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The Rucker Report: Week 10, 2015 – Back from Blah

28368403-vector-silhouette-of-a-man-sitting-at-a-computer-on-a-white-backgroundAfter a month of snowpocalypse and general winter frigidity, a musical rollercoaster with band shenanigans, bouts of frustration and depression (nothing too serious), minor health concerns and a brief automobile recall scare…

Hello from the gutter!  I am returned.  

This little online journal-that-could now has garnered 284 followers since December.  For those of you new to the program, these writer updates, which tend to be biweekly, monthly or just plain sporadic, are typically to report on the writing life of yours most true (and I usually squeeze in some musical news too).  A self-summarizing glance of aft and fore.  It’s an old tradition that goes back to the golden age of my blogging that started with Brandon Rucker Writes over on Blogger some five years ago.

Not much has occurred on the writing of fiction front the past month.  As mentioned in the last update, my short story “Four Deep” will see publication at the end of the month over on Dead Guns Press.  It’s a slightly different take on the hardboiled crime story, featuring some low-rent scumbag antiheroes I’ve been carrying around with me for nearly two decades.  Look for it on the 29th.  I’ll post a link here when I have it.

Forging ahead with other unpublished stuff, I decided to commit to a Duotrope subscription because I was having such a hard time finding potential bizarro fiction venues online, let alone in print.  I’ve found two and will send the unpublished “The Other Roommate” to one, and – as part of Operation: Remember Me? – I might send the previously published “All in a Day’s Work” to the other, that is if I go away from my plan to simply put it up on Smashwords as an e-book ‘reprint’, which happens to be the plan for my other bizarro story “The Underneath”.  I doctored up a cover for it a few months back.

In other O: RM? news, Shard: A Bloody Microfiction” is now back up live on Smashwords.  It’s an expanded version of the original (which was only 200 words, the revised one is double that).  It’s got one review so far from a guy who obviously didn’t get the purpose of that kind of story nor was he privy to the purpose of the anthology in which it was originally published.  Can’t please’em all, right?

As for new fiction, there’s the story I’m code-naming Project: Eros – the collaboration between my pen name with another author’s pen name – that’s still gestating in the murky depths of my wayward mind.  I usually get new ideas for it just before sleep claims me or in the morning when I’m shaking off the ghostly residue of dreams.  I’m the lead-off writer for that, so I really need to get my ass in gear.

What else is there?  I have much revising of old stuff to do to shape them up for re-publication, or in some cases, their first light of public scrutiny.  More on that stubborn lot next time.

On the music front, the new band is experiencing growing pains, but nothing that won’t be manageable.  I am moving from bass over to guitar.  We have a nice list of potential bassists to fill that vacated spot.  However, after reluctantly parting ways with our vocalist last week, the list of potential free agents to fill that roster spot is a bit smaller.  I remain optimistic and stoked to see this new entity and musical marriage blossom and grow.  We’ve even started a short list of potential band names.

Also, this happened here.  Other than that, I think that’s all I have right now.  If this week is as productive as I anticipate, I should have more details to note.

Until then, and even after, be good to one another.

– BLR


Recently

LISTENED: These Arms Are Snakes

READ: Descender #1, Rat Queens #9, Saga #26

WATCHED: The Walking Dead, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Gotham

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Blog The Rucker Report Update Workbook Working Update Writing

The Rucker Report: Week 6, 2015 – Back on the Scenes

28368403-vector-silhouette-of-a-man-sitting-at-a-computer-on-a-white-backgroundAfter recently receiving very awful news concerning some loved ones and then mourning with them the kind of loss that no parent ever wants to experience, the universe has managed to shine some glory my way and I’m happy to share the good news in this update.

From the dead of winter in Indiana: Hello, friends and curious followers.

After a week of snowfall and great frigidity, we recently experienced The Great Thaw. Of course, that was only temporary, because, you know, Winter is a mad and persistent bastard and he returned pissed as ever today. According to that grumpy groundhog, we’re going the full long, cold distance with this thing, which should be a surprise to absolutely no one.

Before I get to writing and publishing news, I first must share the good news that I am again a member of a band of musicians. It’s been since, oh my, winter of 2009 because that’s when my last band Motosota called it quits. This new band (currently unnamed), which I take full responsibility for having formed, was first seeded last December when I approached punk rock veteran Sammy Clevenger (ex-About the Fire), one of the Indianapolis local music scene’s most legendary front men whom I’ve known for overa a decade, about the need for both of us dinosaurs to get back to making music because our poor damaged souls depend on it. I never in a millions years thought this opportunity would arrive, but he was game. Knowing painfully well that no band can really do much without a drummer, I approached Tom Roosa (ex-Majhas), whom I’ve known since our days as puppies playing thrash metal in my first band together in 1991. He’s one of the best drummers in the state (and a hell of a studio engineer) and he was game. Holy shit, my luck doesn’t often work like that. Next, since I decided for this project I would play bass instead of guitar, I decided to hit up old high school mate and fellow guitarist B.J. Walker (ex-Ramirez) because I knew he was available with no conflicts; that we liked a lot of the same bands; we had also jammed once previously in the Fall of 2013, and I knew he was rather unsung in terms of profile in our scene, just like me. He needs to be heard, and he’s got a lot to say through his guitar. Our first meet n’ greet was on January 22nd. This past week on February 5th was our first practice. Turned out better than we could have hoped – technical difficulties aside. We even wrote our first song. Always a good sign when you write an actual song at your first practice. More details (and hopefully some pictures) on this developing news story as it progresses.

Now, the writing. Remember last update I mentioned submitting a story? Well, Sunday afternoon I was informed that the short story I submitted to Dead Guns Press a couple weeks ago has just been accepted for publication in their e-zine, which is perfect and all according to plan because, as I stated some updates back, most of my publications over the years have been in print, which makes it a lot harder to share and promote one’s meager talents and output with interested parties when the work is exclusively in a physical form  that’s generally for sale (even worse when that form is out-of-print). This story, “Four Deep” was originally written in 2010 as just an exercise in rediscovering a handful of characters I had created in my mid-20s (yes, the mid-1990s for those keeping score of my age at home). As I started revising it some and line-editing it, I discovered it was fun revisiting their hardboiled world of low-rent crime. This particular misadventure is not your standard crime story fare, which is an aspect I had figured would sink the story’s chances at getting accepted. But, what do I know? I am told “Four Deep” will be published on March 29th. Linkage to follow afterward.

Last week I brainstormed and hashed out a collaborative story with an old writer friend with whom I’d recently reconnected. She and I will write the story in a relay kind of manner, and it looks like I get to lead off. No pressure, right? Given the particular genre, the plan is for both of us to use our pseudonyms on this short story’s byline. Which means I should probably launch that pen name sooner rather than later. It is for the more feminine leanings of my writing persona. It’s a necessary experiment, I think, for a number of reasons. I’ll get into those reasons at a later date.

Operation: Remember Me?, which is specifically for my usual byline, has had a hiccup since I’ve been working on works geared specifically for the pen name. But over the next couple of weeks I will be submitting more works out under my name as well as getting e-stories re-established on Smashwords. That means more cover design work by yours truly, who is much better at putting words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs and turning paragraphs into pages. You get the idea.

If you’ve made it this far you’ve probably noticed that this is update is somewhere around 900 words. Hopefully it read like a breeze. But I will close it here and get back to things.

Until next time…Be well. Be merry. Be better. Stay warm. Love be with you all.

– BLR

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The Rucker Report: Week 4, 2015 – Becoming More Submissive

28368403-vector-silhouette-of-a-man-sitting-at-a-computer-on-a-white-background

It’s been a few weeks since the Ruckster has posted one o’ these writing updates, but I promise I’ve been busy tending to many things writing, and…Hello. Greetings from the snow-sprinkled lands of Central Indiana.

So Operation: Remember Me? is truly underway here in the year 2015. Three weeks in the can and I’ve submitted three offspring of literary works, though, to be fair, two of those were not what we in the, ahem, industry would call submissions on spec.  And I’ve already rescinded one of those, a flash fiction (I have different plans for it), so left remaining is the first online publication of the poem “Dream a Little Scream of Me”, the dark poem originally published in Dreams and Screams in 2010 as the intro to the antho. It’s now available to read at QuarterReads, and for the very small token of a mere quarter, you can actually read the thing, if you’re so kind and inclined.

As for the third piece, it’s never seen the light of publication, its only daylight being that it was posted in one of the private virtual offices at the Zoetrope Virtual Studio some five years back. Side note: someday I’ll get tired of saying things happened years ago, but, then again, I suppose it’s better to have experience to which to refer to, than having none at all. So I guess I’ll zip it on that. At any rate, I don’t have a stated timeframe on when I can expect to hear back on this particular submission, though I have a feeling it will be soonish. Details as they emerge.

I say all of the above to say that it’s time I become more submissive, meaning I need to be submitting works, old and new, to promising new and untapped literary markets. Part of that package deal is also anticipating and rolling with rejection, recovering from it and pushing onward still. This, of course, is in conjunction with the other crucial part of Operation: Remember Me? which is the self-publishing and digitization of out-of-print works that are in danger of being long lost and forgotten. A listing of those works are as follows:

  • “Pieces of Candice” (horror)
  • “All Things Considered” (literary)
  • “Shard” (horror)
  • “On Shadowy Ground” (YA horror)
  • “Finder Kept” (dark fantasty/sci-fi)
  • “The Underneath” (bizarro horror) – see the recently designed cover for that one here
  • “All in a Day’s Work” (bizarro humor)
  • “Call of Duty: A Cop’s Tale” (suspense)

Of course, there’s a handful of other works primed for submission, or nearly so. Conversely these are dwarfed by the number of works-in-progress, but that’s a good ‘problem’  to have for a working, progressive-minded author.

In other current events, I have taken the initial steps in launching a new pen name for the more feminine and sensual leanings of my muse. I will probably keep that particular pseudonym anonymous for a minimum of a year, maybe more. It’s an experiment and the outcome of it is something I have a strong belief in. Launching it involves setting up social networking profiles, a blog and the like. It will be weird operating in that kind of duality, but one must do what one must. Among all that will be continued cover design work for the coming e-books on Smashwords (for me and ‘her’) and another pass at configuring this here website to make into what it ultimately needs to be, despite certain limitations.

And now I suppose I should get back to juggling all of my spinning plates.

Until next time…Be well. Be merry. Be better.

– BLR


 Recently

READ: Lazarus #14, various short stories

WATCHED: Gotham, Sleepy Hollow, Constantine, Guardians of the Galaxy

LISTENED: London Grammar, Daughter, Sean Lennon, Angus & Julia Stone

Categories
Blog The Rucker Report Update Workbook Working Update Writing

The Rucker Report: Week 0, 2015 – Big Fat New Year’s Update

28368403-vector-silhouette-of-a-man-sitting-at-a-computer-on-a-white-backgroundWell, hello there 2015. Already you look more attractive than 2014. You’re younger and full of so much promise, you’ve yet to disappointment. Yeah, yeah, it’s only Day One, but, hey, we’re off to a good start. Let’s not sully things with early cynicism. There is, as I write this, sunshine on this glorious first day of the New Year.

Greetings, and good day to you all, wherever you may be. This is the Internet, so we can pretend we’re all in a big room together as well, sharing this moment.

I trust everyone had a merry and happy holiday season. I got one big gift from the wife and it is one of those things that will only add to my distraction.

Where to begin? First, I must say I am fully recalibrated and primed to take 2015 by storm with some artistic production. On the music front, talks for a potential new band are underway, and on the fiction side o’ things, Operation: Remember Me? (I just thought to call it that just now) gets underway with the re-publishing of previously published work. There’s also the finishing of many works-in-progress. I’m going to launch a rather temporarily anonymous pen name in February to publish the naughtier side of my fiction. Additionally, I may be taking on a ghostwriting assignment for someone who is terminally ill. Coincidentally that opportunity has arisen just as I was starting to contemplate collaborating on a writing project with another writer. It’s been some time since I’d done that and coming across pervious unrealized collab projects has me thinking it’d be a welcomed endeavor at this point.

What else is going on? Ah, the concept of community. I’ve recently reconnected with several of my writer friends. I do so miss the days when we we’re all in the same virtual space online, supporting each other with inspiration, wisdom and influence. Writing is a very solitary occupation and if you don’t have a connection to your audience (provided you even have one), the next best thing is the company of your kindred spirits because, well, misery loves company and all us writers and creative people are in some way or another a rather miserable lot, right?

So, what else needs addressing here? The Ruckerpedia Archival Initiative has taken to the sideline while I handle a bunch of administrative duties that a lonesome author must process (really, there are so many tasks to tackle along with the actual writing work, it’s insane). So, the under-construction pages remain so at this time. But as I continue to make this my primary online ‘home’, more declassified Rucker Files are surely forthcoming. At some point I will be getting around to a new personal initiative I have for 2015 that I’m calling The New 500 (which naturally plays in to Write-or-Flight). It may be March before that truly happens, but we’ll see. A new Station Ident will be forthcoming. Shamelessly inspired by Warren Ellis, I had fun doing the last one. I think I’ll probably do them monthly or whenever. Oh, and if you haven’t been, please do like and follow my little blog Hello, Blank Page — it’s my little online notebook of all new words of the creative non-fiction variety, if you will.

While constructing this update I had a flurry of emails and notifications to respond to and now the late afternoon has ceded to early evening. That sound you hear? Yeah, I’ve hardly eaten today, so one must go out to hunt and gather.

Before I go I just want to say that I hope we all get the chance to do everything positive we can to make sure this year is better than the last.

Be well. Be merry. Be better.

– BLR


Recently

WATCHED: Sons of Anarchy – Season 6

READ: Sex Criminals #9, Southern Bastards #6

LISTENED: Nerdist’s Writer’s Panel Podcast (w/ Brian K. Vaughan)

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Blog The Rucker Report Update Workbook Writer Writing

The Rucker Report: Week 51, 2014

28368403-vector-silhouette-of-a-man-sitting-at-a-computer-on-a-white-background I have a bunch of stories that need homes. That means I have much work to do in the New Year (and prior to it).

Hello and good day to you all. As I write this the sun is finally shining.

A bit of irony in that tidbit is that today is also the Winter Solstice. But I’ll take what small bit of luminescent glory I can from that great ball of radiated plasma in the sky.

About the aforementioned work: I has only recently returned to the world of writing prose fiction. I’d been threatening this a few times over the past three years while I basically blogged and wrote comics journalism, while also making feeble attempts at breaking into the comics industry to write comics and graphic novels. That’s a nigh-impossible task without available, competent and trustworthy artists. Admittedly I didn’t quite give that particular arduous journey the desperate push it apparently requires, but that’s a sad story for another day. Writing and publishing prose — which I’ve not done in earnest since late 2011 — is a comfy old sock for me, and not only because it puts so much more control within my hands. There’s just something very empowering about being in (almost) complete control, internally and externally, of what ultimately happens with the art you produce. Comics, movies, television — not so much. Short stories and (someday) novels? Today’s avenues to publishing are so much more abundant and the roads are far easier to travel, despite all the snow and ice that are a plethora of other writers doing the same thing. So that’s where I am, again. Good to be home.

Don’t get me wrong, though. Going it alone can be just as daunting a task (though arguably so much more rewarding). The art producing duties AND the administrative and business duties fall on the relatively unknown, small press author’s shoulders so much more than say those of an author with an eager agent, a committed publisher and a ratified book contract. So, no, it’s not what you’d call easy work. Nothing worth doing ever is. I’ve been away for a bit, so researching the market and all the options that are available is what will keep me up late these next couple of weeks. Re-reading, proofing, editing, tweaking, rewriting, formatting — all those activities tend to take place when a writer pulls up previously completed works or works-in-progress. I have an abundance of both, so I’m not even considering all-new work in this. The low-hanging fruit, of course, is the previously published and out-of-print or circulation work that’s sitting around not getting read anymore. That should not be the case. WIPs are naturally the next priority.

None of this is to say that all-new work will not be addressed, though. Most any writer’s head is filled to capacity with embryonic stories begging to be born, so much of the preliminary work — if you’re not a one-track-mind kind of creative person — is done inside the mind, often long before the writer sets pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. We’re always writing, whether it’s physically or merely within the abstract of our troubled minds.

But, first, research and re-publishing. On the hunt for online venues, new and old, as that’s an area I’ve largely not conquered since I was more focused on print. Several markets have come and gone in both print and web during my three year hiatus. That’s always troubling, but I soldier on. A new potential market I’ve found for flash and short-shorts is QuarterReads. The tagline is A short read at a fair price. Perfect. No one’s trying to get rich here at Ruckerpedia (wait, what?). And I wouldn’t dare think to charge more than a quarter to read a 800 word flash piece over at, say, Smashwords. No, Smashwords is where my longer works once were and shall be again (or at least that’s the plan). When the 250 word micro Shard was available there it was available for free. It will be again. But of course you’re here now. You could just read it here.

Speaking of free, a couple of free book reads I recently grabbed for the old Kindle are: Fade to Black and Ducks In a Row by my friends Tim McBain (w/ LT Vargus ) and Michelle Garren Flye, respectively. Check’em out!

Fade to Black (Awake in the Dark Book 1) Ducks in a Row


 Recently

LISTENED: Metronomy, Duran Duran, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Brandon Rucker’s Sap

WATCHED: Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger

Categories
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The Rucker Report: Applying Advice @ Flash Fiction Chronicles

There’s an article on fiction writing written by yours truly over at Flash Ficton Chronicles, run by fellow writer/editor Gay Degani. This may be the first in a series of these, perhaps (if I find I have more to share).

Anyways, the first installment of The Rucker Report was posted today.

An excerpt: Being an artist of any kind relies on devotion, discipline, and a certain natural sense of progression. You start out as a wet-nosed neophyte and hopefully through persistence and hard work you learn, improve and progress toward some kind of proficiency. This is especially true in the art of writing.  At some point in our straightforward trajectory we become even more serious about craft and certain mechanics of writing in general, fiction specifically. I believe the ‘organics’ of writing are usually already sound by your fifth year of writing because that is an innate thing, that intuitive sense of storytelling is just something you’re either born with or you’re born without.”

Read the entire article here.