A Playground for Authors Jason White and Michael Schutz-Ryan


State of the Blog and Podcast

There’s some exciting new things coming in the future for both the blog and podcast. First, and perhaps most important, is that I’ve found a co-host to talk horror movies with on the Darkness Dwells Podcast. There will be an announcement about that soon.

Also, I plan on getting my butt back into action and writing more for the blog. I’ve been really sick with the flu (that goddamn bug that lasts weeks rather than days) and that has seriously slowed me down. I plan on fixing this as I’ve watched a lot of cool horror movies and have read some really awesome literature in the meantime.

I’m also working as fast as I can, though I could probably go faster, on the second book of my Surviving the Fittest trilogy I’m writing for Permuted press. The deadline is getting closer and closer. Scary close, actually. However, I’m really excited where this book is going. The story seems to be getting only darker and darker.

No hope, my friends.

But there is hope. This godawful winter seems to be getting colder and colder with no end in sight. But March and spring are right around the corner. Here’s to hoping for some warm weather soon, and a hell of a lot less snow.

So, foot on ass. A strong kick. Let’s pick ourselves up from slumber. Let’s get organized and let’s get going.


Real Life and the State of the Podcast

So, real life has made my life a bit of a roller coaster for the past two years. First, I was laid off from a job I held for twelve years. Then I went to school. Financial Aid didn’t communicate some technical information with me, and a bunch of other students, and so now I’m back out of school and have a new job. I was taking Interactive Web Design and Development, and I must say, I was having the time of my life. Well, maybe not my whole life, but it was a hell of a lot of fun nevertheless.

I imagine that I will indeed return to school once I can apply for more assistance, but until then, I plan on doing nothing but work and write. Maybe I’ll add podcasting to that. Who knows?

But I have a nine-month-old son, who reminds me every day that making plans is futile. He is the true overlord and master of my realm. And it is He that makes the rules nowadays.

I’m joking around, of course, but there is a lot of truth in that small paragraph above. Having a kid soaks up a shit-ton of time. If you don’t believe me, ask my wife. Ask any new mother and/or father. It’s a lot of work. In the end it’s worth it, but things like writing books and blogs and podcasting and doing homework tend to take second stage to the demands of a hungry, attention-starved baby.

So, yeah, there are setbacks. There always are.

Here’s another setback:

I always knew that podcasting was hard, especially for me, but I didn’t realize how hard it is until I tried recording my first episode. My plan, as I know that I need to get comfortable talking into a mic while in a room alone, was to discuss with the microphone one of my new favourite television shows, Penny Dreadful. I was talking last night about the first episode when I realized that I’d been talking and watching the show for over an hour and had only recorded about 24 minutes of podcast.

I ended up quitting. I do plan on trying to ether a) finishing that episode, or b) trying a different method. I do have some ideas for the latter option, but we’ll see.

It turned out that I would have had to quit recording anyway, because Keenan, my son, woke up soon after. And he refused to go back to sleep for hours.

It was a crazy night. Yet on I march! You might see a podcast and, behold! more blog posts from me yet.

Do You Really Want to Publish That? (A Response to Chris Tucker’s Blog Post on the Same Subject)

Chris Tucker makes a valuable point in his blog post Are You Really Proud Of That Book You Put Out For The World To See? His post moved me to not only add to it, but to write an entire blog post of my own. I was originally going to just reblog his post, but found that my remarks were way too long.

One reason this topic moves me is that I’ve been at this writing thing for a long time. It is, in fact, the only thing I haven’t given up on. Having been through what I have, I have learned that authors need to cut their teeth before ever reaching the point where they have a novel that’s worth readers paying their hard earned cash to read. This cutting of the teeth involves a lot of pain and suffering on the writer’s part. Pain and suffering due to rejection and continuous failure.

The best teacher in the world is failure. I’ve been writing fiction for 14 years. I have no idea how many rejection slips I’ve collected over the years, but I can tell you that there are a lot of them. Some of these rejection letters were just plain mean and nearly made me quite writing altogether. Thankfully there were more great rejection letters that taught me the areas in my writing that needed improving.

Way back in the first five years of my writing, I thought I was creating some quality stuff. Had I gone and self-published any of those works would have been paralyzingly embarrassing today, knowing what I know now. And guess what? The learning never ends.

So, yes indeed. If you’re going to go the self-publishing route, do it professionally. Hire an editor, one that can help you improve on both story and grammar. To do otherwise could end up hurting you in the future.

A bit more advice? Don’t fear the pain of rejection and, if you’re really serious about writing, don’t let them, especially the mean ones, make you quit. The only way to truly fail is to quit. I believe that any writer who persists will eventually find some measure of success, depending on what your view on success is. But that is a whole other argument.

I agree with Chris on all points, especially that everyone who wants to write should write. But before you self-publish, make sure that your work is good. Self-publishing unprofessional work makes all writers look bad.