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Bill McSciFi's Blog

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McWedding Gifts for You

Newsletter Posted on Tue, July 09, 2024 07:00:00

Today is the second anniversary of my marriage. Kim has been a blessing in every sense of the word. We met on Facebook and spent over a year getting to know each other. As noted in last week’s newsletter, after I moved to the southside I was close enough for Kim to meet me in person. We did that in September of 2016. We’ve been together ever since.

Now, on to the fun stuff.

The Brittle Riders: Book One (Second Edition) was Voted Best Sci-Fi Novel of 2022 at Critters.org and scored a 92.7% film adaptability rating by the reviewers at Bookscribs.

A brilliant man hosted a party. It was such a good party it culminated in the death of every man, woman, and child on the planet. That story is boring and oft told. This is not that story. This is the story of what happened next.

A very unique tone and world, reminiscent of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY meets a MAGNIFICIENT SEVEN/DIRTY DOZEN – type set up, but with a look, flavor, and lexicon all its own. – Garrick Dion – (producer, Joker, Drive, etc.)

Lord of the Rings meets Tank Girl – S. Shane Thomas.

If David Brin came off a three day tequila bender and dropped acid, he would have written The Brittle Riders. After the death of every man, woman, and child on the planet things get a little weird. Apocalypses are funny that way.

If any of that intrigues you, you can snag a FREE PDF via this link. We’re trying to make this edition a perma free on Kindle, but Amazon likes making money.

In related news, as in I wrote this stuff too, there are two new anthologies out featuring your favorite sci-fi writer. Well, okay, maybe not favorite, but still cool enough to have a newsletter.

Miggy is a toad thumper. On his world that’s the lowest form of life you can be. He ignores that and continues to be happy with his toad thumper wife in their toad thumper church. This is my dark spin on A Day Without a Mexican.

You can read the whole thing in The Rabbit Hole Weird Stories Destination: Journey. If you scroll down you can read the editor’s note on what he thought of the submission.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

Twerking for Jesus. What makes human hearts (and other parts) beat faster? For some, it’s other humans. For others, it’s tentacled creatures from beyond time and space. In this frightful Dark collection of Cthulhu mythos-inspired romcom, nineteen stories and poems, part of a duology, we meet Cthulhu’s wife and children, do some gardening with a wife at the end of the world, join a women’s cult, honor the beloved dead, steal cursed furniture, hook up with Nyarlathotep, and get chased by some Dark Young in pursuit of true love. This Dark tome includes many beloved Mythos creatures and a host of new ones.

You can wallow in the epic coolness of it all when you get Necronomi-RomCom: Dark Edition.

And, as always, the Kiwi Kid (pictured below) continues to power rep McSciFi in New Zealand.

I hope you enjoy your freebie and the new releases. I’m proud of all of them. Until next time, stay safe and sane. I like having you around.

Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi


A McSpecial Anniversary

Newsletter Posted on Tue, July 02, 2024 07:00:00

July has been developing into a good month for me. It’s the month I got married, and that still makes me smile. It’s a lot of things, all joyous and wonderful. But, before any of them could happen something I rarely talk about had to happen first. So, I’m going to peel back the curtain a little and let you in on a tough moment in my life.

July 2, 2016, eight years ago today, was the worst day of my life. I was living outdoors, homeless, without a job and not many prospects. I’d recently finished a tour of all the fun jails in northern Illinois. Nothing serious, just a cop who wanted to fuck with homeless people, so he did. If you’re planning a vacation I can say Cook County Jail’s guards are humane and the food is tolerable. DuPage’s jail is run by jack booted thugs and the food is an insult to the word food. You can guess which one is the for profit prison system.

I should note, most homeless people are harmless simply because they don’t want to call attention to themselves. I, on the other hand, was (am) large, capable of extreme violence and, at that point, had no fucks to give. You get the idea. I was no longer the fun dude you’d invite for drinks.

I’d also written a comic book called Legends Parallel. The story behind that is long and annoying but, suffice it to say, the guy who’d originally hired me had baskets full of bullshit and no money and the man who salvaged the project saved my life.

You see, on July 2, 2016, at my lowest point, Brian Pitts, who was soon to be the owner of Hadithi Sambamba Comix, and his father Danny reached out a hand and, instead of shoving me to the curb, handed me the keys to an apartment. It was a shithole, but it was indoors, had an address, and meant I could get mail and have an ID. It meant I had a life again. I did not waste this opportunity.

Still, I’d been feral for a while and spent July 3rd wandering and exploring my new neighborhood, South Chicago being slightly different than Logan Square where I’d been surviving. By the end of the day I was sitting in a stranger’s front yard, eating fried chicken, drinking their beer, and trying to explain how my lily white ass ended up on their block. The chicken was delicious and that’s how I ended up becoming friends with Aiesha and her family. You have no idea who that is, so let’s move on.

On July 4th was when everything changed for once and for all. Around noon Danny knocked on my new door and told me, “The family cookout starts in half an hour. Be there.”

As I sat down on a lawn chair munching on burgers, brats, and Bar-B-Q spaghetti (a delicacy my GERD now denies me), it gradually dawned on my slow ass that I now had a family. Something I’d given up hope of ever having. As time went on and I was introduced to more Pitts family members, the more it became clear that if Brian and Danny wanted to adopt this goofy white guy, then they would too. I was invited into homes, broke bread with many people, slept on floors, and laughed as grandchildren grew into wonderful adults.

When I met Kim it became apparent they knew she was a keeper before I did. No matter. They were right. Barely three months after we met Kim left her cushy suburban life and moved in with me. Soon enough, she joined me in breaking bread with new family, learning to love grandchildren we’d never have, and integrating these new life experiences into our own. And, this is key for both of us, these are our experiences and no one could take them away from us.

In the summer of 2017 we got invited to a Pitts’ family cook out in honor of Danny’s birthday. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the first black cook out Kim had ever attended.

My white readers are all saying, “So what? You toss some burgers on a grill and hope uncle Harold doesn’t get too racist.” But, it’s more than that. A black cook out is a sacred place, where people can set aside their ‘white faces’ and just be themselves.

All in all, things were going smoothly. Kim was enjoying the food and the company, I was laughing with Brian and his cousins, there may have been an off color joke dropped in there somewhere, and everyone was having fun. Then we retired to the garage for the lighting of the cake, and the singing of Happy Birthday. I share this not to  embarrass  my wife, but to give a head’s up to anyone who is given the opportunity to attend a cook out, black people have a different Happy Birthday Anthem. It’s by Stevie Wonder, if you haven’t heard it please click the link to enjoy. Anyway, my poor wife was staring slack jawed as people sang and clapped and danced in celebration of a great man’s birthday.

She knows it by heart now.

And I’m glad. We lost Danny on September 12, 2019. He was an amazing man who loved family, even me, more than anything else. Our last conversation, hours before he passed, was all about his granddaughter and her ballet recital. He even sent me a video. To this day, if I’m feeling blue, I play that video and imagine him smiling.

The pics below are my new family. In the top there’s Brian. me, and my buddy Steve whom I’ve known since 1982. Our lives have wandered in and out and are now firmly in. My wife loves both those mugs almost as much as me. The next pic is me and our new nephew Danat’e. He and Kim have birthdays close together so cake has been shared and will be shared again. The bottom pic is our second kiss as husband and wife.

Some people go to Build a Bear workshops. I built a family. With the help of some incredible people who refused to let me fail. If you haven’t already, go get yourself some of them.

We’ll hop back on the McSciFi train next time. Thanks for reading along

Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi


We’re McGrowing

Newsletter Posted on Tue, June 18, 2024 07:00:00

First off, I’d like to welcome Abu Nayem Sayed to our team. Abu’s a well respected, and experienced, digital content promoter. I’ve been sitting back and watching him as he surgically places promotions, with purchase links, in places where dedicated readers congregate. He isn’t targeting other authors since indie authors tend to be poor. Being honest, it has been revelatory watching him work. Nothing went out until it was pre-approved, reports are regular and transparent, and, overall, I couldn’t be happier.

Adding to the fun, The Brittle Riders has been chosen as a featured book in the fall edition of the Kirkus Reviews catalog. That will give tens of thousands of book buyers instant access to purchase the book for their libraries, stores, or chains.

Densely packed, SF-tinged high fantasy that mildly satirizes the genre. – Kirkus Reviews

You can CLICK HERE to download a free copy of Book 1 in PDF format.

In other joyful news, I’ve been nominated for Creator of the Month at Nedanatix. They are the west coast distributor that handles all the Hadithi Sambamba Comix titles. We have had the pleasure of working with them for over seven years and we’re hoping to do so for many more.

On the east coast, Vivid Panel Comics has overcome a minor hiccup and will, once again, be representing all my titles at many major East Coast comic cons, including The New York Comic Con this October. Here’s what they had to say about my latest title, Bob: Sins of the Son

“Bob: Sins of the Son” follows the unique story of the son of Death who opts out of the family business to become a superhero known simply as Bob. While the artwork leaves much to the imagination, the expertly crafted story more than compensates. Bill McCormick weaves a narrative that is both compelling and thought-provoking, making this a highly recommended read by Vivid Pulse.

As always, if you want autographed copies of anything I have in stock, head on over to the McSciFi Merch Store. If you’d prefer T-shirts, mugs, or onesies for your toddlers, pop over to the McSciFi Gear Store. Obviously, there’s nothing preventing you from visiting them both.

Until next time, avoid offering human sacrifices in rush hour traffic.

Yeah, that is kind of specific, isn’t it?

Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi


What a Freaking McWeek

Newsletter Posted on Tue, June 04, 2024 12:24:04

Last Sunday, May 26, at around 6:30 AM I was sitting in the john contemplating the universe and my place in it, as people are wont to do, when my phone rang. It was my neighbor letting me know someone had broken a window on our car. I ran outside, confirmed that, and came in and woke my beloved bride. Apparently, nothing was stolen, so this was just random vandalism.

Or so they’d like you to believe.

With the car not safe for highway driving, and no way for us to get to church, my wondrous wife decided to go get some Popeye’s. It was then she discovered the entire steering column had been torn apart. Fortunately, our next door neighbors swooped in to salvage some of the day and took my cute-as-can-be spouse to get some Popeye’s.

Long story short, the wannabe master thief did almost $1,500 worth of damage to the car, plus the tow, and now the insurance company and the repair shop are arguing about which parts are actually needed to make the car function again. Needless to say, we still don’t have a car.

In a lighter vein, Legends Parallel was recently reviewed on the Indy Comix Review Show by, the gloriously birth named, Slim Jim Longfoot. This was the greatest comic book review show I have ever seen. Words won’t do it justice, but I’m going to try. Unlike other review shows where the host holds up the cover, says a few words, and moves on, Slim pops open the comic and then reads it to himself, offering occasional commentary. As he does this people are following along and asking questions. Then, when he’s done, he sums up the reading experience. You have to see it to believe it but know that he liked Legends Parallel a lot.

Finally, as The Brittle Riders keeps getting more and more attention, it was decided to give away Book 1 for Free to allow everyone a chance to see what all the excitement’s about. That link will take you to a happy little PDF that you can download, share as desired, and, if I’ve done my job right, enjoy. If you’re one of those people who needs more info before committing to a free book, just CLICK HERE for an updated list of reviews, previews, and promotional materials, all courtesy of Azoth Khem.

Until next time, stay safe and sane.

Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi


McFree Stuff for You

Newsletter Posted on Tue, May 21, 2024 07:44:47

Did you ever let rip a fart that was louder than two Harleys with bad timing belts trapped in an echo chamber? Whose fumes were so noxious as to be joyous? Yeah, well, apparently my wife, she who is the light of my life, the spark to all that is joy, the beauty which trancends the ethereal, is less than thrilled with my emanations. Oh well, you can’t pleae everyone.

When I was first shopping The Brittle Riders to film production companies one producer told me “If it’s a good enough project we’ll find the fucking money.” That is, somewhat, true. But, getting a film produced isn’t a linear thing. It isn’t “Bob likes it” and then “Bob cuts a check.” There are lots of Bobs who need to sign off on a project before it sees the light of day. That being said, yesterday, for the second time since I’ve been doing this, a company requested the Tone Reel and Pitch Book, and I included a script bible, as well as a link to reviews (the very first link in this newsletter).

The shopping process is pretty standardized. First are the initial readers. They are given purposely vague restrictions to limit submissions. That’s so the production companies don’t miss out on a script they’ll love but also to eliminate obvious misfits. If they’re looking for an apocalyptic action film, they’re not going to want to read a cool LGBTQ+ romance. Or vice versa. Someone will, but not them. So, thus doth the winnowing begin. Then it goes to a layer of professionals who aren’t producers, but are trusted aides, industry professionals, and assistants. This is where 90% of all rejections happen. Then, if it still has a heartbeat, it goes to the people who make ideas into movies. This is where I’m at. They are now attempting to justify the budget. The method for doing that is shrouded in mists and held in secrecy by the financing monks. All I can do is hope, pray, and dance naked in the moonlight in a public parking lot.

Back in the day I looked good naked. Today is not that day.

Now, I promised you free stuff. I did not lie. There’s no trick, you can keep your nudes, I just need your attention.

For a free PDF copy of The Brittle Riders: Book One, just click the link and make your literary life a joy.

This is a great way for Azoth Khem to lure innocents into their apocalyptic web. A lot of people are wondering what the hype is about. That’s a fair question. This is a way for them to join our cult of cool humans for free. You want to be a cool human, don’t you?

Also today, a company rejected Legends Parallel for not being boring enough. That sounds petty, but I saw the projects they picked and every single one was formulaic crap. They may do well, and I wish them no ill, but the production companies should have clarified they were looking for stuff that had already been made.

Think any Bruce Willis film that doesn’t star Bruce Willis.

Also, in the “Not boring” category, my short Twerking for Jesus is being released in NECRONOMI-ROMCOM Vol. 2. The dark edition. You expected nothing less from me, I hope. It’s the fun story of a grandma with a twitchy ass who kicks off the apocalypse. As grandmas are wont to do.

Okay, you’ve been tortured enough. Thanks for reading along and I’ll see you next week.

Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi


McSCIFI LAND! YAY!

Newsletter Posted on Tue, May 14, 2024 08:45:56

As a writer I feel I’m more of a commentator on the world we live in than a dystopian fantasist. Because, really, how can I get any weirder than our former president who just praised the late, great, Hannibal Lecter. The problem here is threefold; (1) Hannibal Lecter isn’t real, (2) Anthony Hopkins, the actor who portrayed him, is alive, and (3) eating people is wrong. Or, at least, it used to be.

Moving on, I had a blast at the Flossmoor Public LIbrary Author Fest. I did a reading from Book III of The Brittle Riders and was incredibly well received. The scene involves a character who no longer wants to celebrate war. He’s been in battles, carried dead friends off the field, and wants to put it all behind him. He’s kept all of this inside him for years. Finally, at his wife’s behest, he lets it all out. At the end she says, “You deserve a better wife than me.” That line got an audible gasp from the crowd. That’s all an author can ask.

People were interested in the stuff that doesn’t really get any pub in my newsletters. That’s on me. I’ve been hyper focused on the cinematic stuff. Which is cool, but there’s other stuff that’s worth your coin.

Stuff About Things is one such book. As Azoth Khem Publishing notes, “The squishy brain of Bill “McSciFi” McCormick has been responsible for many words. Some of them coherent. What you are looking at is a compendium of short stories, fun looks at history, and the greatest rejection letter ever penned. It was so great it started his career.” My wife calls it the “Gateway drug to McSciFi.” This book was difficult to get out. Every time we’d assemble something I would sell one of the stories. I know, I know, first world problems. Still and all, it’s a great collection and I am deeply proud of it. And, since much of it was written with radio in mind, back when I was a guest on The Big Wakeup Call, it’s family friendly.

Alokia: The Kaiju Hunter. She is the last of her kind. Any hope of aid is long buried. Those she thought allies had betrayed her and it seemed the galaxy was hunting her to finish the job. But, thanks to the help of a drunken monkey king, hope may yet dawn over the distant horizon. I wrote this specifically for tweens. And, by golly, they do seem to love it when they discover it. It also is a great read for any kaiju fans in the audience.

Bob: Sins of the Son. Sure, your dad is Death and your mom was some twisted chick who had a thing for death, literally, and your sister is one of those peeps who likes rules. Does any of that mean you get to be a superhero? Or kill anyone who pisses you off? Maybe it does. And maybe it should. The sins of this son are the stuff of legend. This is solidly in the teen camp when it comes to readers. It has a couple of naughty words, and some themes might elude younger readers, but it’s a great story with amazing film noir styled art.

Once again, I apologize for sending out the faux Asian mess of a newsletter last Tuesday. Even my Asian fans were baffled by it. One likened it to reading soup. Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi



McUpdates and McLanguage Warnings

Newsletter Posted on Tue, May 07, 2024 19:25:46

Warning! This newsletter contains some naughty words.

Two weeks ago I shared how Marcie’s Marvels was going to be considered for development. That was to include possible streaming versions, new comics, and anything else smart people could conceive. Those discussions happened. The good news is that all involved love the project. The combination of philanthropy, empathy, and a great story make an enticing package. That said, there are only two issues of the series available. You can read them for free via the previous link. So, we’re all working on developing the story, adding some heft to the package, and trying to create the most marketable version we can. I have to admit, having people not named me pulling some weight is refreshing. 

In other comic news, the nice people, and they really are nice, over at Hadithi Sambamba Comix are upping their game and adding some new titles. That includes adding new issues of Legends Parallel, the granddaddy of them all. Speaking of Legends Parallel, a film script created for it has been accepted by four production companies for consideration. That DOES NOT mean people are cutting checks. But it does mean they’re not adverse to doing so.

Baby steps.

I should note that our West Coast distribution partner, Nerdantix is adding card games featuring characters from indie titles, like Legends Parallel, that you can play, guilt free, at home. That’s right, you can pretend to be Phystee Nicole Brown cosplaying as Oshun without being layered in guilt by your family.

You know you want to.

Speaking of film scripts, based on critiques received on The Brittle Riders pilot script that has been reviewed by multiple production companies we’ve, a/ka/ I’ve, been making some changes. A basic overview gives us this; (1) the story rocks, (2) the characters are fascinating, & (3) what the hell are you smoking? But it also gave us this, (1) the script is a gloss of the book and should provide more, & (2) it’s kind of mainstream, which the books are not.

Valid criticisms all.

So, thanks to the internet and tequla, I dove under the hood and tried to make this better.

Thanks to the gods of Agave, google it, it seems I did.

Here are the comments from beta readers who have finished The Brittle Riders Begins (film script).

** I want to see this.????
** Motherfucking make this thing!!!!!!!??
** oh my fucking god (I think that was a compliment)
** I want this to haunt my dreamsĀ ??????
** … and, when this gets made, I’m taking the entire office to opening night and telling them I know this motherfucker!

They also pointed out a typo, a possible logical inconsistency, corrected by fixing lazy grammar, and gave suggestions to enhance a couple of scenes.

The reviews are still coming in, but I’m finding them helpful and flattering.

So, where does this leave us? In a better place than 99% of the people who yell on the interwebs. That stipulated, no one has pulled the trigger. My wife is not laden with pearls, nor has she been forced to clog the faucet dripping gold. Nevertheless, every day brings us closer to pulling that trigger, unclogging that faucet, and making something happen.

Stay safe, sane, and out of jail.

I set the bar low.

Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi


Wish us Some McLuck

Newsletter Posted on Tue, April 16, 2024 08:03:16

Tomorrow morning, while you’re having waffles or tequila, you do you, Elizabeth Gerald, the creator of Marcie’s Marvels, will be on a plane headed to meet investors who want to take Marcie’s Marvels to a larger audience. That audience could include a streaming service. This series has been a passion project for me. I had a messed up childhood. I was a pack a day smoker by the time I was twelve. As a bisexual kid in a strict Irish Catholic family, repressed doesn’t begin to describe it. While nothing I experienced comes close to the horrors Marcie faced, and ultimately succumbed to, I still feel the need to keep other kids out of harm’s way. And Marcie’s Marvels is a good way to get the message out. Help is out there.

Marcie is a super powered teen who fights the exploitation and bullying of teens where ever she can. Marcie’s Marvels is based on the life of a young girl named Marcie who killed herself after suffering endless bullying. Her mother decided to use her daughter’s tragedy to provide hope to others. With that in mind she started the MJG Movement as a Children’s Advocacy organization dedicated to serving as a resource for children and families that are victims of sexual abuse and suicide.

CLICK HERE to read issue #1 and CLICK HERE to read issue #2.

In other comics related news, if you know any teens you can impress them by getting them Bob: Sins of the Son. It’s out and getting some love. For those of you who haven’t read Bob: Sins of the Son yet, I feel sorry for you. Here’s what Thomas Ryan, owner of Vivid Panel Comics, had to say.

Reading this comic feels like turning pages in Bill’s mind; Images barely coming together but supported by one of the best indie stories I’ve read this year.

The combination makes it IMPOSSIBLE to put down. It has an outstanding premise, keeps you guessing, and although the ending is satisfying, it leaves a little nagging bit of curiosity about the cast and the world the story takes place in.

It’s execution is play book, but its perspective was one I cannot recall seeing before. Bill should be proud. He put a great title into the world.

This is probably the only comic you’ll ever read that has a re-imagined Pater Noster (Lord’s Prayer) and a protagonist who is the son of Death with a disapproving father and a judgmental sister. Where did Death’s kids come from? That’s actually the least interesting thing you’ll learn in the book.

You can get a copy of your very own when you CLICK HERE.

Finally, for tweens on up, ALOKIA THE KAIJU HUNTER is out and finding fans. Alokia is the last of her kind. Any hope of aid is long buried. Those she thought allies had betrayed her and it seemed the galaxy was hunting her to finish the job. But, thanks to the help of a drunken monkey king, hope may yet dawn over the distant horizon.

Get all the copies you want when you CLICK HERE

You continue to be a wonderful audience. Until next time, stay safe and sane.

Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi


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