Science Fiction Appearances: “Alien Dimensions #14” – Science Fiction, Fantasy and Metaphysical Short Stories…

I have a story up in the Kindle Unlimited publication, Alien Dimensions Magazine. Issue #14. Or, also known as Alien Dimensions Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Metaphysical short stories.  This is an ePublication focusing heavily on alien races and alien influence. Other authors appearing beside me in Issue #14 include: John Hegenberger, Neil A. Hogan, Olga Werby, Sean Mulroy, Jeremy A. Brown, and Regina Clarke. I’ll place clickable links below the current issue’s cover, along with their main website. Be sure to check it out. Enjoy.

ALIEN DIMENSIONS MAGAZINE – ISSUE #14, November 2017-2018

alien-dimensions-14

WEBSITE: http://www.aliendimensions.com

AMAZON KINDLE: https://www.amazon.com/Alien-Dimensions-Metaphysical-Anthology-Magazine-ebook/dp/B0774NQHR1/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1509806908&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=alien+dimensions+14&psc=1

 

Other New Entries: “Magazines”

 

 

Science Fiction Anthologies: “An Atlas to Time, Space, and Bonfires” – presented by Save SciFi.com

I’m pleased to announce that I have a short story in the successfully “Kickstarter-funded” science fiction anthology, AN ATLAS TO TIME, SPACE, AND BONFIRES. Old school and new school short fiction authors, 350+ pages, 120,000 words in length, and presented by Michael Daugherty and Stephen Landry over at Save SciFi.com. I’ll put all necessary pictures, links, banners below. It is available as a thick print book or in digital format on storefronts like Amazon (Kindle) and Smashwords. Each author’s story is also presented with original artwork by artist, Stephen Landry. It is chock full of new and reprinted stories from across the universe. A must-own (and a must-read) for the science fiction anthology enthusiast.

An_Atlas_Time_Space_Bonfires

NOTE: As of the writing of this website post, on this date, AN ATLAS TO TIME, SPACE, AND BONFIRES has done extremely well. Not only being a successful Kickstarter campaign, but also pushing a hundred or so print copies at a science fiction convention (in Harrisburg, PA, I believe), and hundreds of digital versions (eBook format). Also, thank you to Michael Daugherty, Stephen Landry, and the people who funded this book over on Kickstarter. Much love. Save science fiction. Pictures and links below.

An Atlas Book Cover Back

An-Atlas_Kickstarter_ThankYouBanner

SAVE SCIFI TEAM:

Editor and Founder: Michael Daugherty

Head Artist: Stephen Landry (w. Kristina Sotje)

WEBSITE LINK: http://savesci-fi.com/category/savesci-fioriginals/anthology1/

AUTHOR LINE-UP

David Bax

Danny Daines

Heather Leonard

Stephen Landry

Kevin Small

Zach Shaw

Felicia Copeny

Lewis Leslie

E.J. De la Pena

David Castlewitz

Drew Avera

Christopher Vickers

Mike Lawson

H.S. Donnelly

Patrick S. Baker

Sophie G. Michaels

Bob Brown

Lawrence Dagstine

Marleen S. Barr

Daniel M. Kimmel

Medron Pryde

An Atlas Book Lot

An Atlas Book Lot 2

Once again, thank you to the people who funded this over at Kickstarter.

YOU MADE THIS POSSIBLE.

SMASHWORDS:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/724921

AMAZON KINDLE:

http://www.amazon.com/Atlas-Time-Space-Bonfires-Anthology-ebook/dp/B0725R41YB/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495461708&sr=8-1&keywords=an+atlas+to+time+space+bonfires

Living Amongst the Lizards

NEW ENTRIES: “Books & Anthos”

 

 

 

 

Lawrence Dagstine: “Masters of the Universe 2010…”

The birthday of all birthdays approaches.  Three.  And this year’s theme is actually the very expensive, 30th Anniversary re-release of some funky figures I grew up to in the very early 1980s.  He-man and the Masters of the Universe: Adult Collector Series.  These are for my son, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had a little fun with them myself (he he).  The artwork and detail is out of this world, done by the Four Horsemen, and if you have an action figure or toy news blog, please feel free to use these pics.  I was most surprised by how expensive they were.  First off, they sell out in less than 24 hours all the time on Mattel’s main homepage… So your only shots are places like eBay or Amazon if you want to own these high-end figures.  Next, when I say high-end, I mean it.  The 2010 Masters of the Universe line-up runs between $25.00 and $80.00 per figure on average; with $35.00 to $60.00 being that in-between number with S&H.  Are they worth it? Yes and no (I also managed to pick up a 2002 Castle Grayskull MINT in the box.  Some of the more memorable characters are even more awesome-looking than when they first came out in 1982.  Characters like He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Trap-Jaw, and Moss Man included.  And they include better weapons and equipment, too.

Word, yo. It all good... Later we go to Mr. B's for a Nickel and Shiznit!

It should be noted that I didn’t pick up Skeletor but, rather, Scareglow instead.

No hard feelings, Skeletor.  I’ll give a little description of the figures further down.

Sorry, Skeletor... but Scareglow looked wayyy cooler than your candy ass.

So with the castle and the average forty-fifty dollar action figure I ended up spending close to $700.00 in He-man related toys.  Why spend so much, you ask? Well, while I agree they are for my son and I’m reliving my childhood through him, and hope one day that he might want to repeat the process… It wasn’t just a birthday celebration or bunch of gifts I just “had to own!” Yes, I do collect my own Doctor Who and Star Wars action figures.  Yes, I have Matchbox/Hot Wheels cars.  Yes, I have baseball cards made of chrome.   Oh, and don’t even get me started on Transformers, Thundercats, Smurfs, G.I.Joe, and some now-old school 8-bit NES games.  These toys were a celebration to welcome my son into my home as I now have custody (visitation rights) of him 7 to 8 days a month.  In the event a weekend lands with a Monday as a holiday, there’s your eighth day.  So I have my kid for lots of cartoon fun (and the park outdoors) one week a month.  Which means more to me than my writing, so yes, along with a new bed directly across from mine, makes $700.00 seem all the more worth it.

2002 Castle Grayskull - MIB; with Action Chip/Sound Effects

2002 Castle Grayskull - Back of box/castle interior view

Other gifts included a Superman “Through the Ages” gift set, a 13″ tall Cyberman, a pair of Iron Man sneakers, and a 2010 AT-AT Imperial Walker.  But let’s concentrate on the Masters of the Universe line-up for now.

Scareglow - Skeletor's Henchman from another dimension

Beast Man - Skeletor's Original Henchman with realistic paint job

Tri-Klops - Skeletor's Henchman who can see through one eye

Trap-Jaw - Skeletor's iron-mouthed, claw-armed henchman - RARE! $50 and up!

The He-man adult series also comes in nice collectible boxes

It appears I’ve picked up an unequal amount of good guys versus bad guys.  Maybe that’s because the bad guys always looked cooler.  I’ve also picked up the whole 130-episode television series, which lasted four years in the early 80s — they tried to bring it back in 2002, but failed — and they were the basis of my childhood and fantasies growing up.  It’s now time to introduce it to another generation, just as some parents from Generation X are introducing Star Wars and Transformers to their young ones.  Who knows, maybe the 80s culture will always be with us.  Why? Because the 80s into the early 90s were probably one of the coolest periods for things in general.  And not just toys.  Though cheesy to some today, you had your clothes, music, movies (ala Empire Strikes Back, Predator, Terminator, and Aliens), comics, graphic novels, and even science fiction, fantasy and horror novels when it was at its height.  There is a man by the name of Stephen King we can thank for that.  Anyway, on to some more action figure pics.

He-man in Battle Armor - paint job just like the day he premiered

Faker - The evil He-man which Tri-Klops & Skeletor put back together.

Wun-Dar - Savage ancestor of He-man; great grandfather - VERY RARE

Moss Man - authentic green fur and he smells like a Christmas Tree

Man-E-Faces - Good guy robot from the 2002 collection with three faces

Now before I go, get a load of this… Not only did they make the new figures look just like the older figures, only with superior paint jobs — once again, the Four Horsemen are responsible for these figures — but one of them included a ring.  The ring you see below I used to own and wear almost thirty years ago.  The Castle Grayskull Ring.  Every detail has been repeated.  I don’t know what’s funnier, the way it looks since I lost it in the early eighties and the fact that I still remember it, or when I was running around second grade with it on, raising my hand to the sky, shouting, “I HAVE THE POWER!” Actually, what’s probably hilarious is the ring still fits my ring finger, and I wore it outdoors by mistake one day, not realizing I had it on.  Nevertheless, when I was young I loved that He-man ring, and I’m glad to have an exact duplicate of it back.  It sits on my writing desk, and believe it or not, it even gives me a little inspiration when it comes to penning horror stories.  I fiddle around, put it on, or sometimes just stare at it.  Oh yeah, I also picked up the NEW Webstor figure.

The Castle Grayskull Ring - Memories that still fit almost 30 years later.

Castle Grayskull put together w. The whole gang saying goodbye.

Once again, there’s nothing wrong with reliving your childhood or passing it on to the next generation.  And it’s things like this which helped inspire me to become the one thing I do most these days.  Being a genre writer.

With that said, everybody say goodbye.  Until next time.  BYE BYE.  Bye everyone.  See ya.

Cheers,

Lawrence Dagstine

FRESH BLOOD by Lawrence Dagstine… (PDF and E-Format!)

My 2009 debut short story collection, FRESH BLOOD, filled with 160 pages of dark science fiction stories and twisted horror tales is now coming to PDF/e-Format.  You can get it from one of the largest RPG retailers on the Web. DriveThruRPG.com! Or, for just a few dollars more, you can splurge for the print copy and see what all of last summer’s buzz was about. Just do a search for “Sam’s Dot Publishing”.  It might take a while for the publisher’s page to go up.

Vampires * Zombies * Ghosts * Giant Lizards * Alternate Universes

FRESH BLOOD: TALES FROM THE SPECULATIVE GRAVEYARD

Published by Sam’s Dot Publishing

Author: Lawrence R. Dagstine

FRESH BLOOD in PDF/E-Format - ISBN: 978-0-9819696-2-6

Order the PDF or e-Version for upload to your readers at… DriveThruRPG.com:

www.drivethrustuff.com

For a little more, the softcover version at The Genre Mall:

http://www.genremall.com/anthologiesr.htm#freshblood

Fresh Blood by Lawrence Dagstine - PRINT VERSION

Other New Entries: “Books & Anthos”

The Next Time: Alternate Reality-Time Traveling Anthology…

 

Now Available on Amazon – 298 Pages, Only $11.95; featuring Lawrence Dagstine!

THE NEXT TIME: Anthology of Alternate Reality/Time Travel

Edited by Chris Bartholomew – Now Available!

The Next Time Anthology by Lame Goat Press

Order your copy today — I’m in it:

https://www.createspace.com/Customer/EStore.do?id=3424257

ISBN/EAN13: 1450519180 / 9781450519182

Author Line-Up: John C. Mannone, Mark Wolf, James P. Wagner, Shells Walter, Lawrence R. Dagstine, Kristin Aune, Kyle Hemmings, Ralph Greco, Pete Carter, Deborah Walker, Albert Melear, Sam S. Kepfield, John F. D. Taff, Lawrence Barker, Terence Kuch, Jo Thomas, Andrew Males, Edward A. Rodosek, David C. Pinnt, Michael C. Pennington, R.H. Reese, Christopher Jacobsmeyer, Joseph Carfagno, Sean Monaghan, John X. Grey, Mark Robinson, Jamie K. Schmidt, and Ken Head.

Other New Entries: “Books & Anthos”

Lawrence Dagstine: “How to Make Money at Signings…”

“HOW TO MAKE MONEY AT BOOK SIGNINGS”

dagstine-merch-1

AT OUTDOOR EVENTS & FOR THE INDEPENDENT/NEWBIE AUTHOR

by Lawrence R. Dagstine

A lot of people have been “hinting” recently on places such as Facebook and via email looking for advice.  They want to know how I did it.  They want to know how to make money selling books and magazines at functions and signings, especially if you’re an independent/newbie author.  As many people already know, I came out of a series of signings at Coney Island, New York this past summer with a decent intake on such titles as FRESH BLOOD (see Books & Anthos), and more.  Writing is pretty much an extra income field for a majority of us.  Once you learn to accept that, and not depend on fiction or look forward to fancy six-figure careers, you find your comfort zone.  The checks that come in repetitively or non-repetitively may pay for such things as utility bills, groceries, little odds and ends in places like Rite-Aid, CVS, or Walmart, co-pays on prescriptions, dinner and a movie, or something as simple as a gallon of milk or filling up your gas tank.  Of course, all of this might not come from fiction, but that’s okay.  After all, it’s a starving profession to begin with.  In this recession, every dime that comes out of the written word counts, because you never know how much your next electric bill or gas bill will be.  For example, right now I’m doing people’s resumes.  If you’re already an established, professional author with a couple of novels out, this information probably won’t help you, as you already make a nice income from being an upper midlist author or being able to relax on what royalties and advances you make from mass market paperbacks.  That, and some of your publishers may already foot the bill for some of your traveling expenses from signings.  But nowadays it’s very rare unless you’re a lead-lister.

However, if you’re an independent/micro-press author who lives in a big city or a pretty happening little town, whose been published in lots of print magazines, maybe a few anthologies, has a new book or collection available through a POD press, has access to a small newspaper (bonus points here), this information might help you better understand the kind of buyers that you want to attract, the places you want to sell, the performance you want to give when selling, how much to pay for dealers’ tables, number-crunching, and, what seems to work and not work “perception-wise” when selling to an audience outside of genre, because let’s be honest—that’s the consumer you’re gunning for, and they’re hard to reach.  At the end of the day they’re still a reader of Charlaine Harris, Dan Brown, or James Patterson.  You want to sell to both genre readers and non-genre readers alike.  Most likely, you work a day job, or maybe you’re on a fixed income.  You need to rely on a budget throughout, cut corners when necessary, because this article is recession-friendly.  People may perceive you as a hack, an amateur, people you know for years may perceive you as a pro, a super-pro, or even Superman! But no matter what kind of author you are, the moment you sat down at that table and sold a variety of stuff with your name on it, you were no longer just an author.  You also became a merchant and a bookseller, and you need to keep that mindset.

If you do live in a big city or a small town and haven’t been able to get signings in places such as Borders, Waldenbooks, or Barnes & Nobles, that’s okay.  In this economy, if you don’t expect family or friends to show up (or friends of those friends), chances are you’ll only sell less than twenty copies anyway and look like a schmuck at a table in the corner with a bowl of lollipops or cookies.  Somewhere away from the door if you’re not cozy with the store manager.  I chose Coney Island because it was a seasonal attraction—over five million visitors per summer—rather than a one-day gig, and I’d known about it almost a year in advance because I did some writing and research for one of their papers.  I knew people, and I made connections.  And if you can make connections, and you know the turnout is going to be big and profitable in advance, and it’s inexpensive to show up and conduct your little set-up, then what are you waiting for?

Fact: five-million people do not visit a Borders bookstore over the course of a summer — matter of fact, they’re closing stores, and I would be surprised at how many more survive — neither does that amount visit an independent bookstore, which I find to be a good way to do nothing, sell nothing, and just kill the day in a chair.  A world famous amusement park and tourist attraction is a whole other story.  Even little carnivals passing through town may attract more visitors.

Of course, there are always exceptions.

If you’re not selling in places like the chains, then you still want to add some diversity to your table, make it look pretty: business cards, flyers, postcards, magnets, or buttons made up cheap.  I recommend Vistaprint (www.vistaprint.com).  You can get stuff made up by them quite often for free.  All you have to do is pay the shipping & handling.  Some of the greatest places to sell books, and which attract crowds are book fairs, street fairs, flea markets (outdoor, indoor, churches and synagogues), carnivals, community centers, town halls, schools, festivals, bars… But mostly outdoor events in spring and summer.  Warm weather.

One writer asked me how much should he pay for tables (or, in some cases, booths).  I would say if you’re an independent author DO NOT pay more than a hundred bucks for a table (but that’s just me).  If you don’t come out of your signings making a minimum of 70 to 80% profit, don’t even bother reserving a spot.  Why? Because you need to first make the cost of the table back.  Then there’s the cost of gasoline, food and beverages (maybe even hotel and airfare).  Trust me, it adds up.  Make your signings LOCAL, and, if possible, try to split the table costs with fellow authors, too.  Oh yeah, you also want to hit up the smaller cons rather than the big cons.  Not that you shouldn’t attend the bigger cons, only that some of the smaller conventions are much easier on your pocket when it comes to the dealer’s area.  Sam’s Dot Publishing, one of my publishers, always seems to make a killing at these events.  They often sell out! Flea markets, churches, and festivals can go as low as $25 to $50.  I know this one church which holds a pretty popular flea market on Tuesdays and Fridays for twenty bucks, but you have to bring your own table.  Always packed.  Just sell a few used books, sports cards and comics on the side, you’ll make that back in no time flat.  Other genre wares should be meant to cover the cost of your table and traveling expenses.  This is a must!

When you go into a signing as an independent/newbie author, you need to go into it with the mind of a businessman or businesswoman.  You need to ask yourself: where do I expect to pick up the most sales and the best exposure.  The ice cream parlor, the town library, or the state fair (obviously the state fair).  If you need a license, get one.  They’re really not that expensive.  If you’re a newbie on a fixed income, you need to calculate all this in advance.  Don’t just sit at a table with your hands clasped, smiling and nodding at passersby.  Get up and be a regular PT Barnum.  Be jovial.  Prepare what’s called a pitch. For example: “Hello, Ma’am, you’re looking lovely today.  You must love to read.  Oh, don’t be shy.  I bet you have a soft spot for books reminiscent of Stephen King and JK Rowling!”—you get the gist (woman sees table filled to the rim with merch; friendly conversation is under way).  You need to stand up and introduce yourself.  You need to have confidence, charisma, personality, and a little humor doesn’t hurt either.  Books don’t sell themselves.  Hence why you need to be business-minded when you approach this, especially in these hard economic times, where the independent writer gets the short end of the stick.

Snail Mail

Let’s talk about Coney Island now.  My very first signing on that very first day in June was a disaster.  Why? Because I had only brought Fresh Blood with me and a few used books by pulp authors.  Luckily, that first day I covered the cost of the booth (it was only $30 at the time), but I’ll never forget this one guy who came up to me and said, “Wow, so you like write stuff.  Man, I remember books.” I was astonished! Let’s just say the guy was a caveman who’d taken one too many bong hits.  How does someone forget about reading and books? Another girl just wanted her photograph taken with me because she never met an author before, yet she didn’t buy anything.  Not to mention I looked like a big tool just sitting there with one Dagstine-related item to my name when, back home, I had hundreds of print periodicals I could have toted with me.  Duplicate copies, too.  Yes, variety, along with ‘public perception’ makes for a very nice recipe, which I’ll explain in more detail in a moment.

After that first day I learned my lesson.  Between June and August there were supposed to be seven signings, but there ended up to be six due to a one-day rainout.  There would have been a few more had it not rained constantly between June and July.  And Flea by the Sea (the name of Coney Island’s summer marketplace), though covered by tents, was an outdoor event.  It was on top of the beach.  At times, the winds were horrible.  The circus was there, too, and one day there was a big hoopla going on because Ringling Brothers were abusing the elephants, but believe it or not a few of the animal rights activists picked up some of my goods.  So I can’t complain there.  But what I’m trying to say here is that, make sure it’s not going to rain on your parade on the day that you sell.  Mother Nature has a funny way of defying writers when it comes to selling outdoors.  By July and early August I was paying $40.00 for the booth and then $10.00 to rent the table, which came out to $50.00 for an entire weekend.  How could you beat that price? This is the price area you should be looking into.  Once again, a hundred bucks should always be your cap, and hopefully, you have more than one book to offer.  Speaking of which…

They say never judge a book by its cover.  Bullshit. When you’re selling in quantity to a non-genre and genre crowd, cover art I noticed makes all the difference.  In most cases it comes down to perception and appearances, or just the way people interpret merchandise.  I don’t care what anybody says.  They do judge a book by its cover.  And what people saw were stacks of magazines with extra copies, six different hardcovers and anthologies, and of course, a stack of Fresh Blood.  It was set up professionally and it looked pretty, like my own compact comic book shop.  All featuring something by ‘Dagstine.’

People were complimenting me because of the covers of the magazines.  Short lines and interested eyes gathered.  One person said, “So you must be Brooklyn’s SF Writer.”—I said, “Okay.” I just totally went with it.  Everything acted sort of like a cash cow.  One Dagstine publication led to the purchase or attraction of another.  Not only did one person spend $50.00 in one shot on me, but over the course of those signings I pushed $250.00 worth of old self-published hardcovers from The Year of the Flood, back when I didn’t know what the words ‘Vanity Press’ meant.  The point I’m trying to make here: I had a lot to choose from, my buyers had a lot to choose from, and so should you.  The cover art, the variety, the set-up, and “come one, come all” pitch made all the difference.  Even the shirt I wore! I got to autograph and sell my writing where, with only Fresh Blood, I probably wouldn’t have made what I did over the course of the summer: around $1200.00 – NET. And hey, I got my work and business cards out there.  Not bad for a hack, and my table investments had already been covered. 

If you’re a writer whose works have appeared in quite a few magazines, talk to the editor about getting extra issues at an author discount.  Always use media mail.  You might pay $4.00, $5.00, even $6.00 for those extra copies featuring your work in it.  You’re going to autograph them and sell them for $8.00 to $10.00… And don’t forget what I said, once you’ve included the cost of the table, food and beverages, gas or transportation to get to your selling destination, you need to make a minimum of 70 to 80% profit, otherwise it’s pointless.  Remember to invest in your work, invest in yourself, and before you attend that signing with more than one book or periodical, sit down with a calculator and crunch those numbers.  Make sure the location is going to be worth the time and effort.

In closing…

Whether you’re selling indoors in some chain, an artsy-fartsy independent that has velvet couches and serves Lattes and marble loaf in the back, or you’re giving the outdoor thing a whirl like I did, there is also another reason why you need to impress that passerby.  Besides cover art and quantity, nine out of ten times the general reading public will throw down cash on used books, non-fiction, children’s books, fast-paced thrillers, or romances before they will genres or subgenres known for killer slugs, planets with giant lizards, what the future would be like if everybody were pink, zombie stories, and heroic fantasy yarns.  If you’re a writer of genre fiction, you’re automatically at a disadvantage, so you need to think of ways to catch up.  That’s why the business model/bookseller mentality is so important.

Still, if I could do it with twelve hundred smackers, with a little initiative, so can you.

Until Next Time,

Lawrence R. Dagstine

Lawrence Dagstine: “FRESH BLOOD Aftermath…”

Or… The BEST WEEKEND EVAH! Thank you sooo much to everyone who stopped by my booth and picked up copies of my books, pulp magazines, and other wares.  Many of you told me you’ve never read genre before, many of you took my card, and a couple of you even stood in line and actually waited.  You don’t know how good that made me feel.  Thank you again.  Here I thought folks don’t read anymore (well, that was before this weekend, assuming I now have new readers – I really hope you enjoy the tales and stay tuned to this spot). 

ISBN: 978-0-9819696-2-6

ISBN: 978-0-9819696-2-6

Good news: I’ll be back next weekend.  Some marketing, diversifying, and injecting the right pitches clearly doesn’t hurt, I see.

Bad news: If you’re new here, I’m temporarily sold out of Fresh Blood.  I only have five copies left, and at the moment I need to mail out to review venues.  I will, however, still have a few copies of other books and pulps on hand.  But these will be sparse.

Oh yeah, and I’m planning a contest too!

Order FRESH BLOOD direct from The Genre Mall:

http://www.genremall.com/anthologiesr.htm#freshblood

Check out some of the other goods:

https://lawrencedagstine.com/books-anthos/

https://lawrencedagstine.com/magazine-credits-dagstine/

Order the Post-Apocalyptic SATIRICA ANTHOLOGY:

https://lawrencedagstine.com/2009/04/27/satirica-anthology-nominated-for-ippy-award/

Some of the merch, some of the profits.

Some of the merch, some of the profits.

Fresh Blood scores BIG in Brooklyn, New York!

Fresh Blood scores BIG in Brooklyn, New York!

Even more merch; Dagstine bulk filled almost two big suitcases

Even more merch; Dagstine bulk filled almost two big suitcases

It was a great few days.  My count may be off, but I pushed somewhere well over 130 mixed Dagstine titles: hardcovers, softcovers, magazines, etc.

With that said, I’m off to eat in my favorite sushi restaurant.  I feel like a kid living his dream.  Once again, thank you!

Lawrence R. Dagstine 😉