Saiga .308 magazine update

Good news on the gun store side of things.  In about 4-5 weeks we will be shipping our Saiga .308 twenty round magazines again.  These are the ones that we designed and manufactured here in Utah, and we haven’t had any for quite some time.  We’ll have enough to fill all the already paid for orders, and then some.  After that we’ll be getting more magazines in about ever 4-6 weeks after that.

 

These have been really popular, and the lack of availability was driving me nuts.  The original delay was caused by us revamping the manufacturing so that more of the small parts could be made in house, then our second delay was because some of those parts were out of spec.  Now we’re just waiting for springs, and we are good to go. 

Another HK Demotivational Poster

g3sucks.jpg

HK Demotivational Madness

xm8.jpgsl8.jpgrd.jpgmk23.jpgmall-ninja.jpgg36.jpgcounterstrike.jpgWe’ll the guys on THR are on a roll.  http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=309767

Bruce Campbell

Now this is a man that appreciates his B-Movies.  http://quigs.blogspot.com/2007/10/6-best-bruce-campbell-movies-youll.html

 And if you don’t know who Bruce Campbell is, I weep for your children.

Wannabe Writers

Today I went to a writer’s conference, put on by Bookwise, in Salt Lake City.  They’re holding a writing contest, and my novel, Monster Hunter International, is in it.  The winner will be announced Saturday.

It was the first actual writer’s conference I’ve ever been to.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I came away extremely impressed by what Bookwise put on.  I had been expecting maybe a few hundred wannabe writers, instead it was more like thousands.  Richard Paul Evans is a remarkably good public speaker.  The speakers were excellent, the workshops were informative and entertaining, and I came away a happy wannabe. 

Trying my hand at writing has been a fun, but frustrating experience.  I’ve always felt the need to write stuff.  When I was still in elementary school, I was cranking out really bad fiction at a pretty high rate.  Looking at it now, I really was a dorky kid.  (and ironically enough, even at twelve, it was obvious from my writings that I had an irrational fear of crustaceans, but I digress) 

I barely passed English in school.  I can’t spell.  My grammar is pathetic.  But I’ve always been a story teller.  I can’t help myself.  I have to write.  Even if it doesn’t turn out very good, it keeps me entertained.

My first serious attempt at a novel died a pathetic death back in 2001.  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t really good either.  (I’ve since cannibalized all the good characters and scenes for the 3rd book of the Nightcrawler Trilogy) Then I quit for a few years.  Sure, I had a bunch of ideas bouncing around in my head, but instead I devoted myself to making it as an accountant in the corporate world.  Too bad I totally sucked at that.  Me and the corporate world aren’t really a good match. 

My next novel was MHI.  It was spawned by a mixture of my two great loves, guns and B-Movies, and inspired by the quote: 

 “You know what the difference between me and you really is?  You look out there and see a horde of evil, brain eating zombies.  I look out there and see a target rich environment.”            -Dillis D. Freeman Jr. 11/2/2001 

The idea for Monster Hunter International, i.e. my kind of people killing monsters for fun and profit, gelled in my head for a couple of years.  Finally one day I read a single line from Sluggy Freelance (the world’s best web comic) and everything clicked into place.  That line was: “The dead flirt ugly.”  Within a few hours the entire thing was plotted, and it was epic. 

I completed the book in record time, 200,000 words in only a few months, was rather pleased with how it turned out, and started to pass it around to various friends and acquaintances for feed back.  And I picked people who wouldn’t be afraid to tell me the truth.  The single worst thing that can happen to a writer is having somebody lie to them and pat them on the back when in reality they should be told that they just wasted several months of their life turning out dreck.  I wanted to know the truth.  I’m not one of those damn sensitive artist types.

The reception was very positive.  Most of my readers were reluctant at first, because they didn’t want to hurt my feelings, but once I had harassed them into reading, most of them ended up reading the 450+ pages in one or two days.  John Shirley blew a test because he had stayed up all night to finish MHI. 

So the initial reviews were positive.  So I sent it out to more people, including some professionals who I was (sort of ) acquainted with.  Shockingly enough, they liked it too, and their advice helped me to polish the book.  I was encouraged to publish.  Luckily for me, a few extremely talented individuals volunteered to edit my pathetic grammar and mistakes.  Pax and Curly are both brilliant proofers, and they kept me from embarrassing myself.

Still hesitant, I passed it around to even more people.  The reviews were still excellent, and now I had professional newspaper reviewers telling me to give them the word and they would write a positive review, and bookstore owners telling me that they would be down for cases of MHI as soon as it was available.  A game designer wanted to know about the possibility of setting something in my world.  Another respected writer wanted to know if he could have one of my character’s ancestors make a cameo in something he was working on.

Then something even more unexpected happened.  I had thought that MHI would only appeal to people like me, gun nuts and monster movie geeks, but then my readers started passing it on to friends, relatives, co-workers, and spouses, and the next thing I knew, total strangers were contacting me, wondering when they could buy a copy.  It was especially weird to have people I didn’t even know come up to me and start talking about how they loved a character, or how they had cried when somebody else had died.  It is kind of hard to wrap your brain around the concept of total strangers sharing something from your imagination.

I’ll be damned.  People really liked it. 

So, riding high, and figuring that MHI would be an easy sell, I started sending out query letters to agents and publishers, and that is when the fun really began.  Rejections piled up, lots and lots of rejections.  Some were the regular old form letters, others indicated that they had actually read the query, a few asked for manuscripts.  I spent months doing that dance.  Most publishers never even responded, as my manuscript sank into their giant slush piles.  Several agents actually read the first part of my book before shooting me down.  The response was usually something along the lines of Hey, you’re a good writer BUT it doesn’t fit into one genre, or it is too long for a first timer, or monster books aren’t selling right now, or something else like that.

This was frustrating.  Why did I now have hundreds of fans, but a bunch of professionals kept telling me that I wasn’t good enough? 

Finally, one respected agent replied to me.  (a note on “respected”, wannabe writers, please do your research.  Anybody can call themselves and agent, don’t mean that they really are, and if they want money up front, they’re scam artists, not agents, RUN AWAY!)  This agency really liked the manuscript, and were interested in representing me.  I did a little more research on them, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that they represented some of my favorite Sci-Fi and Fantasy authors.  There was one hitch, they wanted me to make a few changes, as in, it was too long for a first timer, see, fat books take up more space on retail shelves, so only sellers get fat books, so I need to cut it down to make it sellable. 

Okay, fine, I can do that.  You’re the professionals, how much do I need to trim?

About a third.  70,000 words should do.

Ouch.  That’s a kick to the crotch.

So I did it.  I took something that I loved, and I hacked a third of it off.  The rewriting took far longer than the writing.  But I did it, and when I got done… it sucked.  It had gone from being something I loved, into something that I hated.  Sure, it was still good, and now it was “sellable”.  The agency liked it.  I hated it.  I called it off.  There was half a year of my life wasted. 

So I said screw it.  I’ll self-publish.  Oftentimes self-publishing means that a book is garbage, and no self-respecting publisher will touch it with a ten foot pole, but I was sick and tired of getting rejected, and as far as I could tell, I had exhausted every other option.  I told everyone that MHI would be out in a couple of months, and I was ready to drop the packet in the mail.  That was a year ago this month.

That morning I received an e-mail from the boss at a major publishing house.  And when I say boss, I mean the actual person that runs the place, and when I say major publishing house, I mean, they’re one of the BIG DOGS, as in look over at the book shelf next to your computer, and I would be stunned if you didn’t have some of their books sitting on it.  Apparently one of the bookstore owners that really liked MHI wasn’t just a regular bookstore owner, he was the owner of one of the largest independent bookstores in the country, and he had been shocked that nobody had picked up my book.  He had contacted this publisher and told them that they were idiots for rejecting me, and apparently he buys a lot of books because right away the publisher wanted to see my work.

So I pulled the self-publication packet out of the mail, and sent a manuscript to the publishing house where I had disappeared into their slush pile a year before without even a rejection letter.  The first readers loved it.  The second readers loved it, and passed it up the chain with “glowing recommendations”.  Then the publisher herself finally read it.  She said she liked it, BUT… then came the list of things I needed to change.  At least these changes weren’t as drastic as my go around last time, and the changes actually had some literary merit.

I made the changes, and then sent it back.  I was told that they would make a decision and get back to me in a month.  Then I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Every month or so I would send an e-mail, only to be told that they hadn’t decided yet, and they would get back to me.   I really appreciated such an important person in the writing world to take the time to give me advice, but I can only wait so long. 

So now, I’m done.  I’m done waiting, and I’m done being rejected by professionals for two years, while I’ve got a bunch of people on a waiting list to buy books.  I’m waiting for the results of this writing contest, and win or lose this weekend, Monster Hunter International is getting sent off for self-publication next week.  Which means that I’ll actually finally hold a copy of the book in my hands around the end of the year.   Once I’ve got an actual ETA, I’ll post excerpts and do a preorder on here. 

About friggin’ time…  Yes, I know.  I’m working on it. 

Well, anyway, the conference was great today, and I’ll be there for some more seminars tomorrow.  I’ve already done a ton of research about self-publication and promoting yourself, so the ideas weren’t necessarily new, but at least it was validating to be able to say, check, check, yep, did that too.  (For example, I started this blog, so please buy my book!)

I do have one comment about the conference, and it isn’t about the conference itself, because Bookwise did a kick ass job, rather, it is about some of the other attendees.  If you’re in a hall with about a thousand other wannabe writers, and you’re standing at a microphone to ask questions to a panel of actual successful authors, editors, publishers, agents, and publicists, do you really honestly think the other attendees want to hear the details of your pathetic life?  NO!   Ask your question, and sit the hell down!  BRIEF QUESTIONS!  BRIEF!!!! 

Let’s see, I could either listen to somebody that’s sold like 140 million books (literally) or I could listen to you prattle on for seven minutes while you try to string a series of words into a coherent sentence that conveys some sort of question, and then you cap it off with a plug for your book and telling the rest of us what your web address is.  Dude, we don’t care.  We don’t care that your Myspace page isn’t getting enough hits.  Let the professionals talk.  That’s why we’re here.  You, shut up.  Professionals, talk about stuff.  Got it?  And if you can’t explain in under a minute what the hell your book is about, then it probably sucks, deal with it.  Either way, deal with it after you shut up and sit down, far away from the microphone. 

Whew… I feel better now. 

My only other comment about the conference is that Harry Turtledove is a surprisingly tall man.  I stood next to him at the urinals today.  I’m 6’5” and he had to be at least my height.  I’m sure this is absolutely fascinating to you guys, but I was surprised.  I always pictured him as being short for some reason. 

Another HK poster

hk_nien.jpg

Courtesy of GigaBuist.

But wait, there’s more. HK Demotivational Posters

hksucks3.jpghksucks2.jpg

Courtesy of Euclidean

A new Demotivational HK poster

hksuck.jpgCourtesy of 2TransAms.

This week in the news

In the news this week:  Al Gore wins a Nobel Peace Prize for a bunch of horse-shit. (still better than Yassir-Arafat’s win for “not killing anybody lately”)  Alfred Nobel’s ghost is quoted as saying, “What the hell are you dumb-asses doing?”  Al Gore recently won an Oscar, will win the Pulitzer later this year, won the blue ribbon at the Box Elder County Science Fair for his presentation “Global Warming is not our friend”, and is a current favorite to be America’s Next Top Model. 

 

California passes a Micro Stamping law, mandating a technology that doesn’t exist, and doesn’t work, thereby pretty much banning semi-automatic handguns.  This is one of the dumbest laws ever.  The idea is that all new guns will have this magical technology that will stamp the serial number on the brass and bullet the instant a shot is fired.  Which means that scumbags will now pick up your brass at the range to sprinkle over the crime scene, while they shoot a revolver.  Schwarzenegger signed this piece of crap, once again proving that he’s about as Republican as Che Guevera. 

 

Congress boldly condemns the Armenian genocide that happened 90 years ago, and alienates one of our only allies in the middle-east in the process. (next up, a resolution condemning Portugal for the slave trade).  Our heroic representatives take a stand against the Turkish slaughter of Armenians, about four generations after the fact.  At this rate, the Congress of 2132 AD will be ready to address Darfur.    

 

Congress passes a resolution against talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, for something he didn’t actually say, because our elected reps and their legion of staffers are too friggin’ stupid to read a transcript.  But what does it matter, our reps and the news just make up the facts as they go along anyway.

 

General Ricardo Sanchez gave a 30 minute speech where 29 minutes and 45 seconds condemns the press for being a bunch of liars, propagandists, and anti-American douche bags that give aid and comfort to our enemy, while boosting the terrorist’s moral, and causing American soldier’s deaths.  15 seconds of the speech was about how Iraq sucks.  Guess which one got quoted a whole bunch?

 

And on the presidential campaign trail, on the Democrat side a Communist nincompoop and a Socialist harpy vie for supremacy, while the Republican side is being led by a liberal Democrat.  Hip-hip-fricking-hoo-ray.  What a fun time to be a conservative in America.  Rudy Guilliani, a paragon of everything that the Republican party stands for, except for that whole suing the gun companies into oblivion thing, demanding federal funding of abortions for poor people, just being an all around fascist jerk, and other little things like that, is leading the polls, because he happened to be mayor of New York when it got blown up.  Meanwhile, the Punditry keeps telling us why Rudy is The Awesome, because he’s the only one that can beat Hillary, even though for our side to win, we have to win all the South, where they just love to turn out to support anti-gun/pro-abortion/philandering/scumbags.  

 

Mitt Romney has won some polls, but he’s electable in Massachusetts, where he signed off on an assault weapons ban and gay marriage, both of which are core Republican values, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know right there.  He’s the favorite here in Utah, but that’s because many of the people around me are really stupid.  “Yay!  We’re the same religion!  That means he’ll be a great leader of the free world!” 

 

Fred Thompson is finally in it, and is getting some air time because he had the audacity to point out that the other Republican front runners weren’t technically Republicans.  This was rather shocking to the news media.  He did not, however, have the nerve to point out that Rudy is actually not human, but rather, is a Reptoid of Hollow Earth.  When asked about the allegations that he was a Reptoid, Guilliani put down the fetus sandwich he was eating, and responded “Hisssss, puny humans.  I’m the only one that can beat Hillary.  BWA HA HA!”   

 

In local news, Larry Correia won Halo 3 on Legendary, solo, because he rocks to a shockingly high degree.  His seven year old daughter was quoted as saying, “My dad is so cool.  He totally beat up the Covenant.  I’m glad it is over, ‘cause now I can watch cartoons again and he won’t hog the TV no more.”  Mr. Correia’s 2 year old was quoted as saying, “Muffa rg aldb!  AAAHH!  Hay-ho!  Hay-ho!  BOOM!” 

The best of Sci-Fi Channel Original Pictures

I’ve got to hand it to the Sci-Fi channel, every week they manage to crank something out to keep people like me happy, and I’m not talking about Ghost Hunters either.  (I’m such a sucker for that show)  Almost every Saturday they premiere some new B-Movie.  Most of them really suck, but that is okay, because that is part of being a B-Movie nerd.  B-Movie nerds are trapped in this kind of dysfunctional relationship, where most of the time we’re mistreated, but every now and then we get some good B-Movie love, so we keep on coming back. 

 

If I were going to give Sci-Fi channel a letter grade for its movie premiers, it would probably be a C.  They’ve got the ability, they’ve got the talent, they’ve got the resources, but it is like they just don’t apply themselves.   Let me try to explain…

 

I was thinking about this after watching their latest, Wraiths of Roanoke. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0875696/  Overall it was a typical Sci-Fi channel premiere.  It was a movie that had actual potential.  It had some good lead actors, (why isn’t Rhett Giles a famous actor yet?  Got a B-Movie that needs a Englishman?  He’s your man.   He kicks ass in like 30 B-Movies, oh wait, there’s my answer right there, it is like the Curse of Bruce Campbell) it had an interesting idea (basically what happened surrounding the mysterious disappearance of the Roanoke colony, well obviously they were killed by Viking ghosts, duh.) 

 

It just couldn’t manage to congeal into something cool, but it was so close.  A lot of Sci-Fi original movies are like that, almost good.  Proficient and watchable, but nothing that you’re going to watch and say “Damn!  That was awesome!”   Usually they’re a little predictable, the plots are kind of weak, and there is an over-reliance on lame CGI effects. 

 

Others are just horribly bad.  Painfully, awfully, terribly, brain rotting suckitude.  Usually these involve some sort of giant snake, ravenous insects, dinosaurs, or something of that nature, that inevitably eats some scientists and Lorenzo Lamas.   Basically most Sci-Fi plots read like one of those games you played as a kid where they would give you a noun or a verb, and you would have to pick something, those would fill in the blanks in some sort of story.  Then you would read the story, and it would be really absurd and funny.  (What the hell were those things called?  I’m thinking Mad Libs or something like that).

 

For example:  A giant ( adjective ) ( noun ) attacks a ( place ) and eats ( people ).    Starring Lorenzo Lamas and a girl from the last season of Survivor.   

 

Despite that, I can think of a few gems that were Sci-Fi original premieres that have risen to the top, and rank up there amongst some of my all-time favorite monster movies.  (at least I seem to remember them as Sci-Fi originals)

 

3.  Primal Rage http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0194543/  or as my wife and I like to call it, KILLER MONKEY ISLAND!  If you’ve ever wanted to watch B-Movie super hero Ron Perlman beat up a killer baboon in hand to hand combat, this is the movie for you.  The basic plot is that people are stuck on an island with killer genetically enhanced monkeys.  This is one of those movies that’s just so bad, that it does a complete circle and comes back around to good.  It features awesome dialog like “They went insane… with a desire to kill.”  I saw this movie like eight years ago, and to this day I’ll just randomly look at my wife, and say that line.  It probably got old to her about seven years ago, but it still makes me laugh.

 

2.  Frankenfish http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0384833/ the worst title, for the best mutant Snakehead fish movie ever.  And yes, there are multiple movies about mutant snakehead fish, and one of them even has Bruce Boxleitner, which Frankenfish does not.  But somehow despite its lack of Boxleitner, Frankenfish is just plain fun.  It has heart. 

 

It is a huge cheesefest of every bad monster movie cliché you can think of, set in swamp, on some houseboats, with mutant fish killing people in a surprisingly cool fashion.  And I even have to admit that I actually cheered when they take care of the last super fish, and keep mind, I’m pretty jaded. 

 

1.  Abominable http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0402743/ for the win, the finest killer Big Foot movie ever made, hands down, by far.  And I’ve watched a lot of killer Big Foot movies, most of which have B-Movie super hero Lance Henriksen in them somehow, no I kid you not, check it out.  He’s been in like 37 movies about Big Foot.

 

Basically Abominable is Rear Window with Big Foot.  A wheelchair bound man is at his cabin, and watches as a Big Foot stalks a bunch of cute girls in a nearby cabin.  If you’re a B-Movie geek and you haven’t seen this one, remedy that as soon as possible.  It takes a lot to make somebody like me jump and squeal like a little girl in a movie, but I honestly did. 

 

The Big Foot looked pretty cheesy, but he made up for it with violence.  This Big Foot had some panache.  He didn’t just kill people, he killed the HELL out of them.  If Harry and the Hendersons was a nice Big Foot, this is Harry’s psychotic little brother that liked to put firecrackers inside of frogs, and crazy stuff like that.  People get their guts stomped out, faces bitten off, and pulled at unnatural angles through some very small spaces (and you’ll know that scene when you see it, because it was an awesome effect, thanks towel!). 

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