Friday, October 30, 2015

Amazon owes me money...

Yeah, so Amazon screwed up and didn't pay out their royalties this month.

To anybody.

When you're a full time writer, and that's your income, that's kind of rough. Now they did pay out for all of the foreign stores, so that was enough to cover all the small bills, but things like the mortgage, my car payment?
Yeah, those are gonna be late.

Hey all of you who pirate my stuff! How about tossing me a little cash via the donate button so I can eat next month?

And Jeff, I'm willing to go back to QA work for a while to fix your problems, I sent you my resume, give me a call! You obviously need a QA director at KDP, because you have live production servers linking to dev ones. That's a pretty bad problem. But so is not paying people.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Latest Portals of Infinity book is now available on Amazon

Portals of Infinity, Book six: Reprisal is now up on Amazon!
For those of you in the KU program, it WILL be enrolled in that program, as soon as I can submit it. So hopefully later tonight, but by tomorrow I'm sure.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017CI4BGQ

Portals of Infinity, Book Six: Reprisal Cover Photo

Hi all,

Well, Dane from ebooklaunch.com just delivered the cover for the new book to me, so I'll be submitting it to Amazon here in the next hour. That means it should be up for sale in about six hours from now (maybe sooner, these days you never know!)

Here's the cover:


Sunday, October 25, 2015

First Draft done, halfway through the first rewrite

So book 6 of 'Portals of Infinity: Reprisal', is in the rewrite stage, and I'm about halfway through it.
Tonight it should go out to my beta readers, and Monday or Tuesday it will probably go out to my editor.
I'm still hopeful that it will be up for sale before Halloween, but I need to make sure everything in it is right. There are still two small scenes I've flagged for a rewrite, but those shouldn't take more than an hour to do.
But it will be out soon, it's in the final stages. Then I can take a few days to fix that annoying oil leak on my bike, gonna have to take the exhaust headers off to get at that one, probably check the valves and a few other things as long as I'm in there.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Some Comments about Lost Souls, the first of my Shrean Fantasy Novels

I decided to write this today, because I was thinking about one of the reviews of the novel. Someone was upset that it wasn't a Portals of Infinity book (which was why I but the 'Shrean Novel' tag on the cover, I didn't want there to be any confusion). But also because I think they missed some of the byplay that takes place in the novel. Maybe I didn't write it well enough? It is a book I wrote a while ago, maybe I should have reworked it more. But whichever, that is the reason for the comments below.


**Contains Spoilers**

First of all, yes, the Shrean books are NOT Portals of Infinity Books. They're meant to be different, and yes, aimed at a younger (and different) audience - generally speaking.
The lead character in the first one is one of those people who are all about 'duty, honor, country.' The kind of soldier who lives by the book, and lives and breathes the honor of his Queen. When he gets ordered to leave, and exiled, the idea of disobedience is alien to him, because everything he is, has come from his 'following the book'.

Ever seen 'Hot Fuzz'? (it's funny, you should if you haven't). The main character in that movie is actually the same sort of person. It's not until he gets shafted over doing what he's supposed to, that his eyes are (eventually) opened.

And in Lost Souls, that is what has happened to our hero. He's not really 'our hero' anymore. Oh, he's still a good person, he still tries to do right, and be honorable, but that book he lived by? Yeah, he's burned it. That code? Torn it up.

When it comes to the end of the story, what he does there is something he would never have done in his previous life. Instead of following the rules, he makes the rules follow him, he changes them for the one he loves, to get what HE wants and screw the rest if they don't like it.

I'm not sure everyone got that. Oh he still looks like he'll do whatever he's told, but at that point, he's just humoring them so he can get his revenge. Think of the several run ins he has with the King and the Queen in the short time he's around them in the book, the queen realizes that she's lost him, but shes feeling remorseful because she screwed herself when she screwed him, so she just gives him power cuts him loose. The King just doesn't want to see it, but does Jareth really show either one of them the kind of respect that you'd show your monarch?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Need Sick Days

The problem with being an indy is you don't get any sick days. I think I wrote a thousand words today (I needed to write about 7000). I think I'll try to write some more before bed, but I'm not so sure I'll be able to finish the first draft tomorrow, unless I can really rock it.

Guess we will just have to see.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Book Six Nearnig Completion.

As I may, (or may not) have mentioned, I hit a bit of a wall on the book about Nikki, William's sister, that was supposed to be the next one out (it's about half done) so I set it aside to work on Portals of Infinity, Book Six <no title yet, sorry> while I thought about it.

Well, I just passed 60K words on book six. I have one scene I need to go back and finish, but other than that, I'm in the final act or 'end game' of the novel. That's going to be at least another 10K words, but I wouldn't be surprised if it goes over 20K.

So depending on how much I get done this weekend, and how much I beat myself up, anywhere for 4 to 6 days to finish the first draft. Tomorrow I'm going to commission the cover from Dane over at ebooklaunch, so I need to come up with the title tonight. I already know what I want the cover to look like at least, so that helps.

Then I'll take a few days off, do the rewrite, and then engage my copy editor and send it off to them. So, as long as nothing unexpected happens, I think you will see Book Six published and up for sale before Halloween!

-John

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Question, if I were to raise some of my prices, would it affect your purchases?


I see a lot of people charging 4.99 and up, for books the same size, or even shorter than what I write.
Now with the exception of one book (which is over 170K words) all of my stuff is priced at 3.99 or less.

If I raised the prices on my 3.99 books to 4.99, would that affect your buying my books? Would you not have bought them? Would you stop buying them?

These are important questions to me, because this is what I do for a living, and I'm always wondering if I'm charging too little, when I see higher prices on other authors. I a also afraid of charging too much. for me, I see 4.99 as a lot for an ebook, but then I started out when even 3.99 was considered a lot for a self published author to charge.

Honestly, I've even thought about getting my stuff printed in lots, to bring the paperback price down, just to see if I could lower the price of my print books, which are already a lot cheaper than anything comparable in print. I just don't think the upfront investment would be worth it. Setting price points is tough as an independent. I want to offer a good value to my readers, but I need to eat and keep a roof over my head as well.

So please, let me know.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

This copyright thing...

Just a short note here.
I do not like it when people pirate my work, especially since the people doing it get paid more than I do. I do not like it when I go to a 'fan' website where I'm told I'm popular and I see links to pirated copies of my work. Not just because I'm seeing people stealing from me, but because I MUST (by law) do something about it.

You see, if the copyright holder does not protect his copyright, he loses it. So if I see someone infringing on my copyrights, I am required by law to file a DCMA and a C&D (Cease and Desist), or it can be said I ignored violations of my copyright, that I knew about, and therefore have 'given it up'. It takes time having to do those, and it is a pain in the ass. I'm split between annoying people who like my stuff, and having to protect my work, not a fun place to be (even if they are ripping me off).

So please, don't steal my work.
And please, don't bring up sites to me where others are stealing my work.

Yes, I know people think authors make a lot of money, but the truth is, I'm making less than $10 an hour here (I have to work +80 a week to maintain the publishing schedule I have), and I pay twice the tax rate as you do, because I'm 'self-employed' and there is a penalty for that.

And I just blew half my day dealing with all of this. That's ten pages.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Don't Spoil the Mystique!

There really is such a thing as 'trying too hard' when working in the arts. I think it tends to hit those who are new, who are still learning the craft. They're not only artists/performers, but they're also fans, and they get into what they're doing as a fan, when they're in the position of being the creator/performer.

Now the enthusiasm is nice, and it can be fun to watch at times, but you can make it harder on yourself than it should be, you can be putting way too much energy into your work, and while it may be flashy, it won't sound or look as good as you might want it to, or you'll find yourself making too many mistakes.You need to remember that the people are there, because they want to be there, and they're going to go with you, when you take them for this ride.

So don't force it, don't make it harder than it has to be. Don't exhaust yourself on the easy parts, and especially don't kill yourself on the hard parts. Just lean back and let it come, and keep working at it. You'll get there, and it will come off looking like so much more to the fans, than you thought it would. Because remember, you see the insides, they don't. You see what it took to get there, they don't. They only see the finished product.

So don't try too hard. Don't ruin the mystique by trying to do everything, or show everything. Writing is like any other art, or performance: It takes time to learn how to do it right, and you will always be learning more and improving.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Bass playing is progressing nicely...

Yup, another non-writing post. Maybe I'll even post something about lion taming next week!
So, I've been playing bass for almost two years now, lately I haven't been practicing as much as I should, I need to get back to an hour a day, not just a half-hour, and I need to make sure I don't skip any days.
The nice thing is I'm getting better at finding the frets I need without looking at them, and I've almost got the jump from 3 to 7 down without having to look (when I'm sight reading), though I think I'm slipping a little on the sight reading, as I'm looking more at tab than at notes again. Probably should work on that.
But I've been playing with a pick lately, something I haven't done since I played guitar (which was a good many years ago, so I've forgotten much of that), and that has been a little distracting. But it's interesting using a pick, versus finger plucking, and if I try to play a song I play by finger plucking with the pick, it's really all sorts of messed up right now.
While I know there is a huge divide over finger plucking versus picking, I think right now I want to learn and do both. The sounds of the two styles are different, and being able to do both is interesting. I also hold the bass a bit differently for the two, holding it up higher when I pick, because I pick fairly close to the bridge.
I think in another year or two, I might start playing my old acoustic guitar again, just to refresh my knowledge. I think all of my growing bass skills will probably make me a better guitar player than I used to be, though I'm really more interested in playing bass, now that I've started to really get into it, than I am guitar.
It is fun playing an instrument again, and again, I find playing bass a lot more enjoyable than I did guitar or piano. I think that may be because I played drums for so long back in the 60's and 70's as a kid and a young man, that I just have a more developed attachment to rhythm and the groove. What's funny is last month my teacher told me I was ready to start coming over the neck with my thumb to mute the e-string. I thought he was crazy when he said that, but I find when I'm playing with a pick I have to come over the top to mute that string, and with the way I'm holding the bass while picking, I can do it without really thinking about it.
I know a lot of people like to sling their bass really low when playing it, and they tend to 'choke' the neck a lot, but I'm starting to think I may start wearing mine a lot higher, like Donald 'Duck' Dunn did, because I can see there just might be advantages to doing it that way. I have a pretty long reach, so I don't really need to have so much of an angle on it when playing.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Let us all remember Chris Mintz!!

Chris Mintz, 30yo Army veteran from North Carolina.
According to Fox 8, when the gunman tried to enter Mintz’s class, Mintz told the students in his classroom to get to a safe place, then said to the shooter “you’re not getting by me”
This is the man we should be remembering from yesterday. Not the scumbag who was trying to get famous by murdering Christians! But the man, who on his SON's birthday, said 'No!' The man who risked his life and charged the shooter, and got shot 7 times for his courage, but yet still lives.

If more people had the courage that Chris Mintz had shown, how many more people would be alive today? How many less would have been murdered? Celebrate Chris, promote what he did, let him be the man we remember, that we celebrate! So that the next time this happens, people emulate him, those who want to be famous, follow his example and attack the shooter, and save the lives of those around them, rather than just sit there an cower like sheep.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Haters gonna hate...

So, came across a new author the other day, E. William Brown. Started reading the first book in his Daniel Black series, and I'm really enjoying it. If you like my stuff, you might like his stuff too, so go take a look. I will note that his book does have a little (Edit: I just finished it) LOT more on camera sex than mine do, and a bit more frank discussion on it than I've used. (Which I have been tempted to do myself, but won't because that's the tone I set in the series). But if you're not put off by sex in your fantasy books, you may want to check it out.

But the part that I found most interesting, is when I went and looked at his 1 star reviews, in that there were quite a few familiar names with the same reviews! Oh, I had a good laugh at that!! What is it with some women that they can not stand stand for story to be written that features a more masculine hero, and more feminine heroines? ESPECIALLY when we have Paranormal Romance, where each Heroine ends up with MULTIPLE slavishly devoted males, who satisfy her every sexual fantasy, which is explained in graphic and minute detail?

I don't see guys going there and making one star reviews complaining about how the female author is a stunted teen-aged girl who has never slept with a man and is writing a mary sue based on her childish adolescent fantasies, do you? Of course not.

PNR and woman's romance is far far 'worse' than anything I (or this other author) write, or have written, when it comes to sex, descriptive sex, sexism, etc. So why don't these harpies feel the need to attack that as well? Do they think it's okay for women to write these kinds of things about men? But heaven help us if a man writes anything even close to that?

I used to write PNR under a pen name, it was (and still is) quite successful. While some people may not have liked the story, or complained about the quality, no one ever ever ragged on it being a teenaged wetdream, or demeaning to men. Even when my heroines ended up with their own personal harem's of male lovers who worshiped them! But then, everyone thinks a woman wrote those stories, so that makes it okay then, doesn't it?

*GRIN*

Never been a big fan of double standards! I mean if you don't like my stuff, that's fine! I don't write for everyone, and I'm not going to change to suit the people who don't like it. Especially not the social justice harpies. My stories are meant to be fun, they're meant to be escapism, and I just want the people who read them to have a good time. I don't criticize women's fiction for the way it demeans and uses/abuses men. Maybe you shouldn't criticize men's fiction, especially when it doesn't come anywhere near that level of abuse. (Oh, and almost all of my beta readers are women, two of them are department heads managing lots of people in critical environments, definitely -strong- mature women, they don't have a problem with my hero's in the slightest, and they are not the type to hold their tongues either!)