March 6th, 2012

Writing

And hey! I also write….







To the extent that I'm "known" at all as a writer, I'm known primarily for my Star Trek work, because let's face it: That's a big hunk of my resume. There certainly are worse ways to be remembered, I suppose. Serial killer. American Idol fan. Whatever.

On the other hand, I like to remind folks once in a while that I do write other things. Some of that stuff doesn't get noticed a lot, because it's written for smaller press publications, which often get overlooked or even dismissed in this crazy publishing world and its emphasis on "best sellers," "blockbusters" and...well, Snooki.

"BAH!" I say.

With e-Books booming and readers taking ever more peeks at what's available for their e-Gadget of choice, perhaps I need to do a better job of bringing attention not so much to my own material, but rather the folks who create and manage these small press houses for which it can be oh-so much fun to write.

For example, Selina Rosen oversees a wonderful little operation called Yard Dog Press. She, her partner Lynn Stranahan, and pretty much everyone who writes for her are funny, irreverent, and have this nasty habit of telling some damned fine stories. Some of those get published, either as novels or novellas, or collections of short stories. One of my favorite things to come out of there is a novella titled The Four Redheads of the Apocalypse. YDP also published a lot of work by the late Ken Rand, including a whole bunch of stories set in one of my very favorite of his creations, the Lucky Nickel Saloon. My connection to the Yard comes because of Selina's own creations, Bubbas of the Apocalypse, for which I've written stories featured in a couple of her anthologies. And not for nothing? Selina is one of the funniest people I've ever met.

Then, there's Flying Pen Press, based out of Denver. I came to know them thanks to a little editing job I did for them called Space Grunts, one of a series of anthologies with an aim toward recreating that old-school pulp SF feel of yesteryear. It was an opportunity for me to stretch a little bit, and get a taste of the editing side of things. I contributed a story to the next anthology in the series, Space Horrors, which gave me a chance to try something different yet again.

Speaking of something different, there's also Cliffhanger Books. I actually stumbled across them by accident, at a time when they were accepting submissions for a superhero-themed anthology they were putting together called Gods of Justice. It was only after I'd finished prepping a story for submission that I realized one of the editors on the book was Kevin Hosey, who I know thanks to the various Star Trek: Strange New Worlds writing contests. If you like superheroes--and don't need all of them to wear capes and tights--you might consider giving Gods of Justice and gander.

Another awesome effort underway within the independent publishing realm is Sky Warrior Books, headed up my Maggie Bonham. Maggie is one of the savviest people I've encountered when it comes to promotion and leveraging the advantages of small press and e-Publishing platforms. She and her editors also are very selective, which of course begs the question of how I got anything published there. I was thrilled to have my story "Stop-Loss" appear in their anthology Zombiefied, edited by Carol Hightshoe.

Several of my friends and professional colleagues have started or aligned themselves with various independent publishing ventures, and are producing a boatload of interesting and exciting material. Check out Tales of the Scattered Earth, a creation of Aaron Rosenberg and David Niall Wilson over at Crossroad Press, with stories by them as well as Keith R.A. DeCandido. Keith also has his own series there, Super City Police Department. Aaron, along with a few other folks I know, also is involved with another author-driven publishing enterprise, Crazy 8 Press.

Elsewhere, word slinger and zombie lover Elizabeth Donald is the mastermind behind The Literary Underworld, which caters to all of your undead, supernatural, and otherwise paranormal needs. And just to pimp a local effort, Eric Reynolds over at Hadley Rille Books has really put together something special, publishing books, as Eric says, "with an emphasis on space, archaeology, climate and other science-related topics, with a goal to bring a new sense of adventure of the Universe to the reader." He's managed to create a very impressive catalogue of titles. Go. Look.

And those are just a few off the top of my head.

In fact, what this blog post needs is more links. More links to indie press folks, please. If you're reading this and you've published through a small press (yours or someone else's), then share your work through such venues, and point readers to where they can find your work. If I can get enough responses, I'll start a directory page and try to keep it updated.


(Originally published at The Fog of Ward and cross-posted to LiveJournal.)


Spock

Fighting for Gwen: "Robin & the Stars"








Over the weekend, I posted about a fundraising effort, Fighting for Gwen, and how you can get in on the action. By donating to Gwen's cause, you set yourself up as a subscriber to a series of stories written for distribution to the donors. From what I've been told, response so far to this initiative has been very positive, but they can always use a bit more help.

The first of the stories is being released today! First up: "Robin & the Stars" by C.E. Murphy, and is set in a universe of her own creation and aimed at younger readers, Tales from Gryphon Beach.

Other stories will be following at a rate of about one every other week or so, and there' still time for you to be a part of something special. Read about Gwen's story and how you can get involved: RyanMacklin.com: Fighting for Gwen.

Thanks!


(Originally published at The Fog of Ward and cross-posted to LiveJournal.)


MaxHeadroom

Happy 25th Birthday, Lethal Weapon!







I'm not too old for this shit. Are you?

Spring, 1987: Some friends and I head out from the base to the movie theater, ready to check out what looks to be a pretty fun action movie. Ah, such innocent times. Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger were riding high, but Bruce Willis, Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme were still waiting in the wings. What did we have? Mad Max as a "cop on the edge" partnering with...Albert from The Color Purple (or Mal from Silverado, if you prefer)?

Okay, then.



Our admittedly minor concerns were baseless of course, as Mel Gibson and Danny Glover bring us the first team-up of Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh, and proceed to lay down the smacketh upon all manner of criminal folk. Drug dealers, mercenaries, and other miscreants stand no chance against the "Lethal Weapon" and his partner, who may or may not be too old for this shit.

Yes, these days Mr. Gibson is the focus of a much different kind of attention, but back in 1987? He was The Man. Coming off his third turn as Max Rockatansky in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Gibson gives us an all-new take on the tried and true "loner cop on the ragged edge" trope, with Glover serving as his older, more experienced, and ever-suffering compadre. The action, quips, and typical 80s tough-guy humor all come fast and furious as Gibson's Martin Riggs shoots, punches, kicks, and otherwise pummels his way through a seemingly unending wave of bad guys. Oh, and Eric Clapton is on hand to provide some kick-ass music, too.

Directed by Richard Donner (The Omen, Superman: The Movie, and The Goonies), Lethal Weapon was the hot action ticket in 1987, and of course spawned three sequels over the next eleven years (along with a sorta kinda cameo nod-type thing in 1994's Maverick). I place the Lethal Weapons alongside the Die Hards as my favorites of 80s-spawned action fests.

Happy Birthday, Riggs and Murtaugh!


(Originally published at The Fog of Ward and cross-posted to LiveJournal.)