Monday, August 29, 2011

Song for the Week: Meshuggah - Bleed

Some musical caffeine from Meshuggah to start the week. (From Obzen)

The album version is better as it reprises the fast parts and brings the song to a better conclusion. Bah to the mainstream and their insistence on songs no longer than four and half minutes. Still one of my faves.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Succubus Summoning 201: Literotica or No?

A question from the comments yesterday:

"You mentioned "book", does that mean we won't see any new Succubus Summoning 201 stories being posted on Literotica, but instead have to buy your books?"

The answer is long and complex and when I went past the third paragraph in trying to type it into the comments section, I thought I may was well make it a blogpost.

It depends on how the whole 201 arc shapes up at the end. I stopped going chapter-by-chapter when I was writing 203 and realised I'd gone over 5,000 words with no sign of a sex scene in sight. There are a few new characters to introduce and a lot more background to reveal. 201 is also less episodic overall. This left me with a problem. Either post a huge big chapter on Lit, which no-one will bother to read, or split it up and risk posting a chapter with no sex at all. No-sex chapters go down very badly on Literotica unless they're romance-heavy Twilight clones. I figured my best plan is to write the whole thing out in rough (which I'm still in the process of doing) and then go back through with a chainsaw to edit the whole arc into a more pleasing shape.

There's also the tension between getting readers and getting paid. I love writing and I like posting work up on web sites like Literotica to gain exposure and for the feedback to make me a better writer, but I don't want to be the big soft chump who gives all his work away for free!

I know some writers start series on Literotica and then deliberately make the ending an exclusive to their book. I can see how it works from a marketing perspective, but it strikes me as a scumbag manoeuvre more likely to alienate readers in the long term. It's not how I roll.

I did think about making 201 book only, probably with a super-cheap first month price as a reward and apology to the long(-suffering)-term followers for their patience. I also considered taking down stories when Succubus for Christmas came out. I'm painfully conscious of the 'Why should I pay for it when I can get it for free?' argument.

I don't think Succubus for Christmas and Succubus for Valentine's Day have suffered too much for having some of their content available on the internet for free. It could be argued I might have sold more if those stories hadn't been available for free. It could also be argued I might have sold far less because new readers wouldn't have the faintest idea who I am. Personally, I like having stories up on Literotica for the exposure. If people like them, they can always buy the books to get more stories.

My current plan is to post the remaining chapters on Literotica if I can get them into the right shape. I started it there, so I want to finish it there. I'll keep some additional goodies back for the ebook version and I'll put it out some time before the run on Lit completes. I reckon that should strike the right balance.

It's a horribly long hiatus between 202 and 203, I know. Please have patience. I'm still only a part-time writer. I have to work 9-to-5 on my real-life day-job like everyone else. :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Background to Succubus Summoning 101

Remember my Succubus Summoning 101 series? (Yeah the one I will eventually get around to writing a sequel arc to).

Did you have any questions on Phil's background? Or maybe how the Wargsnouts College for Warlocks fits into that world?

I'm midway through the process of editing it into a book to come out early next year. Aside from fixing some dubious grammar and removing the recaps at the start of each chapter, I'm also going to add some extra scenes to give Phil and the world a little more depth. I guess the big question is...

What's missing from the original? What could be added to flesh out the story without adding too much baggage?

(Yes, I know, as the writer I should know the answer to these questions. I do have a good idea of what I'm going to include already, but I'm curious to see what you, the readers, think. Just in case I missed something obvious. Like with Nicole's last adventure and the ending which was a little too obtuse for anyone who hadn't read Delivery Special Soap beforehand. Nobody's perfect! :))

If all goes to plan, Succubus Summoning 101: the novel, should be out early 2012. Then I'll have to finish Succubus Summoning 201. ;)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Song for the Week: Akercocke - Leviathan

Another British metal band. Sadly, I'm not sure if they're still going. Both Choronzon and Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone are solid albums.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Eihi Shiina Double Bill, Part Two: Tokyo Gore Police

If you thought the manga/anime coming out of Japan was crazy...

Tokyo Gore Police. To use the cliché: it's exactly what it says on the tin.

The film is directed by legendary gore-fx master, Yoshihiro Nishimura, and, exactly as the name suggests, is incredibly gory. This is gore taken up to eleven. People grow chainsaws and cannons out of their open wounds, there's a duel featuring a quadruple amputee with blades on each stump, a girl with crocodile jaws in place of her nether regions, and gallons and gallons of fake blood. At one point a character even uses the blood spraying from his severed legs as a jet pack. It's that crazy.

It's what I love about Japanese films. They aren't afraid to leap out of the box and take off in weird directions to shock and surprise the audience. Sure, some might think the whole thing comes across as silly and nonsensical, but who cares when it's an excuse to come up with scenes of such audacious bizarreness they leave the viewer's jaw on the floor at the whole 'WTF' of it all.

Oh, and Eihi Shiina is lovely and serene throughout.

Once again, I realise I have much further to go.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Eihi Shiina Double Bill, Part One: Audition

Does anyone else think Eihi Shiina is just adorably cute in this scene (from Takashi Miike's 1999 film Audition)?

(In case the name Takashi Miike hasn't already set alarm bells ringing, I should, before you hit the play button, mention Audition is a notorious Japanese horror film. You have been warned...)

(... I still think she's lovely.)

No? I guess it's just me then.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Song for the Week: Cradle of Filth – Lilith Immaculate

A new feature for my blog. This is where I drive off even more potential readers with my highly dubious music taste. As if I wasn’t enough of a walking cliché already, I’m a metal fan. Here’s something light to kick things off.

I’ve been listening to Cradle since Dusk and Her Embrace. They’re a band with ups and downs. I’d given up on them after Thornography to be honest, but then they bounced back to form with Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder and the most recent album, Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa.

If I had the slightest idea how, I’d love to hire the modelling company Cradle use for their album inlays to do my book covers, but I suspect it would cost more than the books are ever likely to make. Maybe in the future, if my writing picks up enough popularity for it to be financially viable.

(A perv can dream, right!)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bargain Bin Slaughter: Madworld

I’m a big fan of violent video games, as I might have alluded to in the past, so when I saw this for the Wii for the bargain-bin price of £2.99 I couldn’t resist.

Violence, gore and sick humour; everything I enjoy in a computer game. It also has a succubus/vampiress boss with the most ridiculous pair of gag boobs I’ve ever seen in a video game.

I think I'm in love.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The state, the state, the state is on fire...

We don’t need no water let the muthafucka burn. Burn muthafucka. Burn!!!

The country of my birth, England, appears to be a little ill at the moment. I went back to visit this week, which also coincided with an outbreak of rioting and looting in the major city centres.

Yes, I’m now so maleficent my mere presence drives a country into unrest. Joke.

There’s been a lot of talk about the sick state of modern society in all the papers, but I think the illness is not the one they’re talking about. There’s an ideological schism splitting the country, one which, no doubt, any middle-leaning American will recognise with a dejected sigh. Read a right-wing newspaper and they’ll talk about a collapse in moral values which can only be rectified by a good caning, bringing back National Service or simply hanging the buggers until they turn purple and their tongues hang out. Read a left-wing newspaper and you’ll get a lot of handwringing about broken homes, poverty, boredom and legitimate protest.

They’re both bloody idiots.

Poverty is a debased term nowadays. These kids aren’t starving and they have access to far more forms of entertainment than children of decades ago. Several spots of unrest were organised through Blackberries and online social networks according to some reports. Nicking stuff because you feel inferior to multi-millionaire football players in the top 0.0001% or whatever of earners in the country is a fairly venal and piss-poor imitation of the Arab Spring uprisings taking place elsewhere on the planet.

What the kids don’t have is a future. That’s a problem. It doesn’t matter how big a stick you threaten to hit them with. They don’t care. They don’t have anything to lose.

What I hate is the media trotting out the same simplistic right/left-wing ideological solutions which have little relevance to a messy and more complex world. The troublemakers of the past week are scum and need to be punished accordingly, but if they aren’t allowed decent aspirations (playing football for Man Utd or selling millions of records are not realistic aspirations unless you’re phenomenally gifted and lucky) more and more youths are going to go ‘feral’.

The challenge for our glorious leaders is to reengage with these forgotten sumps of society and find a productive use for them. Maybe our politicians could start by setting a better example instead of fiddling their expenses and gorging themselves on the corporate teat. What’s the saying—the fish rots from the head.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Back from the Dead(line)

Ugh, that was painful.

I used to be good with deadlines. Sure, I used to faff around and procrastinate like everybody else in the time leading up to the deadline. Then, with the deadline suddenly imminent, I’d burst into life and get the project finished in a blaze of activity.

Nowadays that bursting into life is more like a feeble stirring followed by a resentful crawl leading to something being spat onto the screen a few weeks later, maybe.

It’s been the same for the last stories of every anthology I’ve written so far. This one was worse as I lost confidence in my ability to do the story justice about halfway through writing it. Normally I’d have tossed it back into the ideas file and gone back to it later, but I’d already made a commitment to contribute to one of eXcessica’s fundraising anthologies and didn’t have an adequate back up plan.

Anyway, it’s done. It’ll be appearing in one of eXcessica’s anthologies next year. I had to pretty much drop everything and focus on finishing that story, even though my productivity went to hell. I hate it. It’s an ugly baby that probably deserves to be drowned in a bucket. Maybe I’ll grow to like it after a few months. I didn’t like Arachne’s Web much after I took the route-march approach to getting that one finished as well. I like it better now.

Deadlines, avoid ‘em I reckon. Write whatever wants to be written and then pick whatever’s most suitable at hand when the time comes around.

Time to get this blog back up and running at regular intervals again!