ISBW #369: Feedback // Interviews with David D. Levine and Stephen Aryan

I am getting through the last of my interviews that have been here, and I’m sorry to everyone who has had to wait. Today we go through feedback and talk to David D. Levine and Stephen Aryan.

New books! Coming out January 31! Preorder now!

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Ditch Diggers #34: End of Year Special with Kameron Hurley

We are joined by ugly Christmas sweaters, booze, and Kameron Hurley. Happy New Year! Fuck you, 2016!

Until Matt gets the show notes done, I think the only thing we have to say about the end of the year was said best by Lalo Alcaraz:

Cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz

 


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Ditch Diggers #33 – Etiquette and Protocol

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s holiday decorations vault, after Mur cracked said vault (we didn’t know Mur was a safecracker).
  • Mur talks about her brief absence from podcasting during the holidays, during which she recorded the audiobook for her new novel, SIX WAKES (Orbit, Jan. 31st), which also received a starred review from Publishers Weekly in that time.
  • All the books Matt and Mur have coming out in the beginning of 2017, including SIX WAKES, IDLE INGREDIENTS, and Bookburners.
  • Matt still sucks at segues.
  • Matt and Mur discuss professional ethics for freelancers, more specifically the choices you’ll make for your career and your brand as a creator. Matt names names.
  • A brief interlude to catch up with Mur’s dog and also her Orson Welles-voiced husband, Jim.
  • Matt talks about his experiences with advertisers paying for space on his platform, both refusing money and regretting having taken it, and what he’s learned from both.
  • Mur talks about being paid to personally endorse ad content vs. selling advertising time on her podcasts, and the difference between doing both, as well as click-bait ads on personal blogs.
  • Matt offers a positive example of using your platform for advertising and monetary gain.
  • Mur talks about ethical blurbing for authors.
  • Matt and Mur switch gears and talk about professional ethics from the side of those who hire freelance writers and creators, focusing on the internet.
  • Matt offers an example of markets with no morals or ethics via his recent, very public brawl with movie news and low-grade paparazzi stalker porn website JoBlo.com
  • Mur talks about her experiences with unscrupulous games publishers.
  • Twitter Q&A! Matt and Mur answer questions about Brexit’s effect on the publishing industry, foreign editions of author’s books, and more.
  • Finally, it’s awards season and Ditch Diggers is again eligible for the Best Fancast Hugo! Hugo voters, take note.

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ISBW #368: Post-depression writing // Leanna Renee Hieber and Brooke Johnson interviews

Where I’ve been for the last two months, and two more interviews with Leanna Renee Hieber and Brooke Johnson!

(And I hadn’t recorded in a while, so the wrong mic is grabbing the audio and I didn’t realize till afterwards.)

And I’ve been podcasting 12 years! WOW!

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Too much gamification make Mur something something

Note- I recorded BOTH a Ditch Diggers with Matt today and an I Should Be Writing on my own. Those will go up soon.

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-6-45-57-pm

That’s me.

I have been using Habitica (previously Habit RPG) to try to keep track of (or change) my habits and to-do list for a few years now, to varying success. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes when it doesn’t work, I kill my friends in my party. (Sorry, Jim, John, and Laura.)

We have an I Should Be Writing guild there, but it’s not very active. I’m not too good at doing challenges. I will work on that TONIGHT.

I’m a level 77 mage, with a candy cane cactus as my familiar and a white unicorn as my mount. I also have candy cane armor. My 8th grade self just felt a goose walk over her grave. A GOOSE OF AWESOME.

Is that enough gamification? I discovered no, Virginia, it is not.

Through Habitica I found 4thewords, a site in beta. This is like a visual RPG version of the magic spreadsheet. You “fight monsters” by writing a certain number of words within a certain time limit. If you do this, you “win” and get loot, level up, etc. And of course you get bonuses if you write a certain number of words every day to make a chain (444 for this site.)

I’ve only played it for one day, and gained one whole level, so I don’t have much to report. The site is a little too cute for my tastes, and the avatars have one skin shade, so that likely leaves a number of writers feeling a little left out. I’m still eager to check out what the gamification does to my productivity. It has leaderboards for longest chain, most words, and number of battles.

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-6-53-32-pm

I think the biggest problem (which I wouldn’t know how to fix) is the same problem I had with Write or Die: you have to write within a web browser. So if you’re used to Scrivener or Word or Pages, you write in the browser and when you’re done, you take your words and paste it into the program, which is slightly inconvenient. But like I said, I wouldn’t know how to fix this, since the site is designed to see how fast you’re getting writing done and doesn’t work on the honor system like NaNoWriMo does.

The site does have one more feature that I probably won’t be using unless I write fanfic or something, and that’s the opportunity to read what people are writing. I’ve discovered some use this site for fiction, but others use it for blogging. Kind of myopic for me to think it was only for fiction, or at the craziest, nonfic.

Anyway I’ll be trying this out too. I think the biggest problem I have with these sites is there doesn’t seem to be any way to friend people. On Habitica, you can have up to eight people in a party to fight bosses (and when you don’t do your daily habits, everyone in the party suffers health hits) but I can’t friend people specifically. And I haven’t found a way to do it in 4thwords, although I don’t know anyone else there anyway.

My party in Habitica. Don't they look awesome?

My party in Habitica. Don’t they look awesome? Note the flying pig and a dinosaur mounts.

I must run back to 4thewords so I can get another day and take my streak to two days.

STORIUM, News, and Skyrim tales

The amazing storytelling site I’ve been involved with, Storium, has launched an awesome interactive demo to help new players. It’s free and doesn’t require a signup. You literally have nothing to lose except for 5 minutes of your time. Check it out!


Library Journal just gave Six Wakes and Bookburners some love as well! And Six Wakes got a star! (You DO know that you can really help a book out by pre-ordering, right? Get Bookburners here. Get Six Wakes here.


We’ve gotten the new shiny Skyrim with mod support and better graphics and we’re all playing it with great glee. It helped to kill things during the month when we saw our nation crumble in a dumpster fire.

There are still interesting bugs with a game so intricate. The latest one I encountered had my adopted son begging for a present when I got home. I had a shirt for him, so I gave it to him. He was then immediately naked (with undies, natch) and ran around playing in the rain. Then he went to sit under a tree. In the rain. With no clothes on.

I followed him and tried to talk to him, but “get your damn clothes back on, you fool child” was nowhere in the dialogue tree. So I decided it was my housecarl’s problem and went on adventuring. (I just discovered others have noticed this bug.)

Then there was the time I was being chased by a wolf, ran into a bear, and then a dragon landed on all of us. But that’s another tale.

Peeking out of the burrow

I recently was looking for news on someone and I went to their blog. There was nothing on there but occasional podcasts. Then I realized that, uh, my own blog is just like that. I haven’t posted anything new in a very long time. I also have been very quiet on Twitter.

Part of the reason why I haven’t posted is depression over the election. I haven’t posted anything regarding that because I have nothing new to say about it that 2.6+ million people haven’t already said. I’m despondent and afraid.

But life goes on. I have to get out of my burrow and keep going and keep creating. So first, a rather lengthy update on me:

Books and other Fictiony things!
Six Wakes and Bookburners (affiliate links) come out next month! Six Wakes received a STARRED REVIEW OMG from Publishers Weekly.

This space-based locked-room murder mystery explores complex technological and moral issues in a way that’s certain to earn it a spot on award ballots.

Bookburners also got some Publishers Weekly love.

The action jumps around the globe, with side trips to other dimensions, while the writing briskly slides between vividly horrific and flippantly camp.

(You can probably guess who wrote the “flippantly camp” episodes.)

And my short story will appear in Star Wars Insider on December 27! “Voices of the Empire” was teased on Del Rey’s facebook page today!

art by Jason Chan!

art by Jason Chan!

Travel and other travely things!
We recently got back from a big time weekend in New York City for Jim’s birthday where we were hardcore tourists: Empire State Building, ice skating, shopping, restaurants, and the crowning event, seeing Hamilton! I can safely say that if anyone was worried the actors replacing the original cast would be sub-par, there is nothing to worry about. It’s still an amazing show that had us both laughing and crying. It was a thrill to see a handful of original cast members like Okieriete Onaodowan and Jasmine Cephas Jones (not to mention Thayne Jasperson from the ensemble).

Holidays
Fiona and I decided not to do the traditional Advent Calendar video podcast, what with travel for us and homework for her. She’s doing great in high school, though, we are typical crazy proud parents.

We are staying home for Christmas, and I continue to watch made for TV holiday movies so that you don’t have to. I’ll be reviewing them on the site, so long as I can continue to stay above ground close to my burrow.

What else?
Fiona got her braces off. She was pissed off that she needed to re-learn how to play the trumpet again.

Mothership Zeta has decided to go on hiatus and our last magazine before the break will be next month.

In November I remembered how tiring audiobook recording was when I narrated Six Wakes. But it’s done!

I participated in NaNoWriMo last month, and even though I didn’t win, I got farther than I ever had before. I ended at 45000 words, and although some might say “oh, so close!” I still feel pretty damn good about it. With two days left and more narration to do (see above) I knew I wouldn’t make the 7000 words I needed to win. So I ended up at 45K and satisfied.

I quit drinking soda. I’m pretty pissed that I haven’t seen any benefit from it. I hate it when they say “this is so bad for you” and then when you cut it out, nothing happens. Probably something good is going on inside but I can’t tell any difference.

And that’s the news with me. I think I hit most of the important points.

Ditch Diggers #32: Michael J. Martinez Says “F YOU, Dust!”

  • Matt and Mur come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s jazz house with special guest co-host Michael J. Martinez
  • On the subject of “free hugs” and hugging strangers in general at conventions
  • Mike talks about his first hardcover book release, his fantasy Cold War mash-up MJ-12: INCEPTION, which has a dust jacket and everything (“Michael J. Martinez, saying ‘fuck you’ to dust since 2016!”
  • Mike talks openly and honestly about the disintegration of his first publisher, Night Shade Books, and how it affected his and others’ career, and what the status is now.
  • How Mike started his writing career, and how you go from one book to thinking about and planning for a career in fiction publishing.
  • The Ditch Diggers delve into Mike’s former career in journalism, and how he balances writing with his new career in finance.
  • Retirement planning for authors. Mike talks about how he views writing full-time as a realistic goal, and what it takes to reach that goal.
  • Q&A from Twitter, including unread questions from Matt’s mom, and having your work optioned for film/TV.

Mike’s website: michaeljmartinez.net
Mike on Twitter: @mikemartinez72
Borderlands: https://borderlands-books.com/
MJ-12: Inception: https://amzn.com/1597808776


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ISBW #367: NaNoWriMo Special with Grant Faulkner

I was lucky enough to talk to Grant Faulkner, the grand poobah of NaNoWriMo!

Are you ready for November?


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Ditch Diggers #31: The Godparents Episode with Gail Carriger and Howard Tayler

For the first time we have Matt and Mur, and the godparents of Ditch Diggers Gail Carriger and Howard Tayler, in the same room together!

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s hotel room, into which they’ve totally been invited and did NOT in any way break and enter, and welcome special guest co-hosts, best-selling author Gail Carriger and creator of the Schlock Mercenary comic series, Howard Tayler!
  • Also, it’s the Wednesday of WorldCon 74 in Kansas City, MO.
  • Mur is the words, Gail is the style. Howard has won awards for talking out of his meat hole.
  • Mur explains how Gail and Howard are the godmother and godfather of the Ditch Diggers podcast.
  • There will be many references, without context, to fisting throughout the episode.
    The foursome discuss novellas in today’s market, and the different approaches to using shorter/serialized content to build and maintain an audience and maximize your revenue stream.
  • Authors and Patreon, pros, cons, misunderstandings, misuses, and maximizing value.
  • Gail and Howard share war stories, victories and losses, of working the publishers booth at conventions, and the value (or lack thereof) of having a table.
  • Ditch Diggers achieve a four F-bomb minute while Matt, Mur, Gail, and Howard discuss keeping it clean for marketing purposes.
  • There is no Q&A because Matt forgot his phone.
  • Gail and Howard shill shamelessly for each other.
  • One last reference, again without context, to fisting meatholes, plus a ten F-bomb minute to close.

Gail on Twitter: https://twitter.com/gailcarriger
Howard on Twitter: https://twitter.com/howardtayler
Gail’s website: http://gailcarriger.com/
Howard’s Schlock Mercenary: http://www.schlockmercenary.com/


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