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Read Deeply or Suck Mightily

A Young Girl ReadingAll exaggeration intended, but scientific and unscientific studies alike are coming up with the same conclusion: People who read deeply are pretty much better people in every way.

A recent post over at TIME emphatically states that deep reading creates more real life empathy (the opposite of jerkathy). Over at Elite Daily they have this to say in regards to studies done by leading sciencticians:

[People who read deeply] can entertain other ideas, without rejecting them and still retain their own. While this is supposed to be an innate trait in all humans, it requires varying levels of social experiences to bring into fruition and probably the reason your last partner was such a narcissist.

In case you are still hemming over the definition of deep reading, let me clear things up for you. (Let me reassure you, yes, you suck.) [Read more...]

Edge of Tomorrow Fails to Stick the Landing

edgetomorrowI, for one, am glad to see Tom Cruise settling into the science fiction genre. With Oblivion and now Edge of Tomorrow, he has moved up my list. Unfortunately, it appears that movie goers either don’t trust Cruise anymore, or they simply aren’t interested in quality science fiction thrillers not titled Matrix.

While Edge of Tomorrow hasn’t done well at the box office, it seems to be generating positive reviews. And I liked the movie. I didn’t like it quite as much as Oblivion. The key reason is the ending. No worries, no spoilers here. But the ending just didn’t work for me–not for this movie. For a simpler one, sure.

But it wasn’t so disappointing as to ruin the entire movie.

Cruise and his supporting actress, Emily Blunt, were both excellently cast and made the most of their parts. The Groundhog style time loop plot device worked for me. What makes the technique really work is the fact Cruise starts off as completely incapable of fighting. He describes himself in the movie as an ROTC student in college who lost his job and took a new one as a military recruiter. He’s a smooth talker who finds himself on the tip of the spear for reasons the film viewer is to assume revolve around politics and a scramble to cover asses.

While the reasoning isn’t totally clear, it sets up the main device of the movie–Cruise’s character replaying the same day over and over. Since he starts off as unskilled, it gives him all the more space to improve and mature and grow as a hero. [Read more...]

Discount Books Daily, Discount Book Recommendation

dbd_logoIf you find books via the internet, you’ve probably already begun to use email recommendation services such as BookBub and Pixel of Ink to help you find deeply discounted ebooks (and sometimes paperbacks).

There are several of these services out there. From a writer’s point of view, I look for the ones with the largest subscriber base, to get the biggest bang for my buck. BookBub owns the title of largest with somewhere around 2 million subscribers. But, some users have become rather ho hum over the offerings provided.

See, if these services begin recommending books the subscribers buy and then find to be poorly written or wrongly recommended, the service looses its value and authority. [Read more...]

Epifiction, the Future of Classroom Literature

Shipwrecked by Jacci TurnerSome of you may not be aware that I’ve launched a new business. Epifiction LLC is officially a thing now. exists (although it is still a work in progress). Today, I can include Epifiction’s first cover reveal. Shipwrecked will be one of the four interactive serials to launch live this fall/winter. The Adventures of Cosmo and Chancho will be another.

For anyone unfamiliar with Epifiction, here is the quick and dirty:

Epifiction is an interactive, serial fiction subscription service for schools. That means we will generate weekly episodes of fiction based on the interactive feedback of students. In other words, Epifiction is both the digital evolution of choose-your-own adventure and the future of classroom literature.

What Epifiction means to young readers:

I hope these weekly, digital, cliff-hanger style installments that give readers three options for how the story continues will provide thrills for both the avid young reader and the reluctant one. Epifiction is providing opportunities for young people to participate in the story telling process and connect with authors and artists. This is all stuff I would have killed for as a kid. If you would have told the 12 year old version of me that I could read butt-kicking stories on a handheld electrical device, I would have spewed chunks and said, “Awesome.” Now I’m telling kids they can read and actively shape them. O.M.G. [Read more...]

Indie Vs. Traditional Publishing: Who Wins? The Reader.

teen paranormal romanceAs a writer, I’m constantly embroiled in and barraged by the border-style warfare currently within the publishing industry. From one side, insurgent/terrorist indies fire ebook RPG’s indiscriminately. While from the other side, authorities mount lightning-strike Caterpillar (the big, yellow earth-movers) excursions through the offending shanty towns to demonstrate who is still in control.

In the name of full disclosure, I’m an indie. A Browncoat to the core, I just can’t stomach extensive contracts with large corporate entities with the power to put pouty teen girls on my book covers. At the same time, I like to think of myself as a reasonable individual capable of seeing both sides of the war.

In my efforts to do so, I’ve come away repeatedly asking myself the same question.

Do readers even notice or care? Should they?

I’m not sure of the answer to the first question. To the second, the answer is yes.

After all, the battle is one of control. Until recently, the traditional publishers (the most important ones known as “The Big Five” or “formerly known as the Big Six”) maintained most of the control. Writers possessed very little. For the most part, we wrote what publishers wanted (or guessed at it). Readers possessed even less power in my humble opinion. They read what was published and placed on display in retail outlets.

Sure, occasionally a publisher would display a certain title that readers simply wouldn’t stomach. But for the most part, the exposure dictated what readers read and therefore what would sell and therefore what publishers would buy. (Sorta’ circular, ain’t it?)

Now, all of that is changing.

Ebook shelf space is infinite. SEO (led by Amazon’s killbot algorythms) is getting smarter at matching books with readers. Readers have a growing selection of titles to choose from. This gives the reader an increasing amount of power.

But, as the old adage says, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” If readers choose to read Shades of Gray, that is what writers will write (oh, the spineless, commercial groveling of us indies!)

I won’t go so far as to say traditional publishing doesn’t care about the reader. Obviously, they do. I think the industry as a whole tends to get a little snooty about its role in educating readers on what they should want to read. With the great publishing tutor being discredited and disempowered, readers have been loosed to read indiscriminately.

The coming years will be ones of growing pains and maturity for the reader.

In the end, readers will emerge with a newly honed power they’ve never known in publishing. Will it be a spoiled one? Or a disciplined one? Focused? Or scattered? Self-aware? Or oblivious? Just because you can read whatever you want may not mean you should. Or maybe that is exactly the sort of laissez faire attitude the written word desires.

While indies and trads lob blame back and forth for the unsettled state of publishing and the written word, readers should be amassing for a populous uprising. The power is yours for the taking.

FreedomPop, Latest Tool of NSA

FreedomPop-RevolutionCall me a whistle blower if you must, but it’s time the truth come out.

Uncle Sam has teamed up with “power-to-the-people” internet service provider FreedomPop in its latest endeavors to infringe upon our ever dwindling privacy. When you think about it, it’s the perfect scheme. The only problems? First, the plan was executed with typical government efficiency. Second, they messed with me.

As we all know, my mental prowess is a few stories taller than the average American bungalow (just significant enough that a jump will break your ankles but not kill you.)

This is how it all went down. [Read more...]

EHR Cover Reveal, Trip to LTUE

Empty Hand RevolutionThanks to all of you who gave feedback on the cover. Here is the final version. I think it is rather snappy.

In case you missed it before, here is the link to the launch/landing page for Empty Hand Revolution. Sign up to reserve a copy of the ebook at the opening price. (First 5,000 for $2.99. After two weeks or 5,000 the price will go up to $9.50.) And below is the longer product description. I’m getting more and more stokes about this project. It won’t shake things up in the U.S. as much as India. But the ripple effect will be fun to watch.

In other news, I’ll be heading down to Provo, Utah for Life, The Universe and Everything this Thursday through Saturday. A long running readers and writers’ conference for science fiction and fantasy based stuff, LTUE is a pretty powerful networking and brainstorming resource in the Rocky Mountains.

If you are planning on attending, look me up or shout me out. Should be a good time!


The war defines the warrior.

Born into a tribal war with India, trained as a black belt and street fighter from the age of nine, tortured and left for dead at the age of seventeen, Cosmo Zimik has an intimate, working knowledge of violence.

During his long weeks of recovery, nursed to health by a total stranger deep in the jungle, the seed of the Empty Hand Revolution germinated in Cosmo’s mind. Four years of underground fight clubs, multiple contracts on his life and another near death experience forced Cosmo’s Empty Hand Revolution into full fruition.

In a world hungry for power and drunk on violence, what does it mean to be a warrior? True greatness requires humility. Courage requires surrender. Developing into a warrior on such terms has been Cosmo Zimik’s life quest. Born a Naga and forged a warrior, Zimik became a missionary and then finally a revolutionary of a new breed. From the jungles of Manipur to the streets of Delhi to the countryside of Idaho, his extraordinary journey will equally inspire and convict.

Empty Hand Revolution invites the reader to experience Cosmo’s sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic, yet always incredible world through his own eyes. And may the bold in spirit discover first-hand where empty hands can lead.