Thursday, December 9, 2010
I said it. I said this was irresponsible. I said it was an abuse of Journalistic freedom. I said that no legitimate journalist should defend Julian Assange.
I was right. Again.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
I don't post often enough. And lately, I've had little to say even when I do.
Tonight, as I chase sleep, my thoughts turn to Wikileaks, instead of to the tenth chapter of the Aeons War, which while fully realized in my noggin, is not yet down on paper.
Wikileaks just published an assload more stolen secret documents. If you care enough you can find the news about it all over teh internetz.
What astounds me, is that so many journalists are rushing to defend Julian Assange, Wikileaks' founder and chief muckymuck.
Wikileaks is itself evidence of what happens when freedom is not balanced with responsibility. Freedom of the press is not absolute. It has the freedom to publish whatever it wishes but has the responsibility to consider the consequences of what it divulges.
It seems as though Wikileaks and Assange deny that the government operatives, the soldiers, diplomats, agents, aid workers and attaches' lives might possibly be worth more than the public's right to know. These people aren't all working in secret, or trying to oppress foreign countries. Some of them are just trying to do their jobs, provide for their loved ones, protect their country or serve it somehow.
It is arrogant, irresponsible, reprehensible and criminal of mister Assange to endanger these peoples' lives, as well as the fragile diplomatic relations that the United States has. It is irresponsible and reprehensible of legitimate journalists everywhere to defend Mr Assange and Wikileaks. The net result of the leaking of these documents could be nothing. Or it could plunge the war-stricken corners of the world into further chaos. For Julian Assange to commit this act of cavalier, sanctimonious hubris is disgusting. For the so-called legitimate journalists of the world to condone and / or defend him for doing it is even more disgusting, for they are in fact colluding with a criminal, and are aiding and abetting the suffering of every person who may be endangered by these leaks.
Wikileaks was founded on the idea of providing whistle-blowers with the means to report criminal activities. Certainly in the past with regards to the workings of the United States government, Wikileaks has indeed reported on criminal wrongdoings of past administrations. But to call the sensationalist garbage of printing secret reports on diplomatic and consular operational intelligence, to endanger the lives of America's and America's allies' lives in the fields of operations, trade, aid, diplomacy and war is the vile, criminal and cynical act of an arrogant coward.
Julian Assange is as much a war criminal as Usama Bin Laden, George W. Bush, Saddam Hussein, or any other countless autocrats, dictators and butchers out there.
It's time that journalists started treating him as such.
Freedom is not absolute. It MUST be tempered with responsibility.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I'm sorry...I'm sorry...I'm sorry...it's been a hectic...year...
Recently, the Chinese have sent out some awesome images from their lunar probe, and spoken enthusiastic about further missions in 2013 and beyond - including manned missions in our lifetimes!
As exciting this is from the Geek point of view, though, it raises some troubling questions.
The exploration and exploitation of the resources on the Moon was unimagined when the US went there. They collected rocks and dirt, drove around, played golf, planted the American flag…it was a pissing match with the Soviets, nothing more.
China, with its near absolute control of industry and science and remorseless determinism of the Chinese Communist system of government can devote whatever resources it wishes to the exploitation of the Moon’s stores, including water ice and untold mineral wealth.
The Moon’s a logical jumping off point to Mars and the potentially mineral-rich asteroid field. Whether you believe in the romantic notions of deep space exploration or not, the questions you should ask yourself are these:
Who do you want to see reach the stars first? Communist Chinese imperialists or an international coalition of American, British, European and Asian space explorers?
Who should have the best access to the riches and knowledge to be found in the solar system – and beyond?If there is life out there, who should represent Mankind when and if we encounter them?
Friday, October 8, 2010
Second, I am studying the feasibility of moving up the pitch-launch for Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind. Why? Because I feel the need to strike while the iron is hot. I do not, however, intend to be foolhardy about it.
And on the Omniverse front, The Aeons War is coming along nicely, the first 7 chapters now put to bed. Looking at the outline for the story I see several points of departure from the script, just as I had with Unearthing and Darkness. I'm actually going to dig up and post those outlines for you soon, so you can see just how the story changed from the original draft.
Finally, with the launch this week of a practical, linked-to-a-smart-device augmented reality headset, I've added another gadget to the long list of gizmos predicted when I first wrote The Unearthing, back in 1997:
The Augmented Reality Windshield
The Portable Console Computer
Galileo Navigation System (Down to the friggin' NAME!)
So...not for nothing, but it might be a good time to start digging around in Northwest New Mexico...all I'm saying...
Okay, well that's about it for this time; I promise I'll try and update again, soon!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
THANK YOU EVERYONE WHO HAS READ & ENJOYED (my apologies to those who didn't like it) THESE NOVELS! MORE TO COME!
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
That being said, I met with the artists' program coordinator over at YES Montreal the other day, to discuss my plans for Nevermind.
Granted, that's not always gone according to plan. The Unearthing, the first volume of The Omniverse was successfully published back in 2006 (Ironically almost a year to the day since I started this blog) I still blame the fact that I was laid off from Bell Canada so Michael Sabia could take a five hundred per cent pay rise on Unearthing's commercial failure.
See, I would have had a minor fortune in stocks and options by the end of the year if my employment hadn't been terminated when it was (those stocks, of course, very conveniently reverted back to Bell upon my being declared "surplus"), and I had hoped to use those stocks to finance Unerthing's promotion.
They say God never closes a door without opening a window...I say that means God's got some really bad obsessive compulsive disorder issues to work out. In any case, after wallowing for longer than I should have, I decided to release Unearthing and later her followup Through Darkness and Stars electronically, and for free. With nearly 20 000 total downloads of the two novels, I'd say I found some of the success I've been looking for.
Remuneration, however, has evaded thusfar me.
Which brings us to Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind.
When I started writing Nevermind, back in 2002, it was an experiment; an exercise in which I just kept asking myself "I wonder if..."; questions included: "I wonder if I can write a non-genre story?" "I wonder if I can write a book without any actual plot?""I wonder if I can convincingly write a gay sex scene?" "I wonder if I can tell one story from six different points of view?" "I wonder if I can let these characters tell THEIR OWN story?" "I wonder if?" "I wonder if?"
I also thought the "I wonder ifs?" were done when the writing of the story was done, as well. When the initial couple of drafts were done, I put the story aside to write the first and second drafts of Through Darkness and Stars, as well as outline the final three stories of The Omniverse. When I turned my attention back to Nevermind, it was to put the first dozen chapters up on the now-closed PHYTE Magazine website. Nevermind quickly became the second-most popular feature on the site, after the still-going-strong feature, Anterockstar.
Who am I to complain about being #2?
But...where Nevermind had never been intended to be more than an elaborate writing exercise to improve my characterizations and individual character "voices", I realized I had something else on my hands. Suddenly, new "I wonder ifs" came up: "I wonder if I can accomplish something ELSE with this?" and so I started thinking things through.
Come 2008, I decided to launch The Unearthing as a free downloadable novel. When it was launched and gaining steam, I completed work on Through Darkness and Stars, and, figuring I would eventually launch Nevermind as an eBook. To that end, I decided to take Nevermind and Darkness for a spin through the fabulous rewrite machine.
Somewhere between launching the eBook versions of The Unearthing in 2008 and Through Darkness and Stars in 2010, it occurred to me to ask another "I wonder if": this time, it was I wonder if Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind could actually SELL?
Well last week I had my first meeting at YES Montreal to see about doing just that. I'm now looking into compiling a list of publishers and agents to whom I would like to pitch Nevermind, and my councilor is also having me brainstorm about what I want to accomplish/what I need to do to accomplish it...eww...homework.
But, I'm on track right now to eventually sell this puppy!
...and if it doesn't sell? Well then I'll release it as a free eBook just the same!
Some of you might wonder what me publishing a book will mean for The Omniverse and any future free eBook prospects. Well, I intend to keep releasing the novels of The Omniverse as free eBooks...you people, my readers, have made them a success; as much as I wish SOME of you would have donated a little something to my PayPal account, I'll let that slide. While I might, when the five novels are done, decide to release a print edition of the quintology, the eBooks for The Omniverse series themselves will always remain free.
As to my other writing? As much as I would like to make a living as an author, I see no reason not to at least release SOME work as free downloadables, though for obvious reasons the stuff I publish will likely not see the light of day as freebies...unless I can REALLY negotiate the fuck out of a publishing contract.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Based on preliminary numbers (I'm still waiting on a couple of websites to report in) both novels are doing better than I'd anticipated!
Unearthing has been fully downloaded more than 12 000 times and Darkness some 5600 times.
Does that translate into as many unique readers? That's where the numbers get a little fuzzy, but at the very least my work has been checked out nearly 20 000 times since I've made it available online.
And for that, I can only say THANK YOU to everyone who's read these novels; you made this happen!
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Anyway, this week marks the completion of all post-writing work on the manuscript for Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind.
Now comes the real challenge: I've decided that unlike my more famous (and free) eBooks, The Unearthing and its follow-up Through Darkness and Stars, I intend to either release Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind as a paid downloadable eBook or I'll be shopping it around for publication.
This means that my creative writing time is now absolutely rededicated to The Omniverse's third volume, The Aeons War. This is fun, because the story has been screaming at me for months now, but I've wanted to finish the push for Nevermind.
I must once again report feeling both overwhelmed and intimidated as I approach Nevermind's publication. See, being non-genre, I know the novel will be a little bit easier to sell. Likewise, we're just hitting the pop-culture phase where the 1990s Grunge scene will become retro and therefore back in style, so the novel, being set in the era, will be that much more marketable. Plus the mature content and adult situations rife through the book is sure to boost readership, as pervy readers abound.
So basically, I don't want to fuck up the publication of this one, like I did The Unearthing.
But I'm also completely unsure of myself or what to do next.
I'll figger it out, I suppose.
Anyway, our attention now turns back to The Omniverse and The Aeons War. The story takes place more than 1500 years after events of Through Darkness and Stars. Jack Benedict returns, as does the ever-changing Allison McQuire, now known as the Shekhina.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
...okay, we're BACK! The good news is in spite of my lack of blog updates I have been busy working! The Aeons War is progressing; Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind is on track, though I've revised the launch window for Fall 2010. There's a bit more work that needs to be done to get this one ready; I'm working with the original illustrator, Nicole DeCaria on cover art ideas and finishing the eBook compile.
I've been spending a lot of time networking with writers, publishers and other creative types as well, so while I've done as much actual writing as I normally enjoy (though I still squeeze in at least a couple of hours a day!) I'm becoming more involved in the writing community.
Fatherhood isn't a topic I'd expected to blog about; there's far more entertaining and informative blogs on parenthood out there, and I want to keep this site as focused on my writing as possible. However, I must say that these first six weeks with Eva-Madeleine have been among the most frightening, rewarding, overwhelming, enjoyable and unbelievably happy days of my life. While Angel gave birth to Eva, I really do feel as though Eva gave birth to me.
Monday, May 17, 2010
My next novel, "Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind" is basically about friends involved in or with a college bar band in the 1990s...so, yeah...going for a concert-poster kind of feel for the cover. Any readers out there who'd care to comment, you're more than welcome (Comments are moderated but there's little I won't publish)
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Because I'd been without my laptop I was operating with files on a USB key.
I guess you can see where I'm going with this.
Boom! Lost the key. Files gone.
It really burns me that I'd made so much bloody progress with the eBook to that point. It bugs me because now I have to start back from my previous filesave. It bugs me because I'm trying to get "Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind" out before summer, and I still have to figure out some marketing and distribution details, as well.
The idea of having to completely do-over everything that I just lost is completely discouraging, and right now I don't feel the motivation to do it. I'm going to toy with Aeon's War for a while, now. I might also start building the "Nevermind" eBook site a bit, put out some character biographies, etc.
But I just can't face starting back on everything I lost in my revision right now.
Friday, May 7, 2010
With roughly 10 000 downloads since March of 2008, The Unearthing, the precursor for Darkness, is still way out in front. What that tells me is that a butt-load of people who read the first part of the story haven't yet heard about the second part. I've gotta suss out what to do about that, as well...
While Googling the book's title this week, I discovered two rather interesting things.
The first, is some dumb son of a bitch named Richar dirwin (presumably a username for someone either named Richard Irwin or Irwin Richard) was trying to sell Through Darkness and Stars for almost $60 a copy, through lulu.com, with his name on the fucking cover!
Needless to say I've informed the good folks at lulu.com of the plagiarism, and they are taking action. Meanwhile, I'm contemplating legal action against this idiot.
What kind of half-wit plagiarist tries to SELL something that the original author has already given away for free? And what kind of moron tries to steal verbatim an established work that has already garnered a not-insignificant following?
I almost feel sorry for this imbecile.
On the brighter side, that same Google session I also discovered Darkness and Stars, a really awesome, ball-breaking Metal song, by a band called Sternenstaub. Needless to say, I'll be checking out their music soon!
The song in question is, uncannily, just about the sort of music I was listening to as I first visualized the Zohor swarm sequence in Through Darkness and Stars so many long years before its writing. Though when I finally wrote that sequence and the balance of the novel I did so listening to John Murphy's In the House In a Heartbeat from the awesome film 28 Days Later, listening to Sternenstaub's Darkness and Stars made me recall the original conception of that scene.
Speaking of music, it is at last time for the long-awaited post about the music behind Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind!
So yes, as befits a novel set during the first half of the last decade of the twentieth century, the music I listened to while writing Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind is almost exclusively Grunge-era. There are a couple of anachronistic choices; a couple of songs from the 1960s and 1970s, a couple that came out after 1995. But overall the music that inspired the writing of Nevermind is music I, myself listened to during those years.
My contemporaries will be pleased to know that Hootie and the Blowfish are not among the list.
All in all there's some 53 songs on the playlist; without further adieu, then, here it is - listed sequentially within the context of the story. I recommend you go to one music sharing site or another to download these tracks, as they are generally awesome, anyway:
01 - Tones of Home - Blind Melon
02 - Mellow Yellow - Donovan
03 - Dancing Days - Led Zeppelin
04 - Hunger Strike - Temple of the Dog
05 - Little Wing - Jimi Hendrix
06 - So What - Ministry
07 - Head Like A Hole - Nine Inch Nails
08 - Dominion / Mother Russia - The Sisters of Mercy
09 - Are You Gonna Go My Way - Lenny Kravitz
10 - Rooster - Alice in Chains
11 - Interstate Love Song - Stone Temple Pilots
12 - Hard to Handle - The Black Crowes
13 - Get Here - Oleta Adams
14 - Hole Hearted - Extreme
15 - Detachable Penis - King Missile
16 - Riders on the Storm - The Doors
17 - Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N Roses
18 - Orange Crush - REM
19 - Love Buzz - Nirvana
20 - Drug Buddies (Acoustic) - The Lemonheads
21 - Kid Fears - The Indigo Girls
22 - Man In The Box - Alice in Chains
23 - About a Girl - Nirvana
24 - Take a Walk on the Wild Side - Lou Reed
25 - I'm Still Alive - Pearl Jam
26 - Into Temptation - Crowded House
27 - Evenflow - Pearl Jam
28 - Push - Stone Temple Pilots
29 - Kitchen - The Lemonheads
30 - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - U2
31 - Breaking the Girl - Red Hot Chili Peppers
32 - Locked in the Trunk of a Car - The Tragically Hip
33 - Summertime Rolls - Jane's Addiction
34 - You Give Love a Bad Name - Bon Jovi
35 - Unbelievable - EMF
36 - Been Caught Stealing - Jane's Addiction
37 - I Will Never Be the Same - Melissa Etheridge
38 - Cult of Personality - In Living Color
39 - Hey Jealousy - Gin Blossoms
40 - Bullet in Your Head - Rage Against the Machine
41 - Here's Where the Story Ends - The Sundays
42 - Confusion (Pump Panel Reconstruction Mix) - New Order
43 - Runaway Train - Soul Asylum
44 - Old Woman Behind the Counter - Pearl Jam
45 - Loser - Beck
46 - What's Up - 4 Non Blondes
47 - Head Over Feet - Alanis Morrissette
48 - Round Here - Counting Crows
49 - Think About You - Radiohead
50 - Time After Time - Everything but the Girl
51 - Smells Like Teen Spirit - Tori Amos
52 - Closer to Fine - The Indigo Girls
53 - No Excuses - Alice in Chains
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Wow...so much for my New Year's Resolution about posting more often, eh?
But, I have a really, really, really, REALLY great excuse for not posting sooner.
Her name is Eva, and she was born last week.
Caring for a newborn and helping my wife out around the house has been one of the most taxing, exhausting, frightening, stressful and difficult jobs I've ever had. And I've never known anything more rewarding, gratifying or enjoyable.
So I've not done much by way of writing lately; I'm not sorry about that. It's picking up again; The Aeon's War is insisting upon some attention while Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind is content to stew and wait it's turn (Coming soon!).
Little teaser: Through Darkness and Stars begins 18 months after the Ship leaves Earth, at the end of The Unearthing. The balance of Aeon's War happens some 1500 years after the events of Darkness, and involves time travel - though not used in any way, shape or form you've probably seen before. At least, I like to think it's an original take...
Anyway, getting back onto the topic of Nevermind, I've been promising the "Music At Work" for that one to you for a while, now. That'll be the next post, I promise!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Of course the drawback to working on Nevermind is that it pulls me away - as the title of this post suggests - from working on The Aeon's War, the third installment in The Omniverse series. And as much as I wish I could flit between the two projects, the truth is that doing so hurts the writing. So while at any given time I have at least a couple of works going at the same time, I can only ever focus on one at a time. And much like children in need of attention, it is the stories themselves that dictate which gets worked on.
I've talked a lot about this story over the years, but I don't think I've ever really gone into great detail. Well, as I'm planning on launching it in the coming months, perhaps it's best that I do so. So starting this week and off and on leading up to its launch, I'll be using this space to talk about Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind a little more.
I first started work on Nevermind in 2002, though I'd had the idea kicking around for a couple of years already, by that point. I wanted to tell a story set in and around college life in the early 1990s, and my goal really was to see if I could write something outside of the fantasy/science fiction genre.
My focus shifted back to The Omniverse when I landed the original publishing deal for The Unearthing, and Nevermind sort of languished as I concentrated on writing Through Darkness and Stars and reviewing the outline for the subsequent volumes of the story, including the aforementioned Aeon's War, which, I promise I will work on again soon!
For Nevermind, I came up with six characters, all of whom began to "speak" to me in the first person. This led to the concept that each chapter should be told from a different character's point of view, relating their own experiences and opinions as the story progressed. In one form or another I've been writing and rewriting it ever since; chapters from the earliest version of the novel appeared online at PHYTE.ca, where they were quite popular. Though the site seems unavailable now, those chapters are likely still out there, somewhere, if you can find them.
What started as a writing exercise and thought experiment (Nevermind was written without a traditional story arc or plotline, creating a more fluid, character-driven piece) became a story I obsessed over, feeling the characters' lives as if they were the lives of friends and loved ones.
I think that, despite its setting in the early 1990s, that the story, situation and characters have a universal appeal, and if not, there's plenty of frank depictions of sex and drug use to drive up marketability. In any case, Nevermind remains one of my favorite stories to have worked on.
Next time, I'll talk about the enormous musical playlist that, for me, is associated with the story.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I'm already looking at a few different distribution points for Nevermind; owing to its non-genre storyline and "mature themes" subject matter, I'm thinking of putting it out there differently than I am the Omniverse. The next few weeks will see me largely concentrating on that project, though when I go to my cafe for a day's writing on Friday (Having the day off in honour of Nail Your Superhero To A Tree Day) I may very well be drawn back into the complex weave of The Aeon's War for a bit.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I've been listening to a lot of motion picture scores, lately. Something about instrumental and symphonic music appeals to me when I write, lately. The scores to The Matrix series of films are among my favourites, as are the scores to Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan and 2009's reboot of Star Trek. Massive Attack's soundtrack for Danny the Dog (AKA Jet Li's Unleashed) is another great one. But lately, what's been pulling me in is the original score for The Watchmen, a movie which, like V for Vendetta before it, I preferred to the source material. That's right: I liked the film versions of Alan Moore's greatest works over the comics. So sue me.
Anyway, although I had to reorder the tracks on The Watchmen to sequence with events on film and move the Philip Glass tune Prophecy over from the original soundtrack to the score in order to fully enjoy it, I have to say I have been obsessively listening to Tyler Bates' work for the film as I work on The Aeons' War.
Friday, March 12, 2010
What's really interesting is that Darkness is going viral; it's showing up on eBook sites that I didn't send it to. While traditional booksellers might go all apoplectic over the notion of someone redistributing their work without their knowledge or say-so, the fact is (1) I released it under a Creative Commons license and (2) I'm giving it away for free because it's more important for me to have readers than get paid to write.
What I like about the viral thing is that the book literally spreads on its own. Someone snipes it from an existing site and puts it on theirs, someone else does that to them, and so it goes. What I find strange, though not necessarily a bad thing, is that instead of using the eBook "cover" art, the sites where I found Darkness they were using the Queen of Light and Sorrow concept art which was truncated into the eBook cover. I wonder what their reasoning is on that one.
Here's what they look like, side by side.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Hi all and thanks to everyone for joining!
I really appreciate the readers and the fans, and I'd love to hear from you about the story! I'd also like it if you could spread the word, and get more fans!
The wall is open and so are the discussion boards, and I want to see this story get read by as many people as possible; so if you liked the Omniverse so far, please, tell somebody! Tweet about it, blog about it, email a friend and share the eBook.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
WILL THERE BE ANOTHER BOOK IN THE STORY?
That's the good news and that's also the bad news.
The Omniverse has already been outlined in detail, from start to finish. There are five books to the story in total, however, only two of them are complete at this time. The third book, working title The Aeons War, is being written. I've been working on it since November 2008.
I already have friends reading and providing feedback.
The bad news is that it's been the victim of many false starts and restarts. I don't anticipate finishing the first full draft before the end of this year. So yes, there will be another book in the series (And the way I left things off I'd be a real prick if there wasn't) but it's going to be a while longer.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
An ancient Ship completing a millions-year old mission has taken Human passengers and crew on an historic voyage to the heart of an ancient cosmic dynasty.
But despite their extensive training, no one aboard the Shipflight is prepared for what they find as they search for the Great Races of the lost League of Worlds.
When catastrophe forces Shipflight onward unable to return to Earth, they set out to discover what happened to those who passed through the cosmos before them.
What awaits them beyond the world that Mankind has always called home is a growing madness aboard the Ship and a lost enemy stalking them as they travel through darkness and stars...
- Steve Karmazenuk
- Steve Karmazenuk is an author, music journalist and freelance writer from Montreal, Canada. He also works in post production in the Canadian film industry. His novels include The Omniverse Series: The Unearthing and Through Darkness and Stars, and as the fictional account of the Grunge Music era, Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind.