Author Robert Gregory Browne on Storytelling and the Art of Composing

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The age of eBooks has opened the door to an exuberant array of writers. We have new voices, bright with potential. Sometimes they are raw, tentative and hobbled by an uncertain grasp of spelling, grammar or technique, but the talent is there. On the other end of the scale are the seasoned pros, writers with a past who for one reason or another have stepped away from traditional publishing. When I run into these writers, it’s always a bit of a surprise.  They have old school polish but are producing work in the new frontier of the Internet, riding the cutting edge of technology. These writers are sleek and agile craftsman, wordsmiths who know how to turn a phrase, build tension and create tight, well paced plots. Why are they good? Because they’ve done it before. ALOT. They are professionals. Robert Gregory Browne is one of those writers. Robert has been to the mountaintop.  An ITW Thriller Award nominated novelist, he started his career penning short stories and went on to write books for St. Martin's Press and Penguin Dutton. He’s worked under his own name and under top … [Read more...]

Is SHE Available: Defying the Physics of e books

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Igor Goldkind’s genre busting book Is SHE Available: Tales of Sedition and SUBVERSION released by Chameleon Publishing, challenges the typical boundaries of literature, maybe even space and time. The book uses graphic art, poetry, spoken word, music and animation to create an immersive, multimedia experience. Having worked with Igor at Titan Books, UK, I’ve seen his innovative instincts before when, for example, he took the term “Graphic Novel” (with permission from Will Eisner) and propagated the phrase around the world without the help of the Internet. So I listened to his description of his book with growing curiosity. A book that incorporates art, music, poetry and motion? Igor Goldkind defying convention didn’t surprise me, it’s sort of his M.O. After graduating from San Diego University with a degree in Philosophy, Igor worked as a political journalist in Paris, studying with the French post structuralist Michel Foucault and graduating with a certificate from the Sorbonne. He’d always been an iconoclast. What did surprise me when I opened the book was that he would defy the … [Read more...]

Big Five Publishing: A Murmur of Denial

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Lately, a strange murmur has rippled across the publishing industry and echoed through my inbox; e books are just a fad, close your eyes, take a deep breath and they'll go away. Despite  Nielson's own findings that print sales of adult fiction have declined by 37%  since 2009 to the tune of over £150m loss, a brief flurry of physical book sales at Christmas appears to have triggered an industry-wide fantasy. Articles proliferated across the web declaring the e book dead. I must have read Tim Waterstone's quote half a dozen times, "— e-books have developed a share of the market, of course they have, but every indication – certainly from America – shows the share is already in decline. The indications are that it will do exactly the same in the UK.” A revisionist reality began to take shape. And across the post modern boardrooms of the Big Five, I could practically hear the murmurs of denial. At this year's London Book Fair Publishing for Digital Minds Conference, keynote speaker Author David Nicholls characterized publishers as social crusaders saying, “But we should … [Read more...]

▶ Living Machines – The Rising of the Robot

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"Robots are the lovechild of computers and power tools..." narrates Linda Hamilton, veteran of the Terminator movies 1 & 2. The actress who has spent a considerable amount of time being terrorized by robots, gives voice to an interesting documentary on human/robot interaction; Living Machines-Rising of the Robots. As you'll see in the documentary, robots are saving people from the three D's; jobs that are dirty, dangerous or dull. Robots are flying to other planets, communicating vital information and deactivating bombs. They are sentinels who never tire and may be the only way to colonize other planets. But even the eminent physicist Stephen Hawking is not convinced Asimov's Law of Robotics will be sufficient to protect us from the dangers of robotic intelligence. When interviewed by the BBC, Hawking said, "The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race." So, will robots save us or destroy us?   … [Read more...]

Cringeworthy One Star Reviews of Classic Books

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Kindle Direct Publishing has given writers an amazing  gift, a way to reach a worldwide audience. Anyone who meets Amazon's standards can publish a book or story, and anyone can leave a review to haunt you. Every KDP writer will eventually have to endure the Amazon one star review. They are part of the new publishing landscape. Negative reviews range from illiterate, crazy diatribes, revealing more about the reviewer's state of mind than the book itself, to pointed critiques by shrewd and pissed off readers. Why do people leave one star reviews? It's simple, they're experiencing a strong emotional reaction. Maybe the reviewer doesn't like swear words, or they had to read the book for school or book club, or they just saw the movie and the book's not the same, or the book conflicts with their personal philosophy about life, or they don't think this is what a story should be. Whether the one star review is a raw, visceral slap or a deeply cutting dissection that stings, they can be a shock for writers who took a big emotional risk to release their work in the first place.  … [Read more...]

Author Hugh Howey on Writing, Empathy and Creative Freedom

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Hugh Howey is a true iconoclast. His newly released post apocalyptic novel, The Shell Collector, joins a body of inventive work exploring dystopian futures, interstellar travel, alien invasions, zombies and other curiosities. His career has also broken traditional barriers. Originally published by a small press, Hugh broke away to become an indie writer and subsequently made it to the NYT Best Seller List.There is something surprising about Hugh’s writing. His visions steal over the reader unobtrusively, the way one might notice the clarity of a sky or the scent of a spring day. His prose is lean, confident and unpretentious with moments of sheer philosophical grace. He sinks into the background so deeply, you forget you’re even reading. He extends an invitation, like a peep hole through a circus tent, and before you quite realize what’s happened, you’ve entered into a world of wonders. Odd wonders, to be sure. And once you’ve followed Hugh into a world, what unfolds is not always easy. His Sci Fi stories are fantastical but infused with a gritty reality borne from worldly … [Read more...]

Author Dale Bridges on Satirical Sci Fi and Deconstructing Culture

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Dale Bridges writes wildly inventive fiction. I'm not just tossing that phrase around either. His new short story collection, Justice Inc, reads like Phillip K Dick on crack. The stories are iconoclastic and charming, peppered with diabolical uses of modern technology and characters poised on a knife's edge between humanity and monstrosity. Bridges takes the reader through a series of mind-bending realities where people are adopted by corporations, text their way through an apocalypse, build themselves robot girlfriends and warp patriotism into a barbaric ritual of unsurpassed cruelty. The prose is well-crafted and the stories explore themes of gender, ageism, the commodification of life and even death with wry humor and an empathic understanding of human frailty. The protagonist is often an everyman who reveals the mechanics of the world, but each character is deeply flawed, often taking a surprising turn into damnation or redemption. Some worlds are topsy-turvy and others so close to our reality that Dale's finely-tuned observations have a tendency to sting. And though … [Read more...]