Sunday, December 26, 2010

Reading Renaissance

(Cross-posted at FlagShip) This Christmas, there was an e-reader bonanza at the Ricks household. Out of the six families that gathered round the tree this year, four came away with Kindles. My Mom, both of my brothers, and a sister now have a handy dandy e-reader, which it became my job to fill with sweet, sweet content. Courtesy of Baen, and Flying Island Press, I think they've got plenty to read for a while.
If you've been listening to the Galley Table podcast for the last couple weeks, you've heard me talk about Baen a bit. Bottom line is, if you pick up certain hardcover editions, you get a CD that contains a LOT of Baen books. And because those files are all distributed with specific language that allows... um, encourages... uh, DEMANDS sharing, sharing is what you do with them. And while you don't necessarily have to buy the hardback (images of those CDs are available online at the Fifth Imperium), I'd encourage you to do so if for no reason other than to show some appreciation for a forward thinking publisher and some love for the authors that provided some really ripping yarns. And while you're out and about the internet, maybe you might consider swinging by and picking up a Baen e-book that isn't available on their free CDs.
Full disclosure. Baen is not paying me for this.
While I enjoy the audio format, and am very happy to see that Nathan Lowell's Owner's Share has its first five chapters available at, I'm also wildly enjoying all the reading I've been doing lately thanks to some free apps for my phone and the ready availability of content.
So, what's your take? Did you get a shiny new e-reader this holiday season? Have you had one? What do you think about it?

Monday, December 6, 2010


This is a test. Only a test. No reason to read anything into this. Nothing to see here...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

That thing I've been working on...

Some of you may be aware that I've been working on a science fiction/fantasy e-magazine for both e-readers and personal audio players.

Just wanted to say... issue #1 is live.

And if you wanted to sample it... say, try before you buy, well... I can help you.

Here's a link to a sample ePub file that includes one full story from the issue, and the columns Scott Roche and I wrote for it.

And here's the audio version of that same story, in case you prefer your fiction in audible form.


Download FlagShipPromo1.mp3

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On being an editor, and what I'm looking for...

Now that the first round of submissions for FlagShip is over (okay, technically, you still have about an hour to get your stuff in as of this posting), I realize a couple of things.
First, having someone respond positively to the feedback you give them, and hopefully write a stronger story because of it is a fantastic feeling.
Second, it seems to be a lot easier to write doom, gloom, and cynicism than it is to write optimistic and uplifting. Maybe it's the culture at large, maybe it's the writerly mindset. Whatever it is, it makes me realize that it's easier to write angst and sturm and drang than not. And a sense of wonder? Whoof. You might as well be asking for someone to turn lead into gold.
Maybe as an editor, I wasn't entirely clear on what I'm looking for in my short story fiction. So I'm going to explain the best way I know how... by using COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF ANIME MUSIC.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cost vs. Value

I’ve been sick for the last few days. (Why, yes, I’m feeling much better today, thanks for asking.) During a particularly lucid period, I decided to catch up on a lot of the RSS feeds I haven’t been paying enough attention to lately.
Anyway, one of the items that really got me thinking yesterday was this one from TechDirt: "Scott Adams: The Economic Value Of Content Is Going To Zero, But Maybe It's Okay".
Mike Masnick is a smart guy, and he does a lot of thinking about this kind of thing. And since I’ve got this little e-publishing venture launching its first issue in about four weeks, it’s got me thinking about things like cost, price, and value.
The specific bit that sunk its hooks into my brain was this:

“The economic value of that content doesn't go to zero. The price of that content may approach zero, but as we've pointed out over and over again price and value are not the same thing. In fact, there may be tremendous economic value in that content -- it's just that the economic value is realized elsewhere, by making something else gain a higher price.”
Now, as someone that’s starting a business that aims to survive (at least in the short term) by asking you to pay a price for content, that hit me right between the eyes. As I started thinking about it, I realized that I’d seen it in my own life.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Taking it too seriously?

Well, I certainly didn't mean to take two months from the time I wrote the last post here to this one.

But having said that, I have been thinking an awful lot about what I should be doing. And I haven't been sitting on my hands. But me starting an e-publishing company isn't getting you stories. Oh, I've been thinking and thinking. Do I want to go back to writing novels? Does it make sense to keep on doing the short stories? How about the possibility of doing serialized work? Jonathan Coulton did the Thing a Week, and that worked out pretty well for him. Does the forced march make sense here?

The only thing I haven't been doing, alas, is actually writing new fiction. This is a problem. Moreover, I seem to be so obsessed with getting the RIGHT answer that it's not allowing me to take action. Even writing this blog post could be a procrastination technique on my part. (curse you, insidious procrastination!)

I don't know what to do. And it's really, REALLY bugging me.

On Saddles, and Getting The Frakkin' Heck Back On Them...

There's a concept in physics known as potential energy. Wikipedia describes it as the energy stored within a physical system as a result of the position or configuration of the different parts of the system. It has the potential to be converted into kinetic energy - motion - and in the process, do work.
I've just spent Memorial Day weekend at Balticon, in Baltimore, MD, USA, hanging out with and learning from some of the most creative and inspiring people I know. Authors, producers of audio, artists, (got to meet Howard Tayler, of, and was promptly embarrassed by the implications of the Poke-Ball shirt I was wearing).
There's been a lot of inspiring discussion. I've gotten some good information. I've talked with a bunch of people about this project I'm doing at, and there's been some encouraging developments along those lines. I am stoked. Recharged. Repositioned.
But that doesn't do anyone any good (aside from the warm fuzzies), unless that potential is converted into actual work. If anything, that's the lesson I'm taking away from Nathan Lowell, P.G. Holyfield, Patrick McLean, Tee Morris, Philippa Ballantine, Mur Lafferty, and everyone else. We only have so much energy to expend in a day. Let's use that to do good work.

Monday, March 29, 2010

My Two Cents on Marketing Mad Poet Files

First, just a couple of quick thoughts. Mad Poet Files originally had two driving forces behind it.
1. I needed a way to get myself into and KEEP myself in the writing habit. A bi-weekly short story podcast does that. Making me come up with fresh content every other week keeps those writing synapses firing and fresh.
2. I planned on taking those stories, picking the best one and firing it off to the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest once a quarter. Quick aside: High Moon won an Honorable Mention my first try out of the gate, so that's encouraging. There's no guarantee that it's going to happen this time around, though. I don't see anything in the quarter that is quite at the quality level of High Moon. I've got two days to get a story in the mail to them (the contest runs quarterly), and it'll probably be No More Kings. We'll see.

But there's been this nagging thought in the back of my head that I could possibly start selling these stories.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

MPF 6 - Blood Red Sand

This is a story that's been kicking around inside my head for years. Hopefully, getting it out and down will make room for more stories.

It's like I've heard other people say. Ideas are easy. Execution on those ideas - that's hard.

So, here's hoping you like this episode. If you do, please leave a comment. If you really do, consider buying it in ebook form. $2.00 cheap. You don't need that blueberry scone. Instead, you can support what I'm doing here - if you like it. And if you don't, please let me know. I can't get better as fast if I don't have feedback.

Anyway, enjoy!

Download MPF6.mp3

Monday, March 8, 2010

MPF 5 - The Cost of Miracles

Welcome to the 2nd half of the story. I'll try to consolidate these in the future, which means I need to get writing earlier in the process. Good news is that I'm working on a collaboration RIGHT NOW with Scott Roche, of the Archangel podcast. Of course, I don't know if that will appear here but...

Anyway, here's the rest of the story of Alexander, Markus, Ragnar, and Fabius. Hope you enjoy it!

Download MPF5.mp3

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

MPF 4 - A Premonition

MAN, I stink at titles.

Anyway, here's a story. At least the first part of one. It will be continued in the next episode, which will be along real soon now. Hopefully by the end of the week. Whew!

Meantime, I hope you enjoy this. This week's lesson - Write First, Edit Later. I'm going to be spending some quality time at Anyway, I hope you enjoy this week's part of a story. Seemed like a logical place to end it.

Download MPF4.mp3

Thursday, February 18, 2010

So, I've been doing these rants on ustream...

This one is number three. The first one was too long to post to YouTube, but I've done a better job with the other two.

And if you want to see the others, number two is here, and number one is here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

MPF 3 - The Assignment

Howdy and welcome to another episode of Mad Poet Files.

Life for the last two weeks has been cuckoo crazy. That and I was lazy the first week. Bad Writer No Twinkie!

So, here's a backup story. The story that I'm currently working on will drop as MPF 4, some time between now and two weeks from Tuesday, and you'll still get a fresh shiny episode in two weeks. (MPF 5, for those who are counting.)

Also, I've been thinking about bundling together the stories when I hit five, and sticking them on Amazon as a Kindle download, or something like that. I'd appreciate any thoughts or advice on that course of action before I actually try it.

Meanwhile, here's a story I initially wrote a few years ago, re-worked, edited, and recorded for your enjoyment!

Download MPF03-Assigmnent.mp3

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Because You Asked For It...

Here's a promo for the Mad Poet Files.


Download MPFPromo1.mp3

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

MPF PDF 2 - No More Kings

Here's the PDF copy of the Second Mad Poet File - No More Kings.

Again, I wish I knew what the heck I was thinking of with the numbering. I switched a little language here, something someone pointed out didn't exactly fit with the tone of the rest of the piece. I've left the old language in, but stricken out.

With the recent Amazon/Macmillan brouhaha, I'm suddenly even more unsure about putting the stories together in a bundle and selling them via Amazon or someone else. I mean, I would like to give listeners a way to support the cast, but... ah well. It's way early to be thinking about this, with only two stories down.


Download MPF2.pdf

Monday, January 25, 2010

MPF 2 - No More Kings

Yeah, I have no idea what I was thinking with the numbers I had for the first ep.

This story was written, edited, and recorded in less than twelve hours. Wow. It's a little shorter than last week's, and it wasn't the story I thought it would be, but I hope you enjoy it!

Download MPF2.mp3

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Special Delivery today...

You know... it's gotta be beginner's luck.

The story that won the honorable mention is available in text at:, and in audio...

aw what the heck...

Right here. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

MPF PDF 1-01 - Frosty's Deposit

Here's the PDF copy of the first Mad Poet File - Frosty's Deposit.

I've been debating the idea of putting these up on Amazon for the Kindle, but I'm still weighing that out in my head. On one hand it tells me (a) which stories people liked better, and (b) gives people a way to support the podcast directly.

On the other hand, there may be costs to doing that of which I am as yet blissfully unaware. (Ah, bliss!) And I wouldn't feel remarkably comfortable doing that until I had at least four stories under my belt, but there we are.

So, anyway, something to consider. Here's the first story.


Monday, January 11, 2010

MPF 1-01 - Frosty's Deposit

Welcome to the first episode of the Mad Poet Files - a semi-weekly short story podcast.

This is episode 1 - Frosty's Deposit, or Cold Cash. The PDF version of this story will be up Friday morning.

Music - Triforce! by the Mad Titans.


Download MPF1-Frosty