About ogresan

Richard Parks' stories have have appeared in Asimov's SF, Realms of Fantasy, Fantasy Magazine, Weird Tales, and numerous anthologies, including several Year's Bests. His first story collection, THE OGRE'S WIFE, was a finalist for the World Fantasy Award. He is the author of the Yamada Monogatari series from Prime Books.

I’m All Right, Jack

I still don’t like being political. Probably all my years of white privilege talking, and no, that’s not sarcasm. It’s simply the truth. I recognize all the things I didn’t have to worry about growing up and living most of my life where and when I did. Like getting lynched for no reason at all, or being murdered in broad daylight for the crime of registering my neighbors to vote. The system as designed protected me and people who looked like me. Everyone else, not so much. When someone says “I don’t care about politics” what they’re really saying is, “I can afford to ignore what’s going on. I’m all right.”

Not that many of us are all right these days. And the ones who think they are? Mostly wrong. Or as the late great George Carlin was known to say, “It’s a club. And you and I are not in the club.”

One reason? Healthcare. This is a big one for me. I was forced to take early retirement, and so my employer subsidized health insurance went away. Not too long after, I had an “incident” which required two surgeries and hospitalizations. White privilege didn’t save me. Know what did? Obamacare, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act. Without it, I’d likely be dead now. So you can imagine that I take it somewhat personally when one political party keeps trying to kill me and a lot of other people by taking away our health insurance.

Yes, I know. No scion of privilege cares until it happens to them. In my own defense, I will say that’s not true in my case. I’ve been caring for a while now. More than I’ve ever seen in my life, we have a congress that puts party over country.

And steals children to punish people for seeking a better life.

And runs up the deficit to reward the rich for being rich.

And enables a corrupt, divisive, and incompetent president.

And openly supports Nazis and white supremacists.

And does all this evil in our names.

This is not a difference of opinion. This is a difference in basic humanity.

I’m voting tomorrow, but unlike some, I’m not encouraging everyone to vote. Just those who understand what’s happening, and don’t like it any more than I do. For the rest of you, who think things are going great? Stay home.

After all, you’re all right.

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The Long Look Redux

The first thing you may or may not notice about the new US paperback edition of The Long Look is that the cover is slightly different from the original hardcover and ebook editions. That’s because the original design was too close to the “bleed” limits of the pod cover specs. The jacket had to be redesigned from scratch, starting with Steve Gilberts’ original artwork. It took four attempts to get it right, and the final cover was just approved yesterday.

Revising the text was a breeze by comparison. And yes, there were changes. Not major, but changes nonetheless. Mostly a few embarrassing usage and context errors. I’ll be updating the ebook edition with the same changes in a few days, or at least I hope I will. It’s shaping up to be a very busy week.

Regardless, the UK edition is available here. If anyone anywhere else is interested, let me know. For now I had to go with limited distribution to keep the price of the book down, but it will be available in a few more countries.

I’ve been reading and loving Jeffrey Ford’s newest, Ahab’s Return. As the title suggests, it’s about what happens after the events of Moby Dick, when Captain Ahab turns up alive. Once I’ve finished I’ll do a review, if I think I have anything worth saying about it. Don’t wait for me, though. The book is already out there.

Flash Cast

Today I wanted to talk about a new project. When I moved to central NY, apparently everyone on the block already knew I was a writer. To this day I have no idea how; I certainly didn’t tell them, nor does anyone seem to recall how they found out. I’m not complaining, but I still think it was a little odd. Regardless, another neighbor told me about a flash fiction group meeting at the library and suggested I join.

I was reluctant. I’ve never been a fan of flash fiction, regarding it, as I know I’ve said before, as a cross between “short attention span theater” and a parlor trick. Yeah, I know, I hear it too: Judgmental much? Still, it’s not the sort of writing I normally did, but I finally gave in and checked it out.

Glad I did. It’s a talented bunch of people and writing flash has its own challenges, so on top of whatever else I have going, I write a complete micro(mini?) flash piece of <= 500 words every week. Then the head of the local theater group found out what we were doing and thought it would be interesting to do as a podcast. So we all read stories for the project, now called FlashCast. I’m including the link for the Spreaker site. In case you’re wondering, my first story up is “The Stowaway,” in episode #2, second story.  Yeah, that’s my own melodic voice. I need to work on my enunciation, but otherwise not horrible. It’s also available on iTunes, though there’s more than one podcast associated with “flashcast,” so look for the logo if you go that route.

I have two more stories recorded, and I’ll note when they’re up.

UK Okay?

I’m about halfway through the reformatting of The Long Look for the paperback edition. Fortunately, it reads a lot faster than it takes to work through it in editor mode. One reason for that is I’m being careful, as I only plan to do this once. My original assessment that there would only be minor changes to the text still holds. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any changes at all. A few spelling corrections, one or two small continuity gaffes to fix. Nothing major, but I plan to update the Kindle edition with the revised text when I’m done, so there will be essentially no difference between the ebook and paperback, other than the media.

As I said last time, I’ve always sucked at promotion. Maybe I had some introvert’s dream of just writing good stories and books and letting the rest take care of itself. Which it doesn’t. So I’m learning. I remain terrible at networking and the convention scene, which leaves learning copywriting and using those methods to write better online book descriptions and ad copy, something I believe I can do and am doing. Which has led to several online revisions over the last week or so revising how the books are presented. I haven’t gotten to them all yet, and some will be revised more than once. It’ll take time.

Odd result so far—now the UK editions of my indie books are outselling the US editions by 2 to 1. Too soon to say if the blip is statistically significant, but it is interesting. It’s a journey. I’ll report on it from time to time here, so fair warning.

Paperwork

Quick update. After finally getting the paper version of Power’s Shadow completed and live, I finally realized that, having done that, the series still wasn’t complete (as in, complete up to the final? physical book, yet to be written).  The Long Look exists only as an ebook, and the only paper copies are a few used and leftover hardcovers from its first incarnation as a Five Star Press edition.

So, to make sure the entire series will be available in paper when I finish the series, I’m putting together a new edition of the book in paperback. It’s tedious and time-consuming, but it needs to be done. I’ve made myself a promise that any future editions of anything approaching novel length will get its paper edition at the same time or darn close. Naturally, that only applies to projects I take on myself. Anything done through a trad publisher will be up to them.

There was a time when it was much easier to put together an ebook than a paper book, but with new tools and a little patience you can basically drive both editions off the same text. There’s really no more excuse for not turning both out at once. The only other exception is for books less than novel length, though I’ll have to consider those case by case.

If only writing was all I had to do, but there’s too much else that goes along with it and you can’t ignore that, either. Lord knows I’ve tried and I’m paying for it now.