Congrats Mike Cernovich, White House Press Correspondent

Mike Cernovich is such an inspiration to independent journalists and commentators everywhere. I’ve been following him since I discovered him midway through last year, and he always brings a unique perspective to stories that the mainstream fake news media either lies about or glosses over. It’s propelled him to be featured on 60 Minutes, which was one of their highest rated episodes in years.

On top of that, he’s now been granted White House Press access! He’s going to be streaming live on his youtube channel at 2:45 PST today, in just a few minutes.

Really seeing his success is so uplifting, and it keeps me going. Anyone who rocks the boat like him or myself get our fair share of hate mail, comments and threats, and even though we’re high energy by nature, it’s easy to get down in the slog. Can’t allow that to happen, gotta keep going and appreciate the little victories — and the big ones like this. that’s what Gorilla MIndset is all about.

 

Engagement Is More Important Than Number Of Followers

Late last year, after being personally attacked as usual, I got into it with a different writer friend of author M. Todd Gallowglas — who I want everyone to know totally is associated with me and has been my friend for a number of years, and who would certainly love for you to mention how you discovered him through my blog ( @MGallowglas and https://www.facebook.com/mtoddgallowglas/ respectively). In fact, he loves me so much that he decided to, in California where it is dangerous for me and my family, stand up at one of his public shows and tell his crowd how great of friends we are even though I’m a lowly Christian Conservative (yes, I had my identity called out and it was frightening. He did fail to mention I’m a leading voice of Hispanic science fiction authors though, sadly), and how that it’s important to maintain those friendships despite disagreements. I’d heap praises on his open-mindedness and truly enlightened mindset myself, but I’m currently blocked because he’s so tolerant and diverse he literally can’t even. 

Anyhow, the first thing the random person did was mock me about my number of Twitter followers, which is funny as the fellow had one of those accounts where he follows several thousand people, and so they follow him. It’s a marketing strategy, one in which I get a LOT of twitter spam from writers, marketers, bloggers, etc. You may have seen it too. Some person with a lot of followers follows you, you follow them, and you get a DM about their product or going to their page or whatnot immediately.

It’s funny because these people pay for their twitter followers, and most of the big followed accounts, unless they’re a brand you’ve heard of, have done that. I think a lot of people realize it’s a marketing strategy by this point, and that it doesn’t work, but it’s almost instinctive to give a follow back out of courtesy. I’m not sure it actually helps at all.

I was looking at another person’s twitter today, someone who has a pretty sizable name that most people in niche entertainment communities would know the name at the very least, and saw several thousand followers of this person. Now this one wasn’t the type who had paid marketing, unlike the person who criticized me, but had them from naturally being active on twitter for a long time. Though the person has several thousand more followers than me, the person has about 900 likes to their posts, while I’ve got close to 8,500 with a meager follower base of 500.

What’s important is not the number that you have — and this goes for Facebook likes or whatnot as well — but the amount of engagement you’re able to generate. If people are active with you, if they’re THINKING about you, that’s more likely to translate into both short term sales and long term loyalty. I have high levels of engagement across my social media platforms (especially on gab.ai where it’s a superior social media platform than all the others), and I can rest assured that a much higher percentage of my followers both reads my blogs and buys my books than the average person who bought theirs. So while Mr. blocked me paid for his follow-base and mocked me over it, I’m still winning the game, and probably better than he is.

Here’s some tips on how to make sure you create engagement:

  1. Post about things that you’re passionate about. Passion shows. People respond to it.
  2. Post about topics that your followers care about. I saw a great tweet from Ralene Burke, fellow author and book marketeer. She said (paraphrasing) if you keep tweeting your book over and over for sales, you’re not adding value. You need to say something substantive. This is darn true. This is why I should never blog about baseball because my followers don’t care or read it as well. I’m still gonna do it cuz of #1 though. Because that’s authentically me. And people want to connect, and crave authenticity in this fake internet world at the same time.
  3. Reply, like, care about your followers. This is a big one. If someone reads my books, I want to interact with you because thank you I love you. If someone promotes my books after that, I double love you. I write a lot between the blog and my book (4-5k words per day in aggregate), I have a real job, I also have a family. I don’t sleep as it is. So If I miss something, it’s not personal. But if I’m tagged especially in a conversation, I will do my best to respond and engage and retweet every time. It’s so important and is the difference maker in what accounts are fun, and which ones people kind of ignore.

So far, engagement has been high for me, and that’s translated into sales. I hope to keep it that way. If you don’t follow me yet:

@jondelarroz – twitter

@otomo – gab.ai

https://www.facebook.com/jondelarroz – facebook

http://delarroz.us15.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=3c0d4761bf596db6605e25975&id=e7c61287b0 – mailing list

Test out the points above for a month and and get back to me. Would love to see how it works for you!

I Can’t Believe I Missed This!

For some reason, it was in my mind that this was coming out in May. It’s no secret that Elizabeth Moon is one of my favorite authors, my writing has been compared to hers on numerous occasions (of which I am honored but not deserving!), and I definitely do use her work as a model for great space opera.  She’s definitely one of my biggest influences.

Her most recent book in the Vatta’s War series, Cold Welcome dropped on April 11th, and I for some reason thought it came out in May. This is a MUST GET ON DAY ONE type of release for me, as I’m so excited to see her returning to writing in the space opera genre after a number of years. I am running to Barnes and Noble over lunch to pick this up immediately. The book is available here:

https://www.amazon.com/Cold-Welcome-Elizabeth-Moon/dp/1101887311/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1470439636&sr=1-1&keywords=cold+welcome+moon  

And the description:

Summoned to the home planet of her family’s business empire, space-fleet commander Kylara Vatta is told to expect a hero’s welcome. But instead she is thrown into danger unlike any other she has faced and finds herself isolated, unable to communicate with the outside world, commanding a motley group of unfamiliar troops, and struggling day by day to survive in a deadly environment with sabotaged gear. Only her undeniable talent for command can give her ragtag band a fighting chance.

Yet even as Ky leads her team from one crisis to another, her family and friends refuse to give up hope, endeavoring to mount a rescue from halfway around the planet—a task that is complicated as Ky and her supporters find secrets others will kill to protect: a conspiracy infecting both government and military that threatens not only her own group’s survival but her entire home planet.

This sounds extremely fun. I can’t wait to read.

Sci-Fi Movie Review: Passengers

Most of you are probably already aware that I liked this movie, as it made my list for the 2017 Dragon Award nominations for best Sci-Fi film. Part of that was a lack of other great sci-fi films in this last year, but that doesn’t mean that I enjoyed Passengers any less.

The concept of the movie is that a passenger of a interstellar colony ship wakes up from stasis early because of an error. He’s named Jim (I’m guessing a star trek homage?) and is played by Chris Pratt, one of the few a-list hollywood actors who I don’t find annoying. The first 20 minutes or so of the movie reminded me of Castaway starring Tom Hanks, with a man going a bit crazy while he’s alone, beard growing, realizing he can run around naked, but with cool sci-fi technical entertainment options. He’s unable to wake the captain and ship’s crew to get himself back into stasis, and he’s stuck with 90 years left on a voyage — alone. Truly a frightening proposition.

A year into the journey, he has learned to awaken another passenger, and he, after deliberating on how immoral it is to condemn someone else to the same fate as him, decides to wake her. Being the only two people on the ship, romance ensues and of course she eventually finds out that he woke her intentionally and that it was not an error, setting off the drama later. The ship errors compound until it’s a threat to kill everyone on board, and our heroes do their thing, pretty standard plot and romance with little in the way of surprises.

And that’s fine. I didn’t need to be surprised. The plot was fun. The actors were charming, with great lines that made you care for them. It wasn’t overly dark, overly scary, and honestly it could have been PG if they hadn’t had to have the sex scene with the A-List actors to be gratuitous.

The effects looked great. I loved the ship, the rotating sections, the loss of gravity at points, all of their futuristic food replicators and entertainment amenities. The bartender robot was great. It’s about the perfect starliner space setting.

Acting was 2nd to none. Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt as mentioned before are imminently likable. Nothing to complain about there at all. Good range from laughter to fear to anger to passion from each of them. A+

If it sounds like the pacing could get a little slow in parts, it did. Like most modern movies, they could have shaved off 10-15 minutes and it would have been a little tighter and better. It still didn’t deter my enjoyment of it.

There is one scene where it went a little far for my suspension of disbelief when one character is floating lost in space, the other jumps out into zero-g to grab hold and save him. Getting that trajectory right having almost zero experience in null g…. I didn’t quite buy it, but it is a movie. Only having one bad instance like that I can give a pass.

Great romance, great sci-fi, all around recommended. I’ll actually watch this one again.

#ESPNIsOverParty: More Convergence At Disney Subsidiaries

I won’t lie, I stopped watching ESPN more than a decade ago. This train wreck was coming for a long time, but I didn’t think the nail in the coffin would be due to virtue signalling politics overriding its core mission as a company. The reason I stopped is because of the extreme east coast bias and the complete disregard for baseball and hockey. Since my two favorite sports took a back seat to sports that ESPN had more broadcast rights for, I never found it that compelling to watch. Compound that with the fact that they would talk about NY and Boston teams on a 5:1 ratio or more of anyone else… it was worthless. I didn’t need yet another commentator to tell me how Eli Manning is the greatest quarterback of all time, because he’s not.

But over the last year we saw something more insidious develop with ESPN. They followed the same path as their sister Mega-Corporate Disney-owned Marvel Comics, in that they hired a bunch of social justice warriors, and started rambling about politics. This of course coincided with Colin Kaepernick’s anti-American sit-in of national anthem at game, of which ESPN was all too gleeful about. Fans, being normal Americans, found it insulting and hated it. Like the readers of Marvel Comics who didn’t want to read “Occupy Avengers”, ESPN viewers tuned out.

But ESPN didn’t just stop there, because as we know, social justice warriors always double down in these situations. Their First Take became a political rant fest. They gave awards to Bruce Jenner for his “bravery”. All sorts of non-sports related nonsense that made their viewership drop even more. They covered the anti-Trump marches and praised them on twitter… I mean, seriously? What happened to sports?

That’s what happens when an organization converges. It only takes a couple of social justice warriors in different positions to shake things up, and completely ignore the real focus of the organization, which quickly transforms it into something that no one can even recognize. The end result is always the same, especially in entertainment media: the customers and viewers disappear.

We’ve see it in science fiction publishing, in Marvel Comics, in the NFL’s lack of viewership early last year, and now ESPN. We want entertainment to be fun. We want sports to be intense competitions between elite athletes. We don’t want a finger-wagging political messages. We get enough of that from idiots reposting clickbait on our facebook feeds.

And yesterday, the result of that hit ESPN as they laid off more than 100 of their journalists. They took the wrong message for what’s wrong with their network and made cuts primarily to baseball and hockey reporters. I wish I could say I’m surprised. I have yet to see a statement from ESPN or Disney about how they realize they erred in focusing on politics, so I expect the situation will get worse. We see that Marvel had taken the wrong lesson as well, thinking a “reboot” of characters to “iconic forms”will help them, ignoring their blackballing practices and the fact that their writing staff hates half of America. These half-measures do little good to rescue an organization from the pits they’ve become. I saw a post on twitter yesterday stating that ESPN is going to become to sports what MTV is to music — and I think that’s the spiral we’re going to see. What Disney group is next?

Independent Journalist Mike Cernovich has called for average people to stop watching ESPN completely,stating: “If you watch ESPN, you are paying the enemy. If you can’t give up ESPN to win a culture war, that’s on you.” At this point, if you want to see a change back to real sports, this is exactly what needs to be done.

Susan Slusser, sports writer for the San Francisco Chronicle has stated “Someone could start a really excellent sports network focused on real news, information and insight with these layoffs. Please do so.” And I agree. I would love to run something like this if I had the proper financial backing. It’s what Americans want out of sports and right now is an ample opportunity to provide what Fox News did to CNN more than a decade ago — provide real news as a counter to the nonsense. The ratings follow suit, as we’ve seen for so long. I think there was a movie, about an unrelated topic that said “If you build it, they will come.” Who can we turn to for a new sports platform?

 

Jon Del Arroz’s Based Dragon Award Recommendations

Ran a poll yesterday on which blog my readers would like to see next, and the winner by no uncertain terms was my recommendation for Dragon Award nominations. If you haven’t seen the Dragon Awards before, they are the premier award for Science Fiction and Fantasy, given at Dragon*Con, arguably the best convention that exists. Please, readers, do take the time to vote as this is really your award choice and your voice matters.

Best Science Fiction Escaping Infinity by Richard Paolinelli

Richard really has created a great science fiction, and I mean that in the classic sense. It’s on the short side, but it’s packed with a lot of ideas and it’s definitely the best sci-fi of the year. 

Best Fantasy  A Sea of Skulls by Vox Day

Vox Day is the most underrated fantasy author in fiction. His Arts of Dark and Light series is frankly better fantasy than Brandon Sanderson (of whom I’m a big fan), Terry Goodkind, Terry Brooks or George R.R. Martin. The characters are fantastic, the world is a very cool Roman-esque fantasy world, it’s tense all the way through, and it’s got very cool magic and magical beings.

Best Young Adult Rachel and the Many Splendored Dreamland by L. Jagi Lamplighter.

The Rachel series is really a wonderful take on wizardry school. I find it a shame that this series hasn’t won an award yet and that should be remedied in 2017.  Mrs. Lamplighter-Wright gets mad at me when I say that this series is better than Harry Potter… so I won’t say it. But I may have said it somewhere else in the past 🙂 

Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Star Realms: Rescue Run by Jon Del Arroz. 

It’s like Rogue One, only better and with actual characters who aren’t flat and have real romance. Do I need to explain this one to you? 😉  If you click on the nomination page and put one book in, put this one in. 

Best Alternate History  Breath of Earth by Beth Cato. 

This both took place in my home city and dealt with a period of time you don’t read a ton about. Everyone knows about the 1906 earthquake’s existence, but adding details and magic to it makes for a really compelling tale.

Best Apocalyptic A Place Outside The Wild by Daniel Humphreys.

Dan’s got a fresh take on Zombies that is very fun, a lot of action, and a wild ride. It’s pretty long for a zombie book but it only gives the plot that much more depth.

Best Horror Live and Let Bite by Declan Finn

Declan continues to redefine Vampire fiction with his third installment in the series. Book 1 got a dragon award nomination last year, and the series only gets more interesting from there. While book 2 is also eligible, this is where Declan should make his stand for the awards, as it fits the horror genre like fangs fit the Carotid artery.

Best Comic Book  Motor Girl #1 by Terry Moore.

His Rachel Rising was one of my favorite books of all time, and I was sad to see it end. This has classic cartoon elements, a gorilla (RIP Harambe), aliens, and a much deeper plot that’s unfolding. Issue 1 is great for the hook, and well worth the read.

Best Graphic Novel  Chew vol 12. – Sour Grapes by John Layman and Rob Guillory

Chew was honestly the best comic book of the last several years. The concept’s cool. It’s hilarious on every front. It’s actually pretty in depth, and the expansion of the powers of food get so ridiculous. People hated on the ending, but I thought it was fricking hilarious. Chew is most worthy of the Dragon.

Best Sci-Fi Or Fantasy TV Series No award.

I don’t like any SF/F TV shows right now. They all suck. Bah humbug.

Best Sci-Fi Or Fantasy Movie Passengers

This is a beautiful film. Great plot, great sci-fi, great romance, great characters. It can be a little slow at points but the timing feels realistic.There’s a lot of good sci-fi plot points and tropes in here and frankly Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence could do the hokey pokey on screen for two hours and I’d watch it and probably love it.

Best PC or Console Game Final Fantasy XV. 

An excellent installment to the Final Fantasy series. The battle system was wonderful, story great, characters compelling, the backstory and world were done right and the visuals are stunning as always.

Best Mobile Game Epic Card Game Digital

This game took everything fun about Magic: The Gathering and got rid of the heavy baggage of that game. It’s somewhat simpler to play though when I went into competitive matches I got STOMPED, so there is a lot more depth than people realize as well. There’s some cool mechanics unique to the game too and it’s super exciting that it’s now on a digital platform in app version. 

Best Board Game Hero Realms

Star Realms in Fantasy, yet they tweaked a couple of things to make it unique. You can play with “class decks” which you customize your playstyle before you even start, a nice innovation for deck building. On top of that, the power curve is very different. It’s worth a play, or a hundred.

Best Miniatures/CCG/RPG  Star Wars: Destiny

I mentioned this was my favorite game of 2016 launching at the tail end of the year. It’s a competitive card game but with dice, and has a very unique duel feel to it. I love how the dice work, the game mechanics are very clean and it’s always tense to play. Fantasy Flight usually nails it with their star wars games and this is no exception.

And there you have it. Go out and vote!

When The Opposition Media Makes No Sense

Some of my favorite mornings are when my blog gets a truckload of angry comments. It means that not only have I done something right, but that somewhere out there, fake news has completely twisted what I said to imply what I didn’t say.

Today, it was phony outrage about giving out free books to loyal fans, as you might recall I offered yesterday, along with a lot of the top authors in the science fiction and fantasy field. It’s pretty incredible how generous they are and these authors deserve to be thanked. How on earth does one get outraged about that? Well, this is the internet and people make sure they get outraged about everything. The problem with FAKE NEWS, is if the wrong person goes and says “the sun rose this morning!” they will come back with an article that says “WRONG PERSON WANTS YOU TO GET SUNBURNED”. It’s that level of insanity that you get from the fake news industry, which is why you should never trust the media when it references someone like me, Vox Day or the President of the United States.

Anyway, all I could do is laugh at the ridiculous personal attacks in the comments. I’m not approving that garbage on my blog anymore, because I took enough abuse when I called out Marvel Comics for their awful business practices and blackballing, and a fake news comic site completely lied about what I said. Only positivity here from now on. We’re building something together, dear reader, and we’re moving forward and up together.

But the fake news this morning didn’t just stop at a pretty lame twist of my words, they took the opportunity to use it to snark about the quality of work of some of my favorite authors, who did nothing to warrant that. Of course, I’m certain the person didn’t bother to read their work at all, because like most fake amazon reviews, it lacks any specifics. Wouldn’t it be a shame though, if someone in response checked out the list of authors on my blog post yesterday and voted against fake news with your dollars? Think of the triggering then…

 

Authors Who Care About Fans And Readers

I am pleased to make an announcement on behalf of several great authors in the Science Fiction and Fantasy community.That announcement is: fans, we care about you, and we want you to have a good time. We support your coming out to express yourself in fandom.

A couple of weeks ago, an invited headlining guest flaked on a convention, OdysseyCon. No notice was given, no accommodations were asked for, simply bailing two weeks before it happened, leaving the fans without an honored guest. The Con responded professionally and nicely, trying to work things out as much as possible, but that wasn’t enough for this person who took to social media, and got a cabal of angry virtue signallers to start swearing, berating and attacking anyone they could.

The people who are left in the dust are fans, innocent folk who just wanted to spend a weekend hanging out, playing games, talking science fiction, listening to some authors speak and having a good time in fellowship. None of these virtue signallers thought or cared about the fans. It’s frankly shameful and unprofessional. The fans are our sustenance, readers are our life. As such, I felt compelled to help the readers of OdysseyCon, and spoke with several award winning and bestselling authors to help their weekend, as their convention no longer has an author guest.

The convention did get some great guests to attend: Michael Butt, an independent horror film maker and Brent Chumley, an artist known for Dungeons & Dragons, Legend of the Five Rings, and actually worked by my side on Doomtown: Reloaded. These are both stellar individuals, who are high energy, full of life, and amazing artists. What’s missing though is the literary component.

Not being local to Wisconsin, the best I could think of to help was to bring the fans more of what they love. This is a thank you to readers for being so faithful and dedicated, and my hope that this will bring the fun and good times that has made fandom so great. I present you, attending members of OdysseyCon, a group of free ebooks especially compiled for you, the fan and reader. Because there are authors that care and want you to have the most enjoyable experience possible!

The OdysseyCon staff will have fliers with this offer and a link to allow you to redeem these free books, but here’s what you can expect. We’re bringing you great books by:

Nick Cole – Winner of the 2016 Dragon Award for his Dystopian fiction!

Jon Del Arroz – Your humble blogger and Alliance Award nominated author of space opera and steampunk!

Mike Duran – Horror/Sci-Fi writer selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best indie novels!

Declan Finn – Dragon Award Nominee for his epic vampire fiction!

Marina Fontaine – Dragon Award Nominee for her chilling dystopian fiction!

Daniel Humphreys – Best-selling zombie fiction author.

Sarah Hoyt – Author of the extremely popular science fiction epic Darkship Series by Baen Books!

Robert Kroese – Bestselling author, creator of eight successful kickstarter projects, and highly regarded Science Fiction author oft compared to Douglas Adams!

L. Jagi Lamplighter – An astounding YA Fantasy Author whose Rachel series reviewers say is better than Harry Potter!

Richard Paolinelli – Eclectic author of many genres, his most recent Escaping Infinity is making huge buzz in the sci-fi world!

Henry Vogel – Author of a phenomenal space opera series.

Dawn Witzke – Debut YA dystopian-romance author of the intense, fast paced Path of Angels!

John C. Wright – A true Science Fiction Grand Master, nominated for more Hugo Awards in one year than any person alive, and Dragon Award winner!

Also included is the mega-bestselling Forbidden Thoughts anthology, featuring incredible stories by Baen Books authors Sarah Hoyt, Larry Correia,Brad Torgersen and more!

Holy cow. That’s about the most star-studded line up you could possibly find, and there may even be more to come. Check back for updates. All of the authors want to thank you, the reader and convention attendee, for your support over the years. We really couldn’t do it without you and hope that you have a great OdysseyCon this year!

 

The Uprising Review (Feat. Jon Del Arroz)

Over on Gab.ai (the best social media network on the internet as they allow free speech, don’t shadowban or ban anyone), I met a couple of editors and writers who had an ambitious project they wanted to launch. That project is the Uprising Review. The concept of this site is to provide true free speech for flash/short fiction. They accomplish this that by blind story submissions, no author names attached. The editors will read it and simply judge it based on the merits of whether your story is entertaining and well written. The submission bucket sends it along with no identifying markers in the document to judge the story by.

And It’s fantastic. This is a true commitment to real diversity, unlike the exclusionary garbage that’s put out by a lot of traditional publishers that knowingly discriminate intentionally by excluding conservatives, christians, men, white authors, etc in their magazines, anthologies or publication queues. It’s the opposite of virtue signalling. The story is everything, as it should be. As they say:

“Your gender, race, and sexuality do not determine your strengths as a writer.”

How refreshing. Not only that, but it allows authors who have been tainted by the Big Publishing groupthink’s blackballing in the industry to be able to publish their short work. Its very existence is a bold statement on the problems in the industry, and also on freedom of speech and expression for artists. Huzzah!

The editors reached out to me and asked if I would contribute an essay for the opening of their site, on the topic of the importance of freedom for artists, and the evils of blackballing based on my personal experiences, which I gladly provided. You can read it here: http://www.uprisingreview.com/the-uprising-review-op-ed-by-jon-del-arroz/

And finally, I had the honor of contributing what they chose as their first fiction for the website, the flash fiction of mine titled “Project Scarecrow”. It’s an extremely short flash fiction which I actually originally wrote for another publication that limited to 300 words. That went belly up before they got around to publishing my piece, so I submitted to Uprising Review. Normally, their fiction they’ll be posting will be 500-3000 words, but fortunately they enjoyed this one enough to post and make it their first. It’s a fun sci-fi piece like most of my writing. Enjoy: http://www.uprisingreview.com/project-scarecrow/

I look forward to seeing what Uprising Review does in the future and applaud this concept and their hard work in getting this going. Support them with your clicks!