Online fiction authors and multimedia producers Birdy and Mike Diamond follow a concept they call “Fiction Isn’t,” which they discovered whilst exploring psychic channeling. It’s the idea that, when authors say that their characters suddenly started telling their own stories, that’s what’s really happening: the author has made a mental link to actual people in realms elsewhere from ours. Instead of creating stories, authors are writing the biographies of these people.
Birdy and Mike are making early ventures in getting paid to play under their brand, JourneyBirds’ Wonderland. They’ve created a Patreon page to support their works, which include Arrows in Flight, an Arrow-inspired vigilante story; Church of the Guardian Angel, where two unlikely servants of a cat goddess quietly work to keep the world sane; and Crosswell’s Flying Circus, an unusual airshow company dragged into a dark conspiracy (all of which feature readings by yours truly)! They’ve also developed some tools to help writers find inspiration and crank their daily word count out!
I chat with Birdy and Mike about getting serious about writing whilst being trapped in a hospital bed, psychic hyperlinks, the struggle to be open about yourself in a society that frowns on the unusual, warbird outfits, winning NaNoWriMo, minimum viable perfection and how fiction facilitates the conversations we need to have about the issues that truly matter.
Hybrid paranormal romance author Lauren Dawes writes the Half Blood series, four novels of the Helheim Wolf Pack, and the Dark trilogy, tales of ancient Norse gods living and battling amongst humanity. The Dark series are published by Pan MacMillan, while Lauren self-publishes the Half Blood series.
Lauren was born in South Africa to English parents who then raised her and her brother in Sydney. She loves reading, naturally, but also travelling and, perhaps unsurprisingly given the action-packed nature of her novels, muay thai kick boxing. Her love of urban fantasy and paranormal romance sprang from reading authors like Laurell K. Hamilton, J.R. Ward and Charlaine Harris.
Lauren and I have a great chat about what Stephenie Meyer did to the vampire genre, the author’s burden of the rejection slip, juggling writing with raising a youngster while the armed forces make off with your husband, the work of world building, going from writing a novel in private to speaking at panels in conventions.
Television host and actor Steven O’Donnell is better known to gamers across Australia as Bajo, one of the four hosts of the ABC television show Good Game. Bajo’s prestige amongst the Australian geek community has made him a go-to guest and MC for pop culture conventions.
Bajo has acted in close to 40 short films and 6 independent features and is part of a team developing a new children’s TV show for the ABC, which has just been green-lit after four years of development. If that’s not enough, Bajo and fellow Good Game host Hex have written a children’s book series called Pixel Raiders for Scholastic.
Bajo and I have a great chat about night-long Counter-Strike marathons four days a week, making children cry at Warner Bros. Movie World, the sheer amount of work involved in making multiple television shows each week, seeking out challenges that make you feel uncomfortable and how community is at the heart of any passion!
Veteran of the acting scene Barry Duffield moved from the UK to Australia with family as a youngster but found acting success after moving to New Zealand, where he studied at the South Seas Film and Television School in Auckland. This led to recurring roles the New Zealand medical drama Shortland Street.
Genre fans, though, undoubtedly know him for his portrayal of Lugo, the Germanic warrior in the Starz TV series Spartacus: Vengeance and Spartacus: War of the Damned.
Listen in for a great chat about how Berry got his big break thanks to a motorbike, the unique experience that is “Option Hell,” working on Young Hercules, his (spoiler warning) epic death in Spartacus: War of the Damned, helping a young boy who had beaten cancer get to a Spartacus convention and how he’s just as big a fan as anyone else!
Huge thanks to Glenn Hodges for connecting Barry and I up, and also to Patreon backer Paul Cockrem for the awesome question!
Self-published author of urban and erotic fantasy Kimberley Clark is determined to make sure that every item on herbucket list is crossed off. One of those items was to write a novel – yet after completing that project, Kimberley discovered that rather than moving on to the next thing, she had to keep going as a writer.
Kimberley is now the self-published author of a trilogy of erotic urban fantasy novels, the Battles in the Dark series, which are on sale on Amazon. We had a great chat about pursuing your dreams, the struggle in finding a good editor and the choice between self-publishing and seeking out a traditional publisher.
C. J. Miozzi is the paid player I want to be when I grow up. He’s a writer, graphic artist and voice talent, and he’s built his revenue streams around his love of video games, especially Diablo III. He’s probably best known for his YouTube channel of advice for players of Diablo III, for which he goes by the handle of Rhykker.
We chat about the difference between personalities and content providers on YouTube, the conflict between outsourcing and the desire for complete control, pursuing a career almost completely outside your field of study and planning for the inevitable changes in any modern career, not just freelancing. Oh, and we have a bit of a geek-out about Dungeons & Dragons.
Birdy and Mike Diamond are keen writers who believe that good stories come from outside the self; that the trick to writing is getting in tune with the lives that the people you’re writing about are living and letting them tell their stories through you.
One avenue of portraying their stories that they’ve explored has been Internet TV and audio plays. They’e currently developing several projects and engaging people of various talents to help complete a few key ones – including yours truly as a voice artist!
Notes for Listeners:
This episode was the first time I’d experimented with using Skype credit to call a land line phone number. I was expecting that my guests’ side of the conversation would be phone call quality; it turns out that Skype records us both at that grade.
During this episode, Birdy and Mike make mention of a group called the Writer’s Circle. Since the recording, they have decided to depart the group.
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks, with the ending of a Patreon patronage and an upswing in voice gigs on Fiverr – but perhaps the most interesting thing is my starting a personal Paid to Play Challenge!
After telling folks that the best thing you can do is embrace your inner craziness, geekiness and oddness, it’s time I did it myself – I’m taking the book I’ve been writing in my head for the last few weeks about the computer game Heroes of the Storm and turning it into an actual book over the next sixty days!
Nei Ruffino has been working freelance in the comic book industry as a colourist and overall artist for almost a decade. While she’s done work for all the major labels, Nei is probably best known for her work on Zenescope Entertainment’s Grimm Fairy Tales series and her colours for Danger Girl penciller J. Scott Campbell.
Nei is a big believer in not just paying it forward, but the independent scene. She’s been live streaming Photoshop tutorial videos and recently launched a Patreon crowdfunding page to support both her tutorials and her personal projects, including the one shot comic, Azure.
It was a pleasure to chat with Nei about how she got her break in the comics industry, the daily realities of creating art (including deadline pressure and repetitive strain injury) and the comic book convention scene. I’m glad that I could fulfil Mal Semmens (of KerSplatt! Comics and Collectables)‘ request to get Nei on the show!
My wife Vickie requested that I chat with Joy Harjo right in the early days of the podcast. Joy is one of the people Vickie truly admires; a poet whose works are just as often abstract free prose as they are traditionally-formed poetry. Joy and her work have both been acclaimed for years, her first published collection hit the shelves in 1980.
Joy doesn’t define herself as a poet, though, nor a musician. She always grew up knowing that she would become an artist, and her quest to express the things beyond us all have led her not just to poetry and the saxophone, but to script writing, a memoir and travel around the world. Her work often addresses the disconnectedness and damage in all of us in these supposedly civilised times, and she draws much from her experiences as the blood of the Mvskoke native American nation, a people outside their country whilst still within their own country.
I chatted with Joy about her career as a poet and musician, the ups and downs of the Internet and the danger of others pigeonholing your work.
ALSO: Stay tuned after our chat for a quick update on… going weekly!