Archive for July, 2012

Monday, July 30th, 2012
Lack Of Communication

I’ve recently received emails from a few readers about the timeline for Aidan’s Mate. I’m answering here because two or three of the emails have blocked my direct response. I believe the problem is on my end. Working to change that. In the meantime, I wanted to let everyone know my “ROUGH” writing/release schedule. These dates could change in the future.

This year will be devoted to finishing the free Phantom Warrior read and writing Atlantean’s Quest 5: The Dark King. Those are the only two books I will be releasing this year. I will be working on other books, but I doubt I’ll Indie publish those.

In the first quarter of next year (ie Jan. thru Mar.), I will be writing and releasing Moonlight Kin 2: Aidan’s Mate. I’ve already started this book. It will probably not be as long as A Wolf’s Tale, but it should be enjoyable. I will also start Seducing Josephine, which will wrap up the Lords of the Night trilogy. It is my intention to wrap up the Atlantean’s Quest series, the Phantom Warriors series, and the Lords of the Night series. This will free me up to reissue my Dead World series, which I have no doubt I will re-edit, extend, and tear apart. I may even write off shoot stories, which I’d always intended to do. I will also be writing several standalone stories some of which will be shopped to New York, while others will be Indie released.

I do apologize to Sue J. and Audrey for not getting back to them directly. I truly did try to respond.

Thursday, July 26th, 2012
Free Reads & The Dark Knight Rises

As I’ve mentioned on a few blog posts, I’m currently working on a never-ending Phantom Warriors story that will not die that I intend to put out as a free read. As an author, I think free reads/low priced reads can be very helpful in reaching new readers. Free/low priced reads also reward loyal readers. They’re great. I have nothing against them. But there’s a difference between putting one or two books up as free reads and putting your entire library up. (Yes, I know there are exceptions out there, but they are just that EXCEPTIONS.)

As a writer and a shopper, I understand that not everyone can afford to buy my books. I’m genuinely sorry that’s the case. Times are tough right now. I get it. I have been seriously broke in the past. Ramen Noodle/Jiffy Bran Muffin level of broke. Thank goodness those items were priced as low as they were or I’d have needed my parents to send me food care packages, when I first started at the airline. I didn’t have money for buying books. I was lucky I could afford my apartment and my used POS car at the time. I was also lucky I had extremely kind neighbors, who fed me on a regular basis. So when I have folks telling me that they can’t afford my books and would like them put up for free, I do understand where they’re coming from and I sympathize. I really do. Broke is never fun. And I hope their circumstances turn around soon.

Here’s the thing that folks need to keep in mind though, writing is how I make my living. I don’t have another job. This IS my job. This is my career. Although I enjoy writing, it’s not my hobby. If it was, I wouldn’t have bothered to enter contests or send my work to New York. I’ve always wanted to be a published author. It’s been my dream since I was a freshman in high school. That means writing something good enough to be accepted by an agent and bought by a publisher. (In my case, not necessarily in that order.) I don’t write for the pleasure of it. If I did, then I’d honestly NEVER publish a story. I’d keep them to myself and read them at my leisure. Published writers stay published by people buying their work. When people stop buying for whatever reason, then those same writers are often forced to stop writing. They have to make a living someway. If it’s not writing, then they move onto something else to feed their families. Doesn’t mean that they stop writing. It just means that they stop sharing their stories with the public.

Every avid reader has experienced this at some point. I know I have. You’re enjoying an author or a series, then suddenly the series stops cold, when the last book ended on a cliffhanger. There are no new announcements of upcoming books. The author seems to disappear. Nine times out of ten this is due to lack of sales. Readers either hated the stories and didn’t buy them or they went to used bookstores (which are not counted toward sales for the author) or the books were pirated. Whatever the reason, the publishing house decides to halt the series and not buy any more from the author. It’s a harsh reality, but it happens all the time. If you’re wondering where your favorite author went, look no further.

Prices on some books have NEVER been lower than they are right now. As a reader, I’m THRILLED by this. I can try new authors that I would’ve never picked up otherwise. As a writer, it allows me to make a living. It’s a very confusing time for both readers and writers. For Indie writers, the middle man has been removed. This is both very good and can be bad. It skews expectations…expectations that may lead some people to believe that all the books should be free. If all books were free, then one of two things would happen. Either writers would have to embrace a TON of advertising to make up for the ‘free’ price or there would be a mass exodus of writers (my guess is close to 90%) because they wouldn’t be able to afford to write nor would they have the time, since they’d need other jobs to support themselves.

Because I know that not everyone can afford my books, I go out of my way to support my local libraries. I want people to have access to books. I want them to read. But access to books should never come at the cost of someone’s livelihood.

The Dark Knight Rises…

It’s going to be very difficult to talk about this movie without giving away spoilers, but I will try. The Dark Knight Rises picks up a few years after the previous movie. Things are good in Gotham City. So good that Batman has pretty much retired. He’s not handling retirement well and has turned into a recluse. The story is about being broken and rising from the ashes. It’s wrapped around the social commentary about the widening gap between ‘the haves’ and ‘the have nots’. There are obvious parallels to what’s happening in the real world. The villain is sufficiently bad. There were some wonderful/powerful moments between Bruce Wayne and Joseph Gordon Levitt. One in particular that discussed masks was my favorite scene. I had a couple of quibbles about how two things were handled, but they were minor and did not affect my enjoyment. It was a darker movie than the previous ones. I really doubted that they’d be able to top The Dark Knight with Heath Ledger, but I believe they did. Some people didn’t like the ending. I thought it was appropriate.

In fact, I thought this was a GREAT movie. One I’d highly recommend and will go see again, despite one f*cktards need to diminish it and destroy people’s lives. It was only after I’d watched The Dark Knight Rises that I realized the irony of his ‘selfish, psychotic’ actions. It’s not only Batman who rises in this movie. It’s the people. The people rise to fight against extreme violence, tyranny, and oppression. Some lose their lives. All are changed forever. But still they RISE.

In this case, life will imitate art and he (along with all the other f*cktards who’ve come before him and will come after) will LOSE because as a people WE WILL RISE.

Monday, July 23rd, 2012
Progress Report

I just finished chapter four of Phantom Warriors: Riot. I have it charted out to be nine chapters total. Not sure if it’ll stay that way, but it seems to be flowing with the loose outline. My intention was for this book to be around 15 to 20K. I’m pretty sure it’ll reach that goal because I’m currently sitting at a little over 11K. I do think this story will probably need a lot of work once the actual story part is down on paper. Not sure, but I think so. I’d hoped to have it out this week, but it’s looking like that’s not going to happen. Once it’s finished (which should be this week), I need to read/edit it, then send it off to my critique partners for a quick read through to make sure everything flows and shines. I want this story to be good (I want all my books to be good.), but you know what I mean. 😉 Sorry for the delay, but it’s unavoidable.

Several folks have written me to ask about Atlantean’s Quest 5: The Dark King. In particular, they are interested in the release date. It is my intention to start writing that book in September and put it out in the late fall (i.e. early November). Other than the section I placed in the back of Phantom Warriors: Linx, I haven’t written anything else for this book. I have been researching a few things and playing with plot lines, but nothing tangible yet. The book WILL come out this year. And in doing so, wrap up the Atlantean’s Quest saga. Readers will get to see all the characters from the original series, even if it’s at a glimpse. I do fear that Hades will demand a lot of attention from me. He seems like that kind of guy. A bit of an egomaniac. Can’t wait to see what he does to poor Taylor and what ‘poor’ Taylor does to him. (evil grin)

Stay tuned here for more updates…

Thursday, July 19th, 2012
Pulling Words Up By Their Roots

There’s been a ton of articles published over the years about writer’s block and writing yourself into a corner, but very few writers discuss the difficulty of pulling words out by their roots. The latter happens when a writer is working on a story that for whatever reason doesn’t thrill them. Burn out is a major factor when this occurs. Rarely does it have anything to do with the quality of the story itself.

Writers often find themselves writing books/novellas because they’re contractually obligated to or they have to in order to survive financially. This is something that all writers face eventually, especially if they’ve been in the publishing business for a while.

I think it’s happening more and more with the onset of Indie publishing. Writers have taken on a tremendous amount of responsibilities, many of which have nothing to do with writing a book. The work it seems does not end. It can be extremely overwhelming and exhausting. For midlist writers like me, and many others, there isn’t much choice, but to continue on. Why? Because we’ve hit a level of success with Indie publishing that can’t be matched by N.Y. This in itself is a great thing. Something I never thought would happen. Prior to the onset of Indie publishing, writers were at the mercy of the publishing industry. Not so much anymore. But that freedom hasn’t come without its costs.

There is no way I could make the kind of money that I’m making with my Indie publishing in N.Y.–at least not with my adult work. That may change if I ever get published in the young adult market, but I don’t expect it to change for my other work. There are two kinds of successful Indie authors. There are the ones that hit it out of the park with one book. And there are the ones that have a big enough library to make up for not hitting it out of the park.

I’m one of those authors that have cumulative sales. No ‘one’ book stands out as a bestseller. I’ve had a few books make it onto Amazon’s Fantasy/Futuristic bestseller list, ranking as high as number 3, but none have dropped below the 200 mark on the overall list. Thus far this year, I’ve sold a little over 51,000 ebooks. Contrary to popular belief, that doesn’t help me when it comes to getting a N.Y. book deal. (Again, those are cumulative sales, not breakout bestsellers.) N.Y. (and agents) like breakout bestsellers.

What does this all mean? It means that a lot of authors (me included) have to keep releasing new books at a fairly regular pace to keep sales up. That will mean pulling a lot more words up by their roots, while we search for a way to balance what we ‘have’ to write with what we ‘want’ to write. Ultimately, I suppose that’s nothing new. Writers have been walking that fine line for centuries. The line is just a little slippery now. 🙂

Monday, July 16th, 2012
Magic Mike

Today I met a friend for brunch, then joined another friend to go see MAGIC MIKE. I admit, I didn’t go into this movie with much background on the story. I didn’t think that was necessary…and I was right. *ggg The story wasn’t much, which is what I expected. Basically, the movie is about a stripper who has dreams of making custom furniture. He can’t get a loan to follow that dream because every job he has (and he has a lot of them) all pay cash under the table. He meets a guy, who is like a younger version of himself. Can’t remember that actor’s name. He didn’t make much of an impression, since he played such a loser. That’s pretty much the entire storyline. There is no big ARC for the lead character, Channing Tatum, though I must say I have a newfound appreciation for his…**cough**Assets **cough**. 😉 He’s never really done a lot for me, but I have to give the guy props. He is built like a brick sh*thouse and has some serious dance moves. Fires up the imagination that’s for sure. (Fans face.)

The rest of the ‘story’ is pretty much what I expected. I’ve known a few strippers, so I thought the drug use and casual sex were pretty accurate. Couple that with being trapped in the job by the easy cash and you have a spot on portrayal. The women had such small parts that they might as well have been part of the scenery. Some of the performances they gave were sadly lacking. The script/dialogue needed a LOT of help. Matthew McConaughey, another gentleman who’s kept himself in terrific shape, was the best thing about the movie. He really got into his part and it showed.

The funniest thing about the movie was the two women sitting behind us. It was like listening to a less clever ‘R’ rated Mystery Science Theater. They seemed to get ‘very’ excited when certain men danced and were only to happy to share their excitement verbally throughout the whole movie. It was hard not to laugh out loud.

Friday, July 13th, 2012
Yay! My Treadmill Is Coming…

I ordered a treadmill this week and found out it’s set to arrive on the 18th. Very excited about this news. I’ve wanted one for so long and haven’t had a good place for one until now. I know I’ll have to start out slow (i.e. by walking), but I eventually want to build up to running. I have crap knees, but they’re just going to have to deal with a little impact. (evil grin)

I’ve been thinking about writing schedules and future plans lately. I only plan on writing two more books this year, my YA project and Atlantean’s Quest 5: The Dark King. I plan to start my UF detective story, but it won’t be finished by the end of this year unless I truly get a wild hair up my bum. Next year, I’m going to write Josephine’s Surrender, the final book in my Lords of the Night series, Moonlight Kin 2: Aidan’s Mate and a follow up to The Ghost Hunter Chronicles. At this point, other than my free Phantom Warriors story, I do not have any intention of writing more Phantom Warriors for a while. I love them, but they take time away from the projects that I want to tackle.

I’m in the process of getting everything edited and formatted for print. This is a very slow process that unfortunately cannot be rushed. When I’m finished, readers will be able to get the Atlanteans, Phantom Warriors, Dead World, Moonlight Kin, and Lords of the Night series in print. I am bundling the Atlanteans, Phantom Warriors, Moonlight Kin, and Lords of the Night series to make things simpler. The Phantom Warrior freebie story will be included in some of these bundles. The Atlantean’s bundles will NOT include Atlantean’s Quest 5: The Dark King. It will be released in paperback at a later date.

Obviously, my schedule is subject to change if I sell my YA’s or my UF’s, but until then, that’s the plan.

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Typing, Typing, Typing

I’ve had a busy appt. week this week and they’re not over yet. It’s making it tough to get my writing in. I’m determined to make more progress today. Frauke has designed another wonderful cover for Phantom Warriors: Riot. Now I just have to finish the book. I’d really like to get it up by the 26th. 🙂

I have decided to break down and order a treadmill. I want to get to the point where I’m actually running. I expect that to take a while, but in the meantime I plan on putting in several miles a week, even if I have to walk them all.

My artist friend, Michelle Terry came over the other day and gave me some pointers that will help with my ‘hair’ dilemma. It will still take lots of practice, but she gave me several new ways of approaching the task, so I’m excited to dive back in.

I’ve been looking into getting my books reviewed. I have a list of several professional places to approach. I feel fortunate that I haven’t really had any problems with reviewers. Some have liked my books and some have not. That’s just the nature of the game. As long as their review isn’t personal or contains a ton of spoilers, then I don’t mind what is posted. The reason I bring this up is because I stumbled across this SITE, while I was researching review sites.

Honestly, I give them kudos for taking on the folks at Goodreads. I’ve seen some horrifically bad behavior on that site. Enough to make me limit my participation there immensely. I pretty much keep track of what I’m reading and ignore everything else. I know not everyone on that site is sending their ‘packs’ out to personally attack authors (thank goodness), but there are enough of them to make me want to avoid interaction. I truly don’t have the temperament to deal with that kind of negativity. It’s one thing to hate a book. That’s kind of neither here nor there. Everybody has a right to their opinion. It’s quite another to have attack squads go after individuals. But as we all know, anonymity gives some people the sense of invincibility. Sad that…

Went to see TED last night. Dh and I were both of the same opinion. It was a better movie than we anticipated. The story was ‘bigger’. I don’t think you get that from the previews. At the same time, we thought it would be funnier. It had some funny moments, but it had just as many, if not more, semi-serious ones. We’re glad we went to see it, but it’s not one we’ll watch again. The bear was definitely the best part about it. 🙂

Next week, I’m going to see Magic Mike with a girlfriend. I’m not expecting much more than abs and some ‘interesting’ dance sequences. *ggg

Also caught Spiderman the other day. I actually liked Spiderman. I thought going in that it was a little too soon to remake Spiderman, since it had just been done ten years ago, but Andrew Garfield did a great job with bringing an emotional depth to Spiderman that we haven’t seen before. Emma Stone was a perfect counterpoint to his character. She comes off as smart, quick, and funny. A great combination for a character. Their chemistry sizzles onscreen. (I guess that’s why they’re dating now.) One of the really cool things about this Spiderman movie was that the 3D really worked for this film. I should state for the record that I’m not normally a fan of 3D. I don’t enjoy wearing those uncomfortable glasses. Instead of the 3D being (a money making gimmick) an afterthought, like it’s been in so many films lately, the 3D enhances this movie. At one point, the camera is positioned as if you’re looking through Spiderman’s eyes (gotta love special effects), while he’s flying through the city. If you’ve ever wondered what that would be like, you’ll know after watching the film. If you’ve been hesitant to see the movie, I recommend giving it a try. If you’re a Spiderman fan, then this film is a must see.

Now I’m off to work. Hi-Ho!