STORYHACK

Bryce A Beattie's Action & Adventure

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Podcast: Interview with Caryn Larrinaga

http://www.storyhack.com/podcast/storyhack-02-Caryn-Larrinaga.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSEarlier this week, I took a break from reading down the slush pile to visit with Caryn Larrinaga, author of Donn’s Hill. I met Caryn this year at LTUE. Some notes from the interview: (0:00) Larringata Larrinaga. Apparently I am an idiot. Or maybe […]

Genre Literary Magazine Parody Cover, #4

Last one. Not even the online audio magazines are safe. Click to embiggen.

 

 

I was going to do this one as “Beneath Ceaseless Guys”, but ended up with this instead. I figured I’d keep these family friendly.

New Flash Fiction

Immortal Works just posted a podcast of a flash fiction I wrote titled “Epic Dad.” It what Conan would be like if he were a modern, involved father. Or maybe its just the story of a father that reads too much Conan. Either way, the recording sounds awesome. Epic Dad  

Genre Literary Magazine Parody Cover, #3

Click for full size.

This one’s in honor of F & SF’s recent feline covers (2 of the last 3). I think this magazine would probably sell. Last cover tomorrow.

Genre Literary Magazine Parody Cover, #2

Once again, click for full size.

I would like to state, for the record, this is totally not just because Clarksworld rejected my last submission.

Genre Literary Magazine Parody Cover, #1

I’ve been designing some parody covers for use in the video for my upcoming crowdfunding campaign for StoryHack Action & Adventure. (The campaign will launch within a day or two of Issue 0 getting released.) They are kind of going to be a throwaway gag, and I probably won’t use all of them, so I figured I’d put them up here. After all, I don’t want all this messing around to go to waste.

So, without further ado, here’s the first cover. Click for the full-size version.

 

On a related note, I sent out the first round of rejections for the magazine this last weekend. That was kind of interesting. The good news is that I’m getting an even better mental picture of what I’d like the the magazine to be. Also, apparently my definitions of “action” and “adventure” are different than most people’s.

By action I mean that there should be characters actively engaged with an antagonist (or entity) who represents imminent physical danger. Fistfights, car chases, vine swinging (alligators or spikes below), all that. But the protagonist must have an active role in it, rather than just having stuff happen at him/her.

By adventure, I mean the character does awesome things (is proactive) in a exotic (not mundane) situation. Heroics often enter in. The protagonist can be in a cool time period, a fantasy world, or have a bizarre profession, something about his/her situation should transport me, the reader, out of the boring real-life world. After reading, I should be able to say a main character “had an adventure.”

I promise not to ramble so much when I post the other covers.

Magazine & Site Updates.

Thanks to some old & new friends as well as some advice from the editor of another modern pulp, the call for submissions is out there and getting found. I know this, because my inbox is filling right up. I was going to wait until the submission period was over to start reading, but it […]

StoryHack Action & Adventure, Issue 0 Call for Submissions

Submissions are open until 12:01 AM, April 1, 2017. I recently started reading lots of short fiction. As I’ve picked up a few different magazine titles, I’ve noticed that there’s not really a lot getting published of the stuff I like to read best, which is pulpy action/adventure. A couple of genre-specific titles have come […]

The apple cider vinegar experiment.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been drinking a little bit of apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning. I’m not sure what, if any, physical benefits I’ve reaped. However, I can tell you this: my willpower is up 413%.

Once I’ve forced myself to gag that crap down, everything else seems easy.

#LTUE2017 was awesome.

My wife and I had plans last weekend which fell through. I was sad. And then I remembered that it was also Life the Universe and Everything weekend. So I asked her if she wanted to go, she took a look at the schedule of events, and she decided to give it a try. After […]

I need a beta reader or two…

I could really use a beta reader or two for an urban fantasy/supernatural-y short. If you’re interested, email me. The address is bryce at this very website.

Or comment on this post would work.

How to Accept Submissions

One of the other major facets of starting a literary magazine is the receiving and sorting of submissions. There is no way anybody would send me, a nobody, a printed submission in this day and age, so I’m not going to bother with a physical slush pile. As I’ve looked around, there are a few […]

Get Your Horrorscope Today

A while back I was going to play with building apps for android/ios, so I built a little app that generates bad fortunes/horoscopes. I never followed through on the apps, but I did build all of the text-generating stuff. It’s kind of like a hyperactive cross between a long-winded magic 8 ball and a pessimistic […]

Short Story Contracts

I’m pretty comfortable with the technical portions of publishing, prepping files and the like. One part of the process I know very little about is the legal side. And I figure if I decide to do this thing, I’d better do it right. So over the past little while, I’ve been reading up on author […]

Back to the Project

Now that the election is finally over, I can finally refocus a little bit on the literary magazine project.

I contacted some printers and found out that, yes, I can get a magazine/softcover printed significantly cheaper per copy than at createspace. Howver, to obtain that cheapness, I’d need to sell in the neighborhood of 2,000-3,000 copies. That would require a wildly successful kickstarter campaign.

So how likely is it that a literary magazine will have a wildly successful campaign? Not very. There are only a handfull of similar campaigns that have reach wild success. And as far as I can tell, all of those projects are either by a current successful magazine (Lightspeed has several special editions) or by people who have worked in the fiction publishing industry for a long time. I have neither.

So that means for now, I won’t even consider a digest-sized, newsprint paper, magazine similar to the current popular scifi/fantasy magazines (Asimov’s, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Analog, etc). It has to be print on demand. To be fair, though, createspace does a great job, so at least it’d be a quality product, materials-wise.

I’m researching now author contracts for this sort of thing.

Preposterous Pitch – Wedding Planet

Ok, Hollywood, listen up. Here’s the story:

Ted, a sullen former space marine who has sworn off love, takes a job as a wedding planner’s assistant at the largest/best hall on the fabulous wedding planet, the most popular of all intergalactic marriage destinations. When a quirky space bounty hunter shows up to arrest the bride in the hour and a half before the season’s most opulent ceremony, Ted is immediately smitten by her sweet moves and witty banter. Now he is torn between his duty to protect the wedding and his reborn ability to love. In space.

Sci-Fi Action Adventure RomCom. I’m pretty sure everyone would go to see it.

Giant Robot Spider

I was once again stricken with the urge to write bad poetry. Happy Halloween everybody.

To every activity there’s a time and a season,
And when it comes to hobbies, folks have their reasons.
But none knows exactly what went wrong inside her
When Yvette designed and built a giant robot spider.

Crazy money she made from trade empires and commissions,
And her brother had access to steel from demolitions.
So when we started a recycling foundry
The press, they applauded her ecological ability.

Weird Yvette drove down to the plant after close
Every night she toiled building girders in droves.
Servos and gears in bulk she ordered.
Science knowledge filled her head without boarders.

Six years she toiled in secret after hours
and clandestined ’nuff stuff to build a large tower.
‘Till finally the hydraulics were finished all in all
Eight legs, laser eyes over two stories tall.

A spider of metal built far out in the sand
of the desert was ready to strike terror in the land.
The product of talent, hard work, and her money
was ready to destroy, ‘cuz she thought it’d be funny.

First place that it hit was a very small town.
Crushed the car of the sheriff, turned all the pants brown.
With web of steel cable, and with powerful winches
Pulled down water towers, just as easy as cinches.

The govn’r knowing that the fight would be hard
Called up militias and the national guard.
But their bullets were puny for the spider’s thick steel
And large, mighty pincers lifted Humvees off wheels.

In desperation the army tried to kill it with fire,
might as well should have gathered and sung in a choir.
‘Cuz the spider undaunted continued to pound
Cement buildings and freeways right into the ground.

Crushing legs, burning lasers, stinging rockets and cable
The spider destroyed all that it was able.
The monstrous contraption cross country it crawled
Ov’r mountains, through citied, under skies without stall.

Black time without mercy the nation it faced
As toward the capitol the spider did race.
All congress like ants scrambled, running away.
Yvette laughed at the TV in her lair on that day.

But finally of terror the evil genius got tired,
So she sent the command to the spider to hide.
Under water, down tranches, it hunkered down then
To wait on its master to call it again.

So parents take heed to that horrible sound.
It’s eight eight eyes full of lasers just outside your town.
Children take cover, take fear, take flight,
Or the giant robot spider will get you tonight.

The Economics of Starting a Literary Journal

I’m still considering launching a fiction ‘zine. I spent several hours over the past few days considering what it would really cost to do it right. I built myself a spreadsheet with every variable I can think of to see at what point it could become profitable. Here’s my projections as to what this would really take.

Considering a Magazine (again)

Off and on again, I have wanted to try to publish a magazine. A couple of years back, I did a test issue of one called “Micro Flash Fiction“, and I published it through MagCloud. MagCloud produces excellent quality printings, but it is quite expensive. Ever since then, I’ve had a desire to do it again, but better this time. I even went so far as to plan a pulp fiction reprints magazine once. I pulled some old public domain stories, figured out a real desktop publishing program, and probably laid out 10 or 15 pages before life got in the way.

What it Could Be

If I did this, I’d want to run an action/adventure stories magazine. It would be all genre-inclusive, so long as every story had at least one good action sequence. I would prefer it to be completely reader funded (as in they pay for copies), as apposed to largely advertiser funded. After all, I’m a staff of one, so my expenses would be minimal. And I wouldn’t put “reviews” and other useless filler in there.

Why?

  1. I love short stories.
  2. I love action / adventure stories. And lets face it, most of the smaller modern mags seem to have the phrase “with a literary twist” in their description. The critic in my head assures me that means they want a lot of navel-gazing and virtually no face punching. Or they allow face-punching, but are highly genre-specific.
  3. Because I want to.

Questions I’m mulling over right now:

  1. Would it be ebook, print, or both? I’d like both, but there are some hangups with print, which I’ll dig into in future posts. But it boils down to “Can I make the printed mag affordable enough that readers will take a chance on it?”
  2. Try to offer professional rates to authors? Token payments? “Exposure?” As I’ve started researching, I’ve seen several indie mags (that still charge) that do not offer the author any form of payment. I think authors deserve money.
  3. New works only? Reprints? Reprints of “classic” pulp stories? A mixture?
  4. Self-Funded or Crowdfunded? I’m not going to be able to convince my wife that we should dump a ton of money on a complete risk with small chance of initial return. So if I self-fund “professional rates” goes right out the window, unless I only put 2 stories in, which would seem lame. On the other hand, running a kickstarter requires time and effort and more learnings on my part, and may fail miserably.
  5. Size? How many stories should go in? What would be a fair word count for a fiction magazine? I guess it depends on how much I charge.
  6. How the crap would I market it?
  7. What would I call it? (I have two ideas so far.)

I’ve been writing some short stories recently, submitting them to various markets. (No success yet, but I remain positive.) So as I’ve been looking at many magazines and submission processes, this urge to publish has welled up again.

If any of you out there have thoughts, get in contact with me via the usual channels. (comments here, twitter, or email bryce at this website.) I’d also love to chat with anybody else that has ever given this a go.

I was just thinking.

Just exactly how much dirt has to be dug up on Clinton and Trump before a majority of Americans vote third party?

re: Pulps and Pixelry

David J. West recently wrote an article called Pulps and Pixelry over at his blog. You might want to read that before this, so you get some kind of context. Anyway, it got me to thinking. What follows is likely to be fairly stream-of-consciousness. Sorry. Someday, I’ll be more focused.

I don’t know about other people, but I can’t remember ever looking at the publisher of a book before I read it. I certainly never had a “I don’t read works by independent, self-published authors” rule. Maybe I’m just morally superior to the rest of the market. I’ve pretty much always read based on personal suggestions, and occasionally national trends like Harry Potter. Also, a story has to be pretty abysmal for me to quit reading in the middle.

I know some people just love love love the feel of books. I get that, and I do like physical books plenty. But when I learned about ebooks, holy crap I was excited. I’ve owned a couple of nooks (tablet and eink versions), an ebookman (old school back-lit lcd. best ergonomic reader ever, but hard to get files onto it), 2 Kindles (currently on a paperwhite) and a couple of tablets. I’ve settled down recently. and have gone down to one eink device and one tablet. But I put all my favorite books into Calibre, where I can easily find anything, and I love it. Also, I don’t have a room like David (see the picture at the top of the linked interview) does in which I can stack hundreds upon thousands of books.

And like I said, I still buy and read based on friends / already-liked-authors recommendations, so the torrent of digital slush out there doesn’t bother me.

You know what bugs, me though, is when the publisher sets the ebook price at or higher than the print version. When I encounter that with a non-fiction book, I’ll often just search the net for a few synopses and call it done.

Speaking of pulps, I have thought about putting together an anthology/starting a magazine/something that is printed in the size/paper of the Farmer’s almanacs. I think it’d be fun. With none of those boring non-fiction articles you see in some mags. Only action adventure stories. I wonder how cheaply those can be made? Doing black and white (or color) interiors on a POD like MagCloud makes a high quality product. However, copies can be cost prohibitive. I did play with that once, though. I want to produce something that could be theoretically handed to a fan with out huge expense.

Of course, I’ll need to get a few fans before that becomes an option. I’d better get writing.

Things my son wants for his 5th birthday.

  1. A real blue sonic screwdriver.
  2. A butler to do his chores.
  3. A monkey.

Dear classified ad responder;

An open letter to everyone who responds to my online classified ad.

Here is how negotiations work with my ad. First, I offer a price for an item. I also provide photos and a description in my ad. Next, you ask any questions you need to determine if you want to buy my item and how much you should pay. Then, you either accept or reject my offer, or you make me a counter offer. Do not just ask how low I’m willing to go. It’s rude. Do not counteroffer less than half of what I have offered. It’s rude. Plus, I’m already giving you a good deal. Trust me, I went and researched what the market value of my item is. Twenty, maybe 30 percent lower is perfectly fine, as long as you can give me a reason. It doesn’t have to be a good reason. We take turns giving counter offers until we reach a place where we either both are satisfied or we decide we cannot reach a consensus.

Thanks,

Bryce

Send a Secret Message! One-Time Pad Generator for Pen and Paper Encryption.

A pen and paper system for passing encrypted notes. Includes a random one-time pad generator.

How to Self Publish a Book

Off and on for the past several years, I’ve been writing a free book to help authors to self publish a book. I’ve had a version up on a separate blog for a while, but I’ve been finishing it and editing and reformatting and such, and now I’m posting the book on this site. It […]