Friday, December 21, 2012

Good news and bad news

I am going to start blogging more regularly in the near future. Unfortunate, it is not going to be here. Starting on the first of January, my former superhero group blog site becomes my personal site for here until eternity (or at least the next few years.) It will be the home on updates on my projects, discussions on general topics of today and yesterday, commentary on things I enjoy (or sometimes hate) and the like. Long time SPF readers will also see some of their favorite posts remain with my continued focus on Kickstart the Week, SuperPowerCast (which should start a biweekly schedule in January), Great Art, Wrestling Wednesday and an expanded Cosplay Friday. I hope to see everyone there. Thanks again and see you in 2013, folks!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Music to write by: Bucky Covington & Shooter Jennings

Currently making its way through the queue of country that really doesn't fit what I am writing at all:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Nanowrimo is on!

It's November again and if you are like me that only means one thing: Nanowrimo! (Okay, it also means Thanksgiving and shopping and such, but you know what I mean, right?)

This year I am battling just about everything to get my new Nano-project off the ground. The story I develop will play a major role in the next year of Metahuman Press publications, but right now my Nano-writing has been slow going. With a new more intensive day job, more responsibilities as an editor of a full line of  books and a nasty bout of bronchitis, week one of Nano has not been pretty.

As I type this, it is Day 8 and I am only 3,766 words into my story. That puts me about 10,000 words behind the eight ball.

However, I have gained a renewed speed when I do get the time to lay word to page, so hopefully that will translate into a very fruitful weekend of writing for me.

Wish me luck and let me know what you are Nano-writing!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Time and the frustrations of the writer's life

At times, the creative energy needed for writing can feel like more of a drain than anything else, especially when the time to actually sit down and put your ideas to paper gets eaten up by things like jobs, family and whatnot.

These problems only multiply against a deadline. One of the hardest thing for any creative writer to do is not only find the time to put pen to paper, but also to make sure they complete something of quality within the time frame needed.

I find myself fighting deadlines more now than I ever have in my life and strangely most of them are for projects I am writing for my own Metahuman Press. I have three stories that must be completed before the end of October and almost no time to do so past a 40 hour a week job, hours spent at home with my three year old, the need to edit four other titles all sitting in the MHP pipeline and the occasional need to get some sleep.

I don’t really have any good solutions for the problems of time management other than find the time where you can find it.

At times, it seems easier just to say “STOP” and just do something else. But anyone with the itch to create knows that path only leads to more frustration.

So how do you make time to write and create? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Freelance Editing

Anyone interested, I am willing to edit and proofread any fiction manuscripts for a low price in preparation for publication. For a fee, I will proofread and prepare any size script for publication in print and ebook formats. For an additional fee (contact for rates), I can also assist in book formatting and set up for ebook and print self-publishing.

I have several years experience working in small press publishing through my own Metahuman Press (and its imprint Pulp Empire) with over a dozen books published and over a dozen more in the pipeline for late 2012 and early 2013.

For nonfiction material, please contact me about rates and availability. 

Anyone interested should contact me at webmaster {at} metahumanpress {dot} com.  

Rates for proofs and edits are listed below: 
  • For any short stories (7500 words or less), I will edit and proofread for only $10.
  • Novellette (7501-17,500 words): $25.
  • Novella (17,501-40000 words): $50. 
  • Short to midrange novels (40,001-100,000 words): $100
  • Longer novels (100,000 words or more): $100 + $20 for every 25,000 words over 100k.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

One down, many more to go

I finished one story today, but of course have about five more to write before I am actually caught up on all my projects. Still it felt good to finish those final 2500 words or so, to let those words flow out across the page.

One more review to write tonight and after that I move on to some editing and a special secret project tomorrow.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Of gods and men

Modern Gods
 looks to be shaping into another very solid Pulp Empire anthology. My own story has came together nicely and will serve as the first part of a serial that runs through the continued volumes of the book. I plan for the series to stretch four books (sales warranting) and I hope to form a strong new character over the course of those books. 

I've always had a fondness for mythology, whether it be Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse or Celtic. The stories of adventure and sex and violence still often inspire that childhood sense of adventure I had when I first learned of these ancient things that people worshiped hundreds or thousands of years ago. It is so easy to forget that these were once seen as deities, especially when you come across some of the stranger sorts. 

I chose a Greek goddess for my contribution, but her tale will almost certainly reach across the pantheons as the books continue. Her story forms a bit of an epic quest, which can serve as a bit of a challenge when placed in the modern world. It is all too easy to fall too close to Rick Riordan's stupendous work on Percy Jackson & the Olympians. Hopefully, my older and bit edgier take can keep it from being too close to that seminal piece of middle grade fiction. 

The real question right now is whether or not pulp fans will accept new tales of the ancient gods as true New Pulp. That will only come in September when this book sees print.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A little bit of peace and quiet

Kids are away to Grandma's house for a few days, so for the first time in a bit I have some quiet time of my own in the house. Hopefully mixed with some Claritin will keep me headache free for a few days. I have a bit of writing to get done this morning, some reviews to post for Super Powered Fiction and then more editing to do, so it isn't like I don't have anything to keep me busy.

Saw Amazing Spider-Man with the oldest daughter last week. I quite enjoyed the film and will probably have a review up sometime later this week at SPF. Garfield makes a solid Spider-Man and a much better Peter than Maguire ever did.

Anyway, off for a bit of food and some work time.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


I'm currently taking an extended vacation from Super Powered Fiction for the Fourth of July holiday, but I am hard at work on writing. I have a story due in just a few days for my own Modern Gods project, a book that should see publication sometime in September. I am quite excited by the new series, and I hope it turns out every bit as good as I think it will.

I also have a couple stories for Airship 27 in the works. The first is about a sixth of the way complete as I write this. It is coming together well and once done and sent in, I will go to work on the next project of theirs, which features a very good classic pulp favorite of mine.

Later this month, I should have two more Metahuman Press/Pulp Empire releases for everyone. More information on Aliens Among Us and The Changents should be coming your way soon.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

In the groove...

Writing is always a strange experience. Sometimes it is an incredibly hard experience, but then there is what I call ‘the groove’.

The groove is a strange spot that I—and I’m sure a lot of other writers—have where the words just start to flow. A slow steady novel suddenly becomes something you can barely type fast enough to get out. It’s an amazing experience and a wondrous thing, at least if the words that flow out of the groove are good.

I experienced a bit of that groove today and it was the first time in a good while. I haven’t been as prolific as I would like to be as of late, but I think I might finally be turning the corner and getting some words out. And the more time I can spend in the groove, the more likely that is to happen. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Manuscript Rant

I knew when I started Take the Helm back up it would only be a matter of time before I wrote this column. This is my “please don’t do this on manuscripts” column, the one that you will probably see from every editor in the business today.
  • Don’t send me a story in supposed ‘manuscript’ format. People haven’t used typewriters in two decades, please start using Times New Roman instead of Courier and for goodness sake, if you want text to be italicized please do it yourself.
  • Learn how to insert tabs. While I prefer inline page indents, I know not every writer has enough computer savvy to insert them. But I do expect everyone to know how to use a freaking TAB button. It’s been around since the 1920s, folks. At this point, the next manuscript I receive with a bunch of spaces to start each paragraph may get sent back unread.
  • If your sentence has more than one action, thought or idea in it, consider revising it in to two sentences. If it has more than three, it’s unreadable and it needs to be revised. You would be surprised how many stories that I end up chopping apart paragraph-long sentences during editing time.
  • The enter button is your friend. Go pick up five books from five of your favorite modern authors. Flip through them now and look at the lengths of the paragraphs. Notice how most of the authors keep them short? That’s because shorter paragraphs are easier to consume for modern audiences. If your paragraphs are some sort of three page diatribe out of Dostoyevsky, you’re doing it wrong.
  • If you use verbs ending in “-ing” more than once a page, you probably need to revise some of your verbs. This is probably the biggest enemy of New Pulp authors, as a lot of traditional pulp writers loved these kinds of phrases. But modern readers are more sophisticated and you have time to proofread, so please leave them out. 

I’m sure I could go on, but that’s probably enough for now. Part of this is a rant, I’m sure, but these are all points that will make writers write better. Obviously none of them (other than the tabs one) are always 100% true, but fort the most part they will make whatever you write read better. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Extreme close-ups

So my three year old wanted her picture online so I decided to oblige:

This is by no means the only extremely close shot we have of her either. She loves to mug for the camera, but doesn’t quite know how to stand to get her picture taken yet.

The Memorial Day sale on my book Living Legends has been extended through Thursday, May 30 at noon CST, so get your copy while you still have a few hours to do so. As the year continues, expect several more promotions like this to crop up on Metahuman Press books.

Aliens Among Us authors: I should have e-mail out to everyone by this time next week as well with either a yea or nay on the anthology.

Has everyone seen the Modern Pulp Heroes cover now? If not, we will end today’s blog with this thing of beauty by John Davies:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

This is your life, Nicholas Ahlhelm

So of course I start my own personal blog here… and my internet dies. Story of my life, folks. I’m posting this from the local library right now, where most of these posts will probably come from for most of the next week.

On the writing and editing front, I’ve been doing some final proof corrections on Modern Pulp Heroes, reading through the pile of stories for Aliens Among Us and working on my next (and final) Pulp Obscura tale for Pro Se Press. So not doing much at all.

I’ve been watching way too much television through the power of library rented DVDs in my spare time. I’m currently ¾ of the way through Smallville season 6, half way through the Iron Man anime and finishing up the first season of Leverage. I have the second series of Luther waiting in the wings when I finish those.

Related to all that television watching, I’ve also started reading Liz Braswell’s Nine Lives of Chloe King, the inspiration for the rather good ABC Family show of the same name. In a move surprisingly opposite to my usual preferences, I think I like the show better. That being said I still have the second two books to finish, so things could approve.

Any golden age comic fan should immediately go buy a copy of Showcase Presents All-Star Squadron immediately. I’m only four issues in, but it’s already my favorite comic purchase of the year so far.

There’s only so much time in the world and that’s about all I have here. I’ll still try to keep this blog updating every couple days though, so stay tuned for that.

If anyone has any questions they want answered by me, your illustrious author and publisher, please feel free to ask at my Formspring.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

And we're back!

I’ve decided to revive this blog. Back in the day I used it as the preliminary version of Super Powered Fiction. With that site up and running for over a year and a half now, I don’t feel a need to post that kind of thing here.

Instead this page will serve as something of an author blog. I’ll update it when I have projects in the work, when I have to vent about deadlines, or when I have something new and interesting to post about my personal projects or life.

I’m becoming more of a pointless photo-taker as well, so maybe some of those will seep on to the site as well. On the other hand, maybe not. I’m not good at promising things.

People who want to read my reviews should head over to the aforementioned Super Powered Fiction where you can not only find articles, but also links to all the Examiner pages I currently run out of my secret control center here in Eastern Iowa.

And, to quote a great philosopher, that’s all I have to say about that.