Tag Archive: naked


King Con

So this past weekend I attended my second Denver Comic Con. Aside from the absolute insane lines, I had another fantastic time. I actually met J. August Richards from “Angel” and the upcoming “Marvel’s Agents of Shield” and showed him my driver’s license to prove that my last name is Gunn like the character he played on “Angel.” There was also a panel with Greg Weisman, Khary Payton, Christopher Johnson, Phil LaMarr and the indefatigable Dee Bradley Baker, all of whom worked on one of my favorite shows, “Young Justice.” Kelly Hu was also there to share how winning a beauty contest was the most life-changing event that could’ve happened to her. It was really nice to feel all of that energy, passion, excitement and that sense of community with other fans in the audience. I’m not one to spaz out about meeting celebrities or public figures, but there is something to be said about someone who enjoys what they do so intensely and are willing to take time out of their busy schedule to meet with the hundreds and thousands of people who appreciate all that they do.

I left feeling encouraged, inspired, sad (because the con was over) and rejuvenated. While geeks and nerds usually keep to themselves and stay in their shells, we all seem to come alive at events like Comic Con where we’re around our kind and around people who understand why we get so excited about characters who are drawn and come alive on a page or characters we see on our television screens who are involved in lives of fantasy and science fiction. While we know these characters and scenarios are fiction, the devotion and passion that goes into bringing it all to life is something that just resonates with “the true believers.” It made me want to share more about what I’m writing and working on and who I am, especially the Q&A session with Nelson Ellis.

Nelson Ellis is the actor who’s probably best known for playing Lafayette on “True Blood.” During his panel, Nelson was as open and honest as anyone could be, very raw, very real. He told us about how his parents weren’t comfortable with the idea of him playing a gay man, but that he did it despite that. As I sat in the audience watching and laughing with him, it was clear that I was watching a true actor who was just as comfortable fully becoming another character as he was with fully not only becoming himself, but exposing his true self. And exposing his true self to complete strangers.

The entire weekend rekindled something inside of me that I’ve allowed to diminish over the past few months. That sense of being raw and being open with people. I’m already writing out my pains, scars, fears and fantasies through my stories and sharing them with the world, so why shouldn’t I keep doing that with the real me? I might not become a household name anytime soon, but I definitely want to be known as a writer who clearly enjoys his work, hardships and all, and isn’t afraid of sharing the good and the bad, the pretty and the ugly with his readers. Besides, who knows where I’ll end up, what I’ll end up writing and who I’ll end up writing it with.

I see now that Comic Con isn’t just a convention, it’s a sort of revival.

Take care out there

 

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Back to Basics

 

Writers not only have to be writers, but business people as well if we’re serious about making  a career out of our passion. We spend time learning about the publishing industry, how to market ourselves, where to find the best critique group for our level of skill, finding agents and more. All of this can be very exciting and fresh, but it can also make us forget why we set out to become a published author in the first place.

I’ll be honest, I’ve been slacking in my writing. I’ve still been working on my writing career, I just haven’t been working on the very thing that will support that career: my writing. I’ve been reading articles, trying to find software to create my own cover for my JukePop Serials story (any suggestions would be welcome) and writing to pay the bills.

Last night I had a small mental breakdown. I was reading an article about how poor publishing is worse than not being published at all. I realize that we need to know what we may be getting in to it before we get in to it and I appreciate the knowledge. But one thing I didn’t appreciate was the way it made me feel, like attempting to become a published author is one of the most risky and foolish decisions a person could choose to do with their life. In the time it takes to write a novel, find an agent, find a publisher, get a book deal and finally see your book on shelves is roughly the same amount of time it takes to finish medical school or earn a PhD. I realize that becoming a medical doctor takes time and money where becoming a published author only takes time and luck. But sometimes it seems as though it’s smarter and less painful to simply follow a different passion, a more sensible passion.

So why do writers do it? Why do we put ourselves through the rejection, pain, setbacks and pitfalls of the journey to authorhood?  Why do we keep faith in our hearts that one day we’ll join the ranks of other successful authors even though we know what’s waiting for us out there? Why?

I asked myself all of these questions last night, wondering if maybe I should focus on another career goal and put writing on the back burner for a few years. At 27 I feel as if I should stop dreaming and wake up and join the real world. But then I remembered how blessed I am. I remembered when I first discovered that I loved to write. I remembered how there is nothing more in this world I’d rather do then tell stories, explore, examine and imagine.

I remembered the magic of writing.    

I don’t want to look at my life ten years from now and wish that I’d kept pursing my first passion. Something could happen tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. But I won’t be there to experience that something if I don’t keep going and keep believing that whatever or Whoever brought me this far isn’t done with me yet, that my journey could be nothing like the horror stories I’ve read. Times are different, my path is different and my circumstances may not be the same.

Almost anyone can be a doctor, graphic designer, business owner or any other practical job. And I’m not demeaning those occupations whatsoever. But not everyone can be a writer, world weaver, yarn spinner, storyteller. Or journey is a different one, with different obstacles and frustrations. And there’s also a different joy and satisfaction associated with what we do. I believe that writing is  the closest I’ll come to finding out what it’s like to bring life into this world.

So not only will I stay in the game, I’ll do my damndest to change the game and win the game. And I hope to see you at the finish line.

Take care out there.

Tell Me Where the Road Turns

 

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on self-publishing and traditional publishing, wondering which would be a better fit for me, my personal tastes and my novel. There are aspects of both that I enjoy: the freedom and independence of traditional publishing, the level of exposure with traditional publishing, the level of control with self-publishing, the professional team you get with traditional publishing…and of course the financial benefits of self-publishing.

With traditional publishing I may have to wait months or years for my novel to come out, I’ll probably have to do all of my marketing on my own, I could be asked to change my title and I may not have much control over what my cover looks like. All of that being said, my material will be looked over by a professional editor, I’ll have more opportunities for reaching a wider audience and I’ll have an agent who knows where and to whom to market my work.

Self-publishing is a lot of work and can take a lot of money for a professional cover, editor and travel expenses if I want to do a book tour or something. That being said, it can be that much more satisfying if I become a success knowing that I did a majority of it on my own. I get to decide how much my book sells for, where my book is sold, what the cover looks like and when the book comes out. I know it’s possible to find an agent and publisher through self-publishing, but I feel like there’re just so many authors out there with magnificent and not-so-magnificent material. How does one stand out? How much time should one devote to marketing, networking, writing and working to keep food on the table?

I’ll be honest with you, there’s a part of me that terrified, overwrought and queasy at the thought of failing as an author. While I have confidence in myself and my writing, I’ll admit that I’m terrible at garnering attention. I’m the quiet, introspective type, not the Don Draper of the professional author world. I know I’ll have to become more extroverted and assertive as a self-published author or a traditionally published author. I know a lot of authors feel like this, and the way I see it is that if we’re brave enough to show readers, many of them faceless strangers, a part of ourselves with our work, then surely pursing an agent or self-publishing should be simple.

I’m sure some of us have heard horror stories about traditionally published authors who were forced to gut their books in order to make them “publishable” only to watch them wither and waste on the bookshelves. And we also know that if you choose to self-publish you have to set yourself on fire and put on a strobe light show with full surround sound simply to get readers to look your way , and even then they may not read your work.

So which path is the right path? Which is less painful? Which is more rewarding in this day and age?

I think they both are.

Rather than looking at it as an “either/or” issue, we should explore both avenues and realize their merit. If I do get an agent before I’m financially ready to be published, then I absolutely must express my concerns with them to make sure that we both want the same thing and so that I can make sure that my career is on the right path. I know that I’ll probably do some self-publishing, just to try it for myself somewhere down the line, hopefully after I’ve built up a bit of a following.

There’s no way of knowing where the road turns, and sometimes there’s no map to look at to plot a course, so all we can do is keep going…even if we’re all by ourselves.

Take care out there.

What are some of your fears and anxieties as a writer?

Artists have to be some of the bravest and most vulnerable people on Earth. To go on stage and perform a poem, showcase your artwork, sing an original song or allow someone to read your work takes great courage. It’s akin to undressing your soul and allowing others to gaze upon your naked spiritual flesh, every scar, every burn, every curve, every freckle, mole, wrinkle, stretch mark, every part of yourself. They are the brave and the bold, fighting for our freedom to be more than human. And I am proud to be among their ranks.