Jennifer Brozek | All posts tagged 'Tell me'

Tell Me – David Raiklen

I've backed this movie kickstarter because it looks like exactly the kind of thing I love. Toss in some of my favorite creators and how could I say no? They are very close to being funded. Here's David to talk about the awesomeness of working with creatives.

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Why Blood Kiss?

First, thank you Jennifer for letting me guest blog, I feel honored to contribute here plus it's great fun. There's a sense of magic on this site. And that leads to Blood Kiss.

There's a sense of wonder and magic in the screenplay and the people involved. I want to help bring a unique story to life, and work with some of the most wonderful creative people in the world. Neil Gaiman, Amber Benson, Michael Reaves, Tom Mandrake and Daniela Di Mase are warm, funny, creative, and inspiring. Every day one of them says or does something that makes me think, laugh, and do better than I could before. Being part of a great team is key to having a successful project, and somehow I fit into this creative team. We blend our skills and make something new happen every day.

We all want to make the best movie possible, and that involves a lot of people, time, money, and resources. With such strong personalities there are differing opinions, and finding a middle way that works for everyone is a real challenge sometimes. Designing the campaign for Kickstarter took months, and everyone contributed. Because we believe in the project, the final version looks great and holds your attention. All the parts fit and help tell the story. In a sense it's a microcosm of how the whole filmmaking process works. Collaboration-Communication-Completion.

I'm a composer and love the Golden Age of Hollywood. Blood Kiss is set in that world and gives me a chance to update grand romantic gestures and spice them with creepy electronica. To do that takes money to hire live musicians. People are better than boxes. And more authentic. That means we have to raise enough money to hire great performers, string players and brass. In a project like this everything goes on screen and the more we raise the better our production values. Everyone knows what classic movies sound like and I have to create that sound. A real challenge. But with the support of fans it's possible.

Michael tried to get the studios to see the value in a new kind of character driven, glamorous Hollywood vampire tale. They didn't get it. But you do. We can do this together with your support. That's kind of amazing, that Michael's dream can come true, Neil gets to act, Amber can sing, I can orchestrate melodies, do things we really believe in and do well. With fans giving us the green light.

A big reason I'm part of Blood Kiss is that crowdfunding gives me a chance to to my best work, be creative in ways the old system might never allow. If we have great success, maybe we can even change the system a bit.

I'm grateful to Michael, Neil, Amber, Tom, Daniela, Leah, Dave, Dan, Tommy, and Fernando for doing amazing work. Please see their work at PledgeBloodKiss.com We're making magic here!

—David Raiklen, Producer/Composer, Blood Kiss

Tell Me – Warren Schultz

The whole concept of Geek Field Guide started with the idea of traveling the world and documenting regional and local martial arts styles for others who share our passion for that sort of thing. The idea quickly took on a life of its own, and grew as we assessed where our talents and passions overlapped that we could provide a more compelling project to a larger number of people.

Some background… Photography has always been a great passion for me, and I’d always felt restricted by technology. Using cheap 110 film as a child was a great learning experience, but the quality ultimately left me disappointed by the results. The 35mm point and shoot that my dad owned was a significant improvement, but it wasn’t something I could go play and experiment with due to the rather significant cost of the camera for my family at the time. It wasn’t until college that I took a photography course and bought an old fully-manual Minolta SLR that I really grasped photography as an art form.

The ability to present a view of the world with such carefully-tuned composition and exposure was a door flung open in front of me into a new world. Between my third and fourth year of college, I took a trip to Italy through the university and studied art in Florence (Firenze) for a summer. This falls under the category of Life-Changing Experience. This was when I realized that I was truly happy out exploring and seeing the world, camera in hand. But… You can’t make a real career out of that, right? So I went home, and continued down the path of life toward jobs that happen in office buildings. Fast-forward through over a decade of game development from QA to co-owning an indie studio, a couple years of finally giving in and taking up fiction writing (including one published short so far), and splurging to get a DSLR, I finally had the experience I needed to re-assess my dreams.

Working in an office was no longer a requirement to my subconscious after freelance writing and dev work. I’d spent enough time living in hotels that I found that while it is essential to have a home base somewhere, the amount of time I feel I need to spend there isn’t that significant. I realized that the time to put all the skills and networking to use had arrived.

As the idea for The Project (as we came to refer to it) became more concrete to me, I started reaching out to friends with varied hobbies and careers for feedback on what would be useful to them. The response was staggering. Finding good reference for the types of projects that geeks do for fun and profit can be extremely time-consuming, or sometimes impossible to find. Everyone I talked to wanted to see me try to make this project happen.

I'm a tech geek at heart. While I no longer get as excited about technology for the sake of technology, new hardware, software, and techniques for furthering my art will grab my attention every time.

For this reason, the increasing low-light capabilities of DSLR cameras (I prefer to shoot in natural light), portability of HD video cameras (such as the GoPro), and techniques such as photogrammetry (turning a series of perspective photos into a 3D model), leapt into my mind as ways that we could document the world in new and exciting ways.

We tried to capture a cross-section of these techniques in our promo video on Indiegogo.

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/geek-field-guide/

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Tell Me - Janna Silverstein

Building a Worldbuilding Guide

How do you build a world? How do you convey that world to your readers? How do you manage the business of worldbuilding, whether it's your own world or someone else's? These are questions that everyone who's ever worked in science fiction, fantasy, and role-playing games has asked. When Wolfgang Baur asked me to edit an anthology of essays on the subject for Kobold Press, I was both excited and a little overwhelmed. It's a huge topic. I wasn't an expert, that's for sure. But between the two of us, we knew enough worldbuilders that we figured we might be able to get near to answering the question. And thus was born The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding, a collection of essays by some of the top worldbuilders in roleplaying and in fantasy, with an introduction by Ken Scholes, bestselling author of The Psalms of Isaak.

What did I love about working on this project? I loved working with the people who wrote for it. Wolfgang Baur, for example, isn't well-known to mainstream SF and fantasy readers but he's a rockstar in the RPG world, and he writes about the creative side of worldbuilding with the insight and flair of someone who’s done it his entire adult life. Wolf explains difficult concepts with ease and real authority. He explains what is and isn’t important with the experience of someone who’s done it for games including Dungeons & Dragons, Call of Cthulu and, most recently, the Midgard campaign setting for Pathfinder.

I loved working with Michael A. Stackpole, with whom I’ve worked for decades. Mike’s produced wonderful original fantasy novels including The Books of the Crown Colonies as well as novels in some of the most beloved licensed universes around, including Star Wars and Battletech. He contributed a dynamite piece on creating cultures. Jonathan Roberts, who created the maps for George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, produced a terrific essay on creating the topography of a world, and writes as beautifully as he illustrates. I loved working with Jeff Grubb, who writes about post-apocalyptic worldbuilding—and who presents some key insights about it that never occurred to me before. Jeff’s fingerprints are all over Magic: the Gathering, Guild Wars, and Star Wars, too.

In case you’re curious, I didn’t just edit the book; I contributed an essay about worldbuilding in licensed universes—breaking in, following the rules, managing your role in such a situation. I’ve worked with properties including Star Trek, Star Wars, Aliens, Superman, and so many others. I’ve got opinions and I didn’t stint in sharing them.

Now, I know what my friends in mainstream SF and fantasy will say; I know that there’s a prejudice in our business that divides novelists and book publishers from game designers and game publishers. We don’t talk about it in polite company. Having straddled the divide between the two industries, I’m here to tell you something very important: the business of building a world is the same, whether you’re writing a novel or designing a game. If there’s a difference, it’s in how that world is conveyed to an audience, whether via a novel or interactive storytelling. But the effect is the same: drawing an audience into a fully realized world, convincing them of its authenticity, and carrying them away from their own lives in the service of adventure.

There’s no question that this book, targeting as it does, aspiring RPG designers, has a slant toward game design. But the lessons apply to novel-writing in ways you may not expect. I certainly didn’t when I started this project, and Ken Scholes certainly didn’t until he started reading the essays in order to write his introduction. The people who contributed to this collection have made worldbuilding their business, and they have a great deal to teach. What I want people to know about this book is just that: There are teachers here offering decades of knowledge about what it takes to make a world live and breathe. Take their advice; it’s solid gold.


The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding
Edited by Janna Silverstein
Essays by Keith Baker, Wolfgang Baur, David “Zeb” Cook, Monte Cook, Jeff Grubb, Scott Hungerford, Chris Pramas, Jonathan Roberts, Michael A. Stackpole, and Steve Winter
Introduction by Ken Scholes
Kobold Press, January 2013
http://www.koboldquarterly.com


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Janna Silverstein is a science fiction and fantasy writer and editor with a number of anthologies and short stories to her credit. Her work has appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, 10Flash Quarterly, and in the anthologies Swordplay and The Trouble With Heroes, among others. She was twice a Writers of the Future semi-finalist. She edited The Kobold Guide to Game design, vol 3: Tools & Techniques, and the Gold ENnie Award-winning Complete Kobold Guide to Game Design, both from Kobold Press. She lives in Seattle.

 

Tell Me – Luna Lindsey

Printing Emerald City Dreamer - When Thoughts Become Reality

Why do I believe in faeries?

 

I'm not sure if I believe in faeries. You might call me a faegnostic. The existence of faeries is just about as likely as most other phenomenon of the unseen world. There certainly are enough eye-witness accounts to put them on par with more serious cryptids. Yet extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

 

What I can prove is that I write about faeries. And maybe I believe in magic.

 

Sometimes I get lost in all the mechanics and business of writing to remember why I focused in on these ethereal beings, out of hundreds of other speculative topics I might have chosen. Across three novels and a handful of short stories, I've written 275,000 words about faeries. So they must be important.

 

Over the weekend, I attended Faeriecon West. But not for fun. I had a quest to scope it out, with four simple tasks:

  • Find a spot to place my promotional bookmarks; 
  • See if any book vendors might carry my print copy of Emerald City Dreamer next year; 
  • Make some faerie-industry contacts; 
  • Develop ideas to promote my books at Faeriecon in the future.

I chickened out on most of these. A very jaded me walked past, with barely a glance, at merchandise I've seen at a hundred other cons. All the faerie costumes and glitter and twigs and flowers.

 

To fill the time, an uncharmed me listened with a skeptical ear to Raven Grimassi, who believes in actual faeries. His stories threatened to destroy my world-weary veneer, especially when he spoke about a faerie he met, who believed humans are the only magical creatures in the universe. Faeries can turn thoughts into things in a way that seems magic to us, he explained, yet these objects are made of ether that disappears when thought moves on. Only humans can turn thoughts into real things – by constructing chairs and buildings and books.

 

A me not-long-past would have reveled in the whole spectacle, silk and wands and pagans and all. Instead, I went home early.

 

It took at least an hour into the Woodland & Faun concert the next night for all the fae stuff to finally sink in, and I remembered what it is about faeries that has drawn me to them year after year.

 

It's their magic. It's not always good magic; sometimes it's quite terrifying. But it's magic all the same. Real or not, the fae represent the hidden wild nature of humanity: our animal instincts, our emotions, our occluded fears. Our subconscious, be it collective or individual.

 

Fae folk are earthy, childlike, capricious, and full-of-wonder. They are also vicious, cunning, duplicitous, and debauched. They represent the powers of creation and the other edge of that bronze-age sword: the powers of destruction. The fae are avatars of dream and nightmare, and that is how I present them in my Dreams by Streetlight world.

 

I am releasing Emerald City Dreamer in print this month, and I needed a reminder of their energy in the midst of the mundane work of cover design, font-choosing, layout formatting, software troubleshooting, and price-calculating. These tasks are as oppressive as cheap newsprint that rubs off on your fingers and clothes. Hardly inspiring.

 

As dull as the minutia of publishing can be, it is a form of creation no less important than the day two years ago when I created Ezra, the religious boy unaware he is a troll. No less charming than planning the BrughHaHaus, a University District dwelling full of faeborn housemates ruled by their Elf Queen. No less enthralling than giving the antagonist enough magic to torment, attack, enslave, and terrify my other characters.

 

No less vital than drafting, revising, and editing the thousands of words to form the novel in the first place.

 

And nothing could be as inspiring as the moment I first held a hardcopy of my novel in my hands, with its glossy cover, the captivating image of Jina staring at me, determined to use that sword or guitar or both; to turn it over and admire the layout on the back and spine; to flip through the pages and see all those words, in tangible form, for 320 pages.

 

In my novel, I label some people as dreamers. They are the creators of art who, through their power of painting or singing or writing, produce the energy consumed by the fae. The fae transform those dreams into glamour to create illusions – things that seem real, but are not.

 

Faerie magic.

 

In my way, I have done the opposite. I have transformed my thoughts and dreams into words, and then, through a humdrum process of layouts and formatting, transformed the words into a physical object – a book.

 

I made a thing from a thought, just like the magic described by Raven Grimassi's faerie.

 

It's no mistake that the word "spell" is a homonym with two meanings: "to correctly write a word" and "to create something of magic." A book is a real thing full of thoughts that, while imaginary, will never disappear.

 

Perhaps I am wrong to be skeptical. Raven's faerie spoke wisdom. Humans possess true magic.

 

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Luna Lindsey lives near Seattle, WA. At some point, she accidentally became an expert on mind control, computers, and faeries. She began writing full-time in 2010 and has been published in the Journal of Unlikely Entomology and in Penumbra eMag as the January 2013 Rising Talent. She tweets like a bird @lunalindsey and blogs at www.lunalindsey.com. Her novel, Emerald City Dreamer, is now available both on Kindle and in print.

Tell Me – Kelly Berger

I’ve known Kelly off and on for a while. I know she’s a hard-working, geek-tastic lass who is following her dreams. She really should be supported in this. Plus… ice cream!

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Today I'm pretending to be a writer.

This week I'll have to pretend to be a publicist, an accountant and probably a lawyer. What I'm actually good at is making ice cream. In starting up  my business, Cosmic Creamery, I spend more time pretending to be all kinds of other things instead of actually getting to make ice cream.

It's a very weird dichotomy: having to pretend to be so many things I'm completely unqualified for just so I can do something I'm really qualified for.

I love making ice cream. Ice cream is delicious, full of awesome memories and sooo customizable. Eating Crazy Vanilla at the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland on sweltering, humid summer nights. Stuck at home with the chicken pox and having my mom hand me a whole pint of Rainbow Sherbet. Every time I make a flavor I've had before, I enjoy it for all those good memories. I also adore designing new recipes. It's a snowball effect, the momentum is powerful. Ooh, I wonder if I can make a better Mango sorbet recipe. Wait, what if I added some cayenne pepper to it? What about a swirl of chocolate? The ideas just cascade all over the place. Not to mention when other people get involved! Anyone I've ever talked to about ice cream immediately wants to share their favorite flavor, or suggest flavors to me. A lot of the suggestions are really, really good!

Starting a business isn't just about the ice cream, though. As with many creative arts, you end up spending a lot of time tackling the business side of things instead of actually creating. So I do tons and tons of research. I read books, articles, and websites. I talk to friends and family who have done any number of the things I'm pretending to do. I spend waaaay too many hours at the computer, staring at spreadsheets and sending emails.

When it gets to be too much I go over to my notebook full of my own ice cream recipes. I flip through each page and remember how good it all tastes, I let myself daydream up more and more ideas (hmm, what about honey lavender ice cream? Or a chocolate blueberry sorbet?). If the day job and the small-business-starting tasks aren't too demanding then maybe I get a chance to actually get in the kitchen, churn something up, and scoop up a bowl full of sweet, delicious ice cream. Tonight I'm making chocolate hazelnut. What flavor would you like?

If, like me, you love ice cream, please consider backing my ice cream business on Kickstarter. We only have until March 3rd to get funded for this summer. I have some snazzy rewards for my backers, plus you get the opportunity to enjoy more of my out-of-this-world ice cream this summer.

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When not making ice cream, Kelly Berger spends way too much time reading, playing board games, and roleplaying. Kelly has been making ice cream as a hobby for almost ten years. Her successes (Blackberry/Lemon ice cream, Mango/Cayenne sorbet!) and disasters (Turkey ice cream) have led to the creation of Cosmic Creamery.

Tell Me – Erik Dahlman

Over the past year we’ve had to license game mechanics and intellectual property from a variety of game designers and authors. I’ll be honest, this used to seem like the most complicated and expensive endeavor in the world and scared the hell out of me. I always envisioned a week-long meeting with a roomful of high powered attorneys discussing terms and conditions, finally culminating with a contract signed in blood with a clause for my firstborn.

Fortunately, I’ve begun to look at licensing for what it really is: an additional revenue stream that you can leverage if you choose the right people to partner with.

This definition is of course from the side of the person licensing the IP. A good way to look at it is that you are partnering with someone that has the time and resources to take the world that you’ve built and introduce even more people to it. And as a nice side effect, you’ll hopefully make some extra cash along the way!

So what are a few things to look at? Let me turn the tables and tell you what it is we look for as a game publisher:

Strength of the brand
The greater a following your IP already has, the more likely there is to be some crossover with a new product. If you have a strong fan base, you can usually negotiate for a higher percentage.

Terms
I don’t make a game thinking that it’s going to fail, so I want to leave myself open to as many opportunities as possible to cash in on that success. This means I’m going to ask for the rights to produce expansions and a digital version of the game. Since we have the skill set to convert the assets we’ve already created in order to have them do double duty, this makes a lot of sense for us.

Another stipulation here is normally the length of time that a license can be utilized. Typically, I’ve seen a length of five years during which time the licensee should be actively producing and/or marketing the products using the license. Of course the term ‘actively’ can be pretty arbitrary so you have to be a bit careful with this one.

How much do we like the person we’re licensing from?
You may think that money is money and this doesn’t matter. Maybe for some people it doesn’t, but for us, we don’t want to deal with someone that’s going to turn what should be a fun endeavor into tedium. We tend to gravitate towards those with a similar vision and approach.

How well do we know the license material?
I think it’s difficult to really immerse yourself in a product and capture its full flavor if you don’t really know it. Our company doesn’t deal with anything if at least one of us doesn’t have intimate knowledge of the subject material. This is really the only way we can tie in little nuances that true fans would appreciate and make something that truly captures the essence of the IP in our products.

How passionate are we about it?
A game can take up to six months for us to produce (not counting manufacturing time). That’s a very long time to work on something that you don’t like, so we make sure that it’s something we really enjoy.

If you’d like to see the result of one of these licensing endeavors, check out Dragon Whisperer. We licensed the game mechanics from the legendary game designer Richard Borg and crafted a rich and vibrant world around them that we’re really proud of.



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Erik Dahlman is CEO of Albino Dragon, a game publisher based in Austin, TX. Within the past year, Albino Dragon has launched and successfully funded five Kickstarter projects that have raised over $180,000 to date by leveraging licenses ranging from Richard Borg’s game mechanics to Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu. An avid gamer and businessman, Erik strives to maintain transparency with Albino Dragon in an effort to help others also realize success in the industry and give back to the community.

 

Tell Me - Mary Alexandra Agner

LEGO Friends hit stores in January 2012. By then there had already been weeks of arguments online: is pink good for girls? These are dolls not building blocks! Who's going to play with them?

Olivia, the main Friend, has an inventor's workshop. I looked at that little LEGO lab and I knew she had adventures in the offing. I knew she had a love of real science and that she was going to grow from a young tinkerer to an adult engineer.

From my own experience in science and technology, I understand the importance of role models. I wanted to kick down the door LEGO left partially open by giving Olivia a hobby that was nearly masculine. I wanted to subvert the stereotype of science and make it something okay for a girl to love. While I may personally dislike pink, it doesn't matter the color of your oscilloscope. If you want to work with one, you want to work with one. If the color makes you stop and get interested, then good.

So I went to Kickstarter and some wonderful backers supported my project that twisted stereotypes about scientists and throw open the field for people who enjoy pastels. I wanted to write about how collaboration between adult scientists has its roots in being, and staying, friends. I wanted to be gleefully and unashamedly in love with the cool aspects of science, giddy about electrons and x-rays. I wanted to showcase the women working in science, both today and in the past. And I wanted to build telescopes and x-ray machines and microscopes out of LEGO and show Olivia using them.

Thanks to my backers, the stories are out there for anyone to purchase. Each one includes a color picture of Olivia, often with her friends, using computers and lab apparatus. She's got a whiteboard and a blackboard and she's not afraid of putting up equations.


Subvert scientist stereotypes by supporting stories of Olivia the Inventor as she recreates some of the grand experiments of science.

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Mary Alexandra Agner writes of dead women, telescopes, and secrets in poetry, prose, and Ada. As a freelance science writer, she's worked with Under the Microscope, Argonne National Laboratory, and other markets. Her latest book of science poetry is available from Parallel Press. She was born in a United State made for lovers and currently lives halfway up Spring Hill. Her advanced degrees include Earth & planetary science and creative writing. She can be found online at http://www.pantoum.org.

 

Tell Me – Brian White

Blown away.

That’s how I feel every time a story or a piece of artwork arrives in my inbox for Fireside, my multigenre fiction magazine. We’ve been publishing for a year now, and you’d think I’d be used to it, these sparks of brilliance (like the gorgeous fire scene Galen Dara did for our current Kickstarter pictured below). I think maybe that’s a sign of good art, that no matter how much you’ve read or how many pictures you’ve looked at, when something is beautiful, or powerful, or whatever it is that is grabbing you by the soul, you can’t help but be moved. And I’ve been lucky to have found so many brilliant people to work with on this magazine, people who get what we’re trying to do: tell great stories.

Before I launched Fireside, I had all these ideas: focusing on storytelling rather than genre, paying creators fairly, experimenting with crowdfunding. Then came all the work: finding writers and artists, figuring out how to write contracts, putting together the Kickstarter, running the Kickstarter, succeeding in the Kickstarter (WHEE!). Then I waited, because the deal I had with everyone was that they’d write and create the art only if the Kickstarter succeeded. I didn’t want people doing work they wouldn’t get paid for, if the Kickstarter failed. It was a gamble, I guess, since I didn’t know what the stories were going to be, and I was locked in with the writers I had signed up. What would I do if I got a bunch of stuff I hated?

One morning a few weeks later the little (1) appeared next to my email Inbox. It was from Ken Liu, and his story for Issue One, “To the Moon,” was attached. It was the first story I got to read for Fireside.

It was wonderful. And I knew everything was going to be OK.

Fireside is a lot of work, especially running Kickstarter campaigns. We had a Kickstarter for each of the three issues we published last year, and today we’re launching a new one, to fund an entire year of a totally revamped monthly magazine. We’re hoping to put Fireside on a more stable footing. It will still be a lot of work, but it also means even more magic in my email. And then I get to share it with the world. And I hope the world, or the tiny slice of it that we reach, anyway, has one feeling when we arrive every month:

Blown away.

 

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Brian White’s day job – well it’s really a night job – is as a newspaper copy editor. He has a healthy obsession with bourbon and fedoras. Brian lives in the Boston area with his wife, Lauren, and two cats: Bast and Peep.  Find out more about Fireside magazine at its website or on twitter: @firesidemag.

Tell Me – Tina Shelton

A Girl and her Rocketship: The Making of The Corsican

No one ever accused The Corsican of being a pretty project. My previous experience with writing had never been anything focused. You know the story; the first four chapters spring forth like Athena from Zeus’s forehead. Then one day you wake up and roll over and the story just isn’t as pretty as it was at three in the morning. You slip away unnoticed, and you never call, and you never write.

Not this time.  I had a directive, given to me by a friend. “Write a story,” she said. And I did. Then what? My project moldered in the ‘holding phase.’ I learned about the joys and pains of waiting to see if my story was accepted. Rejection is a terrible force, but sometimes it can galvanize you.

One day, having just finished an appointment in the unemployment office, my phone rang. My manuscript had been accepted by Anacrusis Press! I was so excited I shook. I had made it past the barrier! The moment felt like I had broken a ribbon, and finished the race.  What I didn’t realize at the time was that this marked where the race began! Pick up any book and you can see how much work has gone into it. Cover art, the font, the inside cover. Not to mention things like distribution channel and percentages.

No one tells authors that they are a small business creating a product line. Anyone knowing a writer knows how far and fast they’ll run screaming if they have to think about their baby as a product.

After suffering the slings and arrows of being a commodity, I’ve learned that marketing is in fact a necessary evil. I have learned how to figure out my target audience. I have learned that I love writing enough to brave a spot on the social stage. Writers tend to need their introverted nature to withstand sitting for hours in front of a computer, turning caffeine into words. It’s a system shock to discover they need other people in order to have an audience.

Stories aren’t meant for an audience of one, after all. No matter how desperately a writer loves their world, at the end of the day they want others to love it too. That desire, more than anything, drives a person to want to be published, to want to put their story on the world market and see how well it does.

Writing a book is an experience that goes on forever. From the first penned word to the special edition with alternate cover, this process transforms the readers and the writers. I loved the challenge of it. I loved it so much that I’m in the middle of editing rounds for my second novel. With luck it should be published around September. From there, who knows where I’ll go? After all, I have a rocketship to take me there.

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Born in Wyoming, Tina Shelton started writing stories in kindergarten and never stopped. Her love of stories grew as she did, taking her to far off planets and mythic realms of magic and swords. She moved to Washington in 1994 and felt instantly at home in the urban sprawl of Seattle. Her storytelling methods were expanded by a group of like minded fiction enthusiasts she met soon after her move. Today she lives in a large town that thinks it’s a city with her husband Luke and son Toby.

Tell Me – Matthew Marovich

Matt and I have been friends for a while. He's a budding writer and podcaster. When he told me about his charity fundraiser, I knew I had to have him on "Tell Me." Also, listening to him and Tyler talk about the various books is really funny. Good guy. Good heart. Good cause.

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It started last year when I said on my blog and Facebook that I was going to read Twilight in the month of February. The reason behind doing so was a challenge by a friend of mine to read something I frequently hated on, because how could I know my objections, gleaned from other people's reviews and snippets read on the Internet, were really valid without having ever really read the book. I admitted that he was right at the time, albeit grudgingly, and made it a project: a month of Twilight, "live" blogged as I made my way through Stephanie Meyer's first novel.

And then my friend Tyler had to go and screw it up by making it worse.

Instead of just one book he challenged me to read all four, the entire Twilight "saga", in one month and I agreed with one caveat, that if I suffered he had to suffer with me. With February being a short month and me on vacation in the middle of it we pushed our reading to March.

It was from this that our podcast Your Book is Why Daddy Drinks was born. We decided to record our impressions of these first four books, discussing what we didn't like, what few parts we did, and everything else about Stephanie Meyer's works, to the background of us drinking. And people seemed to like them. We moved on from there to other stories, touching on science fiction, fantasy, military thrillers, gonzo/bizarro, romance, and a host of other genres in the months since. The podcast grew into one part book review, one part comedy through suffering as other people used Tyler and I to suggest books they might want to read and hear about without having to suffer through actually reading them.

However, this post isn't really about that. That's just the history. This post is about the charity drive we've got going on right now, This Charity is Why Daddy Drinks.

Before every podcast, having been friends for over a decade, Tyler and I usually talk about the things we've got going on in our lives and we started discussing doing something to give back. We make no bones about the size of our listening audience, we've got a loyal but small following, but we wanted to see if we could use that to do something cool in an effort to give back and contribute to a charity. We discussed a number of ways we could go about raising money, and which charities we could give to, and eventually decided on Indiegogo for ease of use and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation because we both have people in our lives, adults and kids, who currently live with diabetes.

Here's how we're doing it: you, because the JDRF is awesome, donate money and, should we hit our mark of the very low $500 (we wanted an attainable amount), we will pay full-price admission to go see Stephanie Meyer's The Host on opening night in March of this year, surrounded by squealing, squeeing tweens. If you know Tyler and I, you know that the only way we could possibly ever be forced to do this would be for a good cause and we both agree that we'd suffer a LOT of bad science fiction for the sake of the JDRF. This possible outcome is especially painful for Tyler as he lives in SoCal and would have to drive himself up to the Bay Area, a journey of several hundred miles, because I have a kid and I'm not going down there.

Beyond suffering through The Host, we have a variety of stretch goals attainable if people are feeling particularly generous and/or have it in for making the two of us suffer. For every $200 past the initial $500 we will add a Twilight movie and watch them as part of a Google+ hangout. If we hit $1200 Tyler and I will do the hangout in costume as a member of the Cullen family. We do have a $1600 stretch goal but we're leaving that as a surprise if we get closer to the mark.

So that's our charity drive. If you want to make two guys have to suffer through angsty tween supernatural romance movies, or (and more importantly) you just want to give to a good cause, come on over to the Indiegogo page and donate and look us up on iTunes or at whydaddydrinks.net. We record every month!

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Matthew Marovich is a semi-professional author living in the Bay Area of California with his wife, son, and their two dog. His works have appeared on The Edge of Propinquity and in books by Blood Bound Books, Flying Pen Press, and Dagan Books; his next story will be appearing in the Beast Within 4: Gears & Growls anthology edited by Jennifer Brozek.