A.F. Stewart is a fantasy author and blogger. From Nova Scotia, Canada, she has several published books including Chronicles of the Undead, a horror novella, as well as short fiction collections, Killers and Demons, Once Upon a Dark and Eerie…, Passing Fancies and Inside Realms. Her interests include history, painting, and sword replicas. Stewart writes about loving the fantasy and sci-fi genres:
I’m a fantasy/sci-fi geek and have been for most of my life. I can quote the original Star Wars, my favourite show is Supernatural, I think Batman is the best superhero, I’ve been a admirer of Neil Gaiman since he wrote the Sandman series and my bookshelves are lined with pages of fictional fantasy worlds. To me, fantasy and its sibling genres of sci-fi and horror are about ideas that could be, questions hiding beyond your sight and wondrous possibilities.
I’ve always loved reading fantasy in any form, so when I decided to pursue writing seriously those tales came naturally to my pen. I suppose somewhere in the back of my head I wanted to be a part of that community because those were the stories that showed me what magic exists in the written word. Any honour roll listing the authors that inspired me would include such extraordinary writers as Guy Gavriel Kay, Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, Harlan Ellison, and Ray Bradbury. Their words showed me the way to a whole new and remarkable universe.
Therefore, once I started blogging it’s no wonder I plastered both my blogs with genre specific book reviews, author interviews and general geeky commentary. I learned early how to chatter on regarding the intricacies and luminary brilliance of the fantasy/sci-fi genres and I put that talent to good use for my posts. What began as a hesitant experiment in my own book promotion expanded into a minor showcase center for indie speculative fiction and a second side blog for me to occasionally rant about my preferred TV shows and movies.
And I think that is the best part of having these platforms to spotlight my passions. I love finding a gem of a fantasy book (like my recent read of On Dark Shores by JA Clement) or expounding giddy about my fave show, Supernatural. Sometimes it’s almost a compulsion, such as what happened after watching the Neil Gaiman penned (I bet you can tell by now I’m a big fan of Neil Gaiman) episode of Dr. Who. I enjoyed that particular episode so much I immediately had to write a review; it took me about twenty minutes to finish. Sometimes you have to go with the flow.
I guess the moral to this tale (if there is a moral and I haven’t just been rambling again) is to celebrate who you are and, oh, that Geeks Rule!
Please welcome Stephen Hise, author of Upgrade, described as a bodice ripper with a Twilight Zone twist. He also runs the website Indies Unlimited; a great resource for authors that is both fun and entertaining! If you haven’t signed up to follow him yet…do it. Do it – I dare you. Stephen is here to talk about Indie publishing and it’s future:
We are at the beginning of a technological revolution in how books are written, published, marketed, purchased, and read. The hallmark of the technological revolution is that the changes in technology occur faster than society on the whole can adapt to them.
Everyone wants change. No one wants the change that actually happens. Remember all the tumult and furor generated when humankind moved from cave paintings to stone tablets, and again to scrolls before settling comfortably on bound-paper books? No? Well, I’m sure there was quite an uproar.
Technology has put on her running shoes. You can stay behind, faking a cramp, or run along and try to keep up. It may be that the big six publishing houses will somehow adapt and survive. Maybe they won’t. Maybe the big chain bookstores will adapt and survive. Maybe they won’t. The systemic changes will come gradually. It is not that print is dead, but there is little doubt that it is on the way out. It may take a generation before a child hoists a paper book up from some trunk he was exploring in the attic and asks Grandpa what this thing is.
The vaunted gatekeepers of publishing are in disarray. Now writers who could not navigate the labyrinth of agents, publishers, and publicists can get their work directly to readers without any intermediaries. The readers will now decide if this is “what they’re looking for.”
Some of the writing now available is excellent. Some is crap. Know what? The same thing was true when the gatekeepers controlled things. I’ve bought some titles from well-known traditionally published authors that made me wonder how such a thing ever got published. In truth, all the same sins that the traditional publishing houses so easily see in indie-published books are the same sins of which they themselves are guilty.
So the big traditional publishers can cry, whine, and point fingers all they want. The fact is that now readers have more choice and they can buy more books with less money than ever before. That is a good thing.
Indie authors are also accessible to their readers. Most have websites, blogs, and Facebook pages where a reader can communicate directly with an author, get to know them, and ask them questions. I see that as a very positive change. I think readers appreciate that as well.
I wouldn’t hold forth for a minute that everything coming down the pike will be all sunshine and roses – It never is. On the whole, I think we are witnessing some very interesting creative destruction that will change the landscape of writing, publishing and reading for many years to come.
Stephen Hise is the author of the novel, UPGRADE. You can learn more about him at his website, http://stephenhise.com/ and check out his blog celebrating independent authors at: http://www.indiesunlimited.com/ His book is available as an e-book at Amazon and Smashwords, or in print from Wordclay. Also be sure to visit him on Facebook!