I am very excited to announce that my new dystopian novellaThe Producthas been chosen as the first work to be published by Superversive Press. As a co-founder of Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance, I spent several years working to discover and promote high-quality, freedom-friendly fiction. While theSuperversive movementhas a somewhat different focus, I have been watching and admiring it from the sidelines for some time and am now honored to become a participant.
About the Publisher:
Superversive Press is a new small press that aims to publish
Superversive Fiction and is an outgrowth of the Superversive
Fiction movement that aims to tell stories that are uplifting
and enobling. Heroes that are heroic, beauty that is beautiful,
the transcendent that is transcending, stories that say virtue
is real and Civilization triumphs over barbarism.
All of the goings on with Superversive Fiction can be found at
Join us for a brighter, superversive future for story telling.
I can only hope that my novella comes close to meeting those expectations. And that, of course, is for my readers to decide. Many thanks to Jason Rennie for giving me this opportunity, Ben Zwycky for editing and help with revisions, and Cat Leonard for somehow guessing the cover concept I had in mind and bringing it to life.
And now, without further delay...
The Product will change your life. It will give you joy and confidence, make you more aware of the world around you. You will find new friends. You might even fall in love.
Few people know its name. Fewer still dare say it. It is, after all, illegal. Users are jailed. Dealers meet an ugly death. Yet the temptation is irresistible.Kevin is a dealer. And he is about to get caught.
Sometime in early September, I came across apostlamenting the state of conservative/pro-freedom storytelling in general and cinema in particular. Machine Trooper writes:
"How is it that smart, hardworking, independent thinkers are consistently outperformed at cinematic storytelling by the left-wing hive mind? Why do ourmovies always suffer poor story telling, cheesy dialog and generally inept suspension of disbelief?"
How, indeed. There are, after all, plenty of talented writers who share our views (even if many of them are still hiding their opinions in order to develop and/or preserve their careers). And there are certainly wealthy individuals out there willing to contribute money to what we loosely call pro-freedom causes. So if it's not the talent, and not the money, what then? If you scroll down in the comments, you will see my answer: lack of networking. The full solution is a bit more complicated because there is work still to be done on the writing side as well if we are to keep going long-term. We need to nurture pro-freedom writing talent, and then to connect our storytellers with those who can help them make the stories more accessible to the masses. And much as I love the written word, nowadays it also means the movies.
As luck would have it, only two days later after making that comment, I attended a kickoff party for Calliope Writers' Workshop, co-sponsored by Taliesin Nexus and Liberty Island I am happy to report that an effort so many of us have wished for does already exist, and picking up steam.
From Taliesin Nexuswebsite: "In order to encourage the creation of great stories, we serve as a nexus between up-and-coming filmmakers and experienced industry professionals who share a passion for a free society."
It was truly great to see that Liberty Island, an online magazine (and now a book publisher) that gave me a start and an inspiration for writing fiction, is also a part of this exciting venture.
And exciting really is the word. As I stood in that room at Crowne Plaza Hotel in NYC, surrounded by a buzzing crowd of creatives of all ages and those with vision to give them voice, I realized a few things. The time for complaining and wishing has passed. The time for stifling our creativity for the sake of acceptance has passed. We have the talent, the drive, and the energy to succeed. Combined with the infrastructure that is even now being built, piece by piece, one dedicated mentor, one generous investor, one contrarian marketing professional at a time, we will get there. Our voices will be heard, our stories read, our vision shared. Let's get to work, people. We have a culture to build.
Dragon Awardsresultshave been announced, and there is already an abundance of blog posts and commentary available from people more eloquent than I, who are much more familiar with the some of the more intricate details.
Why, then, am I taking the time to write yet another post? I suppose for the same reason anyone writes anything: I believe that I do in fact have something different to say, coming as I am from several different perspectives.
As a nominee, I am of course both flattered and humbled thatmy debut novelhas touched enough fans to be placed in the company of some of the biggest names in fantasy and science fiction. My first reaction was that I didn't belong there, but then I realized that it was not, in fact, true. After all, the very point of a fan-driven award is that the fans decide who belongs, and their voice is not to be taken lightly. Those familiar with my views regarding other types of awards will know this opinion is not new to me, nor will it change depending on my personal success or lack thereof. Thus, I thank my fans as well as the fine folk at DragonCon for getting me to this point and giving me and other new indie authors an inspiration to carry on.
As a reader and a fan, I love to see quality writing publicized and rewarded for the simple, selfish reason that we are now likely to see more of it. Not that prolific authors like Correia and Wright and Butcher ever needed a reminder to hurry up and give us more books, but it works on a wider scale. Once authors realize that the doors to success and professional recognition are no longer guarded by the select few and access no longer filtered through a particular prism, more creativity will naturally result, to the delight of those of us always trying to find fresh fuel for our love of reading.
As a co-founder ofConservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance(join us! we have fun! and books!) I am gratified to see our members among both the nominees and the winners.Larry Correia,Nick ColeandBrian Neimeier(with credit to editorL. Jagi Lamplighter) won their respective categories.Declan Finn,Mark Wandrey,Dave FreerandGibson Michaelsreceived well-deserved nominations, and are no doubt are on the road to bigger and better things as a result.
Last but not least, as a minor culture warrior of the "home front and covering fire" variety, I must give special mention to a the authors whose wins have a special meaning to those of us concerned about the state of the culture in general and arts in particular.
Nick Cole had his now award-winning book was rejected by the publisher for openly political reasons, as previously covered in myCensorship post, forcing him to choose between artistic freedom and losing the publishing contract. Nick wisely put the art first, and clearly the fans approved.
John C. Wrightsome years ago joined a small but select group of authors (Andrew Klavan, Dean Koontz and David Mamet come to mind off the top of my head) who, after a period of critical acclaim, miraculously "lost their talent" after becoming vocal about their unapproved political views and/or religion. Or so all the "important" people would have you believe. Fans think otherwise, and fortunately it's the fans and not the now mostly ineffectual gatekeepers will always have the last word.
Why are the above examples important? Because they show to those of us occasionally hesitant to stay true to our beliefs that it can be done. You can succeed and be appreciated without the express approval or help of those who put their ideology above art and want to bend everyone to their will. Especially in a genre that is meant to thrive on imagination, freedom of thought is not a luxury. It's a requirement.
All in all, pathetic grumblings from the usual dark corners of the 'net notwithstanding, Sunday has been a great day for writers and fans alike, no matter what our genre preferences might be. Here is to many more years of great books, inspiration and above all FUN! Once again, many thanks to DragonCon organizers and everyone who played a part in making the awards happen.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have more reading to do.
**Cross-Posted from Marina's Musings**http://marinafontaine.blogspot.com/
This is a tough one. How to review a novel that doesn't play by the rules, that switches genres, tone and even characters without warning? (That last part might be overstating it, but not by much). I was almost prepared to take a coward's way out, put a one-liner "Great stuff! Buy it!" on Amazon and call it a day. But then I remembered the true purpose of a review. Aside, of course, from helping sales and visibility by its mere existence (yes, kids, authors need reviews,but that's another blog post) a review acts as a matchmaker between the book and the reader. Thus, itcould be done without excess reference to the particulars, but simply by describing what type of reader would enjoy the work. With this in mind, here comes the "Will you like this?" test.
You will enjoy this novel if:
You believe in the power of love in all its forms. Romantic love, sure, but also lovethat is inherent in deep, abiding friendship;a scholar's love of knowledge and a philosopher's love of truth; and ultimately, if you're a believer of any stripe,the Creator's love for this world and all its inhabitants. While the story is given its momentum with a simple hook of two lovers in an exceptionally difficult and strange predicament, it rises well above its humble beginnings by the time it's all over.
You are tired of bland, interchangeable characters that populate most modern fiction and are ready to meet real heroes and villains, characters who are more than they appear, subject to forces and passions of epic proportions, and who never cease to surprise you as you follow them on their journey.
You appreciate the plot that keeps building and revealing layer upon layer, making you climb along the twisted path until you arrive at the pinnacle of a perfectly satisfying ending. The novel bends and mixes virtually every genre, from romance to urban fantasy to heavy-duty mythology to horror, in a way very few authors attempt and fewer still succeed.
As for the reading experience itself, I would almost want to compare it to playing a video game, one where you finish a simple level and then go on to something more challenging. I am not a gamer, but I kept getting that feeling while moving from one chapter to the next. Each step brings more revelations, more complexity more demands on the reader's brainpower and attention span, and you come out on the other end having not justreadbutexperiencedsomething very special. This is a novel well worth your investment, both in time and effort. It will stick with you long after the last turn of the (virtual) page, and you will be the richer for it.
********Cross Posted from Marina's Musings (marinafontaine.blogspot.com)*******
Alaska Hunt is marketed mostly as M/M romance due to the nature of its publisher, but to pigeonhole it that way would be to sell it short. It is primarily a mystery/psychological thriller that contains a strong romantic element. The setting in Alaska gives it a different feel from most mysteries, and the protagonist is not a professional detective, but someone who takes extra interest in the case partly for personal reasons. And then, predictably enough, it gets REALLY personal.
The romance subplot comes naturally enough within the story, not just the usual "let's throw in a love interest" trope. It is an M/M romance between adults, one of whom is fairly comfortable in his own skin and the other is still figuring out his sexual preferences, but beyond that both of them have to decide where they belong and what they want to do with their lives. There's mystery to solve, tragedy and loss to overcome, and all the while, mortal danger is just around the corner ... The writing style can be somewhat disorienting in its combination of highly descriptive, almost flowery prose with a decidedly hard-boiled, unabashedly masculine vibe (think Andrew Klavan meets Nora Roberts). But then again, that's what makes it interesting to a reader who is open to trying something new.
I liked the variety of intertwining themes of the novel: healthy respect vs. worship of nature; modern man's quest for fulfillment vs. individual responsibility; and the many facets of what constitutes romantic love.
The mystery itself gives plenty of clues to anyone paying attention (although there is a good reason for the protagonist to be slow on the uptake), and so the Big Reveal is not particularly shocking, but the extra-thrilling final confrontation is still a nail-biter, and the ending is satisfying on every level.
I recommend this novel to any avid reader looking for a change in their usual fair. No matter you normal reading preferences, you are likely to find something in here to appreciate. Read it for the mystery, or the "non-traditional" romance, or for the vicarious trip to Alaska that you get from the vivid prose. Whatever your particular reason, it's worth checking out.
The Conservative-Libertarian Fiction AllianceAnnounces Finalists for 2015 CLFA Book of the Year.
(April 5, 2016) - The Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance (CLFA), a network of authors, readers, editors, publishers, reviewers, artists, and cultural leaders who read, write, and promote pro-liberty fiction, has released the list of the ten Finalists for the 2015 CLFA Book of the Year award.They are (in alphabetical order by author's last name):
To qualify, books had to be novel length (minimum 50k words) fiction first published in the calendar year 2015. Self-published, small press and traditionally published works are all eligible, including e-book and audio formats. Authors need not be members of the CLFA or even consider themselves to be politically aligned with the CLFA in order to be nominated and win. Books were nominated by members of the CLFA closed Facebook group. The top ten nominees are the finalists.
Voting to determine the winner will commence on June 1st via a Survey Monkey poll, which will be open to the general public. A link to the survey will be posted on the CLFA public Facebook page and at conservativelibertarianfictionalliance.com, and shared via other social media at that time. Voting will conclude on June 30, and winners will be announced shortly thereafter.
Good luck to all the nominees!
# # #
People interested in joining the
CLFA closed Facebook group may visit www.facebook.com/groups/CLFAgroup/
and request to be added.