Brown River Queen cover art

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Not Dead Yet

The title of this post comes straight from Monty Python. You know the scene, as the dead wagons collect plague victims, and one of the 'dead' keeps protesting, only to be thumped on the head and carted off.

That's been an excellent summary of the last few weeks. Watching the Markhat titles vanish, one by one, from Amazon was gut-wrenching. 

But that's part of the business. Publishers do close shop, now and then. It's not the end of the world, though it certainly feels that way as your books poof into oblivion with a single refresh of the page.

I am engaged in a number of efforts to bring the series back as soon as I can. Whether they will return with a new publisher, or as self-published titles, remains to be seen. I am working as fast as I can.

In the meantime, if you're a fan and you missed a book in the series, just email me. I'll send you a free one, in whatever format works best for you. It might take a day or two, but I'll get it out. It will have a plain text cover, but at least you'll be able to complete the series. My email address is franktuttle at franktuttle dot com (put in the right symbols, you know the drill). 

And of course you can still buy WAY OUT WEST by clicking below. 

WAY OUT WEST on Amazon as ebook.

WAY OUT WEST as print book.

The Mug and Meralda books weren't affected, either. 





I'll keep everyone posted here with any relevant news.

Thanks to everyone who emailed or messaged with expressions of support. Those meant a lot. 

In other news, it's nearly time for my annual pilgrimage to MidSouthCon, where WAY OUT WEST is up for a Darrell Award. If you're there too, look me up! I'm on a bunch of panels and I'll be out and about the rest of the time. This year, I won't be cosplaying -- I just didn't have the heart or the time to come up with a new costume, and the weight of the steampunk proton pack I've been taking is just too much. I came home from last year's Con a full three inches shorter than I was when I left, and my spine made funny crunching noises for weeks after wearing it. 

You can check out the schedules and events for the MidSouthCon on their webpage, which is here.

So stop by and buy me a drink, I mean, see me and chat. 

See you at the Con!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Markhat Interrupted

Penguinline | - Cartoon Girl Working on Notebook

Well, folks, the other shoe has dropped.

February 28th of 2017 will be the last day Samhain Publishing offers any titles. After that, all the Markhat titles (except WAY OUT WEST) will go dark -- on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, Itunes, everywhere.

Samhain officially ceases operations on the 28th. 

Rights reversions of the Markhat titles begins right after that. So I will retain ownership of the series, and will be free to do with the titles as I will shortly after the 28th.

So, all that said, just what will I do?

Beats me. I have several options open, which are:

Shop around for another publisher.

Self-publish all the titles myself.

Go hide in a damp hole, learn to gnaw on raw fish, and make a gollum sound when short furry strangers approach.

Frankly I'm leaning toward the third option at the moment. Damp caves are relatively cheap to own and maintain, and I already have the Gollum look down pat. Seriously, you've never seen me in a tattered loincloth, I can DO this.

But assuming I decide to remain part of polite society, I must choose between options one and two.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. Finding a publisher relieves me of the time, work, and expense involved in getting new cover art. Of marketing. Of file conversions and distribution and a host of other practices required to put out a book.

But it also means finding another publisher. That will take months, and could very well take years, and might never happen at all.

Yes, the Markhat books did sell. Pretty well, at times. But modern publishing isn't just a jungle anymore -- it's a freshly-nuked radioactive mutant feral jungle, where each and every one of the surviving publisher-beasts is concerned not just with sales but with enormous sales. I know too many awesome mid-lister authors who are starting GoFundMes because their books got pushed into near-oblivion and the authors can't afford a five-hundred-dollar roofing job anymore.

Too, the time factor comes into play. A year from now, people will just scratch their heads and ask 'Markhat who?"

Which brings us to self-publishing. I can do that. It allows me to set my own prices. Package and brand the series as I choose. Pick my own cover art, my own look. 

Which is all very well and good, until one considers the cost of all that.

The Markhat books have been extensively edited by real professionals. I won't need to go through that process again. Even so, there will be costs. Cover artists don't work for free (nor should they). I could buy back the old cover art, but buying back ten covers even at reduced rates isn't going to be cheap.

So that's where I am with the series right now. There are a number of hard decisions to be made, and there will be an interruption in availability of the titles no matter what I do.

That's life as an author. I wish this was television, where every author is a fabulously wealthy lady or gentleman who travels about solving crimes or having adventures, but reality just looks at us writers and says 'Shut up and eat your Ramen Noodles, loser.'

If you're a Markhat fan, you can help by telling anyone who might like the series to snatch it up RIGHT NOW. Maybe by the time they're done reading them I'll have new books out, somehow.

If you're a publisher sitting atop stacks of cash, you can help by emailing me. Really, that would be incredible, and I won't even bring my loincloth to signings. 

Although I've always said I'd never do this, I'm seriously considering a Kickstarter or Patreon or GoFundMe page of my own now. Just out of curiosity, how many of you reading this would consider kicking in 20 bucks or so? And would anyone think I was making a mistake even asking for help?

I would like to close by thanking Samhain Publishing for all their support through the years. They were great, and I'll miss them.

Mamas, don't let your kids grow up to be writers.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Murder Most Frequent

© Crokogen | - Black And White Man\'s Portraite Photo

I commit murder at least three times a week.

I should clarify that statement. I commit murder in my head at least three times a week. No one actually winds up on the floor bleeding, or decapitated, or, as it was last Tuesday, shoved into a meat grinder head-first (I was in a mood). No, the most I do is seethe silently until I can move away from my potential victims.

There are certain types of people I believe deserve to be murdered instantly by the most expedient means necessary. Nazis, for instance. Dog-fighters, or people who go to watch dog fighting. Child molesters. Rapists. I'd gleefully slaughter members of a dog-fighting ring with an old-school Tommy gun and never lose a wink of sleep over it. 

But the most common and frequent cause of my numerous rages is something I never really understood, at least until recently, and it's a genuine neurological condition called misophonia.

My form of misophonia makes listening to people chew (or slurp, or gobble, you get the picture) instantly and profoundly piss me off. It's a primal reaction, one that can't be ignored or simply shrugged off -- if you're making a lot of noise eating, I flat out want to murder you the whole time you're doing it. Yes, it's irrational. But it's also quite real.

I'll link to an article explaining misophonia in clinical terms, but basically, people with misophonia were stuffed into MRI machines while being subjected to the usual trigger noises -- people chewing, people smacking on gum, people gobbling down lasanga with their mouths open like a bunch of damned orangutans. I can only assume the test subjects were shackled and chained during the MRI, because frankly after a few minutes of that I'd be up and looking to whack the nearest neurosurgeon with a solid length of steel pipe.

What the researchers found was clear evidence of abnormal structures in the brain among misophonia sufferers. Here's a quote from the article: "People with misophonia had more myelin, or insulation, around the gray matter in their prefrontal cortex. They also showed abnormal connections between this cortex and the anterior insular cortex, which is involved in processing information and emotions."

My brain is composed almost entirely of abnormal structures. I'm pretty sure there's a working pinball machine in there somewhere. Also one of those antique fortune-telling machines, because every day at 4:11 PM a squeaky mechanical voice says "Zontar knows your past, sees your future, insert a nickel."

Finally, science has explained why I become enraged when the guy at the next table chews with his fat stupid mouth open. 

Now that Science has explained misophonia, perhaps Law can offer me a defense. "I was clinically unable to contain my rage, Your Honor, and I still have no idea where I found that bazooka." 

Here's the link to the article. Here's another link to a parody video showing the Mr. Bean version of 'Fifty Shades of Gray,' because why not.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Alternative Facts and Where To Find Them

© Elnur | - The Woman Magician Isolated On The White Photo

I've had an epiphany.

All my life, I've been shackled by the chains of objective reality. The cold, unfeeling digits of my bank balance denied me the finer things -- Ferraris, thrice-yearly vacations in Spain, the powers of flight and invisibility. 

Like a fool, I toiled on, heavy laden by the seemingly inescapable burden of 'facts.' Worse, I bowed to the purveyors of so-called facts. Loan officers, 'No Trespassing' signs, doctors and their joyless pronouncements that a diet consisting entirely of vodka and Twinkies would soon prove fatal -- these were my jailers.

My only outlet, my only escape, was in my writing, but even there I submitted to what I believed were the harsh realities of publishing, best exemplified by my continual use of duct-tape to effect home repairs and minor first aid.

But no more. I am inspired by current events, empowered at last by brave leaders unfettered by reality. Because objective reality is merely one facet of existence -- there is another, more pleasant realm, that of alternative facts. 

Thus, it is with great pleasure I announce that the Markhat books have sold, in the last few moments, 2 million copies. 

Do my Amazon rankings support this statement? No -- but that's just another example of my suppression by the publishing elite. The true sales figures, the alternative fact sales figures, just jumped to four million copies. I mean eight million. Let's make it ten.  With options for movie rights, Markhat and Darla action figures, and of course the ever-popular Evis vampire doll, with Kung-Fu grip and rotating normal and fanged faces. 

I have never felt quite so relaxed. 

As a best-selling author, I will now enjoy the fruits of my alternative labors. I shall surround myself with opulence, demand only the freshest Twinkies, refuse suspect home-brewed booze in favor of something with an actual machine-printed label. I'll use only Duct Tape(tm) brand adhesive, not that knock-off crap from the Dollar Tree. Yes, it's wine and roses from here on out.

It appears the nearest Ferrari dealership is an inconvenient 80 miles away. Or is it? Presto, my Corolla is a Toyota no more -- now it is a finely-crafted Italian sports car, lovingly maintained, eager to conquer the road with the throaty roar of its high-performance engine. When the highway patrol pulls me over and suggests I was speeding, I'll confound them and be on my way after a quick explanation that while their radar may have claimed I was going 106 in a 30 MPH zone, my alternative explanation that I was maintaining a steady 28 MPH overrides their ludicrous assumption and have a nice day.

I urge all my friends to join me in this simple rejection of objective reality. We can be free!

Let's all meet up in Spain on Tuesday. Tell the airlines you fly for free, for life, because Frank said so. Be sure to seat yourself in first class. Take the plane controls for a while, you're a qualified jumbo jet pilot, and anyway those things fly themselves now. Mostly. But gravity is just a theory, I'm told, and pilots make a big fuss about how hard it is to land a 767 just so they can get in the plane first and not be pestered about the size of their carry-ons. 

Welcome to my brave new world. Now, if you'll pardon me, my shuttlecraft awaits, and my orbiting battle cruiser needs a shakedown cruise.

I think I'm going to like this place.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Into the Badlands

© Joeygil | - Man In Ruins Watching Television Photo

Fans of my blog (both of you, thanks gang) may have noticed I missed a few weeks.
I did, and I'm sorry about that. I'd like to say I just ran out of things to say, but the truth is quite the opposite -- I was full of things to say, but decided you'd probably had your share of furious rants and really didn't need another one shoved in your virtual face.
So I declared a hiatus. 
Now I'm back. No less frustrated, no less fearful, but back, and still determined not to add one iota to the miserable situation we must now all endure.
I'm also determined to detach myself from this mess somehow, to get back to work. Determined to do so, but utterly clueless as to how to accomplish this.
It seems easy enough, doesn't it? Just fire up the Beast of All Words, conjure forth Word, and start writing. 
Ah, if it was truly that simple. Because what I've been producing lately has been toxic. Even Mug and Meralda lost their spark, becoming suddenly older, wearier, bleakly cynical. And Markhat? That got so dark I deleted the last several chapters. I will not do that to my characters, or my readers. Neither deserves such treatment. 
Long I pondered. Many beers were consumed. Walls were stared upon. Much Pink Floyd was played, because if you need a soundtrack as you stare into the abyss nothing fits the bill quite like Pink Floyd.
I still haven't found any answers, aside from the flippant one I cited earlier -- fire up the Beast of All Words, conjure forth Word, and start writing. Again.
It may well be that the only way out of my mental morass is through it. I may have to let Mug and Meralda and Markhat and Darla have time and space to work through this, just as I do. Which will mean delays in getting new stuff out. But I suppose that's preferable to never getting anything new out at all.
I have at least decided I won't quit. No matter what strange shape the world takes on in the next several years, people will still, I hope, want books. I hope they'll still need stories in which good triumphs over evil. I want to believe people will still want to cheer on heroes. 
I won't quit until I stop believing all that is true. I hope that day never comes.
So, if you're  out there, and you're worried too, you're not alone. And if you've found a way to regain some sense of hope, please, email me the recipe. I could certainly use a fresh batch right now.