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!

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!

 

It’s Time To Burn The Ships In Publishing

I still have a few readers out there who have zero concerns over entertainment industry blackballing issues. They’re firmly planted in the “it can’t happen to me” mentality, where “it’s okay” because “Trump supporters are mean!” or some nonsense. This is where most people would talk about fascism, but that word is losing all of its meaning these daysl, and that’s not actually fascist behavior in that instance. It IS communist totalitarian behavior, however. Which is in a lot of ways worse, as that form of government killed a lot more people, but for some reason we don’t talk about that in internet rants.

Before I get too far off topic dissecting different forms of evils that you don’t care about, I’ll get back to one you do: I learned that there is an author who had a manuscript rejected because multiple agents said this person “culturally appropriated” and that the author “doesn’t have the authority” to talk about this project.

That’s right. The piece was good, it would have been fine, but the problem is it would have had to come from a non-white author. 

The agents actively discriminated against an author because they are white. A white writer was told to censor what that person writes and that it’s not welcome in the industry because of solely whiteness.

Before you think this is an isolated incident in the entertainment industry, let me refer you to a couple of matters of blackballing that I’ve already uncovered in my personal experience and my investigative journalism. It’s constant. Conservatives cannot get jobs in the entertainment industry. Men now have problems getting jobs in publishing (to the point where I know several who have taken female pen names to get ahead, and it’s worked) and now apparently whites are unwelcome.

And this has been talked about a lot recently. Look up “cultural appropriation” with sci-fi authors and you’ll see the usual suspects of big name writers virtue signaling about it while doing whatever they want in their own writing. They want to shut you out and hold onto their status by lecturing you, even though half of them are hacks who only got there because of politics. It’s like the big Hollywood actors who go nuts about global warming, then guzzle fuel on their yachts and private planes. This hypocrisy happens in writing too.

But the end result of this “cultural appropriation” craze is that there’s no place for a white writer. I’ve been told by several editors to change names so that it has a “more diverse representation”. In essence, I’m told that I can’t put in a western civilization caucasian culture through names (of course, as a Hispanic writer, I may be culturally appropriating that now that I think about it…). If you can’t write that, and you can’t write other cultures, the logical conclusion is you’re NOT ALLOWED TO WRITE.

This is crazy in the land of the free, censoring what can be said and told only by certain segments of the population. It’s gotten so far out of hand that I’m to the point where I’ve advocated against gatekeepers before: but I think it’s high time writers write-off all traditional publishing. If this is the end result, you cannot create what you want, you cannot think the way you think, you cannot have been unfortunate to be born with a certain skin color, you cannot worship God and be outspoken about it, you cannot vote the wrong way and have it be known. That’s a lot of cannots! And that mentality is squashing the pool of artistic talent out there, as well as killing sales. Readers don’t want to be told what’s appropriate for them to read either.

I talked to an agent the other day about these issues and how for the simple crime of speaking out, there’s only one publisher who is ever even remotely likely to pick my work up at this juncture, and the agent didn’t disagree. What troubles me is that the agent didn’t seem to think that was a problem. For a debut novel, I actually had sales pretty respectable by traditional publishing forms. Last week I had an article that hundreds of thousands of people read and enjoyed. I should be on everyone’s radar. Reviews are all positive, and there’s a lot of them. Readers like my fiction and even more readers like my thoughts and journalism.

So why would a middleman go against their best business interests like that?

It all comes down to blackballing again. And here’s where I call to you writers: burn the ships and don’t look back.

By which I mean get rid of these middlemen and gatekeepers who have this mentality. You don’t need them. You don’t need the contract they offer you to be legitimate in the world today. Amazon, evil corporate monopoly that it is, has leveled the playing field and gotten rid of all barriers to entry. A “real” publisher won’t market you anyway — they don’t spend resources on new writers, only established brands. You’ll be left in the wind there as much as you are on your own, but without control of your own product, and receiving a lower percentage on every sale for your work. There is literally no benefit to these middlemen’s existence. They are only there to tell you what you’re allowed to write and what readers are allowed to read. Their opinions might not even match up with readers at all. 

You are a real writer. If you’re getting good feedback on your work, don’t hesitate. Put it out there. That’s the only way to get ahead: especially if you’re white, male, Christian, conservative, any or all of those things. They gatekeepers hate you for who you are, and it doesn’t matter how good your work is. Stop giving those Christaphobic racist, sexist bigots validation by seeking yours through them.

Don’t waste your time writing short stories!

As much as I see the authors waiting to get that agent or NY Publisher to pick them up, getting rejected over and over, even though their work is as good or superior to a lot of what Big Publishing puts out, I see authors trying to work the short story circuit in an attempt to “build up enough cred” that they’ll get noticed by one of these publishers.

It doesn’t work.

Now before I get a ton of comments saying “what about this person or this person” yes, there are exceptions to every rule. This is aimed at the vast majority of writers. I’m also not telling people to never write short stories. This is more targeted if your goal is 1. Exposure/Fame 2. Making money as an author from a newer writer perspective.  Obviously if you have stories to tell in short form, you have stories to tell in short form. As I write this, I am intentionally working on a short story which is already shaping up to be the best short I’ve ever written. I can’t wait to share it with you. But that said:

Submitting To Short Story Markets Is Even Harder Than Novels

It’s pretty easy to submit novels to a small press. Their overheads are not that high, to break even on a book isn’t all that hard. But short story markets are very small. There’s only a few “pro” paying presses, and they’re flooded with submissions. I’ve done a lot of slush reading for non-pro/token payments, and even those are overwhelmed. Your odds of getting a story published without being a friend of the editor, or someone with an established name is about 1/300. If you’re spending a couple weeks on a short story, taking that time even in non-pro markets, you’re going to get $50 for your work and very rarely at that. It’s not going to move the needle financially for you. Even if you manage to get in the Asimov/Analog queue, you’re still talking $250-300 and they’re only gonna publish a couple stories of yours per year, if that. Even long time folk who have gotten into that magazine get rejected more than not, and keep in mind they have a leg up on you because the editor has dealt with them before.

Then you go to the anthology market. Authors are invited for the most part to these. And usually they have 2-3 open “slots” for submissions. Pro-tip here: publishers use this as a marketing tactic to drum up interest for the anthology. Most writers are readers too, and it gets them exposure. You’re again a 1/300 shot at getting a slot there, and half the time those slots get filled by friends of the editor. If you’re not invited to begin with, you’re not in.

Frankly, for the investment and time, it’s not worth doing from that perspective. If your goal is to make money, the short story market is a disaster.

Your Story In An Anthology or Magazine Won’t Help You Build An Audience

Readers are fickle. There’s a reason why anthologies and mags get big names to headline them. There’s the hopes that BIG NAME will have their following buy the book, as there are completist collectors. That results in the vast majority of anthology/magazine sales. They do have some regular readers, but a lot less than you think. Here’s the main kicker though: just because you’re in a book with BIG NAME doesn’t mean people are going to read your story. Most the folk buying for that person are going to skip over other stories and just read the author they like. It’s a sad reality, but true. It’s very low help from a marketing perspective. You’d be better off trying to get people to find you through other means.

Publishers Are Looking For Novels.  For Practice—Write Novels.

The end goal if you’re not self-publishing and building an audience that way (which I recommend), is to have a publisher believe in you. If you have a few short stories out, so does everyone else. Publishers will want to see that you have completed long-form work that’s good, because that’s what sells. Short story collections don’t sell nearly as well, even big authors like Brandon Sanderson have their short story collections not do as well as their novels. For whatever reason, the novel is the preferred form of entertainment in reading and publishers know that. You may as well work on perfecting your craft in a way that’s going to be the most benefit financially to you and publishers in the future, by writing full length works.

As Sarah Hoyt said last week and I echoed, waiting to get that real contract is only going to slow your advancement down. If you spend all your time on short stories, it’s going to do the same. The market is what it is for now, and it’s possible it’ll eventually change. But get your full length works out there and keep writing them as fast as you can.

 

 

Last Day For Locus Award Nomination!

A lot of you have already been super helpful, but do be sure to write-in Star Realms: Rescue Run by Jon Del Arroz for Best First Novel. You can do so here:

http://www.locusmag.com/Magazine/2017/PollAndSurvey.html

I have a few other recommendations as well if you care to check out:

Best Novelette: “No Vacancy” By Bonnie Randall

Best Short Story: “Purytans” by Brad Torgersen

Best Publisher: Castalia House

Best Anthology:  “God, Robot” by Anthony Marchetta

Sci-Fi/Fantasy and all that there are simply too many great books for me to choose. Go vote! I know this form is a bit heavy on work, but you can make a difference as awesome SF/F readers!

Great Business Advice For Newer Authors

Sarah Hoyt wrote a fantastic blog over on Mad Genius Club that’s worth the read:

It is not the first time I heard this argument.  It won’t be the last.  Today, talking to a friend, discussing a definitely unfavorable contract I once signed, I got this answer “I’d sign that.  If I had just one contract, I’d know I was a real writer.”

Seriously?  Seriously, guys, you’re going to go with that?  Do you need your manuscript to be hand-copied by real monks too?  Or do you just need it to be printed in an authentic traditional hand operated press? Or will you just be happy if your books are stitched together by hand?

Exactly. I can’t even begin to tell you how many friends of mine are still out there with 3 or even 4 books just sitting, waiting, hoping that one of the dwindling number of editors with piles of books in the thousands to review will even bother to open their email. If you sell books, they’ll notice you and your manuscript will go to the top of their list. And at that point, you won’t need them anymore. All you’re doing by the grind is delaying your mark on the world, and people reading your work, which in theory is what a writer wants.

The time of gate keepers telling you what’s “worthy” and what’s not is over. They are middlemen preserving their very small slice of power, nothing more. Readers will tell you what they like, whether it’s good or not. If you have those, you’re well ahead of the game — and likely well ahead of many of the writers that have signed those contracts.

Hello Influx Of New Readers!

Those who have made themselves at home here know that every couple of weeks I post to give new readers a little “who I am” flavor. Last week had a lot of folk coming over from reddit, this week from my Federalist article.

Hi! I’m Jon. I write science fiction, comics (which I’d like to get back to. Art is very pricey and I’d need someone to want to work on a kickstarter or something like that. Ping me if this is you and you can work on something that’s 120 pages or so. I have a rockin’ graphic novel outlined, science fiction.) and I blog here a lot. I talk about in order of importance, not necessarily frequency:

  1. Christianity
  2. Free Speech
  3. Writing
  4. Sci-Fi
  5. Comics
  6. Games
  7. Baseball
  8. Whatever Else I Feel Like

Always something new. Always something entertaining. If you’ve only read reddit, my article, bleeding cool’s fake news hit piece on me, file 770’s fake news hit piece on me, my article on Vox Popoli, seen me talked about by friends Nick Cole, John C. Wright, Peter Grant or Brian Neimeier (all great authors), then the first thing you should to is check out my book:

Star Realms: Rescue Run  is a tie in to the hit deckbuilding game, but it’s definitely a standalone space opera work. It’s meant to be a fun sci-fi adventure and one of my favorite all time authors, Nebula Award Winner Elizabeth Moon, summed it up nicely:
“This game-related novel is a lively, action-filled tale that should appeal to those who want a space adventure romp with intrigue and a touch of romance. A disgraced ex-military thief, the thief’s snide former shipmate, a special operative who isn’t that good with guns, and the resentful son of an arrogant corporate executive attempt an impossible mission… and there’s a humorously glitched portable AI in the mix, too, breaking into song at odd moments.”

A lot of folk have compared me to her writing-style wise as well.

Rescue Run has been a Top-10 Amazon Bestselling Space Opera and is nominated for an Alliance Award for Christian speculative fiction writers, and if you’ve already picked up and would like to help it out further you can review it on Amazon and then nominate it for Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy category for the Dragon Award or you can add it for Best First Novel for the Locus Award (this voting ends April 15th, so go quickly here!).

Finally: Sign up for my mailing list for new releases and book giveaways! 

Come summertime, I’ll be releasing my 2nd book, a fantasy this time titled, For Steam And Country. It’s really awesome and I look forward to giving you all more information on that soon.

That’s all for now. Look forward to meeting you all soon and becoming friends.

Excelsior!

How To Apply For A Job In Mainstream Journalism

This has been one crazy journey, one in which I had no intention of traveling. You might say it’s like the classic hero story. Events happen that are out of young Peter Parker’s control, or in this case, my control, people started reading my blog and my work in earnest, and I learned that I had a vast superpower at my disposal: the truth.

With great power comes great responsibility, as someone once wrote, someone long forgotten by current sci-fi and comics publishers, who have worshipped at the altar of their cult of political correctness for so long. It turns out people are starved for the truth, and they shun that false idol that the SJWs have propped up.

Here’s a little backstory of The Adventures of Super-Hispanic Writer for those who just joined us.  I did a little research into the twitter accounts of Marvel writers, only to be shocked as to the level of groupthink by the writing staff.  

Then, Bleeding Cool, a FAKE NEWS comic website who virtue signals to giant conglomerate corporations like Disney instead of protecting independent artists like me — ironic as they’re funded by the small Avatar Press — decided that in order to shill for Marvel, they had to ignore the real content of my story and lambast me personally in a way that didn’t even make sense for anyone who actually read the article:

Disgusting behavior. Shame on you for attacking independent artists.

Well, there is a happy ending to this story. The Federalist, a legitimate, mainstream news source noticed my article, and hired me to expand upon it and write for a mainstream audience. The article posted this morning:

http://thefederalist.com/2017/04/12/forcing-political-correctness-employees-characters-killing-marvel-comics/

And now my reach is so much bigger than Bleeding Cool’s that it’s laughable. Thanks Rich!

There’s a moral to this story: don’t be afraid to tell the truth. I was honestly afraid for my future career when the folk on the convention circuit tried to silence me for my political beliefs. They thought it’d be a simple matter of pushing me away to obscurity and that’d be it. I was very much afraid of that — as they’d made a lot of us afraid to speak out over the years. They have the very real blackball threat at some of these big publishers to show you exactly how dangerous it is to speak the truth. Bleeding Cool did the same.

Yes, you won’t be able to work at Marvel. You won’t be able to speak at SJW converged sci-fi conventions. Tor Books will not publish you. You won’t win a Hugo award. But as creators are learning: you don’t need any of that stuff to succeed. You can get your work and your message out without them, that’s the beauty of the internet. Moreover it’s important to let the general public, who is unaware of all of this, know that these institutions hate them and everything they stand for. Those platforms are old and busted by political correctness and virtue signaling. You are the new hotness.

Stand up with me, friends. We can fight these villains and restore truth, justice and the American way.

 

Rescue Run Gets 50!

Fifty reviews on Amazon that is. For a total of 4.5/5 stars! Wow! Most recent reviews that got the book there:

“If you like fun, fast sci fi with a great crescendo this is for you!”

“I never would have tried the Star Realms IP if Jon Del Arroz hadn’t written in it.”

“This story is quite a bit of fun, and it moves at a good, brisk pace with barely a wasted moment. You won’t regret picking this up at all.”

“I found the plot to be well thought out, the characters sympathetic and believable, and the pace just right. The book was hard to put down, and I’m looking forward to the author’s next work.”

Wow! Thank you everyone for both trying out this book and for the high praise. Definitely energizes me to spend most of my free time writing. You make it worth it.

For those who came to Rescue Run and are interested in Star Realms: there is a free app for the game on ios or android. It’s simple and fun, that’s what got me so into the property. For those who came here from Star Realms, stay tuned. Going to be bringing you as many books as I can, as fast as I can, and I guarantee they’ll be at least equally as fun as Rescue Run.  Thank you again!