Find me on Kindle Scout

greenones scout2 smallI’m not sure why it has taken this long, but Amazon has finally launched Kindle Scout–a platform to utilize the masses as free labor to locate the handful of money making needles in the indie manuscript haystack. TRANSLATION: the crowd can now help Amazon narrow down the selection process for the best books to publish via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

It’s a genius scheme because everyone wins.

Readers Get Freebies

Readers get to skim through the first 20 pages or so of pre-release fiction for free. They are allowed to nominate up to 3 books at a time. If one of their nominations is published by Amazon, the reader gets a free advanced copy of the whole ebook.

Writers Get Some Scratch

If a manuscript is accepted for publishing (still through KDP, not any of Amazon’s publishing labels) the writer gets a $1,500 advance and some vague promises that Amazon will perhaps, maybe provide addition consideration for internal marketing. I interpret this to mean, “Your book will have already caught our eye. If it proves to make us money, we’ll give you more exposure so we can make even more money.” Of course, Amazon takes an additional 20% of royalties for their efforts. But this is for ebooks only, and rights can revert back to the author if sales go stagnant.

Green Ones Cover 3D

By sixteen, everyone must choose.

Amazon Gets Free Help in Curating the Indie Haystack

If Kindle Scout works properly, Amazon will benefit from reader assistance in sorting through the multitudinous KDP submissions that come from Indies continuously.

Sign Up and Nominate my Book THE GREEN ONES

The more nominations I get, the more likely it is that Amazon kickstarts my book and sends me $1500.

So, if you guys can take a few minutes to sign up as a kindle scout and then go “nominate” The Green Ones, I would be grateful! This is seriously one of the best books I’ve written, and I’ve been stashing it for over a year for just the right means to launch it. Kindle Scout fits the bill.

Here is the link: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/1O4DVB865UZW4

On an earth rampant with telekinesis, Calli Bluehair’s only hope of escaping a violent death in the self indulgent underground of New Teotihuacan’s Worker City is the government run Masa academy. Choosing to ignore the rumors that the Academy is an option worse than death, Calli determines to claw her and her little brother’s way onto the registry, no matter the personal cost.

I Like Family Movies Now

mork and mindyWelcome to old age, right? Or is this the beginning of the Mork years? (Remember the alien that aged backwards? Oh, right, of course you don’t, because it happened over three decades ago.)

Truth is, I knew over a decade ago that I no longer fit in the target audience for contemporary film makers. When American Pie hit the top of the charts, I knew the era of Animal House was long gone. So I’ve had some time to get used to it.

This past Friday, the wife and I off-loaded our kids on some unsuspecting panhandlers that look nice enough in order to execute the classic-dinner-and-a-movie-date-night. The dinner decision was easy enough–Chinese place we haven’t tried yet, General Tso’s Chicken, extra spice.

But what movie to see? Heck, neither of us had a clue as to what movies where showing. Who has time for movie trailers anymore? A cursory search revealed a shiz-load of crap. Stuff like this:

Is this a postmodern Chucky?

Is this a postmodern Chucky?

I should pay for this?

I should pay for this?

blah, blah, blah...

blah, blah, blah…

I didn't wanna read the book...

I didn’t wanna read the book…

Really?

Really?

This used to be called Twister.

This used to be called Twister.

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There was a first one?

I'm sure the cartoon was better.

I’m sure the cartoon was better.

url-8Then I landed on a movie poster for The Guardians of the Galaxy. More importantly, I found a review that said, “Think of Firefly aimed at fifteen-year-olds.” That totally sold me. Only later did I see that the movie was a Disney flick pitched as a “family film.”

Great. I’m seeing a family picture on my hot date night. Nothing could be lamer, right?

Wrong. Guardians of the Galaxy was brilliantly funny, light-hearted and uproarious. My wife and I held hands and laughed harder than we have in a long while. Badass quips like “I’m distracting you, you big turd blossom” rank right up next to famous lines like “Yippee ki yay, mother f*$%er!”

My wife even claimed it’s the best movie she’s seen in years. How is this possible? I can’t even remember a kiss in the entire movie. Oh well. I’ve arrived at the phase of life my father warned me of. He hasn’t seen a movie that wasn’t animated in like 30 years. I’m not quite to that point. But if the “Family Movie” phase includes more flicks like Guardians, I’m happy about getting older. Bring on the ass kicking raccoons.

Download Tree of Life (FREE)

TreeofLife11The first publicly inspired Epifiction short story is finished! Thirteen different people contributed the setting, characters and direction of the story via Kickstarter. I have to admit, the process was intimidating at times, but the end product turned out really compelling.

What will you do when the Dark comes for you?

Trapped beneath the streets of Boise, Idaho, an odd cast of players encounter an ancient evil determined to devour the souls of humanity. Pitted against themselves and ancient forces they don’t understand, each individual’s humanity will be tested. Man, woman or monster? Hero or heel?

Tree of Life evolved into a bit of a pulpy/campy horror tale with a solid redemption moral at the end. Who would have known? That’s the great thing about relying on crowd-sourced inspiration. Together, the crowd and the writer create something none of them would have expected, but all of them shaped.

And that is what Epifiction is endeavoring to figure out. We’re searching out the most organic evolutionary path for the choose your own adventure stories of old. With the onset of the internet, social media and the ebook, written storytelling has evolved in large part without forethought and guidance. Facebook and Twitter feeds, mobile applications and Instagram have hijacked the way we tell our own stories and the way we participate in other people’s stories.

Epifiction believes that written storytelling is still a powerful medium. But that, as always, it must adapt. To do so in our modern context, that means becoming instantaneous, interactive, social and above all, contextualized. That is why Epifiction goes to such great lengths to put you in the story.

If you missed out on the creation of Tree of Life, don’t worry. We will be continually creating new stories with new innovations in effort to put you in the story. Stay tuned! And go check out Tree of Life and let me know what you think of our first foray.

Video

Put yourself in the story!

Write yourself or a friend into this live story. Play a wild card on the story, and I’ll write the results and post them directly!  Kill a character, grow an instant-beard… The sky is the limit. Click here!

Young Readers in Dire Need of Colbert Bump

American HeroTo the ripe approval of the masses, Stephen Colbert continues to reshape the world in his radical image. Hatchette author, Edan Lepucki, rose on the luminous wings of the famous “Colbert bump” last month all the way to #3 on the New York Times best seller list. (Granted, no one cares about the New York Times anymore, but this is still wicked awesome.)

Now Colbert has graced Stephan Eirik Clark with the latest bump. Kudos, Mr. Colbert, for taking on egregious miscarriages of corporate injustitude. Noble acts such as this, carried out by bold patriots such as yourself, are what makes this great nation greater. (And no amount of greatness is too great for this grater nation.)

Thus, I implore you, Mr. Colbert, to rise above the calamitous quagmire of our current governance to assist young patriots across this land by granting your sacred bump to Epifiction LLC. A purely benevolent startup, Epifiction strives to release American children from the oppressive hand of government assistance that drives so many children into the open arms of illiteracy and liberal mediocrity. Simply put, Epifiction is the narcotic of reading.

The state of Idaho, and many others, have for too long been drowning in costly federal interference. The result has been overcrowded classrooms, underpaid teachers and overweight children who struggle to read the only books available to them: Eight Shades of Grey, Young Readers Addition and All Good Vampires go to Bed at Twilight.

Of course liberal opposition has attempted to paint Epifiction as a bastion of NRA nut jobs seeking to indoctrinate young people simply because one of our stories was originally titled, “Guns, Guns and More Guns: Why Uncle Sam will have to Pry my Assault Rifle from my Cold, Dead Hands.” We’ve since corrected the clerical error, changing the title to Wiggle Puppy.

As you can see, there is no more worthy recipient of your patriotic bump. We, like you, are bleeding our precious life’s blood for reading and freedom.

Thanking you in advance,

 

David Mark Brown

Founder and CEO of Epifiction LLC

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.) Reading deeply excludes the sort of internet skimming most of us have grown accustomed to. Reading while watching TV and/or driving. You know, that sort of thing.

Apologies to you authors out there, but reading deeply also excludes reading with red pen in hand. So books you’ve started and dumped after coming up with a dozen places where the writer screwed it all up don’t count.

Comic books don’t count. Reading goodnight stories to your children doesn’t count. Reading long street signs doesn’t count. Even those rambling texts from annoying people who text from their tablets and fill up a whole screen with something that really should have been an email…those don’t count. Reading Twilight doesn’t count (oh no, he didn’t!).

Most of us are slipping away from deep reading

Truth is, most of us are slipping away from deep reading, and we already feel guilty about it. Those of us who still read deeply know they are better than everyone else, and thus have become self-righteous prigs and lost their potential for empathy with the rest of us schmucks. All of this taken together means we’re screwed. The next step will be lighting books on fire in public squares.

The only way we can divert this all-but-certain reality is to start reading more books with less distraction. To be on the safe side, I’m going to stick with ebooks. They don’t burn as spectacularly.

If that sounds like too much work

If that sounds like too much work, then click here to help me write a live, interactive story in which readers are empowered to create characters, direct the plot and more. When in Rome…

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. His first several loops, he dies as an incompetent boob. Midway through the movie he is dying heroically, repeatedly. The contrast is what sells the device.

And I’ll give the director and writer credit. Killing the main character over two dozen times in a movie can’t be an easy thing to pull of well. Each death has to ratchet up the urgency of the plot, or the deaths are going to get tedious. If the loop is progressing the whole device unravels. This is executed masterfully. And at times, even comically.

Even the method of getting out of the loop works fairly well. The explanation is a bit sketchy, but at least the film offers one with some scientific backing. Up to the very end, the only complaint I have is not seeing enough battle scenes against the alien enemy–the Mimics. But it is likely more would have been annoying to certain viewers. The nasty things are so brutally effective and quick that the battle scenes necessarily end decisively end in a matter of seconds.

Settling with these brief fight scenes is certainly a better option than going Iron Man III and trying to convince audiences that the human/mech warriors are able to stand up to infinite abuse.

Overall, director Doug Liman had his best showing since The Bourne Identity. And I’m grateful for both The Edge of Tomorrow and Oblivion for upping the main stream film bar for intelligent science fiction. (Oh, and I love the tag line.)