Saturday, December 14, 2013

Can't We All Just Get Along? The Star Trek vs. Star Wars Debate.

I must have been living under a rock for the past thirty or so years. This can be the only explanation. How else could I have missed out on such a heated debate amongst fanboys (and girls) over which is superior - Star Wars or Star Trek?


I have been a fan of science fiction my entire life and never realized that I might have to make a choice between two such beloved franchises. It is really only since the advent of social media (re: Facebook) that the conflict has truly come to my attention. I will not advocate for either side on this matter. My intention is to simply state where I stand and let members of either camp decide whether to come after me lynch-mob style.

I will confess that my first love is Star Wars, mainly because I experienced it first. I was seven years old when I saw the original film in the theaters (Back before episode numbers, when A New Hope was simply known as Star Wars.) Like every other child of similar age at this time, I was blown away by the original film (Much as Greedo was blown away by Han Solo who -say it with me- shot first!) I had never had much exposure to science fiction before this, but afterwards I began to take in as much as I could. This lead, logically (No pun intended) to my first, and almost last, encounter with Star Trek.

January 1979, my parents take me out for my birthday to see Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The television ads got me very excited for this film, with images of the newly refurbished Enterprise, and Klingon ships battling. My excitement lasted about fifteen minutes, right after those battling Klingons and newly refurbished Enterprise flashed across the screen. Star Trek: The Motion Picture quickly became the Motionless Picture. I was bored, my parents were bored. My father would continually lean over and ask if I wanted to leave. For some odd reason, despite my boredom, I kept saying no, I wanted to see how it turned out. I left the theater despising the movie, but intrigued enough to start watching the series. (For the record, in recent years I have come to a new appreciation for the first film, since it's newly re-edited release on DVD, but it is still probably my least favorite.) On occasion, while flipping through channels, and if nothing else was on, I would check out that week's adventures of Kirk, Spock, and crew, but it still had yet to take with me. It wasn't until The Wrath of Khan that I began to follow wholeheartedly, and by The Search for Spock, I was a true convert.

For many years, Trek filled the void left behind by the lack of any adventures set in that galaxy far, far away, but I always wanted more Star Wars. And even when George Lucas decided to finally grace us with more Wars, whether in books, comics, games or the special editions or prequel films, I never lost my enthusiasm for Trek.

What I am getting at is that I have a deep love and respect for both franchises and will not choose a side. I do not care if Picard could beat up Han Solo. I have no intention of traveling to Riverside, Iowa, wearing my Darth Maul t-shirt, blasting the Star Wars theme from my car stereo, and urinating on the placard indicating the spot that is marked as the future birthplace of Captain Kirk. A face off between the Enterprise and a Star Destroyer???
Who cares??? And perhaps one of the most inane arguments of recent months, the debate that J.J. Abrams should not be allowed to direct Star Wars Episode VII because  he has already directed the last two Trek films. I could see a debate if he had directed something worthy of Mystery Science Theater 3000, but Abrams has proven himself time and again, and as an admitted Star Wars fan, I have every confidence that he will do justice to the new films. The only other choices I could have seen would be Peter Jackson or Steven Spielberg.

Star Trek or Star Wars? Apples and oranges people! Enjoy them both for what they are. Two diverse, but equally entertaining science fiction franchises. Go to Comic-con dressed in your best Klingon warrior garb and go up and hug a Wookie! When Trek was at its best, it celebrated that kind of diversity. It's a lesson that we should all take to heart.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Star Wars Episode VII: Resurrection of Evil - The Sequel You will NEVER See.

The time is early 1990. Star Wars is nowhere to be found. Aside from West End Games' role-playing game, there was nothing to sate our hunger. No movies. No comic books. No novels. Nada! Fanboys like myself are hurting big time. Much as we love Episodes IV, V, and VI, we want more. George Lucas had promised more movies, otherwise why would he have numbered them the way he had? Something needed to be done. Soon!

Then, one day it hit me. I like to write. I love Star Wars. Why not write the next chapter in the saga myself? I could both kickstart my career as a writer and revive the franchise, earning the praise and adulation of millions of fans worldwide.

I set about my task with a fervor second only to religious zealotry. I re-watched the films, read the novelizations, the spin off novels, all 107 issues of the Marvel Comics series. Hell, I even bought a copy of The Star Wars Holiday Special at a convention. As I researched, my tale began to take shape. I invented characters or incorporated some from the (at that time) Expanded Universe. I worked out scenes and action sequences, even going so far as to storyboard some as though I were planning this as a cinematic feature. This was going to be EPIC! With all the elements in place, I began writing the first chapter.

Jump to spring 1990. I find this on the shelf of a bookstore I frequent:
 
 
Curses! Foiled again! Not only did Timothy Zahn beat me to the punch, but he did it brilliantly, setting the bar so high that only a few of the many novels to follow would even come remotely close.
 
Resurrection of Evil not only failed to get near that bar, it missed it entirely. I wasn't even in the same solar system. In a deep funk, I decided it was best not to try playing in the big kids' yard. I went on to other things.
 
But now, here for the first time, revealed once before to only my best friend and my girlfriend of the time, is the plot for my vision of Episode VII. I no longer have any of the notes that I made, so this is all coming from memory.
 
Episode VII begins with it's own title crawl, the first line of which borrowed from the blurb on the back of the Return of the Jedi video cassette, stating that The Galactic Empire has been brought to its knees. As with the original trilogy, and Zahn's novels, we start with a Star Destroyer on the run from a Rebel hunter-killer task force that stumbles across an abandoned space station, on which a lost apprentice of Darth Vader's lurks. Commandeering the Star Destroyer, the apprentice sets out to avenge his master's death.
 
On Endor, Luke is continuing to hone his mastery of the Force. He receives a vision of Obi Wan that warns him that a new dark force is rising. He learns that his friend Halla, keeper of the Kaiburr Crystal, which enhances one's mastery of the Force, has gone missing. (Both of these first appeared in Alan Dean Foster's novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye.)
 
At the same time, Han and Leia are sent on a mission somewhere (Sorry for the vagueness. Remember, working from memory.) to bring in an operative from the rebel base there. They find the base under attack by a group of Imperial AT-ST walkers, remotely controlled by a master AT-AT. Using a commandeered landspeeder and Leia's newly acquired lightsaber, they manage to thwart the attack by cutting the lead walker's front legs off, effectively killing the drone AT-ST's in the process.
 
Boba Fett returns as well, having escaped from the Sarlacc and journeying on foot across the Tatooine wastes, fighting a band of Tusken Raiders along the way, to Jabba's palace, where his ship is docked. He then sets off on a vengeance quest for our heroes.
 
Numerous incidents occur within the middle of the text, none of which really stand out in my memory.
 
The story ends with a climax on two fronts. Han, Chewie and Leia in the Falcon square off against Fett. Fett is kicking the snot out of the Falcon and taunting Han for his decision to run. Pissed, Han turns the Falcon around and charges Fett, both ships firing wildly as they play a space-based game of chicken. Wanna guess who wins?
 
As for Luke, he has tracked Halla back to Mimban, where the Kaiburr Crystal was first discovered. She had been trying to return the crystal back to where it belongs, dying in the process at the hands of Vader's apprentice. Luke and the apprentice duel, during the course of which the crystal is smashed upon the ground. A huge vortex erupts from the shards, destroying the apprentice. Luke barely gets clear in his X-wing as the vortex grows larger, eventually reaching to space and destroying the orbiting Star Destroyer as well.
 
Heroes reunite, all is well, and as John Williams' music swells in our heads, we fade to end credits.
 
Not exactly as epic-sounding now as it was in my head 20+ years ago, but there are still a lot of elements in it that I still like, and though the wonder of recycling, will be reusing in future tales.
 
And who knows? Maybe now that this is out there for the general public to read, maybe I'll get a call from Disney/Lucasfilm to negotiate writing Episode VIII?
 
Yeah. Not gonna lie awake at night waiting for that call.
 
 
 


Saturday, August 17, 2013

MY list of disappointing science fiction sequels (Mine, not yours.)


 
 DISCLAIMER. The following is a list of science fiction films that disappointed me. I state this because invariably there will be someone out there who reads this and will probably make the comments “What do you mean? (Add title here) was the greatest movie EVER! You stupid (Add expletive of your choice)! I’ll never read another one of your books again! You’ve ruined my life!” I see this all the time whenever someone posts an article list the 5-10 worst whatevers. This is my opinion.  That’s all. I apologize in advance for ruining anyone’s childhood. There are spoilers contained within, but if the reader has not seen these films by now, they probably have no intention of seeing them anyway. Okay? Here we go then. In no particular order. . .

Alien 3- After the cinematic artistry of Ridley Scott’s original Alien, and James Cameron’s epic, exhilarating Aliens, David Fincher’s Alien 3 was a kick in the gut from which the franchise has never recovered. Many fans (myself included) were turned off before the opening credits finished rolling by the pointless killing off of well-liked characters Hicks and Newt. (It is understood that too much time passed between the filming of Aliens and this film for Carrie Henn to reprise her role as Newt, but a recasting would have been preferable to the immediate and shocking death of this well-loved character.) As for Corporal Hicks, played by Michael Biehn, his character deserved a better death. I’m not against killing the character, but at least let a warrior go out in battle, especially seeing as how he was the only one of his entire unit to survive the last film.

Next point: Having the entire cast sport shaven heads might have been a bold stylistic choice, and did have a suitable explanation, but made things too confusing because it was too difficult to tell characters apart, especially in the dark and gloomy subterranean surroundings. Wait! Didn’t that guy die 10 minutes ago???

However the most confusing point of all is where the alien came from in the first place. At the end of the last film, all the alien eggs had been fried (Sorry for the pun.) and the Queen jettisoned into space. Then, in another opening credit shocker, one of the first things we see is an open, empty egg casing. When, one must ask, did the Queen have time between skewering Bishop and battling Ripley to not only produce this egg (Considering that her egg sack had been left behind on LV-426), but to conveniently stash it away out of sight until the next film?

The film has its merits, mainly in supporting actors Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance, and the late Pete Postelthwaite., but not much else. By the end of the film the viewer is actually happy to see Ripley take her own life, if not to save the galaxy from the alien scourge, then at least to save the viewers from having to suffer another cinematic alien miscarriage such as this. Of course, in science fiction, and in Hollywood, death is not always the end.

Aliens vs Predator: Requiem - I admit that I enjoyed the original AvP greatly, though it was far from perfect and far different from the original, vastly superior comic book material, so I was naturally excited when I heard a sequel was in the works. The early trailers looked promising. A promise that was short lived.

A lot of things went wrong with this one, too many to list all of them, so I’ll just hit on some key points.

The plot was sound enough. Picking up immediately after the last film, the Predator ship crashes back to Earth after the Predator/Alien hybrid seen at the end of the last film wreaks havoc onboard. Facehuggers emerge and quickly overtake their first victims, spawning the first of many xenomorphs. A lone Predator is dispatched to clean up the mess and chaos ensues for the small Colorado town in which the film is set.

Chaos it is. We are quickly introduced to multiple characters all at once, None of whom are all that interesting. They are: the local sheriff, the punk, the soldier returning home, the cute ,blonde love interest. (One look at her and you know that A) she will be taking her clothes off, and B) she’s going to die.) Every one of these characters is as two-dimensional as the comic books the movies are loosely based on.

The aliens swarm the town. The Predator kills aliens and anyone else that gets in its way (Including the aforementioned cute, blonde love interest.) People run. People scream. People die. The entire film plays like a cheap 80’s slasher film.

Bill Paxton was approached for a cameo so he could appear in the second 'Predator', 'Alien' and 'AvP' film in each series. Schedule conflicts prevented him from making an appearance.

Star Trek V The Final Frontier – I do like this film, I just don’t love it. Possibly the least popular entry in the Trek film franchise aside from the original Star Trek The Motion Picture. Coming in on the heels of the phenomenally successful Star Trek IV The Voyage Home, this installment had an uphill battle all the way from the start.

A lot of people blame director and star William Shatner for the debacle. Indeed, I once saw Walter “Chekov” Koenig at a convention who said :Star Trek IV was the Voyage Home. Star Trek V is the Ego Trip.” This may be true, but I don’t think Shatner is wholly to blame.

The story is an ambitious one, about a renegade Vulcan who hijacks the Enterprise in order to seek out “God”, and one of the few Trek films to focus on facets of the human condition and not just action set pieces, though the film has its fair share. According to Shatner in his book Star Trek Movie Memories,  Paramount was against him from early on, whether it be about the story, the budget, or Shatner himself being in the directors chair.

It is clear that Paramount decided to cheap off on this film, and the effects budget was hardest hit. Unable to afford Industrial Light & Magic, Shatner was forced to rely on a more modest effects house and it shows. While the effects are not terrible —save for the less than spectacular effects of the “God thing” at the films climax— they just do not hold up to the usual ILM standards we came to expect from the last few film entries.

The main cast does a fine job as always, and there are efforts to give some shining moments to characters other than Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Guest stars range from good (Laurence Luckinbill as Vulcan renegade Sybok, and David Warner, doing what he can with the minimal role he is given as Federation representative St. John Talbot. He will return in Star Trek VI in a much meatier role as Klingon Chancellor Gorkon), to the laughable (Cynthia Gouw,  as Romulan Rep Caithlin Dar, the 23rd century equivalent of London Tipton from Disney’s The Suite Life of Zach and Cody.) Most of the Klingons in this film come across as overly-muscled schoolyard bullies.

There are high points. Jerry Goldsmith works his usual orchestral magic turning in what is possibly his finest score for a Trek film (and my personal favorite). The humor this time around is more forced than before, but there are some gems. McCoy’s lament that he liked Spock better before he died, or Kirk’s observation that the reason Spock’s rocket boots fail to keep them aloft while making an escape “Must be all those marshmellons” are genuinely funny and played well.

It’s a shame for all the technical and financial woes this film suffered. After the fun, lighthearted adventure of Star Trek IV, everyone expected, and deserved, more.

 

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace- This is the big one. One of the most anticipated movies in history. The one that caused over-zealous fans worldwide to lament George Lucas ruined my childhood!

A lot of the blame can actually be laid upon ourselves, the fans. After waiting over twenty years for this film, we had all built up in our minds what we thought this film should have been, but since George Lucas was the one calling the shots, it was exactly the movie that he thought it should be.

It is not a bad movie, and certainly a better science fiction film than many, and had this film actually been the first one released, I’m sure it would have done very well. However, viewed in regards to the series as a whole, it does seem to be the weakest of the six current films in the saga —seven, if you count the animated Clone Wars movie.

There is much that went right with this film, and much that went wrong. On the light side, the film is technically and visually a triumph. Strong actors such as Liam Neeson, Ewan MacGregor, and Ian McDiarmid, lend weight to a series of films that has never been praised for the abilities of many of  its actors. The final duel between Qui Gon, Obi Wan, and Sith apprentice Darth Maul is some of the best lightsaber work in the saga, and there is the podrace, of course.

Turning to the dark side, however, we are left with a film that is, at times, just too much talk, heavy on the political machinations and treachery that come with a republic on the brink of disaster. There is the God-awful Yoda puppet (I have my theory as to why the original puppet worked so well and the new one failed, but I’ll save that for later.) and, of course, Jar Jar Binks, a character more hated than any Sith Lord. I remember reading somewhere when the film was still in production that Jar Jar was “the Chewbacca of the prequels.” That’s enough for any self-respecting Wookie to tear the author’s arms out of his sockets.

One has to wonder how the series would have fared if this had come first. Seeing the hero progress from cute child to murderous villain might have turned viewers off enough that we might never have gotten to see his eventual redemption. Kinda makes you wonder…

***

Are there other sci-fi sequels that deserve to be on this list? Sure. Anyone remember Superman III or Batman and Robin? Prometheus anyone?  Actually, thinking on it now, there may be another list in the near future, but this is what I got for now. Hope I didn’t ruin anyone’s childhood.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Come Inside My Mind...

Perhaps one of the questions most asked of writers, or any artist for that matter, is probably about where we get the inspiration for our ideas. I cannot speak for all others and, to a degree, cannot even speak for myself. Sometimes things just come to me without explanation, but there are a great many influences that fuel my creative juices. Some are blatantly obvious to even the most remote outsider. Some, not so much.

Here I present five of those influences, not just of The Starhawk Chronicles, but behind anything I write. There are, of course, much more than five, but to share any more than that would make this blog far longer than any of us would want to read, and certainly longer than I want to write.


Star Wars  – I know, you’re shocked at this revelation. Who would have thunk it?  In all seriousness, I doubt that there isn’t a science fiction writer of my generation out there who was not at least marginally influenced by the original films of the saga. We bought the toys, read the comic books, listened to the soundtrack albums, tuned into the radio adaptations, and even (shudder) watched the Holiday Special (Yes, I have a copy of it on DVD.)

Silverado – This might seem an odd one, but I drew so much inspiration from this classic 1985 western. Jesse’s two gun holster rig and duster jacket were inspired by Kevin Costner and Danny Glover’s characters, respectively. And what’s a good western without a cattle stampede?

The Last Starfighter – Even more than Star Wars, this 1984 film was probably the biggest inspirational force behind the very first draft of the story, though there is very little that resembles it in the final manuscript. Almost 30 years later, I still love this film. Yes, the digital FX are crude by today’s standards, and the movie has more than its share of cheese, but it is still one of the great feel-good movies of the ‘80s. And how can you argue against the late, great Robert Preston as intergalactic con-man Centauri? Who else could pull off lines such as, “Did Chris Columbus say he wanted to stay home? No! What if the Wright brothers thought that only birds should fly? And did Galoka think the Ulus were too ugly to save?”

The film music of Williams, Goldsmith, Horner, etc – I have always said that I write cinematically, and when I do write, it is usually with the film scores of some of Hollywood’s greatest composers blaring through my MP3 player. Perhaps 80% of my music collection is composed of film scores. While I love Williams’ stuff, I find myself leaning more and more towards Goldsmith for sheer variety, and his score for Star Trek V The Final Frontier is easily some of his most beautiful work.

Walt Disney World – The end result of the worlds greatest dreamers greatest dream, it’s hard not to be inspired to flights of fancy while visiting this place. Tomorrowland, EPCOT’s Future World, the Contemporary Resort… all these locations have inspired some of the futuristic cityscapes buzzing through my mind.

There are, as I said, many more influences. If you’re a keen reader, you may be able to spot references to these throughout the story. If you think you’ve spotted one, drop me a line on the official Facebook page (www.facebook.com/TheStarhawkChronicles)

You can also follow me through Twitter. Can’t say how often I’ll tweet (Such a silly term) but I’ll try at least once a week.

Best,
Joe



Wednesday, July 31, 2013

With Much Gratitude...


Some of you may have seen this before on the official Facebook site, so you can stop reading if you wish. However, the list has been modified since then, so there may be some new info you might miss. Avoid reading at your own risk.

Publishing a book, whether traditional or self-published is not an easy road. The author can write all he wants, but without others to lend support, he or she will still not get very far. Therefore, some thanks are in order.

First to Jaime Metcalf, the first of my followers to purchase a copy, my extreme gratitude. I hope It lives up to your expectations.

To Owen Quinn, my friend and fellow auth
or of the Time Warriors series (www.thetimewarriors.co.uk), many thanks for the free publicity. Much continued success with your works.

To Dan Lambert, for the incredible cover art (www.danlambertart.com). I look forward to working with you on the next installment of the Starhawk saga.

To my wife, Shannon, for helping finalize the cover, and my daughters Caitlin, MacKenzie, and Lauren, for putting up with me and all my imperfections as a husband and father. I love you all very much.

To Ralph Guadagno Jr., my friend since the third grade, who showed unending enthusiasm and support for this project. You get the first signed copy when we go to a paperback edition.

To David Ahlers, (1970-2008)  who suffered through many a rant-filled evening or road trip while I bombarded him with endless story ideas. I only wish you could be here to see this. I'll see you in the next dimension, old friend.
 
And finally, to everyone, friends, family, and strangers alike who supported, liked, shared this facebook page, and who are helping to spread the word about the book,and the blog. I wish I had time to thank each and every one of you personally. You have earned my friendship and thanks.

Keep watching for more updates. In the meantime, I will be sending the crew of the Starhawk on little vacation for their next tale, so they can get a little rest and WRECK-reation. 

All the best,
Joe


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Starhawk Chronicles has launched! 7/24/2013

After a whole lotta years,  (Those of you who have read the previous blog entry know just how long that was!)The Starhawk Chronicles has finally become a reality! After receiving final cover art from artist Dan Lambert (www.danlambertart.com) and with some quick titling and by-line work from my much more technically advanced spouse, Shannon, we got the final cover composed and went to Smashwords for publication. Still awaiting acceptance into their premium catalog, meaning that most major retailers such as Apple and Barnes & Noble will carry TSC. Hopefully that goes smoothly and we'll start getting major recognition.

So, what's next? A lot of people have inquired whether I intend to offer an actual print copy, and the answer is most definitely yes! I am already checking into POD (Print on demand) publishers. Once the sales of the e-book get rolling, I will be looking to go the paper route.

And as far as future projects go, well, I'll be updating this blog with what to expect. I will say that another adventure is in store for the crew of the Starhawk, as well as a solo adventure (or two) for a very popular character from the first tale.

Keep watching for more. And check here to get you e-book edition of The Starhawk Chronicles. http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/340107



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Greetings from Earth


“All his life has he looked away. . .to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. What he was doing.”   - Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

Not sure if this holds true for Luke Skywalker, but, in my case, truer words have never been spoken.

I have always dreamed of going to the stars. I remember helping my father in the garage one chilly March night in 1978, having only recently seen the original Star Wars for the first time. It was a clear night and the moon was very full. It was then that I realized there was more to life than just this tiny rock we lived on called Earth. Heavy thoughts for a seven year old.

I have not looked down since.

I became obsessed with space, and anything to do with the subject. I would watch every space shuttle launch and landing. I watched every hokey sci-fi show that came out in the 70’s and 80's(Anyone else remember Jason of Star Command?) and devoured many a novel or comic book on the subject. I wanted to be Luke Skywalker, or Buck Rogers, or Battlestar Galactica’s Starbuck. My friend Dave and I would play space cowboys every Saturday afternoon.

Then, when I was twelve years old, the writing bug bit me.

Or, at least, the slightly unoriginal, highly plagiaristic writing bug.

My first short story was a twelve page, hand written epic called Space War 3000. Its first five pages were my own creation, the last eight of which I copied almost word for word out of the novelization for Return of the Jedi, merely changing appropriate names here and there to make the story my own.

James Kahn, the novelization’s author, had nothing to fear from me.

Nevertheless, I continued to hone my skills as a writer. High School saw me wiling away many a study hall session creating worlds and mapping out galactic battles, when I should have been doing homework or studying.

I was sixteen years old when I first met the crew of the Starhawk.

This one, a long time have I watched.” - Yoda

The Starhawk Chronicles is a tale years in the making. April 19, 1987 is the official birthdate, if fictional characters can be considered born.  The idea came about while waiting on a particularly long line at Disneyland. We had just come from seeing the Michael Jackson 3-D movie Captain EO. I loved the idea of a bunch space-faring misfits that come out on top. Over the next weeks and months, the crew of the Starhawk began to take definite form. They would be a group of down-on-their-luck space pirates, constantly in trouble, and just as constantly getting out of trouble by story’s end. The final, final draft of the manuscript weighed in at over 250 pages—quite an accomplishment for someone still in high school. Over the next few years I would teak away at it until I had it just right. Then I threw the whole thing out.

Looking back, the story about a group of down-on-their-luck space pirates who accidentally end up on Earth and wind up with a teenage stowaway who will eventually take over as captain was just a bit too much like the 1984 film The Last Starfighter (A personal favorite of mine.). I decided to make the crew rougher, the story a bit darker, and ditch a character that I could only loosely call a heroine. Oh yeah, and make them bounty hunters, not pirates.

I have been fascinated with bounty hunters since Boba Fett first appeared in the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special (NERD ALERT! Yes, I own a copy.)and the 1980 Steve McQueeen film The Hunter. This profession seemed a natural fit for the crew of the Starhawk. Most of the characters and personalities stayed true to their original incarnations, Jesse Forster became the troubled leader of the crew, Rahk Garrakis and the Nexus Gang, planned antagonists for the sequel to the original Starhawk tale, became the villains, and Kayla Karson is introduced as Jesse’s rival, sidekick, and potential romantic interest. (I have to admit, Kayla is so much fun to write, I have a series of solo books planned for her as well.)

So, the novel is done, edited, re-edited, tweaked, pinched and so-forth. I begin submitting to agents and publishers . . . and hit a brick wall.

Everywhere I tried, I was told “We like your concept, but it doesn’t fit what we’re looking for at this time.” Translation: Since your novel does not include whatever happens to be popular at this moment (Sparkly vampires, etc.), we are afraid to take a chance on it.

I thought about self-publishing years ago, but then it was considered a vanity thing. “Not good enough for an agent? Self-publish to feel better about yourself.” The times have changed. With the advent e-books and self-publishing houses like Outskirts Press and Createspace, those of us who have something to say can now be heard, whether the traditional publishing world wants to hear us or not.

That being said, The Starhawk Chronicles is due to be released in a few weeks. If you’re looking for something along the lines of Azimov, Bradbury, or Clarke, then I suggest you hit your local library or bookstore and pick up a copy of Azimov, Bradbury, or Clarke. While it would be an honor to be included among those great writers, I don’t see it happening. They used science fiction to explore and comment on the human condition. I’m just writing to have fun. My writing, and the aforementioned influences behind it, has, admittedly, a certain cheese aspect to it, but what can I say? I am a child of the 80’s. I'm guessing that those out there with a nostalgic attitude probably share my POV.

That’s all I have for now, fellow space travelers. Keep watching this blog for more on the release of The Starhawk Chronicles, the influences behind it, future projects, and other random stuff I may post just for the fun of it!

Regards,


Joe