As everyone knows by now, I’m a huge fan of Twitter. I just like the platform, mostly because info sharing is the primary use I have for social media, and that’s what Twitter does best.

Having said that, the entire world is on Facebook, and while I’ve long since had a page there, I’ve really done a horrible job managing it. So, time for that to change.

In the days ahead, I’ll be spending a lot more time on FB, predominately through video.

The first initiative I have planned is a periodic segment series, called “Ian answers stuff about…” These will be short videos in which I’ll take a question that’s been put to me by fans and answer it on camera for posting to Facebook.

Possible topics may include:

  • My books, characters, or projects
  • My process for story writing
  • Upcoming events like conventions and book signings
  • Sports
  • Film and TV Reviews
  • Other random stuff to be decided later

Again, this will all be driven by fans who I hope will both enjoy the content and engage with it via the comments section.

Video one, which tackles the origins of my characters, the Renegades from The Mako Saga, is out now. You can expect video two in a week or so, with more coming once or twice per month in the days ahead.

In closing, if you don’t already follow me on FB, consider this a great time to start. You can do so by running an FB keyword search for Ian J. Malone (make sure you like the page with me in the cowboy hat, not the personal profile) or by visiting www.facebook.com/authorianjmalone and clicking the “like” button.

Cheers as always, gang. I hope you like the new content and email/tweet/message me anytime if you’ve got topic ideas.

See y’all around Facebook!

Ian

PS – For my Twitter followers who may be freaking out right now, don’t worry. My tweets aren’t going anywhere.

Finally got to check out the WWE Raw 25th anniversary special on Hulu last night.

Is it just me, or are there no quality pro wrestlers anymore? Seriously, every time one of the new “stars” came out, he or she was complete upstaged by the likes of Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, Ric Flair, DX, and Trish Stratus. What happened to the talent factories? Are there no new gimmicks? Don’t get me wrong, I see a ton of talent out there in the form of folks who can fly around a ring. Problem is, they all suck on a mic! Where’s the charisma, man? The electricity? The renegades, the outlaws? The fresh new faces who set the industry on its ear for a whole new generation of fans?

*sigh*

I guess it’s true what they say. When it comes to the WWE, they really don’t make ’em like they used to. #GetOffMyLawn

Ian

Hey y’all, it’s that time again. It’s illigicon 2018, this Friday through Sunday, in Cary, NC!

My panel schedule is as follows:

Friday

  • Do You Even Geek Sports and Fitness? (4pm in Reynolds) — Come join a bunch of geeks as we discuss our love of nerd culture and exercise.
  • Conventions and Disabilities (6pm in Smith) — Cons are becoming more inclusive every day. Come here how they’re achieving this for people with disabilities.
  • Box Office Bombs (9pm in Smith) — Come join a spirited discussion on what makes a box office bomb in SF&F, and why.

Sunday

  • Livin’ the Dream (2pm in Smith) — A group of creatives discuss how to turn a hobby into a moneymaker – and maybe even a career.

For more information about illogicon, including hotel, registration, and guest info, visit the con’s official website.

Cheers, and see you at the con!

Ian

Happy New Year, y’all! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, and are bunkered in for Snowmageddon 2018!

I wanted to take a second while I had one to bring you up to speed on my current slate of projects.

First,Colonies Lost is through round one of line edits and back in the hands of the publisher. We’ll now take that into round two of line edits before moving on to copy edits, then the first of two proofreads before sending the novel to post-production (formatting, cover design, etc.).

Sadly, I don’t have a release date yet for Colonies Lost, though it’s my hope the publisher will have it out by Memorial Day, if not sooner. Regardless, I think you’ll find Trip Hackett’s story well worth the wait once it does arrive.

Second, I’m currently penning draft one of a novel called, Where Eagles Fly. This will be a continuation of A Family Tradition, the short story I wrote in 2017 for the Four Horsemen anthology, For a Few Credits More. In brief, this story will follow Taylor Van Zant as he struggles to rebuild his family’s mercenary company while slowly realizing that there may’ve been more to his brother’s death than investigators let on.

My goal is to wrap this manuscript by May so the publisher can have it out by the end of summer.

BONUS: I’ll also be writing a second short story to set the table for this book, told from the perspective of Taylor’s late brother, Terry. It’ll be titled, Pronounced Ry-lee O-sy-ris, and be made available only to my newsletter subscribers.

Not a member? You can sign up here to get Pronounced when it drops, as well as the Mako prequel short story, Mako: Genesis, which is available now!

Finally, the long-awaited Mako spinoff novel, Detron City Vice, chronicling the adventures of Danny Tucker and the Overlook crew should be out by Christmas.

In closing, much of what I did in 2017 with The Mako Saga relaunch and two short stories was to set up what will hopefully be a banner year in 2018. I can tell you this: with four—FOUR—projects on the docket, it’ll be a busy one if nothing else. LOL

Cheers, y’all! Stay warm and talk soon!

Ian

Sorry y’all, but I’m throwing in the towel on The Orville. I wanted to like it. I really did. However, the imitation Star Trek fused with a Family Guy shtick simply didn’t grab me. Put culinarily, that’s like smothering a finely-marbled ribeye steak from the Dollar Tree with your favorite can of Chef Boyardee then calling it gourmet. It’s just… not. It’s cheap, sloppy, and the antithesis of fulfilling.

*deep sigh*

I so miss the days when there was actually good sci-fi on TV. Oh well. Guess I’ll just have to stick with my books!

Cheers, and until next time… Ian

As of today, I’m no longer on the fence about Jimbo Fisher. Time for him to go. On a day when every major school with an opening is orbiting their candidate of choice, he played the “I don’t talk about other jobs when I’ve got games to plan for” card, effectively leaving the entire Florida State program in limbo.

Newsflash, you self-absorbed, egomaniacal putz: the game in question is ULM. Charles Kelly could beat that squad with a blindfold, a fifth of JD, and your scout team. What this fanbase needed from you today was either A, a definitive, “I love FSU and I’m not going anywhere,” in which case we could all look forward to our crappy bowl game in Perry, or B., “I’m headed to College Station,” in which case FSU could start vetting their top candidates for your replacement (you know, while they’re still available).

Alas, Jimbo can’t do that. Why? Because as usual, it’s all about him.

Screw this frickin’ Kardashian wannabe. Let’s move on to someone who actually wants to be a Nole.

PEACE!!!

IJM

Hey, y’all. Hope all is well and you’re having a great fall.

I’m taking a break from writing about books today to rant about something else that I’ve always been passionate about — NASCAR.

As a lot of you know, I spent a good chunk of my career working in sports. I worked with Florida State athletics, EA Sports, the Indy Racing League (now IndyCar), and even the Charlotte Motor Speedway while in graduate school.

Nowadays I don’t write about sports unless it’s for fun, which is why from time to time I pen posts like these.

Before I go any further, I do want to say congratulations to Martin Truex and the entire 78 team on winning the 2017 Cup Series championship at Homestead last weekend. I remember Martin when he entered Cup racing via JR Motorsports from what was then the Busch Series. He was a talent then, and he’s a talent now evidenced by one of the most dominate seasons in recent NASCAR history. He’s also, best I can tell, one helluva good guy with the makings of a great champion.

Way to endure, Martin. Truly, you are the man.

So, why NASCAR and why now?

A lot has been made of NASCAR’s dire financial situation in 2017. I’m not here to discuss that, although if you’d like to know more, I’d highly recommend reading this excellent column from Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press. I’m here to talk about solutions.

In short, NASCAR today reminds me in many ways of the National Hockey League following the 2004 lockout, which saw the league forfeit an entire season. Radical change was the only way the NHL would ever recover, and radical change it embraced. It moved forward with three things in mind:

  • How do we make our product as exciting as possible for fans?
  • How do we maximize our league’s value for owners and potential sponsors?
  • Who can we partner with to grow our renewed brand?

Fast-forward a few years, and the NHL is quite healthy in 2017. Still, it all started with the league’s willingness to retract, cut costs, adapt, then move forward with a strong foundation.

This is the path NASCAR should embrace today.

What would Commissioner Malone do?

The following are six far-fetched (as in, they’ll never happen) ideas I’d pitch were I tasked with fixing NASCAR.

Step 1: Slash the schedule and realign

There is absolutely no reason for a sport — any sport — to run a 10-month season. Thirty-six races are entirely too many, and that’s not even including exhibition events like the All Star race and pole winner shootout.

I’d cut ten weeks from the schedule. That’s nine points races and the All-Star race (no sport in America has a thriving all-star event, so why bother?). This, in turn:

  • Puts a premium on remaining races
  • Makes significant cuts to travel costs for teams
  • Ends the season during the summer with minimal competition from other sports for TV viewership

Once the final list of tracks has been established, I’d design a schedule with as much emphasis on geography as possible to prevent teams from crisscrossing the country for dates.

My ideal season would consist of 27 races (20 regular season and 7 postseason). It would begin in February with the Daytona 500 then end on Labor Day in NASCAR’s backyard — Charlotte, North Carolina.

Bonus Thought: The Memorial Day date would go to the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Step 2: Rebrand the “playoffs” as “the tournament,” reduce participants

Dear NASCAR. Stop calling your postseason “the playoffs.” You’re not football, and honestly you look ridiculous pretending otherwise. Be who you are.

I get that NASCAR wanted to put an emphasis on wins by giving automatic postseason berths to race victors throughout the regular season. It makes sense. The problem is you inevitably end up with one or two drivers who fluke out a win then eek into the title hunt with no real right to be there.

That’s not competition; that’s a gimmick, and it cheapens the crap out of your title.

The time has come to reward consistency again. I’d do this by crowning a regular-season points champion after race 20, then giving that driver the top seed in a seven-week tournament (ala the NCAA Basketball Tourney) using much the same format as exists today (twelve drivers trimmed to eight after three races then four after six, creating a four-driver shootout in the final event).

This rewards the old-school fans who value consistency while giving NASCAR’s television partners something exciting to sell with the postseason.

As for how these 12 drivers would be selected: I’d do so on points, while allotting major point bonuses to stage and race winners throughout the regular season (yes, I’d keep stage racing).

Step 3: Cut the cost of racing… A LOT

Some reports claim it takes $25-30 million per year to field a competitive Cup Series team. That’s freaking absurd! NASCAR should find ways to slash that in half, minimum. This would achieve two major goals:

  • Creates enormous value for sponsors (NASCAR Sales Pitch: “Hey, Outback. Would you rather spend $10 million annually for eight weeks of scoreboard sponsorship at Dolphins Stadium, or be featured front-and-center on the hood/fire-suit of our champion for seven straight months, including the postseason? Oh, and he’ll eat a steak in Victory Lane!”)
  • Creates parody within the sport since more race teams can afford to compete at high levels (good equipment, equal testing time, etc.)

As for how best to do that, I wouldn’t begin to speculate, although the schedule changes shown above are a great way to start.

This is one of those areas where NASCAR leadership would need to sit down with their stakeholders (owners, tracks, manufactures, racing engineers, television partners, safety crews, etc.) and heed their expertise in formulating a plan.

Step 4: Partner with blue collar brands

NASCAR’s core fanbase has always been blue collar, always. They’ve lost a lot of that identity, and frankly, it’s time to get it back. This begins by reinjecting value into the sport via the means above then realigning it with companies/brands who cater to that same working-class audience.

So, who are these people?

They’re most Americans, which is to say they live on a budget. They drink Miller High Life beer because it’s $6.99 a twelve-pack. They grocery shop at Walmart. They wear clothes from JC Penny, and occasionally they treat themselves to a nice dinner out at the Olive Garden because they had a Groupon.

Does this mean blue-collar folks don’t spend money? Not at all. They’re just a lot more intentional about how they do it.

Examples of companies that might resonate with NASCAR fans:

  • Superstores like Walmart and Target
  • Wrangler, Lee Jeans
  • TV streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and Sling TV
  • Redbox movie-rental service
  • Domestic beer companies
  • Discount wireless services like Straight Talk, Boost Mobile, and Cricket
  • Bargain-hunter websites like Overstock and Priceline
  • Fast food chains
  • Bulk/wholesale chains like Sam’s Club, BJ’s, and Costco
  • Bargain clothes stores like Payless Shoes, Ross, and TJ Max
  • Popular grocery store brands for cereals, coffee, or frozen pizza

It would also behoove NASCAR to invest in the American family. This means offering father-son discounts on race tickets, or partnering with charities that support impoverished homes. This advances goodwill toward the public, and helps build NASCAR’s next generation of fans who, in a time before computerized engines and iPads, learned about cars in the family garage with their parents and a toolbox.

This segues nicely into…

Step 5: Cut costs for fans

NASCAR’s equal footing with the big-league sports lasted a hot minute then ended years ago, though you’d never know that from the cost of a race weekend. Between tickets, travel expenses, hotels/camping, concessions, and race swag, fans can expect to shell out primo bucks to attend an event.

Time for that to change, too.

NASCAR should take the minor-league sports approach to event costs. That means cheaper tickets, reduced costs for concessions (i.e. Dollar Dog Night), discount bins on old swag, and *GASP!* free parking at the track.

No fan should ever pay $120 for a race ticket again, period. $120 for a full weekend, maybe. But not just a Cup race.

Other things NASCAR can do to create value for fans:

  • Strengthen partnerships with other series like ARCA and IndyCar to provide additional on-track action for race weekends
  • Spotlight local racers with “big track” heat race events (many large tracks feature built-in short tracks that could facilitate this)
  • Continue adding concerts and non-racing attractions to bring more fans to race weekends

Step 6: Bring on the NASCAR Network

NASCAR needs to get with the times and launch its own digital network (ala the WWE Network). This would provide them a platform through which to connect with a whole new generation of cord-cutting fans while simultaneously creating a one-stop-shop for original content, classic race footage, and expanded coverage of NASCAR’s national touring series.

Other features of the NASCAR Network:

  • Make the Truck Series the network’s crown jewel property and run it offseason from Cup and Xfinity (ideally Truck Series teams would operate for pennies on the dollar compared to Cup)
  • Coordinate with grassroots tracks to live-stream weekly events like the K&N Pro Series, though blacking out broadcasts in local markets to maintain fan attendance at venues (this would also offer tons of value to smalltime sponsors of hometown race teams)
  • Create NASCAR-themed entertainment such as reality shows, lifestyle pieces, and live-streamed video podcasts (i.e. The Glass Case of Emotion Podcast) to create a more rounded viewing experience

In closing, some might say I’m thinking too small with this model — that the goal should be to challenge the NFL, not run from it. Maybe that’s true. However, NASCAR tried that, and it seems to me that all it gained in the long-run was a boatload of empty stands, dwindling TV ratings, and a legion of fleeing of sponsors.

Put simply: It’s better to be a healthy niche sport in the black then an overextended has-been that’s hemorrhaging fans with no sustainable future. Alas, that’s just one humble sci-fi writer’s opinion.

Got ideas of your own for how NASCAR should change? Feel free to weigh in via the comments below.

Cheers, gang. Take care, travel safe this week if you’re hitting the road for the holiday, and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Ian

Anyone who knows me knows I’m anything but a mark for Apple. To this day, I think Steve Jobs’s “the iPhone is perfect; there’s no need to add anything to it” line is one of the most arrogant statements in the history of tech (it’s not perfect, by the way. Not by a long shot, but I digress).

Having said that, I’m  extremely grateful that Apple offers a toll-free customer support line for Voiceover users (iOS software for the low visioned). That is an ENORMOUS help to people like me, and something neither Google nor Microsoft has ever seen fit to invest in. You have no idea how frustrating it is to hit a snag with a device, then be forced to bounce from forum to forum in search of answers that may not even exist, using a screen magnifier at 900X. It’s beyond maddening.

With Apple, I can simply pick up the phone, call the number reserved exclusively for me, and ask a flesh-and-blood human being for assistance.

Jobs wasn’t perfect, and neither is his company. Apple is still king for accessibility, though, and until Google/MS figure that out, disabled users will continue spending money hand-over-fist with the fruit guys.

Cheers, Steve. I find you less of a tool today.

Sincerely,

IJM and Blind Folk Everywhere

Well, folks, it’s finally here. As of this morning, MAKO: THE SECOND EDITION is now for sale on Amazon! Better yet, I’m offering it for a limited-time price of just $2.99!

For those who’ve never read my series, MAKO is very much a sci-fi adventure with all the starfighter bells and whistles one would expect from the genre. At its core, however, it’s very much the tale of five college friends from Florida State, reuniting at a time in life when frankly they need each other most. The story offers tons of action, along with a healthy dose of humor, a shade of drama — and, yes, even a touch of romance for those who dig that sort of thing. 😉

For those who HAVE read MAKO, I think you’ll find 2.0 quite different from edition one, as I’m honestly just a better writer today than I was in 2009. Give it a read and let me know what you think via the comments below.

Gotta jet for HonorCon, y’all. Take care, thanks as always for supporting my work, and please feel free to share this post with your friends/followers (The social media algorithm gods tend to smile upon that).

Cheers,

Ian

BOOK SYNOPSIS:

A down-and-out history professor leads a team of old friends to virtual glory as the first-ever group to beat “Mako Assault,” a revolutionary new game that has emerged from nowhere to take the Internet by storm. As a reward for their achievement, and under the guise of publicity, the group is flown to meet the game’s mysterious designer, only to learn that Mako’s intent was never to entertain its players, but rather to train them.

An epic science fiction thrill-ride of action, suspense, laughter, and romance; MAKO is the story of five ordinary people, rising to the challenge of extraordinary events, driven only by their faith in each other.

Morning, y’all.  See below for my HonorCon 2017 panel schedule this weekend, or visit the HonorCon website for the full slate of events.

Friday:

3:00-3:50 pm (Room D) “Getting Known as an Author” with Chris Kennedy and Ian J. Malone

5:00-5:50 pm (Main Ball Room) “Tips for Taking Your Book to Market” with Chris Kennedy and Ian J. Malone

Saturday:

9:00- 9:50 am (Main Ball Room) “But I Liked That Guy!” with Chris Kennedy

10:00-10:50 am (Room D) “Livin’ the Dream: Tips for Becoming a Full-Time Creative” with Ian J. Malone

You can also expect a Facebook Live session or two in there somewhere.

Cheers, and see you soon… Ian