Tuesday, June 18, 2019

I've Been Known To Embroider a Tale or Two

I'm still too tired to produce fiction, or even competent PR.
So instead I've been decorating my denim vest.
If you think my needlework is overly detailed, you oughta see my plots.

Monday, May 27, 2019

The Adventures of Sonny Knight trilogy concludes with A Dark and Stormy Day!

A Dark and Stormy Day is now available on Amazon!

It is the last book in a trilogy called The Adventures of Sonny Knight -- an action adventure science fiction series for Young Adults (and Old Children) which features maximum adrenaline, minimal moralizing, positive role models, and megalodons. Pliosaurs too, as well as train wrecks, cattle stampedes, riots, avalanches, tsunamis, gunfights and chases.

Set in a post-dystopian climate-changed version of North and South America, in 3748, after the meteors and the plagues and the coastal revision and oceanic deoxygenation and catastrophic extinctions, humans have finally figured out how to live peaceful, sustainable, satisfying lives, safe from the horrific climactic extremes which are the new norm. You could almost call it utopian.

Except for a handful of people still holding grudges over a war that supposedly ended several years ago. And one particular trouble-magnet teenager known as Sonny Knight.

But wait! Don't buy it!

First, you need to ask yourself some questions, such as:
  • "Have I read parts one and two of this trilogy?"
  • "Am I the sort of person who reads part three first?"
  • "Am I actually Charon's friend or am I just hanging around for the swell parties?"
  • "Do I want to learn how to predict the future?"
  • "Do I care about spoilers?"
  • "Why do noob authors like Charon Dunn, whoever she is, think I have money to burn, don't they even know about the ridiculous price of avocados not to mention the planetary impact of cutting down forests to create old-fashioned paper books like they used to read back in the suffragette era -- can't we do better than this?!?"
Now that you have asked yourself these things, please allow me to derisively minimize your concerns ... er, explain why I'm right and you're not .... uh, try to sell you books. You and I both know that's what I'm trying to do here. Sell you something. Very well!

The Adventures of Sonny Knight Trilogy begins with One Sunny Night, which begins on the Spring Equinox of 3748. Leroy Knight is enjoying a free trip to a championship game in a country recovering from a devastating war when terrorists ruin everyone's day. After an accident in which he temporarily forgets his own name, Leroy becomes Sonny Knight, adventurer, as he teams up with an unusual assortment of friends, traveling across a far-future Earth where travel has become excruciatingly inconvenient.

The middle of the trilogy is Retrograde Horizon. It's still 3748 and Sonny has found his way back home, but things just aren't the same -- those terrorists are still following him around, setting off explosions at his school, tampering with roller coasters while he's riding them, exchanging gunfire in tiny seafood restaurants where the neon signs reflect bitterly in the rain-swept streets. Things like that.

If you're a total completist, there's also a prequel novella called Sieging Manganela, which marks the point where I gave up trying to write grimdark like everyone else and embraced a sunnier, happier vision set in the kind of world we could have if we quit putting mean, dumb and/or short-sighted people in charge.

As to whether you're the sort of person who reads part three first -- well, this is sort of an experimental novel in addition to being cheap crappy pulp fiction designed to make your airplane flight, waiting room visit or surgical recovery pass slightly faster.

Maybe you're interested in predicting the future. Excellent -- so am I. In that case, feel free to read book three while trying to predict what happened in the previous books.

In fact, The Adventures of Sonny Knight is designed to teach you how to predict the future. It depicts a far-future worst case scenario in terms of environmental change -- both the kind created by humans and the kind inflicted by random elements like plagues and asteroids. Aside from a little bit of bioengineering handwaving (because what fun is an action novel without megalodons???), there's no supernaturalism, ESP, ghosts, telekinetic powers, spirits, demons -- none of that. Just predictions grounded in solid science, to help you envision how humans might survive all these potential catastrophes.

In addition to that, it has a secret embedded esoteric novel in the form of an astrological textbook. I'm fascinated with the symbolism, and I needed structure for my characters and plot, so The Adventures of Sonny Knight is a comprehensive course in astrological symbolism. In fact, it's a symbolic tale about Pluto being 86'd from the solar system. I wanted to see if I could write a novel that is completely grounded in scientific reality yet is also heavily steeped in metaphysical ambiance, just to see if I could get them to occupy the same space yet be completely different in subject matter to two subjective observers. Don't mind me. Just having fun. You won't even notice the astrology unless you're looking for it.

It's also a good old-fashioned cliffhanging story full of intrigue and disasters. And surviving disasters. And undergoing physical therapy after you survive the disasters.

As far as paper or e-book (and price) ... CreateSpace went away and Kindle Direct has a different paperback producer, so it costs more to get paperbacks now. That's not my fault, and I've set my royalty as low as it'll go. Think of the high price as tribute to the trees that died for you. Most of my readers enjoy the e-book versions, which are very eco-friendly.

Book three costs a little more, because it's newer, but none of them are that expensive. That's because I'm new and don't have a lot of reviews yet (hint hint).

Audio versions are coming next year, unless I can find someone else that can do a better job than me (like I did with my cover, and my editing).

If your eyeballs are still here, thank you for reading all this spam. If it was a comparatively smooth and painless experience -- you might be a person who actually enjoys reading my fiction, in which case, you should check it out!


Launch Party: A Dark and Stormy Day

On Saturday, May 26, 2019, I threw a launch party for A Dark and Stormy Day at Baycon.

And here is the photographic evidence! Book-cover cake! Charon looking like a nice chubby manatee in her Millenium Falcon dress, grinning deliriously while guests enjoyed the festivities! Charon the next day, still afflicted by the stress-related-chin-zit (once I stop getting those I'll know I'm a real grownup). Smiling the smile of someone who spent the previous night celebrating the launch of the end of her trilogy. Wearing a t-shirt celebrating her favorite band.

Definitely one of my better days.

I spent most of the evening in a haze. I wasn't high or drunk or anything, I made a point of avoiding anything more mind-altering than blackberry-cucumber flavored La Croix, and even so I was high as a kite on just the idea of celebrating the point in time where the Sonny Knight stories transformed from perpetual ongoing project to finished product.

Tonight, Sisyphus rolls the rock up the hill only to find it settling into place.

Yeah, yeah, now the hard work begins, I have to promote it. Discuss it. Pretend I'm not wounded when the inevitable bad reviews arrive. Pretend I'm still humble as opposed to delirious with narcissism should good reviews arrive.

And of course, write something else. A concept, in fact, is currently swirling around in my head involving a girl adventurer, and a planet full of dinosaurs.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Those Two Little Words That Mean So Much ("The End")

Finished writing and editing it. Published it. Now I'm absolutely exhausted and taking some time to recharge before publicizing it.

I'm way happier with my ending than the one in Game of Thrones. Just saying. But I'll complain about that another day -- too tired right now.

Today I did some hardcore adulting! First, I picked up all my printed bookmarks from the best print shop in the world, City Print on Divisadero. They are the best in the world because (a) there is a gorgeous black laborador that comes out to meet all customers; (b) the owner, Praz, is a gifted graphic designer who knows how to expedite, and my yellows came out bright and egg-yolky, just the way I wanted.

I ordered some waterpods -- collapsible dishwasher-safe water bottles, with the Sonny Knight sun logo. I'm planning on affixing bookmarks to waterpods, making a nice promo item to hand out at SDCC and at Baycon.

Next, I bought some sober, dignified looking interview shoes. Since I happened to be in the Haight when I got them, they have secret hippie slogans embedded in the soles and a bright peacock blue interior. They do look dignified, however, and since I got the oxford style rather than the mary janes, nobody needs to know about my weird socks.

Finally, I put down a deposit on a new tattoo. On my forearm. So that I can look at it and go, "oh yeah, that's that tattoo I got to celebrate finishing a three novel trilogy." Just so I'm constantly aware that I can write a trilogy.

Then I got some baos for dinner -- a BBQ pork one; a curry beef one and two pineapple ones for dessert. That's plenty of adulting. No need to cook.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

I came up with a logo for the Sonny Knight series

More Thoughts About The Penultimate Episode

That last episode of Game of Thrones is breaking records for bad reviews.

The more I think about it, though, the more I like it.

Not for the bad logistics, such as the gigantic buff to dragons, and the massive nerf to Euron’s silly aqua ballistae. For the storytelling.

We cheered when Dany was summarily executing people – as long as she was doing it on behalf of the “good guys” – herself, as a beleaguered child bride who has survived all kinds of ordeals, and her multicultural ragtag band of followers. She is going to use the last little bit of the Old Magic – her dragons – to defeat the evil rich blond colonial oppressors.

And then, when she finally steps up to the plate, she is so full of grief and frustration and rage at being denied her goal that she goes crazy and burns everything in sight – except Cersei, who dies as an after thought (Lena Headey has confirmed it: Cersei is not only merely dead, she’s really most sincerely dead). Some are viewing this as the writers’ incompetence, and possibly sexism. Stupid woman, she’s nearly won everything and there she goes, ruining everything with an emotional spasm.

I think it fits perfectly. We all tend to forgive our side for erring on the side of brutality.

There was recently a skirmish down the street from me where a marginal kind of guy from Oregon bought a MAGA hat and wore it to the Fillmore, a black neighborhood. Then he yelled verbal abuse at passersby until someone knocked his hat off, at which point he tried to amputate their arm with a concealed sword, apparently so he could make the case that liberals are just as violent because they go around knocking hats off. I’m sure there are conservatives who think he’s perfectly reasonable.

Meanwhile, on the liberal side we have the YA book callouts. There was another one just recently – an author saw a black subway worker eating lunch on a train, snapped her picture and made it go viral on Twitter; the public was outraged at her use of a potent media platform to snitch on a comparatively powerless worker, outrage occurred and her book got canceled. And I actually kind of agree with that one. At their worst, though, callout culture is the sort of thing we’d denounce as horrific fascism if it consisted of, say, religious people demanding a book be censored because it contains content they find objectionable.

If there had been callout culture during the rest of literary history, we would be missing a lot of terrific books, because a lot of otherwise decent writers were total asshats. Charles Dickens, for example, tried to get out of a long-term marriage by locking his wife in one of those horrific Victorian madhouses while he pursued an infatuation with a girl young enough to be his daughter. Oliver Twist is still a pretty good story. William S. Burroughs shot his wife and killed her

Let me just repeat that for emphasis: he shot his wife in the head with a gun, killing her, and claimed they had been playing William Tell. He got a 2 year suspended sentence and didn’t serve any time for it.

And William S. Burroughs is still the King of Beat Writing and nobody would ever boycott his books and hipsters everywhere worship and revere him.

There are other writers who have done bad things aplenty. (Except me; I have been remarkably well-behaved ever since the invention of the internet, and I don’t recall anything that happened before that.)

Quentin Tarantino, in Inglorious Basterds, made a big sledgehammerish point that the movie audience cheering the destruction of the Nazis is not too different from the Nazis’ cheering deaths in their own propaganda movie moments earlier.

Whether the end justifies the means is hardly an original theme. The idea of the lust for power destroying those who wield it isn’t exactly new either, JRR was writing about that while GRR was still in diapers.

When our once beloved Khaleesi takes to the sky and burninates the city and the peasants, she’s not doing anything she hasn’t done before. We just gave her a pass because she was doing it to the bad guys. And because she filled her organization with people of color, allowing them to die for her instead of people of equivalent whiteness. And because she’s really pretty, plus she’s down with the Old Magic From The Past and only wants to make Westeros great again.

By bringing demented, abusive, overpowered leadership back, and we totally fell for it because she was wearing a female empowerment goody-two-shoes disguise.