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Already Took Names, Now It’s Vote Kicking Time August 7, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in awards, contest, conventions, VIPub, writing.
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Already Took Names, Now It’s Vote Kicking Time

Been wrapped up in personal stuff and getting my car back where it belongs. Some sad stuff, some glad (getting the car back in running condition!) But ultimately a time sink away from blogging. Don’t look so relieved at that, my droogies.

Here is the poll for the name the critter contest. You have two days to vote on your favorite. Winner gets $50 gift certificate to my online store.

Ready, set, vote!

Critter at Albq Comic Expo


Time (Won’t Let Me) July 31, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in business, contest, iPad, Time, web & computers, writing.
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All we have in this world is time. That might be why sf time travel stories are popular. How do you get more of it, how do you change bad decisions (so you will get more time to do things you want/should have). Recent reports from Chinese scientists have “proven” time travel is impossible. A lot of this depends on your concept of the universe and what parts of what we “know” is accurate.

Isotropy of space was a postulate to make sense of stuff far away as well as nearby. Quantum entanglement would seem to support this idea but nothing says the laws of physics here are the same as those waaaaay over there.

How to get more time to write is an increasingly burdensome question. I need to do a time/motion study for a week to see how I am wasting time. I used to write far more than I do now. Is the arrow of time piercing my hide? Am I just slowing down or doing something differently? I know I have more demands that are non-writing. The past month has seen me sitting in doctor’s waiting rooms for long hours (reading on the iPad when I could have been home writing) but there might be more to it.

Email takes up an improbable amount of time, even if I just delete most of it. I get several hundred emails a day and follow 5 different newsgroups, including a new one on electronic publishing. Valuable info, but it takes time to scan it, much less think about the heart of the posts.

I don’t do New year’s Resolutions but maybe I ought to try this one now: cut down on web time and increase time at the keyboard. Same old same old, I know, but slow and steady wins the race.

Speaking of such things, here is the logo in the name the critter contest once more. Sorry for the size. Will try to put in a larger b&w one, too. $50 gift certificate to my online store to the winner. Last day for entries is Aug 2 to contest@cenotaphroad.com I’ll run a poll of readers so you can decide what to call…

name the critter

The Race Is On July 24, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in contest, conventions, ideas, sci-fi, writing.

I had mentioned a month ago that my corporate logo was nameless. Yes, he (she?) Is frantically tentacling the typewriter keys without anything to put on a nametag.

At the Albuquerque Comic Expo I had put out a call for a name and have some entries. These will be added to all new entries submitted before August 1 to contest@cenotaphroad.com When the time is up, I’ll let you vote on the winner.

And why should you care, you might ask? First prize is a $50 gift certificate to my online store.

And what does the cute little critter look like that you’re going to name? Here he/she/it is!

Name the Critter and win!

Along the 101 July 17, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in contest, conventions, ghost towns, history, ideas, Tom Swift, Wild West, writing.

Not the California highway or even the 405 Carmageddon, but the 101st anniversary of the publication of the first Tom Swift book. One year ago today I was in San Diego at the TS100 convention and having a fine time. The day before I had flown in a Zeppelin and once at the convention saw amazing amounts of TS memorabilia, including set pieces from a TS movie never filmed.

And today is the final day of Mythcon 42. These people are academics and actually get gold stars on their chart for presenting papers, but the situation is truly weird. Jane Lindskold was asked to be on a couple panels. Her husband Jim Moore is a top archeologist for the state and currently working the site around Spaceport America. He gets weekends off so is also at the conference. He offered to do a presentation on ancient shrines. I would have been in the front row (ok, I was in the back row when he gave the talk about flint chipping a couple years ago at the public library but he was giving a demonstration of the actual process and I wanted to avoid shrapnel). He could attend the conference for free if he did nothing but would have to pay if he gave a presentation. I can’t figure it out. So no presentation on ancient shrines in NM.

But a standout presentation was given by David Bratman on Roger Zelazny and his affinity for NM in his work. Funny, insightful, the hour flew by. I don’t agree on favorites but then this is an art, not a science. (“A Rose for Ecclesiastes” is about my favorite short story, who cares if the science is outdated now?)

There was a full page ad in the paper today on the http://www.catchthekid.com state tourism promotion. Good for them. I hope this proves successful since it is a way to get tourists to out of the way spots. Won’t save the dying towns and near ghost towns, but perhaps something similar might (I still like the idea of getting Chinese tourists in to see the Old West. Let them sneer, let them make disparaging remarks, let them leave their remnimbis)

Back to Mythcon. Book sales are not what I’d call febrile, but there are some.

It Takes Time to be A Legend July 15, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in business, contest, conventions, e-books, ghost towns, history, New Mexico, VIPub, web & computers, westerns, Wild West, writing.
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Great post from Dean Wesley Smith today on time frames and becoming a writer able to make a living at it through VIPub (Vertically Integrated Publishing)..

Won’t happen overnight. Might be a decade. He does the numbers and shows that the single marker for success is to keep writing. I’d put it differently, but the result is the same. Stupid, dumb determination will get you there. Don’t give up. But in our high speed world, if gratification isn’t instant (or within weeks) the temptation is to give up.

Wrong. Perseverance is more than a habit, it’s a good habit for life and everything in it including being a successful writer. In a way, Dean is talking about wannabe writers, the ones who say “I always wanted to be a writer.” But they never have been before. Why not? There’s not very much fire in belly if you’ve always wanted to be….fill in the blank…and never tried. VIPub gives a great chance for someone with that book in ‘em to get it out there, but it might not catch fire and bring the “deserved” fame and fortune. (Note my scare quotes there.)

The Internet speeds up everything–but not success. Showing up (again and again) is important to becoming an overnight success in a year or ten years..

On a slightly different note, check out the New Meixco Tourism department’s Billy the Kid promotion. Wonderful idea to get people exploring the state. Catch The Kid will send anyone looking to win the $10k to some grand historical places. Go for it. This is a great state with history to match.

Off to Mythcon in a couple hours. See you there?


Posted by bobv451 in business, contest, conventions, e-books, iPad, VIPub, writing.

Here is the definition: “Figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently used in a humorous situation.”

“Where there’s a will, I want to be in it,” is a type of paraprosdokian.

1. Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on my list.
3. Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
6. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
8. Evening news is where they begin with ‘Good Evening,’ and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
9. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
10. A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.
11. I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.
12. Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says, ‘In case of emergency, notify:’
I put ‘DOCTOR.’
13. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
14. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
15. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
16. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
17. I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way.
So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.
18. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
19. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
20. There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down
so they can’t get away.
21. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.
22. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
23. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call
whatever you hit the target.
24. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
25. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
26. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
27. A diplomat is someone who tells you to go to hell in such a way that you look forward to the trip.
28. Hospitality is making your guests feel at home even when you wish they were.
29. I always take life with a grain of salt. Plus a slice of
lemon, and a shot of tequila.
30. When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire
Department usually uses water.

The above compliments of Ken Hodgson.

Avail yourselves of my fine fiction while I’m on the road–it can be found at my store and the other usual suspects. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore, Fictionwise

I leave you with the banner Dennis Liberty is making for me to use at Albuquerque Comic Expo.

Cenotaph Corproate Logo

Free and Not So Easy May 17, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in business, contest, conventions, e-books, ideas, iPad, movies, movies & TV, New Mexico, science fiction, sense of wonder, steampunk, VIPub, writing.
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The Albuquerque Comic Expo is coming up next month. I bounced some ideas off Scott Phillips about drawing some eyeballs at the con since I am only selling books and not doing artwork or comics. Granted, mine are game tie-in books and even a movie tie-in novelization (for Stink of Flesh) but competing against professional displays, Stan Lee, movie and TV stars, well, it is a daunting task to draw people hurrying past. I suggested some ideas that would end up in a giveaway, such as going to several booths, getting a “key word” and then on completion winning something. Scott is a veteran of comic cons, especially the granddaddy of them all, San Diego Comic Con, and he said this wouldn’t work.

Giveaways don’t attract people to buy but rather to stuff freebies into their bag and keep going. Booth babes attract. Major established stars attract. What else does? I’m willing to try stuff since I don’t have anything to lose on this. If I sell one book, cool, if I sell a hundred (fingers crossed!) better yet. If I don’t sell anything at all, I’m still coming out ahead being surrounded by all kinds of fun stuff.

I am thinking of cards with discounts at my online store, for a short length of time. But this isn’t going to pull in new eyes but rather only go to established fans. Not bad, of course, but how do you lure in people who aren’t familiar with my work (but who would like it if they knew about it)? Dressing up, maybe steampunk to plug my story in the new anthology? Problem here is blending into the masses since there will be a lot of better costumes. Lots better. Ideas are appreciated.

But this goes to a bigger question of pulling in new readers online. Giveaways don’t work (over 3k copies of a short story were d/l’d and the best I can tell, this produced zero new readers for my for-sale work). Sampling might work, but they have to find the sample somehow. ACE is a microcosm of the bigger world. Using my iPad to show book covers works at other cons, but mostly with other writers. What would draw *your* attention at a con dealer room? (Other than the aforementioned booth babes, of course).

edited by Jean Rabe & Martin Greenberg

That and $10 Gets You A Cup of Coffee April 6, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in contest, fantasy, sense of wonder, writing.
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At Starbucks, at least, if you go for the small cup, whatever that is called in their store-invented lingo. I am utterly pleased, excited, get out your thesaurus and find a gazillion other synonyms for happy, that I received a nomination for God of War. (On sale for $10.24, lots cheaper than the e-book version, at least for the moment)

I came onboard as co-author when Matt Stover was unable to continue due to illness. The book proceeded well, after a few rocky moments at the beginning as I got up to speed as to what was needed and wanted, and it finally saw the light of published day.

This is the kind of book that works well in legacy publishing. It’s a novelization of a videogame and has multiple avenues of advertising open to push it. For whatever reason, the Brits (Titan Books) are doing more to promote it than Random House. But the game itself is a great advertisement (as opposed to the book being an advertisement for the game).

And now there is an IAMTW Scribe nomination as best adaptation. As I hinted at above, this is a wonderful day/week for me garnering a nomination (1 of only 3 in the category) but I wonder in today’s world if any award really matters in terms of future sales. The Academy Awards certainly have little bearing on future box office. Winning a Pulitzer doesn’t seem to nudge the needle much on public acceptance (ie, buying the stuff). I’ve been told Hugo and Nebula awards don’t mean much to editors looking at new material. True? How do they affect future sales? At all? A lot?

It seems that today’s audience is keyed in to different metrics. Twitter might be more important that “award-winning.” Or a good mention on Facebook? What’s the scoop on Goodreads? Do you actually read the reviews on Amazon? Would you buy (or not buy) a book because of such a review? NYT bestseller has a cachet. What else does?

In one respect, getting the nomination was easier than waiting to see if I win will be…Chinese water torture, one drippy day at a time until SanDiego ComicCon where the Scribe Awards are announced and presented.

Scribe Award nominated novel

Poll-ish, not Irish March 19, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in contest, ideas, New Mexico, Wild West, writing.
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This is a new venture for me. I looked at the possibilities for captioning this picture

and decided to leave the winner up to you. Here is a poll that will remain open until Monday morning when the winner is announced.. Vote early (but unlike NM I don’t think you can vote often). There’s so much riding on this, you know 😎

Circling Above March 18, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in contest, inventions, science, science fiction, sense of wonder, space, westerns, Wild West, writing.
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As a western writer, that brings to mind buzzards eyeing some toothsome bit of carrion below–or future carrion waiting to die. As an sf writer, orbits are obvious. And today it’s the sf writer (I hope!) that is keyed into the orbit of the Messenger successfully orbiting Mercury. What struck me about this was the launch date in 2004.

Seven years to reach out to the innermost planet (unlike the outermost planet–most of the time–Pluto. Pluto is a planet, dammit!) is incredible since the gravity well is working for the probe. Distances and difficulties reaching other planets is manifest in this lengthy travel time, but now we have a source of information about a planet as mysterious as any of them.

I remember Asimov’s Lucky Starr and the Big Sun of Mercury with some fondness. Robots and danger, freezing cold on the “dark” side and burning hot on the other. We know Mercury does rotate and that its revolution doesn’t quite match, so all the surface gets burned eventually–and frozen. Messenger ought to give all kinds of great data about the year and the “seasons in the sun.”

In its way sending probes out is more difficult than exploring the Earth. It didn’t take seven years to get around the Earth. Magellan’s expedition did it in three. But with Messenger in place, Cassini and the Mars Rover(s) and Huygens out there and the Pluto New Horizons on the way and set to arrive in 2015, what else is in the works? Or has NASA simply folded its tent and crept into the night as it has with manned exploration?

I can’t imagine the opening of the West stopping because nobody wanted to go there. If we can’t leave the bottom of our gravity well, at least send out automated probes to send back pictures.

Tomorrow is the deadline for my caption this picture contest. Winner gets a copy of Sonora Noose. Hurry hurry hurry!