Gigantigator Death Machine has wrapped on Patreon and today we launched the new serial novel, Zomtropolis.
It follows the story of a guy all alone in a futuristic post-apocalyptic world. Done in a diary/journal/blog post style, Zomtropolis takes you to the heart of a once-bustling-now-dead metropolis with all the blood, guts, gore, and heart underground writer A.P. Fuchs is known for.
If you like intense fiction and the undead, this is a tale you won’t want to miss!
You can start reading Zomtropolis for just a buck by going here. The archives of Gigantigator Death Machine are still on Patreon so that’s two novels for a dollar a month. Sweet.
A public thank you to those who supported Gigantigator Death Machine during its original run on Patreon. It is appreciated and gratefully valued.
Just a note to inform you there is a newsletter delay this week due to TinyLetter’s site glitching. Until it’s resolved, I am unable to send out the most recent issue so I’ve blogged it here in the interim and will send it out proper once I am able to, which might mean this week you’ll be getting two editions of The Canister X Transmission close together. If the problem persists due to possible staffing shortages on their end, then we’ll just air the newsletter here until things get back to normal.
There’s a first time for everything.
Here is the latest edition. It is dated yesterday.
Issue Two Hundred-fifty-two – April 18, 2020
Hello and welcome to the 252nd issue of THE CANISTER X TRANSMISSION, a weekly newsletter from a schlub up north who offers you strange ramblings every week.
How is everyone?
It has been a busy week. Lots of tasks. Lots of work. Lots of prep. Lots of thinking. Lots of stress. Lots of accomplishment. Lots of, well, lots.
And here we are.
Oh, and I made bread.
PROJECT JACKASS (title reveal below); uploaded a sneak peek to the Behind-the-Scenes tier on Patreon showcasing one of the opening pages of PROJECT JACKASS in full color (link below); shot and uploaded a new video to YouTube, which announces PROJECT JACKASS’s real title and quickly takes a glimpse at the artwork and offers a brief premise (link below); blogging; and administration.
Quick note regarding this newsletter: Issue 260 is the final issue of The Long Year Five. We will do something special at that time. As always, the invite is there if you want to see something particular in that double issue. Just shoot me an email and I’ll see what I can do.
In blog headline news—and once information known only to my patrons on Patreon—the title of PROJECT JACKASS was revealed! PROJECT JACKASS was a place-holder name for an upcoming webcomic from me called FREDRIKUS, which is about an anthropomorphic dog in a dystopic sc-fi world. Phew. Now I can finally refer to it as an actual thing and not some project document (which is actually a combination of multiple documents including a notebook for the stories).
Various Bits from the Net – 041220
Status Report – 041420
Project Jackass Title Revealed: Fredrikus
Fredrikus Social Media
New Fredrikus Behind-the-Scenes Post on Patreon!
On Art and Never Arriving
Fredrikus Webcomic Announcement
Status Report – 041720
As you can see from the above headline, you are invited to like and follow FREDRIKUS on social media so you can be notified when the strip airs. Please do so. More details about the webcomic to be revealed in due time. Watch the blog to stay current. I will admit, it’s high time new things started to roll out from me and warming up the machine for FREDRIKUS is part of that journey.
I’m thinking that the next thing to roll out from me is the Inktober 2019 sketchbook I mentioned in a previous issue. PROJECT REBUILD is taking some time due to elements beyond my control and I don’t want to leave you hanging.
Side note: As much as my blog has been retooled on the back end, sometimes the theme acts up and reverts to black text on white rather than white text on black. If you come across this, don’t worry. I’m still troubleshooting the issue with the hope of taking care of it once and for all in the near future. Just check the blog as per usual and you’ll be fine.
We’re also gearing up for the new serial novel to air on Patreon because GIGANTIGATOR DEATH MACHINE is almost complete. Watch the blog for the announcement and be sure to get in on the ground floor by becoming a patron today for just a buck. The entirety of GIGANTIGATOR DEATH MACHINE will remain on the site so come time for the new serial novel, you’ll have two novels to read for the price of one. Awesome deal. Please take advantage (it also helps keep me fed). Link below to subscribe to what is essentially the Netflix of literary entertainment from a book and comic guy like me. Thank you in advance for your support.
Also going on, but not worked on this week, is PROJECT COBALT. This is a big one and an important one, and a lot of thought, trial and error, and work has already been put into it. I’m suspecting a latter 2020 rollout, but keep that fluid for the moment. The world is in upheaval on multiple levels and things are in constant flux as we combat this invisible enemy (amongst other things). But yeah, PROJECT COBALT, man. Onward.
For a good while I’ve had the marketing materials for a YouTube subscription drive, but we’re not quite there yet in terms of the channel’s relationship to other things. However, I’m a firm believer in groundwork and foundation and I’d like you to be a part of all that’s planned for the channel plus what’s already there. Please use the link below and subscribe. Your subscription will eventually lead to me monetizing the channel, which in turn will fund more comics and books and the stuff I put online for free. But it all takes time and time, in order to do this job full time, requires money. The subscription costs you nothing other than 5 seconds—which I recognize is your valuable time hence why I try and create interesting content in the vein of Heroes and Monsters—and will go a long way toward keeping the media machine running. Thank you in advance again for your support.
With Year Six of this newsletter fast approaching, I’m getting eager to see how the new format will work, how it will flow, and, ultimately, what it will do for you as my reader. I hope you enjoy the new format in 8 issues.
In other newsletter news, Year Four was obviously completed a long time ago but was never published. It is still the plan to release it along with The Long Year Five. Also soon, my how-to book, GETTING DOWN AND DIGITAL: HOW TO SELF-PUBLISH YOUR BOOK, will be going out of print. Please grab your copy now. The principles and methods apply to both books and comics. It is also ideal for creators on a budget who are unable to afford fancy formatting programs. It walks you through formatting in MSWord for both print and electronic editions in a tried-and-tested procedure that is quite simple to follow.
We’re also noodling with the social media broadcaster for FREDRIKUS because I’ve never run a broadcaster for anyone but myself and since good ol’ Fred can’t work the thing himself due to his paws, I’m stuck with the job. Hopefully it all works out. Speaking of which, the broadcaster has run out of broadcasts from that time I loaded ’er up good so that will have to be addressed in the coming week or two as well, but I’m toying with some new ideas. Not that the old ones were bad, but as it is with this game, doesn’t hurt to try new things.
Okay, I think the above about covers it for this week. Lots of commercials, I know, but we’re at that stage in the grand plan.
We’re finally getting there. Isn’t that a thing?
Take care of yourselves and each other. In the end, it’s on us about how we treat people.
Have a good weekend. Make bread. Send me some.
– A.P. Fuchs
All the New Things, MB
Patreon – Where I post an ongoing serial novel, essays on the creative life, behind-the-scenes secrets, and general jackassery.
As part of the original conception of Project Rebirth, creating audio editions of my work is on the docket. These will occur sometime after this year because the reissues of Project Rebuild and the publishing of new work are priority.
I’ve dabbled in audio before. I recorded the first Axiom-man book many, many years ago as a free download (sorry, I no longer have the files to this and it was pulled from the original distributor many years back). I also recorded a video reading of the first four (I think) chapters of Blood of the Dead, which aired on my old YouTube channel (here’s the new channel). The first bit of Blood of the Dead was also recorded as an audio drama on an old zombie podcast back in the day (it was really cool).
This is the next step for the books once I’m caught up on everything else.
Please accept this blog entry as mere notice that audio editions are on the horizon, but due to the number of books I’ve written and the time it takes to properly record them and package them, audio book releases are still a decent ways off into the future.
But no fear! You can still read all my novels in book form in paperback and eBook by visiting the Book and Comic Shop.
Note: This post was originally published on Jeffrey Allen Davis’s blog
The Redsaw Origin and How I Write Supervillains
Disclaimer: The following article is meant for those who have read some or all of The Axiom-man Saga. If you have not read the series, please stop now and consider checking out the series first (http://bit.ly/1oy9MJU) as this article contains spoilers, namely Redsaw’s secret identity, which is part of the mystery of the first book.
Like Axiom-man, Redsaw has something of a muddled past. I’m talking about his real life origin, not his story one. However, Redsaw didn’t really come together until writing Axiom-man. Until that point, he was more an idea that never materialized in the mental fantasy I had going which eventually birthed The Axiom-man Saga we know today. All I knew about my overall fantasy was there were two cosmic beings at war. One that represented Good (known as the messenger in the saga), and one that represented Evil (known as the master). How these cosmic beings work is they each have champions on multiple planets throughout the universe, one guy stepping forward for them and duking it out on these planets while these two cosmic beings fight it out elsewhere. Usually, the messenger only puts his man in place once the master strikes an unsuspecting world. On Earth, the messenger’s champion is Axiom-man so, you guessed it, the master’s main man is Redsaw. What’s interesting to note is Axiom-man was put in place shortly before Redsaw’s arrival, a pre-emptive move on the messenger’s part and for reasons revealed in the series.
Redsaw is the main supervillain of The Axiom-man Saga.
That should bring you enough up to speed on who’s who in my superhero universe.
When it came to creating Redsaw, other than knowing he had to be the bad guy, he needed to be more than just the bad guy. The first thing I decided was it was imperative he was more powerful than Axiom-man, first and foremost in his superpowers—which are similar but stronger—and secondly as his human alter ego.
In costume, Redsaw can fly twice as fast, is twice as strong, and the energy beams he shoots from his hands do twice the damage.
Out of costume, Oscar Owen is rich, well-known, and utterly confident, whereas Gabriel Garrison (Axiom-man) struggles with money, is a nobody, and has self-esteem issues.
But that’s just the superficial stuff.
Even the name “Redsaw” is superficial in that I needed a cool name for a villain and “red” typically represents evil and “saw” was named after a sawblade, a dangerous weapon if used to kill somebody. The jagged lines on Redsaw’s red and black costume represent his own jaggedness and danger—again, the sawblade thing.
Going deeper, however, I didn’t want a bad guy who was the bad guy simply because he was the bad guy. In other words, I didn’t want a bad guy being bad for bad’s sake. There needed to be a reason, and the best reason for any villain in literature or film is the one that says they’re the bad guy because they don’t have any other choice. They have a strong motive that turned them down a dark path. A classic example is Darth Vader. He joined the dark side to save Padme. The dark side consumed him and we all know the rest of the story.
Oscar Owen was chosen by the master because Oscar drove himself hard to rise from poverty and become a somebody and tried to be a good guy with his powerful position. Once joined with the black cloud that gave him his superpowers, even then, he strove to be a hero like Axiom-man. He just didn’t know joining with the black cloud came at a cost and the black cloud transformed him into someone he wasn’t: the reluctant villain. The villain you and I can relate to. The one that, if you or I were put in their shoes, would do what they do no matter how dark or despicable because, from their point-of-view, they’re doing the right thing even if the cause is evil.
That’s the kind of main villain I was after for Axiom-man: someone like him. Someone who strove to do what they perceived was the right thing. Unfortunately, for Redsaw, his “right thing” is the wrong thing, but thankfully we have Axiom-man there to stop him.
Regarding other supervillains I’ve created—Char, Bleaken, Battle Bruiser, and Lady Fire—they all have something in common and it all goes back to what I did with Redsaw: they’re more powerful than the hero. It might be their powers, it might be their intellect, but either way, my villains always have a leg up on Axiom-man so they’re a challenge to fight. It’s the only way to create true conflict in the novels otherwise, if they were weaker, Axiom-man would stomp them into the ground every time and the story would be over in a few pages. Sure, it’s fun to have a few purely-human bad guys for Axiom-man to quickly dispose of, but when it comes to his superpowered rogues gallery, I needed my bad guys to be stronger than the hero and make him really dig deep whether physically or mentally to put the villains away for good. And even then . . . they might not always stay put, but for what I mean by that, you’ll have to check out the books and see for yourself.
A supervillain—breaking down the word—sure, the “villain” part is easy. It’s the “super” part that’s hard because that goes beyond their powers. They need to be above average in who they are as a person. They need to be motivated by something beyond what gets us normal people through our day. They need to be motivated by something “super.” It could be a tragedy, a misguidance, even a dark heart birthed out of something beyond their control in years past. There’s no such thing as a person who’s born bad. We all make choices. Some yield Good. Others yield Evil. Others take us down roads filled with both. Throw superpowers into the mix and you have the potential to create a superpowered problem that only a superhero can fight.
As for Redsaw, well, like Axiom-man, he’s on a journey, too. One that can only lead to one place. As for where or what that is, you’ll just have to read and find out.
For some reason I’ve recently been giving a lot of thought to my writing process and I came to the conclusion I don’t really have one. At least, not in the conventional sense when someone thinks about how an author writes a book. Usually it involves notions of slaving away over the words, crafting each sentence to perfection, doing rewrite after rewrite, line editing, copy editing, proofing and so forth.
None of that applies to me. Not in that sort of depth, anyway.
My first book, A Stranger Dead, and from what I recall, involved a lot of that: slaving away over each word. Being a first book and first effort, that’s how I thought book writing was done. And, hey, if that’s how you write your books, by all means, whatever works, right?
But for me, I’ve been following the same writing process for at least a decade. It’s bare-bones simple, and doesn’t require a lot of brain power other than the first draft, and even then, I’m not exhausting my mental energy to the point of being brain dead after a writing session.
Though there are exceptions, this is typically how I write a book:
– A title or basic premise comes to me
– I let it stew in the back of my head so my subconscious can work things out without me consciously thinking about them
– The first line of the story comes to mind
– I get to work on the first draft
On the first draft:
I’ve only outlined a book once, and that book is still in process as of this writing. I will also be outlining another book to finish it off because it involves time travel and I got myself into a possible paradoxical mess with the thing so I need to iron out the details so it’s paradox-free (something that’s very important when writing time travel stories). Other than that, I simply write a book as it comes to me, scene by scene, sentence by sentence, word by word. I don’t think about what I’m writing. I just write it as I see it in my head and that’s it. I’ve written enough books over the years to know the golden rule that every word needs to serve the story, so I don’t have to worry about scenes being cut later because they’re just fluff.
And that’s it. I write the story start to finish and do not edit as I go along.
Sometimes I know how it’s going to end, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes when I do know how it’s going to end—and since I let the story tell itself—that ending either doesn’t happen or doesn’t happen how I originally envisioned it. But whatever. I let the story do the talking, not me.
After the first draft is done, I run a spellcheck and print it out.
I leave the book alone for a while, sometimes a week, sometimes a month, then get to work on the second draft.
On the second draft:
By leaving the book alone, I had a chance to mentally distance myself from it before going at it with fresh eyes.
You see, you write and read at different speeds, so while taking my pen to my first draft, I read it at a reader’s rate and am able to smooth out choppy sentences or catch words I repeat—every writer has a go-to word or phrase in their first draft—and make sure story continuity lines up. It’s this latter point that always astonishes me: the way your subconscious keeps track of everything between writing sessions and keeps the story in order. I might add a sentence or two or delete a couple redundancies. Nothing fancy.
I then type up my second draft edits and print the book out again for draft three.
On the third draft:
This is the polish draft, and after having done a solid clean-up on it in draft two, this draft is a way to catch anything I missed the first time and do a spit shine on it. Seldom are any substantial changes made. Again, it’s done at reader’s rate so I just read along and tweak things here and there.
These changes are typed up and the book goes off to my editor.
I wait for the editor to do what I pay him for then get the book back from him.
On the editor’s draft:
At this point I’m already getting sick of my own story after having been through it three times, so all I do during this phase is go through my editor’s edits and only his edits. I agree with 95% of them; the remaining 5% are usually matters of taste and preference and not actual errors.
My editor’s work is now complete. He gets paid, and all he has to do is await his editor’s copy in the mail when it’s ready.
I take the editor’s draft and do a three-quarter format on the book.
On the partially-formatted book:
The book is now resembling what the reader will eventually see in terms of layout and trim size. Chapter headings are decorated and basic front and back matter are put in place. The only thing that’s really missing are the headers and footers.
I print it out.
Since I consider my editor’s draft draft number four, this partially-formatted book is my fifth and final draft in which I go through it and catch anything my editor or I might’ve missed. What’s helpful about this stage is the new layout of the book. There are less words per line at a 6 x 9” trim size than your standard 8.5 x 11” piece of paper. Things read differently and any error seems to jump out all the clearer.
These mistakes are fixed and are typed into the computer.
I then go on to finish the book with its final bells and whistles.
On the bells and whistles:
These include adding the headers and footers, the title cards and any ad matter in the back.
At this stage, it’s just an issue of making sure all the formatting is in place, and the book itself is done.
Paperback formatting is always done first, then the various eBook formatting required for the different platforms comes after.
On the off-chance I catch a mistake while formatting, I then have to sort through the different files and make the change in each. It’s annoying and a pain but has to be done.
Then that’s it. It’s off to press.
Of course, during the preliminary format I get my page count thus can create my cover, but that’s not the topic of this post.
But that’s my process. Five total drafts, four of which are mine.
A long time ago a writer friend gave me the greatest bit of publishing advice I’ve ever received. I’ve repeated it a bunch of times to writers in all sorts of forums and venues over the years, and it’s this: it’s only a book. And that’s how I treat my novels: they’re only books. That’s all they are. They’re stories. They’re fantasies. They’re entertainment. Like I always say, kingdoms won’t rise and fall based on something I’ve written so I’m long past the stage of obsessing over my stories.
I just write the damn thing, clean it up, then share it with you.
Did you know now and then Axiom-man makes an appearance in my newsletter? In fact, he was just in there last week for the second time. You see, every week in Year Three of The Canister X Transmission is a piece of flash fiction–various genres–and Axiom-man likes to pop up from time to time.
These stories are canon and are part of the overall saga.
(For those not aware, The Axiom-man Saga in its entirety is made up of novels, novellas, short stories, flash fiction, and comics.)
To ensure you get the whole story, get a copy of The Canister X Transmission in your email every week.
Also note other superhero fiction shows up there as well.
You can subscribe to the newsletter using the subscription box on this site or go here.
Here is an updated listing of The Axiom-man Saga in reading order:
Axiom-man Char (short story in the tenth anniversary edition of Axiom-man) Episode No. 0: First Night Out Doorway of Darkness Black Water (short story) Episode No. 1: The Dead Land There’s Something Rotten Up North (short story in the anthology, Metahumans vs the Undead) City of Ruin Rite of the Wolf (short story in the anthology, Metahumans vs Werewolves) Episode No. 2: Underground Crusade Outlaw Episode No. 3: Rumblings The Split (flash fiction) Mercy (flash fiction)
Some call this the Golden Age of Publishing and the best time to be a writer.
Still trying to figure out why. That is, why in the truest sense. Sure, the arguments are it’s easy to get your work out there and some of have made a goldmine. That’s not reason enough to give this era of publishing the labels we have.
For those who don’t know, I started writing my first book in 2000. I published it via a vanity press in 2003. Starting in 2004, I began self-publishing all my novels through my own company, my traditional “outbound” sales being short stories. Being independent back then was considered taboo and the kiss of death. If you publicly declared you published your own work, at least in writing and publishing circles, you weren’t a real writer and eBooks weren’t real books. You weren’t even a real publisher.
It bothered me for a few years, but then I didn’t care and proudly flaunted what I did. If you didn’t like it, too bad.
I made a name for myself in small press circles and became a minor local celebrity. Back in the beginning, back when I was writing that first book, there were a couple of months where I dreamed of fame and fortune. Not anymore. Don’t want it. But that’s another blog entry.
As my career progressed, I’ve seen writers come and go, publishers rise and fall, and the industry drastically change. I’ve made amazing friendships and networked with so many people, some of whom are very well known. I’ve stuck to the small press by choice and have dealt with the major league publishers while my publishing company was in full swing and I worked with other authors.
These days, I’m alone again. By choice. My meltdown in 2014 led to that and, in some ways, I’m still recovering.
That’s a quick history of where I’m coming from.
Back to why I decided to quit the publishing business: to be honest, I won’t no part of it. Not in the way it is right now. Over the past few weeks I’ve spoken to a several writers about how things are going. I’m paraphrasing, but they all said the same thing: not very good. Can’t get readers.
Over the months and recent years leading up to this past little while, I’ve heard the same thing. It’s getting progressively harder and harder to reach peopl