Travel Time

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I fly out to Oregon for Dean and Kris‘ Character Voice and Setting Workshop.  It runs from Saturday afternoon through the following Saturday, and I’m pretty much certain I won’t have any time to update things here.  Nor will I want to, because I’m going out there to work on improving my writing, not to screw around on the web.  🙂  The workshop should be fun.  I’ll have a play-by-play after I get back.

But I don’t want all y’all to be bored while I’m away, so here are a couple cool things to check out in the meantime.

1) The Piano Guys

If you aren’t acquainted with these guys, you should be.  They are extremely talented musicians.  And the things that guy does with his cello!  Wow!

2) Skyrim

Yeah yeah, I know.  Everyone loves it, and everyone’s addicted to it.  I am too.  But if you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months and haven’t checked it out, here’s a taste of what you’ve been missing.

Yeah.  Totally kick-ass.

Well, that’s all I’ve got so I’m going to sign off.  It’s getting toward 2300 now and we’re about to head out for the midnight showing of The Hunger Games.

Yeah, I really went there.  That really happened.  😛

 

Non-Exclusive

The 90 day exclusivity for So You Want To Be A Dragon Slayer… in KDP Select expired yesterday.  I wasted no time in putting it up on the various other sites.  You can now get it from B&N, Smashwords, and DriveThruFiction.  The Smashwords distribution channels will take a couple weeks.

Some people rave about it, but I’ll give KDP Select a hearty “Meh”.  I got a few sales out of the promotions, but nothing show-stopping.  I’m not sure I’ll repeat the KDP-S bit with future titles.  But we’ll see.

Right.  Back to business.  Cheers!

Proof Approved

I wrote before about the paperback version of Masters of the Sun.  And now for an update!

Even after getting the proof copy, I had some work to do.  Looking the proof over, I found a number of things I did wrong.  Which is why you order a proof in the first place.  So I fixed the issues, re-uploaded the files, and ordered a new proof.  And found more issues; or more specifically, I found the fixes I made did not look as good as the original version, so I had to re-fix the original version while keeping the look correct.  Which required another proof copy.  But literally a few minutes after ordering that proof copy, I decided, one last time, to look over some other physical books I had been using as examples while I worked on Masters.  And I realized I screwed up the ISBN formatting.  Which may not be a huge deal to Joe and Jane Schmuckitelli out there, but it is probably telling to someone who knows what he’s looking at.  So I fixed that, which required yet another proof copy.

But it’s all good.  Now, four proof copies later, I’ve got a product I’m happy with.  So this afternoon I pushed approve, and the book is now making its way through the Createspace distribution channels.  Woo!

I’ve only one nit to pick.  As soon as I pushed approve, the cover art in the product description page, which is what people in the stores’ websites see, shifted from the front cover art to a zoomed-in portion of the back cover.  A VERY zoomed in portion.  It’s horrible – just a bunch of mostly navy blue with the very left-most corner of my author photo available.  I sent an email to Createspace’s member services with the cover art file attached, asking them to fix the product description page.  Hopefully that will take care of that.

In the meantime, the product description page is supposed to look like this:

The print version is $12.95.  If anyone out there is really dying to get their hands on it, it’s available right now through the Createspace E-Store.  Otherwise, it’ll be available on Amazon in about a week or through the various distributors and other bookstores in the next several weeks (Createspace says it may take as long as 6 or 7 weeks for some of them).

Very cool.

What About…

Glimmer Vale?

I’m sure all y’all are asking that question.  After all, I finished the book back in December, and here it is March.  Well, I haven’t forgotten it.  It’s just been slow going.  Why don’t I update y’all on what’s going on (in case you care)?

First, I’ve got a couple people reading it.  They’re busy folks, though, so it’s going slowly.  But I’ve gotten some useful feedback so far, so that’s good.

Second, I’ve been playing around with ideas for cover art.  I haven’t decided if I want to do it myself or hire it out.  Obviously it would be less pricey to do it myself, but I want the cover to be good, for obvious reasons, so if I can’t get the design right on my own I’ll hire it out.  So far this is what I’ve come up with, after a few iterations.

Thoughts?

Third, I’m talking with a guy about making a map for the interior.  Since the setting is made up and it figures heavily in the story, I figure a map will be helpful.  Also, it’s just cool to have maps in fantasy books.  I did a hand-drawn concept sketch of what I’m looking for, which I passed on to the artist for a quote.

Thoughts?

So that’s what’s going on with Glimmer Vale.  It’s not likely to be released before the end of this quarter (which would be the end of this month), but I still foresee it being ready before summer.  So sit tight.  It’s coming.

Purchasing Socks

Over the last couple weeks, I submitted Who Ate My Sock? to several different publications.  Even though most advertised it would take 30 days or more to hear back from them, I got answers in just a handful of days.  So that’s cool.  What’s not cool is the answers were all in the negative.  Oh well.

That just means I get to put it up for sale myself as an ebook.

This morning, I spent some time making up a cover, then I went ahead and uploaded it to the various sites.  So, without further ado:

Justine’s mother gets angry when socks come up missing in the wash, and it just happened again. When she asks Justine to go into the basement to help with the laundry, Justine learns the reason behind her mother’s annoyance. And it is scary.

Who Ate My Sock? is a 2,100 word short story.  It is available for $.99 at Amazon and Smashwords.  Barnes and Noble, and the other Smashwords distribution channels, will get it in a week or two.

Enjoy!

Darn You, Lou Anders – or – My New Love Of Skyrim

Everyone’s been talking about Skyrim recently.  How awesome it is.  How the gameplay rocks.  That sort of thing.  So a month or so ago I went by the Skyrim website and looked at it.  I thought, “Cool”, then resolved to do what I normally do with games for my PS-3: wait six months to a year until the price comes down before buying it.

I was all set on that plan.  And then Lou Anders struck.

A week or so ago, he wrote a great blog post about Skyrim.  I don’t recall how I got there, but I read the post.  And my jaw dropped.  The kind of gameplay and character development he described was just…awesome.  So I went back to the Skyrim website, and I watched several demo videos that they have posted.

I could not help myself.  I did what I almost never do: I ran out to Gamestop and bought a copy, at full new release price.

Smiling elatedly, I drove home and turned on my PS-3.  And watched as the system froze up completely.  Well, that happens sometimes.  I secured power then rebooted.  And it froze up as soon as I logged into my account.  Then it did it again.  And again.  WTF?

Fortunately, my 15 month old likes to grab remote controls and play with them.  At one point in the last couple weeks, he was screwing around while my back was turned and somehow created a second PS-3 login.  So I decided to try logging in with that one.  It worked without a problem.  Except that I could not access my saved game and other data, because that was all saved under the other login.

What to do?

The troubleshooting guide in the Playstation website gave some tips, but some of them were rather extreme, like erasing the entire system and restoring the factory default settings (thus losing all my data).  Rather than going there, I called the toll-free number to tech support.

They offered a number of other solutions, which I tried.  But none worked.  Finally it came down to the full factory restore and the loss of all my data.  I was reluctant, but you gotta do what you gotta do.  I mean really, what did losing that data mean?  I would just have to replay all my games if I wanted to get those save game data files back.  Perish the thought!  🙂

But alas, it didn’t work.  As soon as I set up my account, logged back into the Playstation Network, and tried to do anything, the system froze up again.  The tech support guy determined that there was a catastrophic fault somewhere and I needed to send the PS-3 back for repair or replacement.  Since it cost the same amount either way, I opted for the replacement, which would end up doubling my hard disk.

Hanging up, I was dejected.  I could not play my awesome new game!  A few hours passed and I decided to try the system restore again.  This time, I did not log into the Playstation Network, but instead just installed the game and started playing.  No issues whatsoever.  What the heck?  So I called tech support back.  If the problem only arose when I logged into the PS Network, maybe there was a way to fix it short of a full replacement.  But alas again, the tech guy (it was a girl this time actually) assured me that this still indicated a catastrophic fault and I really needed a repair or replacement.  So I acquiesced.

But the game still worked.  For the last four days I’ve been playing Skyrim on my faulty PS-3 and loving every second of it.  I’ve enjoyed the other games Bethesda Softworks put out (I LOVE Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas), but Skyrim, so far, seems a cut above.  The interface is easy to use and the gameplay what I expected.  The landscape rendering, however, is stunning.  And so far the plot and character interaction is great.  I got up to level 7 early this morning (for some reason my 4 year old got up at 0430 and wanted to go downstairs.  So she watched The Land Before Time on Netflix on the iPad and I played Skyrim).

Then this afternoon I got back home and found a box at the door: the shipping box meant to bring my PS-3 back to Sony.  With trepidation, I loaded it in the box and took it to the FedEx store for shipment.  Now I’ve got a week and a half to two weeks to wait before I get my replacement unit.

I’m already feeling the lack.  I want my Skyrim!

Darn you, Lou Anders!