Personal Effects: Sword of Blood cover by J.C. Hutchins

While there are no plans to release my debut novel Personal Effects: Dark Art in full podcast novel form (though I do hope to hook you up with a little audio taste of that bad mofo), I am thrilled by the next best thing: the upcoming release of Personal Effects: Sword of Blood, a podcast-exclusive prequel novella to Dark Art. I'll tease the plot in a sec. First thing's first. Here's the nearly-final version of the cover.

Sword of Blood "podcast cover" version

I'm about halfway through writing Sword of Blood, and plan to debut the first episode May 15th-ish. Recording is currently underway. We're looking to clock in about 40,000 words on this sucker, or around 14 chapters. The novella takes place during Halloween 2008, mere days before the events seen in Dark Art. (You can read a brief excerpt here.)

Sword of Blood "traditional cover" version

Sword of Blood is a terrific introduction to the Personal Effects universe and its characters, including art therapist Zach Taylor and his "tribe" of friends and family, including girlfriend (and video game blogger) Rachael Webster, slang-slinging kid brother Lucas, and Ida "Eye" Jean-Phillipe, an NYPD crime lab assistant. We'll also meet Zach's patient, Gertrude Spindler -- a wily quilt-making elderly woman with a deadly secret.

When Spindler -- or "Spindle," as she's nicknamed by hospital staffers -- completes her latest quilt and informs Zach that a 30-year-old "grand design of nine" has just been completed, Zach's curiosity is piqued ... and soon leads him into a dangerous subculture filled with psychics and secret societies. What is the grand design of nine ... and what is the "great blade of blood" Spindle keeps hinting at?

You'll soon find out. Personal Effects: Sword of Blood will debut here at JCHutchins.net in mid-May. Subscribe to my blog/podcast feed now to experience this groundbreaking prequel project ... and be sure to order Personal Effects: Dark Art to read the continuing story.


Become a victim of the OBSIDIAN blackout -- and make history by J.C. Hutchins


Here's your open invitation: I want you to tell a story set in the 7th Son universe. In late May, a first-ever in podcasting will be unleashed upon the world: 7th Son: OBSIDIAN, a short story anthology set in universe of my 7th Son podcast novel trilogy. The biggest names in podcast fiction are contributing stories, including best-selling sci-fi authors Michael A. Stackpole and Scott Sigler. If you'd like to learn more about the anthology, click here.

Ahhh, but the "first-evers" don't stop with these brilliant writers. I'm opening up the 7th Son universe to you, and your friends, and your family -- and anyone else who wants to contribute killer content to the OBSIDIAN experience.

How can you play? You gotta believe in this conceit: On November 19, 2007, the U.S. suffered a coordinated terrorist attack, and was plunged into a nationwide blackout. The country devolved into chaos. Power and order were restored two weeks later.

You are invited to be a participant in that November 2007 blackout. I'm opening the gates and empowering you to create content that will appear in the OBSIDIAN podcast and YouTube experience. You can record video of yourself suffering through this mayhem. You can call a voice mail number and leave a panicked message, or a news report from the field. The blackout is real, and it's happening now.

I've already invited dozens of 7th Son fans from around the world to create OBSIDIAN-inspired blackout content. Videos and audio recordings are already online, for your review:

Are you interested in making history and contributing your creative mojo to a fiction project never before seen in podcasting (or perhaps even mainstream publishing)? Rock on. Read on.

What J.C. is looking for: Convincing "found recording" video and audio created by dedicated folks who will play along with the OBSIDIAN concept.

Video Guidelines

  • Webcam footage is welcome, but I'm questing for manic night footage of life in America during the blackout. Is your backyard crawling with prowlers? Are there fistfights in the streets? Cannibals in the woods? Enlist friends, raise hell and get it all on tape.
  • Videos can be up to 10 minutes long; video quality is not an issue.
  • Your video should feel "authentic." Oscar performances and Steadicam are out. Documentary-style is in.
  • Email me via my Contact page and let me know you're the next Coppola. I'll tell you how to send me the footage.

Don't have a vidcam? No sweat. If you've got a phone, you're in.

Audio Guidelines

  • Call this phone number: 206-222-9158. Listen to my intro. Leave your "victim of the blackout" voice mail message.
  • If you'd rather send me an MP3, not a problem. Hit the Contact page and send it to me.
  • I'm looking for more than just panicked victim stories. If you'd like to play a journalist reporting from a network or from the streets, I'm all for it.
  • If you can fluently speak a language other than English, I'd love your contribution to be from the perspective of an international reporter, covering the U.S. blackout from afar. Your audio contribution should be "in language."
  • If you speak English in an international accent, your contribution can be one from a radio reporter covering the U.S. blackout from overseas.
  • Again, you may email me MP3s. The Contact page can help you there.

Deadline I'll need quality time to work with your contributions, so please send me your video or audio by no later than April 30th.

Video that convincingly captures "life during the blackout" will be posted on the OBSIDIAN YouTube channel. The very best contributions will be released in the podcast feed as stand-alone vidcasts.

Audio that convincingly captures the blackout experience will be released in the podcast feed as "mini-casts."

The not-so-fine print Now for the low-key caveats. If you commit to the project, you're granting me permission to use your video and audio for promotional purposes. While I will absolutely not sell your video or profit from it monetarily, you're granting me permission to own and distribute the video you submit.

The final word Now, you're not an actor. You're not a movie director. But you're more than capable of creating creative, compelling, "authentic" content, because you are a creative, compelling, authentic individual. Be confident in your abilities. I have absolute trust and faith in you.

So, get ready to make history. Crack out your vidcams and get shooting, or dial 206-222-9158 and get talking. Email me with questions.

And remember: The blackout is here ... the blackout is now ... and it's very, very dark out there.


Continuing The Conversation by J.C. Hutchins

If you've ever:

  • visited a blog and left a comment ...
  • listened to a podcast and emailed its host ...
  • wrote on someone's Facebook wall, "friended" someone on MySpace, or posted an update on Twitter or Pownce ...
  • sent an email, SMS, or instant message to your friends about darned-near anything ...

... then you've participating in what social media leaders call "the conversation." "The conversation" is this, this here, the wild frontier where community transcends geography, and ideas are exchanged at the speed of a mouse-click. Life-changing stuff.

I'll be writing about my experiences in this world in the 2008 edition of The Age of Conversation, a book whose creative philosophy can be likened to the Open Media movement. It's a brilliant concept. There is no one author. Dozens and dozens of bloggers will participate in its creation.

The best part? You can participate, too. Visit editor Drew McLellan's site to vote on this year's The Age of Conversation book topic ... and if you like, sign up as a contributing author, like I did. It doesn't get more democratic -- or conversational -- than that.


UltraCreatives Interview #1: Patrick Lussier and Matt Venne by J.C. Hutchins


The new year brings a facelift to JCHutchins.net, a brand-new Community section for 7th Son fans, and the debut of the UltraCreative Interview Series. In this interview, J.C. chats with film director Patrick Lussier and writer Matt Venne about the release of White Noise 2, a taut supernatural thriller starring Nathan Fillion ("Firefly") and Katee Sackhoff ("Battlestar Galactica"). The film was released on DVD recently.

In the interview, Patrick and Matt tell J.C. how they came to the film industry, the collaborative nature of movie-making, working with Fillion and Sackhoff, and much more. These guys embody J.C.'s "UltraCreatives" concept to the core, and it was an honor to have them on the podcast.

How can you help spread the word about White Noise 2?

  • Podcasters: Toss the link to this interview in your podcast feed; J.C. will happily take the bandwidth hit. Direct link can be found here. (Standard MP3; interview duration: 1:36:23; file size: 88.3 MB -- 92596195 bytes)
  • Bloggers: Promote the interview on your site, and include a link to the audio interview. Link is here.
  • Listeners: Contact friends and family about the film, and include a link to this blog page, or a direct link to the audio interview. Interview link is here.

Other links mentioned in the interview:

PLEASE support the hard work of Patrick, Matt and the rest of the White Noise 2 cast and crew by spreading the word and purchasing a copy of the film. Thanks!