Off Armageddon Reef

I’ve heard for a while how awesome David Weber’s books are.  The Honor Harrington series in particular is often remarked upon.  In fact, a couple months ago, a friend of mine asked if I had read any of his books, and I was forced to reply, “No, but I have On Basilisk Station and it’s next on my to be read list.”

And that was true.

Fast forward.  I finished listening to Aristotle’s “Rhetoric, Poetics, and Logic” on audiobook, and I was looking for which book to “read” in audio next (since I’m still in the middle of the final book in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series in actual text-reading).  I saw that I had “Off Armageddon Reef“, by David Weber, in my audio book library, and I queued it up.

Somehow, I transposed the titles of the two books, “On Basilisk Station” and “Off Armageddon Reef“, in my head, and as the first few chapters of “Armageddon Reef” went by I was wondering how and when Honor Harrington was going to come into play, considering that Safehold is a planet whose people were once star-farers but now are no longer.  It was only after I went back to Amazon to check the titles that I realized my mistake.

Of course, the story of Safehold was compelling enough that I stuck with it…and boy am I glad I did.

As all of you know, I’m a Naval Officer.  In fact, I was commissioned onboard USS CONSTITUTION, and did my first summer on active duty onboard that ship, learning to sail a square-rigged vessel and learning her history and the tales of her many engagements (never defeated).

And so, when it turned out that “Off Armageddon Reef“, though a scifi story, really ended up being a story about Naval warfare in the age of sail….well, there is literally nothing you could do to engage me better than that as a reader.

And boy did it deliver.

GREAT book.  And great depiction of the Naval lifestyle and ethic.

Wow.  Extremely well done.

If you haven’t read this book, you totally need to.  I’m definitely continuing on in this series.

Well done, Mr. Weber.  Well done.

Marital Bliss and Other Developments

It’s been well over a week since I last updated the blog here.  No doubt all y’all have been on the edge of your seats wondering what’s become of me.  Well, my half-hearted prediction came true: the business of traveling and the wedding overwhelmed everything else and I was lost in a sea of kids, mothers, aunts, significant others, drunken revelers, and all the others that you would expect at such an event.  It was a pretty good time, even though several times when the better half, the kids, and I walked in, we received blank stares and, “Oh.  We didn’t realize you were coming…with the kids,” followed by a mad scramble to make room, since it seemed there never was enough seating for everyone.  It’s almost as though we hadn’t told anyone we were coming.

Oops.

But wait, it gets better.  Flying back on Tuesday, we were delayed in departing Orlando and thus missed our connection in Phoenix.  So Southwest was kind enough to put us up in a hotel for the night before getting us home Wednesday (yesterday) morning.

But seriously, don’t get the wrong idea.  It was a good trip.  Very good, despite the stress of flying four kids across country.  It’s not every day one’s sister ties the knot, after all, and the ceremony and celebrations were beautiful and tons of fun.  And Florida is a fun place in general.  And for certain the Atlantic is a whole lot more fun to swim in than the Pacific.  Or at least the Pacific along the California coast – can you say freaking cold?  Yeah, I thought you could.

So that’s why there were no chapters while I was gone.  Hardly a surprise, right?  😉  Sorry about that.  I’ll just put the next one up on Saturday and call it even, ok?

Cool.

Speaking of cool, while I was away, three more short audiobooks of mine went live on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.  These are the next three of my Larian Elesir stories – short stories and novelettes all, and thus quite affordable as audiobooks go.  Just $3.95 apiece (less if you’re an Audible member).  I highly encourage you to check them out, if you’re so inclined.  And of course, if you’re not an Audible member and decide to join and make one of my stories your first purchase, I’ll get a nice hefty “bounty” for your head.  Erm…for your business, I mean.  I think it’s $50 – not too shabby.  So anyway, do go by and have a look.  Nick Mortise read them all and I think he did a great job.  Listening to them put a smile on my face.  And reminded me that I really ought to write more Larian stories because he’s cool and I enjoy him.

So that happened.  Let’s see…what else to put out?  Oh yes.

On Saturday, 31 May, I’m putting The Pericles Conspiracy on sale for $0.99 on Amazon.  Actually, I told Amazon to lower the price just a minute ago, so it’ll probably drop sometime tomorrow, so I’m not late.  You see, I decided to experiment with a paid promotion, and on Saturday Booksends is going to feature Pericles.  So it’ll be $0.99 for the day, then on Sunday it’ll go to $2.99.  Then either Monday or Tuesday, depending on how it’s doing, it’ll return to full price.  So if you’ve had the hankering to check Pericles out but haven’t gotten around to it yet, now’s the time.  Or rather, Saturday’s the time.  Kindly wait until then; hopefully the ad will drive a bunch of folks to purchase it on that day, and the more who do the more ranking boost it’ll get, so…wait until then, if you would.  🙂

So that’s what’s new around here.  Hope all’s well with y’all.  Time to get a little work done, then hit the rack.

Until next time.  🙂

The Latest Goings-On

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, and I figured I’d fill all y’all in on what’s been going on.

I spent a week up in Everett, WA two weeks ago, giving some training to a couple commands at the Naval Station there.  Then last week, I flew to Japan for an exercise at the base in Yokosuka.  Flew back on Saturday, and boy are my arms tired.  Yuck, Yuck.  🙂  Anyway, the travel was all for work, but it was also fun.  I like traveling, even when it’s to places I’ve been a dozen times or more (like Yokosuka).  There’s always something new and cool to see and do…and I get per diem.  🙂  That certainly helps.

Yesterday, my wife and I ran the Spring Sprint Triathlon, which takes place in Mission Bay here in San Diego.  We ran it together last year as well because it fell on our anniversary.  I managed to trim a minute from last year’s time overall, so not a bad showing.

And then today was our wedding anniversary.  🙂  Though we didn’t do much today – yesterday was our real celebration day.  But still, it’s cool.  Seven years.  Wow.  It feels like fifteen.  😛  Just kidding, of course.  🙂  It’s been lots of fun so far.  Challenging at time, but then what isn’t that’s worthwhile, right?  We’re looking forward to lots more good years ahead.  The more the better, right?  🙂

So that’s all cool.  But there have been some goings-on in the writing world to tell y’all about as well:

First, and the most fun, a relatively new book review blog, The Good, The Bad, & The Bizarre, wrote a very nice review of The Pericles Conspiracy the other day.  It appears they liked the book quite a bit, which tells me they are people of impeccable good taste.  So all y’all ought to go over and read, not just the review of my book, but their other offerings as well.

And then, if you haven’t done so already, now would be a great time to pick up The Pericles Conspiracy.  Because of goings-on #2: I decided to do an experiment in price pulsing, so for the next week, the book’s discounted to $0.99.  Just to see what happens when that happens.  🙂  Spread the word, eh?

Ok.  Goings-on #3.  Nick Mortise, the guy who read How NOT To Rescue A Damsel In Distress, has finished his audio renditions of my other three Larian Elesir stories.  I’ll be reviewing them over the next day or so, and then they should go on sale on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes within a couple weeks after that.  So stay tuned.

Lastly, the cover art for Tollard’s Peak, Glimmer Vale Chronicles #3 is just about ready, and I got the first set of comments back from my first readers.  At this point, I anticipate a mid-June release.  More to follow, including the cover reveal as soon as the last few action items for the cover are done and the bill paid.  So stay tuned for that as well.

So that’s it.  As you can see, a fair amount’s been happening while I’ve been silent.  Now that I’m back home and back in a normal routine, I’ll get back to posting chapters of The Pericles Conspiracy more regularly.  Until then, have fun, and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

🙂

Yeah, yeah, I know.  That doesn’t leave out very much.

You’ll just have to use your imagination.

Audio!

Just a quick note to grin and announce, with happiness, that my first audiobook is now live.

Damsel Audio Cover (600x600)

Bandits stabbed Larian’s father and kidnapped his girl. Confident in his freshly-learned swordsmanship, Larian set out to track them down, avenge his father, and rescue his first damsel in distress.

Things did not exactly go as planned.

 

It’s a short story, so it’s cheap.  I highly suggest y’all check it out.  🙂

Covering Down

Sunday is my publishing work day.  I think I mentioned that before, didn’t I?  I got a lot of good stuff done over the last couple weeks, and I just thought I’d share.

Last week, I worked on getting my novelette, The Best And The God-Woman, ready to go.  I wrote this one something like a year ago.  Don’t recall exactly.  I submitted it to Writers Of The Future, and it either got straight-up rejected or an Honorable Mention.  I don’t recall, which is pretty bad.  Anyway, after that I sent it around to the other venues that will accept submissions of its length (16,500 words) but had no joy.  And then I just let it sit.  I had other things in my crosshairs (Pericles and Out-Dweller primarily) so I didn’t do anything with it.  Anyway, it’s the last of my completed works that’s not out there for the world to enjoy, so I decided to fix that.  Here’s what’s in store:

Beast Cover (600x900)

The greatest terrors come from within.

Yili never questioned the Gods’ decrees, as handed down to the people from the elders.  Do not tarry long on the beach, for there lurks the Beast.  Do not venture beyond the breakers, for the sea holds nothing but death and man lives on the island alone.  Until the day a strange object approached the island, borne by the wind and waves toward Yili’s home until it broke apart on the reef and deposited a woman and a man, who could only be Gods themselves, onto the beach.

The Beast wants to destroy them.  The elders distrust them.  And Yili finds himself helplessly drawn to the God-Woman, at the risk of all he knows and loves.

Stay tuned; The Beast And The God-Woman will be available by the end of the month.

But wait!  There’s more!

Yesterday, the Admiral (my better half) ran the Hot Chocolate 15k in downtown San Diego.  After cheering her on, I got to work again.  First up – an audiobook cover.

Yes, I said audiobook.  I decided to get rolling on that side of the business a couple weeks ago, prompted by ACX’s impending shift in royalty split.  That change has been discussed ad nauseum elsewhere so I don’t feel the need to opine here except to say I’m conflicted about it.  On the one side, screw them.  There are other distributors out there.  On the other side, while several of those distributors offer a better split (I found one that does 80/20 to the writer), after audible takes its cut that split ends up being less than the new rates under ACX.  So although the abrupt and unexplained change pissed me off, from a strictly monetary perspective it won’t pay to go elsewhere.  It’s going to take some heavy thought to decide how to roll on this one.

Ah decisions, decisions…

Anyway, I put all of my short stories and my two collections up for audition with the hope of getting deals finalized before the deadline.  Only my short stories because I want to pay for the production vice do royalty split and I don’t have the $ to do the novels.  *shrug*  Maybe I should have done the novels under royalty split, but I don’t like the notion of 7 years of royalty splits – that could get VERY expensive if the audiobook does well.  As it is I’ll wait until the novels bring in enough $ to justify the outlay for the audiobooks myself.  The short stories, though, are much less expensive, even the collections.  So I’ve got 6 or 7 audiobook titles in production as we speak.  I would have liked to get them all done – I told the guy who auditioned for the collections to audition for the individual shorts as well; since he would record the stories anyway it made sense to knock them all out.  But he didn’t get auditions in for them all by the cutoff.  *shrug*  Oh well.  Another guy auditioned for a couple of them, so I’ll just pay the other guy separately.  It’ll end up costing more, but them’s the breaks.

Anyway, the second voice actor, Nick Mortise, finished up his rendition of How NOT To Rescue A Damsel In Distress on Saturday night.  Sunday I went into ACX to look at what I need to do now – review and approve it and supply cover art.  Then fun thing about cover art is it’s a different size than for an ebook.  Ebooks I generally make 2000×3000; the audiobook needs at least 2400×2400, square.  So I couldn’t just use the same cover art I had before.  And besides, I don’t really like the cover art I had for Damsel, or really any of my Larian short stories.  They were done a while ago, and I’ve learned a lot about cover design since then.

Observe:

How NOT To Rescue A Damsel In Distress Cover Measuring Up Cover First Blood Cover Grandfather's Pendant

Not very good, right?  They’re not very appealing and they’re not branded for the series (it’s not really a series per say, but they’re all stories about Larian so they ought to be similar) or for author.  Genre?  I guess they do that ok.  But still they needed an overhaul.  Since Nick is going to voice all of them (I think) I figured I might as well do the overhaul now.

Here are the new Larian stories covers:

Damsel Cover (600x900) Measuring Up Cover (600x900) First Blood (600x900 Grandfathers Pendant (600x900)

Much better, right?  I am a big believer in simple = elegant = better, so I figured I’d just keep the basic design the same, changing only the image in the middle and the title.  That works much better for branding too, I think.  I like them.

In case your wondering, here’s the cover for the Damsel audiobook:

Damsel Audio Cover (600x600)

 

The same design, but with a different aspect ratio.  Looks nice, right?

I only had one concern, once I finished.  The new covers looked very similar to the cover for Brother In Law, Brother In Blood.  They’re both plain white with black text, with a single image in the center.  Brother In Law is not a Larian story, and I worried that the similar designs might cause confusion.  For a minute I considered throwing out the new designs, or the Brother In Law design altogether.  Then I hit on the answer: just change Brother In Law’s color scheme a bit.  A simple transparency layer in the GIMP file did the trick.

Brother In Law (600x900) Brother In Law (600x900)

It’s not a big change. It’s pretty subtle.  I may darken it up a little bit more, but not too much because I don’t want to spoil the image.  As it is I think it works to differentiate the branding from Larian.  What do you think?

So that’s what I’ve got for now.  Look for that audiobook in the next week or so, along with God-Woman, with more audio versions of my short stories to follow.  Pretty sweet.  🙂

Have a good one!  See you tomorrow for the next chapter of The Pericles Conspiracy.