Friday, November 21, 2014

Tabloid Witch Award Screenings at Loscon 41

It's that time that of year again, time for Thanksgiving -- and Loscon!

As usual, Los Angeles's annual science fantasy convention will be convening over Thanksgiving weekend, at the LAX Marriott Hotel. And as is often the case, I'll be screening past Tabloid Witch Award winning horror films there.

I'll be screening the following horror films on Friday evening, November 28, from 8 p.m. to midnight, in the LAX Marriott Hotel's Saddle Brook Room. The schedule is as follows:

short film block: 8 - 10:00 p.m.

Psychic Sue -- A phony psychic meets a real ghost. Horror comedy.

Timothy -- A children's TV show rabbit turns out to be...not nice. We always knewBarney the Dinosaur and the Teletubbies were evil. Grisly dark comedy.

The First Step -- A young girl in a new house hears a monster creeping up the stairs.

Za Edgara (aka To Edgar) -- How Edgar Allan Poe got so weird. Animation.

Somebody to Love-- A lonely man rescues a beautiful corpse...but women are all the same!

The Heebie Jeebies -- A mother's terrifying bedtime tale...or are Heebie Jeebies for real?

The Stomach -- A tormented medium hosts spirits in his stomach. Bloody British horror.

The Fear Box: 666 Telemarketing -- Telemarketers really are from Hell.

Ticket to the Haunted Mansion -- It's only a's not's only a show...right?

Lancaster Square -- A woman hears a baby crying...but where is the baby?

Filmmaker's Q&A

feature: 10:30 p.m. - midnight

Tympanum -- A family man finds a portal in his own apartment. A portal leading to...another planet? Another time? Another dimension? 


Friday, January 24, 2014

Self-Published Authors: It's Not About the Money

Does self-publishing a book make one into a real writer? That is, professional author? Or is a self-publisher merely a vanity author?

The outside world may not care about such definitions, but as self-publishing became ever cheaper and easier over the past 15 years (due to print-on-demand, distributing those POD books via Amazon, and finally Kindle ebooks), writers have hotly debated who is a professional.

Only professional authors are permitted to join many writers' organizations, so defining a professional is not an entirely fanciful past-time. It has real world consequences.

Richard Lea observes, in Britain's The Guardian newspaper [January 23, 2014], that most self-published authors not only don't earn much money from their books -- they also don't think it's relevant to defining a writer.

I found this excerpt especially interesting:

[T]he self-publishing revolution has allowed "hundreds of thousands of voracious readers with a dream of writing a novel" to write books "out of love and passion, just like a kid goes out and dribbles a basketball for hours every day or kicks a soccer ball against a garage wall". But over the past few decades we wouldn't have called these people "writers" any more than we would call that kid in the back yard a footballer. If all it takes to be a writer is to stick your work online then we're all writers now.

In the old days things were much clearer. All you had to do to call yourself a writer was publish a book, which meant you needed someone else to publish it – and someone else to buy it.

Read the full story here.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Bogus Amazon Reviews

As an Amazon Vine Voice, I take pride in my Amazon reviews. I am thus especially disgusted by bogus "reviews for hire."

I found the below ad on Criagslist, which takes bogus reviewing to new depths. "Reviewers" are hired to post pre-written reviews. That's right. These phony slimebag "reviewers" don't even bother to write their own lies.

I suggest that Amazon (and Yelp -- I've seen ads for bogus Yelp reviewers as well) should engage in sting operations. Respond to these ads, try to find out who's posting bogus reviews, and delete all their reviews.

Here's the Craigslist ad (contact info not included):

We are a literary marketing company that helps authors/publishers increase book sales.

We are looking for individuals who can boost the positive "Amazon book review" postings on selected titles. You will be given the reviews. No need to do any writing. The books are of all genres, but some are erotica so you should be fine with that. You must have an active Amazon account (meaning having purchased anything from there) and a computer with a unique I.P. address (no Kindles/phones, etc.).
Need a handful of people to post reviews on about 10 books/day (should take less than an hour total). You will be paid $5/book ($50 total/every day). Payment is by Paypal on a daily basis.

Serious responses only. This gig starts right away.

Please provide your email as the system here keeps sending replies to junk mail. Thanks!

You can find some tips on how to spot a fake review on this site and on this site.


Friday, January 10, 2014

The Quarterly Review Interviews Me

Canadian writer Mark Wegierksi interviewed me for the Quarterly Review, during which I mostly discuss the creative process and themes behind my novels.

 You can read Wegierski's article here.