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Musings and Site Updates

So a few years back, I was in a movie. It was a short film called Louis Schafer, and the filmmakers wanted somebody who actually practiced magick to play the title character – an evil wizard who basically goes around messing with people. It’s currently on YouTube and you can check it out here if you’re interested.

It was a lot of fun to do – though keep in mind I didn’t write the script and some of the stuff my character says about magick either isn’t true or doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Anyway, the film was up on YouTube for a little while, then was taken down, and went up again (I think) this last year. And the other day one of the filmmakers posted a whole bunch of stills from the film on Facebook. How this leads up to the latest site update is that several of those pictures of me were really good, and I decided to replace a couple of the pictures of me that I’ve been using for a while on this site.

I love the picture that accompanies this post, but unfortunately it’s a little blurry so it won’t work for publicity stuff. At some point I’m going to see if there’s any effective way to fix that, but I suspect if there is it’s beyond my skill as a graphic designer.

While we’re talking about photos, don’t get me started on the whole “authors need glamour shots to sell books” thing. It drives me nuts. I’m pretty ordinary-looking, so I won’t be passing for a fashion model any time soon – and I shouldn’t have to. Writing is basically the ultimate non-visual art form. How good I look doesn’t have anything to do with how good (or bad) my writing is.

It’s a little like whole clown sex stabbing thing. Whether or not you’re the victim of a bizarre, tabloid-worthy crime shouldn’t have anything to do with how good (or bad) your writing is either.

But I digress a little. The upshot is that I got ahold of some better photos and updated the site. I also decided to add a new About The Esotericist page that goes into more of my magical background than my “straight” About The Author biography does. That’s because people who buy occult books are a lot more interested in my magical experience and qualifications than my fiction fans generally are.

That’s something I find kind of weird, too. Back when I published my first fantasy novel, I thought that it would make a difference to people that I was a real magical practitioner. As it turns out it didn’t, and not just because I’m not the greatest marketer. Well-known magick author Donald Michael Kraig – his Modern Magick is one of the best-selling magick books of all time – tried it as well around the same time.

Now from the snippet I read I didn’t think his novel was all that good, but still. This was somebody with a huge media platform in the magick world, and his “magick novel by a real magician” didn’t do much better than mine. It’s currently at 5.5 million on that Amazon sales rankings, ahead of Arcana which is down at 7.5 million – but sales ranks below a couple million basically mean you’re selling a couple of copies a year.

So being an esotericist doesn’t really translate to extra notoriety as a fantasy author. At least, I don’t have any evidence supporting the idea that it does.

But anyway, back to the site. I also have gone through and taken out the Google+ social media links that no longer work and should have been removed when G+ closed, and added a Buy Now link to For The Chance of Union, which includes my Heptarchial evocation presentation that I gave at the National OTO convention a couple of years ago. The Buy Now link for Liber Spirituum has been updated with the URL for the paperback edition, since the limited edition hardcover sold out a while back.

In other news, work has been eating my brain lately and I’m behind on where I would like to be with writing projects. That’s one of the reasons this site hasn’t been updated recently. Hopefully things will ease up a bit and some point and I get back at it.

What Haunts Us

whu_pic_smallerFor the last couple of weeks my publishing company, Moonfire Publishing, has been finishing up the rollout for our latest title, What Haunts Us by Loren Niemi. Loren is a storyteller who performs all over the country, and What Haunts Us is his first-ever published story collection.

This book was challenging to produce, but if I don’t say so myself the result is pretty outstanding. From a literary standpoint the narrative style comes from performance storytelling, which gives it a fundamentally different feel than your standard anthology of short stories. Some are adapted from existing folklore and others are entirely original compositions. This is a work that has been long in the making, as Loren has been performing for more than forty years. You can check out his website here for more information about him and his background.

One of things we learned in the course of producing this book is that publishing a title directly through Ingram is not nearly as difficult as some authors make it out to be. You do want to have the latest Adobe stuff like Creative Cloud, but if you do the process can be streamlined quite efficiently. I was pretty solid at putting books together for CreateSpace and the new KDP paperback production works pretty similarly, but the advantage with going directly through Ingram is that bookstores are actually willing to order copies through them. Even with Amazon’s “expanded distribution” that’s not really an option.

Loren will be performing tomorrow evening, Wednesday February 27th, at Tillie’s Farmhouse in Saint Paul, Minnesota. If you are local to the area, come by and check it out. It promises to be a good time with opening music starting at 6 PM and Loren’s storytelling starting at 7 PM. He also travels around the country, with his upcoming events posted on his website. If you get a chance to see him, you should – there aren’t a lot of storytellers around any more, and Loren is an excellent one.