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Fan Fiction: My Unsolicited Thoughts

Not that anybody was asking (hence the unsolicited part), but previously I wrote about fantasy fiction. It’s no secret that I’m pretty lazy, and while I was writing that, I got annoyed with how long it took to type the phrase fantasy fiction. So today, out of sheer laziness, I’m going to shorten it to fan fiction. Luckily for me, that’s a whole new genre, and a completely different topic to write about. Plus it’s shorter to type, so that’s a double bonus!

Having said all of that, I decided this week that I am going to put all of my current projects on hold and focus on a new pet project that I will never be able to do anything with. (Yeah, I’m well aware how ridiculous that sounds.) I’ve never done any fan fiction before. I like the concept: people like something so much that they create and expand on the source material. That’s awesome! I would be so flattered if somebody ever wanted to do that with anything I wrote. I just don’t think I’ve ever been into anything enough to think that I could do something worthwhile that would contribute to what’s already there. Plus I feel weird about using somebody else’s creation to play around with.

Until now anyway. I have gone down a rabbit hole and have tunnel vision for this story that a friend gave me ideas for. We had an amazing exchange, brainstorming session, and then that was it. As far as I was concerned it was over. Just a fun concept. Or so I thought. The idea stayed in the back of my mind though. I saw that friend a couple weeks ago, and the conversation came back up. It’s too good to let it go. So I’m not. Continue reading

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Childlike Inspiration Meets Fantasy Fiction

Let me put this out there right up front: I’ve never been a fan of fantasy fiction. No offense to my friends who write fantasy, or anybody that likes reading it. There’s nothing wrong with the genre (unlike romance), it’s just not my thing. Dragons, sorcerers, mages (are those the same thing??), knights, castles, and whatever other standard fantasy elements just don’t really speak to me.

Now let me be clear. I am not bashing the fantasy genre. (And I’m not trying to inadvertently shoehorn it into medieval period pieces either…that statement above just shows my ignorance.) I’m more than willing to admit that this is a me problem. Harry Potter? Never read them. Lord of the Rings? I’m not sure I could tell you who Gollum is. The only thing I know about Game of Thrones is that there’s some dude named after a mountain and the book series will probably never be finished. Those series are beloved by millions around the world. Obviously they are quality, classic pieces of literature, which means that the stories aren’t the problem. That leaves me as the problem. (No surprise there, amiright??) I think the biggest hurdle for me is my lack of imagination. I have a hard time grasping concepts that I can’t see in real life.  Sorcery, portals to alternate planes of existence – I just struggle to get into. Continue reading


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Bookish Gaming, Part 2: Mobile Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Style

The last time I reviewed mobile games I commented about how the choose-your-own-adventure concept hasn’t successfully adapted to newer technologies outside of print books.  I did offer a great graphic novel type zombie title called Survivor Z, and disqualified probably the most well-known title, Choices, because, well…romance.  Blech.  Well, since then, I ended up going down a rabbit hole of the available apps that fit this bill.  It seems there are two primary developers (Hosted Games LLC, and Choice of Games LLC) that have built catalogs of subject matters for whoever might be looking.  I’ve already noted in the past that I’m a sucker for anything zombie related, so most of the titles I chose to review, (surprise, surprise) were zombie related – or at least zombie adjacent.  The apps from these developers are almost identical with the product being completely text based with no graphics or sound effects.

Really, my reviews should be based on the two developers, as each title would be based on each reader’s preference, and the structure would all remain the same throughout the different titles, so I’ll do a side-by-side comparison at the end.  First, I’ll review the titles that I took a shot with.  Since they all have unique writers who are independent from the software developers, the story lines and quality of writing should offer a range.  In theory, at least, right? Continue reading

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Comic Books; Real Literature or Juvenile Comic Strips?

Comic books typically come with a juvenile stigma attached. When people ask what you’re reading and you say Faulkner, you get a nod of respect. However, If you say Ghost Rider, you will likely get an eye roll. (At least, that’s how it was pre-Big Bang Theory, anyway. That show made being a nerd acceptable, and whether you enjoyed the show or not, I think we can all be thankful for it bridging the gap between the cool kids and the geeks.) Most people have no idea that the latest run of Ghost Rider follows a Hispanic teenager/young adult, working as a mechanic to support and care for his disabled younger brother who’s bound to a wheelchair. The character development in most comic books is phenomenal. Iron Man has had struggles with alcoholism, and Green Lantern & Green Arrow have had to deal with the death of a sidekick due to a drug overdose.  The story arcs are broken up into small chunks, but they’re enthralling. They must be entertaining, or they wouldn’t still exist. Just like “regular” books. Besides, they’re called comic “books”, doesn’t that automatically give them credit for being real books? What about graphic “novels”? Any difference there?  The article at this link does a nice job of touching on all of these questions, so I won’t rehash what they’ve already covered.

Let’s take a look at the cover of “Pumpkin Heads” by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks. The first thing to notice is that Rowell is clearly labeled as a #1 New York Times bestselling author. That is a massive achievement for any author, and automatically gives legitimacy without even opening the book. The second thing worth noting is the part where it labels itself as a graphic novel. It very plainly identifies as a novel, but recognizes that there is art involved, which is why they shoehorn the word “graphic” in there. This is obviously just one example of the countless graphic novel offerings, but it makes quite a compelling argument I’d say.

Consider a couple other reputable authors who have ventured over into the graphic novel side of the publishing industry.  Chuck Palahniuk, most notably of Fight Club fame, decided to use comic books to tell his story for Fight Club 2 instead of writing another novel for the sequel to the massively successful book.  While there was a lot of criticism for that series, it hasn’t stopped Dark Horse Comics from announcing plans for Fight Club 3, which Palahniuk will maintain creative control over.  Kurt Vonnegut’s timeless classic, Slaughterhouse Five, is also getting the graphic novel treatment.  How’s that for legitimacy?? Continue reading

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The CKFiction Year in Review

As I shared about a month ago, I was very intentional this year about making some improvements and advances with my writing career.  Given the stats I’ve achieved on my site for this year, I’m excited for things to come.  Let’s take a look at some raw numbers.

In the past 12 months I’ve posted 54 articles (including this one), including 6 features on other writers, 4 book reviews, 4 spotlights on resources in the writing community, 4 posts in my ongoing Behind the Scenes series, 12 Blogumentary articles, 2 CKFiction Dictionary posts, 4 Literary Listening playlists, 2 Literary Locations, 4 short stories and poems, and rounded out the total with 12 miscellaneous posts.

Once I started seeing the response I was getting from regularly posting content, I quietly set a goal for my site for the year.  Continue reading

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My Profile as a Writer

People have countless ideas of what it means to be a writer.  Usually they range anywhere from romanticizing about a cabin writing retreat in the woods, to working three jobs, but still starving and struggling to make ends meet.  I’m somewhere in the middle.  I have spent time writing at a nice lake cottage and tropical resorts, but I also do have a “real job” during the day to keep my family sustained financially, because without that, I would absolutely be starving.

As with most aspects of my life, I tend to blur the lines and complicate typical, preconceived notions. Continue reading

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My CKFiction Thanksgiving

This year I dedicated a lot of time and effort into refueling content production for this website.  I wanted to get serious about my writing and work on developing my skills in the craft.  I worked hard coming up with ideas for posts every week, and minus a couple weeks in the middle of the year, I’ve accomplished my goal.

Today I’m going to pull back the curtain just a little bit more.  There’s kind of an unspoken, but understood rule in the media world that authors don’t divulge numbers in regard to book sales, bloggers don’t talk about number of visits, and podcasters don’t speak about their number of subscribers.  Mostly, I think that rule exists because people don’t want to reveal that their audience might not be as big as other audiences, or that they barely have an audience at all.  I know that’s definitely the case for me.  Exposing myself for the fraud that I am is scary, but it doesn’t change my motivations or desire to continue writing. Continue reading

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The Best CKFiction Reading Spots

Okay, so Crossover has been out for two months now.  Hell, Crossroads has been out for over three years.  If you still haven’t checked out the Kings of Chaos Motorcycle Club series for whatever reason, then let’s discuss, because, frankly, that just seems inexcusable.  Last week, I pointed out how the series is perfect for pretty much any demographic.  Simply can’t figure out when or where to read it?  Then let’s brainstorm and come up with some ideas together, shall we?

When I wrote the books, I intentionally kept the chapters short.  It keeps the story progressing for the reader, and as the writer, it makes crafting each chapter like it is its own separate short story.  Not to mention it provides plenty of natural reading breaks.  When I consider reading a book, I like to flip through and get an idea of the chapter lengths.  Long chapters aren’t an automatic deal-breaker per se, but they are certainly a turn off.  I’m not able to devote big chunks of time to read all at once, so having good places to set a book down is helpful for me as a reader.  As a writer, I like to keep that in mind and take it into consideration.  There’s also another unintended benefit – it draws the reader into the story a little more.  With short chapters, readers tend to think, “Okay, just one more chapter.  Oh, that was fast.  I can squeeze in another one.  Okay, one more won’t hurt.”  And so on, and so on.  Before they know it, they’ve ripped through the book and are clamoring for more (if it’s written well).

Now let’s get down to business.  The whole point of this article is to offer suggestions on the when, where, and how you can finally get up to speed with Will McGee.  Here we go…

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CKFiction Shopping Guide for the Holiday Season

The holidays are fast approaching, whether you’re ready for them or not.  Which means the pressure is mounting if you haven’t started shopping yet.  Well let me ease some of that stress with today’s post.  I’m about to give you the perfect suggestions for literally everyone on your shopping list.

Before that though, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page.  I’d like to think we can all agree that there should be no tolerance for ignorance.  Ya with me?  I think there’s a natural connection between ignorance and a lack of reading.  Reading expands your vocabulary.  It informs you about subjects you aren’t familiar with, and it educates you further on subjects that are already are familiar with.  Based on those truths, then we should have all just come to the same conclusion: books are the perfect gift for everybody!  Let me break it down a number of ways and prove it to you. Ready? Continue reading

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Zombie Pirate Publishing – Science Fiction Double Feature Press Release

In the interest of sharing bookish things from all corners of the world and supporting the craft as much as I can, I’d like to share a press release that I received from the other side of the globe.  From the prolific pair of Adam Bennett and Sam M. Phillips, I present to you:


A pair of Sci Fi novellas from authors Adam Bennett and Sam M. Phillips, the founders of Zombie Pirate Publishing.

In the 22nd century, a polluted Earth sits at the heart of an intergalactic trade empire. Alberic Americ, an out of work miner, is desperate to get off world. He’ll do anything to get a job on a ship heading into The Eye, an ominous region of space where mysterious pearls are harvested as fuel. Determined to prove his worth, Alberic battles his inner demons on a journey to discover the source of his own choices.

As a Warrior Monk of the Order, Dietrich Adrigan walks a path separate from the billions living in the New York Elevator. Escaping the high-tension life of the gigacity, Dietrich visits the Earth Sanctuary to contemplate a great trial to impress the Council of Elders. A chance meeting leads him off planet, where he’ll confront interplanetary mafiosos, and risk almost certain death in search of a hidden space station.

Get your copy today in paperback and eBook.

Worldwide link

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