The Blog Improvement Project

With release of my first story hopefully about one month away, I decided to clean up a little, make this joint just a little nicer. There may just be one or two more drafts before I stick a fork in it. Additionally, the rough draft of part 2 is approximately one third done.

I noticed the About page is getting some hits and badly needed some love. As well, I realized that I had no dedicated place for my magnum opus, Zombie Bedtime Stories. I fixed that, and tried to express my vision for the project, and why it’s unique and deserves your attention.

Contact me is basically shameless self-promotion, and an email address. In case anybody wants to email me. I like emails.

Otherwise, my cover for Locked In is getting an overhaul. I realized that the text is unreadable in the thumbnail. Anonymously-obsessed-boyfriend (Now on Twitter!) is on the case.

Vlog-wise, I’m hoping to get my cooking videos up. I made one about how to cook chili that needs a good amount of editing, and today I made matzoh balls, which also require edits and cuts. The latter half happens to be hilarious, but I need to learn to look at the camera, not the cameraman. It makes me look psycho. I might step up the standard vlog a little, too. Make it edgier.

I was thinking about character names today

I see lots of threads about naming characters. They all recommend baby naming sites. I hate these sites. I vlogged about this.

It’s a cross between an irrational hatred of all the absolutely terrible names that are popular, and them having no random-name function. I want the awesomeness at my fingertips! The power!

Instead, I use the following approach for female characters:

  1. Think of a name you like and would consider naming your own child. Preferably one that is easy to spell, because I will typo it.
  2. If it can be easily be made fun of, or turned into a stripper/porn name, then keep it. If not, save it for the “baby” pile. (If you plan on staying child-free or have all the kids you want, skip that. I do this so my hypothetical future children don’t ask why I wrote them being eaten alive by zombies. Awkward.)
  3. Choose the more normal/mainstream spelling of name possible.

I’m not usually one to make up names. They come out like Agamemnonicusatrix. That is a bad name. Again, spell-ability, memorability and coherence are important.

For fantasy, I like to go through Ancient Greek and Roman names. They were popular once, so we know they’re pronounceable. Some tweaks and changes can be made to give a consistent and unique feel.

For men’s names, I go with the same formula. I find there’s not so much of a porn/stripper stigma, which makes selection and screening easier. Nice and simple names. Easy to read, easy to spell and easy on the memory.

Neovella, audiobooked.

I did a test run of Bobby the Incontinent Space Cadet. I recorded the first 5 pages as a bit of a precursor, and because the story isn’t quite finished yet. Is a Neovella ever really finished? I’m already getting perverse ideas for the next masterpiece.

Anonymously-obsessed boyfriend believes he can smooth out my couple of stutters and put the entire story into one file once the story is done and I record it.

Have a listen on my new PodBean account. New? Because I don’t want to pay WordPress $20/year to be able to upload mp3s, that’s why.

Warning: If the title doesn’t give the content away, you deserve to be horrified.

Link to Audio and description.
Moving right along.
I’ve been having some other good fun. I made some sketches for a neat zombie survival guide with a discernible twist. I don’t want to say more, for now. I went for my notes on Locked Out, and grabbed my sketchbook, which was on top and just begging to be filled with awesome little stick-men zombies.
Yes, I draw stick men. They’re coming for you.
Humerous tidbit: Duke Nukem Forever is coming out. I was dumb enough to wait 12 years, decide on Portal 2 for my new-game-of-the-quarter purchase. Buying Portal 2 doesn’t make me dumb. Believing in DNF for 12 years makes me dumb.

Back to normal, time to write about zombies!

Things are getting back to normal, finally. It seems already that my insane week of crazy working and weekend work was not in vain. Hopefully, I will know soon.

Tomorrow I want to get back to my writing, and record some audio too. It’s time to catch up on what really matters – the story! Some edits may happen too, waiting on critiques and stuff.

It’s time to really get into June’s story – Locked Out. July’s story’s working title: Deadlocked

August and beyond may be a departure from the zombie theme. It depends on my mood at the time. I might try something radically different to prevent being locked into a genre of my own making.

Didn’t get bullied into resuming D&D campaign. I have too much on my plate anyways. I suppose Knucklebuckles the pervy gnome’s resurrection shall have to wait.

All work and no play means no writing and no podcasts

Intense working weekend. Them’s the breaks when your deadline gets surprise upped by a few days on you. I was hoping to spew more of Locked Out, but it seems like that will have to wait. It’s so lame when the whole story clicks in your head and you’re just too busy to get to it.

I should have more time after Monday-ish. I have some rad ideas for good blog posts. My brain is mush right now. It’s not even zombie food.

I’m thinking of getting into podcasting. My years of soul-crushing sales and call center jobs tell me that I have an amazing voice. I should use it for something that’s not soul-crushing for once. I’m thinking of making audiobooks of my stories, and doing some good old fashioned talking.

Right now I’m so overloaded that I can’t deal with all my creative influx. I did start a twitter, it appears to be good for you. I have more zombie channels than friends. Love me, love my twitter!

As of Wednesday I should be back to my normal schedule. I hope my neovellas are still waiting for me when I get back. I miss you sweet bodily-substance spewing little jerks. Want to help me write horrific things? Check out the following two links before I finish both stories myself:

Bobby the Incontinent Space Cadet

Buster the Effeminate Cucumber Farmer Looks like it picked up again. I know what I’m off to do, and it’s not going to be pretty, but it’s going to be fun! I should be working on some outstanding reviews, but I just don’t want to. Maybe I can podcast the neovellas, that might rock if I could keep a straight face.

Cover art sneak peak! How to make a (good?) cover.

Today, anonymously-obsessed-boyfriend and I used the holiday Monday to full advantage. As promised, here is the cover for Locked In, followed by what I learned about fake blood:

(Update: Link to larger image was broken, got it working)

Locked In

Locked In cover

Now, for how to make a cover with zero budget, a digital camera and an image editor:

  1. Food colouring is amazing, but you can’t use it alone for “blood”. This was the first (and obvious) observation. However, it is very good at planning out where you want your hand prints to go.
  2. To make thick blood, corn starch and flour seem like very logical choices. However, while the blood will have great consistency and will stay where you put it, it will be fuchsia. See also: Klingon blood from Star Trek IV. Not zombie appropriate.
  3. Coat self in flaming pink blood.
  4. Walk into glass door and smear self convincingly on glass.
  5. Take pictures. Shower.
  6. ????? with Image editor
  7. Realize that everything looks awesome in grey scale.
  8. Profit? (Or a book cover that doesn’t involve making a sugar-based fake blood and sticky re-takes.)

There you have it. Time to get back to work.

I’m an anarchist.

It’s been obvious for a while. I’m probably some kind of anarchist flower child. I gave up on conventional work about a year ago, and becoming self-employed has been the best thing I’ve ever done. Self-employment has its ups and downs, I won’t deny that, but it’s so rewarding and enjoyable. I have autonomy, creativity and a complete lack of authority and bureaucratic bullshit.

Without self-employment, I wouldn’t have the will or the time to write, create or do much other than exist. I like living, and material goods are largely pointless distractions after a certain point. Give me a bike, something that connects to the Internet and can work some necessary software, some good books and a robust red pen. And a good kitchen. Can’t forget that. I must start taking photos and writing down my recipes for that cooking/gardening blog I dream about starting.

I went to Montreal’s Anarchist Bookfair this weekend on the advice of a former roommate. It seems now we have much more in common than we did when we were roommates. I find it funny how that turned out. She’s off on a farm somewhere for the summer so I couldn’t visit her zine. It’s kind of a pity, I want to pick up a copy of her book and get her to sign it.

The Bookfair was just a quick walk from the Atwater Market, so anonymous boyfriend and I walked over to enjoy the sights and shops. It was his first time there. I love the fromagerie with the epic beer selection. That and the place with the wall of hot sauces are some of my all-time favorite shops. We grabbed some Blair’s Mega hot sauce. This will be exciting!

I need to get back to Earth after a whirlwind weekend. My Neovella needs all the crazy love I can pump into it. Maybe I should give up zombie fiction and other “serious” genres and just do the utterly absurd. I doubt the Zombie Empress would approve, and I need to keep giving her reasons not to eat me. That reminds me, must finish edits and pump out another draft, lest I lose my self-imposed short story challenge.