Heads-up: Change in Ebook Availability

Just wanted to let everyone know that I’m returning to Kindle Select, so in the next few days, both Biotech Legacy books will only be available through Amazon. I really dislike exclusivity, but my royalties are currently hovering around $3 for the month and something has to change. The upside is that I’ll be able to run free promotions through Amazon again, starting with a 2-day sale this Thursday and Friday! If you can help me boost at all, I’d appreciate it mucho!

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Filed under Long Fall, Self-Publishing, Stars Rain Down

Biotech Legacy Hypothetical Cast List

Chromatic3_20141218_Header

A few years back, I went over who I’d cast if Stars Rain Down were (by some stroke of amazing luck) turned into a major motion picture. Although there’s still no movie deal (and I’d prefer a fully CG 6-hour cable miniseries, anyway), I thought I’d revisit the idea for a fun Sunday project, updating my old choices and introducing some of the important characters from Long Fall along the way.

Now with pictures!

 

IdrisElba

Idris Elba as Dr. Marcus Donovan

Marcus Donovan
Old Pick: Joe Morton
My dream pick for the maverick astronomer is still The Brother from Another Planet. I’ve just always been a fan, and Joe is literally the man I had in mind while writing about Marcus. However, (playing through the fantasy here) a studio would likely want someone with a little more heat, so…
New Pick: Idris Elba
He’s just awesome, isn’t he? I’d worry that he might be a bit too manly for Donovan, but I think he can play it down if need be. He’s certainly a talented enough actor.

 

 

 

MannyMontana

Manny Montana as Corpsman Jack Hernandez

Jack Hernandez
Old Pick: Major League pitcher Jonathan Sanchez
I couldn’t think of a single suitable latino actor, so I picked a baseball player to pose as a stand-in. That seems pretty danged sad in retrospect.
New Pick: Manny Montana
Currently in USA’s Graceland. He has a good physical look for the part, and from his work on Graceland, I know he can play honest, brave, and heroic. Just imagine him in an orange jumpsuit and I think we’ve got a winner.

 

 

 

 

MiguelGómez

Miguel Gómez as Sgt. Charlie Hernandez

Charlie Hernandez
Old Pick: Didn’t have one.
Charlie just wasn’t a particularly important character in the first book, so I generally imagined him as Jack but a little younger. With his increased role in Long Fall, that had to change.
New Pick: Miguel Gómez
You probably recognize Miguel if you watched Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain on TNT this past season. He’s got a very similar look to Manny Montana, but tougher and harder edged, making him an ideal choice for the younger Hernandez brother.

 

 

 

 

AzitaGhanizada

Azita Ghanizada as Amira Saladin

Amira Saladin
Old Pick: Sarah Shahi
She’s a good performer and the camera loves her… but in retrospect, she doesn’t really seem like the right fit for Amira. Too sexy and tough.
New Pick: Azita Ghanizada
She played Rachel Pirzad on Syfy’s (sadly) short-lived series Alphas, where we’ve seen her play hyper-competent but not particularly confident or socially gifted. Feels like a good match.

 

 

 

 

KristenBell

Kristen Bell as Dr. Lisa Albright

Lisa Albright
Old Pick: None
In my old list, Lisa was one of those characters who simply fell through the cracks despite her importance to the narrative.
New Pick: Kristen Bell
Small, plucky, warm-hearted and athletic. I think Kristen could do an amazing job with the role. An easy pick.

 

 

 

 

 

BenedictCumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sinit Kai

Kai
Old Pick: Guy Pearce
I’ve been a fan of his ever since Ravenous, and I enjoyed his recent work in both Prometheus and Iron Man 3, but I don’t think he’s quite what I’m looking for in a genetically engineered alien super-soldier anymore.
New Pick: Benedict Cumberbatch
He was the only part of Star Trek Into Darkness that I actually liked, and we’ve seen him playing a different sort of sociopath in Sherlock. There was something especially interesting about his performance as Khan (calculating, serpentine… a genetically engineered super-soldier), and I can hardly imagine anyone else in the role, now.

 

 

 

MelanieLaurent

Mélanie Laurent as Dr. Juliette St. Martin

Juliette St. Martin
Old Pick: Lena Olin or Juliette Binoche
Both fine actresses, but also a bit older than I’m currently thinking. Also, neither has much currency in Hollywood.
New Pick: Mélanie Laurent
The star of Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, Mélanie is an excellent actress and a better fit as a contemporary of Idris Elba (though perhaps just a smidge young).

 

 

 

 

KevinDurand

Kevin Durand as Corpsman Leonid Nikitin

Leonid Nikitin
Old Pick: Ray Stevenson
Not a bad pick, but a bit old and doesn’t really have the spirit I’m looking for.
New Pick: Kevin Durand
Another cast member of The Strain, Kevin Durand is a towering human specimen with a very goofy air about him that fits the human lighthouse, Leonid Nikitin, very well.

 

 

 

 

PatrickWilson

Patrick Wilson as Lt. Daniel Grey

Daniel Grey
Old Pick: None
Daniel Grey’s part in Stars Rain Down was sooooo small that there really wasn’t any point casting him (did you even notice him in that book?). With his massively increased role in Long Fall, it’s clearly time to pick an actor.
New Pick: Patrick Wilson
I wanted someone with a good dose of charm, but with a certain creepy edge to it. I considered Josh Lucas, but Patrick Wilson (who you may know from The Watchmen and dozens of other things) seems the best all-around choice.

 

 

 

 

AlexanderSiddig

Alexander Siddig as Colonel Galili

Colonel Galili
Old Pick: Oded Fehr
Oded Fehr is a very entertaining performer, but not particularly known for his dramatic chops. In recasting the role, I had a slight change of heart.
New Pick: Alexander Siddig
This is one of the few times where I’ve switched to an older actor. I’ve been a big fan of Siddig’s ever since Deep Space Nine (back when he was known as Siddig El Fadil), and I’d really enjoy seeing him play the leader of the human resistance.

 

 

 

 

JonathonRhysMeyers

Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the Nefrem Prince

The Nefrem Prince
Old Pick: None (role didn’t exist)
New Pick: Jonathan Rhys Meyers
This role calls for someone really special. The character is androgynous, stately, imperious, and commanding. Jonathan Rhys Meyers offers just the right mix of character traits, and his work in Velvet Goldmine seems especially relevant. As an alternate, I wouldn’t mind seeing Matthew Goode in the role.

 

 

 

 

 

And that should cover the key parts. For most of the roles I didn’t mention, they’ve either remained the same from the previous version or didn’t warrant casting at this time… except for the few dreadfully important characters I’ve certainly forgotten, and will commence slapping myself for later.

Do these match what you imagined? If not, who would you like to see playing these characters on the big screen? Let me know in the comments below!

Alternately, if you have no clue who any of these characters are, you should immediately buy Stars Rain Down and Long Fall, read them, and then leave some comments.

~Chris

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Arcana Universalis — What is It?

The cover of Arcana Universalis: Terminus, the first section of a sci-fantasy novel.

The cover of Arcana Universalis: Terminus, the first part of an ambitious sci-fantasy novel.

On Monday, I mentioned that my current goal is to finish Arcana Universalis: The Hanged Man’s Revelation, and for many of you, the immediate response was doubtlessly, “What the heck is that?” I can hardly blame you; I published the last part nearly two years ago, and have spoken nary a word about it since. Well, consider this your refresher.

The very short answer is that Arcana Universalis is a story about wizards in space. Simple enough, right?

I had been watching Dragonslayer, a fairly wonderful movie about a young magician in training, and it got me thinking about the entire fantasy genre. These stories are infested with nigh-omnipotent practitioners of arcane arts, but where’s their ambition? Why are they content to sit around in drafty towers while the simple folk below farm the land? Despite all their power and ingenuity, these wizards are trapped in a pseudo-Medieval pastiche, when they could just as soon ascend to the stars.

So, I set out to tell a story about just that. I dreamed up a world where starships powered by ancient artifacts blast through the cosmos in search of star-born dragons; where spells operate with the depth and complexity of computer programs, manipulating energies invisible to the naked eye; where nothing is at it seems, and even death may not be the end of a contract.

There’s more to it, of course. The story that takes place in that setting deals in big themes like gender & class inequality, and the twisted ways that our traumas sometimes heal. It’s actually a very morose tale that only grows more so as it spins on.

It’s also the most ambitiously overwritten thing I’ve ever worked on. I make no bones about the fact that I really like to hammer at my prose, and this is the story where I decided to let the hammer fly. Take for example the opening paragraphs:

The universe is vast. It’s so vast that the very concept of it—the sheer beastly immensity of it—thrashes at the fabric of reason itself, and to our mortal minds, it appears chaotic. Stars flare into existence while others perish, great stones hurtle through the empty dark only to crash into one another and be obliterated, and life pervades everywhere.

All of this activity carries on seemingly without direction or purpose, but such appearances belie a strange truth: the veil of chaos conceals a subtle order which governs all things, a queer music that suffuses and binds, pulsing through the glittering stars and clouds of burning gas, over crystalline shores and fields of shifting sands, weaving all of creation into a single unbroken whole.

There is harmony, though we lack ears to hear it. There is order, and in its intricate majesty, that order is divine. There is music among the spheres, and all the petty toils of men are but the transitory notes and cadence of its forever wandering melody.

And that, more or less, is Arcana Universalis: a strange premise saddled with heavy ideas, written with all pretentiousness turned up to 11. I rather love it, and I hope you will as well.

You can find the first two parts of Arcana Universalis: The Hanged Man’s Revelation at Amazon, each for the bargain price of $0.99.

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Oktopod on Google+

As mentioned in the previous world-domination post, I’m starting to share my plans for a new self-publishing platform, and I want you to join in the discussion! I’ve set up a community on Google+ expressly for the purpose, so you should come on down, scope out my mad schemes, and let me know what you think.

Click here in case you missed the link in the preceding paragraph.

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How I’m Going to Conquer the World in 2015

Happy Monday, everyone! I had a smashing weekend, and I hope you did, too.

You might have noticed that I’ve been awfully quiet recently… or perhaps you didn’t notice. Either way, I wanted to officially welcome you to the new year, chat a little bit about where I’ve been, and tell you about some of my plans. This is exciting stuff and I’m jazzed as hell to have you along.

The short version is that I’ve had a hard year and have been depressed, making writing pretty painful. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like absolutely everything you say is wrong, but it sucks. For a writer, it’s death.

What are we if not our words, right?

But even at the bottom of this, I had some successes this past year. My article on the passive voice reached nearly 3,000 readers, and none other than Hugh Howey called it “brilliant.” My short story, The Witching Light, was one of the winners in Booktrack’s 2014 Halloween Contest. I also posted a few other pieces on their site, namely the first chapter of Stars Rain Down and a fantasy short titled An Encounter With Burgroth, both with integrated soundtracks, and both maintaining 4+ star ratings.

Booktrack, by the way, is an incredibly fun, cool, and easy to use platform that allows you to add soundtracks to text. The process is addictive, and you should hop over and check it out pronto! You can check out my profile while you’re at it, too.

So, in short, I’m starting to get the impression I’m pretty good at this stuff. That’s a welcome change from feeling like I’m a giant ball of suck covered in extra-strength suckers.

That was all months ago, though. How about right now? Well, the first order of business is that my sales are terrible… I’m currently selling less than 10 books in a given month. That’s to be expected, of course; I’ve done nothing to promote my work (thanks to abject terror), and sales have vanished down the drain. Scientists would classify my behavior as stupid, and my answer is to A) violently yank my head out of my ass (yowch!), B) start doing the hard work of telling people about my work, and C) sell these pieces on their merits.

I write exciting, interesting, and wonderfully unique stories. I want to share them with you.

Alright, let’s get to the world conquering stuff. Here are my plans for the coming year.

Arcana Universalis: The Hanged Man’s Revelation — My plucky story about the strange adventures of wizards in space has been lying around collecting dust for more than two years now, and I love it too much to leave it alone. My first order of business is to complete the novel and give you all something new and wonderful to chew on. If you haven’t read the first two parts, now’s a great time!

Biotech Legacy — I’m currently plotting out the next book in the series, tentatively called Biotech Legacy: Dawn Frontier. What I have so far is very rough, but I know the general trajectory, and it’s just about filling in the details. That’s likely going to be my next project once Arcana Universalis is out the door.

Earthian — Earthian is on hold. I wrote myself into a corner and my inability to fix it hurt a lot. My sincerest apologies if you’ve been following along, but I need to let it rest before I can repair it properly.

Writing on Writing — I’m going to be writing an awful lot more about writing & language. I happen to think there’s a deep sickness in the way English is taught, and I intend to start correcting that one blog-post at a time, with the ultimate goals of making you knowledgeable, confident, and more able to find your own answers to problems. Expect big things here.

Reviews — You read that right! I’m going to start doing book reviews here. My focus will be on other self-published work (mostly sci-fi and fantasy), but there will also be some mainstream releases. If you’re a self-published writer interested in having your work reviewed, leave a comment telling me about your book and I’ll take a look.

Oktopod — This one is the biggy. I don’t know about you, but I’m still dissatisfied with our self-publishing options. Amazon provides a good platform with a large install base, but it’s not our business. It doesn’t belong to writers, and because of that, we’re subject to their whims. Smashwords is working hard to help us get onto tons of platforms, but their tools leave me wanting and they’re basically just another middle-man. I want us to own our business in a way that’s sustainable, equitable, and focused on connecting writers directly with our readers. And more than anything, I want you to be involved. Come join our Google+ community!

Connecting with you — The thread that’s holding all of these together… I want to hear from you. Who are you? What brought you here? What have you read lately? What’s bothering you about self-publishing? Click the little comment button, and let me know! Hop on over and connect with me on Twitter while you’re at it. I’m super-active there, and I promise to entertain. 😉

All in all, it feels like I’m starting over. This is a reboot. I’m at the start of a very exciting journey that begins in the bog of infinite sadness, and ends with total world domination. I’d like to go there with you.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re hatching your own plots to make 2015 amazing.

~Chris

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Filed under Arcana Universalis, Booktrack, ebooks, Oktopod Operations, Propaganda, Self-Publishing, Writing

Stars Rain Down, Now With Sound!

In my continuing adventures with Booktrack, I’ve now also created a soundtrack for the first chapter of Stars Rain Down, which you can check out by following this link!

SRDCover_20131202_02

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Filed under Booktrack, Stars Rain Down

New Scary Story — The Witching Light

Halloween is the best holiday, isn’t it? Costumes, candy, hiding dead bodies in stranger’s houses… wait… please disregard that last part.

Anyway, I wrote (and soundtracked) a piece for Booktrack’s Spooky Flash Fiction contest, and wanted to share it with you fine folks.  It’s called The Witching Light, and you can find it by clicking on the spoooOOOoooky cover below!

WitchingLightCover_20141028

Happy Halloween, everyone!

 

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