Burning Up

Yeah, that’s right, baby.  I’m on FIRE!

Metaphorically speaking, of course. 🙂

On Friday, I pushed publish on another title: another collection of five stories.  But instead of shorts, I combined all of my novelettes and my one novella into the collection.  The result:

 

A fateful meeting in deep space.

A journey to a distant world to hunt the ultimate game: Dragons.

Two young soldiers search for a lost family heirloom.

Honeymoon bliss turns into a fight for survival on a remote moon.

The Champion of Light battles the Champion of Dark to determine the fate of the universe.

Tales of Adventure is a collection of five science fiction and fantasy novelettes and novellas by Michael Kingswood: Passing in the Night, So You Want To Be A Dragon Slayer… , Grandfather’s Pendant, Delphinus, and The Champion.

 

 

The ebook is live now, for $5.99 at the following stores: AmazonDriveThruFiction, and XinXii.  Barnes and Noble and Kobo are still processing the files, and I’ll have the Smashwords version up later today.

Since the five stories together come to over 60,000 words, Tales of Adventure will also be out in trade paperback.  The proof is on the way and should be approved in a week or so.

 

So yeah, that makes three titles published this month, and ten so far this year, bringing my grand total of titles published to twenty.  So yeah, I’m on fire, baby.  🙂

Story #19

Last night, I pushed publish on The Champion, the novella I wrote for Writers of the Future, Quarter 2.  WotF rejected it; I know exactly why.  The biggest issue was a very easy fix.  And so, now it is out there for everyone to enjoy, if they so wish.  That makes 19 stories published so far in my writing career.  Pretty sweet.

The details:

“The universe in balance is a lovely thing. Light balances Dark. Stars are born, live, grow old, and die. Their light goes out, but in the explosions of their deaths, they seed the universe with the material to create new light, and new life, elsewhere.” – Cornelius Bartleby

While the Light seeks to maintain the balance and preserve life, Dark powers seek to nudge the universe away from its balance and send it on a path to destruction.

Each generation fights the battle between Light and Dark, through Champions who willingly take up the mantle of their respective sides.

My name is Timothy Williams. I am the Champion of Light, and this is my story.

The Champion is a 17,200 word (about 80 printed pages) modern fantasy novella.

Included are sample chapters from Masters of the Sun, a post-apocalyptic fantasy novel, also by Michael Kingswood.

 

 

It is live now on Amazon and Nook.  I haven’t put it up on Smashwords yet; that’s the plan for tonight.

It’s a steal at $2.99.  Enjoy!

Glimmer Vale Excerpt (#SampleSunday)

It’s been a while since I posted an excerpt for #SampleSunday.  But seeing as Glimmer Vale hit the electronic shelves yesterday, this seemed an appropriate occasion to change that.  So without further ado, here’s an amusing scene that I thoroughly enjoyed writing:

“You’re one of them two newcomers, the ones who brought the thief in this evening, right?”  The man sitting next to him had turned to look at him, and addressed him in a tone of friendly curiosity.

“Sure am.  Julian.”  He held out his hand and received a good firm handshake in response.

“Horace.  Damn good to meet you, boy.  ‘Bout time someone did something about them scumbags.”

“It’s wasn’t much, really.  Just defending ourselves is all.”

Horace snorted.  “Way I hear tell, you two boys fought off a dozen of them bandits without taking a scratch.  Don’t sound like nothing to me.”

Julian looked incredulously at him for a moment, then burst out laughing.  “First of all, there were six.  Secondly,” he gestured toward his thigh, then held up his bandaged right hand and pointed to his nose, “I took more than a couple scratches.  Now, my friend over there,” he nodded in Raedrick’s direction, “he got off without a hitch.  But I had the tougher task in that fight.”

Horace snorted again.  “Well, whatever.  Point is, you boys did real good, and I’m proud to know you.”

“Thanks, Horace.  I appreciate that.”

The bartender finally made it over to Julian, and he ordered another tankard of mulled wine.  But when the  bartender brought the drink, Horace spoke up again.

“I’m paying for that, Rolf.  In fact, this boy and his friend don’t pay for another drink tonight, understand?  It’s on me.”

Rolf looked quizzically at Horace, then shrugged.  “However you want to play it, Horace.  I’ll put it on your tab.”

“That’s really not necessary…” Julian began, but Horace waved him to silence.

“The hell it ain’t.  You boys did us a public service today.  Least I can do is buy you a couple drinks.”

Julian realized arguing any further would be futile.  Besides, who was he to pass up free drinks, especially if they were for doing something that really wasn’t anything special at all.  Smiling, he raised his tankard to Horace and said, “In that case, thank you, kind sir.  I…”

A movement at the other end of the room drew Julian’s eye, and he lost track of what he was about to say.  The woman descending the stairs from the second floor was hard to miss.  Long wavy black hair, a perfectly hourglass-shaped figure, and a pretty face, she would have stood out anywhere.  But here, the fine fabric of her dress and the glitter of precious metal and gems reflecting the firelight from her wrists, ears, and neck stood out and marked her as a lady of means.  Julian couldn’t help but stare.

Horace noticed, of course, and followed Julian’s gaze with his own.  Then he burst out laughing.

“Forget about it, boy.  That girl ain’t got no interest in the likes of you and me.”

“Is that so.  What makes you say that?”

Horace looked at him as though he was daft.  “Well look at her!”

Rolling his eyes, Julian returned Horace’s gaze with one of incredulity.  “That’s it?” he asked, and realized that he had just let a healthy dose of annoyance slip through into the tone he was using to address the man who was buying his drinks.  He cleared his throat and looked away.  But if Horace was put out or offended, it didn’t show in his demeanor or in how he treated the question.

“A well set-up lass like her probably comes from nobility, has a rich husband, or is looking for one.  That’s it.”

The woman walked, or rather flowed, over to an empty table near one of the fireplaces and sat down.  Julian noted with interest that she sat with her back to the wall.  She was a careful one, or so it seemed.  She had barely settled into her chair when a server hurried over.  They exchanged quick words then, making a slight curtsy, the server made her way quickly back to the bar.

“Let’s see if your theory is true,” Julian said to Horace.  Then he stood and moved over to where the server stood waiting for the woman’s drink.

Horace chuckled.  “Your funeral, boy.”

Julian reached the server as she was reaching for the drink.  Moving quickly, he got his hand in ahead of her and snatched it up then tossed a few coins onto the bar.

“Hey!”

“I’ve got this one, thanks,” Julian said over his shoulder as he moved away from the bar.  The mixture of chagrin and bemusement on the server’s face was classic.

He reached the woman’s table quickly, only having to pause once to avoid being run over by a large drunk fellow on his way to the privy.  She was reading from a small leather-bound book as he approached.  From a distance, she looked attractive.  Close up, she was gorgeous.  Stunning, even.  Suddenly struck by a big case of nerves, Julian almost turned around and went back to Horace at the bar.

None of that.

Taking a deep breath, Julian squared his shoulders and strode the last few paces to the woman’s table.

“Your drink, my lady,” he said as he placed her glass onto the table in front of her.

The woman didn’t look up.  She just murmured, “Thank you,” and held out a coin.  A silver coin.  Again, Julian was tempted to just walk away, after pocketing the money, of course.  Instead, he sat down in an empty chair at her table.

“No need for that.  I covered this one.”

She looked up from her book and frowned.  Julian moved ahead before she could say anything.

“I’m Julian Hinderbrook.  And your name is…?”  He put on his most charming smile as he spoke, the one that normally made the maidens swoon.

“None of your business.”  She inserted a place mark, snapped her book shut, and cast it down on the table with an expression of disgust.  “It’s bad enough I’m stranded in this flyspeck of a town in the middle of nowhere.  I don’t need to be accosted by every bumpkin in the place.  Thank you for the drink.  Now, off with you.”  She made a shooing gesture that carried entire levels of contemptuous dismissal.

Julian had to force his smile not to compress into a scowl.  Why that conceited little…  “I’m no bumpkin.”  He knew his tone was frosty, but he couldn’t help it and, frankly, she deserved it.

The woman rolled her eyes.  “Yes, of course.  How could I have missed it?  You’re a cultural minister from Tyrash.”  Sarcasm dripped from her words.  It didn’t help that Julian had no idea where Tyrash was.  All of a sudden he felt stupid, and from her expression he looked the part, too.  She shook her head slightly then picked up her book again and opened it up to her place.  Making another shooing gesture, she began to read again.

A lesser man would have departed at this point.  Julian decided to make one last attempt.

“Look, I’m just trying to be friendly here. I…”

As he began speaking, the woman looked up at him through narrowed eyes that sparkled with irritation.  She cupped her hand in front of her mouth as though she was going to blow him a kiss.  But when she blew out, instead of a kiss a plume of flame leapt out toward him.

Julian shouted a curse and pushed himself backwards, his hands flying upwards to protect his face.  He leaned way back and his chair teetered for a moment, then fell over onto the ground, taking him with it.  The flame burned out very quickly; it didn’t even reach his position where he had been sitting.  But the flash of heat was real.  Very real.  Julian lay there on the floor for a moment, stunned.

A sudden silence descended on the taproom as Julian pushed himself up to his feet.  Every eye was fixed on him and the woman.  His face warm with embarrassment and from the brief heat from the flame, he fixed the woman with a glare as he brushed himself off.  Then he turned and walked away.  From the corner of his eye, he saw her give a mocking little wave as he left.  He did not look back.

Horace looked as stunned as Julian felt when he returned to the bar.  All the same, he managed a smirk as he said, “Told you so.”

Glimmer Vale, a fun fantasy adventure.  Available in ebook NOW!

 

Purchase links: Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo.  Print to follow within the next two weeks.

Glimmer Vale Cover Art

Hi everyone.

So I’ve been anxiously awaiting the cover art for Glimmer Vale, as I think I’ve mentioned before.  I contracted with Lucky Bat Books for the art, and Cindie, who runs the show over there, hooked me up with Jim Beveridge.  Dude is AWESOME!  It took him a little while to complete the job, but the results are well worth the wait.  Observe…

The ebook cover:

And the wraparound cover for the trade paperback:

Go ahead.  Tell me that isn’t FREAKING AWESOME!

I dare you.

That’s right.  You can’t.  Because that artwork rocks!

That said, I do have a couple TINY nits to pick.  I expect those will be cleared up in the next couple days though, and Glimmer Vale will be up electronically by week’s end, with the trade paperback edition following quickly on its heels.  Stay tuned.

Small Thinking

As an MBA and a student of business, I really love Shark Tank.  I love watching it, seeing the various business pitches and great ideas.  I especially love watching how the Sharks react to the pitches, how they make their offers, and how the entrepreneurs on the show counter their offers or not.

The Sharks are all highly successful businessmen/women.  They know what it takes to make a business work and how to make big money in the real world.  You can instantly tell when they see something awesome, that they can make big money off of.  But they don’t always show it.  Sometimes, a business proposition is SO awesome that they get into a bidding war over it, and they show their true colors.  Other times, they are more restrained and make smaller offers.

Of course, in the rules of Shark Tank, they are constrained.  If they are not willing to offer at least what the entrepreneur is asking, they can’t offer at all.  So I’m sure they often see things they might like to buy into but cannot because of the rules of the show.  But every now and then something really blows their socks off and they offer big money (or what the regular guy would think is big money) for it.

One episode stuck with me for a while, and I think can illustrate what I’m talking about.

This guys comes on.  He’s a wine lover, but he hates the way wine oxidizes and ends up tasting crappy if it’s left to sit after the bottle is opened.  There are products on the market that deal with this issue, but he doesn’t like them.  So he invents his own solution, and it works.  It works really well.  He has a little success selling it and comes on the Shark Tank looking for money.

Instantly, Kevin O’Leary sees the potential.  He’s a wine connoisseur and knows the market.  But he has no intention of getting into a production plan and all that entails.  He offers the guy about what he’s asking for, in exchange for 51% of the company and he intends to license the product (which is patented) to the big players in the field.  Part of his deal is a royalty to the entrepreneur (I want to say 7% but I don’t remember exactly) in perpetuity.

The guy’s eyes light up.

But then one of the other sharks steps in (Lori I think).  Shee also sees the potential there.  She offers the guy $500k to buy him out completely.  The guys begins to waffle.

Mark Cuban then steps in, asking when the last time the guy held a $500k check in his hand he says no.

At this point, Kevin is getting indignant.  He tells the guy he’s being stupid and he’s going to miss out on big money.

Then Cuban enters the fray with Lori and they offer $600k.

The guy waffles even further.  Kevin advises the guy to ask for a royalty if he sells out.  He does.

Cuban says no, and if fact since you’re waiting so long now the offer’s only $400k.

Kevin begs the guy not to take that deal but to come with him and they’ll make huge money together.

The guy waffles.  And waffles some more.  Then he accepts Cuban and Lori’s offer.  In the end credits, he says he wishes they could have made the deal work at $600k but he was happy to get $400k.  Kevin lashes out at Cuban, saying he just stole that guy’s future.  Cuban replies BS, that guy’s kids are going to college because of that deal.

So what happened there?

All three of the sharks involved saw big money from this guy’s product.  Kevin, who is normally one of the more ruthless Sharks, offered the guy a little money now in exchange for potentially big money later.  Mark and Lori offered the guy a bit more money (but really only a little in the grand scheme of things, and considering their net worth) in exchange for nothing later.

Mark and Lori were counting on the fact that this guy was thinking small.  They knew if he saw the big money (but not all that big) he would sell out and think he got a great deal, when in fact he got screwed.

And since he was thinking small, he did.

He never thought about how big the wine market is.  About how many people love wine and might love his product.  About how much money that relatively small royalty would translate into over time.  If he had, he would have laughed at Mark and Lori and run to Kevin’s offer.  Or at least countered Kevin’s offer first.  But he was mired in small thinking.  Wow, $400k is a LOT of money!  Holy cow!  Well dude, you just potentially passed up millions.  In that light, you are DUMB!

But most people think small.  That’s part of the reason only a few people succeed and grow their businesses into multi-million or multi-billion dollar companies.  That and simple economics: the real world can only allow so many billionaire’s.  But more people could become billionaires if they did not cut themselves off at the knees.  In this case, Mark and Lori would not have offered that much (remember they WOULD HAVE payed $600k) unless they were pretty sure they stood to make several times that much in future income.  So what does that tell you about the wisdom of the guy selling out for a measly $400k?

Ok, Kingswood, what does that have to do with writing and publishing?

Exactly this: don’t screw yourself by thinking small.

Last summer, I wrote a post detailing how much of an advance would be appropriate for a book that’s already selling well.  My thesis in that post was that an acceptable advance was well above what most people probably think it is.  The world has moved on since then.  The market has developed, I’ve grown, and many other things have changed.  But people’s ability to get screwed by thinking small has not.

The world is a big place.  Publishing is a big business, worth lots of money.  Don’t sell yourself short just to get some nebulous prize of validation or some such crap.  If you know you have a good product, fight for it.  Don’t accept a deal that will end up screwing you long-term.  THINK, people.  Think big, not small.

That is all.