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Bill McSciFi's Blog

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New McFun and New McFans

Newsletter Posted on Tue, March 21, 2023 08:52:35

There’s an old Yiddish saying, “If you want to hear God laugh, make a plan.” Last week, God was lying on the floor clutching their ribs.

Okay, Update-O-Rama; Wednesday’s meeting was a fascinating disaster. Nine people were supposed to attend, only two had been notified. I told my wife it was “death by a thousand emails.” I was looped into some stunningly blunt chats. But, end of day, six of them had requested materials for The Brittle Riders and they all agreed to meet with me once they’d read them.

Thursday’s meeting got rescheduled until tomorrow and now that meeting is being rescheduled again. The producer’s father isn’t well. So prayers to him and his family and we’ll get to it when we can.

Friday’s meeting got me added to an AI (Artificial Intelligence) assisted writers group and I am being introduced to a video game company that is currently searching for new IP. This meeting also delved into some opportunities I wasn’t really pursuing. Mostly because I thought The Brittle Riders would be a bad fit. They disagreed. If nothing else, it adds new possible paths to success.

Speaking of the AI assisted writers group, if you’d like to join, just hit me up and I’ll get you a link. It’s all in beta right now so it’s free to the bold among you.

In other fun news, one company I spoke with used AI to get a grip on who is actually reading McSciFi. The numbers skewed younger than any of us expected, mid-Twenties on average but starting at fifteen on up, and far more diverse racially than a sixty-one year old white man could hope for. All in all they were pleased, calling it a “solid foundation.” As we stumble forward into the year and begin larger advertising campaigns, it’s good to know we won’t be alone.

Lastly, in comic book news, Legends Parallel’s fourth issue is nearing completion and will be out in April. The critically acclaimed, rated “M” for “Mature,” title looks poised to break out of its cult favorite status onto a larger stage. Also, this spring, Alokia the Kaiju Hunter and Bob: Sins of the Son will be debuting on the convention circuit. Both titles are aimed directly at young adults. Finally, the second issue of Marcie’s Marvels is coming out. You can click that link to read issue number one for free.

Until next week, stay safe and sane.

Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi

Wish Me McLuck

Newsletter Posted on Tue, March 14, 2023 08:50:34

Some of you have been asking questions about my quest to snare a film deal for one of my projects. Mostly, the questions run along the lines of “Why the *%^&# is this taking so long?” The easy answer is I ain’t the only game in town. Black Adam took ten years to get made. Carnival Row took fifteen. The longer answer is, I’m not really ready to do a full presentation. Much of what I’m doing involves upping my game, working with patient professionals who are guiding me, and so on. And it isn’t always a linear path. For example, there is a tradition in Hollywood of creating ‘sizzle reels’ out of existing footage. The concept gives investors an idea of what your film will look like.

And that’s a bit of a problem for The Brittle Riders. While I use some common tropes, there is still nothing in this universe or the next that looks like it. That means I have to create a pitch book, think of it as a picture book that shows everything a sizzle reel would but on paper. To do that I have commissioned an artist to create multiple views of the characters. While not cool VFX, it seems to be working. I figure I will need about two more weeks to get it where I want it.

All of that brings us to this point. I have one company that has taken me under their wing and is acting as my defacto agent. I have found a producer who doesn’t do sci-fi, but knows how to package a film for financing, working with me every step of the way to make sure I don’t make a fool of myself or sink the project. And all that help will come in handy this week.

On Wednesday I’m meeting with a company that specializes in streaming series. I’ve been stalking them for a while but was still surprised when they agreed to meet. In this case the parameters of the meeting were laid out in advance. One of the partners already likes The Brittle Riders so this will be a meeting to discuss feasibility. And to convince the other partners that the partner who likes it isn’t insane.

On Thursday I’m meeting with a film producer who has gone from reading a one sheet, to reviewing a synopsis, to plowing through a fifty-eight page treatment for a pilot. He’s interested, obviously, but we all live in the real world. He also has shown interest in SPLICE: HIT BIT TECHNOLOGY. To that end he is now in possession of the script and has all my review notes. I’ll find out what’s on his mind when we speak.

On Friday I’m meeting with a television producer to discuss many things. He has reviewed the treatment and sent notes on how to make it better. I know, in advance, he would be looking to partner with another production company if this can be made. On Friday we’re going to run stuff up a few flagpoles and see who salutes.

As you can see, things are picking up. Where that leads is anybody’s guess. However, I will admit that I’m having fun despite all the stress.

So, until next time, wish me luck and stay safe and sane.

Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi

Creating a New McNarrative

Newsletter Posted on Tue, February 28, 2023 07:00:00

At the end of 2022, Azoth Khem released The Brittle Riders: Book One (Second Edition). Not only was it voted the Best Science Fiction Novel of 2022 by the Critters Readers Poll, it also ranked in the top ten paperback sales for science fiction/dystopian books on Ingram Spark. We use them because they can, and do, sell to stores and libraries. Also, right now, Azoth Khem isn’t large enough to run its own warehouse.

Yesterday, February 27, 2023, they released The Brittle Riders: Book Two (Second Edition) on Amazon Kindle, where it immediately began getting downloaded and there are pre-orders for the paperback which will be following shortly.

This is much better than when I began this journey in 2016. Then, I had just met the woman who would become my wife and we would take a case of books to events and try to sell them one at a time to anyone who got too near. I use the word “events” to make it sound somewhat normal. What I mean is I hustled in bars, pawn shops, restaurants, computer repair shops, libraries, coffee shops, you name it. If I could get in without having the cops called on me, I did it.

I may have been annoying, but I was also effective. I perfected my elevator pitch, learned how to handle rejection (you get a lot of it when you do what I did), and slowly began developing a fan base.

Enough of one to earn my way into regional cons, build my display from a tablecloth and a homemade sign to a professional presentation with book racks and printed banners. In fact, the woman who would become my wife ended up traveling with me so we could keep traffic moving.

Then the pandemic hit. I’m not going to whine about it. It hit everyone. I lost good friends to it. I went to memorials for people whom I’d spoken with a week or two before. The world locked down and suddenly I needed a new source of income and a new way to market myself. In other words, this old dog needed some new tricks.

By taking advantage of digital conventions I was able to build a mailing list, this one, of thousands of subscribers. I started making short promo videos and distributing them however I could. If I could get a legitimate interview I would show up at an envelope opening. Well, I would show up digitally, I’m not insane.

All of that led to me undertaking the journey to meet film producers and so on, and that has been more productive than I might have thought or hoped.

I have no idea where this all will end up. I won’t even hazard a guess at this point. There are too many flaming bowling balls swirling in non-euclidean patterns to even try.

But I do know this, where I am now is preferable to where I was back in the good old days. All things considered, that’s not a bad place to start the next leg of this adventure.

Until next week, stay safe and sane.

Bill McSciFi

Building A McTeam

Newsletter Posted on Tue, February 21, 2023 09:07:15

Way back in the land before time, before there was even a McSciFi, I was the label manager of an indie music label called EsNtion Records. That was a dance and Latin music label that worked with artists from all over the world. It did good until it didn’t and then it closed. But, during the “did good” part I put together a team which included a couple of big name professionals to work on a project. And I was so pleased with what I’d done as an indie just starting out that, as soon as the ink dried, I announced it to the world.

That was a mistake.

Within forty-eight hours my partners emails and phones were blowing up with people who said, pretty much unanimously, “Screw McCormick, my stuff is better. Work with me.”

Lesson learned. The project went off without a hitch, and we did work together after that, but I never made that mistake again. Only when a project was completed would I say anything. That way no one could mess with me or my partners.

I find my self older, wiser, and in a similar position. So, while everyone who follows me knows Garrick Dion (producer for Joker and more) is a fan (see below), I am not working with him. That may change in the future, but as of right now there’s nothing for him to produce.

Instead, I have nonexclusive agent who has been getting me meetings with other producers, investors, and film companies. I also have an A-list production house working with me to develop all the materials we will need to get investors to cut checks. Now, before you start hitting me up for a loan, I’m not paying for any of this. The hope is we’ll all profit together.

As one partner said, “There’s nothing different in Hollywood any more and this is different. And doable.”

Above and beyond that, we’re working with several talented artists to conceptualize these characters. That’s not as easy as it sounds. While the internet is awash in succubi, minotaurs, centaurs, and so on, they run the gamut from cheesy horror to porn. Neither of which is a good fit here. So, while many films can just clip together scenes from different movies, add narration and sound, and show it as a sizzle reel, we don’t seem to have that option. We have to build everything from the ground up. And, all those people I mentioned know that. It’s a large part of the reason they’re helping me. It’s not often they get a chance to tackle something truly original.


The nice people over at Aztoh Khem have been taking advantage of all this attention and are completely gutting and re-editing the series. Which means the second edition of The Brittle Riders: Book One is now available, and Books Two and Three are following soon. Plus, all this interest has spurned new fans to check out Goptri of the Mists: Kittab Ek, the prequel / sequel to The Brittle Riders.

Mind you, no one’s complaining.

Anyway, what this means is I’m busier than a one legged man at an ass kicking contest (does that even make sense?). So, until next week, stay safe, sane, and feel free to take me out for a drink and pretend I’m calm and rational.

Bill McSciFi

Bill McSciFi

Happy McValentine’s Day

Newsletter Posted on Tue, February 14, 2023 08:10:36

This may come as a shock to you, but I am not the world’s most romantic guy. I’m not a hearts and flowers guy who ladles effusive praise on his partner while ushering them into a limo where we will be feted by midgets dressed as cherubs whilst we’re whisked to a private beach for …. I have no idea.

I am the guy who will do extra chores without being asked (most of the time). I am the guy who will remind her she’s pretty on days where the concept seems to elude her. I am the one who will love her with all my heart and soul no matter the slings and arrows life aims at us.

I guess, what I’m saying, is that Valentine’s Day can be a different experience for everyone and still have meaning. Back in 2013, over at my nonfiction blog World News Center I wrote a lengthy history about Valentine’s day and the way different cultures honor love; from Japan’s Penis Festival to China’s Seven Sisters which leads many UFO enthusiasts to believe they have proof of alien visitations. They don’t but here we are anyway.

But, one thing still mystifies people. Who is St. Valentine? We know someone with that name existed. After that, it’s kind of a blur. Let’s take the wayback machine to 2013 to see what I wrote then since not much has changed.

Valentine’s day is widely attributed to a celebration of the selfless death of St. Valentine. The problem arises when you try to figure out which one. Here’s what the Catholic church, the people who authorize saints, has to say; “At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under date of 14 February. One is described as a priest at Rome, another as bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), and these two seem both to have suffered in the second half of the third century and to have been buried on the Flaminian Way, but at different distances from the city. In William of Malmesbury’s time what was known to the ancients as the Flaminian Gate of Rome and is now the Porta del Popolo, was called the Gate of St. Valentine. The name seems to have been taken from a small church dedicated to the saint which was in the immediate neighborhood. Of both these St. Valentines some sort of Acta are preserved but they are of relatively late date and of no historical value. Of the third Saint Valentine, who suffered in Africa with a number of companions, nothing further is known.”

But whether it was the fate of the 3rd century inmate who allegedly cured the jailer’s daughter’s blindness just before he was executed or one of the other guys, we do know that by the late 1400’s Chaucer was writing about the holiday in his Parliament of Foules.

For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.

What’s missing from the story thus far?

Some might say that I am missing the connection to the Lupercalia. They would be right. I have not discussed how Valentine’s day got connected to a pagan holiday. Nor did I mention how early Lupercalia lotteries were truly a prize worth winning. If you were an unmarried man and you won, you won a virgin. That beats the living hell out of a TV.

Yeah, the church had problems with that and the whole thing got watered down

However you celebrate, do so safely and in the spirit love. I’ll have regular McSciFi stuff for you next week.

Thanks for being here and Happy Valentine’s Day.

Bill McSciFi

Bill McSciFi

It’s Finally McHere, the Mc***kening!

Newsletter Posted on Tue, January 31, 2023 08:20:42

This has to be the most hotly anticipated anthology I’ve ever been involved with. Despite, or maybe because of, innumerable delays, I still got an email or two every week asking “WHERE THE FUCK IS MY FUCKENING?”

Speaking not as an author, but as an avid reader, I can tell you this anthology was worth the wait. There is not a drop of wasted ink. Every word rings true. Do yourself, and the universe, a favor and CLICK HERE to get your copy.

Words cannot describe this book since the book already used the good ones. “The Fuckening” is finding out, thanks to some idiot at the train depot, your plans of world domination are in ruins and the police would very much like a word.

My contribution, THE WRITER’S STUFF, takes a look at the adventures of Layla le’Lips and Thor Liebenhammer as they try to wrest some control of their world all while Thor admires Layla’s incredible ass.

There is also a fun attempted murder. As all attempted murders should be. And, it has a goat.

It may also be the only thing you ever read where “(she) bounced boobily…” makes sense and isn’t offensive.

The Fuckening is brought to you by the same maniacs who publish Sci-Fi Lampoon every three months. Like it, The Fuckening is wild, irreverent, occasionally offensive, and more fun than a barrel of horny jellyfish.

I think that’s enough excitement for one day. Click the links, buy stuff, be a better human and, until next week, stay safe and sane.

Bill McSciFi

Bill McSciFi

You’re All McAwesome!

Newsletter Posted on Tue, January 24, 2023 08:59:10

The subject line sums up my thoughts completely. I know that not from any one group act, but from the tons of little feats that constantly remind me someone cares about the stuff I create. While heartwarming, it’s also challenging. In a good way.

A year ago today, I took a huge leap of faith and presented The Brittle Riders to a group of film industry professionals to see what they thought my chances were of getting this behemoth turned some form of cinematic entertainment. Just like those fun days back in school, they graded on a scale of zero to one hundred. Then those scores were compiled, averaged, and a total would be shared. When I submitted I was told anything over sixty was considered excellent. And that I shouldn’t get my hopes up. And … lots of stuff like that.

While I was a frazzled ball of sweat the universe said, “Chill, Bill. You got this.” And, when the scores came in I realized the universe was right. That’s the result below.

Bill McSciFi

That result prompted me to start asking around and seeing what it would take to make it real, while keeping in mind it took The Rock ten years to get Black Adam made. And he’s the freaking Rock. The general answer was “more money than (I) have.” But, as time wandered on I made some connections and started making headway. That led to meetings, and those meetings led to tangible results. And those results led to an animation company taking a brief flyer on a pilot. Sadly they didn’t have enough money either so it all reverted back to me. But, that reversion allowed me to talk to real Hollywood producers and related people and, right now, that’s a good place to be.

Every day I learn more, get my presentation package tighter, and there are now people who will take my calls who probably would have called the cops if I’d showed up at their offices before this.

This is better.

Now, Azoth Khem and I find ourselves needing to boost sales to justify the potential investment. Not that we were doing bad, but we’ve got to up our game. So, that’s what we’re going to do. To that end, in the next few weeks if you’re on Facebook or Amazon you should be seeing this fun blurb. This is an early draft, so if you see something we missed, please raise your hand.

Geldish and his brother monks lost their vibrant blue skin and gained incredible powers when they had their flesh peeled off by a lethal toxin unleashed by Xhakanr’s loyal general, Yontar. Geldish spent the last few centuries healing and now feels ready to mete out his revenge. His brothers, however, want to wait another century or so.

Feeling he had no other options, Geldish enlisted the aid of four fringe dwellers to help him bring the residents of the plains together to fight and kill, Xhaknar. But first, they must draw him out of his impenetrable fortress, Anapsida. To accomplish that, they begin a series of ever-growing raids concentrating on hurting Xhaknar where he’s most vulnerable, his money. Using his paranoia as a weapon against him and his troops for target practice, The Brittle Riders slowly begin to make Geldish’s mad plan come to life.

Set a thousand years after creations were made to fulfill roles of menial laborers, sex slaves, and shock troops — who eventually rose up and killed every man, woman, and child on the planet; The Brittle Riders is a ferocious thrill ride through the debris of human hubris. A dark satire presented in a violent burlesque designed to make you think while you laugh and cringe.

Apocalypses are funny that way.

Stay safe and sane. I’ll see you next week.

Bill McSciFi

McSciFi’s a McWinner!

Newsletter Posted on Tue, January 17, 2023 08:29:15

I have to thank all of you for your efforts. The Critters Readers Poll was a slug fest this year. There are seven titles tied for eleventh place and five for tenth. The space between eleventh and first doesn’t seem to be that great either. First place switched hands a few times. But every time it did people like you came to the rescue and voted.

As you may have guessed, The Brittle Riders: Book One (Second Edition) was voted the Best Science Fiction Book of 2022 by the Critters Readers Poll. As one voter emailed me, and I loved this, “I refused to vote for you until I read the book. My wife wanted me to shut up and bought me a copy. Yeah, you got my vote.”

Picking them up one at a time cuz that’s how I roll.

Some of you have asked if there was more to the Garrick Dion quote I now use as a pull quote on the back cover. The answer is yes, and here it is in its original entirety.

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. In a world where studios and streamers are looking for IP that’s expansive, both narratively and in terms of ancillary possibilities (prequels, offshoots, video games, etc.), this certainly seems to offer up a number of possibilities. One would think it also has the potential to go beyond the traditionally young male video game/genre audience, and appeal to a larger cross-section, due to its gender-fluid/non-human characters.
– Garrick Dion (Producer of Joker, Drive, etc.)

The Brittle Riders has gone from being a book that I sold mainly at cons to something that has found fans worldwide and in the retail markets. This year, the nice people at Azoth Khem are going to be taking advantage of that and will be mad pimping the book in traditional markets as well as some that seem to be a good fit even if they don’t know it yet. It is truly an exciting time to be a McSciFi.

By the way, we are aware that there were problems with the links in the last couple of emails. After tearing through all the possibilities we got it fixed. Thanks for your patience.

Again, thank you for all your support. I literally couldn’t have done it without you. Until next week, stay safe and sane.

Bill McSciFi

Bill McSciFi

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