Tag Archives: Author’s journey

State of the Sector Address: 2022

My Fellow Sectorians,

Now that the holidays are behind us, I’m happy to come before you today to talk about 2022.

Geeks, nerds, pop-culture aficionados, lend me your ears.

I have big plans for Sector M, so I thought I would take a few moments to outline what I’m working on currently and let you in on my plans for the future.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

A new day dawns, bright and filled with promise.

On the Horizon:

Website Update: First, my author website is long overdue for an update. I’m going through every page and link to see what needs to stay and what can go. My goal is to have a refreshed site somewhere around the end of February. [Update: the new site is live here.]

Patreon Revamp: I’m also in the process of completely overhauling my Patreon benefits. I’m going to add new tiers, new ranks, and lots of cool rewards. There will be ample opportunity for us to build something worthwhile together. So, if you like what I do, please consider supporting Sector M on Patreon when the time comes. My current plan is for the new stuff to go live in May. In the meantime, I’m pausing donations from all current Patrons until these new updates go into effect.

New Merch: While all that is going on, I’m reworking my merch store, too. It was on Redbubble, but I am planning to migrate my store over to another platform, possibly Printify. This will give me more flexibility to bring you all new designs, better pricing, and additional options beyond just T-shirts and mugs. I will unveil the new store here when it goes live, which I’m hoping is in the April timeframe. [Update: the new merch store is now live here.]

The Sector M Podcast: I am blessed to know a number of truly geeky people, and we’ve got opinions. Boy howdy, do we. Thus, I’m going to try my hand at podcasting to share our thoughts, hopes, and opinions with all of you on a whole host of geeky and nerdy topics. I’m still in a fact-finding mode on this, so more on it as it develops.

Σε έκανε να φαίνεσαι!

Now the Author-y Stuff:

Finished #6, Started #7: 2021 was a difficult year to be creative (for many reasons), but I was able to finish my sixth novel at the beginning of July. It’s a fantasy book that I hope will be the start of its own series. After a few months for edits, polishing, and querying (see below), I started my seventh novel on Halloween. This is my first excursion into the cyberpunk genre with some fun twists. It’s also a book that might truly be a standalone, a one-and-done. I’m trying to have a working draft by Halloween of this year.

I’m Querying #3: My third novel is a military sci-fi/space opera novel. Some version of this story has been with me for a long time. It’s changed a lot over the years, but I’m glad to finally arrive at a point where the on-paper version has aligned with my vision for it. As I said in my Alive and Kicking post, querying is not for the faint of heart. It can be pretty brutal, and it’s definitely a marathon and not a sprint.

The Sector M Blog: For a few years I haven’t been in a position to regularly contribute to this blog, but that is changing. My plan is to release an original piece of blog content on the third Friday of each month (with a few exceptions). The first one will post two weeks from today on January 21. In addition, I hope to have more announcement-style blog posts to keep you apprised of merch additions, writing updates, news, and more. Currently, these are the dates I plan to post a new blog entry:

Facebook No More: This happened a while back, but it bears repeating. I have put the Sector M Facebook page into indefinite limbo. I did not delete it, but it is no longer an avenue I use for communication. It just doesn’t align with what I want to do anymore, and I was at a point of diminishing returns with it. I would encourage you to follow me instead on Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads. Also, I highly encourage you to follow to this blog.

Strange Reports from Sector M: If you’re new here or you want to get an idea of my writing style, my anthology of short fiction is available through Amazon in both an e-book and hard copy format. It’s 13 stories ranging from very short flash fiction to full-length novellas. A veritable sampler platter of genres, you’ll find urban fantasy, military sci-fi, and even some horror within its pages. You can find it here.

Say it with me: “Greetings, Starfighter. You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the Frontier against Xur and the Kodan armada.”

How You Can Help:

If you like what I do, here are some of the things you can do to help Sector M grow:

Follow this blog: If you’re reading these words, please follow this blog. This platform will be a large part of my online presence moving forward. The number of followers will be something of a barometer on how much I’m able to get the message out, so please join either by regular subscription (the “follow” button should pop up in the bottom right-hand corner), or follow by email.

LEAVE A REVIEW!: Sorry for the all-caps treatment, but leaving a review is one of the greatest things you can do for an author aside from buying a book. This goes for any independent author, not just me. Reviews, especially on Amazon, are the key to the site’s referral algorithm. So, please-oh-please, if you buy one of my books, please also leave a review. Please and thank you. 

Support Sector M on Patreon: As I stated earlier, I’m in the process of reworking my Patreon experience with new perks, new rewards, and more ways to be collaborative with the Sector M community. When it’s ready, I urge you to give it a look and see if it’s for you.

Tell a friend: No, this isn’t a pyramid scheme. It’s the fact that folks who love science fiction, fantasy, and geek/nerd pop-culture tend to flock together. Word of mouth is extremely important, so if you know of someone who might also enjoy my work, please tell them.

Contact me: I have a dedicated email address for all things related to Sector M. If you have an idea or suggestion to make things better, or just want to drop yours truly a line, you can contact me at: TheSectorM@gmail.com.

Well, that about wraps it up for the State of the Sector for 2022. It is my intent to make this kind of update a yearly thing in early January. Whether you are just now finding out about Sector M, or you’ve been here from the beginning, I appreciate you all.

Thank you, and may the stars shine for you alone.

Si vales, valeo.

-Matt Carson


The Mountain and the Sector of M

As I was doing research on Neil Gaiman for my last blog post, I came across a clip of him giving a commencement speech in 2012. Clad in an academic cap and robes, Mr. Gaiman gave an interesting thought model for how he steered his way forward, creatively.

I’ll be paraphrasing from that speech in just a moment. You can find it here in its entirety, and it’s well worth a listen. It’s the part about the mountain, that caught my attention. It’s a simple way of looking at things for a writer, or indeed any artist who wants to pursue art. As we explore the idea, I’ll tell you my own thoughts and goals.

road-to-the-mountain-wallpaper-1

Only the road will not be as flat or straight.

So, imagine a mountain in the distance. That mountain is your goal, whether it’s to become an artist, write a novel, a screenplay, learn to play the trombone, or what have you. Whatever it is you’re dreaming of, it’s there in the distance, waiting for you. In my case, it’s to become a professional author, and be able to devote myself to writing fiction full-time.

Now, think about the best route to get to the mountain. It’s deceptively easy, and often easier said than done. What would it take for you to follow that route to the mountain? What it means in my case is to make enough of an income from being an author that I can pay the bills. I never write my stories with dollar signs spinning in my eyes like Looney Toons. And yet, if I am going to pay the electricity bill by way of my stories, money has to enter the picture at some point. (Unless the electric company starts accepting speculative fiction as currency, so yeah.)

Let’s say that you’ve clearly identified what life goal your mountain represents AND you have mapped out the best way to get there. If you’re at that point, you still have to actually get to the mountain, right? You still have to walk that path. This part is perhaps the hardest because no plan survives contact with the enemy. There will always be setbacks and obstacles, no matter your course, and along the way you will need to make choices.

And it’s here that Mr. Gaiman really nails it. Whenever you’re faced with a decision, ask yourself this: Does this move me towards the mountain, or away from it? He mentions that there are lucrative jobs he passed up because he felt they wouldn’t bring him closer to the mountain, jobs that he might have taken earlier on his journey, since those opportunities were closer to the mountain than he was at that time.

It’s a pretty beautiful way of looking at it all. Envision the goal, plan your way forward, and make choices with the goal in mind. And if you ever do reach the mountain, look for the next one.

Truth time, folks.

1280x720-I9N

He’s going to tell! He’s going to tell!

I’m on the third leg of that journey, the making choices part. I see the goal in front of me, I see what it’s going to take to get there, and I’m making far-reaching life choices to bring it about. What I realize, however, is that I will need help along the way. After all, a writer without a reader is almost nothing at all.

If you read this blog on a regular basis, or you are familiar with my work, I ask that you support what I do at Sector M, in whatever form you’re able. I’ll have plenty of links at the end of this post for your consideration.

The best way to support me as an author is to buy one of my books. Obvious, right? My novel, The Backwards Mask, has just been re-released in e-book format, and we’re working on a print-on-demand version. If you haven’t read it, now is an ideal time to check it out.

backwards-mask-FRONT-copy

Find it here.

Additionally, I have an anthology of short fiction coming out next month called Strange Reports from Sector M. It’s primarily science fiction with a little bit of urban fantasy and horror thrown into the mix. This release will include both an e-book and a paperback version. I’ll post the link here, among many places, when the book debuts next month.

StrangeReportsFromSectorMCover (1)

Coming soon.

If you pick up any of any of my books, I ask only that you leave a review. Aside from buying the book itself, leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads (or both) is the single best thing you can do for an independent author. I cannot overstate this.

Outside of books, you can buy a Sector M shirt, mug, or the like, or support me directly on Patreon. Or PayPal for that matter, if you prefer one-time contributions.

Beyond that, there are many ways to support me on my journey that are free. For one, if you’re reading this blog, subscribe to it. The same goes for following me on various social media, whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, or any of them.

And if your mouse finger just can’t quite find the motivation, helping me out can be as simple as telling a friend about my work, or pointing them in the direction of my books and/or this blog. Know anyone who likes science fiction or fantasy? Tell. Them. Word-of-mouth should never, ever be underestimated.

Okay, I’m promised some links. One last time for those in back, please consider supporting my ongoing efforts by any of the following means.

The Backwards Mask — the re-release of my science fiction novel.

Strange Reports from Sector M — Link coming as soon as it goes live.

Sector M Store — T-shirts, mugs, phone covers and more.

Patreon—Support me directly, and get some cool perks.

PayPal— For one-time amounts, use: thesectorm@gmail.

Subscribe to this blog — If you haven’t already.

Like me on Facebook — A good place to start.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @TheSectorM

Join me on Goodreads — See what I’m reading, ask me a question, read my reviews, etc.

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel — More content to come as time allows.

Check out my other works— I have a few stories out that you can read for free on my website, with more of them to come.

And there you have it, folks. My mountain is there in the distance, and its name is Sector M. With your help, I have no doubts that I will reach it.

See you around the Sector!

 

Si vales, valeo.

-MC