Thursday, February 27, 2014

Books On Hold

I've removed quite a bit of the serialized books I've had on the market for a while now. I'm going to be focusing -- probably for some time -- on putting together a solid trilogy that spans the material I've been trying to work on in serialization.

If you can't find much of my fiction on Amazon until I've competed this work, well. That's why. I'll also be looking for publishing partners when I complete a solid trilogy (urban fantasy / magical realism). How any of that will go is anyone's guess, of course.

Humblebrag (Grammarly Guest Post)

You have a horn; everyone does. Horns are shiny, brassy, and full of tooting potential. Why should one not toot it? In fact, some people can barely keep their hands off it. Unfortunately, many feel that public horn tooting is socially unacceptable. What can you do when the temptation to toot your horn is strong? How can you let others know how well you write without blowing your trumpet ahead of you? Let us discuss a few unobtrusive methods to brag, no horn necessary.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How Sausages Are Made

For all those people over the years that seem to think that sharing your work online or having it published etc means you must have some crazy self surety, here’s a peek inside the actual thought process running through my head pretty much at any given moment, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that,
"good god why is this book taking so much longer to write than anything i’ve written before maybe it’s because the type of prose is more difficult maybe it’s because i’m getting old and senile or insane i mean how would i even know if that was happening? ok if i’m crazy fuck it once more into the breach i’m going to force myself to actually type some of this out rather than squirreling it away in notebooks and i’ll force myself to share it so i have to actually do it. oh god that was probably awful but i can’t even tell what’s awful anyways fuck here you guys read it not like anyone’s opinion is definitive i could paper the abyss with the Twilight fan-fic that might one day become another 50 shades of grey, be better off as toilet paper, but then maybe this would too i really need to make more coffee so let’s type this out so i can drink some motherfucking coffee"
That’s pretty much my ‘process’ exact.

And this is why they say never to show how sausage is made. So never mind all of that, I am absolutely certain in everything I do because clearly I’m some kind of genius now buy all this garbage and give me money.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Retrospective

  • Where do you create?
  • Do you live there or just visit sometimes?
  • How important is creating art to your identity?
  • What relation is there between the place you work, the people you surround yourself with, and the work you produce?

Pardon me if I have to cut a somewhat circumambulatory route to cut to the heart of this question, as the nature of such questions and answers are always labyrinths, and the process of hammering them into a straight line always takes something away.

All we can really talk about honestly is ourselves, so at least I can be honest. I’d really like to hear how others of you answer these questions, though. Feel free to comment or PM.

[Read Post]

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Free Books!

This month only: pick one of my books from let me know which one and provide an email address, and you will receive a free e- copy of that book.
In exchange, you agree to write a review of any length or content on Amazon and or Goodreads by March 2014.
Good deal? Then drop me a line. jamescurcio at gmail.
Subject: I want a free book.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Appropriation, A Fragment

"... I have always taken the attitude that the transition in appropriation is part of the cultural mutation process. Like mutating genes. Over time, this produced a certain kind of evolution which operates on its own grounds, for better or worse. I recognize I'm constantly appropriating cultural ideas and forms outside the context it was initially created in. Ditto artistic ideas, styles... They're all cultural artifacts anyway. I do it brazenly, consciously. But always as a part of my own creative process."

Topic for a full Modern Mythology post... maybe. Art work is taking priority over everything else right now.

The Crisis of Relativism

Put 10 different people in front of the same movie or TV series, and in each head a very different viewing experience is occurring.

In my life, I've not seen a single piece of solid evidence--not anecdote, not pure logic--that points to any other conclusion. People seem to think that I want to come to such a relativistic, "weak" conclusion. Nor have I come to it lightly or quickly. It is the only conclusion I can draw after years of research and writing and watching people's behavior and words. It's what the data points to: the supreme power of the narrative to warp our perceptions in such a way that what is perceived becomes Foucault's pendulum. I also don't believe in God so as to grant my own existence some kind of meaning. It never overcomes the burden of proof.

And in a lesser sense, when someone sees a certain media transmission in a similar way, you feel a kinship, as if they are all part of some kind of cult with you. Thus, fandom.

I continue to only have faith in our boundless uncertainty, looking at the same time for a way out. But not at the expense of authenticity.

Which is why authenticity remains my greatest, maybe single ethical / value pole. In a world of masks, what does authenticity mean?

It's the single thing keeping us from the yawning, gibbering void, that's what.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Future of Storytelling

Are you interested in the mechanics of current fiction formats? Do you want to know how stories are told? Do you want to analyze, understand, contextualize and create stories and narratives? Then join our MOOC and share our passion for storytelling!
I'm presently taking this course -- sign up through this link if you'd like to join as well! (It's free.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Huffington Post Polyamory

Co-wrote an article for Huffington Post UK: 
All of a sudden, polyamory is everywhere.
Articles flood the internet, many of them opinion pieces written by people who (so far) identify as monogamous. One of the reasons this is happening is to keep the news cycle churning now that gay marriage seems to be approaching normalcy. The clue is in the name; news is characterized by an obsession with the "new".
But in the process of giving polyamory a make-over that everyone can identify with, the only truly radical thing about the ideology is completely lost. To sugar-coat an unspoken truth: polyamory seeks to upend a many thousand-year-old narrative about ownership. We don't own our daughter's virginity. Husbands don't own their wives. Wives don't own their husbands. We may seek to avoid hurting those we love -- any healthy person (poly or otherwise) with a conscience does - but we do not own one another, and at the end of the day, our decisions, and our lives, are our own.
The prevalent made-over polyamory picture for the mainstream is of a hetero-normative couple that likes to swing on the weekends as shown in US Showtime series "Polyamory: Married and Dating". This is arguably one version of poly depending on your definition of 'love'. But so are many other versions. So much so that there is no true picture of polyamory because every instance is as unique as we are, and unique as our most intimate relations can be. We are no longer mere commodities.
In recognizing that we cannot own others, we give up our claim on other's bodies, but at the same time gain a new claim on our own freedom. The radical potential of polyamory is actually that might shift our entire societal structure. 
Full article. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Bedlam Stories: Project Alice

I'm sorry to report that Project Alice won't be showing up on the marketplace anytime soon. (Or my version won't, at any rate.) Since I've shared so many updates about it here I thought I should make that clear so no one is left waiting. Once very close to the editorial phase of production, Pearry and I got to talking and it was pretty clear that we had different visions for who the audience was and what the project was, when you get down to it. I wrote a creepy, psychological, very character based piece and I think the expectation was for something more action-based, and more direct. Sometimes you have creative differences in collaboration and sometimes personal ones -- this was actually neither. It was strictly a business decision on his part, one that you can't really know is "right" or "wrong". But if your gut tells you something you've got to follow it and I respect that. I do hope that we get to work in the future on a project where my voice is an asset.

In the meantime, as it can be quite a blow to work on a project for hundreds of hours and then have it axed -- and it happens in this industry more than you probably have any idea, if you're not involved -- I've started a new book. Chances are it'll be sucking up most of my creative energy for the next year, but I hope by the end of that it finds the right home and you check it out...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Write What You Know; Read What You Don't.

Write What You Know; Read What You Don't. 

This seems fairly straightforward, but it is not apparently the conclusion that every author (or reader) comes to.

For instance, last week there was a great deal of noise about something that David Gilmour, a Canadian professor (and author, apparently), said rather clumsily.
You might expect more from someone at an institute of higher learning.
An award-winning author and literature professor at the University of Toronto has ignited controversy by saying he's "not interested in teaching books by women ."
"I say I don't love women writers enough to teach them, if you want women writers go down the hall," professor David Gilmour said in an interview with online magazine Hazlitt, which is run by Random House.
"What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys," Gilmour continued. "F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chekhov, Tolstoy. Real guy-guys." (Article.)
Despite what some want to read into these statements, and the inherent absurd humor of the phrase 'Serious Hetero guys ... Real guy-guys,' I draw a slightly different conclusion than most people seem to. If you see the actual interview it seems quite clear that he's simply saying that he wants to teach what he knows -- and that he also likes to read what he knows.

His crime then is not so much misogyny as plain blandness. A crime against imagination perhaps but there's no need to call the guy a woman-hater, at least on these grounds.

The oft repeated advice that authors "write what they know," which actually means that we demand authenticity, does not transfer as well when applied to what we read. We should, I suggest, read what we don't know -- this is so plain as to seem stupid in regard to mere facts and data, but I hope to convey something more fundamental, that we reach out for cultural and personal experiences outside the range of our day-to-day lives as much as possible in our reading.

So, Gilmour may also be implicitly suggesting bad reading habits to his students as well, that they merely reach out for what is familiar and comfortable. If you're a white hetero male, only read novels by white hetero males. I might suggest that we stop caring so much what an author's gender is, period, but we should reach for a diversity of experience on the input valve for the imagination, which reading very much is -- especially if you lead as isolated a life as many authors do.

And then, once you've taken in that diverse outside experience, feel free to write what you "know."