Check Out Paul Chadeisson Right Now

 

Sometimes you run into an artist who is so good that it makes you question why you’re bothering to make your stuff at all. For me, I had one of those moments when I saw Paul Chadeisson’s work over at Artstation. His work is so detailed and evocative, that it reminds me a lot of Simon Stålenhag, another favorite sci-fi artist.

Artistic envy is nothing new. It’s good sometimes to look out there, beyond your horizon, to see what other people are doing. It reminds you to focus on delivering your best, while constantly refining what your best can be.

And then you get back to work.

“What’s Your Novel About?” – Intro to Mesh

Churning away on edits, I want to take this opportunity to talk about what my scifi novel ‘Mesh’ is all about.

So far I’ve only published short stories, but I want to do more. It’s great to pull off a 6-12K word tale, but what about an epic novel? Can I do it? Will people enjoy it? Writing a full-length novel has been on my bucket list since I was 12. Now, several decades later, I want to give it a shot. Here’s what Mesh is about and I hope it’s something you’ll enjoy:

“My name is Roman Diaz. One day I was a nerdy kid. The next day I’m on the run. Everyone thinks I’m a terrorist. I just wanted an ‘A’ on my science project.”

Fourteen-year-old Roman is on the fast track to nowhere, as a wheelchair-bound nerd in a dead-end school. A prestigious technical academy offers him and his geeky best-friend Zeke a way out. How can they say no?

Miramar Technical High isn’t just another magnet school: it’s an incubator for the next Elon Musk and Albert Einstein. Their new principal, Doctor Gray, has created a strange community of geeks, gamers and geniuses. Roman and Zeke are addicted to the weird, techno-anarchy of a campus filled with tough, smart kids. Pranks, hacks, and androids are only the beginning.

The stakes for success are high: Roman and Zeke join the Snow Foxes, the top talent at Miramar, to build a tool that will not only win first prize at the Titan Conference, but will also change the world. Everything changes when they learn the truth about Project November, and their techno-god principal. Friends become enemies. Truths becomes lies. Rockstar students are criminals … that’s what it says on TV, anyway.

Roman is now the most hunted kid in America. What is he going to do? Miramar created a secret weapon that the bad guys didn’t count on: The Mesh. It’s a secret project, something nobody cared about. Is it really the only thing standing between the forces of good and evil? 

MESH is the first novel in a science fiction YA series that will appeal to readers of Ernie Cline’s READY PLAYER ONE and binge-watchers of STRANGER THINGS.

Mesh is a celebration of many different stories, people and ideas that I’ve collected over the years. Parsing ideas down into a readable story is an interesting challenge, and I’m finding it to be personally rewarding.

I’m still in search of an agent – I want to publish Mesh through the traditional market, as opposed to self-publishing. I can always use more feedback from sci-fi readers on the material, and from writing professionals on how to get published. Please contact me via Reddit if you’d like to be a part of my team.

You can read more about Mesh’s journey in these blog posts

/R/Writing Threads You Should Read Right Now

Say what you will about Reddit, there are some talented people out there, chasing the dream just like you. In writing Mesh, I’m running across many questions that have no clear answers. Swinging over to Reddit, I have my heart in my mouth knowing that it’s difficult to make connections some times. How happy I was to see that many other writers are struggling with the same questions. Maybe these will strike a chord with you, too:

Your first draft will suck. I guarantee it.

How do you fix ‘Show, Don’t Tell?’

How do you write protagonists that appeal to teenage boys? 

Short stories and breaking into the publishing world.

Reading some of these threads reminds me of the timeless advice given to Link in Zelda: It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this.

Kids on Saturday Night – New Free Wallpaper

So here’s something free for February – a quick cyberpunk wallpaper that I’ve been tinkering with for a few weeks now. I think the original picture came from Unsplash and then I started reimagining it in a scifi context.

Free wallpapers are part of the Free Stuff I give away from time to time. All sci-fi, all made by me, because making stuff is important. Hope you enjoy Kids on Saturday Night.

Don’t Hate. Create. – Author Guide – Part II

Hannibal from the A Team may love it when a plan comes together, but he never told us what to do when that doesn’t happen. As I said before, there are powerful emotions at work when your new creative project fails to launch. What do you do with all that energy and passion? Let’s break the recovery process down into some simple action steps:

Success is Not a Linear Path

Hollywood is obsessed with this idea that success starts out with a simple idea and then through a single path – usually a montage – all the stars align and everyone falls in love with you. This is false. Success doesn’t work that way. Not even in Hollywood.

If you aren’t familiar with this reality, you may feel like the negative reactions you’re getting are personally directed toward you. You may be tempted to react angrily. After all, you have an idea and you want to share it with people. Why all the hate?

It’s important to decouple yourself from your idea. Ideas come and go. Projects come and go. I remember Robert Downey Jr. talking with someone after The Judge came out, and it wasn’t doing well. His only comment was, ‘well, it stings … but then you’re onto the next project.’ If Iron Man can accept his setbacks without a meltdown, what’s our excuse?

Don’t take it personally. Brush yourself off. Realize that your path is not linear. Start creating again.

Make sense? Let’s keep going: Continue reading

Don’t Hate. Create. – Author Guide

Maybe it’s me getting older and wiser, but I’m starting to understand more about where to spend my energy as an artist.

I admit: all of this is a black box to me. When I was a kid, I acted and I got paid. That’s as far as I took it. Understanding all the pieces and parts to a major creative enterprise like a feature film, that was beyond me. I don’t get the luxury of that ignorance today and neither does any other indie artist.

We’re forced by necessity to be intensely focused on all the moving parts of a successful, monetized project. Fair or unfair, that’s our reality. It’s hard to get it right. Easy to get it wrong. We’re all figuring stuff out for ourselves.

And here’s the other part: We’re all passionate. In exchanges with other artists, and creative people, I’ve become aware how passionate people are and how that passion manifests itself. Some (I’m looking at you, @Scalzi and @HamillHimself) are bright shining stars that beckon.

Others are warning lights, saying ‘Watch out … I’m trouble.’  We’ve all had exchanges like that. Sometimes we’re the offender. Sometimes the offendee. As easy as it would be to poke fun, I don’t want to do that. I can’t point fingers. I’ve been that guy. I can’t judge too much. It’s bad for recovery … When You Point a Finger at Someone, There Are Three More Pointing Back at You and all that.

When an exchange goes south, it becomes an interesting personal exercise for me. What can this exchange teach me about how I interact with other people as I find new readers? As I mentioned, I still have a lot to learn. Many others do, too, apparently. Let’s distill our thoughts into one simple idea: Don’t hate. Create. The rest of this blog post is about unpacking those three words.

Continue reading

Think You’re Cut Out For Scifi? Take This Quiz

Hi there. Just a reminder that you’re better than this. I’m sorry if you came here to experience a click-baity ‘You definitely love Scifi’ payoff screen and a ‘Share Your Score’ banner page. Quizzes aren’t my business. I’m here for the people who want more than clickbait, and if that is you then please keep reading.

No quiz will tell you if you’re cut out for sci-fi. You love science fiction? Good, you’re in. Being curious about science, and how we might use it to enrich our lives is the only barrier to entry in our beloved genre.

Don’t believe the hype. Ignore the gatekeepers. You don’t need to pass a quiz to be a part of science fiction. You just have to like it.

Dig in, tune in, turn on, and enjoy.