Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Superman/Batman Public Enemies

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is out on DVD as of yesterday. Getting good reviews! Buy it here on Amazon.

For anyone who doesn't know, this one is based on a graphic novel, but it continues some storylines from the animated show that (regretably) ended a few years back.

Lex Luthor is elected President and now has the Justice League at his disposal. Superman and Batman reject this notion and become outlaws. How cool is that?

Another huge bonus is that the voice actors are the ones from the shows. Kevin Conroy is back as Batman! Tim Daly as Superman! Perfect. These guys have come to define the characters for so many people.

As I have said before - Superhero fans out there - go buy or rent this DVD. We want to reward good superhero movies with our cash dollars! Why? Cuz we want more superhero movies to be made!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Need Funding??

Got a project that needs funding? Check out This is an awesome concept! GGE is still in a bit of infancy to post specific projects for funding, but it is easy to see how Kickstarter could help find funding for

  • Independent recording artists
  • Independent Comic book artists
  • Authorpreneurs
  • Indie Film Producers
  • Haunt Producers (A subject near and dear to GGE's heart)
  • Lots of stuff I can't think of

Is Free Better?

Should we do this for free? Meaning should we write and produce all of our beloved stories, characters, properties for free?
On the one hand, if we love telling stories you might think..."sure"
On the other hand, we would like to be rewarded for all of the storytelling. Why? Because storytellers are who we are, not just what we do.
When we aren't being rewarded for being writers and artists, we don't stop writing or drawing or painting. We keep doing it. No matter how much we try for it not to be, our passion is a distraction.
How much better would it be if our passion was not a distraction but it was what we did for money, food, clothing, shelter, etc. Then the rest of our life is uncluttered so we get to be people too.
I have no problem with free samples, free chapters, free sneak previews, but just producing for free?
I'm not sure that's the way to go.

Monday, September 28, 2009

100th Post

Hey, it's the 100th post at GreenGates' blog. How will we celebrate? With more of the same! Conversation on speculative fiction, writing, developing properties, building a small publishing empire and general geekhood.
Of course a link to Seth Godin's blog would be a good way to commemorate. He talked today about the future of "our industry" and any industry affected by the interner (hint: the all are)

Here is what the esteemed Seth had to say

Has the internet changed "our" industry? Absolutely. Look at a publishing empire started in 1928. A guy learned the cartoon art world. He drew a little cartoon. It was popular. He drew more and more and eventually produced his own. Finally, it is a worldwide brand and we have Disney.
If Disney started today, how would he have used the internet? I'm not sure, but I'm sure he would use it.
At the very least, it allows us to have this ongoing conversation and for that, I am pretty grateful.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ruby Falls Haunted Caverns

My good friend and partners latest commercial haunt opened to wide aclaim this weekend. Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern is up and running and ready to scare the pants off of anyone in the Chattanooga, TN area.
I am not a Chattanooga resident these days, but I hope to get down and get haunted at least once before Halloween. I have been to this haunt in previous years and it is kind of spooky and all that, but mainly its just plain cool. It's cool because they pick a theme and make everything focus around that theme. It's an immersive environment from the minute you get there and that makes it so much better than just a spook house with random people in costumes jumping out and saying "Boo" (or some variation on that theme).
You can go to other haunts in the Chattanooga, but don't miss this one. Well worth the admission price.
Even the website is cool. Check it out.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Everyone gets paid on commission by Seth Godin

If you don't read Seth Godin's blog and you are an entrepreneur of any sort, then bookmark it right now.
Today, Seth discussed how everyone works on commission (read it here).
It's a very true statement. I keep our daily conversation going at greengates entertainment because I love attention and I sincerely want to engage in a dialogue with other like-minded folks. But do I check my google analytics everyday? Maybe not everyday, but I keep up with how many hits I get and I show up around the internet involving myself in other discussions for one reason: to become part of people's lives.
I think greengates has some good stories to tell, but people do have to know about them so it behooves me to be available, visible and present.
I don't panic when the number of hits drops a little. It's a long-term thing, but the point is even greengates works on commission. If I just wrote and blogged for myself, then it would just be a journal.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Self Promotion woes

The Behler Blog has a great story about authorpreneurs at the BEA trade show. Self promotion is a grand and wonderful thing, but it can certainly be overdone and become more self-limiting. Self promotion and making a spectacle of one's self are not the same thing and it is hard sometimes for people to know the difference when they are desparate just to be heard.

Trust GGE on this one. Work slowly. Build slowly. Focus on making a great product. If you have a book written and you are shopping it around, don't get desparate. Keep shopping it around, but go ahead and crank up the next book anyway. Maybe the one you are shopping around will be a great second book, or third or just a learning experience.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket and don't trade all your dignity for a little attention. It's probably not the kind of attention you want anyway.

You can read the whole story here.

Geek essentials

Just saw this from Blizzard. You can buy the "Tankard of Terror". How cool is that? I'm not a major player in the mmorpg realm (I don't even have an active WOW account! Yikes!) but this is a cool collectible. I mau have to have one to quaff a frosty brew while playing some Warcraft III (I'm more of a RTS guy myself).

Also saw this. This company takes a screenshot of your WOW character and builds you a little miniature of the character. Looks really detailed. I am geek enough that even though I don't have an active account, I would love to have a little representation of my character to look at and brag about. Relive adventures, that sort of thing.

Not only are both of these awesome geek essentials, but they are also great examples of Blizzard building a game into a brand in-and-of-itself, but also both are great examples of companies who did not invent a property, still managing to make money using someone elses brainchild. Opportunities are out there. Way to go 3Point and figureprints!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Three Companies

Three companies that never cease to inspire me;

Blizzard Entertainment - been around awhile, but after Warcraft: Orcs and Humans put them on the map, they have expanded Warcraft into a mega property. Now it's an immersive world where people spend countless hours (and dollars). The fans get the escape and Blizz gets the coin and everyone is happy. They do this so well. Everthing from their artwork, stories, games, accesories...all is just expertly done.

Games Workshop: These guys make great games, books and miniatures. They have stayed in their lane as well and created a fantasy and science fiction setting with a feel like no other.

Paizo Publishing: They have taken an adventure concept (Pathfinder) coupled it with great art and generated a whole property. Pathfinder is growing well beyond a way to do RPG adventures into an RPG of its own. I predict fiction set in that universe and probably other sorts of media as well.

Michael J. Fox

I have read that when Michael J. Fox auditioned for Family Ties, he was $35,000 in debt and living on macaroni and cheese.

I wonder if he ever thought about giving up acting? I'm sure he did. It turns out he just needed enough motivation, drive and perseverance to get the first domino to fall. After that, the dominos kept falling and falling and falling.

So to all of you struggling writers, artists, actors, producers, directors, entrepreneurs...keep on keeping on. It's a cliche, I know, but get the first domino to fall, maintain your momentum and see what happens.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Double Dragon

Check out Double Dragon Publishing. What's great about this publisher?

A few things:

  1. They were an ebook publisher when it was a fledgling industry. Some people think the ebook industry is still just a murmur in the history of the book publishing industry. Ask any one of the 3 million users if Ebook apps, or the any Amazon Kindle user and they will surely disagree with you
  2. They publish stuff I like (a good sign of excellent taste). Go try one out!
  3. Their books are attractive. I am not saying "judge a book by the cover" but of course we do just that. If you see a book and the cover reminds you of something you read once that sucked, then you are going to assume something about this new book. If the cover is similar to books you have read, then that will at least get you to the description. If the description is compelling enough then that book might just end up on your shelf (or ebook reader)
  4. They have stayed in their lane. Rather than trying to be all things to all people. Double Dragon is simply the best ebook publisher there is. It's what they do and they do it well.
  5. They accept submissions from all authors. I love that you don't have to be established to talk to these guys.

Ready to submit to DDP? They aren't currently accepting submissions, but their horror imprint, Bloodmoon Publishing is. Head on over and submit a story.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The perfect Real Time Strategy game

I don't usually blog about video games since I'm not a huge gamer, but I do enjoy the occasional foray into some fantasy world or another. When I do play video games, if their are not story-drive roleplaying games (Mass Effect is my current favorite) then they are Real Time Strategy (RTS) games. Actually, turn-based strategy is pretty fun as well.
My favorite RTS of all time is Warcraft III. Like most products from Blizzard, the storyline is fantastic. The cut scenes are movie-quality and the setting is just plain cool. I love that they strive for a cartoon-version of reality. It makes the characters look really great.

Warcraft III, however, IS NOT the perfect RTS.

Here is what the perfect RTS game should have.
  1. Great story (Warfraft III has this)
  2. Awesome cut scenes (Warcraft III has this. Some people skip all cut scenes. They are missing out on some cool stuff)
  3. Nice graphics (not the end-all-be-all of a game for me, but Warcraft III does have this)
  4. Every character should have a randomly generated name. (Close Combat from Microsoft had this and I loved it!)
  5. Every character should have some stats that are tracked (Starcraft tracks each unit's "kills". It is so cool to know who the baddest marine in your army is - and it adds some poignancy when a Zerg eats him)
  6. Every unit shoud be able to fight a little (Warcraft III had the Peons that could fight if they were "rallied" but everyone should be able to fight, even if they are ineffectual in doing so)
  7. Elevation should come into play (Warhammer games have done this)
  8. Game should have awesome main characters (Warcraft III does this)
  9. There should be a handful of main characters (Lord of the Rings RTS games have done this)
  10. You should be able to promote highly effective units to "heroes" (Medieval: Total War does this)
  11. Characters should be able to get magic items (Warcraft III has this as do many other games)
  12. Heroes should be of multiple classes like warriors, bards, wizards (Age of Legends did this)
  13. Units should be able to go into and out of structures (Close Combat did this)
  14. The setting should be immersive (Warcraft III has this)

That is a short list that would get a lot of RTS games closer to perfection. Warcraft III, one of the best selling games of all time, has most of my list. Maybe someone will get closer to the full list. If so, I'll be playing (and I think about a 4 million other people would to)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Paizo Publishing

Here is a company I have been really impressed with. Paizo Publishing.
They have a interesting history, growing out of Wizards of the Coast after Hasbro brought the company. Here's a wiki article about the history of Paizo Publishing.
So what's so cool about Paizo?
The CEO (Lisa Stevens) left WoTC and formed Paizo.
She aquired the licenses for Wizard's magazine Dragon and Dungeon.
Paizo was not just satisfied with licensing mags though. They immediately grew the business by expanding on the storyline adventure idea that had been done successfully in Dungeon magazine.
They launched the Pathfinder series of adventures. Just a word about Pathfinder. They didn't use staid old storylines. The adventures are just damn cool and the artwork is fantastic! (see pic above). If you don't believe selling fantasy adventures and books is not linked to artwork, just ask Larry Elmore. I have spent many a coin over the years just to possess Larry Elmore artwork.
So, after Paizo launched Pathfinder they made sure the brand was superlative in all ways. Not surprisingly, with this attention to being delightful, they grew and grew.
Now, their website collects a huge assortment of awesomeness. Not just their own items, but items from assorted publishers. It is a really good online retail site for all thinks "geeky". For me personally, I can't even go there without browsing their fiction line (and I bought three new Arthurian books while composing this entry).
To me, Paizo is a great example of staying with your passion, expanding within your core interests, building a tribe around your property (Pathfinder), growing by permission-based-marketing, and never failing to delight your readers/customers/community.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cross Genre

I was having an email discussion about "cross genre" a few days ago and it occurred to me that no everyone may love cross genre like I do...and I promptly decided it was because they didn't know what I meant.
Here are some of the best examples:
  1. Firefly (the show) or Serenity (the movie): the best sci-fi western I have ever seen
  2. Star Wars: full of science fiction, fantasy and western stuff (Han Solo is the coolest gunslinger around)
  3. Alien: Science Fiction/Horror
  4. Predator: Science Fiction/Horror
  5. Ravenous: Western/Horror
  6. Event Horizon: Science Fiction/Horror
  7. The Valley of Gwangi (GREAT MOVIE): Western/Horror
  8. The Matrix: Science Fiction/Superheroes
  9. Green Lantern: Science Fiction/Superheroes
  10. Outlander (the new movie): Science Fiction/Fantasy
  11. Dune: Science Fiction/Fantasy
  12. The League of Extraordinary Gentleman: Crosses a bunch (Fantasy/Western/Science Fiction)
  13. Any of the HArry Dresden books by Jim Butcher: Fantasy/Detective
  14. A little know book "Arthur Warlord" by Dafyd Ab Hugh: Great example of a fantasy/science fiction

A short list there, but some of my favorites. I would love for Greengates to eventually have some stories on that list!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wolverine on DVD

Wolverine is out on DVD! Go buy it.
I saw the movie in the theater (a rare feat these days with work and family obligations - fortunately this was one I could see with my boys and call it "quality time"). I thought it was great. I like Wolverine a lot. Of course I am old enough to remember when a "superhero" that smoked, drank beer and killed people was "way out there". So to me, he is still a classic anti-hero while heroes like Cyclops (of the X-men), Superman, Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man (of course Iron Man drank heavily - his "fatal flaw") are more in line with the typical hero archetype. Having said that, this is a great take on Wolverine's origin and there are lots of super-powered clashes and it is just too darn cool!
So, beside seeing a cool-as-hell movie, you should also buy it to support the industry we love so much. That being "speculative fiction" whether it is science fiction, fantasy, horror, super heroes or what have you, most of you who visit this blog are "geeks" in the traditional sense and Wolverine represents everything we like in our movies. If we support them with out $$$ then we are likely to see more.
So...go buy Wolverine! You won't be disappointed! If you are...then we aren't as close as I thought!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Joe Abercrombie

Here is a great interview with author Joe Abercrombie of The First Law Trilogy.

I read The First Law Trilogy as it was released and it leapt every other book on my "favorite fantasy series" and went straight to number 1.

Joe is inspirational to me, and could be to any writer. Unlike most, he jumped right into writing a trilogy, got it published and is now a superstar.

I guess sometimes being unconventional works out just fine.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

King Arthur

Are there any really cool King Arthur stories out there? I can name a few, I think, but I still don't find many that are done to my satisfaction. Stephen Lawhead probably got the closest with Bernard Cornwell a close second. After that, I'm not sure how to rank them. There are so many and for me, so few hit the mark.
Let me try and make a list. My criteria is "coolness" not accuracy. It bugs me when people argue accuracy for King Arthur since we can't even prove definitively if he exists AND there are already conflicting stories that are hundreds of years old. It's hard enough to find consistency with today's "Legends" (Star Trek, Star Wars, Superman, Tarzan) let alone on that is 1500 years old.
Anyway, the Green Gates Arthurian fiction list ranked in order of coolness:
  1. Stephen Lawhead's "The Pendragon Cycle"
  2. Bernward Cornwell's "The Arthur Books" Series
  3. Mary Stewart's "Merlin" Series
  4. Dafyd Ab Hugh's "Arthur Warlord" duology
  5. Jack Whyte's "Camulod Chronicles"
  6. Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Mists of Avalon" (I never loved the rest of the series)
  7. Excalibur (the movie)
  8. King Arthur (the movie)
  9. The Last Legion (movie)
  10. Cherith Bladry's "Exiled from Camelot"
  11. Clemence Housman's "The Life of Sir Aglovale De Galis"
  12. TH White's "Once and Future King"
  13. Douglas Clegg's "Mordred Trilogy"
  14. Vivian Vande Velde's "Book of Mordred"
  15. Howard Pyle's "Story of King Arthur and His Knights"

I haven't read every Arthur book, but I have read these. I may amend the list as I read more.

Monday, September 14, 2009


National Novel Writing Month is coming up soon (November). It is one month to write a novel. I have participated twice and I have 2 novels to show for it. Are they great works? Well, they weren't great at the end of November. I had just slogged through 30 days of writing 1600 words a day to get to the 50,000 word count requirement.
I have since polished and polished on both of them and maybe one day they will grace a bookshelf someday.
So, what's the point? For me, it showed me I could write a novel. What was required? Time. I had to make or steal the time from my otherwise busy schedule.
Now, I have yet to learn whether I can write a good novel or not, but then again, who cares. If you are like me, then you love to write. So go do it. Do the best you can. Get it read. Get critiques. Study writing. Learn to take criticism with a grain of salt and then keep on writing.

Okay...I am ranting. Go to and check it out. Let's write a novel in November.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Making a Property

As I have mentioned, I am reading the "Song of Ice ad Fire" sage by George RR Martin (currently I am on the second book - "Clash of Kings").
Here is what cmes to mind. George RR Martin wrote the first book n 1996. Did he know it would be a series? I think so. The first one ended in a way that seemed to indicate a sequel or a series.
In any event, the books have grown into card games, miniatures game and now a series on HBO.
I am not sure how one takes the leap from writing a book to having a viable, marketable "property" ripe for movies, tv series and things like that.
One thing I do know though - first he had to write a book, and it had to be a darn good one.

So I guess step 1 is write, write, write
step 2 must be to make sure your telling the absolute best story you can.

Friday, September 11, 2009

New Stuff Coming Out

So, Tim Burton's "9" was released to little fanfare. It looks cool to me though. I will have to see it.

X-men Origins:Wolverine will be released on DVD soon. That one is worth it. Cool movie.

Heroes returns with a 2 hour premiere on the 21st. Can't wait for that!

Diana Gabaldon is released a new volume in her "Outlander" series (an Echo In The Bone) on September 22nd. Great series, great author. Historical, fantasy romance - more for the ladies I suppose.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Game of Thrones

Still reading "Game of Thrones". Great book. This is just fantastic. I am loving this book so much. I read it in 1996 and loved it then, but I got away from the rest of the series. Now I want to read the rest of the series, but I needed to start back on this one to get up to speed.

I cannot say enough about this book. I find myself reading constantly and can't wait to get to the next book!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gaylord Perry

In 1963 Baseball pitcher Gaylord Perry said, "They'll put a man on the moon before I ever hit a home run".
Gaylord Perry's first and only homerun came 6 years late on JuLy 20th 1969...just hours after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.

What's notable about this trivial fact? Sometimes we predict the future, but sometimes we make it happen through what we say and what we think. Could it be that Gaylord "knew" he could not hit a homerun and he "knew" it so well, he kept it from happening until events aligned as he told himself they would?

Can't say for sure, but just in case, I am going to try and be careful about self-limiting thoughts and phrases.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Whining about DragonCon

Well, I missed DragonCon again this year. I had planned to go but schedules just did not permit it to happen.
I am already planning on next year. In fact, I am planning to start going to DragonCon and then not stop at all. It is a mecca for us geek-types.

I saw a quote on CNN. They were covering DragonCon and a girl who was in the “Dawn” costume contest was talking about how geeks from all over come there and everyone is accepted and all that.

She said, “Once you get here, we are just one big family. A creepy, incestuous family, but family nonetheless.”

Amen sister

Best Books for Writing Speculative Fiction

Heck, some of these are great books for writing any fiction, but since I primarily discuss speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror and a mix of all three), I figured I would toss "speculative" into the title.

Here is the list of finalists:

Best Books on Writing for Speculative Fiction Authors

  1. Sometimes the Magic Works – Terry Brooks
  2. On Writing – Stephen King
  3. How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy – Orson Scott Card
  4. Writing for Comics – Peter David
  5. Bullies, Bastards and Bitches – Jessica Morrell
  6. How to Write a Damn Good Novel – James Frey
  7. Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting – Syd Field
You will notice I have one comic book text in the list and a screenwriting text. Why? Our industry often deals with larger-than-life issues like comic books and it is also a very visual genre, hence the screenwriting book. Not only that, but Syd Field knows a ton about good storytelling.

That's not to say that this is the end of the list. As I read more and more, I reserve the right to add to the list.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Saw a sign outside a church this morning that read:

"You have a purpose for being on this Planet. Find it!"

Well, I'm looking!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Brigand Pictures

Check out Brigand Pictures! I love these guys. Small firm, based in Chattanooga (my hometown) and they do all their movies digitally.
They just premiered a film at the Tivoli Theater in Chattanooga (The Tivoli is a beautiful theater that screams of the grandeur of yesteryear).
They have a distribution network where they get their movies screened around the country.
I am impressed. (Maybe they will want a screenplay from GGE?)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Locus Magazine

Free advice: Subscribe to Locus Magazine.

It's the closest thing to an industry trade journal we have. If you are into comics, then you might want to get Wizard as well.

Financiers get The Wall Street Journal, Firefighters subscribe to Firehouse (and Fire Engineering).

There are a number of fantasy, sci-fi and horror magazines out there, but a good deal of them are primarily for the fan. Locus has features for fans, authors, convention goers.

Check out the website. See if you don't agree with me. I'm not trying to sell Locus. To me, it sells itself. I'm just offering some advice.