Quote Of The Day: Writer Jay Stringer

January 23, 2010

Old Gold

I come from a country that chooses to forget itself, and it’s past, and to have everything of cultural significance stolen and transplanted to one city. The rest are provinces, each allowed to have a token “cool” for a certain period of time. But i think we need fiction, music and art that reflects the voices and the people; regions need to be allowed to matter again.

His blog has a very confusing interface (look for the floating navbar near the top — grrrr), but it’s worth going through too.

— via Twitter from @thesaturdayboy

Digital Books: From “The Kiss” To “Avatar”

January 22, 2010

Anyone who saw this:

The May-Irwin Kiss (Edison, 1896)

Would have never been able to imagine it would — or ever could — someday become this:

Avatar: The Movie (New Extended HD Trailer) (2009)

With digital books — Vook, Enhanced Editions, et al — we are at the stage of The Kiss.

But it will take us faster to get to the Avatar stage because we have more prior knowledge — and technology — than Edison’s crew did at the beginning of moving pictures.

Writer 3.0 For Book 3.0

January 22, 2010

Imagine’s “Transmedia Storytelling” Deal

“Studios gobbled up pre-branded properties like Asteroids and Battleship, but as an exec I would hear pitches from writers and see nobody coming with visuals, and there was nobody at the studio managing intellectual properties over all divisions,” Kadison said.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

I really hate the term “transmedia.” I hope we’re not stuck with that. I also hated “multimedia” too, by the way (and strange it was never applied to comic books first — or at all!). People think a new buzzterm is like a magic wand that can automagically create something.


In a prior blog I did a few posts about what I was calling “Writer 2.0.”

Well, the Axis of eCrap (formerly Axis of E) — eInk, ePub, eBook — is coming to its deserved end. And so is Writer 2.0.

In its place will be digital books. And Writer 3.0.

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Writers: It’s The INVISIBLE Piracy That Will Kill You

January 22, 2010

Listen, having your book show up on filesharing sites or BitTorrent is really the very least of your worries. Truly. At least people know it’s your creation, that you did it, and they have to turn to you for more.

As more writers free themselves of the parasitic grip of traditional publishers, they will be vulnerable to the worst piracy of all: multilingual plagiarism.

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Macintosh History: The Lost Art Of Trici Venola

January 20, 2010

The mid-1980s were a great time to be a Mac fanatic.

The machine was new, developers were coming out with neat stuff for it, and even though there wasn’t an Internet, we all felt connected through magazines, Bulletin-Board Systems (BBSes), CompuServe, user groups, newsletters, and the floppy disk service EduComp.

One of the stars of that period was a young woman artist named Trici Venola.

Her artwork was seemingly everywhere and it was easy to spot because of her very distinctive style.

One of the things she worked on was Foundation Software’s Comic Strip Factory. But I remember her most from her work for MacWeek, a weekly electronic magazine that was distributed via BBSes and those EduComp floppy disks. (This MacWeek was before there was a weekly tabloid on paper.)

Oh yes, kids, long before there was a Palm Pilot and Peanut Press and Fictionwise doing eBooks, there were electronic publications. And the Macintosh had the best. MacWeek was memorable due to the passion of Jerry Daniels, Mary Jane Mara, and the artwork of Trici Venola.

For an upcoming post about screen design for publishing, I tracked down Trici (she is currently enjoying life in Turkey). I asked for one thing, didn’t get it, but wound up with some delightful lost Macintosh history that I’m excited to show everyone.

It’s a comic strip done for the MacUnderground, an early online service for Macintosh users.

Trici doesn’t remember, but I met her briefly at Foundation Publishing’s booth at CES in Chicago way back when. Doug Clapp (where’d he go?) was manning the booth and Trici was there too. She showed me her mouse finger and how it was bent inward. She drew all of her work by mouse. Keep that in mind!

After the break, words from Trici herself and some sample panels.

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Apple: Kill My Blog, Please!

January 19, 2010

I never intended this blog to be a just about every day thing.

But I got fed up with the crap I saw circulating about books, publishing, eBooks, etc.

And I had to go open my big mouth.

Because there was no one else countering any of it.

Especially after I woke up from the eInk nightmare that had been pimped by others.

Next week, Apple unveils its seekrit creation. Which, despite recent trademark filings, I still expect to be called the iSlate. Because, as I posted, iPad has ownership conflicts.

Anyway, I expect four things from Apple:

1) The iSlate — I still expect one with a seven-inch, not ten-inch, screen. But any damned size would do at this point.

2) Apple announcing digital books for it. (Hello, Disney?)

3) Digital books given a real marketplace — not just lumped together with free games and eejitastic fart apps as they have been in the App Store.

4) A new version of iWork — with digital book creation ability for all.

Do that, Apple, and this blog is dead.

You will be settling the crap I’ve had to argue about for months now. I’ll have nothing more I will have to say.

I’ll be able to shut this blog and I get back to reading books (Derek Raymond is waiting!) and my own damned writing.

If Apple does what I expect, this blog is d-e-d on January 31st.

Some people out there will rejoice. But they were morons to begin with and will remain so after I’m gone.

Note To Self: Sylvester Stallone

January 19, 2010

One of the absolute joys of reading Writer’s Digest were the interviews.

There was one with Sylvester Stallone — yes, the movie star, who also wrote a film called Rocky — back in the 1970s.

That interview was so striking it has forever stuck in my mind.

I’ve been begging Writer’s Digest to put it online — yes, for free! — because it would be instructive to everybody.

But apparently that’s not possible due to rights issues and lawyers and all of that kind of rotten stuff that drains the life out of us.

I forgot what issue it was and had been wailing about that on Twitter. Someone finally took pity on me and provided the info. Which I swear I saved but somehow managed to then lose.

Well, I got it again and I’m putting it here.

Thank you very much! I won’t lose it now.

And if any of you have that issue or can get access to it, do so! It’s really something.

After the break, an audio track embedded in YouTube that gives some of the background of the creation of Rocky. Yes, despite the fact it’s that prat Anthony Robbins doing it, it’s worth hearing.

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Happy 90th Anniversary, Writer’s Digest!

January 18, 2010

At 90, digest’s writerly as ever

Ninety years ago, one of the biggest questions facing aspiring writers was whether to write in longhand or type their material. Today, one of their biggest questions is how to use blogs and social networking to promote themselves.

But one thing hasn’t changed in the past nine decades: The magazine to which millions of writers have turned for answers to such questions is Writer’s Digest.

Published by Sycamore Township-based publishing company F+W Media, Writer’s Digest is celebrating 90 years in business… .

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