grows within Saahdia. Will he be able to discern who to trust before it is too late? Can they survive the struggle against the looming darkness? Join us as we delve into the murky underworld of Barrens End in the exciting first installment of The Tales of the Silver Fox.

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.