Monday, September 18, 2017

The Far Shores of Saucerland: FREE

The Far Shores of Saucerland is now (and has been for a few months, oops!) available on Amazon both in Kindle and paperback formats. 
Here is the link: 

Saucerland will be available for free from 9/22 - 9/24 as a SLCC special (see previous post)

In addition, Monsters of Utopia will be available for $0.99 during the same days as a Kindle Countdown Deal.
Here is that link:
https://www.amazon.com/Monsters-Utopia-fairy-tale-manifesto-ebook/dp/B01MXX81UA


Thanks,


Cameron

Salt Lake Comic Con, here I come!

I’m excited and a bit nervous. I have the great, good luck of being a panelist at Salt Lake Comic Con this Friday, 9/22/17. I’ll enjoy attending the con as a fan and I’m nervous/excited about being part of one of the many panels the con hosts throughout its three days.
For the past several years, my wife and I have attended both the Salt Lake Comic Con (Fall) and the FanXperience (Spring) in Salt Lake City, UT. From where we live, Salt Lake is a few hours away via a beautiful drive through mountains and high desert. When we first went, I had my doubts. I’ve been more of a quiet nerd for most of my life keeping my extensive knowledge of comic books and science fiction under wraps until I got to know people pretty well. So, going to a place where everybody was letting it all hang out, so to speak, was fairly daunting to me. 
I am glad to say that whatever doubts I had were erased within the first few minutes of attending SLCC. The atmosphere at the con (I’ve attended since 2014, it’s been in existence since 2013) is amazing. There are whole families who make the trip as well as couples, singles and large groups. And, everyone is there to have fun and be nice. That last part sounds a bit weird but it may very well be the best part of the experience. I’ve traveled to a number of foreign countries and been in some very large crowds (Tiananmen Square on May Day in the early 2000s was a sight to behold!) both in the United States and abroad. I’ve never felt anything like the warmth and collegiality of the crowds at Salt Lake Comic Con. There were 130,000 or so people at the last con but it felt like I was walking around my home town bumping into familiar people (that I didn’t really know but I had a common bond with). Everyone is happy, excited, happy, occasionally loud, happy, tired from walking around so much because there is so much to see, taking lots of pictures and happy. SLCC is like the ultimate county fair for fans of science fiction and fantasy. If you get a chance, you should go. Just go.
Here’s the site: http://saltlakecomiccon.com

An Unexpected Trilogy

Over the past year and a half, I’ve published/worked on three books (Monsters of Utopia, The Far Shores of Saucerland and an as yet unpublished work in progress) that started out as completely separate from each other but have (kinda, sorta) developed into a trilogy. Not your traditional type of trilogy by any means. There is no over-arching story that continues from one book to the next. There are no recurring characters (with one, possible exception). But there is a certain thematic similarity and a structural element that they share in common.
This Unexpected Trilogy starts with Monsters of Utopia. I like to think of Monsters as a somewhat off-kilter, amusing, slightly surreal take on the alien invasion trope. The aliens this time are giant, flying jellyfish (there are other aliens and the jellyfish may not be, in fact, alien to this planet but you have to read the book to get the details). At a certain point in the story one of the characters switches up his verbal style. It was that section and the fun I had in writing it plus the visit by two of the main characters to a place referred to simply as “The City” that (this is all obvious in hindsight but I was not consciously aware of it at the time) led me to writing Saucerland and to do so in what I call “stanza format,” which is the same format that I am using for my work in progress. I don’t consider myself a poet (I really don’t pay attention to rhyme scheme, meter, etc.) but being that I am in the middle of my second long-form, narrative poem(ish) work I might have to reassess that assessment. 
So, parts of Monsters led me to write Saucerland which is a riff on epic poems such as the Iliad, De Rerum Natura and the Aeneid. I did take seven years of Latin in high school and college and that part of my education is leaking through into my creative output. Why now? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the alignment of the planets.
Saucerland led me to my current work (in progress, have I noted that before?). I found writing in the short lines of the stanza format to be liberating. This is where I start to sound like a a pretentious artist. I hate that. But it’s hard to discuss my work without coming off that way. That’s why I don’t discuss my work that much. I’ll need to get over that. Anyway, the stanza format has for me a “spoken word performance” element to it. I sent a copy of Saucerland to my best friend from college (he’s a Theater professor) to get some feedback. He noted the choral/spoken word element, too, so I know that I’m not going crazy. The Iliad was (as far as scholars can tell) part of an ancient, oral tradition before it was put into written format. I tried to capture that sense of sitting around a campfire listening to a great storyteller. I think I succeeded.
Along with the stanza format/rhythm of speaking structural element, all three of the books (Monsters, Saucerland and Untitled Unpublished, look for it in the next couple of months) concern themselves in one way or another with the fairy world. The fairy world, to me, is a general term used to refer to the place(s) that we as humans have had encounters with throughout our recorded history (and, I suspect, long before we invented writing). Fairy World is, according to the tales told by people who have encountered some of its denizens and/or had the good/terrifying luck to visit it, magical, mysterious and confounding as well as essential to our human nature and vital to our well-being as a species. Is fairy world the source of creativity and genius? I don’t know for certain but it sure seems like it. To answer your question, yes, I have had some, minor experiences with fairy world. More on those some other time.

What does this all mean? I haven’t the slightest. But I am intrigued that a pattern has emerged from these three books that I had no intention of designing. So, something’s going on. I just don’t know what.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Saucerland - Selection III

I just added the last selection from "The Far Shores of Saucerland." These three, nonconsecutive excerpts should give you a enough of a sense of the work. I don't want to give it all away, after all.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Saucerland - Selection II

I added a second excerpt from Saucerland to that page today. I'll be adding more over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Saucerland

Over the next few weeks I will post selections from my current project "The Far Shores of Saucerland." It is my first (though I suspect not my last) attempt at long form, narrative poetry. That's a clunky description but it's the best I've got. It's not epic poetry because that, if I remember my college classes accurately, refers to a specific rhyming form. I was definitely inspired by The Iliad, The Aeneid and a handful of other long form, narrative poems that I've read over the years. If you haven't read Toby Barlow's "Sharp Teeth" do yourself a favor and go and do that now.

I've done a few editing passes on Saucerland and have it out to a couple of beta readers now. I aim to publish it in a month or so. Click on the Saucerland link under Pages to the right to read the selections.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

New Pages

Today I added a couple of pages about "Monsters of Utopia." One page is a description and notes and the other pages is three selections from the book.

Below I have added the notes section for those who want to take a quick look at them.

Notes:

I was working on one project, a story that started in a South American jungle (ayahuasca, shamanism, giant snakes, etc.) then moved north into the U.S., when I came up with the idea of a specific type of VR device. The more I wrote scenes with the VR device, the more my thoughting and plotting turned from the that project to what became Monsters. I ended up mixing in the concept of "Imaginal Creatures," a touch of the "third man" phenomena experienced by mountain climbers and other people who find themselves alone in very hazardous conditions and a twist or two from various fairytales. What came out of that literary fricassee is Monsters.

I'd been playing around with writing a "modern day fairy tale" for a while by then and Monsters took on that flair to such an extent that I ended up subtitling it "a fairy tale manifesto." Perhaps the most obvious (to me, at least) fairy tale aspect in Monsters is the character of Sebastian. He doesn't arrive until later in the story but when he does make his appearance, it's hard to ignore. I named the main character of my next book, "The Far Shores of Saucerland (not yet published)," Sebastian as I so loved writing his speeches/diatribes. His tone and word choice inspired me to push my limits even further with Saucerland which is written in a loose free verse.

When people ask me (it happens sometimes) what I enjoy most about writing, I tell them about how it fascinates me the way these characters which nominally I've created start to take on lives of their own. The surprising changes they insist on me making even though I started out with an entirely different plan in mind are both inspiring and maddening. As I write this, I've just realized my resisting this dynamic is what has been causing me such difficulty with Time Swerve Terminal (see previous blog posts for more info). I need to go back to those characters and let them tell me what I should do with that story.