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Welcome to BZPower!

Hi there, while we hope you enjoy browsing through the site, there's a lot more you can do if you register. The process is easy and you can use your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account to make it even faster. Some perks of joining include:
  • Create your own topics, participate in existing discussions, and vote in polls
  • Show off your creations, stories, art, music, and movies and play member and staff-run games
  • Enter contests to win free LEGO sets and other prizes, and vote to decide the winners
  • Participate in raffles, including exclusive raffles for new members, and win free LEGO sets
  • Send private messages to other members
  • Organize with other members to attend or send your MOCs to LEGO fan events all over the world
  • Much, much more!
Enjoy your visit!

Blogs



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oops i did a thing

Posted by Lucina in Surviving Extermination, Sep 02 2015 · 44 views

TRUE SURVIVOR
(click link)

---

Taking place after the events of Extermination, this small little short involves the first-ever(!!) appearance of the infamous Order of Mata-Nui in this series, detailing a snapshot of their investigations into the Uprising of Metru-Nui.

And perhaps we even get to see a familiar face, who might not be so dead after all...?

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I hope you'll all enjoy. :)

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Madness

Posted by DeeVee in What You Want is Now, Sep 02 2015 · 62 views
MOCs

Here's some stuff!

Posted Image | Posted Image | Posted Image

KORGOT | SOUZAN | GALI

I went crazy and just took a few photos of all three MOCs I had lying around. I finished Gali before Brickfair, Korgot immediately after, and Souzan I finished a week ago. Have all of them today!

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Anyone here play Destiny?

Posted by ~Shockwave~ in The Aurora's Edge, Sep 02 2015 · 22 views

I'm trying to get a raid team together to run both the raids on hard and do prison of elders. If you can help I can play on Xbox one or 360.

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Little brother is playing Call of Duty...

Posted by FallenAtlas in The Weight of The World, Sep 02 2015 · 31 views

...and talking to a friend we know. So, I ask him to tell her "Hi." for me, over the mic. He does it, pauses a second, then relays back that she said "I don't like you." Lil bro pauses and tacks on:


"Well, it isn't like that's the first time you've heard that from a girl."


Ah, family....

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Impossible customers

Posted by sydorack in In the Abyss, Sep 02 2015 · 40 views

I should preface this quick story by stating that I am actually a professional tattooer. I work in a small city in Connecticut at a small shop with one other dude, my boss. I'm on instagram (@janitorjake) if you want to check my shtuff out.

Okay, here goes…… I tattooed a guy today who I have tattooed before. I did a weird tribal design from some movie on the back of his neck probably a year-ish ago. The back of the neck is actually a pretty painful spot, and very uncomfortable to sit to get. As far as my memory serves me, he sat pretty well for that one. I don't remember him moving or flinching or anything. Today was a different story….

He came in and asked to get matching tattoos on the outsides of his ankles. I figured it would be a breeze, considering he had sat well for the back of his neck. Booooooyyyy was I wrong. Literally from start to finish for BOTH of the tattoos, he was screaming and writhing in pain. Not only is this very annoying, but it also makes it impossible to make the tattoo look nice. Imagine trying to draw something on a piece of paper thats flapping around in the wind. The only problem with this is that once it's there, it ain't coming off. It makes doing my job basically impossible, and the end result is always a lesser quality tattoo. I managed to make them not look terrible, but they would have looked infinitely better had he sat still.

Let this be a lesson for anyone reading this who is planning on getting tattooed ever. SIT STILL PLLEEAAASSEEE. I'd rather someone yell in pain than wiggle even the slightest bit. It hurts. It always hurts. Some spots are way worse than others, but every spot hurts. Think about this before getting something, and make sure you're ready to deal with it.

Also if you want a bionicle tattoo, hit me up because I want to do more. You can check out the ones I've done on my instagram.

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Oxford

Posted by Zatth in Zatth Blag, Sep 02 2015 · 64 views

There's a tower built by William the Conqueror, it's one of the two oldest buildings on campus.

And it's a block away from my flat. I pass it on my way out every morning.

What is this place and can I haz it forever.


(also hi yes i am safe and sound and england is lovely)

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Who Has Cheese Slopes?

Posted by xccj in Team J.A.F., Sep 02 2015 · 85 views
mosaic

Oh look, I'm talking about lenticular cheese slope mosaics again.

These mosaics are hard to design, hard to make, and also quite hard on the pocket book. That's because filling up a huge baseplate with cheese slopes really adds up, and when each one costs ten cents but you need thousands... yeah, not cheap. But what if you only had to fill out a smaller section, like say a 16x16 plate?

Would anybody be interested in a collaborative lenticular mosaic design? People would only have to make smallish sections... I'm thinking 16x16 would be manageable. (Although we would need to design if the plate was a baseplate or a standard plate... I have a lot of the latter but not many of the former, and a combination of the two wouldn't work on this style of mosaic.) I'm thinking we could do some neat G1 / G2 Bionicle designs. But before I start any of this, I'm just curious to know if anybody would even be interested. Even a 16x16 plate would require 256 cheese slopes. (I mean, you can occasionally sneak in a 1x2, but only in certain situations.)

So yeah, if there's any interest, this could be something we do for conventions next year. Plus, smaller sections like that would totally be easier to transport. :sly:

Also, I found the Series 14 Monster Minifigures today / yesterday. (I mean, all my Target stores have had them for the last two weeks, but they've also refused to sell them before September 1st.) It was a 5 mile hike to get there, but I managed to get 15 and guess them all correctly. (Still short a Zombie Cheerleader, will have to continue searching for that one.) Review forthcoming.

:music:

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AFOLs with KFOLs?

Posted by Obsessionist in Chronic Obsessions, Sep 01 2015 · 71 views

Does anyone know of any documents- TLG demographic research, scholarly or semi-scholarly articles, surveys, whatever- about how AFOLs interact with younger LEGO users? Anything about AFOLs being involved in public events, FIRST LEGO League, etc.; or anything about parents who love LEGO fostering a love of LEGO in their kids?

Barring that, anything about how parent or adult hobbyists interact with children to encourage that hobby.

I'm writing a research paper about how TLG, AFOL subcultures, and kids interact, and the relationship between AFOLs and kids is turning out to be the most difficult to research.

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Month of Stone, You Say?

Posted by Pahrak #0579 in Title, Sep 01 2015 · 68 views

My swarm is pleased.

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The Mask of Creation + Unrelated Question

Posted by SLEUP in enamebl lipog, Sep 01 2015 · 108 views

Is it just me, or is it a little too big for Ekimu's head? Ekimu can hardly move his head with the Mask of Creation, and the gold-blue protector mask doesn't while also fitting the colour scheme better.

Has anyone ever attempted to put gearboxes on a gearbox that turns the aforementioned gearboxes, and these gearboxes that are turning have their own gear function?

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Looking Back: From Fanfiction to Indie-Publishing (BONUS: Win a FREE ebook!)

Posted by TNTOS in A Writerly Blog, Sep 01 2015 · 48 views
surprise, guess whos back, me and 1 more...

Exactly one year ago today, I posted the final chapter of my last epic, In the End (which you can read here if you are interested). It was the big grand finale of the Shikaverse, my own Bionicle fanfic universe, as some of you might recall.

Since then, I have published eleven original novels, four short stories, one novella, one collection, and one serial (which is five episodes), with even more works on the way before the end of 2015 and going well into 2016 and beyond. I even started a new pen name and have plans to create another in 2016. As you can tell, I have been very busy since I stopped writing and posting fanfics here, and with good reason.

Why did I decide to stop writing and posting fanfiction? Simple. I counted the costs and realized that if I was going to make it as a professional fiction writer, I would have to put aside fanfiction, at least for now, so I could devote my writing time to my original works. After all, I can't make money off of fanfiction (well, unless LEGO ever decides to give me permission to sell my fanfics, but LEGO, as great a company as it is, ain't that generous with its intellectual properties).

I have not talked much at all about making that transition from hobbyist fanfic writer to professional fiction writer on this blog. This is mostly because I've been too busy writing, publishing, and marketing my original fiction to blog about it on BZP; after all, I want to be paid to write fiction, not blogs. Nothing against professional bloggers or people who want to be professional bloggers. I just don't like blogging nearly as much as writing fiction and don't care to make a career out of it. That's all.

But I know that many of you write fanfiction and that at least some of you want to eventually move on from fanfiction to original fiction. Many of you would like to write fiction for a living; and not just for a living, but for a lifetime career, full of the ups and downs that every career in every industry has.

That's an awesome goal that I completely support no matter who you are.

But it is definitely not a simple or easy goal. Despite the rise of indie-publishing (which some of you may know as self-publishing, but I prefer to call it indie-publishing), making a full-time living as a professional writer is still very hard. It requires an almost completely different way of approaching writing than writing fanfiction as a hobby, and making that transition is by no means smooth or without its own challenges.

For this blog post, I am going to discuss indie-publishing; that is, independently publishing your own work through your own publishing house, without any of the big publishers or any of the established smaller publishers publishing your work for you, usually using websites like Amazon or Barnes & Noble (or aggregators like Smashwords or Draft2Digital) to distribute your work to readers as ebooks, paperbacks, audiobooks, etc. You typically pay for the covers, editing, formatting, marketing, and whatever other expenses you have associated with your publishing business or learn to do all or some of it yourself. You will probably end up registering your business as an actual publishing house with an actual publishing name (mine is called Annulus Publishing, for those interested).

I am focusing on indie-publishing because that is the path I chose and the one I know best. I do not recommend new writers go to the traditional publishers at the moment because of their draconian contracts and shady business practices; at least, you shouldn't submit to traditional publishers without first thinking it through, doing your research, and being aware of how they deal with new writers nowadays, as well as knowing what your own goals as a writer are. Knowing how to negotiate is important as well if you choose to go that route.

With any potential confusion on terminology now out of the way, let's get onto the actual meat of the essay. Please note that much of this is just my own personal experience and opinions and may not necessarily apply to you. Every writer is different, so don't be afraid to reject some of my advice while accepting other parts of it. That's how writers learn, after all, because good advice and bad advice are usually mixed together pretty well in writing and publishing and can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from one another without thinking it through first. (NOTE: If you're here for the free ebook drawing, just scroll down to the bottom of the post to learn how you can win a FREE copy of my novel Reunification in any ebook format you like!)

Having said that, for me, the transition from fanfiction to indie-publishing was not quite as drastic or uncomfortable as it could have been. While much of my writing time over the past eight or nine years has been devoted to fanfiction, I also wrote original novels and short stories between fanfic projects in order to prepare for the day when I would make the leap from fanfiction hobbyist to full-time professional fiction writer, although I never shared them with anyone and will probably never publish them, at least in their current forms (some of them are still really cool ideas that I'd love to write again at some point, though not sure when).

Thus, when I decided to make that leap, I already had some experience writing original fiction, which really is a different game from writing fanfiction. If you want to make that transition, too, I suggest writing original fiction now, perhaps in-between fanfics, in order to get used to it, because that is primarily the kind of fiction you will be writing as a professional writer (unless you become a media writer or write a ton of Kindle Worlds stories or something, but that's a whole different ballpark from self-publishing, one I will not get into in this essay, so don't ask me about it).

In many ways, fanfiction and indie-publishing are similar in that you are usually responsible for posting (for fanfiction) or publishing (for original fiction) your work. For some writers, the idea of actually publishing their own work is extremely foreign, but for me, it is as natural as posting the next chapter of my most recent epic or comedy on BZP.

But publishing a book, even through the self-publishing platforms provided by Amazon and other ebook stores, is much more difficult and time-consuming than posting a fanfic online. I had to learn how to format my ebooks and layout my paperbacks, but even that was not terribly difficult. Ebooks are made using HTML, which is similar to the BBCode used on BZP and other forum sites, which I was already used to, so learning HTML was not nearly as hard for me as it could have been. As for paperbacks, that was trickier, but I can now make a paperback novel with a professional-looking interior, so that's not an issue anymore.

The hardest part of the whole publishing process, for me, has been book cover design. I know some indies design their own covers and are pretty dang good at it, but I am just not all that great at graphic design and don't really care to spend the time learning it. I therefore hire out my covers to professional cover designers, which has worked out pretty well for me. I recommend every indie writer hire out their covers unless they already know or are willing to learn how to make good covers themselves.

But once the book is actually published and out there in the world, that's where marketing and promotion come in. Typically, when you post a fanfic, you do zero promotion for it outside of maybe mentioning it on your blog, making a banner for it in your signature, or having it featured on a site that features fanfics (a good example of this is how the BZP front page sometimes features notable fanfiction from the community). There are probably other ways to promote your fanfics, but there aren't too many.

In indie-publishing, however, you need to do some actual marketing and promotion. You don't need to spend months and months and thousands of dollars throwing together a nationwide book tour or anything like that (unless you want to or think it would be financially viable). But you do need to understand the basics of marketing and promotion and be up-to-date on all of the latest marketing and promotional techniques other writers and publishers use to get their work in front of readers and know what's worth your time and money and what isn't. Like every business, you need to have a marketing plan, which may

This leads into what I believe is the most important difference between indie-publishing and fanfiction: One is a business. The other is a hobby.

In early 2014, I founded the independent press Annulus Publishing. I have several different reasons for doing so, but the primary reason is because it allowed my CreateSpace print books to get into bookstores (if you don't understand how that works, please refer to professional writer Dean Wesley Smith's post on getting your indie books into bookstores). In my early dreams of becoming a professional writer, I honestly did not see myself founding a publishing company; however, I believe it is an important step for any indie writer to take, again for a variety of reasons that I will not get into right now.

As an independent publisher, I have a publishing schedule I try to follow as best as I can. In fact, I have my publishing schedule figured out through 2019. That may sound far-off, but as a small business, I can't just finish my books whenever and publish them when I feel like it. One of the most important factors in making it as a professional fiction writer is regularly putting out work for readers to buy. You don't need to write and publish a book a month; however, you can't publish one book a year, either, and hope to make anything more than coffee money, if even that, from your writing (unless you get fantastically, stupidly, astonishingly lucky or are a marketing genius).

And as a small business, I have expenses that I need to keep track of. This actually isn't as hard as it sounds. I have a simple document on my computer where I jot down every expense I make (for example, if I pay $80 for a cover, that goes into the expenses document). I need to make sure I don't spend more money than I have and to spend money only when I am sure I need to or when it would be a good investment. Unnecessary expenses can hurt any business, but especially small businesses, which is what my independent press is.

Furthermore, I need to keep track of how much money I earn from my books every month. Right now, this is manageable, because I am not selling many books per month, but if I ever start to sell really really well (as in, bestseller-level), then this will most definitely become a chore. I need to remain aware of how much money I am making from month to month in order to figure out how well (or badly) I am doing. Fanfic writers don't ever have to worry about monthly income like that.

And then there's everyone's favorite topic to discuss over a romantic late-night dinner in France: Taxes. As a small business owner, I have to keep track of my expenses and income in order to figure out how much tax money I owe to the government. Again, it's not nearly as scary or hard as it sounds, especially if you keep good records of your expenses and income and have a good CPA to help you figure it all out, but it is definitely something you need to do lots of research on so you can understand it better. You may also need to hire a CPA to help you file your taxes, depending on how complicated your situation is (note: I am not a certified public accountant or tax person or whatever, so don't ask me for any advice on your personal tax situation, as I am not qualified to do so).

Also, the publishing industry is constantly changing. Old marketing techniques fall out of favor, new ones surge into popularity, publishers open and close, Amazon and other self-publishing platforms make changes to their algorithms, new laws and regulations come out of nowhere, old scammers go out of business, new ones come in to take your money, and the income of writers can rise or fall drastically on a whim.

In order to keep your head above water, you must remain on top of the changes in the publishing industry at all times. Never, even for a moment, think you have it all figured out and don't need to learn anything else ever again. As soon as you do, you're done. You can kiss your writing career good bye and go back to your day job, if you have one.

I recommend following as many blogs and websites on writing and publishing that you possibly can. Join Facebook or other social media groups devoted to writing and publishing. Talk to other writers about any changes they've heard about or noticed. Read good books by successful writers and never stop learning.

Never. Stop. Learning.

Ever.

Because while you can remain ignorant of the general fanfiction community without any real problems, you remain ignorant of the changes in publishing and you are in danger of being screwed out of your money and rights by unscrupulous publishers, agents, and really anyone who knows they can make a buck or two off ignorant, naïve newbies who are too afraid to learn about the industry they've chosen to make their living in. Trust me, there are a TON of scam artists out there who make their entire living scamming new writers. Do not be ignorant.

Do not.

Speaking of scams, I cannot emphasize the importance of understanding copyright. Copyright is what writers are actually selling whenever they sign a deal with a publisher, whether big or small. You don't need to understand copyright as well as an IP attorney in order to be a writer; however, you must understand the basics and what copyright is.

If you do not understand that every book, every story, every article you write is property—regardless of whether you publish it or not, regardless of its quality, regardless of whether you sell a million copies or no copies at all—and that it can be very valuable (as in, the hundreds of millions of dollars valuable, depending on how popular it is) property, then you will get screwed over by publishers and agents and anyone else who wants your money.

Don't think that copyright is irrelevant. It is one of the—maybe even the—most important things anyone wanting to become a professional full-time fiction writer must understand in order to make a living. A good book on the subject is The Copyright Handbook by Nolo Press, a book you will need to read and reread several times before you understand it all. Take your time to understand copyright. You will thank me later after your understanding of copyright helps you make wise business decisions and a lot of money. Trust me.

Fanfic writers never talk about copyright except when we are worried about infringing on it. Even then, I see a lot of misunderstanding in the fanfic community over what copyright actually is, which is probably why I was shocked to learn what it really is in publishing and writing.

As an example of how important copyright is: Let's say you've written a novel. You license (not sell, which is different) First English Hardcover Rights to one publisher, First English Paperback Rights to another, First English Audio Rights to yet another, and First English Electronic Rights to a fourth. Each of these publishers pays you some money for the right to publish your work in the aforementioned formats, but if you're smart, these rights will revert to you at some point and you can sell them again and again and again to whoever wants to buy them.

And this is just English language rights I'm talking about here. You can do the same with French language rights, Russian language rights, Chinese language rights, and so on and so forth. One of the most amazing things about copyright is that the sky is the limit for how you can divide it and license it to other people.

Yet if you sold the entire copyright of this same book to one publisher, then you can't do anything like what I just explained. Well, I guess you could buy the copyright back from the publisher or maybe invoke the 35 year reversal clause, but those are unlikely to happen, so it's better to license only a part of your copyright to certain publishers or individuals with a clear reversion date written in a legally-binding contract.

See how important copyright is now? I hope so. Dean Wesley Smith has a good post explaining it better than me for those interested (and of course, you should absolutely pick up a copy of The Copyright Handbook, published by Nolo Press, for even more detail on copyright).

This ties into another difference between fanfiction and indie-publishing. Indie-publishers, whether newbies just starting out or veterans who have been around for a while, are constantly talking and thinking about business. Constantly. In fact, sometimes all of this endless business talk makes me weary (as fun as the business of writing is, I like talking about the craft of writing a bit more, to be honest).

Fanfic writers, by contrast, never talk business. Ever.

Which makes sense. Fanfiction—unless it is officially licensed or sanctioned by the original creators—is a hobby. I cannot sell my 300,000+ word Zaktan and Kotu shipping fic (which doesn't exist, BTW, as it's just an example) to any publisher, nor can I self-publish it for money (unless I pull a Fifty Shades of Gray and change the characters' names, obviously). It makes no sense to talk about income or marketing or expenses or taxes or business in general when talking about fanfiction.

But it is important to learn business if you want to make it as a writer. The most successful writers are both great businesspeople and great artists. You need to understand both the business and craft of writing in order to succeed.

Fanfic writers generally understand the importance of craft (though even that understanding is usually pretty amateurish), but there is zero understanding of the business of writing among fanfic writers. Zero.

This ties back into what I said previously about having a publishing schedule for my publishing company. Every publishing company, big and small, has a schedule of some sort. Very, very few fanfic writers have even the vaguest publishing schedule for their works. Most fanfic writers can't even handle a chapter a week. Asking them to plan out months, even years, in advance what books they will publish, and when? Might as well be asking them to speak Klingon for all the good that will do.

Now there is nothing wrong with this sort of “I'll get it done whenever” attitude toward fanfiction, but it's a huge problem if you bring it with you into professional publishing. As I said before, one of the secrets to making it as a writer is to publish often and regularly, and a good way to ensure that is to have a publishing schedule figured out. It needn't be completely full—there's nothing wrong with leaving a few blank spots for those kinds of books that come to you out of nowhere but which you need to write desperately—but it should be full enough to give you a general guideline for what you will write and publish over the course of the year.

And feel free to change the schedule if necessary. Fail to get Book A published in January? Publish it in February, then, and move on. No need to obsess over a missed deadline.

But do try to avoid pushing back releases too often like that. Especially for books in a series, where it is crucial to get each new book out in a timely manner so your readers don't forget or get impatient and frustrated with you. If you have a habit of delaying releases all the time, that will definitely hurt your reputation more than it will help it.

I know all of this sounds like a lot of work, and it is. No matter whether you choose traditional publishing, indie-publishing, or a hybrid of both, making it as a full-time professional fiction writer is not easy. There is no publishing one ebook with a shoddy cover, priced at $0.99, on Amazon, and kicking back and waiting for the money, sales, and accolades to pour in. Nor can you expect to get a seven figure traditional publishing deal by submitting one book to one publisher and doing nothing else (you'd be lucky to get a high four figure advance, actually, considering the current state of traditional publishing, but that's irrelevant at the moment).

But trust me when I say that this business is fun. Even more fun than writing and publishing fanfiction. To me, all of it is fun. Writing books is fun. Formatting is fun. Seeing what kinds of awesome covers freelance cover designers come up for me is fun and even paying them to do that is fun. Uploading my books onto Amazon and other stores is fun. Holding the proofs of my paperbacks in my hands is fun. Talking with other writers about the craft and business of writing is fun. Seeing a book I published sell even just one copy the next day is fun. Getting money deposited into my bank account from my book royalties is fun.

I am not yet making enough money to live off of. Nor am I selling many books. I don't have many true fans just yet, and I am pretty unknown to the vast majority of English language readers in the US and in the world at large.

But here is another secret about writing and publishing: Despite the overnight successes and breakout hits you always hear about, it truly is a long-term business. I can't get obsessed with the success or failure of one book. My success or failure as a writer is not dependent on any one book or series I write.

What matters is whether I will keep going, keep writing and publishing, keep learning and improving, and never looking back at my failures except to learn from them. I must walk forward always.

I will, however, say that I am seeing my sales increase. I've sold more books and made more money this year than I have last year; and, God willing, I will do even better next year, and the next, and the next. Or I won't, as writing income can be rather erratic and unsteady. Some years you get more money than you know what to do with; other years, you wonder how you're gonna put bread on the table for yourself.

But hey, who knows? Maybe by this time next year, I will actually be making a full-time living as a professional fiction writer.

But if not, that's okay. I'm in it for the long haul, so whether it takes me one year or ten, I will keep writing and publishing always.

And I highly recommend that strategy to every writer who wants to make a living at this crazy business, no matter what genre you write or way you publish.

-

If you made it this far, that's great, because to celebrate my one year anniversary from quitting fanfiction, I am currently running a BZP-only random drawing to give away one free ebook copy of my science-fantasy novel, Reunification*, to five randomly-drawn names.

To enter the drawing, simply comment in the post below saying that you'd like to join and I will add your name to the drawing. Next week, on Tuesday, September 8th, I will announce the winners on my blog in my next blog post, who will then receive a special Smashwords discount coupon that they can use to download a free copy of Reunification from Smashwords in whatever ebook format they like.

So if you want to enter a chance to win a free copy of Reunification, simply say so in the comments below and I will add your name to the drawing. Good luck!

*Reunification, along with all of my other books, are available in ebook stores everywhere. A full listing of my books can be found at my website here.

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yknow

Posted by Jonathan Joestar in back at it again at oscorp, Aug 31 2015 · 120 views

i changed my name to jonathan joestar but then i realized i dont have anyone to match me and be my dio or erina or baron zeppeli or speedwagon or even characters from later parts :(

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Total Devastation - August Haul

Posted by Ektris in Bleeding Blue, Aug 31 2015 · 63 views
Transformers, Star Wars, Pokemon and 1 more...

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  • Transformers Combiner Wars Devastator
  • S.H. Figuarts 1-Up Mushroom
  • Star Wars Black Series First Order Stormtrooper
  • Nendoroid Cynthia w/Garchomp
Sort of a light month, with some heavy hitters (mostly because of RTX, kept myself from going out and buying new BIONICLE again... Which reminds me, I never posted an entry with my pictures. Mostly because it seemed they weren't getting much attention...)

First of all, I bought a 1-Up Mushroom. I hate that I had to, but it was probably the best deal I'll get on one, so whatever. Really do love the amount of accessories we have in the Super Mario sub-line. Really spices up the display.

The Force Awakens is probably really going to hook me back into the Black Series line. The Stormtrooper's pretty nice, albeit does have some articulation issues. Really want that Kylo Ren, so you bet I'll be going out on Force Friday this week to try for one. Not going to a midnight release, though. I'm not that crazy. :P This trooper in particular is the SDCC one, and wow do I absolutely hate that part of it. For what was supposed to be the even-more-collector-oriented-than-the-already-collector-line-it's-from figure, Hasbro did an absolutely HORRIBLE job at the packaging. For starters, the figure is exposed in an open box. Only a very loose slip cover protects it. It wasn't inside of anything, really. Plus to remove it you have to cut those ties you see on clothing tags. No way he's going back into there now... It's just bad. The artbook was nice at least.

Cynthia has laid to rest any lingering fear I had about not getting domestic releases of the Pokémon Nendoroids, seeing as they're exclusive in Japan and can't be ordered without middlemen. I wasn't all into her, but she's still nice. Garchomp is totally where it's at for me. He is huge and I love it. Pretty decent articulation on him as well. Bring on N!

~|ET|~


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Asa-me

Posted by The Xinlo Of This Story in Language Of The Mad, Aug 31 2015 · 112 views

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not saying i'm asami or anything but... well the evidence speaks for itself

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Fried Egg on a Burger....

Posted by Toa Smoke Monster in The Island., Aug 31 2015 · 88 views
eggs, burgers

Has anyone else had tried a fried egg on a burger? I've tried it a couple times at one of my local fast food restaurants, and I've found it to be really good. It's not something I eat all the time, but I do it every once in a while for something different.

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...and the album is now out!

Posted by JMSOG in Odd Thoughts by JMSOG, Aug 31 2015 · 66 views

Here's the itunes link!

I stayed up way too late just to see this link go live...XD

It's on itunes, spotify, amazon...pretty much any place you get your music off the internet. If it's not there now, I'm guessing it will be by the end of the day. Enjoy! :P

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Plastic Fruit Salad

Posted by the ghost of isaac newton in boo, Aug 31 2015 · 67 views
if your fruit salad, has durians and 1 more...

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These are the best toys of samurais and knights wearing fruit armor I have ever come across. They're so good. They look so good. I need like ten more. They are too fantastic.

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Nautilupdate (From: Nautilus)

Posted by Bfahome in You're attacked by a Repair Nektann, Aug 29 2015 · 86 views

e: Decided to switch the tentacles to the shorter thicker ribbed hoses. I think it looks better this way.

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Source: Nautilus

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Can Art Be Fun?

Posted by Ta-metru_defender in TMD's Creatively Named Blog, Aug 29 2015 · 136 views

Essays, Not Rants! 180: Can Art Be Fun?

I’m still reading a bunch and my current book, Extra Lives, is essentially critical theory on video games as literature. This divide between what makes something ‘art’ is something I’m kinda big on, so it’s a fascinating read. There’s one thing that Tom Bissell says which struck me: that because video games must be, by nature, fun, they’re seen as being less artistic or literary than other mediums.

Which, well, kinda has a point. When was the last time you went to an art museum and had fun? And not the sorta fun you get from the unintentional humor of some paintings, but actual ‘fun’ (which is really hard to describe, has few cross-lingual analogues, and was explored heavily by Huizinga, but bear with me). Chances are slim that unless you’ve seen a particular statue of a man punching a horse in Vienna, you haven’t, and even that monument to equine assault was probably intended as serious. See, ‘high’ art is meant to inspire ponderings, not for you to have plebeian fun. You stand there, think, say a couple ‘mmhmm’s for good measure, and move on to the next one.

But that’s art, like art art; what about, say, books? The divide is even more stark there. No one’s gonna argue against Ulysses as a literary masterpiece, but at the same time it’s hard to describe it as being truly ‘fun.’ Enjoyable, maybe, but much of that pleasure probably stems from a mixture of latent masochism and the sunk cost fallacy. That and, y’know, trying to sound intelligent. But besides Ulysses (which I legitimately love), there are other Great Works by, say, Hemingway or Melville that you’d be hard pressed to describe as being legitimately enjoyable in and of themselves, especially when compared to ‘lesser’ genres like science fiction and fantasy. Point is, the Great Works can’t bother with the frivolities of fun-ness.

You even see this in comics, arguably already a ‘lesser’ form. Watchmen is heralded as one of the best comics ever and is all doom and gloom. Compare it to Sex Criminals, which is much brighter, much funnier, and much cruder, but takes its story no less seriously. Though Criminals is held in some esteem (TIME named it comic of 2013), it’s seen as being nowhere near as literary or iconic as Watchmen, perhaps due to its adult subject matter and relative newness, but probably also because it’s so goofy. Never mind that it deals with depression, intimacy, and a host of other things, it’s too silly and too fun to be considered serious art.

Which brings me to games. If a game’s not fun, you’re not gonna play it; plain and simple. Games have to be enjoyable on some level to maintain player involvement. Thus gaming becomes a very visceral experience, whether it’s your curiosity that’s been piqued by Gone Home, the sheer beauty of Journey, or the exhilaration that comes from fighting Covenant in Halo. It’s experiential on a level that no other medium is, and thus has to make the audience want to experience it for the sake of the experience (as opposed to, say, the story or visuals).

And here is where video games run up against the brick wall of literary merit. Games are, like Sex Criminals, seen as being simply too fun to be real literature. No matter how serious they are, by virtue of being leisurely they can’t be art. The Last of Us is a gripping story about fatherhood, loss, survival, and so much more that the player is forced to experience rather than just observe. Even when it’s at its darkest and bleakest, it remains ‘fun’ to play in the sense that the game works. No, the violence of the game mayn’t be enjoyable per se, but it holds your attention and makes you want to keep going. But because The Last of Us is ultimately a piece of software that’s developed and patched rather than born out of pure artistry like, say, a book; it’s relegated to being mere diversion. And because of that, it can’t really be art.

Which is a bummer. Because I think art should be enjoyable on at least some level. That much of what makes comics, well, comics is that it’s illustrated shouldn’t be a detractor, just as in order for a video game to work it has to be on some level fun. Writing off games because of that would be like lambasting books because you’ve gotta turn the page, or disliking Aaron Sorkin’s work because you insist on watching it with the sound off. Let’s get off our high horses and be willing to afford fun mediums their due; games can have all the mindless glee of Michael Bay (Army of Two: Devil’s Cartel) and the melancholic tenderness of The Fault in Our Stars (The Last of Us: Left’Behind*).

‘cuz hey, let’s enjoy it.


*Writer’s note: The Last of Us: Left Behind is arguably superior to The Fault In Our Stars, but I’m having trouble thinking of a good comparison. Blue Is The Warmest Color is remotely somewhat thematically related, but nowhere near as poignant as Left Behind; recent romantic films like About Time may be as tender and sweet, but they lack the beautiful tragedy of The Last of Us’ DLC. Perhaps Left Behind is remarkable on its own, not just as an extension of a game or as a story, but for being a piece of literature that is, frankly, incomparable.

But that’s a rant essay for another week.

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Results for BIONICLE Book Giveaway

Posted by Jedi Master J. in The Library That Never Was, Aug 29 2015 · 155 views

Hey, folks. Its time to announce the winners of my giveaway here. You all excited?

Well, here are winners:

- AZBlue
- Vox of Vinheim
- Iben
- Terton
- Lord Oblivion
- Lady Kopaka
- MavezIgnikari

(As you probably noticed, there are seven winners rather than four winners. That's because I added three extra books to giveaway since I feel like it would make results more fair since there was so many entries.)

***

Alright, if you are one of those winners, you should expected a PM from me asking for which version of the book you want (and for your address information, if you choose the physical book), so be on the lookout for that.

Well, that's all I have to say really. Actually since I have you all here, thank you to everyone that decided to take part in this.

I really appreciate that since I'll admit when I first posted this, I wasn't expecting 67 people to enter in it. XD I imagine that article on front page definitely help this, so thank you to BZP staff for getting word out about it.

But anyway, do you folks have any thoughts or criticism on how I handle this giveaway? I would appreciate any tips on improving how I handle these things, so don't be afraid to share them here. Thanks in advance to those that do.

Alright, that's enough from me. I hope you all have a great day and thank you for taking the time to read this. Talk to you later, BZPers.

- JMJ 2015



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