Cover Reveal: Jim Morgan and the Door at the Edge of the World

And now we shall take a moment to pimp a writer friend of mine.

I met James Matlack Raney last summer at Mysterious Galaxy, a well-known independent bookstore here in San Diego.  He was participating in a local author event they held.  I attended as a customer because I was still relatively new to town and I didn’t want to be that guy who just walked into the bookstore and said, “Hey let me pimp my stuff will you?”  I wanted to be a good customer first and foremost.  🙂  Anyway, we hit it off and I bought his book, Jim Morgan and the King of Thieves because he was cool and it looked interesting.  And it’s aimed at young readers (I think middle grade is the official category – the main character is eleven), and since I have several youngsters in the house…

We met again last Christmas at Mysterious Galaxy; this time I was one of the local authors participating with him.  We exchanged business cards and became Facebook and Goodreads friends, and have corresponded since then.  And I picked up his next book, Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull.

I’ve been reading Mat’s books to my oldest and I’m enjoying them a lot.  And more importantly, so is she.  🙂  I think she’ll enjoy them even more when she’s older; some parts are a little over her head.  But hey, she’s six.  🙂

Anyway, Mat has continued to plug away and the final book in the series is almost ready.   Here’s a peak:

Jim Morgan and the Door at the Edge of the World is the climactic follow up to the IndieFab Book of the Year FinalistJim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull, and the final chapter in the Jim Morgan series. Check out the first two books here, and look for Door at the Edge of the World in Fall 2014.

Jim Morgan 3 Cover

 

Pretty awesome, right?  Be sure to mark your calendars; I’m going to.

Silence Like A Cancer Grows…

Yeah, I’m feeling a little bit saucy.  Hence the play on Simon and Garfunkel in the title of this post.

It’s been a while since I last posted anything.  And a lot’s happened in the interim.  So why haven’t I talked about it?  Ehh.  Or rather, meh.  No idea.  Didn’t feel like it?  I was doing other things?  Both? 🙂  Regardless, I’m back posting now, so all five of you who come around to read my musings can be happy again.  🙂

So….current events.

  1. I mentioned this before, but what the heck, it bears repeating.  I had another kid!  🙂 Or rather, my wife did.  I delivered him, though.  No, seriously.  When our daughter was born, almost five years ago (her birthday is the 26th), we had her at Wentworth Douglass Hospital in Dover, NH.  They are awesome.  State of the art, progressive (in the good way, not the political/economic way), and just all around cool.  Their birthing center was ridiculously nice, and comfortable, and…  You get the point.  Well, they made a point of letting dads assist in the actual delivery if they wanted, as opposed to them standing back, trying not to get their fingers crushed as their wives squeezed on their hands, and feeling helplessly useless.  So naturally, I was all over helping the midwife pull little Sibylla out when she arrived.  Talk about wicked cool.  For the first two boys, though, the hospital staff essentially gave me the Heisman, except they did let me cut the cord.  Yippee.  Not.  ‘Cause that’s not nearly as cool as doing the delivery.  Well, little Kiran (that the new guy’s name) we had at the Naval Hospital here in San Diego.  When they asked if we wanted anything, I piped up that I wanted to deliver.  And awesome of awesome, they said, “Sure!”  So as soon as the Doc got the head and shoulder positioned right, I got the nod, took hold, and voila!  I got to pull him out.  🙂  And then after the cord blood collection, I played with the placenta a little.  😛  Well…ok, I didn’t play with it.  But dude.  It may be the Engineer and the nerd in me coming out, but seriously, if you’ve never seen a placenta before, you’re missing out.  They are really cool.  😉  So anyway, our clan now consists of 4 kids (I say now, but this happened in the middle of September so it’s not all that recent.  Sorry).  And we’ve decided four is enough, so we took steps to ensure we don’t have to worry about it, if you know what I mean.
  2. Of far less importance, but still cool, I heard back from Writers of the Future regarding my 3rd quarter submission.  Honorable Mention.  Again.  Now that’s pretty cool.  But it makes 3 HMs now.  And granted, this one is from a new judge, since David Farland took over.  But I would really really like to bust over the HM hump into the higher categories, one of these days.  You know: semi-finalist, finalist.  Winner.  Oh well, only one way to do that: keep writing and submitting.  So I guess I’ll go ahead and do that.  🙂
  3. I’m doing NaNoWriMo again.  Last year, if you recall, I wrote Glimmer Vale for NaNo.  I had toyed with writing Glimmer’s sequel this year.  But instead I decided to just crank out short stories.  I did this for a couple reasons.  First, that was what I said I was going to do way back at the beginning of the year.  Second, on the Yahoo Group for writers who have attended Dean and Kris‘ workshops, they have this thing called Club 25 going on: a challenge to epublish 25 titles this yes.  Well I’m currently at ten, but I figured if I could crank out ten 5,000 word stories in November, I could totally catch up.  And three, I kind of fell off the writing wagon for a few months there, between moving to San Diego, settling into the new job, and welcoming a new kid.  I figured NaNo would be a great way to jumpstart myself.  🙂  So…how’s it going?  Well, so far the shorts are all novelettes.  And I’m lagging.  At present I’m something like 9,000 words behind.  So I’m beginning to doubt I’ll get to the 50,000 word mark for the month.  Unless I get a couple 5,600 word days down like I did last year.  Which is possible, so I’m not out of it yet.  🙂  Regardless, I’ll have finished a number of good stories this month so it’ll be a win either way.  And it’s been fun, so that’s what matters.  🙂
  4. I discovered some cool music.  This guy calls himself Miracle of Sound, and he writes songs based on games, movies, you name it.  His songs are quite fun.  I picked out two of my favorites to share with you.  The first is inspired by Skyrim, the second by Dragon Age 2.  Check them out, then go to YouTube and give the guy a like or six; he deserves it.  You can also buy his music from his website, quite reasonably.  
  5. My friend J E Medrick (you may recall I sung her praises for her first novel, Shackled, a while back) released a new novella the other day.  Youth is a great story about a prescription drug that will restore the elderly to youth and vigor, but at a price: everyone who takes Youth dies within a month.  Now, I’ve only read about half of it, because that’s all she sent me.  But it’s a fascinating concept, well executed.  I recommend you check it out.

That’s about it on the news front.  All in all, things are going pretty well.  I’m beginning to think about my goals for next year, and to evaluate how I did this year.  To be brief: not so good.  That writing hiatus in the summer and early fall really did in a number of my goals.  But that’s ok.  Life rolls happen, and these rolls were good ones, so I’m not going to beat myself up.  I am going to change my methodology for next year, though.  Enact a bit more nerd-ness and statistical tracking, that sort of thing.  It’s going to be great.

So I think I’m going to let you go with that.  I firmly intend to get back to posting with greater regularity, now that things are, more or less, settled here in my world.  Until then, here’s hoping all y’all in internet land have fun.

Just remember what I tell my kids: everyone likes a wino, but no one likes a whiner.  Moral of the story: when in doubt, drink more.  😛

 

Cheers!

It’s a Ghost Town out there…

It’s funny how things change.

This time last year, I followed a bunch of Indie writers who were blogging all the time, about what they were writing, how they were doing, how awesome or scary or whatever the new world of publishing is, whatever.  Now?  Now I don’t spend as much time reading blogs.  Or writing them, for that matter.  Just looking at the monthly archives of my blog here will show that.  🙂

But neither do many of those other writers I used to follow.  A lot of them have gone silent on the blogosphere.  Of those who’ve gone silent, I know a bunch who simply are so busy writing and publishing that they’ve just said “screw it”, especially since it’s clear that blogging or “having a platform” is of far less importance than writing good stories…and a lot of them.  That said, it appears a bunch of them aren’t producing many stories anymore either.  I know of a couple who I know for certain have barely been writing at all, and a few more who have basically quit.

I hesitate to say that’s sad, because in the grand scheme of things it really doesn’t matter if one writer or another decides not to write anymore in favor of something else.  Who knows?  Maybe those who have quit found something they like to do more?  Or life decided they had to prioritize something else they find more important for a while.  Far be it from me to question that.

But I remember Dean, and others, talking about how things would go a while back.  If I recall correctly, he predicted a lot of writers would try the Indie bit (well, he didn’t really…he predicted 95% of writers would never even try it) and give up when, after a short while, they didn’t quickly make it big.  Or they discovered it takes just as much work as the traditional route.  Or whatever.  Which I guess is what happens in the traditional world, too.

And if that is what’s happened, then I’m sad.  Because one should not give up on a goal or a dream just because it’s slow to come, or it’s hard.

I guess we’ll see how this all pans out.  But in the meantime, when I’m in the mood to waste time on the internet, I find there are a lot fewer blogs to waste time on these days, at least among the crowd I used to follow.  And that is rather distressing.

Plugging a Friend

You may recall a while back I posted a review of J. E. Medrick‘s novel, Shackled.  You may also recall that I loved that book.

Well Ms. Medrick has not stopped with Shackled.  She’s written a number of other stories, all awesome.  Her big project is a series called Icarus Helix.  It’s a serialized set of novellas about teenagers who discover they have various super powers and how they deal with their new abilities.  It’s well written and engaging.  She has five episodes out so far: Cheat, Liar, Coward, Thief, and Thug.  The sixth, Frigid, is due to for release any day now, as I understand it.  Well, J. E. just released a compilation of the first five stories under the name Emergence.  Priced at $5.99, it’s a 40% discount from buying them separately, so it’s a great deal.  I’d highly encourage all y’all in internet-land to check it out.

Great cover, right?  The awesome Jeroen ten Berge, the same guy who did my cover for Masters of the Sun, does all of J. E.’s covers.

Seriously, though, check out this series.  It rocks.

Samantha Warren’s Birthday Scavenger Hunt

Very nice lady and writer, Samantha Warren, has been hosting a blog scavenger hunt for the last couple days as part of a birthday celebration.  I’m rather flattered that she’s letting me participate.  🙂

One of her questions for today comes from me: What is the Net Present Value that I computed for 2016 through 2020 assuming sales decline by 10% after 2015 on a hypothetical successful series of books?

I’ll be nice and give a little hint, because that’s how I roll.  🙂  You’ll have to look back a ways to find it.  I was a bit perturbed over a discussion on Kindleboards about indie authors being approached by publishers and how to negotiate a contract with them.  The standard response was you gotta get an literary agent, because…well, because.  I cry BS on that one, because you don’t need a salesperson at that point.  You need a legal mind and a hard-nosed negotiator (spoken, a lawyer).  But one of the arguments used in favor of the agent need was the agent could get you a better advance (somehow), so I decided to explore how a writer can compute what an appropriate advance should be on his/her own, based on the writer’s indie sales history.  It’s not very hard to do.

Have fun finding the answer, and thanks for stopping by!

30,000 Word Challenge – Day 5

I’m up a lot later than I thought I would be tonight. And a lot later than I want to be, since I have to be at work in the morning.  But I made a commitment to myself to make this challenge work, and you gotta do what you gotta do.

Once again, I didn’t do short stories today.  Oh well.  I got up and decided I was finally going to put some work in on The Penitent, the story idea I mentioned a little while back that was inspired by “Eyes on Fire” by Blue Foundation.  From the moment I got the inspiration, I knew the very beginning and the very end of the story, but little of the middle.  I’ve since figured out a little bit about the middle.  Sort of.  But I hadn’t really written anything yet.  So this morning, I wrote the prologue.  It took 1,643 words to finish that part, and then it was time to leave for a cookout at my friend’s house.

That’s where I hit a snag.  I ended up staying at the cookout for a LOT longer than I thought I would, partly because we were having fun and partly because I needed to just hang out and let the beer filter out of my system before I drove home.  The upshot is I didn’t leave the cookout until 9 pm or so (and the party was still going strong).  Then I got involved in listening to The Skeptic’s Guide To The Universe, an awesome science and skepticism podcast I listen to regularly.

The end result was I didn’t get to writing again until well after 11 pm.  I was sorely tempted to just say, “Screw it” and hit the rack, but I knew that would basically condemn me to failure on this challenge, so here I am, just getting finished at 1 am.  Woohoo.

But I finished the final action scene.  There’s still the epilogue to finish too, then I need to start filling in the middle.  But it’s a start.

Total word count for today: 3,063 words, bringing the total for the challenge to 14,543 words.  Still a little behind the mark, but I’m making good progress.

Right.  I’m hitting the sack.

Guest Post – Evelyn Lafont

I “met” Evelyn Lafont through Zoe Winters‘ blog.  Evelyn, aka Keyboard Hussey, made a number of funny and interesting comments there, so I went over to check out her blog.  After some comments there and some mutual twitter following, we became Facebook friends.  A couple weeks ago, she announced on Facebook that she was looking for blogs to go to for a blog tour.  Even though this blog is small time, I volunteered, and she accepted the offer.

So that’s how I lined up the first guest post on this blog (and really my first guest post ever).

As I mentioned last week, Evelyn writes paranormal romance: not really a genre I’ve had much interest in, historically.  But since I like her, I decided to pick up her book, The Vampire Relationship Guide, Volume 1: Meeting and Mating.  And you know what?  By and large, I dug it.  And no, I don’t think that makes me less manly.  🙂  She wrote it as a satire of the genre, and it’s good, snarky fun.  So even if you don’t think paranormal romance is your thing, check out a sample.  You may be surprised.

And now, without further ado, here’s Evelyn.

Finding—no—MAKING Time to Write

In order to be considered a writer, there is just one thing you must do. Write.

If you talk about writing, think about writing, read about writing and dream about writing, you aren’t actually a writer. That doesn’t mean you can’t be someday, and it certainly doesn’t mean you don’t have the talent to be one, it just means that you aren’t right now. Because being a writer is, at its core, just about you filling up a blank sheet of real or electronic paper with words.

It easy to transition from someone who thinks about writing to someone who is a writer, you just need to find a way to carve out some time each day or week to do what it is that writers do. It sounds hard, with the busy schedule you have and the family and significant other time you want to maintain, but if you really love something—I mean truly love it—then you have to sacrifice just a little in order to make it happen.

And it doesn’t have to be a great amount of time each week. Ten minutes a day on your lunch break at work, 20 minutes twice a day taken from when you first wake up and right before you go to bed, an hour while your kids take naps or first go to sleep at night. That is all it takes.

In order to develop that writerly muscle in your brain, you have got to write. It doesn’t have to be a marathon session during which you spend five hours furrowing your brow and frantically typing your masterpiece while chugging rum and chain smoking cheap, filterless cigarettes that make you think of your childhood growing up on the rough streets of Chicago. It just has to be time that you spend communicating with the paper.

Evelyn Lafont is an author and freelance writer with an addiction to Xanax and a predilection for snark. Her debut novella, The Vampire Relationship Guide, Volume 1: Meeting and Mating is a comedy about dating, sexing, and living with vampires and is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. She has also developed a monthly e-zine to accompany the series, which can be found at VampLure.com.

Longer Than I Thought

Yeah, yeah.  I know.  That’s what SHE said, right?

Ha-freaking-ha.

Ok, stupid jokes aside, I’m talking about one of my short stories.  A few weeks back, I tried out the Write Or Die web application.  Several people swear by it, but I found it to be rather annoying.  But I got about 800 words down on a heist story that I decided to keep.  I added a little to it later, but it just sat on my computer, untouched, until this weekend.  On the way back from Tahoe, I cranked out a bit more on it.  Then last night, I fired through 1,000 words.  But now I’ve got a problem.  I’m in the mid-3,000s in word count, and I’m realizing it’s going to be a LOT longer than I initially thought.  I figured 4,000 words.  Maybe 6,000.  But now it’s looking like maybe it’ll be into novelette or novella length.  Heck, it may even turn into a full novel. Not that this is a bad thing; it was just unplanned.

So I guess we’ll just see where it goes.

In the meantime, I’m sure you all are anxious to know: yes, I successfully completed the Century.  Yes, it was hard.  And yes, the weather was weird.  But that’s ok.  It was all fun, and for a good cause.

Speaking of fun, I’m trying something new next week: a guest poster.  Evelyn Lafont‘s coming over on the 13th.  She writes paranormal romance: not a genre I’ve had much interest in over all.  But I like her: she’s smart, funny, and pulls no punches.  So I figured I’d try her book, and I gotta say it was a fun, quick read.  We’ve hit it off on Facebook and Twitter, and when she announced she was looking to do guest posts for a blog tour, I offered, even though this blog is pretty small-time.  So next week, she’ll be here to share some of her thoughts.  Should be fun.