You Are Invited…


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…to the official launch of Robotica!


If you’re going to be in Ottawa this Halloween, I guarantee you that the party is at Can-con, 2-4pm in the Con Suite. We’re going to have one of our famous (and delicious) cover art cakes, lots of munchies, fun decor, and best of all… six authors in attendance!

Yep, that’s right, six real-live authors, all in one place, mingling, chatting and reading from their work. We’ve even got two authors that have come up from Maine and Texas, respectively, so we’re going to need you help to give them a warm Canadian welcome!

In case you need more convincing, here are some pictures of the goodness we had at the launch of Love, Time, Space, Magic… and in case you were wondering, yeah, we always outdo ourselves.

So come on out to Ottawa, and be a part of our most exciting launch yet. See you there!

Another Great Review Up For Love, Time, Space, Magic at GeekaChicas!

Our anthology, Love, Time, Space, Magic, just keeps on riding a wave of good reviews!

Since our wildly successful launch at Ad Astra this April, Love, Time, Space, Magic has been on a roll. loved it, we got some awesome praise from fellow authors and readers alike, and now, GeekaChicas has joined the party!

With the motto, “Geeky. Cheeky. Femme.”, GeekaChicas aims to promote the work of women in STEM, science fiction, and other ‘geeky’ pursuits. There’s lots of great reviews on there, and it’s a great cause to promote, so check ’em out!

Here’s my favourite quote:

“As an inveterate Romance Snob ™, I would not have read it if I hadn’t been asked to review it for this site. I was secretly prepared to struggle through it and do my best to give it fair shake, but I ended up really enjoying it. No one is more surprised by that than I am.”

That’s right… we’ll convert ’em yet!

Many thanks to GeekaChicas, and their reviewer, Pixel Chick!

Read a Sample of Both Sides. Now! Um… now! For Free!


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From time to time, I like to feature other great work from author friends on the blog, and Ira Nayman has a very funny project on right now that could use your help. Please enjoy this free sample from Both Sides. Now!. I’ve preordered my copies. That’s right… I said copies.  –Liz

Pete’s dad Jerry was a cop. Okay, he was the field agent who had been taunted by the coded messages of the Sagittarius Slaughterer which meant nothing top him because of his lack of knowledge of the Fibonacci Sequence or the life cycle of rutabagas. The Sagittarius Slaughterer, who took credit for forty-two murders, was never caught, although Jerry was the leader of a team that was convinced they had him cornered in an abandoned toaster oven canning factory. Still, Jerry lived and died a cop.

Pete’s granddad, Noah, was a cop. He was, to be sure, the cop who arrested the wrong man for the Nantucket Chum Bucket robbery, but you have to understand that there was considerable outrage, especially on behalf of the three year-old, whose injuries would ensure that she would never grow up to appreciate Van Halen, and the media circus had five rings and pressure to make an arrest was intense and unrelenting and came from the highest offices in the city. In any case, it only took forty-two years for the real robber’s conscience to get the better of him (after the money ran out), leading him to confess, so justice was done. Eventually. In the end. Still, Noah died in the uniform. In an old age home. Long after he had retired. People at the home are still trying to understand how it was smuggled in to him. Still.

Pete’s great-granddad Ezekiel was a cop. Forty-two of his cases had to be retried when it turned out that he had built a workshop in his basement where he manufactured evidence. You have to understand that that was how it was in those days, although few cops handcrafted their own used cigarette butts and lipstick-stained bar napkins. That speaks to a certain kind of dedication to duty, if nothing else. Family sentiment was split on the rumour that Orson Welles’ character in the film Touch of Evil had been based on Ezekiel, although they all agreed that it was a classic of the genre. Despite this unfortunate blot on his record late in his life, Ezekiel was one of the most decorated officers on the force.

Peter Docherty-Baye came from a long line of cops. They may not have been particularly good at their jobs, but they filled the uniform heroically, and broad shoulders and piercing blue eyes are often enough to instil confidence in a wary public unsettled by high crime rates and general social unrest.

At the age of forty-two, Pete found his level of incompetence: security detail for the President. Returning from an unsuccessful trip to Europe to try and get the British Prime Minister to wind down the War on Nouns and lower tariffs on processed American asparagus spears, Pete mused about how much his job sucked. Six hours in the air without access to ESPN or beer! This was the thanks he got from a grateful nation for safeguarding the life of the most powerful man on the planet (outside of Bill Gates…a couple of Russian oligarchs, oh, and the Chairman of the Communist Party of China – mustn’t forget the Chairman of the Communist Party of China!)? He should have gone into private security with his brother!

The President was sleeping in The Cocoon. This was not the group of like-minded politicians, staffers and media types who surrounded the President at all times and kept him away from anything approaching an original idea (something they did, all agreed, with the purest of motives: the President was a smart man who could be dangerous with an original idea, especially in these times of high crime rates and general social unrest). No, that was The Bubble. The Cocoon was a section of Air Force One set apart from the rest of the plane by a thick black curtain that allowed the President some privacy when he wanted to rest. And after dealing with British politicians for three days, he really needed to rest!

Pete checked his watch. We’ll be getting into Washington in less than half an hour, he thought. Time to wake up POTUS. (That would be Pain-in-the-ass of the United States, but Pete had never shared that opinion with anybody – it would probably get him permanently busted to traffic cop – even though he had really enjoyed the calm, measured rhythms of most daytime traffic that one week – but, it would just kill his mother – so you didn’t hear it from me.)

Pete pulled back the curtain and respectfully said, “Mister President? We’ll be landing in a few mi – WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?”

Five hours earlier, a middle-aged black man with short-cropped prematurely greying hair (it was the office) had gone to sleep in The Cocoon. In his place, there was now a twelve year-old white girl, with flowing blond curls and achingly adorable dimples.

Pete drew his gun and trained it on her.

“What are you yelling about?” the girl woke up irritated. She wiped the sleep out of her eyes with her knuckles.

“WHO ARE YOU?” Pete shouted.

“It’s me, Pete,” the girl calmly stated. “The President.”

“The President does not have flowing blond curls and achingly adorable dimples!” Pete loudly insisted.

The President, sitting up in the bed, looked at her hands. They were small. Dainty. And very white. “What the hell…?” she said.

The Chief of Staff appeared next to Pete. The Chief of Staff was a pleasant, slightly roly poly man with a crown of white hair that gave people the impression of a halo. It was a misimpression of a halo, of course, given the thirty plus years he had spent as a political fixer, but that was one of the main qualities that made him so good at his job. “Hey, hey, hey,” he calmly stated, “What’s all the shouting abou – HOLY MOTHER OF CHRIST, WHO ARE YOU?”

“Not you, too, Dave,” the President sighed. “Say – why is my voice so high?”

The Chief of Staff ducked out of entryway to The Cocoon for a few seconds, then returned with a mirror, which he handed to the President. She studied herself in it for a minute or more, reflected this part of her and that. Finally, setting the mirror aside, she told Pete, “I can see how this could be awkward for you.”

“Thank you for your understanding,” Pete replied. “Now, who the fuck are you?”

“I’m the President.”

“All due respect, ma’am,” Pete insisted, “the President of the United States does not look like Shirley Fucking Temple.”

“Pete,” the Chief of Staff, who had quickly recovered, “is the drama really necessary? And by drama, I mean primarily the gun, although the language and shouting are a part of it, too.”

“All due respect, sir,” Pete replied to him, “yes. The leader of the free world has turned into a beloved children’s entertainer! Yes. Yes, I would say that, under these circumstances, the drama is necessary. I can’t think of a situation in which the drama would be more fucking necessary!”

“Pete,” the President coolly asked, “do you think of me as the Pain-in-the-ass of the United States?”

“Who told you that?” Pete roared. (I didn’t tell the President! Did you tell the President? How could you tell the President? I told that to you in confidence! How am I supposed to trust you if –)

“Joe Rigoletto, who was on my first security detail, told me that’s what he thought of me,” the President said with a smile. “I’ve asked all of the men and women who guard me if they think of me that way, and all of them, every single one, said they did.” (Okay. Phew. Dodged a bullet, there. I…I’m sorry I doubted you.)

“Lucky guess,” Pete said, never taking his gun off the little girl in front of him. “It doesn’t prove shit.”

“Okay,” the President thoughtfully nodded. “Do you remember when you were first assigned to me? You nearly shot me because I was in the White House kitchen after midnight looking for cookies.”

“You always did like your chocolate chips,” Pete almost smiled. Then, he shook his head. “Okay, in the first place, I am a highly trained, highly decorated peace officer. I would never shoot the President by accident in the middle of the night.”

“Never said you did,” the President stated. “I –”

“Second,” Pete continued, ignoring her. “How did you know that? It’s not possible that you could know that.”

The President stared at him with a level gaze. “Think this through, Pete. What makes more sense? That somebody found a way to access Air Force One in mid-flight and replaced the President with a young girl, one that seems to know everything that the President knows, or that, for reasons we have yet to determine, while he was sleeping, the President was transformed into a little girl?”

Pete didn’t particularly care for either option. Before he could express this opinion, though, the Chief of Staff said, “I believe you, Mist – uhh, what should we call you? Under the circumstances, Mister President doesn’t seem entirely appropriate, and Mistress President has…unfortunate connotations.”

The President considered this for a moment. “POTUS still works,” he finally said.

            Yeah, that sounds like something the President would think, Pete thought.

“Hey, guys, what’s going on back –” the Press Secretary started to ask. The Chief of Staff quickly drew the curtain on the scene, turning to face her.

“Oh, hi, Linda,” he cheerfully greeted the Press Secretary.

“Okay,” she said, “what’s going on?”

“The President is…changing,” the Chief of Staff stated. “His clothes, I mean. He’s changing his clothes. He’ll…need a couple of minutes to…make himself presentable.”

“Sure,” the Press Secretary responded. “Only, I thought we should talk about the trip before we land. There will be reporters at –”

“NO!” the Chief of Staff exploded. “No reporters! Not now!”

“The trip was a disaster,” the Press Secretary reminded him. “Reporters will have questions – gleeful, gloating, hurtful questions – that they will demand the President answer.”

“Tell them the President is tired from the trip, and will hold a press conference in two days.”

“How are you gonna get the President past them?”

“Oh, she’ll…uhh…no, I meant –”

“Sheila? Who is Sheila?”

“Sheila? Oh, Sorry. Woman I met in London. Long story. I meant, he – he – the President, will leave the plane by the back door. It’s the middle of the night. Reporters will never know he’s left until it’s too late.”

“Your plan is to sneak the President past the reporters?”

The Chief of Staff glanced at the curtain. “Honestly, that’s going to be a lot easier than you think.”

The Press Secretary gave him a penetrating look. Then, deciding that there was nothing to be gained by fighting it, that she would find out what was going on when she needed to know, she said, “Tell him that we really need to get out ahead of this thing, okay?”

“Couldn’t agree with you more,” the Chief of Staff agreed. He watched the Press Secretary walk away for a couple of seconds. Then, he parted the curtain just long enough to walk through it.

“…through the rotunda and halfway up the stairs before he realized that he still had the chicken on his head!” The President laughed. Pete, his gun still trained on the young girl, almost allowed a corner of his mouth to tic upwards a minimally small amount.

“Mister Pre – POTUS,” the Chief of Staff firmly stated, “we really need to get out ahead of this thing!”

“What would you suggest?” the girl responded.

“Well, to start,” the Chief of Staff suggested, “you should fire all idiot Secret Servicemen who train guns on you.”

“I don’t believe she is the President,” Pete responded, “so she does not have the authority to fire me.”

“You could authorize me to fire his ass on your behalf.”

“Same problem.”
“Don’t worry too much about it,” the President said. “Pete would be almost as embarrassed about shooting a little girl as he would about shooting the President, wouldn’t you, Pete?”

“I hope not to have to shoot anybody,” Pete answered.

“There you go, then,” the President said. “So, what was that about getting ahead of this thing?”

“Okay,” the Chief of Staff started. “First: we need to convince the public that you are the President. I would suggest that you tell stories of your childhood…”

“You know I’ve never liked to do that,” the President mildly objected.

“I know that,” the Chief of Staff continued. “But, I think you can appreciate that it will be an uphill battle to convince people that a young white girl is actually a middle-aged black President. Even the low information voters.”

“I’ll try to come up with some stories that I would be comfortable telling.”

“Good. Next, we have to do something to show that you’re up for the job, that you’re still tough. I would suggest invading another country.”

“Hmm…you know I don’t approve of unnecessary military interventions.”

“That’s the great thing about the War on Nouns,” the Chief of Staff argued. “Any military intervention can be justified as necessary!”

“Can’t we just wait for the next budget crisis?” the President insisted. “I can be tough.” The Chief of Staff rose an inquisitive eyebrow. “I can be tough!” the President pouted. She was adorable.

“Putting that question aside, a budget crisis might not come soon e –” The Chief of Staff was cut off by the squawk of the plane’s intercom system. “Uhh, this is your co-pilot speaking,” the co-pilot spoke. “We’re about to start our approach to – WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?” The intercom quickly cut out.

The Chief of Staff looked at the two men for a moment, then said, “I’ll be back.” He ran past the curtain, through most of the body of the plane to the cockpit. He tried the door – it was ajar. So, he opened it and walked in. Co-pilot Simon Turklington, a good looking young blond was sitting in his chair. A bombshell brunet, a little past her prime but with still enough good looks to cause forest fires to smolder, stood awkwardly next to him.

“What’s going on here?” the Chief of Staff demanded.

“I…I don’t know,” the woman, a little dazed, said. “I laid down to get an hour’s sleep before we landed, and I woke up like this.” She swept an arm down her body.

“Captain Johanson?” the Chief of Staff asked.

“Yes?” the woman responded.

The Chief of Staff laughed. “What’s so funny?” Turklington asked.

“It could be that something strange is happening on the plane,” the Chief of Staff told him. “I prefer to think, though, that it is a worldwide phenomenon that will sooner or later happen to everybody.”

“What is?” the woman asked.

“Men turning into women and women turning into men,” the Chief of Staff informed him.

“And you hope that will happen to everybody?” Turklington asked.

“Sure do.”


“I like to think I’m an optimist.”

© 2014 by Ira Nayman

If you would like to read more of Both Sides. NOW! go to the Inkshares Web site( If, after reading the excerpt there, you would like to help make this book a reality, please preorder the book (you’ll find a handy button on the right side of the page), then share news of the existence of the book with your friends.

It’s Finally Here… Robotica’s Cover, Revealed!


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Robotica_final_web_whole Robotica_final_web_front

Oh yeah, drink it in, y’all.

This is going to be Pop Seagull’s most amazing anthology ever. We’ve got seventeen authors from four different countries represented, and their takes on the theme of robotic love, sex and relationships are some of the most intelligent, funny and creative work I’ve seen cross my desk so far.

Plus, we’ve got two returning Pop Seagull veterans, Ira Nayman and Gustavo Bondoni, who have come back to share even more great stories with us. So, if Love, Time, Space, Magic rocked your world, prepare to be rocked again.

More news on the way about Robotica, but for now, enjoy the artstuffs.

Gender Bending with Ira Nayman and ‘Both Sides. NOW!’


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Hi Everyone,

Today, I’m turning the mic over to friend of Pop Seagull Ira Nayman to talk about his latest project. Ira’s a super hardworking, funny and talented guy, and his latest novel, in pre-order now, stands to be the best yet. In a few days, we’ll be hosting an excerpt, and a peek at the brand-new cover image. Take it away, Ira!

It’s funny how so many people never really think about how deeply our bodies affect our lives, our sense of who we are and how we relate to other people in the world. Maybe it’s because we grow up in them, they are always part of us, and so it’s too easy for us to take them for granted.

I can see at least two cases where this isn’t so. The first case occurs when bodies don’t work the way they are supposed to; this forces the people who inhabit them to pay attention to them. The second is when you inhabit the body of an “other” (perhaps a black body in a predominantly white society, or a transgendered body in a predominantly cisgendered society); in that case, you are constantly reminded of the significance of your body. You can’t take it for granted. For the rest of us, I would suggest a little thought experiment.

Imagine what your life would be like if you woke up one morning and found yourself in a random body of the opposite sex. All of your memories up to the moment you went to sleep would be of your old body, and your basic personality would be the same. But now you would have to deal with a completely different set of physical characteristics, including a different set of hormones. What would this do to your sense of yourself, your idea of who you are? How would you cope?

Now, imagine what life would be like if everybody you knew had changed into a random body of the opposite sex overnight. How would you prove to your spouse that you were the person they had married? Would you believe them when they tried to convince you that they were the person you had married? What would you do if the attraction was no longer there? How would this affect your relationships with friends, acquaintances and other family members? For example: what would you do if your three month old daughter now inhabited the body of a forty year-old man?

As if that weren’t enough, imagine a world in which in which everybody’s sex had changed. Would male politicians maintain their positions on women’s issues (ie: reproductive rights) when they became women? Would the predominantly male CEOs of major corporations retain the faith of the market when they were no longer male? What would this do to the glass ceiling? How would international relations work when it was difficult to establish the true identities of world leaders?

This is the world that I have created for the novel Both Sides. NOW! My intention is to illustrate how the bodies we live in affect more aspects of our lives than most of us realize. I do this by following ten different characters in situations around the world in four time periods: the day of the change and one week, one month and one year afterwards. Some of the characters appear in multiple time periods, others only once. The result is a kaleidoscopic novel that, I hope, captures a wide swath of human experience.

Oh, and it’s a comedy. Because humour is what I write.

The novel is complete, but it has yet to find a publisher. That’s where you come in.

Crowdfunding publisher Inkshares and all things geeky Web site Nerdist are running a contest to determine which science fiction and fantasy books can get the most pre-orders by September 30. The five books that come out on top will be published by Inkshares under the Nerdist imprint; they will be placed in American bookstores and given some attention in American media, and the companies even hold out the possibility of a TV or movie deal.

What can you do to make this a reality? Go to the Inkshares Web site (, read the 50 page excerpt from the novel, love the 50 page excerpt from the novel and pre-order a copy of the novel. (Or, be indifferent to the 50 page excerpt from the novel, but wish me well enough to pre-order a copy of it anyway. I’ll accept that. I’m not proud.) Then, share this news with people you think might read/love/pre-order Both Sides. NOW!

Both Sides. NOW! is a unique book on a subject that isn’t often explored in mainstream genre fiction. Read the excerpt and you will find that it is well worth supporting.

-Ira Nayman

Unsolicited Indie Advice, Part Two: Networking Continued


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This is part two of an ongoing series in which I identify key skills and aptitudes which I have found necessary in order to have the best chance of succeeding as a self publisher or indie micro publisher. These articles are based on both my professional training as an author, editor and commercial artist, and my experiences in the industry, running my company for the last 5 years. They are not intended to refer to any particular individual without permission, and are merely my opinion. Please read lots of opinions and only use mine if they resonate with you.

I really believe in the power of indie authors to be great, and carve out a place of respect for themselves in the market and among their peers. But, to do that, we all must engage in a process of continuous self-improvement and learning about quality and industry best practices. I am still in this process myself, but I would also like to reach out and help those newer to the community. The better you do, the better we all do. It’s time to raise the standard and earn respect for everyone!

This is the second part of a two-part post on networking for indie publishers. The first part is here.

So, you’re feeling a bit ‘out of the loop’, uninspired and alone, or you have discovered that you don’t yet have the coverage or resources to do the things you’d like to do with your book business. Networking can be a great way to diminish these issues. Plus, you’ll make some great new friends who share your interests.

Here are my top tips for making networking work for you:

1. Show up, and keep showing up.

Find events and spaces where you know other authors and artistic professionals will be, and go there regularly. If people seem not to notice you, or seem a bit standoffish, don’t get discouraged. A lot of close-knit groups are like this with new people. Make sure you give the event enough time before deciding that the culture doesn’t work for you. If it’s a weekly event, give it three months. A monthly event? At least six months. Yearly events are tricky, as they are often more costly, but even then, I would suggest going more than once unless it seems like a total rip-off.

2. Show enthusiasm.

One of the best ways to become part of a community is to listen a lot, take an interest in people, and join in on existing projects. If you show enthusiasm and support for other people’s projects, you’ll become part of the community, and you’ll learn a lot. Helping others, especially in this industry, always helps you too, so be generous!

3. Be a Friend.

Similar to the above, it takes a friend to make a friend. Concern yourself with what people can do for you, and you’ll come off as fake (and probably will be). Concentrate on making friends, no matter whether their interests interlock with yours, and you’ll find yourself with a great support network before long. Feed people. Lend them your pen. Offer rides. If you know someone a little better and feel safe doing so, offer crash space. Listen to their stories and learn about their hobbies. We’re all in this together, so it pays to work together, too!

4. Learn.

Workshops and classes double as both great learning experiences that take you further away from Dunning-Kruger land (see the first item in this series), and as great places to meet others who are on the same stage of their journey. I always sign up for workshops when I’m able, because even if I feel like I’ve got a good grasp on the subject matter, I always learn something new, and meet new friends.

5. Remember: It’s about joining a community, not dredging for opportunity.

If you have read my take on networking and still want to do it the mercenary way, be my guest. But, I’m warning you, you’re cheating yourself out of a lot of genuine friendships, and a lot of joy. One of the amazing things I’ve learned from being part of a collaborative group of authors that often vend together is that we’re really not in competition with one another. Rather, by being together, we draw people in that will be interested in a variety of the books we’re all selling, depending on their tastes. We’re also great friends who enjoy each others’ company outside of our business endeavors.

I’ve met people who treat networking as a ‘What can you do for me?’ proposition, and, since this is unsolicited indie advice, I can honestly say that I find many of them rude and self-serving, and even if they may be very nice in private, they look extremely shallow when they engage in that kind of behaviour. Just think: that person you brush off today because they seem like small potatoes may actually turn out to be somebody you wish you’d gotten to know once you see more of them. But, I know I’m very reluctant to give second chances to someone who’s come off as mercenary and fickle when my business is on the line, and I’m sure many others are too.

The old adage is true: you only get one first impression. So don’t make that impression be that you’re a shallow dick who’s looking to climb the ladder quickly, because most people aren’t game to be stepped on while you climb. Do the work. Invest the time to really get to know people. Care about them and let them care about you. Join your local community, don’t just cruise by looking for handouts.

Networking isn’t a quick fix or a way to bypass industry gatekeepers… it takes work, and time investment, and real relationship building. But, if you’re willing to put in the work, it will benefit both you, and your community. Great, huh?

If you liked this article, why not check out the earlier posts in the series?

Part Two: Networking

Part One: The Dunning-Kruger Effect and the Novice Publisher

Part One Continued: Dunning-Kruger, Part Two-ger

Timothy Carter, Website Updates, and more!


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Hi Everyone,

The blog has slowed down a bit in the last month or so, as I’m dealing with some ongoing life stuff that should hopefully sort itself out by the end of July, beginning of August. Luckily, it’s only my posting that has suffered a bit. There’s been a lot going on with Pop Seagull behind the scenes, and we’re beginning to gear up for an exciting fall/winter season!

Website Renewal

Most of you probably know that I love this blog, but Pop Seagull, and my own author page which is currently at Meanwhile, In Canada, need a home of their own, on their own domain and hosting. This blog has been great as a place-holder while nobody in the company was able to commit to maintaining a website full-time, but now, with expanded time and resources, it’s time to re-open our website.  I’m happy to say that these WordPress accounts will still function as the official blogs for myself and Pop Seagull, but there will also be a ‘.com’ address that people can find more easily, that focuses more on product information and easy access to the books.

In the Fall and Winter we will be developing brand new sites, complete with dedicated book pages, better buying options, and some fun and interactive surprises that help readers to get closer to Pop Seagull’s worlds and characters. We will also be offering a quarterly email list with special offers and exclusive news.

The sites will go live by the new year, under the names:


We’re looking forward to having new and easier ways for our customers to engage with us! Keep an eye out for announcements as the site builds progress!

Timothy Carter Joins Pop Seagull With: The 5 Demons You Meet in Hell

Timothy Carter, funny fantasy writer and all-around Awesome Dude.

Timothy Carter, funny fantasy writer and all-around Awesome Dude.

As of next Spring, Pop Seagull will be home to Timothy Carter’s hilarious novel of hell, demons and redemption, The Five Demons You Meet In Hell.

Cheeky, irreverent and boldly imaginative, this book has been described as a mixture of Dante’s Inferno and Kevin Smith’s Dogma… with a heaping dose of humor and a whole lot of weird.

And the best part? If you want a sneak preview of the book, you can still buy the old version of the e-book for the next few months at Tim’s Smashwords and Amazon page. This truly is one of those indie gems, so get it for $2.99 while you still can!

We’re thrilled to welcome Tim to the Pop Seagull family, and there will be many more updates as the release progresses. In the meantime, if you’d like to get to know Tim (and his zany antics) a bit better, you can check out his blog and YouTube channel:

Tim’s Blog

Tim’s Youtube

Oh, and watch out for the new cover and branding we’re creating… There will be butts.

Unsolicited Indie Advice, Part Two: Networking


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This is part two of an ongoing series in which I identify key skills and aptitudes which I have found necessary in order to have the best chance of succeeding as a self publisher or indie micro publisher. These articles are based on both my professional training as an author, editor and commercial artist, and my experiences in the industry, running my company for the last 5 years. They are not intended to refer to any particular individual without permission, and are merely my opinion. Please read lots of opinions and only use mine if they resonate with you.

I really believe in the power of indie authors to be great, and carve out a place of respect for themselves in the market and among their peers. But, to do that, we all must engage in a process of continuous self-improvement and learning about quality and industry best practices. I am still in this process myself, but I would also like to reach out and help those newer to the community. The better you do, the better we all do. It’s time to raise the standard and earn respect for everyone!

There’s been a lot of great feedback on this series already, and some of it has been positively inspiring!

After writing Unsolicited Indie Advice, Part One: The Dunning-Kruger Effect and the Novice Publisher, I was left thinking about one of my points of advice. In it, I advised novice publishers to beware working with family or friends due to the high probability that either a) they’re not qualified, or b) you’ll quarrel at some point over terms and lose a relationship that is more important than your business.

This advice is still sound, and something that new people need to hear. But, I think that a little bit of clarification is in order. After writing the article, I sat back and thought of all of the wonderful people that I currently do business with, and genuinely consider friends. I belong to a wonderful community of local writers that respect and support each other. So, how is this relationship different from the one I described in Part One?

The answer is about attitude. Professional friendships can be as real and lasting as any other friendship, but they generally start with networking. Meeting like-minded friends through networking is very different from the square-peg-in-round-hole method of trying to make existing family and friends fit your vision.

So, the next two articles in the series are about networking with other publishing professionals, and how to make it work for you.

Common Problems of Indie Publishers Who Need Better Networking Skills:

1. You know there must be events out there for authors like you, but you’re not sure where to look, or who to ask.

Some communities have better advertisement for their events than others, but networking is a great way to tap into more events, and hear about opportunities you might want to be a part of. It’s also a great way to share knowledge about how others are being treated at certain events, and what is available.

2. You know where the events are, but they seem beyond your reach, due to lack of funds, equipment or enough titles to fill a table.

Once you find some like-minded individuals, it’s easier to team up to fill out tables, share equipment and reduce fees. This works out better for everyone, and you’ll be surprised how quickly that event that seemed out of reach becomes affordable with a little teamwork!

3. You’ve read every article you can find online, but there still seem to be huge aspects of the business that elude you in practice.

Speaking to real people who are making their businesses work in your local area can give you a wealth of information about your local market, sales, and the kind of best practices that can really pull up a whole community of indie publishers through knowledge-sharing.

4. You feel isolated, like no one around you supports your choice to start a publishing business, or working on your titles feels like an uphill battle that you’re fighting alone.

It can be very tiring and de-motivating to feel like you’re having to go it alone. Connecting with people who are doing the same things can provide a source of encouragement for all involved, and be a ready source of inspiration when you all brainstorm together.

If these problems feel familiar, you might want to try brushing up on your networking skills. In the next article, I’ll give my best tips for growing a supportive network of friends that share your vision.

If you liked this article, why not check out the earlier posts in the series?

Part One: The Dunning-Kruger Effect and the Novice Publisher

Part One Continued: Dunning-Kruger, Part Two-ger

Guest Blog: Stephen B. Pearl on Love, Worthiness and “Seven Days”


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From time to time, I like to feature other authors and commentators with something unique and interesting to say. Today, author Stephen B. Pearl talks a little bit about his inspiration for Seven Days, a story of whirlwind romance with a creature of the fae which appears in Love, Time, Space, Magic.

If you like what Stephen has to say, you can find more of his musings and published works at

Hi all,

I’m Stephen B. Pearl author of, among other things, the story Seven Days in Love Time Space and Magic from Pop Seagull Publishing.

The original inspiration for Seven Days came from the Jethro Tull song The Whistler. The song seemed to lend itself so well to the fairy stranger format that the story almost wrote itself. A recurrent theme in fairy lore is the stranger who comes into the village and performs some act for good or ill that changes everything. On a personal level there are few things as devastating than romantic betrayal. Whether that betrayal is by the loved one or the universe is of little matter, it still leaves one bereft and hurting. Thus I saw Chanter, the fey servitor, as the fairy stranger, but instead of saving a village he saves a broken heart. One heart at a time he makes good his folly of the past.

With Seven Days I explored the gift of a transient fling. The idea that having someone there, even for a little while, to remind you that you are worthy of love and respect is a very powerful thing. I also, with the character of William, I take a look at the selfless nature of true love, the kind that can last a lifetime.

Finally, With Fawn and her issues I touch on the idea that we have to be open to love. Often we cut ourselves off from love because we don’t see ourselves as worthy. We have been taught that we aren’t attractive enough, smart enough, good enough to deserve love and so keep those who would love us at arm’s length.

Chanter in my story sees into the heart of the hurting soul and draws out the cause behind the cause. In my experience the wounds that hurt worst are the ones that open old injuries. It is like a piece of metal. Hit it once and it is strong. Hit it a thousand times and it will break. Thus when Chanter says to William, “Your wound was more raw but simpler, hers is deep; forged of years of hurt. I will do what I can.” Chanter is summing up a life of pain for Fawn that has opened with the romantic betrayal. Chanter makes no judgment as to which is worse, William’s pain of having lost his love to death or Fawn’s of having been cheated on and dumped after a life time of being belittled by those who should have loved her, because they are both pain. One is acute the other chronic and both can devastate a person, twisting them into something less than they should be.

You might say that Seven Days has a lot of emotion.

I hope this insight has been of interest and would just like to say you are worthy of love. Let yourself embrace it and grow in it and it will stay long past the seventh day.


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