Evil Plan – Always Bring the Awesome

Evil Plan - Always Bring the Awesome

Before I say anything, take a look at this. I spotted it on Imgur this morning and it perfectly illustrates the rest of this post:

View post on imgur.com

In a few short seconds, this dad has managed to capture a simple moment with his child and then turn it into an amazing visual journey that reminds us of what it’s like to be a child with an imagination. Brilliant. We celebrate awesome things all the time. ‘Always bring the awesome’ is a mantra of mine and it’s time to bring it out into the open. Always bringing the awesome (I’ve shortened it to ‘AbtA’ to save time in some places) isn’t just a motto – I’ve been living my life this way for a while now. I just didn’t have a simple way to say it before.

Here’s what I’m talking about. All my life, I’ve had this mental allergy I have toward settling for what is normal, what is comfortable. Any time I’ve been in a spot where I stayed comfortable, I started getting miserable. Every time I stayed in some kind of comfort zone, the universe would give me these little smacks as if to say “You have a job to do and you aren’t doing it. Shape up.” Eventually I learned that the only comfort for me is in being uncomfortable. Totally counter-intuitive, but completely rewarding. It’s led me to things like learning to snowboard or benchpress 315 pounds at the gym. It’s led me to things like backpacking the California wilderness, going to Finland, talking with David Brin, and meeting Ben Bova. It’s led me to things like operating my own web page, which eventually led me to the business of writing and blogging.

Always bringing the awesome isn’t always easy, though. Let’s dig into this more: Continue reading

Sci-Fi Throwback – Song From Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Sci-Fi Throwback - Song From Close Encounters of the Third Kind

A friend of mine didn’t grow up as a geeky sci-fi kid, so Friday night, we had him over and he watched ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ for the first time. I love that movie – it’s almost as old as I am but it totally holds up. Sucks you in and doesn’t let you go – he was silent until the very end when the (spoiler alert) aliens are landing and I paused the movie. He looked up at me and finally spoke: “Oh, you gonna pause my emotions too?”

“Ooh, ooh – sorry, sorry!” I said as I re-launched the movie. That’s how awesome CEIII is. Now here’s something for you.

Over the years, we always got a kick out of that creepy little song that plays as the Barry discovers the aliens have brought all of his toys to life. I did some quick Googling and here it is – The Pickwick Children’s Chorus – Square Song. Listen and let some old memories seep back in.

Continue reading

Learning About Survival? Start Here

Learning About Survival? Start HereAs you can tell from the Flotilla series, I have interest in survival, survival skills and emergency preparedness. Ran across this yesterday and wanted to share:

100 Deadly Skills

As with any other survival-based reading, your mileage may vary and more often than not, you can get carried away with things (I’m looking at you, “hiding a prison shank in your bum” slide) if you aren’t careful.  But there’s enough good outdoor survival / emergency prep info here to make it worth passing along. Click the link (or the picture) to learn 100 Deadly Skills …

Professional Storytelling: Five Things Disneyland Teaches You About Sci-Fi

Professional Storytelling: Five Things Disneyland Teaches You About Sci-Fi

As a storyteller, Disneyland fascinates me.

If you’re a creative professional in any capacity, you’ll be aware of Disney and Disneyland. After almost a century, Disney has been and is still at the vanguard of art and commerce and for all the hate that Disney gets, they still manage to be both traditional and innovative. You have to respect that. People love them so much that it is scary.

Millions, even billions of people have strolled through the park in Anaheim and everyone has their own relationship with the Haus of Mouse. Some people can show up for a few hours on a season pass, while other people have let Disney and Disneyland impact their entire lives. Don’t believe me? Go to the park and watch out for the ladies wearing “Disney Life … Happy Wife” t-shirts. There’s no doubt that Walt Disney changed the course of human history when he started drawing an animated story about the adventures of a happy little mouse.

But stop. Let’s take a step back. This isn’t another Forbes-like ‘this is why successful company is successful’ article. I’m not Disney, you’re not Disney, but we’re creative professionals, right? So what can Disney teach us? Plenty, as it turns out. Some of the things they’re doing in Disneyland scale down to our level. We should pay attention to them, if we want to be the best at what we do.

Continue reading

Professional Storytelling: How Do You Make and Sell a Book?

This week on Imgur and Reddit, several people asked me about the process of writing and getting published. I thought it would be good to re-post this video I made a couple of years ago, but first let me give you some context: Originally, the video was made because I had a number of people – famous people even – asking me to help them build their book audience and I had to keep turning them down. The process of book writing / publication / selling is a byzantine process in every sense of the word and it made sense to break out a Prezi diagram.

Go through the video and then if you want to look at the Prezi diagram in the video, you can look at it here.

Sci-Fi with a Pulse: Hyper-Reality

I’ve said before that sci-fi has a job to do. We don’t just want to know where we’re going, we also want to know who we’re supposed to be when we get there. In a world where our choices can make us or break us, we need room for our brains to comprehend the world we’re living in. It’s not enough to think about the technology of the future, we also need to think about the ‘us’ of the future. What kind of people are we going to be when there is no limit to what we can do?

Other people are asking the same questions – check out this AMAZING scifi short called ‘Hyper-Reality.’ If this doesn’t terrify you, you aren’t human:

Flotilla on the Shelf @BNBucklandHills!

WFlotilla on the Shelf @BNBucklandHills!ow – got some great news today! Flotilla is now officially on the shelf at Barnes & Noble. I’ve been waiting about five years to say that. For indie authors, the process of publication and book production is positively byzantine. Many times, I’ve tried to get my books carried by other book stores many times only to see it go sideways. Seeing some forward progress after all that time and effort is quite gratifying.

I want to reward Barnes and Noble for their trust and faith in me, so here’s what I’m going to do: a virtual author signing for Buckland Hills! More books for them, more books for you! Here’s how it works:

  1. Buy your copy of Flotilla at @BNBucklandHills
  2. Tweet or tag me a picture of your new book and send me your mailing address
  3. I’ll sign a special label that fits right inside the book and mail it to you – you now have an author-signed copy of Flotilla!

Simple, right? This is good news and I want to do something great with it. I hope to send you a special author signature soon. Tweet or tag me now!