I outlined a kick-ass near-future urban fantasy over the weekend. It was a lot of effort but I believe you will be pleased with the story: a cross between Supernatural and Dexter featuring a man who likes lots of guns, sharp pointy things, explosions and wizard spells. Wizards spells, you know, that would give him an edge against the devil, demons, urban wizards, witches and other malcontents. He works for Death as a trouble-shooter. For those times when a normal death won’t do. Lots of series potential.
Let me know what you think!
Oh fuck yes.
Deep Mountain Studios
The audio book, Armageddon’s Princess, is in final production. Deep Mountain Studios will exclusively publish it via the ACX platform, which is Audible, iTunes, and Amazon.
I finished listening to the entire book today. It is exquisitely intense and May Ling Su’s reading is wonderful and an emotional journey.
This is all rather surreal. If you would have asked me two years ago if I would have an audio book for my novel I was wrapping up, I would have laughed. But with some time, some effort and a lot of hard work on May Ling’s part, here it is.
The ACX platform is easy to use and a focused on quality. I determined that there is an underrepresented market for science fiction on Audible. I believe the expense and effort is well worth it and I’m now a big fan of the audio book platform.
Stay tuned for release details. I don’t have an exact date, but the changes we need to make are small.
Hold on to yer butts’, folks. I’m just getting started!
In my day job, I get paid to do what I am supposed to do when I said I would do it.
I’m super good at that.
I try very hard to be that good with my writing career, but this is an intellectual endeavor in which I am both providing the content and building the machine to produce it, and woo wee (woo wee being a technical term), it’s a bit difficult.
While we are here, that lone sentence above is really all I can drag out of myself in boo hoo land. I cringe when indie authors go on post binges on various woes, and to be blunt, cowboy up princesses and get’er done. In the interest of status for those who ask, I only went there to provide context to the below revelations.
Where We Be
All my original estimates are off because I took The Wælcyrie Murders and embarked on a slow process to improve my prose. And it worked. Where we last left off, I delivered a revised manuscript based on the (soul devoting) editorial letter my editor handed me. Based on that letter, I returned a substantial revision and Sofia is now doing the line edits. After I receive those, I’ll go through all the edits and produce the last revision that goes to the copy editor. The (new!) copy editor then checks for spelling, grammar and punctuation issues. When I accept the copy editor’s changes, then post production starts were we put together the book in quick order.
Where We Be, The Meta Discussion
It is my keen desire to put in a well-oiled machine where the above 270 word status never has to grace this blog again. That takes effort and time. I am building Team Anthony. Team Anthony is rocking right now. We’re pulling out all the stops; the quality bar for The Wælcyrie Murders is super high.
And that is good. I promise the results will please you and the positive impact will easily carry to book 3, Death by Lingerie.
Deep Mountain Studios is approaching 100% fully operational status.
Unforeseen Goodness and Resultant Publishing Date
My marketing plan was never designed to kick in until The Wælcyrie Murders was out. It’s not that I shrugged and moved on, it makes sense for me to put most of my effort when my published list has more than one book.
What I did not foresee were opportunities made available by Armageddon’s Princess publication in 2013. I can’t go into details right now, but the result is if I had the finished and produced manuscript in my hands right now, I still would not push the various publish buttons until after January 1st. Deep Mountain Studios will publish The Wælcyrie Murders in early January 2014 or close to it. Hold on folks, I’m reaching for the stars here, and I appreciate everyone asking what the publishing schedule looks like.
Hello, my friends.
Awhile ago I came in third with a military sci-fi short titled The Woman. Unfortunately, the blog that hosted the contest and the story is no longer online and the nice comments I received are now lost forever.
I’ve decided to turn the The Woman into a novella that will be published sometime this year. For prosperity sake, I present the original short story in its entirety below. If you want to avoid “spoilers,” be sure signup for my newsletter which will announce when the story will be available for free on various digital distribution sites and only read the expanded version when available.
While the novella will be published through Deep Mountain Studios with the fancy cover and professional editing, if you are a fan of my Lexus Toulouse science fiction setting (and specifically, Arune, the sentient warship with the yummy digital avatar), The Woman stands on its own.
The hero and the anti-hero.
Back in 2007 a literary agent I was following on Twitter (or was it 2008?) recommended a guest blog post about epic fantasy by some upcoming fantasy author I’ve never heard of and thankfully have since forgotten. He went on and on how Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings did not stand up to the test of time because the works did not hold true to a “grey reality” (or some such words to that effect) and how a happy ending was a false reflection on human nature. Then he plugged his own book with promises of gritty realism and an appropriate ending drowning in a powerful literary message of how fucked in the head we all are.
And I finished the article thinking: this is what happens when emos can wordsmith.
The absurdity of the author’s claim was beyond comment worthy. I laughed. I laughed out loud. A happy ending? To The Lord of the Rings? Really? The ending where Frodo basically realizes he is spent, dead inside, done, finished and basically dies and goes to heaven? Did he think the ending was a simple boat ride into the sunset? How obvious does subtext need to be for this dude? Didn’t the Shire burn not-so-metaphorically in the last book? Yes. The Lord of the Rings. Puppies and Rainbow’s folks! Kittens and Sunshine!
What a dork.
That literary agent, like many who represented science fiction and fantasy, crashed and burned. On one hand, she had a fine appreciation for storytelling which I shared. On the other, her quest for pretentious message fiction, in the end, bit her on the ass. It was like watching a train wreck.
Back to The Lord of the Rings and poor Frodo. I always had a soft spot for his plight and I loved Tolkien’s message where even the smallest of us can persevere against evil and strife, even when the cost of such goes beyond one’s life. Frodo’s quest chewed him up and spit him out. What was left was a certain apathy, a certain grey, he could no longer cope with, hence the so-very-not happy ending to his story.
Frodo was a hero and an amazing character in a trilogy filled with amazing characters.
Let’s take the delicious anti-hero Dexter Morgan from the Showtime series and the wonderful books by Jeff Lindsay. Dexter is a bad man, but we wind up rooting for him anyway. He is, almost beyond reason, a sympathetic character.
Dexter is an amazing character and practically defines antihero.
If we step away from the grim and morbid, another favorite antihero is Han Solo from the first three Star Wars movies. Shooting Greedo first, his freelancer attitude, his disdain for authority figures, trying to plug Darth Vader during dinner–all of those actions were endearing. Han was a scoundrel, but the movie made it clear he was our scoundrel. Quite the antihero indeed.
The false literary promise of grey is an author’s attempt to show us a negative slice of the human condition. Only, this provocation derives from the (thoroughly) elitist and false assumption readers need to be taught “grey.” In order to show the world is (gasp!) complex and (gasp!) interconnected, a sympathetic antihero is born. The author weaves in a pessimistic theme. Heroic and righteous behavior results in a futile death, or worse. Blend your viewpoint, dear reader because the real world is grey, don’t ya know.
Only, those authors’ worlds are not grey at all because the author fails to understand the ambiguous nature of morality. Those characters are not grey. Most of them are simply douche-bags of the highest order. And readers already understand this world. This is the world we live in. The world is filled with kind people, but a reader also encounters douche-baggery from an early age. Grey is everywhere. We get it.
Mandy Pietruszewski in her outstanding article “Moral Ambiguity in Percy Jackson and the Olympians” highlights complex characterization. Luke from the wonderful Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan, is a true grey character. His motivations are not that he’s a d-bag. He is a tragic character with a heightened sense of right and wrong and he is less of a villain and more of an antagonist. Indeed, the only thing making Luke a bad guy is his behavior. He does some bad things to people who did not deserve it, and thus in his quest for justice and acceptance he becomes a tragic figure because in his campaign for choice, he removes the very thing he holds dear from people who deserved better from him.
That is a worthy “grey” character! He is both the hero and the antihero. The takeaway from Luke is legion and truly is a study in the human condition rather tan a descent in asshole or bitch.
Time and culture will not be kind to the false literary promise of grey. Some of these works are wildly popular, but I believe their popularity will fade. A reader wants the true hero and the antihero, not because he or she has a simplistic outlook in life and doesn’t understand moral ambiguity, but because the world we live in as readers is grey, and the escape and identification with the hero or antihero can be more real than the grey clouds spitting rain.
There is no cure for the human condition. But the human condition can be a wonderful thing, warts and all.
The false literary promise of grey is elitist self-justification.
For the terminally curious, here is what’s left on The Wælcyrie Murders.
- Line edits (editor)
- Line edit revision (me)
- Final beta reader (beta reader who kindly does copy edits)
- Copy edit (copy editor)
- Print book production (layout designer and cover designer)
- Proofreading (proofreader)
- Print book upload to distributor
- eBook production (layout designer, cover already finished)
- eBook upload
- Marketing (ongoing)
Seems like a lot, but only one time consuming part remains, which is the final editing pass. The cover was done earlier.
I am constantly amazed at all the work that goes into publishing my novels and I appreciate everyone involved in the process. I call them Team Anthony and my books would go nowhere without their efforts and support.
In other news, the audiobook for Armageddon’s Princess was pushed back to the fall, due to crazy schedules. We’re shooting for quality here.
Write books. Make them awesome. Publish.
Things are a bit wild here at Chez Pacheco. End of contract madness (followed by new contract madness), lovely summer weather and (doot doot deet deeeeeeeee) editing.
Yes, I’m still editing the The Wælcyrie Murders, that post-apocalyptic red pill infused libertarian science fiction murder mystery.
The Wælcyrie Murders is the first novel where my lovely and ultra-smart editor has had her dainty and greedy little hands on it from the first revision. The prior novel, I fired the editor for non-performance halfway through the process and found Sofia, and what a find she was. Both of us are a bit of OCD when it comes to science fiction. She has exacting standards and I’ve bumped it up a notch.
That in unto itself does not explain the length of time I’m spending on revisions.
The big time suck is prose improvement, a time consuming process for an existing novel. Subsequent novels won’t have this time lag as I’m learning as I’m going.
The goal is to have The Wælcyrie Murders in everyone’s greedy hands in September-October. Right now, this is my all-consuming focus. Meanwhile, I AM SO IN LOVE WITH THE COVER GUYS THIS COVER IS AWESOME! WOOOOOOO!
We know authors portray libertarian societies as monogamous with a side of polygamy and polyamory, but there are other types of long-term relationships. For example the m+n/f LTR, where one woman has multiple husbands (defined as polyandry). How does this all work in a free society? Was Heinlein ahead of his time or a dirty old man?
A libertarian society would see these types of LTRs, which do occur throughout human history and also in the animal kingdom. Let’s talk about a hypothetical future with an emphasis on polyandry, as the main character in Armageddon’s Princess, Lexus, starts out with four husbands while she is the only wife. My world-building research, not simply amusement, contributed to the speculative validity of her (libertarian) marriage.
This is a three-part series:
- Human Sexual Behavior 101
- The Present: Doom, Doom, & More Doom
- A Libertarian Future: Monogamy, Polyamory, Polyandry & Polygamy
To understand how polyandry and other relationships that end in “y” work in humans, let’s define human behaviors outside of gender-relational wishful thinking. In other words, jettison current Western Feminism Dogma for the false-dichotomy it is and deal with facts.
Yeah, I went there.
The Basics of Human Sexuality Without Dogmatic Politically Correct BS
We can divide this discussion right along the sexes: the male imperative and the female imperative.
The Male Imperative
The male imperative is blazingly obvious but modern men and women both attempt to ignore or marginalize it. Sperm is not just cheap, biologically speaking, its way cheap. Sperm is so plentiful a human male will jettison the excess through masturbation.
A human male is good to go when he can find a female willing to engage in intercourse. The more attractive the male is, the more females he can engage to deposit his genetic material into. All men a woman finds attractive can, through the pair-bounding process, create a monogamous relationship where the female is only interested in engaging sex with him despite her feminine imperative.
They call it making love for a reason. A woman attracted to a man gets “high” off a dopamine response. During intercourse, if the man brings the woman to climax, not only will she receive genetic material, she receives an oxytocin punch to her neural response system.
Literally, the male is drugging his mate with love, a one-two punch and the foundation of the pair-bounding process. If backed by cultural reinforcement, the pair-bonding process also creates monogamy and life-time mating.
Why discuss the mechanics of sex specifically impacting women? In the men’s section?
That’s the male imperative. To have sex. We’ll come back to this later.
The Female Imperative
The female imperative is hypergamy.
Hypergamy is the biological feminine drive to mate and secure commitment from a man whose relative attractiveness to her is higher than her own attractiveness. In different words, mate selection is the genetic drive to produce the best offspring she can.
Not only is this feminine imperative, but a duality inherent in all women. They seek sex and commitment. A man can impregnate a woman with little biological commitment. A woman, however, once impregnated, not only consumes more resources than when not, but she is also “spending” her body in a nine month pregnancy followed by, by modern standards, eighteen years of child-raising commitment.
A woman lies on her back, spreads her legs and offers a man her sex: this is a biological offer for a man to ride in the ultimate luxury car. It could be a short ride or the ride of his life, but for a woman sex is an impending biological sacrifice on an epic scale.
This sacrifice is so foundational to a woman’s make up hypergamy is akin to a woman breathing and an undeniable sexual drive rooted in life and death. Without hypergamy a woman could invest her entire life and offspring to a sub-standard male of lower genetic status. Not too long ago, mating with the wrong man meant death.
Many say bad things about hypergamy, but biology doesn’t care. Many also define hypergamy as “marrying up.” That is a simplistic definition of the female imperative.
Hypergamy is the biological force in a woman which dramatically reduces her chance of getting knocked up by a douche-bag who cannot provide for her and her offspring nor keep them safe. She snaps her legs closed. She does not offer the man a ride in her Lexus. She tells him to go pork a Pinto.
Strong as the female imperative is, it is not wishful thinking to recognize the pair-bonding process will dampen a woman’s drive to replace one man with a better one, as long as her current mate remains attractive to her. Making love is a giant, orgasmic sex drug for a woman (and men, but that’s a different story) and can turn her into a slut. She is a monogamous slut only for her man because of her biological drive, as long as she perceives qualities in him which are better than her own. Hypergamy, pervasive that she is, actually sets the conditions for pair-bonding and long-term relationships.
But what hypergamy giveth, hypergamny taketh away. As soon as her mate ceases to be attractive to her, all bets are off. Hypergamy kicks in, and with a vengeance. Remember, the woman is deciding to make a life-altering biological change. Why would she make babies with someone she isn’t attracted to and repulsed by? This directly translates to DON’T HAVE SEX. This DON’T HAVE SEX bit has many names. The Friend Zone. Divorce. Serial Monogamy. I Love You But I Am Not In Love With You™. Whatever you call it, thy name is legion:
Hypergamy. The feminine imperative.
Biology Doesn’t Care
We’ve talked about love but only from a biological standpoint in the pair-bounding process. I didn’t talk about romantic love because biology doesn’t care. Biology doesn’t care about a lot of things and coupled with that factoid this post serves as the foundation for understanding human sexuality. This seems simple and is simple. Humans are highly adaptive. Genetics root this species specific trait in cold-hard reality.
Let’s go over some examples. One classic misunderstood example is birth control.
Mr. and Mrs. Biology Scoff at Your Scientific Advancements
A woman can choose when to get pregnant. This ushered in a sexual revolution, right?
Wrong. Evolutionary biology doesn’t care about birth control, at least not yet. All sex, for a woman’s brain, is make-a-baby-sex. All. If she has sex while ovulating the female brain goes “We’re making a baby! Yeah!” Before ovulation, her brain goes “Wooooo! Give me some of this white stuff because it sticks around for five days!” So-on-and-so-forth.
The emotional response to sex is not the body saying, “Well, this is sex and I’m ovulating, but because I have a diaphragm in, I won’t get pregnant. Let’s not pair-bound, Ms. Body, either, despite the fact I’ve had three orgasms and this guy is hot, because I’m still working on my B.A.”
A woman’s hormonal system will care she is on the pill. Behavior traits based on millions of years of sexuality don’t.
Let’s talk about the other side of the coin, men.
Mr. and Mrs. Biology Don’t Give Rip if You Think Objectification is Bad
Today, many tell men to not objectify women because that’s sexist and ultimately misogynistic. Objectification, they say, is the moral basis for patriarchal systems and everything bad in men.
Despite evidence of evolutionary traits men find attractive, somehow a man must ignore the massive amounts of testosterone in his body (as compared to a woman) and the theory of evolution and not objectify a woman he just met?
Ignoring women also initially objectify men they desire, for men, the pair-bounding process replaces objectivity with idealistic notions of romance and love (much more so for men than women!). Yet somehow initial attraction, wanting (not necessarily doing but simply wanting) sex with nubile Katie without getting to know her is bad.
Biology doesn’t care. Biology doesn’t care about the “unfairness” of Katie’s long legs and big boobs while Sally is an A cup and therefore men should appreciate Sally just as much as Katie. It’s not supposed to be fair. It’s the male imperative. If a woman thinks this is bad, that’s her problem. Not his.
I end this post with a rational examination of sex-attributed behaviors and not a moralistic approach because in the next, we’ll expose all the dirty laundry. My mantra as we look at the current state before moving to a future state of monogamy, polyandry and polygamy roots itself in this notion:
The human brain is a meat computer. Emotions and feelings are tangible things running around a brain like software. Evolutionary biology is the runtime basis defining how the brain runs these programs.
No sacred cow will be safe in the next post of this series. Hold on to yer butts. Despite the looming negativity, keep in mind libertarianism is a positive endeavor in almost all things.
Libertarian Sexuality, Part 1: Human Sexual Behavior 101, first appeared in Who Said Pixies Are Rational Creatures? in April 2013. For more information on Anthony Pacheco and his books, please visit his website.
Well, book two of my Lexus Toulouse science fiction murder mysteries, The Wælcyrie Murders, is now in the hands of my fiendishly competent editor. The next steps are for her to send me a critical analysis of the manuscript via an editorial letter.
If you’ve never gotten a editorial letter… let’s just say it’s not pretty. It’s 4 to 8 pages, or more, of your failings as a writer. It’s like a rite of passage. Sometimes there is blood.
After I am done sobbing in the closet with a blanket over my head, I’ll revise the manuscript and send it off for a line edit.
After that, I produce the final version based on the line editing and the book goes into final production: proofreading, layout and final proof check.
This book, by the way, is hardcore old school libertarian. Libertarian sci-fi murder mystery.
BOOM HEADSHOT BABY!
Because Deep Mountain Studios is as crazy as I am (snicker), my mostly finished novella The Woman will become really super-duper finished and released this spring (ish).
The Woman is a military science fiction novella featuring Arune, a sentient warship, and one Lt. Lexus, an infamous soldier in a war that seemingly will not end. Arune and Lexus are, of course, in Armageddon’s Princess, book one of, my Lexus Toulouse mysteries, but The Woman is told from Arune’s point of view.
The Woman will be a Kindle-only release, and even though it will go through a professional editing cycle and a fancy cover, those crazy dudes at Deep Mountain studios tell me it will be free.
Speaking of the fancy cover, here’s the cover all finished and waiting for the final text interior. It’s by Duncan Long.
Isn’t this cover awesome? As sci-fi covers go, it’s enticing and artistic. Not only that, that’s exactly how I pictured soldier Lexus. What’s been on the book covers thus far is Lexus in her Princess body.
If you’re a fan of high tech military sci-fi, The Woman is for you. I had many requests for this story, so, my fans, here you go.