Pre-Order: The Falconer’s Stairs

It’s official.  The release date is set, and The Falconer’s Stairs (Glimmer Vale Chronicles #5) is now up for pre-order everywhere.

Jared Tolburt twice almost cost Raedrick Baletier and Julian Hinderbrook their lives: once when he turned on them while they were fleeing the Army, and again when he unwittingly led a group of bandits into Glimmer Vale.  While fighting off the bandits, Raedrick and Julian found a cryptic, magically protected letter that hinted at the location of a great treasure.  Now, with help from Melanie Klemins, Lydelton’s resident mage, Tolburt intends to claim that treasure for his own.

The treasure is hidden far away from Glimmer Vale, and guarded by both physical and magical obstacles.  With Raedrick unable to travel due to his wife’s pregnancy and Melanie eager to assist Tolburt in his quest, Julian has to do the last thing he ever wanted: travel with and help the man he trusts least in the world.

Far from their home and beset with dangers of all kinds, Julian, Melanie, and Tolburt will have to depend on each other even to survive, let alone succeed in their quest for The Falconer’s Stairs.

But Tolburt already sold Julian out once when the going got tough.  What’s to say he would not do it again?

The sale price is $4.99, and the release date is 15 April.  Members of my Advanced Reviewers Program will receive their review copies by next Sunday, 26 March.

So go, grab a copy.  Read, enjoy, and leave a review somewhere!

🙂

Yeah, I Need Deadlines

Next month, I’m attending the annual Anthology Workshop that Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch put on each February in Oregon.  Basic premise of the workshop is they have several editors attending, and the writers are given assignments to write stories for 6 upcoming anthologies: 2 stories in December, 4 in January, one week to write each story.  Then we all send each other our stories and we all read them.  The editors read all the stories as well, and then at the workshop each editor tells why he or she liked or didn’t like each story, and then selects the stories he or she will buy for his or her anthology.  The anthologies are then published by WMG in the Fiction River series.

It’s a pretty cool deal.  I was going to attend the workshop last year, but I had to cancel because of changing work schedules for the Navy.  Not so this year: the schedule is set, my leave is approved, and I am going!

This week was the 5th assigned story.  Just like the other 4, I got it in before the deadline.  Just one more story to go, then the reading commences.

But here’s the thing.  I didn’t even start this story until about noon today, but I cranked it out (3,400 words) and had it in to Dean before 4pm.  I could have started it earlier in the week.  Should have, even.  But…I didn’t.  I did a lot of other things this week, but not that.

3,400 words for the day is pretty decent.  It’s far from the most words I’ve ever written in a day, though (I think that record is about 9,000 or so, but it’s been a while so I could be off a bit).  Now, what’s stopping me from writing that many every day?  Well, going to work for the Navy, working out, time with the kids and wife.  You know, real life.  But still, given I write between 1,500 and 2,000 words/hour, there really is not good reason why I can’t get at least 1,000 per day.

Right?

Reflecting back, I got all the stories written, on time, for last year’s anthology workshop as well, before I had to pull out.  I then promptly failed to get much other writing done in the year until the fall, when the deadline for Blaze‘s anthology loomed near.

Here we have yet another data point that I simply must have external deadlines, or i will slack the hell off.  That’s why I set up my Patreon page: another deadline that I have to make.

Going forward, I’m going to look for more ways to set external deadlines for myself – hard deadlines that I cannot just push arbitrarily.  So, I suppose I’d best start putting titles up on pre-order.  Can’t move the release date (with Amazon at least), and if you miss the deadline for uploading the final manuscript there are serious consequences from the bookstores, to say nothing about from the readers.

And I’m also going to work on methods to kick myself in the tail to just sit down and write.  Because, seriously, there’s no excuse to not have production.  The real question is how to do that, effectively and consistently.  The answer is simple, of course: discipline and accountability.

Clearly I need to alter my process to force more of the later, to help myself regain some of the former.  And I’m going to, so I can make 2017 a really awesome writing and publishing year.

🙂

That’s all for now, folks.  Until next time!

Excuses and Excuses

Hey, look!  2016’s over!

And wow, from a writing perspective, I accomplished just a little bit more than jack squat.

The year actually started out pretty well.  In January, I cranked out a bunch of short stories for Dean and Kris‘ anthology workshop, just in time for the Navy to change my schedule so that I couldn’t attend it.  Then I hunkered down and maintained a daily log of writing output as I got going on The Falconer’s Stairs, the next Glimmer Vale Chronicles book.  I also got started on a new Space Navy series, but after a few chapters decided to stop until GV 5 was done.  And it was going pretty well, for the most part.  I even commissioned cover art before I finished it, with a deadline of my intended release date, as an added motivator to git ‘r done.

Then I went on travel to Japan for a couple weeks for the Navy.  I intended to write a ton while I was there, but as tends to happen in Japan, instead I enjoyed the country and the company of my Navy compadres.  That can be forgiven, I guess.

What can’t be forgiven is the absolute lack of writing over the summer and first part of the fall.  I can claim busy-ness, and that’s true to an extent.  But really I wasn’t focused.  The Falconer’s Stairs has been sitting at about 80% done for a while.  And the Space Navy book…no progress there either.

Basically, in 2016 I sucked as a writer

On the bright side, I got invited into an anthology that’s being edited by my buddy, and awesome writer in his own right, Blaze Ward.  It’s a super-hero themed collection, something that I hadn’t done before, so I was able to stretch my limbs a bit.  The story was due on 1 December, and I got 15,000 words done in about a week and got it to him on time.  He liked the story a lot.  So do I.  All the same, I’m pretty sure there are some who will be…put off…by its content and main character.  We’ll see.  More to follow as the release approaches.  He’s aiming for late Spring.

I’ve also re-commenced with stories for this year’s Anthology Workshop, which I actually will be able to attend (no Navy conflicts this time!).  Got two done in December, and there will be four more to do in January (one per week).  The December stories were 4,500 and 4,700 words, respectively.  The assignment for this week is 3,000-6,000 words.  Shouldn’t be too hard.

I also submitted to Writers of the Future each quarter.  Got two Honorable Mentions and a Silver Honorable.  Thing is, those were all stories I had written earlier, namely last January for the anthology workshop.

So what does all that mean?  I certainly CAN get the words out.  But I clearly need external deadlines of some sort, or I tend to let myself slack off.  Basically I’m a lazy bastard.

You can see that on the physical side of me as well.

A year and a half ago, I got back from deployment.  Unlike my previous deployments, this one was not on a submarine but a surface ship.  Consequently, I worked out pretty much every day – Insanity, weights, you name it.  When I came back, I looked like this:

Yeah, I didn’t have a six-pack, but I looked pretty good and I got a hell of a tan from 7 months in the tropics.  I also had developed an even greater taste for lifting than I had before.  A good thing, right?  🙂

I came back and continued lifting, and running, and all the great things that keeps one looking good.  I trained for a marathon in Santa Barbara, that I was going to run last year in November.

Then, in September, I broke my toe.

That killed my training for a few weeks.  But no worries, I was going to gut it out and do the marathon – except it got cancelled.  Ok well, I can still lift, right?  Then I injured my shoulder.  Come December, my foot was fully healed, so I started running again.  And then in January, I broke another toe – in the other foot.  And my shoulder still hurt.  Turns out I had an impingement – a minor almost dislocation that I was going to need physical therapy for.  Well no worries, my foot’s almost healed and I can run again.  And then….plantar fasciitis.  Every attempt at running resulted in wicked heel pain the next day, and for several days later

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?????

Seriously, I turned 40 and went straight to hell physically.

So I stopped running, and basically doing anything except physical therapy.  The shoulder got better, but the heels didn’t.  Meanwhile, I kept up the same diet I had been, and indulging in more beer and wine than I should have, considering my changed physical activity…

Did I switch to bicycling, which I used to do a lot but had gotten away from?  Of course not.  That would take effort, and all those injuries gave me a great excuse not to just slack off.

Long story short, I gained almost 20 pounds.  In a year.  Disgusting.

So 2016 was basically a year of slacking and excuses, and overall bleah.

It wasn’t a total loss, though.  A couple months back I got sick of slacking, joined an MMA gym, and got working on my boxing skills.  Jujitsu and kickboxing too, but I’ve primarily been focusing on boxing so far.  Those who know me know I’ve spent a lot of time over the years training in karate, kung fu, and tai chi.  But it had been a while since I found a dojo that I really liked, and that wasn’t, for lack of a better word, cheesy.  So many don’t allow contact in sparring, or only play-act the practical stuff.  That is unsatisfying and not especially challenging.  The complete lack of finding a good school left me dejected so I essentially gave up for a couple years.  But I knew I needed to make a change so I said screw it, go with boxing.  That’s when I found this particular gym.  I had heard good things about the MMA world, so why not?

Good move.  The boxing coach in the gym makes his living training championship and professional-level people.  Apparently he just comes to this gym as a fun way of paying it forward.  Suffice it to say I’ve learned a lot from him so far, enough to know how seriously lacking in fighting skills I had been up to this point.

So that’s good.

I’ve also decided to stop being a wimp and get back to lifting.  And back to running.  Screw the aching heels, just do it.  And you know what?  As I’ve been working back into it, the heel pain has gotten less, where all those exercises and whatnot that the Docs and PT people said to do did precisely jack squat.

Combine that with the Christmas present from my wife – a Garmin Vivoactive HR wearable watch/GPS/activity tracker.  This thing is great.  I used to use the MapMyRide app on my iphone to track everything – a great buy at $1.99.  But this thing goes more in depth and is easier because it’s right there on the wrist, and it makes cool graphs.  And the Garmin Connect software interfaces with UnderArmor’s MyFitnessPal to track calories consumed and burned, making diet management a snap.

So I’m psyched to get back on the physical horse in 2017.

I’m also psyched to get back on the writing horse.  This month is the four stories for the anthology workshop, and finishing up The Falconer’s Stairs (finally).  Then it’s over to the Space Navy books.  I think those are going to be awesome, and y’all will like them.

That still leaves the problem of deadlines, though.  I’ve decided to tackle that in two ways.

  1. I’m going to get The Falconer’s Stairs up on Amazon and elsewhere for pre-order, for full release early March.  The way Amazon works, you have to have the final manuscript uploaded 10 days prior to release, and you can’t move the release date, or they punish you hard.  So that’s a deadline to work to.
  2. I’m going to do similar things with the Space Navy books, and others I’m doing in the future.  No more nebulous target dates without consequences if I miss the mark.
  3. I set up a Patreon account.  (I know, I know, asking for money when you just admitted to being a slacker?  Hear me out)  The goal of the Patreon account is to give myself another deadline to meet – namely a short story every month for the patrons.  And to get another stream of income going, of course.  But that’s ancillary to the deadline, really.  So if you have the willingness to slip a brother a buck or two a month, head on over and make a pledge.

Between those three things, I hope to satisfy my need for deadlines.

Here’s what I want to get done in 2017:

  1. Publish The Falconer’s Stairs – March
  2. Complete and publish Warfare Qualified, the first Space Navy book – July
  3. Complete and publish Independent Deployment, the second Space Navy book – October
  4. Complete the third Space Navy book by the end of the year
  5. Submit to Writers of the Future every quarter
  6. Write updates here (much) more often
  7. Provide lots of content for the Patreon patrons

I also need to (finally) finish the sequel to Masters of the Sun.  And a sequel to The Pericles Conspiracy.  Problem with the former is there is no demand for it, even though I know where it needs to go and have written a fair chunk of it.  Problem with the second is there is demand, but I have no idea where it’s going at all.  I never intended there to be a sequel; only reason I’ve started one is the demand for it.  So it’s a longer-term work in progress at this point.

The Space Navy books, on the other hand…  Well, I’ll tell you more in another post.  This one has gone on too long already.  It’s practically a book in and of itself.

So that’s where I stand.  Hope all y’all had a happy and festive Holiday season.  I know I did.  Now it’s back to the grind.

Happy New Year, everybody!

New Release

Hola folks!

As I promised last week, Robbed Blind, Glimmer Vale Chronicles #4, is now up for pre-order.

Robbed Blind Ebook Cover 700x1060

A stunning robbery threatens to bring Lydelton’s economy to its knees, and it is up to Julian and Raedrick to find the culprits. With the year’s first trading caravan in town and the missing funds needed for vital transactions, time is of the essence. Fortunately, the Constables have assistance in the form of a team of Royal Marshalls, in town for a prisoner transfer. But they have an agenda of their own, and Raedrick and Julian must tread carefully to avoid revealing the secret of their own past.

With few leads and little time, the Constables will need to use all of their skill and wit to solve the case and save their adopted home from ruin.

The release is set for 4 December, but you can pre-order it now on Amazon, iBooks, Smashwords, and Kobo.

 

I also took the liberty of combining five of my novellas and novelettes into a single book.  This is the second time I’ve done this.  The first was called Tales of Adventure, so I went ahead and called this one Tales of Adventure #2.

Tales of Adventure 2 700x1050

A sword-for-hire quests to defeat an evil Necromancer.

A young girl discovers that music has a magic of its own.

An FBI interrogator discovers a chilling conspiracy.

A shipwreck unleashes a supernatural monster onto the inhabitants of a tropical island.

A washed-up electrician battles a monster from beyond our universe.

Tales of Adventure #2 is a collection of five science fiction and fantasy novelettes and novellas: The Necromancer’s Lair, A Note Of Magic, Facilitated Interrogation, The Beast And The God-Woman, and What Lurks Between.

It’s now available on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Nook, and Google Play.  Smashwords will follow shortly.

 

Go.  Buy.  Read.  Enjoy.

And leave some reviews.

🙂

Cool Developments

Hello, folks.

It’s been a while since I had anything to say on here.  Or rather, it’s been a while since I bothered to say anything on here.  Suffice it to say the last couple months have been pretty busy.  We ran through a fairly hefty financial debacle, got really busy with the kids and school, had several visitors from out of town, took a family trip to Disneyland, wrestled with the Navy detailers to figure out what my next (and last) Navy job is going to be, and…

Long story short, I haven’t gotten much writing done, though I did get stories submitted to Writers of the Future, so that’s good.

As the post title implies, I’ve got some cool developments to announce.  So let’s get to it.

First.  My orders are finalized.  My Last. Navy. Job. EVER! will be on a Carrier Strike Group staff here in San Diego.  Which is cool because we don’t have to move until I retire.  And because I get to go back to sea, on a Carrier.  On the down side, I’ll be deploying again, and only a few months before my retirement date.  So that will make transition…interesting.  But that’s the Navy for you.

Second.  Turns out the nice people at Kobo are having a sale on books that are published through their Kobo Writing Life portal – 50% off the list price.  Since all my stuff is published through that portal and I’m a big Kobo fan, I figure you guys might want to know about that.  The sale has a different duration depending on what country you’re in, as follows:

Canada
October 28th – October 31st
Promo Code: CA50SALE

United States/Australia/New Zealand
October 27th – October 30th
Promo Code: GET50SALE

United Kingdom
October 30th – November 2nd
Promo Code: UK50SALE

So if you want some cool books for a good price, run on over there and use those promo codes, and Kobo will hook you up.  🙂

Third.  I’m doing a giveaway of Glimmer Vale, book one of the Glimmer Vale Chronicles.  If you want a free copy of a fun book, click here, input your email address, and your wish will be granted.  🙂

Fourth.  You probably noticed I’ve given the website a bit of a facelift.  I had been using the Ocean Breeze WordPress theme for a while, but decided to try The Responsive after interacting with a few other writers who dig it.  I have to say, I like it so far.  What do you guys think?  Better, same as, worse?

Finally, and speaking of the Glimmer Vale Chronicles, the fourth book in the series, Robbed Blind, is, at long last, about ready to go.  The cover art is basically finalized, so I figured I’d share it with you.  There are a couple very small tweaks still to make on the cover, but I expect it will be wrapped up this week.  Here it is as it currently stands:

JFBeveridge-Glimmer_4-cover_conceptB-15-layout-900w

Pretty sweet, right?  Once again, James Beveridge consented to provide the artwork, and he did a great job as usual.

Anyway, once the cover’s finished, I’m going to do something that I’ve not done before: pre-orders.  Barring some unexpected catastrophe, expect to see the book up on all the sites that allow pre-orders next week, for an official release at the end of November.  It’ll go for $4.99 for the ebook and $13.95 for the trade paperback.

That’s all I have for you for right now.  Don’t forget to hit up Kobo, and please do either hit the link above or click on the Newsletter link in the menu atop the page, to sign up to get updates and free stuff.  It’s good for you.  It’s good for me.  It’s good for the children.

Remember the children.

🙂

End Of Deployment

It’s been a weird sort of day.

Earlier this afternoon, I shook hands with all the people I’ve worked with on the ship over the last six and a half months, grinned as an O-6 told me I did a great job for him, then walked off the brow for the last time.

I’ve departed ships before of course, but this was a bit different.  I’m not permanently assigned to this vessel; I was here on Temporary Additional Duty (TAD) orders as an Individual Augmentee (IA) in support of a specific Task Force.  On my other sea duty assignments, I was with the ship for 3+ years, and saw the crews change out almost entirely from when I first reported to when I left.  Not so with this one.  The same guys who were there when I first came aboard were the same guys I said goodbye to, and I was only aboard for 6 and a half months.

But hot damn, that was a fun six and a half months!

I’m flying home tomorrow on the first flight out of Guam.  And I’m happy to be doing so.  But part of me is a little sad, too.  Part of the reason for that is I know the ship’s schedule for the next half-year, and it is KICK-ASS!  Would have been nice to be aboard for the cool things in support of operations she’s going to be doing.  In fact, the Admiral at home and I had a cool plan worked out where I would extend a bit and she would meet me at one of the ports of call that she’d been wanting to go to for years.  But alas, my parent command raised the BS flag to that plan and ordered me back.

Oh well.  I’ll just have to bring the Admiral there (and to Singapore, which I think I mentioned before she really wanted to come out for but was unable to) at a later date.

The other reason I’m a little sad?  I guess because it’s just been seriously fun out here, and I feel like I’ve actually been contributing, something that I’ve not felt in a long time.  See, I’ve been in CONUS at training commands for a long time now, and even when I was deployed on my subs, the deployments were only tangentially related to the big business that had been going on.  So I’ve felt like a REMF (Rear Echelon Mother Fucker), which is not what I had intended to be.

Of course, the Admiral, and everyone else, tells me that’s BS.  And intellectually I know they’re right, because as a training guy I’ve indirectly helped the effort in lots of ways, ways that can probably never be measured.

It still sucks to not have contributed directly as much as I would have liked.

Which is part of why I volunteered for this IA deployment: it was a chance to directly do something again.  And it’s been a heck of a fun ride.  🙂

(The other reason I volunteered is that the Admiral complained on several occasions that she didn’t feel like a real Navy wife because she hadn’t experienced a deployment since we were married, and since we had kids.  So when this billet came open, I of course had to say, in my best Barney Stinson voice, “Challenge Accepted!”  And boy did she accept it.  She’s literally kicked ass on the home front while I’ve been out gallivanting around.)

So anyway, it’s time to go home.  It’s been a productive deployment.  Obviously, productive for the Navy and the Nation, but also productive personally and professionally.

Now.  Did I meet my previously-published deployment writing goals?  Yeah….not so much.

Just going by the first two months of the deployment, it looked as though I was going to be a shoo-in.  But then things got pretty darn busy.  So I didn’t meet the word count.  But I did finish one novel, get a good chunk of the way into a second, and finished several shorter works.  I have three novelettes on submission now, with a fourth story just about ready to go.  So while I didn’t exactly meet the word count goal, deployment was still a success.

It was successful physically, too.  Observe:

This was taken a few weeks before I left for deployment.

This was a couple weeks before I left for deployment.

This was about 2 weeks ago.

This was about 2 weeks ago.

Yeah, your eyes do not deceive you.  I got a freaking TAN!  Hot damn, I’ve never managed to do that before!

That’s what happens when you exercise on the aft deck of a ship pretty much every day, in the tropics, for six months.  Even if you indulge in way too much beer while ashore in liberty ports.  😉

I’ve also read a lot of books.  Over the last month, here’s what I’ve finished:

Audiobooks

  1. The Sam Gunn Omnibus – Ben Bova
  2. The Damnation Game – Clive Barker

Written Books

  1. Darkship Thieves – Sarah A Hoyt
  2. Running From The Night – R J Terrell
  3. Trigger Warning – Neil Gaiman
  4. Monster Hunter Vendetta – Larry Correia
  5. Veil Of Lies – Jeri Westerson

I’m currently in the middle of:

Audiobooks

  1. A Canticle For Liebowitz – Walter M Miller

Written Books

  1. Violence Of Action: The Untold Stories of the 75th Ranger Regiment in the War On Terror – Marty Skovlund, Jr and many others
  2. In Hero Years, I’m Dead – Michael A Stackpole
  3. Colonel Roosevelt – Edmund Morris (I’ve put this one on hold while I’ve focused on other books…for now)

With that, over the span of this deployment I’ve finished 19 Audiobooks and 25 written.  Not too bad.  Well above my average.  Probably above my total annual output for an average year, I think.  Though I could be wrong.

So it’s been a good deployment.  Now I’m slumming it at the Hilton in Tumon, Guam.

This is the view from the tiki bar at my hotel.  It sucks to be me.

This is the view from the tiki bar at my hotel. It sucks to be me.

As I said, my flight home is first thing tomorrow morning.  Cool thing about that is I’ll get back to San Diego late in the morning of the same day I left Guam.  So I’ll get to surprise the kids by being there to pick them up from school.  🙂  I have the feeling they’ll like that.

No doubt there will be some serious adjustments to make when I’m back home, both for me and for the Admiral and the youngsters (they all will have to get used to being spanked again ;P  Just kidding.  Maybe.).  It’ll be a cool and fun several weeks getting back into the swing of things.  Fortunately, I’ll be taking some leave immediately upon my return, and then again once school gets out.  That should help things immensely.

Well, that’s about it from here.  In fact, as I look at my watch I realize it’s now beer o’clock.

I’d best be getting on that.

Talk to y’all later.

Singapore

Way back in days of yore, in 1999, I went on my first Navy deployment.  On that deployment, we pulled into Singapore twice.  I loved it.  Absolutely LOVED it.  One hell of an awesome place.

So you can imagine my joy when we actually came back here again on this deployment.  Score!

For your viewing pleasure:

IMG_4197

IMG_4219

IMG_4237

IMG_4196

Pretty awesome, right?

Man, it’s been good being back here.  Alas, we’ll be leaving soon.  But it’s been a fun time.  Definitely need to get back again, sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, writing’s going pretty well.  I finished a 4th Glimmer Vale book and am well on the way toward finishing a mystery.  I can hear you guys now.  OOO!  Mystery!  Wow!  *eyeroll*  Try to contain yourselves.  I’m a bit behind on actual word count toward the deployment goal, but that’s ok.  I can still get there.

That’s all I’ve got for now.  Just a quick update, to say hi.  Hope all y’all are doing well out there.  🙂  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.

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.

Sunday Publishing

I think I mentioned it before, but this year I’m setting aside Sunday as my official “working on publishing” day.  I had prepped Short Story 10-Pack last Sunday, but didn’t hit publish until Friday for reasons I spelled out before.

Well, this Sunday, before the Super Bowl, I did some more publishing work.  Two of the shorts in the 10-Pack had not been published before, so I worked on covers for them and put them up.  Observe.

Memory Cover (600x900)

The Memory Of Justice

In the future, mankind outlawed capital punishment. Instead, the worst convicts had their memories erased and new personalities implanted. Then the authorities set them up in a far-away place and left them to live out their lives. This process worked well, to everyone’s approval. Except for the families of the victims.

Brother In Law (600x900)

Brother In Law, Brother In Blood

A great hero can come from a humble past. Great love can bloom from the embers of conflict. And sometimes the two can happen at the same time, to the near ruin of both.

 

Both stories are up on Amazon, for $0.99.  I’m keeping them exclusive to Amazon for a while, since I put the 10-Pack in KDP Select as one last experiment with that program (I keep saying that).  Some kind soul already bought The Memory Of Justice and left a very nice review of it, so that’s a promising start.  🙂

On a final note, I think the cover to Brother In Law is my favorite, and IMHO the best, of all the covers I’ve made to date, with the exception of The Pericles Conspiracy.   What do you guys think?  Pretty nice, huh?

Right.  That’s it for now.  Until next time.