Friday, July 30, 2010

True independence

This place, this Sherwood Forest is for everybody seeking true freedom, true independence from oppression and censorship, seeking to express themselves freely, without constraint. This includes, but aren’t limited to self-publishing authors, musicians, filmmakers, artists and human beings in general. True art surpasses art and has a deserved place in human society as a whole. Art is politics, because politics is everything, whether or not you choose to go left or right when you leave your home. Art should be radical, should be controversial, both because there is am undeniable need for it in today’s world, and because the Human Being should always seek to break boundaries and imposed realities.

Monday, July 26, 2010

True Artistic Freedom stage 3

My novel The Defenseless is now indeed available all over the world, for virtually anybody to enjoy. The Print on Demand (POD) process is exceeding my wildest expectation. There are no disadvantages compared to offset printing, only advantages. And if a store or a retailer wants to buy 3000 copies of my book and I want to offer them lower prices my printer Lightning Source (LSI) offers offset printing as well.

Self publishing and POD is the way of the future. The old ways are dead. Good riddance. The only way the tyrannical established publishers have any hold of authors anymore is if a given author gives them that hold by clinging to the old and horrible ways. Everybody, generally speaking going through the old system of sell out and censorship should ask themselves hard questions about what they’re doing.

I’m becoming, like I have for a long time. And this is just the beginning. I have lots of novels to offer you in the coming years, all among the most controversial the world has ever seen published, and totally unacceptable to the before mentioned old and horrible system.

And the next step is evident.

I’m now ready, more than ready to take that next step.

There has been an increasingly strong need, for some time, now, to counter the propaganda issued by established publishers of books and music, producers of films and art dealers in general. Young, hopeful authors and artists are still caught by that destructive establishment, still told by «authors» and «artists» that have already submitted themselves and their work to be ruined that the old system is best. Those established authors lie through their teeth to protect their hard-won vanity and their corporate masters, a process very common in all professions. They call themselves professionals, but are little more than hired thugs for the power still exploiting and ruining art for a quick buck or for personal satisfaction.

Do I see any value, any value at all in the vast majority of art published through established channels? Of course not! How could I, or anyone searching for true freedom of expression? It’s all the same tedious mash, a narrow template hardly deviating from itself at all. I was asked if I support authors/artists attempting to find acceptance in that horrible system and I certainly don’t.

So, I’m starting up True Independence in the hope that it one day will grow to become something major and great, but never established.

No matter, it’s worth pursuing and has its own rewards. The attempt itself makes it worth it. Self publishers are the true authors and the true artists, and even though they are a diverse bunch, they’re far less prone to be boxed in and limit their work through self-censorship. By rejecting the censorship and hacking process of established publishers, producers and similar we’re also, many of us rejecting the overall tyranny so prevalent in society at large, inevitably, because established media, the fourth estate has always served the general established society, tyranny of the world.

I have been very frustrated, also as a reader all my life. One casual glance at a given book or article, and I see censorship, see the skeleton hand of established publishers and a society filled with oppression, of both the printed word and speech in general.

Wild, unbound creativity should be celebrated, not frowned at and persecuted, like it is today. There is no country in the world where true freedom reigns. A society with a justified respect for itself should be encouraging creativity and free expression, not stifling it or merely tolerating it.

Say goodbye to dogma, to oppression of thought and speech and life in general. Live your life, as close as you can possibly come, like it should be lived.

The story so far:

Independence

Modern slavery

The Storyteller

True Artistic Freedom (II)

Reading it again

The chores of an independent author/artist

My fifty cents

True artistic freedom

Labeling and genre writing

Alarums of reality

The difficulties in describing a complex storyline

Other links:

Firewind - my stories, art and poems on the Web

My writer «CV»

The Janus Clan

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Independence - My best advice to new writers or/and artists

One thing is more important than any other. My foremost advice to burgeoning authors or burgeoning anything is this:

Independence.

It takes precedence over virtually everything else.

You do things your way, or you don’t do them. If you can’t or won’t be original, can’t or won’t do something that hasn’t been done before or done that particular way… don’t bother.

That leaves out any traditional path, leaves out anything even smacking of the average, the safe and acceptable. Any artist or human being’s duty and right are to blaze a trail in blood and guts and wild abandon.

Forget about agents and of being accepted by established, traditional publishers. Don’t be a slave. Be your own publisher.

Further advices:

Don’t edit your story to death. Frown at editing, but do change what you’re not pleased with from the original manuscript, and consider without prejudice suggested changes by people you trust, accept them or not, but stay loyal to the original idea.

I tend to compare writing and subsequent «editing» with a bank robbery. If you plan too hard and long, nothing will ever be done. You may stand right across the street from the bank, and mutter to yourself: «Why didn’t I think of that before»? And you turn back and go home…

And years pass by, and you may no longer be in the necessary mental and physical shape to commit to the robbery and all plans remain in your drawer.

Incidentally, most of the advice young authors/artists receive today is still infested by the old, stale and tyrannical system. They tell you you have to submit, to bow to guidelines that has always seemed quite insane to me, now, more than ever.

I knew from the very start that my books would be published one night, somehow. I confess I didn’t know how, but I felt it in my bones. And with the onset of digital publishing and the Internet they were. And now I have the pleasure of being able to publish my backlog, publish twelve books during the next two years.

Many great manuscripts have remained in the drawer because of the tyranny of the established publishers and the system of tyranny they established, but that system is now, increasingly so in tatters. And what great news that is.

This is Your time, the age of the truly independent artist/author/publisher.

You should read the links below. They provide you with a step by step history of my evolution as an author/artist/publisher, and also technical advice.


The story so far:

Modern slavery

The Storyteller

True Artistic Freedom (II)

Reading it again

The chores of an independent author/artist

My fifty cents

True artistic freedom

Labeling and genre writing

Alarums of reality

The difficulties in describing a complex storyline

Other links:

Firewind - my stories, art and poems on the Web

My writer «CV»

The Janus Clan

Monday, July 12, 2010

Modern slavery

I read about modern human slavery, what I call the modern human condition already in my early teens, and it quickly became a part of my writing. It’s present some way or another in almost every story I’ve written, but most of all in my first novels, The Defenseless and The Slaves. I read about people being kidnapped to distant lands and started to dig deeper, and then I found stories about people, refugees, immigrants coming to Europe, United States and the West in general that were turned into slaves, in many ways, not only as sexual slaves or cheap labor, but in far more fundamental ways… joining those already there.

This was a time when I, in ever more fundamental ways found that the description of modern society as basically fair was a base lie. I can’t recall exactly when that thought first struck me, but I would guess it was a slow realization, as I gathered more knowledge and more basic understanding of how the current world works.

I decided, made a conscious decision early on, on many things, to focus on the story, but also to include what concerned, excited and enraged me, both on a personal level and with society as a whole, no matter where it might lead me and the stories I wrote. This fit well into my early disgust for any kind of censorship. I watched how unpleasant truths were edited out of the main news stories and on every level of society. That before-mentioned modern condition was a non-issue.

It still is.

My books are political, of course they are, since everything ultimately is political. Not party political, mind you, but about the lives we live or don’t live. They tell an engaging story, but in that story is everything that I am and care about. Yes, art and the person making it is the same. Most current stories told by established artists are as bland and boring and non-engaging and shallow as the person writing it. When a slave is embracing his or her existence as a slave, like most present-day people do and writes a story about any given subject the result is doomed to be rather bad.

My pledge to myself and the world, both as an artist and a Human Being has been and is quite different. I attack life head on. As a review in Green Anarchist wrote years ago, about my novel ShadowWalk: «This is full-on reality. Blood and sweat and shit - nothing's toned down or dulled. The intensity of life comes through strong and meaty. Real life bursting off the pages».

I love that, of course. It’s nice to have confirmation that you are on the right track now and then.

Slavery, the obvious and the non-obvious is the modern condition, and we’re all its victims, and I will always fight it with everything I am.

«Approximately a million people are each year sold to forced labor, prostitution or quite simply slavery. It’s a common myth that slavery is abandoned in our time.

It’s shameful that we in 1993 are faced with a world encompassing slave-trade, from Brazil to Bangla Desh, in China, Thailand, Pakistan and Europe, in San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, New York, Boston…»

Excerpt from speech held by
Joseph P. Kennedy II
In the American Congress, Thursday, July 15th 1993


«None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free»

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Errico Malatesta, "L'Anarchia", 1891

1984

Joke

A varied and good life

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A frank, honest man

"The system should be changed, I think, to begin with. It's very hard, really, the way our system operates, now, for a truly frank, honest man to stay in that system indefinitely without being weeded out or fired or made apathetic or in fact corrupted in the end".
- Daniel Ellsberg, interview with Walter Cronkite June 23, 1971

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Storyteller



I’m a Storyteller. It’s the one thing I have always been good at. There will always be storytellers around the campfire, and I will always be there, to tell my stories, and shake up and stir the gathering.

This was one of the earliest things I noticed about myself, my skill of weaving stories. The current world, society, school, civilization did its best to destroy that fire, like it does all things. But it failed. Even though my ability, my need to create sort of hibernated during early school years of forced learning, it never went away. And it never will.

I know that, now, and I rejoice, because this, among other things, above all else is what I do, what I want to do. I won’t call it a gift, because that implies that someone gave it to me, and no one did. It’s a potential I was born with, and made to grow on my own. After the first tentative steps it flourished. I’ve written millions of words since then, played a lot of music, spoken a lot of words, told many a story.

And I always will.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Getting rid of fat - How to become a truly mobile human being - (I of IV)

If you want to know how, I'll tell you. It’s easy and free and liberating beyond words. It’s about running into the forest and the wilderness, and make sure to sweat a lot while doing so.

I am not talking about a Sunday stroll here, not even every Sunday. It has to be more than that. You must do it at least three times a week through wet moors and exertive terrain, running up and down steep hills. At the start of an intense period of exercise you may loose five kilos (ten pounds) through a two-hour run. That will beat any artificial means, drugs and diets and all those methods so popular in today’s alienated society easily.

If you have never exercised or moved around a lot before, you need to be patient, very patient. Believe me, I know. The first twenty years of my life I hardly moved around at all. I was quite simply not used to do that, and I had to learn from scratch what all human beings should learn from an early age. It hurt, hurt easily, something I realized later it was supposed to do, though. It took time, a very long time. I just walked at first, took «Sunday strolls» or similar. It took me two years until I started running. I know now, in hindsight and with my increased awareness that it’s possible to speed up the process. But both my body and myself, the entire carcass, mentally and physically had to be dragged from the mire I found myself in. On the other hand the process itself was certainly not without advantages. By now I have a long list of pretexts a lazy bastard may use to not exercise that particular day... I remember using all kind of excuses, both to myself and my friends eager to help me get in shape. I’ve always been a very creative person...

Long story short, the process taught me to discard all those downright harmful voices whispering in my mind, and that has helped me in other ways, as well.

Slowly but surely I removed the waste, the results of years of abuse from my body and my mind. My awakening wasn't merely physical. I discovered that the saying «a day without exercise is a day without meaning» is true. You become an exercise junkie over time, inevitably. When you reach a certain level your body starts releasing «the body's natural drug» into your bloodstream every time you exercise, and you feel down if you don't get your daily fix. At least if you take a two-day break. And everything becomes easier. You notice it if you take it too easy when you feel cold and increase speed just to feel better. After a while everything just happens by itself without further thought, a conscious decision on your part. You become closer to your instincts, to what the human being should be.

I've never had any major problem with obesity, but I changed from being fairly squishy to be slender and muscular at the same time, and I never proceeded, deliberately to competition levels. I'll say this to a person that has tried on hundreds of ridiculous and expensive and useless diets: if you exercise quite moderately you may eat whatever you want, also of «bad fat» without getting fat. You should never forget that most of the food we eat in present day society is bad for us, though.

But, as stated I lost five kilos during two-hour exercises trough the wilderness at close to full speed without breaks. A heavier or fat person will loose far more. And you have to eat a bit before you exercise and a lot afterwards. You need nourishment, preferably meat, definitely meat after a major exertion because you would want to build your muscle mass, not lessen it, as you would do if you didn't eat. If you don't eat after a major exertion you would build your fat, not your muscles. Most people with limited knowledge of nutrition misunderstand this, with results completely opposite of the intention.

One final matter: this worked and works for me. Each person should do his or her own thing, should adapt all this to what works for them. Trial and error work just fine. I'm no nutrition expert, not at all, fortunately not. These are things I've learned over the years, on my own. Experience is the best teacher.

Part Two

The Unmoving

Friday, July 02, 2010

True Artistic Freedom (II)

I finally printed my novel The Defenseless. I finally did it.

Publishing date will be July 21.

The novel Your Own Fate is also printed and will be released August 21.

So it begins.

It feels beyond great.

I’ve printed at lightningsource.com and am publishing through its extensive network of distribution partners, retailers and wholesalers.

I’m quite pleased with Lightning Source so far. Quite frankly, when I read what they had to offer, I thought it was too good to be true, since when something sounds too good to be true, it very often is. But I found them to be very much on the level. They’re non expensive and fairly easy to use, and they have that great collaboration with those retailers and wholesalers around the world. Their costumer support isn’t that good, especially not the technical part (they don’t offer technical support). LSI is a printer with inherent distributor abilities. You need to know what you’re doing (they assume you do, that you are or/and have the ability and know-how of a publisher and staff), but I found it much easier then I had expected. Some of the information on their website is outdated or invalid or inaccurate for my purposes. I make a color cover and a black & white «bookblock» interior and for that you need to be able to use only two applications, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Acrobat Pro. That’s all. And in Acrobat you only need to use one single function, namely the creation of a technically correct PDF file.

My previous experience with Pre-Media, digital printing helped me tremendously, though, made it easier to understand the technical stuff. You need to read all the technical instructions on their site, but don’t despair too much while doing so. It’s easier than you fear, even though it takes time, and you should take your time learning the craft of modern printing.

You make the cover with a template provided by Lightning Source in Adobe Photoshop, save it as a PDF, following the instructions on their site. The cover to The Defenseless turned out, in real life to be exactly as I imagined it in advance. I write the content in Microsoft Word, set the desired book size and save that, too, as a PDF, using Adobe Acrobat Pro, using the easy to follow instructions at the Lightning Source site.

That’s it, really. That’s all there is to it. It works tremendously well for me. I could have made several covers a day, if I had wanted to, and it gets easier every time I’m doing it. Saving the Word-file in PDF takes a minute (five or fifty the first time, while you’re rechecking the technical specifications to be on the safe side).

If you want to make books, magazines and stuff with colored interior you’ll have to use Adobe InDesign Pro or Quark Xpress. That isn’t my department, even though I’m learning.


Costs for setting up one title are between $100 and $200, depending on your preferences. After that you pay only $10 a year for that title to remain in their digital catalog, «storage» and No More, for anything (except if you want to buy physical copies from them). From then on they just give you money for each new copy you sell. I paid about $1500 a year seven years ago for storing physical copies of each of my titles. The difference is staggering.

I should point out that I haven’t sold a single copy yet, but everything is in place. In a three weeks' time my book will be available all over the planet, for anyone wanting to buy it, and that fact alone is great beyond imagining.


This is my current publishing schedule:

The Defenseless - July 21, 2010
Your Own Fate - August 21, 2010
The Slaves - October 31, 2010
Night on Earth - December 10, 2010
Amos Keppler Collected Poems 1989 - 2003 - February 29, 2011
Birds Flying in the Dark - April 30, 2011
Dreams Belong to the Night - June 21, 2011
ShadowWalk – August 21, 2011
Alarums of Reality - October 31, 2011
At the End of the Rainbow - December 10, 2011

Afterglow Dust - February 29, 2012
Amos Keppler Selected Essays and Articles - June 21, 2012
Black Dragon - October 31, 2012
Lewis of Modern York - February 29, 2013
Thunder Road: Ice and Fire - June 21, 2013
Season of the Witch - October 31, 2013

Amos Keppler: Secrets - A collection of poems 2003 - 2015 - October 31, 2015

It will probably fail at some point (it usually does), but this is a fair approximate at this point…

I'm a man with a plan, and it's great to have a plan.

This calls for a GREAT celebration (and it will be). History will note the shaking of the Earth.

The story so far:

Firewind - my stories, art and poems on the Web

My writer «CV»

The Janus Clan

Read also these articles:

Reading it again

The chores of an independent author/artist

My fifty cents

True artistic freedom

Labeling and genre writing

Alarums of reality

The difficulties in describing a complex storyline