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August 5, 2009 — 1,673 words

Q&A With Brian Spaeth

By MCM

Many of you already know Brian Spaeth, famed practitioner of actoring and writering... but for those who don't perhaps this little interview will shed some light.

Brian is the author of the reading book Prelude to a Super Airplane, which you should buy as soon as possible.  I spoke to him earlier this week via email, which is as close to being a journalist as I can get.

I know you're a writer, but what else do you do?  What is actoring, and does it involve duct tape?

What else do I do...that's a good question. Depending on the day of the week, and the week of the month, it could be any number of things. Almost all of my time right now is going into setting up the promo for Who Shot Mamba?, my broadband motion picture.

When that's not happening, I'm writing a book, writing my blog, lifting weights, writing about lifting weights, being scared of animals, and walking around grocery stores looking at which products have changed their logos recently. I have an unfair branding and graphic design fascination that often exposes me as a person who is like that.

Also, you know I've sent you a copy of WSM?, and when you see it, you'll understand the true power and meaning of actoring.

How has your background in film helped prepare you for writing?  Are there any similarities?

I'd say it's helped me in several ways, the biggest of which is that I learned the storytelling.

With screenwriting, you don't really have the freedom to go off on long tangents or descriptive meanderings and such. You need to be able to tell the story as efficiently as possible. This is a good skill to have. Secondary to that, I really figured out what type of material is the right combo of what I'm good at and what I like. Fortunately, these are exactly the same the material.

If there's a novelistic drawback, it's that I don't excel at writing prose with regard to the internal feelings of characters, and get bored writing extensive personal histories into the narrative. Apparently many people expect these things in novels. It's not that the stuff isn't there for the characters (i.e. in my head), it just doesn't go on paper. I suppose that's why I'm often told my book work reads like a screenplay in a certain way.

I have no problem with this - it's not like I'm writing Schindler's List. If it's entertaining, I did a good job. That's like my only rule.

Your book "Prelude to a Super Airplane" is considered a masterpiece in many circles.  To the uninitiated, what's it about?

Can I just steal this from the Amazon listing?

In the year 2012, These United States of America is politically divided to a magnitude not seen since the Civil War. On one side stands the fast emerging pro-flying car contingent; on the other, the stubborn and traditional pro-airplane members of the populace.

At stake? The entire future of airborne leisure and transportation.

Set against this tumultuous backdrop, a young fiction writer has written a book about the only thing that can save the airplane riding industry - an impossible to conceive, 47-story airplane of such power and wonder, the world will have no choice but to submit to its glory.

The world's first comedy-political thriller-mystery-drama-romance-action/adventure-science fiction-showbiz insider-horror-family-energy drink industry insider-holiday autobiography, Prelude to a Super Airplane weaves the lives and destinies of 40 people and one moon probe together in astounding ways, as they all find themselves facing the future of airplane riding...the Super Airplane.

It's basically Lost on a sugar-high, via Michael Bay and Airplane!. Also, despite what it says inside the text, there are actually five books planned, not including the Radby spin-off.

If you look through the nonsense, there's a pretty thick mythology that's been woven, and I'm excited to see it through somehow one day. Hopefully in movies or as a TV show, so I don't have to write the books ever in my life ever.

You sell in print and Kindle, and also give away big chunks of your book online.  Which methods work best for you?

None. NEXT.

Truthfully, there are two facets to this.

One, I never set out to be a novelist, so anything I've done in this space has been a total accident. My primary focus is film, and with Who Shot Mamba? coming this October, all my marketing efforts have been in that direction. My secret hope is the movie hits big, and then I sell a bunch of books on trickle-down. Then all the faux-book-marketing-gurus will write articles about how the key to selling your self-published book is to make a feature film.

The other thing is that I don't enjoy the business end of things. It's not that I can't or won't do it, it's just that I don't enjoy it. Since the books aren't my primary focus, I kinda blow that part off. In the end, most of my sales came right at the start when I was talking about it a lot.

But I get bored, yo. And I don't enjoy self-promotion. I may have self-esteem issues - I feel bad telling people to buy stuff from me. At the same time, I love myself.

These contradictions - wonderful, yeah? I am crazy like you - this is why we get on so well. I've never said "get on" in that context before - it makes me feel British.

Who is Brad Radby, and how did you manage to get him to write a foreword to your book?  It was blackmail, wasn't it?

It wasn't blackmail at all - I'm a master of persuading important movie directors to write things for me when that same director isn't busy producing my films and letting me use their name as a character in my books. You do know Brad Radby is a real guy, yeah?

Tell me how confused you are about Brad Radby on a scale of 1-10.

If you could be any airplane in the world, which kind would you be?

14.

I honestly don't know anything about airplanes. When I did the to-scale diagram for the 47-story Super Airplane against the one-time Sears Tower, I was shocked (and pleased) at just how unrealistic it was.

I don't know why, but it just struck me that we should do some kind of cross-over short-story jam. Like have one of your characters have an adventure on the Super Airplane. Let me know what you think about this - keep all this in the interview, also. This is like open-book idea-having.

Do you have any marketing tips for new writers?  What is your #1 marketing technique?

1) Twitter has been amazing for me. Used correctly, you make friends. Friends support your work and tell others about it for you. And I like never talk about my books on there, and rarely even RT when others do.

What's really fun is I've seen people pick up terms like "actoring" and other vernaculars all on their own after reading my stuff. They just use it because they think it's fun, and when people ask where the heck they picked that up, it's basically marketing for my book, without doing any marketing at all.

2) Keep a blog and update it regularly. Make it good, and honest, and not a big sales pitch.

3) Don't sit on your book. Don't sit on your book. Don't sit on it. Get it out there, and while you're doing that, get the next one going. One book will not make your career - do not think this way. I don't want to say quantity over quality, but someone with a ton of ideas, and energy about those ideas is exciting, and that's a marketable quality in and of itself. (Hi, MCM!)

4) Semi-related to #3. Get YOU out there. "If you build it, they will come" is not a marketing strategy, and neither is a good book all on its own, especially in the area of indies. Even in the big leagues, JK Rowling and her personal story has been a massive asset to the Harry Potter franchise.

Do you truly believe Keanu Reeves would make that bad of a President?

I don't understand why you describe him as "bad". He's an exciting President! Look at those plans he has - he's makin' moves! He's shakin' the world up!

Nobody would be able to resist seeing a movie with Keanu Reeves as President. Give me a studio to run - I need to prove this.

What's next for you?  Any cool projects on the go?

I'm hesitant to say much - I want to be like Apple and just drop stuff on the ususpecting masses from now on. But...you're cool, so why not:

WORLD WAR 2002

Not saying what it is yet. It could be many things. It might just be a new kind of word puzzle. You'll be able to find out right around Christmas, during the holiday hiatus of Mamba.

Oh, and related to WSM?, I have a mini-book (30 pages or so) coming out in September, explaining how the source material became the movie. I think it's a neat little package, and a pretty cool intro to the movie itself.

A very special thanks to Brian for answering my journalistering questions so thoroughly.  Now go out and buy his book before I subject you to more silliness!

August 4, 2009 — 658 words

Topic Tag Tuesday: The Cottage

By MCM

Today is Topic Tag Tuesday, where someone on Twitter picks my topic and I have one hour to write a ~500 word story about it.  This week's story is based on heliosengine's topic: "a horror story written from the perspective of a literal fly.. on a wall."  Next Tuesday, heliosengine gets to invite people to suggest topics!  Yay!


The knife tap, tap, tapped against the glass window, making a horrible noise as it slid down like a snake.  The yellow-haired one turned slowly in the darkness, face lit by moonlight, but saw nothing.  She’d missed the knife, the mask that had been there, the red in the eyes.  Not Sandy.  She’d been watching that window like a hawk.

“Did you hear that?” the thick one say to the yellow-haired one.  “What was that?”

“I knew this was a bad idea,” the yellow-haired one said, her voice wavering like the beating of wings.

“Shhh, let me listen!” said the thick one.

Everyone sat perfectly still, even Sandy.  She so wanted to stretch her legs, but if the bigguns were being quiet, she felt a certain obligation to do the same.  Besides, the room wasn’t especially interesting anymore, now that the lights had all gone out.

A long, shiny knife stabbed down into the thick one’s shoulder, and he screamed, fell forward, and tried to get away.  There was blood all over the place, but what was most frustrating for Sandy was that if the masked biggun was inside, that meant a door or window had obviously opened, and she’d missed it.  She was about to beat herself up about it when she noticed the thick one was about to fall into her.

She shot through the air as fast as her little wings would go, weaving left and right to avoid the masked one, trying not to panic with all the screaming going on.  She landed on the ceiling, far above the fray.

The thick one was gurgling blood now, trying to protect himself.  His fingers got chopped off, and Sandy fought the urge to go see if they were tasty.  She liked hot dogs, and these looked like hot dogs.  She wondered if this is how they made hot dogs.  Hopefully not.  It was horribly inefficient.

Now the yellow-haired one was at the back of the cottage, hands gripping some kind of silvery tube thing, pointing it at the masked one.

“Get off him!” she yelled, and he looked at her suddenly.  The yellow-haired one aimed the silver thing up at the ceiling, and without warning, the wood right next to Sandy exploded!  She took off into the air, zigging this way and that as splinters rained down.  She hated the normal rain, but this was absurd!

When she finally got her footing on the wall, the yellow-haired one was exploding the masked one all over his abdomen.  Still, the masked one kept on coming, like he was one of those ants that doesn’t need a head to move.  Those things were creepy.  Sandy could understand why she’d be exploding him.

Finally, the masked one got up close to her, and he stuck the knife right into her eyeball, which was (in Sandy’s opinion) a tragic waste of an eyeball.  The yellow-haired one got all jumpy and fell on the ground, looking all quiet.

And it was just as the masked one fell on top of her, blood pumping all over the floor, that Sandy realized what she’d been watching:  this was how they made maggot farms!  Boy was she glad she hadn’t escaped out the open door after all!  What a great night!

August 4, 2009 — 656 words

Reader Question: Letting Things Die

By MCM

I am going to try this thing called Reader Questions for a while, since I have some interesting ones that come up from time to time.  Today's is about letting things die.  Prepare your cleavers!

How do you decide what stories or characters you are going to write about, and which ones you have to let die without being written?  I  have been working on a book for four years, and I cannot figure out how to make it work.  Should I just give up?

This is from Josh, whose last name I will withhold because it seems appropriate.  This is a question I actually get a lot (which I find funny, because evidence would suggest I don't let ANYTHING die), but nonetheless...

I like to do something I call Literary Darwinism.  It's pretty simple, really: I have, in my head right now, about 30 or so distinct stories that are largely unwritten.  Hundreds of characters, all in various stages of development, all waiting to come to life.  Most of my ideas are not written down, but those that are have been written as short stories or half-finished books over the past 18 years.  Of all those ideas in my head, I think The Vector is only the second one to fully mature to something you can see.

What happens to the rest?  They die horrible deaths and get merged with each other to become stronger.  I have one character who you've only recently met, and he's been in my head since I was 14 years old.  Now, your typical character at 14 isn't that well-formed, if only because you haven't lived enough life to really mess them up properly.  So (aside from some half-done novels), he hasn't done much of anything except bounce in the ether, waiting to find his story.

At one point in the recent past, he almost came to life in a very different incarnation.  He was going to be good at his job, with a history in the military, and ready to kick ass.  The story I imagined for him made perfect sense, and I was getting excited to write it.  Then someone asked for a sci-fi story, and one thing led to another, and the character ended up dropping out in favour of someone more suited to the role.  Same background, different personality.  The original character floated around in my head again, and I only recently pieced together what I wanted him to do.

The original story I imagined him in, way back when I was 14, was about a strange kind of Prohibition, missing politicians and dead women hanging in closets.  It needed work, but once my older-and-wiser mind took a close look at it, I could see how it would update.  I borrowed some elements from other stories in my head (making their respective characters cry) and beefed it up as much as I could, and then... I put it on the shelf.  This was the end-game, not the start of the story.  I needed to write a series of prequels, leading up to that one.  He needed time to breathe before he went on his Biggest Adventure.

So Josh: you can give up your book, but don't give up your book.  If you decide to shelve it, don't read it again.  The things that stick on your mind are the things worth keeping, and the things you don't remember are the things you're best forgetting.  At some point in the future, you'll think of what's left in your memory, and you'll say:  "Wow, if I just added a pink elephant, it'd be perfect!" and I think you'll find the result will be more to your liking.

Oh... that character I've been nursing all this time?  He's a private eye with terrible luck, and while YOUR first experience with him is "Fission Chips", mine is called "2 Blue".

August 1, 2009 — 685 words

Saturday Update

By MCM

Due to my obsession with iPhone app creation, I neglected to post here for several days.  Happy August!

RollBots

Just a little over a month until RollBots starts airing on CW4Kids in the US, and I can't wait.  I will have to figure a way to re-post my recaps so everyone can see them again, now that they'll make sense.  I don't know when we start airing new eps on YTV, but I'm assuming it'll be around the same time.

The App

The App starts today and runs for the entirety of August.  It's about a programmer trying to make an iPhone app, and things go horribly wrong. I am not that good at horror (either writing or watching) so this is kind of a horror/thriller/scifi hybrid you'll be reading.  I'm trying to write to a visual length this time (which is to say: I write until I fill two formatted 5x8 pages), so the chapters are short.  Also, each chapter takes place on a different day, so you only ever get a short window into the character's life.  It's more fun that way :)

Topic Tag Tuesday

Topic Tag Tuesday starts (wait for it) this Tuesday, and follows a fairly simple theory: I will "tag" someone on Twitter, and they need to reply to me with a topic.  Any kind of topic.  And I will write a 500-word story using that topic and their name, and post it here.  The next Tuesday, they tag someone else, who then sends me a new topic.  And we repeat.  It keeps my brain working, helps me find new friends, and should be lots of fun for everyone.

Logo Thursday

If only there were a day of the week that started with "L".  Logo Thursday is much like Topic Tag Tuesday, except a tiny bit sillier.  Send me the name of a company, a secret society, a personal brand or anything else made-up, and I will draft a logo for you as fast as humanly possible.  I won't do REAL companies, and you don't have any input into how it looks, but it's the process that counts.  I am having a miserable time getting Xander and the Wind completed because my artsy skills are growing rusty, so hopefully this will help.

The Vector on Kindle for $1.99

For a limited time only, buy The Vector on Kindle for $1.99.  This undercuts my personal eBook sales, but unless you make some sales on the Kindle store, you never get anywhere.  So yes.  Go buy it.  Now, if you can.

Test of the Emergency Broadcast System

You will hopefully not see it in the RSS feed, but right before this post, I'll have written my first "subscription only" entry to the site.  Don't worry, it's nothing too exciting.  I mostly need to test that it works.  That new premium space will be the place I post the stuff deemed too sensitive to show the world, like whatever happened to D'Myr, insidery information about working on RollBots, and upcoming projects.  Today, it just contains some Google search words that I want to be sure don't somehow get indexed :)

Final thought: attitude

You know what bugs me?  Artists online.  I've noticed that lately, a great many artists (of all shapes and sizes) have adopted a very cold and almost resentful voice when talking to their fans.  It bothers me to no end.  I appreciate that getting hundreds of emails a day can prove daunting, but that doesn't excuse a baseline of snark across all correspondence.  Especially not publicly.  I do my best to reply to each and every message I get, and I can foresee a day when I won't be able to keep up with it anymore... but anyone here ever notices me treating my audience with anything less than cordial (and/or silly) respect, please kick me in the ass.

August 1, 2009 — 54 words

Testing Premium

By MCM

I am writing the word gazerblaster here because it currently does not show up on any searches, and if it starts to over the next few days, I'll know there's a way past my paywall :)

Eventually, this area of the site will house all the can't-show-the-public stuff I do.  Right now, not so much.

July 29, 2009 — 818 words

Unintentional Racism in Fiction

By MCM

Racism is a touchy subject, and not the kind I enjoy dissecting (for a variety of reasons), but over the last week, I've had a steady stream of criticism about The Vector and its apparently racist tendencies.

These aren't new for me.  I've been getting this kind of feedback throughout the revision process, most of it focussing on my treatment of the Chinese character called "the Healer".  Briefly: Healers are roving agents sent into eastern Europe to hunt down and neutralize synthetic pathogens before they infect the homeland.  The character in The Vector has been at it a long time, and is viciously good at his job.

That seemed to spark outrage from some quarters.  For instance, this email arrived recently (note: all emails reprinted with permission):

Your depiction of a person of Chinese heritage as a faceless, soul-less killer with limited language skills plays to all the negative stereotypes that East Asian people are fighting to disprove.  Your caucasian characters are sympathetic, often victimized people with real emotions, while the token Asian is nothing more than a two-dimensional devil substitute.  If you are not prepared to treat different races with the respect they deserve, I suggest you stick to what you know and limit the damage to your reputation.

Now granted, this critique is based on the first few chapters of the book, where the Healer really does seem to be the devil incarnate (as was intended) — it's not until you read further that you see his layers emerge — but what really strikes me is, first, that I should stick to what I know.

I can't decide how to respond to things like this.  On the one hand, I see the point that writing beyond your own life experiences leaves you open to inauthenticity.  The protagonist in The Vector is Eva, whose parents are Czech and Russian.  I don't have any Czech or Russian heritage, nor do I have a background in computer science... also, I've never travelled Europe in the midst of multiple concurrent plagues, and probably most importantly, I'm not a woman.  What is the threshold one must pass before it's acceptable to write about other people?  Can I only ever write about white males from Ontario, Canada, who followed a life path similar to mine?

One reader who finished the whole book at draft five said this to me:

I feel that with the Healer character, you're stretching too far.  Maybe you need to consult actual Chinese people...?

It's an interesting question, and one that I can't reconcile.  Now granted, if I were writing a story about an average citizen of China in the here-and-now, I might want to make sure what I was doing was somewhat accurate.  But I'm writing about a near future where the world is crumbling, where the Healer has left his home and seen (and done) unspeakable things... so how would anyone be able to shed light on that situation?  Would someone from Beijing offer better insights?

It's somewhat clarified by this quote:

I can't tell by your name, but I don't think you're Chinese.  It shows in your writing.  You don't understand asian culture.

Having passed earlier drafts by many Chinese (both recent immigrants and 2nd generation Canadian) friends, I can say that I don't have a particular problem with Asian culture, because it doesn't really factor into the story.  So the problem with the writing appears to be that I'm not obviously Chinese myself, so I appear to be some kind of poseur, trying to cash in on the kung fu craze.  I wonder if I presented the story under a Chinese pen name, would I get the same criticism?

That, I think, is the heart of the matter.  Despite the fact that we're told we want greater diversity in our writing and film, we as a society appear to have trouble seeing past our prejudices.  The knee-jerk reaction to a white man writing about a Chinese man is that I'm creating a caricature, something not far from a cardboard cut-out, even if I try my hardest to present him in a fully-developed way.  There's some fundamental soul to an Asian man that I can't capture, no matter how much I get inside his head.  I can create a complex, conflicted caucasian character from my imagination, but not for someone born in China.

It's an odd situation.  It doesn't apply across the board, but for some people, it appears to have bothered them quite a lot.  I'm not trying to criticize their views, because I find them incredibly interesting.  Can white writers write non-white characters in a serious way?  If not, why not?  Be truthful: when you saw Memoirs of a Geisha was written by Arthur Golden, did you feel the same way about the characters?

July 28, 2009 — 523 words

Maintenance Tuesday

By MCM

Some things to clear off the schedule for today:

The Calendar

You may have noticed the calendar module under the "do" link in the menu up top.  This shows you what my week is like.  It's about to get crowded (see below), so this is your handy-dandy key to everything fun.  Check back often!

The Vector

The Vector is far my most popular book in terms of email responses, I'm getting one "upgrade" every 1.5 hours now!  The cover art fundraiser is still ongoing ($120 raised!), so please consider dropping a few bucks into the pool for me.

I'm also upping the release frequency from Monday/Wednesday to M/W/F because of the insane number of snarky comments from people about having such a big gap at the end of the week.  I thought nobody would want to read on a Friday because of the weekend etc, but it appears you guys are reading at work, so it's no big deal.  Consider it fixed.

Oh, and if anyone wants to do me a big favour, please go and review The Vector on Amazon's Kindle shop.  It will make me immensely happy and stuff.

The App

I am going to be building an iPhone app companion for my Reader site, which will allow you to subscribe and read offline.  It's going to take a lot of work (mostly because I know next to nothing about iPhone programming), but I will get it done.  In a month.  Yes sir.  But as if that weren't enough, I'm also going to be writing a story in WeSeWriMo that dramatizes the crap I'll be going through.  Kind of like a fictional production diary.  Chapters will be short, and released every day for the month of August.  Wish me luck.

The Chaos Book

The revised schedule for The Chaos Book will see each episode split into three parts, released on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.  It's because each part is turning out to be a tiny bit longer than I expected.  For those of you who pre-paid, you should see ALL of episode 1 appearing later this week.  The rest of you will have to wait until next Wednesday to read the rest of part 1!

Reader/Books Integration

Over the next few days, I'll be moving a lot of back-end stuff around to merge the books system with the Reader system (they are stupidly separate right now).  As such, you may see a few glitches here and there.  If that happens, please do not call the police.  It will pass.  I hope.

Wrap Up

That is my update for today.  Expect the first part of my racism series later today.  I got the most outrageously provocative email last night, and it needs to be addressed.

July 27, 2009 — 331 words

I Can Help You Succeed at Publishing Online!

By MCM

Actually, I can't.  Sorry.  It sucks, but it's true.

I get a few of these emails every week, asking me to sell people my software or expertise, and I have to give the same answer every time: I can't deliver what you're looking for.

Look: I can sell you my Reader software, give you a PDF with a 12-step plan for success, have a one-on-one chat session to boost your confidence... but honestly, there's too much voodoo in publishing for me to guarantee results.  I don't feel comfortable taking money under false pretences, and that's exactly what it would be.

The biggest thing you need to understand is that it all comes down to how good your writing is, and how well it connects with your audience.  You can have the best viral marketing campaign in the universe, but if you can't hold your readers' attention past the first few sentences, you're dead.  Some of that is craft, but a lot of it is dumb luck.

History is littered with really great ideas that flopped upon release, and even the smartest of the experts in the world can't really predict how any particular property will do.  You're coming into this game at a disadvantage already, so honestly, anyone that tells you they can make you rich is either lying or delusional.  Don't be suckered by them.  They're not making a living publishing, they're making a living selling the dream to others.

So no, I won't take your money to help you become successful.  I'll offer you tips about what worked and didn't work for me, and I'll definitely chat back and forth about whatever you like... but if you're looking for a magic bullet, let me save you some time: it doesn't exist.  Concentrate on other things, and prepare for a long, hard battle.

Note 1: This is a sample of my Optimistic Pep Talk™ 2.0, available as a PDF for $4.99 in my e-Store!

Note 2: Not really.

July 25, 2009 — 206 words

Nicest Email Evar

By MCM

The geographic distribution of readers of "The Vector" is amazingly even across the world, which makes me anxious because I've taken a lot of criticism about my portrayal of non-North American characters in the past.

Last night I got a short email from someone named Nikolai.  It really made my day:

Thank you for writing about Russians that aren't drunks or villains.  It is nice to see a Russian protagonist who we can sympathize with!

I didn't set out to make Eva (who is half-Russian) some kind of anti-stereotype when I wrote her, but it's good to see that my efforts to create a layered character with a complex history paid off.  In the world of The Vector, Russia is in ruins, Russians are generally despised, and Eva has to cope with that baggage while surviving an already difficult situation.

There's so much vitriol about Russians in the dialogue that I was afraid some might think I was personally voicing those opinions... so it's a big relief that nobody has taken offence.  A big, big relief.

I'll cover the racism issue next week, which is like the polar opposite of Nikolai's email.  Probably a multi-part series.  Yick.

July 24, 2009 — 638 words

Announcing The Vector in Print

By MCM

Updated to include the new Limited Edition Lite option.

You asked (and threatened) and I listened.  And then I forgot.  And then I remembered, and now I'm doing something.  Announcing The Vector in print!

No, it's not available right now.  It needs some tweaking first.  A better blurb for one.  A few typos people have found.  And then there's this: there are going to be two three editions...

Paperback

The paperback version should be available via Amazon in the next few weeks.  I need to check the proof, but after that, you should be able to snag a copy.  It's 300 pages and has a taller version of the cover you see on the Reader site.  It'll retail for $12.99, and will make you happy in places you never imagined.

Limited Edition

The Limited Edition is something even better.  Due in October, it will be hardcover, with a polished compilation of the "Disassembling the World" posts I made here (telling the backstory to the Healer and international plagues), plus "The Virus Coder's Girl" and a few other surprises.  It will also have a new cover by the amazing artist Nykolai Aleksander... a shot of the Healer, battle-worn and weary, alone in a bleak world.  Mind-blowage will ensue.  The LE version will cost $75 (including shipping), and come signed and numbered.   There will only be 300 of them made.  Presales will start shortly after the cover art is done (see below).  If you bought an eBook version, you get $5 off the LE price; whatever you donate for the cover fund also counts against the LE price.

Limited Edition Lite (New!)

By popular demand, I am adding a third kind of print book to the mix.  The LEL version will be paperback, with the new cover, but none of the bonus materials of the LE.  It will be signed and numbered, so there will be a limit to how many I do (I hate shipping), but I won't set a cap just yet.  They will sell for $35 (including shipping), and go on sale at the same time as the LE.  This way, you can get something special, even if you're not stupendously rich.  As with the LE, if you bought the eBook, you get $5 off the LEL; whatever you donate to the cover fund also counts against the LEL price.

Speaking of not being rich...

Help me fund the cover

The cover art is going to cost $500, and I need some assistance paying for it.  If you had been holding off donating for some reason, this is an excellent time to try!  I've set up a Fundable page where you can chip in to help me reach my goal.  Any money you donate will count towards your LE or LEL purchase (because you know you'll want one with this artwork!), and you'll also get a digital copy of the cover as a poster, so you can adore it forever and ever.  You'll also be thanked in the LE/LEL editions, so everyone else will know how cool you are.  So think of this as an investment in art, and an investment in your LE/LEL ownership.  Donate $20 and the LE is only $55!  Donate $30 and the LEL is $5!  Donate $100 and the LE is free!  Bonus!

To conclude

A big thank you to everyone that's given me so much support over the last 5 days.  To recap: over 9,000 reads, 700 RSS subscribers, 105 ebooks sold, and close to 300 emails demanding a print version, or they will kill me.  You guys rock.  I will do my best not to disappoint.

Thanks!