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2015 in Ten Awesome Photos

2015 in Ten Awesome Photos

Last year, I published a post summing up my 2014 In Ten Awesome Photos. It was a fun challenge because a lot of stuff happened and it was a good way for me to reflect on the year. Going forward, I want to make this post a regular thing, I like the idea of a yearly recap of the ups and downs of my year condensed into ten pictures.

Going back through these photos has made my 2015 seem so much longer. Since I have made the decision to focus on my writing in my free time, I’ve noticed that time for me has slowed down. It feels like ages since I launched The Stars Were Right, but the reality is that it has only been three years. Losing myself to the creative process has forced me to enjoy the moment so much more, as Ze Frank says in An Invocation for Beginnings, “life isn’t just a sequence of waiting for things to be done.” For me, the journey has become as engaging as the destination.

So let’s take a look at ten stops in my 2015 together…


2015_01Like every year, Kari-Lise, myself, and some friends started the year off with a hike. This photo was taken on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound at a National Historic Reserved named Ebey’s Landing. It’s also a great place to see incredible views of both the Olympic Mountains and Mt. Baker. The first hike of the year has become a right of passage for Kari-Lise and me, and it’s a good way to start the year out right. I wonder where we’ll end up in 2016.

2015_02In February, I put The Stars Were Right on sale for 99¢ and promoted it through BookBub. The result was astounding, I sold hundreds and hundreds of copies, and the book was propelled to the top of the Amazon Bestseller List for a day. I wrote a whole post about it.

The Stars Were Right hanging next to Hugh Howey's Wool

There’s always a bit of nervous excitement when this happens, but overall I was excited to see how many new readers loved the story and continued on to Old Broken Road.


2015_03Kari-Lise and I went down to San Diego for the opening of her show Inflorescence. The show was fantastic, and we were able to spend some time exploring the city and its environs. While there we made the trip out to Joshua Tree National Park. I haven’t visited this stretch of desert in over a decade, and the return was purifying in a way you can only experience in a desert.


2015_04In March, I went to Norwescon 38. It was incredible. I sold out of books. I met a lot of amazing people, and I was threatened by Rorschach! I had so much fun that I’m doing it again in 2016. Norwescon 39 here I come!


2015_05After Norwescon, I hit up CthulhuCon in Portland, Oregon. It was great to gather together with so many fellow mythos fans. There was short films, tons of books, great panels, amazing art, and so much more. The show was a big success, and I was able to not only participate in a reading of The Stars Were Right, but I also sat on the “Creating a Mythos” panel moderated by Ross Lockheart. Like Norwescon, I met some great people along the way, and I’m hoping to return this year.


2015_07In the summer, I was asked to be a best man at the wedding of Steve and Sarah, easily two of the best people I know. The weekend was centered around a group camp and held at Dash Point State Park here in Washington. It was a fun weekend, and that’s coming from a guy who isn’t generally much of a camper. The wedding was incredible, and it was touching to see Steve and Sarah share their love in front of a whole bunch of pretty amazing friends and family. I was so glad I attended and honored to be a small part of it.


Remembering JakeSadly, this summer my friend Jake Rogers lost his battle with cystic fibrosis. Jake was one of the kindest, caring, and supportive people I’ve known. He has been an inspiration to me and many others, and he is and will always be missed. (I didn’t take this photo, but I needed to include Jake in this list.)


2015_08At the end of the summer, Kari-Lise and I went to Iceland. It was a quick trip (only a week) but we saw a lot of the country and we’re plotting a return. Getting out into the world with Kari-Lise has had a fundamental impact on both our lives and my writing. I’m glad that we’re able to do it together. Travel doesn’t have to be expensive, and there are many ways to explore this beautiful world. Do it. You’ll thank me later.


2015_09In September, we traveled to San Francisco for the opening of Kari-Lise’s second solo show of the year, A Lovelorn Theft. The opening was terrific and like her previous show, it did really well. It was great to see so many fans coming out to support her and check out the work in person.


Red Litten WorldIn October, we returned to Lovat when I launched The Bell Forging Cycle, Book III: Red Litten World. It was my largest book launch yet, and the book continues to do well. People seem to really enjoy Waldo Bell’s latest adventure that makes me happy. With its release The Bell Forging Cycle has become a trilogy!  You can buy it right now!


Behold my 2015! There’s a lot in those ten photos, but there is so much I left out: Mariners games, Seahawk games, Kari-Lise’s documentary, book research, I finished another manuscript, I took more pictures of Iceland, I spent more time in the mountains, I went to other conventions, I took pictures of my dogs, I explored my city, and so much more. I gleaned a lot of these images from my Instagram account which I like to keep as a running record of my life (and I’ll occasionally talk about my books.)

As before, why not keep this ten awesome photos thing going? Post ten awesome photos of your own on your blog and leave a link in the comments below so others can see what happened in your year. I’ll even update this post to include links to your ten photos!

Lavafield in Iceland

I Have Returned

Hello, all you wonderful folks. I have returned from my brief hiatus in the mountains and I am back! Iceland was incredible, do yourself a favor and go. Get there. See the country and get lost on its backroads. It’s wild and raw and pictures don’t even begin to do it justice. (If you’re interested, I’ve been posting photos on Instagram.)

Travel is always a big part of my creative process. Old Broken Road was born in Norway. The Stars Were Right was forged while touring some of America’s best National Parks. I cannot encourage creatives enough to get out there. Experiencing a country (even your own), learn about its people, study its history, experience its culture, food, and traditions. You’ll be surprised what will come. One of my favorite quotes about travel is one I posted before, but it’s still apt:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Mark Twain

Frankly, a week wasn’t nearly enough time for Iceland. We just got to explore the west side and a bit of the central Highlands, but there is so much more. We’re already planning a return visit. Meanwhile, the show must go on. I have a stack of emails to get through, and a book to launch. Expect some big announcements soon.

All in all, it’s good to be back.

Friday Link Pack Guest Post for 08/28/2015

Friday Link Pack Guest Post

When this post goes live Kari-Lise and I will be somewhere in Iceland. (Really, I have zero idea where we’ll be, we’re not planning our travels, just going where the trail takes us.) However, I didn’t want my absence to rob my loyal readers of their weekly Friday Link Pack. That’d just be cruel! Thankfully, my friend William Munn offered to step in and help out. So you can read today’s Friday Link Pack over on his blog! Just click this link and check out Will’s Friday Link Pack for 08/28/2015 →

Big thank you to Will for stepping in to help out. He is a writer with a lot of talent and I’m really excited to read his future sci-fi The Galaxy and All Her Charms. In the meantime, Will has recently started posting a free serial story every Friday on his blog and it started out great. Check it out here →

Enjoy today’s Friday Link Pack and I’ll see you all next week.

A Brief Hiatus

A Brief Hiatus

Beginning today, I Make Stories will be on a brief hiatus as Kari-Lise and I are taking a week and traveling to the emptiness of Iceland to camp, hike, and explore. Since I’ll be lost in the back country most of the time, I won’t have reliable internet access so there’s little reason for me to try to keep up here. (I miiiight post to Instagram or Twitter should I find a signal.) I won’t be gone long, the plan is to return next week physically exhausted but mentally refreshed and inspired. We’ll see how I do.

For those of you who religiously visit to check out my Friday Link Packs (Thanks!) don’t worry, I have a special guest lined up to step into my shoes on the 28th. But, you’ll have to wait until the automated post goes live on Friday to find out who it will be. I’ll see all y’all in September.

Friday Link Pack 08/07/2015

Friday Link Pack 08/07/2015

Happy Friday folks. Here is today’s Friday Link Pack! Some of these links I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Do you have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Let’s get to it…

WRITING:

Here Are 5 Tips To Writing Better Query Letters
Ah, the dreaded query letter. If you’ve embarked down the traditional publishing path then you know how pesky these little letters can be. Thankfully the wise minds at The Writer’s Circle compiled a list of five handy tips for crafting the perfect letter. [Thanks to Will for sharing this.]

What I Learned Sending My Novel Out Under A Male Name
I wish I could say this was surprising, but it really isn’t. There has long been a culture of sexism within the publishing industry. This despite the fact that women authors often outnumber men in the bestseller lists. [Thanks to Lola for point me in this direction.]

Cormac McCarthy’s Three Punctuation Rules
His writing style isn’t for everyone, but there is definitely something to be admired about how McCarthy tackles simplism in his prose. In this article, Open Culture breaks down his approach into three specific rules.

Western Lit, Shot To Death By ‘Trigger Warnings’
Politico explores this recent and disturbing trend among liberals encouraging the banning of fiction based on the troubling or disturbing content.

Business Musings: Price Wars And Victims
Kristine Kathryn Rusch is an industry veteran and indie success story. I thought this post musing about the sudden rise in ebooks pricing and the sudden drop in hardcovers was fascinating. Especially when she breaks down the royalty costs that everyone faces.

ART:

Nathan Walsh’s Unusual Urban Landscapes
I found these hyper-realistic landscapes from realist British artist Nathan Walsh to be both fascinating and technically impressive.

War Photo Negatives Sunburned Onto Skin In ‘Illustrated People’
Good art challenges our perceptions, often taking what we perceive as ordinary and placing them somewhere outside of what we expect. Artist Thomas Mailaender does that with these negatives of war photos and the results are quite interesting.

Jason Parker, Paintings
These showed up in my feed this weekend and I found the work to be very engaging. I’ve always enjoyed rougher work, things like sketches and street art. I like seeing the construction of a piece of art and Parker’s work does a good job of not shying away from being a painting and reminding the viewer that it is, but in a way it still becomes something more.

RANDOM:

Creepy Lullabies
“The hardship will teach you soon, while the day turns to night, that people feel love, loss, sadness and longing.” Iceland, you’re crazy. (And I cannot wait to visit you in a few weeks.)

Rosetta’s Philae Lander Discovers A Comet’s Organic Molecules
Despite it’s troubles, Rosetta is sending some interesting data. Organic molecules on a comet? That’s big news. Space is so cool, I have a feeling over the next few decades that things are going to get very very interesting.

There’s One Secret The Rick And Morty Guys Will Never Reveal
The Adult Swim hit, Rick and Morty might be the best show on television. The Onion’s AV Club interviews the creators and discuss why it works so well with today’s audience.

How the Earth Would Look Like Without Oceans
In this video, we get to see what the earth would look like without 71% of its surface covered in water. On some level, it reminds me of Monument Valley but on a titanic scale.

WEIRD WIKIPEDIA:

Sam Kee Building
“The Sam Kee Building, located at 8 West Pender Street in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is noteworthy for being the shallowest commercial building in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records.

At the turn of the 20th century, the Sam Kee Company—one of the wealthiest firms in Chinatown—purchased a standard-sized lot in 1903. The basement extends beneath the sidewalk and originally housed public baths, while the ground floor was used for offices and shops and the top story for living quarters.”

H.P. LOVECRAFT STORY OF THE WEEK:

Pickman’s Model
It’s strange that I haven’t featured yet. The story centers around the artist Richard Upton Pickman who paints art so terrifying that it gets him kicked out of Boston Art Club. But a question, however, remains… where did his ideas come from?

GIF OF THE WEEK:

giphy[Thanks to Sky for submitting today’s terrifying gif]

http://sciencefictioninterfaces.tumblr.com/

Friday Link Pack 01-23-2014

Friday! It’s time to share a few links I’ve found over the last few days. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! All right, let’s do this…

Writing:

The Punctuation Guide
Handy little resource on the usage of various punctuation. Especially helpful at 2 AM when your exhaustion raddled brain can’t remember specific rules.

Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules Of Writing
I’ve featured Elmore Leonard’s rules and I mention Heinlein’s rules occasionally. It’s always good to read the advice of others and adapt it to you own process. Gaiman’s are good. I bet you can guess the first one.

National Readathon Day Is Coming. Get Involved!
Tomorrow, January 24th, between 2pm—4pm (in your respective time zone), do what you always do and get lost in a book. Only this time help raise some money for the National Book Foundation and help them raise awareness for reading and fight illiteracy.

Random:

Science Fiction Interfaces
A tumblr blog examining the interfaces used in sci-fi movies and television. A great collection also handy for research purposes.

Living Lovecraft: The Real World Locations Behind The Horror
Great article from Atlas Obscura guiding you through the real world locations from Lovecraft’s stories from Ireland to asylums to Micronesia.

Map Stack
Cool little interface allowing you to make super customizable maps for anywhere in the world. [Thanks to Todd for sharing this.]

A City In The Glacier
A semi-permanent structure is being built into the Langjökull Glacier in Iceland. Too cool. (rimshot) Someone set a story here, please!

Someone Stole Naked Pictures Of Me. This Is What I Did About It
(Heads up, video is NSFW after 2:05) “Four years ago, intimate photographs of journalist Emma Holten were posted on the web. Thousands viewed them and she still receives online harassment. The issues of revenge porn and hacked photos are part of a larger problem with our relationship to consent, she argues. So Holten decided to pose for and release a new set of pictures of her body. Here she explains why.” I cannot imagine dealing with harassment like that for years afterwards. Makes me sick to my stomach.  [Thanks to Lola for sharing this one.]

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

Collapsing Cosmoses
This short story co-written with R. H. Barlow features strange alien creatures and, shockingly, a growing threat of impending doom.

Gif of the Week:

AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!