A Second Alt-Hero Novel Is A Go!

It’s been part of the stretch goals, but I haven’t wanted to talk about it much until it was a sure thing, but I am now contracted for not one but TWO Alt-Hero novels for this cool project that keeps expanding, keeps getting better, and is fast becoming an intellectual property to be reckoned with by the giants.

This is one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns for a comic in history, and it is a big historical landmark, despite the fact that it’s getting ZERO press from media outlets. That so much could be raised for such a project is absolutely amazing in and of itself.

God has blessed me so much so far on this writing journey, and I’m thankful every day, not just for his love and grace — but for cool friends like Vox Day and Chuck Dixon who have been so supportive along the way. I look forward to bringing you a couple of great books in the near future, and thank you everyone for reading and being here. I’m thankful for you too!

If you haven’t backed yet, check out the project here. And remember to click the ebook option at $5! If you backed the comic you do have to back again (think of it as a stretch goal) to get the pre-order of the book-book.

Alt★Hero Volumes I, II, and III

 

Alt-Hero and Project Update

Getting a lot of traffic again this week from both the Marvel #ComicsGate article and the announcement made last night about Alt-Hero.

First off, a cool interview on my writing background just went live here.

For those new here, hi! I’m Jon Del Arroz, geek entertainment journalist and science fiction author with a healthy dose of gorilla mindset. My debut novel, Star Realms: Rescue Run was nominated for the Dragon Award for best military science fiction, and my steampunk novel, For Steam And Country, is even more popular with my readers, the first book of the hottest new steampunk series of 2017. Most recently I released Gravity Of The Game, a field of dreams in space novella which is getting a lot of positive buzz from baseball and non-baseball fans alike. Folk are saying it deserves a Hugo nomination for best novella!

I have shorts out in a couple anthologies if you want a bit of a mix. I’d recommend A Fistful Of Credits (this one has my personal favorite short story I’ve written) . or Storyhack there, as those stories most exemplify my writing style. I’m also involved in the MAGA 2020 anthology, which features an introduction from Milo Yiannopoulos, coming out in November.

A busy year! And I’m not done yet.

As mentioned over on Vox Popoli, I’m going to be co-writing the Alt-Hero novelization with Vox Day. We’re still in the planning phase on this as to exactly how that will look, and the comics are going to come first there so stay tuned for more updates. This’ll be really exciting. I love superhero work as I’ve written several comics and will be in a superhero anthology from Silver Empire publishing in the near future as well. Alt-Hero in particular has a cool concept and characters that I think could reshape comics, and become a brand to rival some of the bigger comics out there. If you haven’t backed the freestartr, please do!

As for other updates here’s where we’re at:

  1. The Stars Entwined – Space Opera novel, first in a big universe I plan to write in for a long time. It’s with an editor right now and may be out before the end of the year.
  2. Von Monocle 2 – Outlined, will be writing over NaNoWriMo and giving detailed process updates the whole time.
  3. Mars Anthology for Superversive Press – About 50% done with edits. No story in this but I am editor.
  4. Reach For The Stars – This is a standalone that overlaps with The Stars Entwined but has a very different cool story. First Draft Complete will be editing soon.
  5. Deus Vult In Space – First Draft Complete.
  6. Alt-Hero: Planning stage.

For Short works I have a few things coming, but not much as I don’t like to focus there. It should remain fairly light through the rest of the year:

  1. Space marines midwives short – first draft complete.
  2. X-O Manowar fanfic novella – I’m messing around with this, no real timeline on it. It’s got about 3,500 words drafted. This is releasable via Kindle Worlds.
  3. Shared Worlds story with a fellow dragon nominee – brainstorming.

Very busy!  I won’t be taking on any more bigger projects until I get all this out, and probably Von Monocle 3 and The Stars Entwined 2 at that point. But there’s a lot to look forward to. We’re just getting started and I’m still not tired of winning!

As We Win More Bigly, Our Enemies Get More Desperate

What a couple of weeks its been! First, I want to thank my readership for their tremendous support and faith in Gravity Of The Game. I’ve only received great feedback on how wonderful of a story it is, and most of that is coming from non-baseball fans! Like always, I put a heavy focus on character and I believe that is the key to storytelling that resonates, regardless of the topic.

There’s a couple reviews from professional book reviewers already:

https://hubpages.com/literature/The-Gravity-of-the-Game-a-Book-Review

https://thebookwyrmspeaks.blogspot.com/2017/10/review-of-gravity-of-game-by-jon-del.html

With this kind of consensus, I’m inclined to believe this might be my best work yet. Definitely something to look at for your Hugo ballots in the novella category.

On the other front, the personal attacks have stepped up in a major way. You can see it based on the frequency of the persistent haters who like to comment here, and the level of bitterness coupled with those attacks. I’ve mentioned a few of them here, and some of you who are a bit more connected have seen how the Sci-Fi establishment elite has stepped up the blackballing game to a level that’s unbelievable.

Nevertheless, he persisted.

It hasn’t just been me either. Maybe it’s the time of year. Maybe it’s the preference cascade that the elites are seeing in a shift of the readership’s eyes to indie authors. We’ve seen the launch of Vox Day’s Alt-Hero, one of the most tremendously successful crowdfunds of all time, followed by more outrage, mockery and shrieking than I’ve ever seen. Because someone’s making a comic book. Despite his never making a comic before, the fans and the readers are all over this project. They are starved for content that isn’t combed through and sanitized by sensitivity readers. The few preview pages listed on the project already carry much more emotion and fun than the entire Marvel Comics line.

And then there was Brian Niemeier yesterday, who apparently really gets under NYT Bestseller and former SFWA President John Scalzi’s skin by questioning why Scalzi would make a rant about how he can’t be productive in 2017. Why can’t he be productive, well, Donald Trump! Everything is Trump’s fault after all, including the Colorado Rockies loss last evening in the NL Wildcard Game. How? We’ll think of something later. What’s important is we show outrage about it first!  Scalzi had a rare moment of losing it so much from the response to his blog that he actually linked Brian’s blog. Brian has been incredibly productive with a lot of amazing editing projects and pumping out volumes upon volumes of books on his own.

We’re all working at pulp speed, cranking out book after book, each one becoming more successful as the readership wants their fun, and doesn’t want it censored by a small group of elites with mental disorders. They’ve taken the fun out of fiction for decades, and we’re putting it back in. It’s working, and we’re not only winning, but winning bigly. That’s what’s got them so scared.

There’s some big announcements coming VERY soon, so hold onto your hats, dear readers. The ride is about to take off at speeds you’ve never seen before.

 

Thursday Youtube: RPGs and Writing With Jeffro Johnson!

Jeffro Johnson literally wrote the book on RPGs and writing, a critical analysis that changed my life and my perspective on fiction in SF. The book is Appendix N, named after the famed appendix in the original Dungeons & Dragons, showing the influences of its creators in Sci-FI and Fantasy. It’s beautiful, and the genre is so much more fun and richer than I ever knew before reading this. There’s so much history.

He’s also the purveyor of the multi-hugo-nominated Castalia House blog, which is part of my daily reads, and I’ve guest contributed a couple of times.

Youtube is here. Join us at 9 PM PST on Thursday for what should be an epic adventure of a discussion:

 

And don’t forget, my new novella, Gravity Of The Game, is out this week. Look for it on Amazon!

Still Not Tired Part 2: FREE Novella Giveaway!

Despite a concerted high school-style effort to get people to shun me by the Mean Girls club, I hit 1,500 followers of Twitter today. I like round numbers, so I’m going to celebrate by giving away a free advance copy of my forthcoming novella, Gravity Of The Game!

https://twitter.com/jondelarroz/status/913873451202445312

Leave a comment on Twitter here, and I hope you’ll follow and share with your friends to help spread the word of this very touching sci-fi story. If you love America, love baseball, or just like to see how culture shapes the world around us, this’ll be a great book. Totally PG and a little in it for everyone.

Since I like to hit all platforms, and I really like round numbers, I’ll do a similar giveaway for http://gab.ai/otomo  where if I hit 1500 there

Or facebook if I can hit 1500 friends there.

Or my Grand Rislandian Army facebook group (book discussion and promotion only – politics free!) if it hits 100 members: https://www.facebook.com/groups/519333975122120/

And youtube if I get to 100 subscribers: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrGNYo4n2qT9z52qtevon4Q

I’ve got an instagram…but I’m still trying to figure out how to use it effectively. jdelarroz there 🙂 Gimme a couple weeks on this one!

Whew! A lot of social media, and a lot of chances for a free book. I want to get this in as many hands as possible, because my advance readers think it’ll be a great candidate for the Hugo award for best novella next year!

Thanks everyone for your tremendous support. It’s been super encouraging and great so far. I can’t wait to share all these fun books with you as I get everything edited and polished for you.

Gravity Of The Game Novella – Cover Reveal

If you were watching social media last night you may have noticed the cover reveal of my forthcoming novella, Gravity Of The Game.

Commissioner Hideki Ichiro is planning a field of dreams on the moon. The World Baseball League has been in decline for decades, about to reach disastrous proportions. To survive, the game of baseball needs to expand to a new market, and the only place to go is outward to the stars. There’s one hitch in the plan: playing baseball is impossible without Earth’s gravity. 

Can Ichiro navigate new technologies, angry owners, and the drive-by media before time runs out for both baseball and his own career?  

As with the best of baseball, my new novella will be released in October. Packed full of references to America’s pastime, it’ll make for a perfect light read to get your hype going for the playoffs and World Series.

Be sure to sign up for my mailing list so you don’t miss updates and giveaways from the leading Hispanic voice in science fiction!

What Makes Great Sci-Fi Tv?

My hands are a bit sore because I’m cranking away at a novel, so I did a periscope rather than a couple thousand words on the topic. This stems from a Facebook discussion I had yesterday where I said both Farscape and Andromeda are better than Battlestar Galactica and Firefly. It stirred up a lot of folks, but here’s some deeper thoughts into that:

https://www.pscp.tv/w/bHWG-jFheWpWdll6VkxsanB8MWRSSlpubmxQdmdKQm9uZmpyscqAKZd8CH1w11JW7rtc7hA9azQregjxOgtI

For Steam And Country – Now on Kindle Unlimited

I had a great conversation with my publisher today and with the exciting news about the Dragon Award nomination for Star Realms: Rescue Run, we agreed it’d be a great thing to run a promotion for my other novel, For Steam And Country. If you haven’t checked it out, go do so! It’s extremely well reviewed and free!
https://www.amazon.com/Steam-Country-Adventures-Baron-Monocle-ebook/dp/B071JNR9HB

YA vs. “Real” Sci-Fi and Fantasy: It’s about Mindset

I’ve been watching the trends in the publishing industry for the last several years, and it’s interesting to watch the way that readers and fellow authors respond to different works and the like. The divide between YA and “adult” fiction (I use the ironic quotes because YA really doesn’t mean less adult content or themes in terms of reading) actually comes down to a little bit of a mindset element like I was talking about between new indies and old guard publishing a couple weeks ago.

Now the YA community environment is heating up politically to some extent, with sensitivity readers and reviewers labeling books as problematic, which has caused quite a stir there, but for the most part, unlike adult fiction, the readership itself hasn’t been drawn into this jaded war of ideology. I don’t see regular readers shaking fists at messages, demanding more messages, or the like in YA. Some of the editors may be going off on “cultural appropriation” but I see it as the adult fiction trying to get its greedy fingers into the pie and corrupt the genre with their jadedness more than the genre itself lending itself to that. Most the YA readers I find want to sit down, have a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and read for fun. And that mindset is actually pretty refreshing.

When I released For Steam And Country, I was able to see this divide firsthand in authors/readers who checked out the book. I’ll start by saying I’m not intending on criticizing my readers or saying anyone’s wrong, but there is a mindset differential in the way that people responded based on their reading preferences. YA readers ate up the book, almost zero complaints about it, and it was incredibly well received. The more “hard” science fiction readers who came over to me from my last book for the most part enjoyed it as well, but usually there was a caveat or two with that enjoyment where I found a lot of nitpicking and criticisms of different elements of the book (sometimes people reaching totally opposite critical conclusions about the exact same things!).

A good author friend of mine, for example, said he didn’t buy into the book because the whole concept of a farmer girl going and being given command of some aerial weapon of war without any experience didn’t ring true to him.

I may have lifted that concept from somewhere. 🙂  It was an interesting complaint to receive. I don’t think he’s wrong, by the way, but the height of great fiction to me has always been ordinary people doing the extraordinary. But that level of critique when compared with something like Star Wars, again fiction meant for a YA-ish audience if we drill into it, would probably receive similar heavy criticism from a sci-fi literary audience if it were released now under a different name.

It actually is a change from the way Sci-fi used to be from prior to the 80s to now. In the old days,fun adventure, exciting characters and their circumstances used to be what was dominant in the field, and was subsequently replaced by extreme vetting of what “could really happen” that began with jaded industry insiders, and trickled into the ever diminishing SF/F reading public. This is the exact reason why science fiction has been bleeding readers for years — as most people who do want to read do so for escape, and for fun, they don’t want to be bogged down in perceived real world problems extrapolated into space and made into dark, gritty, angry messages that revolve around heavy scientific concepts that may or may not be feasible anyway.

YA allows the adventure to flow. At the start of reading Sarah Maas’s Throne of Glass, it’s easy to see that she has a few qualities: 1. She’s set up a character you get attached to 2. the pacing is near-frantic and completely unrealistic, but fun 3. it’s got compelling action both in the fighting sense and in the romance sense. It leads to something that someone wants to devour. If I scrutinized every single aspect of every element of the culture and world, I’d find something wrong that I could pick apart as “unrealistic”, but because it’s YA, we get a pass where we don’t have to do that. I’d posit that this story is as good or better than anything in the “real” SF/F field even so. And by the number of readers she has vs. the number of readers the more jaded SF people have, the public agrees.

The focus on character and driving plot is essential. YA does this with a big goal in mind: evoking an emotional response in the reader. The authors, by the way they write, appear almost care about nothing else. They’re not so wrapped up in their world building exercises that they bog a story down, they don’t focus so hard on metaphors and social engineering to try to create faux-literary nonsense which doesn’t stand the test of time anyway. They’re not caught up in the politics of the moment, but they’re out to create something enjoyable that they can relate to and so can their readers.

The mindset of these YA authors I’ve met and talked to is very similar to the #PulpRevolution crowd. They’re excited for fiction, in love with the work. They gush about other authors in the field and it’s really nice to see rather than the constant in-fighting of the science fiction community who seem to have this fear that there’s only so many slots for “real writers” and therefore tear each other down. These attitudes come across in the fiction as much as they do in the internet world.

I think that writers have a lot they can learn from YA, and should check out some of these authors for the sake of using elements to incorporate into their own fiction. It’s imperative if they want to survive in this ever competitive world, where YA fiction. because of its fun-factor. takes up an increasingly large slice of the pie. A few recommendations:

Laurie Forest – Wandfasted

Sarah J. Maas – Throne of Glass

Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games  (the series that really got this genre going!)

Brandon Sanderson – Steelheart 

All of these books incorporate fun, have action + romance, and really make you feel for their main characters. The worlds if you break them down all the way might not be “realistic” but as a backdrop for the story, which is all worlds are meant to be, they are intriguing and help propel it along.

 

When They Make The Point Better Than You Can

Doctor Who. I don’t need to say more. You’re already triggered. So we’ll move on from there.

I made a post on social media, a cheeky one out of amusement, that posited that Donald Glover should play Wonder Woman, and if anyone disagreed, they were by default racist and sexist. Nothing about the above BBC public television program, just this.

I’d say you’ll never believe what happened next, but exactly what I expected to happen happened next: everyone in the SocJus crowd who still bothers to associate with me came out of the woodwork to flip out about the matter. I not only affronted their new cause-of-the-moment — which is, seriously just the changing of a long time kids program television character — but I affronted another sacred cow, the Woman Of Wonder. It was doubly funny because Donald Glover caused a bit of a hooballoo about wanting to play Spider-Man years back, and caused this fake panic among SocJus types with that as well. A twofer.

I’ll note that there is no real racism or sexism or ism-ism involved on either side here, but just silly stupid reactions to something that doesn’t matter. The point holds though: if this woman can play a traditionally male character Doctor Who, a black man should certainly be just as capable of playing Wonder Woman. This is where the SocJus crowd should surprise you, but it won’t: they are absolutely horrifically opposed to the concept.

Because Wonder Woman is supposed to be a woman, which is the very thing they’re smugly proclaiming that anyone who doesn’t like this recent casting is saying in reverse about Doctor Who, while in the same breath calling them all sorts of names. The best part of this all is they default to a lower level aspect of this, the fantasy content specifics: that this is an alien time lord so that there’s nothing that says he’s supposed to be a man. They have this as a fallback to say it’s not political, their very public virtue signalling about this casting, because of it, even though they only reason they’re doing so is a gloating political purpose. And of course, the only reason the show is doing it is for a political virtue signal so that you and I talk about it on the internet.

But what’s great about this, these both being fictional heroes with superpowers, is that the core of the argument is that Wonder Woman cannot change her sex because it would undermine the character to change that, because she is not an alien being. Of course, the answer to it, is just, rewrite her as an alien being who can change her sex.

Imagine if someone did that, the outcry that they’d have about how wrong this is. These folk forget the history, that Doctor Who wrote this very alien regeneration into the storyline later to justify the changing of actors for the role (most these viewers don’t actually watch the old show so they may not know this). Therefore, what’s good for the goose, is good for the gander. And both don’t matter, because any writer can write any change at any time with legacy characters. It’s just when it’s political nonsense as a motivation, attempting to get a few short-term watches, clicks, sales, whatever, it annoys people.

Most people don’t like big changes to iconic, generations spanning characters, not because of a racist sexist ist-ist motivation, but because there is a certain amount of change that makes a character into a different character. These problems are always solved by just making your own thing, instead of trying to take a classic and morph it into something else that it’s not.

I have a great analysis of how Marvel Comics used this trick for years to try to get rubberneckers to tune in, and it ended with steadily declining long terms sales. You can read it here.

Now watch as the “nuh uh!” hate comments come in about how I’m just absolutely terrible for even suggesting to change such a sacred icon, and that they in NO WAY have political feelings about Doctor Who, but love to champion the sex change of the character anyway.

And if you’re really interested in great female characters. I am told I wrote a couple without having to make any political thing out of it, that appeals to left and right readers alike because it’s just about a fun story. Most of my readers would likely rank it better than the upcoming season of Doctor Who.