Friday, December 23, 2016

Where do I find audio book customers?

So, I was talking to the man who is currently doing my audio books today, as they'd just finished Past Tense, book 1 in the Days of Future Past trilogy (look for it on Audible in about a week, unless Christmas slows them down) and I wondered:

Where do I find people who like audio books?

I wonder about this, because I want to try and go and advertise there. I want the audio books to do well, because I want the people who are making them to make money. So they'll make more of them. Which is a nice simple logic. The problem is, I don't know much about the audio book business. I don't listen to them, and I really don't have any friends who do. So I don't know how to go about finding audio book customers.

So if you know of a good place for me to go and advertise, please let me know!

Oh, and here is the link for the Wolf Killer audio book on Audible:
http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Wolf-Killer-Audiobook/B01N07TDK2/
It can be found on Amazon and iTunes as well.

Thanks!
-John

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Now in Paperback and on KU (for a limited time only)

Loose Ends is now available in Paperback, on both Amazon and CreateSpace.
It is also in the Kindle Unlimited program, but only for the next three months (which is the minimum term for KU). So if you want to read it in KU, don't wait too long! Once it has completed the 3 months, I will be taking it 'wide' to the other ebook stores (you can't do that if you're in KU) and I will be doing that with my other books as they time out of the KU store as well.

As always, here's a link
http://amzn.to/2hxrc6J

Monday, December 19, 2016

Loose Ends is now available

Loose Ends is now available on Amazon in ebook format, the print version will be coming soon. It will also be available on other ebook stores soon, once I get those accounts restarted.


Friday, December 16, 2016

Pulling out of Kindle Unlimited

I think I'm pulling out of Kindle Unlimited. Why? Well, it's really hurting me. I lose one third of my royalty on every book sold via KU. Because so many of my readers have moved to KU, the loss in income for me has been close to fifty percent.

That's a lot of money.

So my choices were, either raise the price of my books on my non-KU buyers, artificially pad my ebooks with stuff to inflate the word count and increase the KU rate (which would only work if people actually read the inflated stuff), or pull out of KU.

Also pulling out of KU will allow me to sell my books in places other than Amazon, and while I don't think I'll see a lot of sales via the other markets, if I see a one third increase in sales on my paid (non-KU) sales, I'll be making just as much money as I am now. If I see a 50 percent increase (which means I keep only half of my KU readers) I'll see an increase in my income, to last year's level.

Honestly, I'd rather not pull out of KU, but financially, KU is killing me. I just can't afford it anymore. Yes, this move could do me in as a full-time author, I'm sure I will see an initial drop in my sales. But I won't know until I try. I know the books coming out of the publishing houses are never in KU, however they seem to do just fine on their sales.

If Amazon was to offer more than half a cent per page, I think I would stay with them, the problem however is just that the KU program has been very successful for them. But not so much for me.
I hope I don't lose any of you in the process, I think my price of 3.99 is a bargain, I honestly think that even at 4.99 I'd still be a bargain, but I'm committed to try and stay at 3.99 for as long as financially possible.

Thank you all for your patronage,
-John Van Stry

Monday, December 05, 2016

The first draft is now complete for the next Hammer Commision novel

Just finished the first draft of the next Hammer Commission book: Loose Ends. A hair shy of 80K words. I suspect it will grow a bit more in the first re-write as there are two chapters I need to drop into it. Short ones, but they've still got to be added.
Now to commission the cover while I get it ready for publication. I'm aiming for the 15th. Let's see if we can hit that target.

Friday, December 02, 2016

I'm Thankful for all of you

With Thanksgiving having just passed, and with Christmas on the way (and with the last book I'll be putting out this year nearing completion), I've had a few minutes to think about things. Like this last year, and the year before that.

So, I just wanted to say 'Thank You' to all of my fans, all of my readers, everyone who has bought one of my books, and everyone who has enjoyed what I have written in these last few years.

All of you have made this very worthwhile for me, and I really do appreciate you all, very much. Thank you, again, all of you. I hope 2016 was a good year for you, and I hope that 2017 is a better year still.

-John Van Stry

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Missed Black Friday on Amazon? Here's another sale on print books!

To all of my readers, Amazon is currently running a sale on print books. If you buy more than $25 dollars of print books, enter the code "HOLIDAYBOOK" under the promotion code for $10 off the price!
 (Please note that I'm not sure if this offer applies to my books, but I thought you might like to know regardless)
Update: Apparently my books ARE in the offer :-)

Here is the offer details:

▪ To use this promotion, you must enter "HOLIDAYBOOK" at checkout under the "Gift cards & promotional codes" section to receive $10 off any books purchase of $25 or more.

▪ This offer is valid on print books only. Excludes eBooks and Audiobooks, Book Rentals and Amazon Gift Cards.

▪ The promotion is valid for a limited time, on orders placed between November 24, 2016 at 12:01am EST and November 28, 2016 at 02:59am EST. Amazon reserves the right to modify or cancel this offer at any time.

▪ Offer only applies to products sold and shipped by Amazon.com.

▪ Limit one promotional code per customer and account.

▪ Each code may be used only once and may not be combined with other offers.

▪ The maximum benefit you may receive from this offer is $10.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Day Sale!

I am running a Thanksgiving day sale on Amazon (US & UK). I have eight books on sale! Five of the books are at 99 cents until midnight on Sunday, which includes the first two Portals of Infinity ebooks, the first of the Hammer Commission ebooks, and two from the Children of Steel universe: Danger Money and Dialene. The other three are on countdown deals starting at $1.99!

www.vanstry.net/vanstry/Sale.html  to see the full list.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

I guess I am starting to make it...

Interesting, eBookDaily is promoting my book today, and I didn't even pay or ask them! That's kind of cool.

http://ebookdaily.com/bargain-kindle-books/2016-11-19/B01MEFK8WJ

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Audio Book version of Wolf Killer is now out.

The audible version of Wolf Killer is now available from Amazon or ACX. This just came out today, check it out if you're into audio books!

http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Wolf-Killer-Audiobook/B01N07TDK2
 
The audio version of Days of Future Past - Past Tense, should be out before Christmas. 

Friday, November 04, 2016

For those of you into Audio Books

How would you react to a narrated version, versus a voice acted version?
This is in regards to the POI books only, namely the ones that have not yet been turned into audio books.

If this goes forward, samples will be put up for your critique. I want to satisfy my readers who want books three and on in audio format, so I'm trying to make it happen. I just don't know the format yet.

Let me know, please.

Monday, October 31, 2016

I usually don't talk things political here anymore, but sometimes...

This was triggered by reading yet another clueless lawyer who has no understanding at all what the law is, or why it exists, or how it is supposed to work, or why it even does.

In short, they were upset that the guys who took over the wildlife refuge in Oregon were all acquitted in court, totally ignoring the complete farce of laws and legal proceedings that led to the situation in the first place. Oh sure, no 'laws' were broken in that farce, but only because the laws involved are completely unjust, and the people behind the entire situation are in a word, evil. Not just misguided, but evil. I used to live in Oregon, I'm totally familiar with the history of what led to the situation, and a bigger abuse of government powers you will hopefully never see in your lifetimes.

That being said:

(this is being written as a monologue as it is addressed to a particular big name lawyer)



On the Law.

The problem with you, is that you have no idea why laws work. You think that because you're a lawyer and you know what laws are and how they're supposed to work, that you understand laws and the reasons we have them. But that is just all that crap you learned in law school, taught to you by other clueless idiots who think that abusing the fabric of society for their own personal gain is a good thing.
You have no understanding of how civilization works. You have even less of an understanding of how republics or democracies work. You do not understand the basic reason for law, and how laws work in a society or more importantly in our society.
You do not, at all. You are completely clueless and stupid on the subject.
Allow me to explain. The law itself means nothing; the law is just a series of rules, like the rules of a game. In fact that is exactly what laws are, they are the rules to this game, which we call civilization. In order for the game to work, the rules must apply equally to everybody. Got that? Everyone has to follow the same rules and have the same rules apply to them equally. Everyone.
Now we've all played games as children with the one kid who decided to keep adding more and more rules, bizarre rules, rules that only applied to them, or to others, or their friends, or forced people to do something that they, the kid in charge, wanted done.
And what did we do in response? Right, we all stopped playing the game. Well, that is exactly what we are seeing here. The lawyers, who are in fact just 'rules lawyers' people whose only purpose in life is to twist things so that they make money and get their way, have created so many rules, or laws, that they can do whatever the heck they want, whenever the heck they want, and they will mess you up if you don't bow to them and their little 'game'.
So some people have fallen back to older rules, rules that will always apply: Force. They have taken their guns and they have said NO. The fact that you cannot seem to understand this most basic of laws proves that you really have no understanding of the law at all. Or why the law exists. Or why the law even works. Like the spoiled eight-year-old brat you have bent and abused the law to the point where the rest of us do not want to play your game anymore.
It starts with us not following some of the laws and ends with us not following any of the laws anymore, except those that are the most basic to the human condition. It ends with the game we have been playing here called 'civilization' and 'government' coming to a screeching halt, and with those of us who refuse to play anymore brawling with those of you who ran the game and those friends of yours who you gave the special rules, to try and force us to play longer.
And now you're crying because the time has come to face the consequences for all of your crap. Any law that the average man cannot understand, is a law not worth having. Any law that singles out one person or one group for special privileges or punishments is a law not worth obeying. When men in freaking robes with special degrees who have to pass an exclusive test in order to 'interpret' the law, it's not law anymore! It's religion!
You want people to follow the law? Then stop gaming the system. Stop making thousands of laws for the sole purpose of allowing you to bend them. Stop raising up a special class of people who are the only ones allowed to 'practice' law, hell we don't even do that with preachers!
And when you completely fail at keeping the rules fair and just, don't complain when someone shoots you in the head. Because you deserve it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bob Hoover passed away today.

I just learned that Bob Hoover passed away today. I only got to meet him a couple of times, and shake hands with him. I did get to see him fly many times however.

Bob Hoover is a legend in the field of aviation. He is definitely in the top 3 people of aviation of all time, he's done that much. I would say to look him up in the history books, online, and other places. This man was the pilot's pilot. I don't think there has ever been a better pilot than him, and there may never be one.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Darn these DDOS attacks!

Figures,I releases a new novel, and while I'm trying to run my ad campaign, a new massive DDOS is striking America, apparently because some of our politicians don't like it when someone releases the truth about that they've been doing the last few years.

*sigh*

I will be very happy when the election is over.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Damn you Marvel / Disney!!

I had an idea for a title for the new book, and I did a search before using it. It's more or less the title of a record album from the late 60's that I always liked and it fit.

What do I find? Marvel stole the title for their last X-men movie. That's right, they didn't come up with that title on their own, they stole it from a hit record album by a famous British rock band.

I'm really quite annoyed. How dare they steal it before I could! Wankers.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Wolf Killer to be an Audio Book

So, I pulled the trigger on this today with another group that does work on Audible (ACX). They had contacted me and expressed an interest in the book, so I decided to take another shot at audio books.

Hopefully this one will do better than the POI series, which never took off on audible, even though in ebook format it sold huge numbers.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Today is the last day of the free internet

Today is a very special day, today is the day that the internet died.

Now, I don't make political posts here often, because this really isn't the place for it, but somethings just have to said. The internet was invented by the USA, and because of the rights of free speech that were once very important to the government of the USA, everyone was allowed to speak their minds and even say the most stupid or outrageous stuff on the internet.

However, there were (and are) people in our government who do not like free speech and who do not like our citizens having such total access to it. Worse yet, most governments in the world (like 90 percent) do not allow their citizens free speech, and they hate the internet with a passion, but because the USA controlled it, they could do nothing about it.

Well, President Obama came to their rescue. Tomorrow (October 1, 2016) Obama, totally on his own, disregarding what the citizens want, is giving the internet away. It will no longer be controlled by the USA.

I'm not sure who will end up with it, the UN wants to get their hands on it, and a more evil and corrupt organization really doesn't exist in the world. China wants it, so does Russia, so do all of the governments in the middle east. As the organization that controls the internet (ICANN) is up for sale, who knows where it will end up. But where ever it ends up, they don't have a right to free speech.

Now some of you (say 99 percent of the world's population) have no idea how the internet works, or why giving ICANN control away matters. Well you see, ICANN gets to say who connects to the internet, and who does not. And their word is LAW, they are the god of the internet and it is impossible to gainsay them. So if they don't like your website, they just pull your IP address, which is the way all computers connect to the internet.

So yes, your content will still be on your machine, or your server, but no one will ever be able to see it. And it only takes minutes to take down your website (Drudge Report, the biggest site on the internet will probably be among the first to fall). Also, buying a domain only costs a few dollars a year now, well if the UN gets control, they'll put a 'tax' on that fee, and you'll see domains start costing thousands of dollars a year, if not millions.

Now I don't expect these changes to start instantly tomorrow. But they will come, and they will come soon. They might start off slowly, but I can guarantee you that in a year, you will notice the difference. In a few years, the internet will be nothing at all like it is today. We all just lost something very important, because of a malignant narcissist who hates the USA, hates Freedom, and hates free speech, and he found a way to destroy it, and nobody did anything.

As always, freedom does not die with a huge explosion or a great battle...

... just a whimper.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

You know what's a pain in the butt?

Running a character through a post apocalyptic possible future where there are enough things that have remained the same (because there are no people there anymore) so you're researching those area's in some detail to make sure that nothing can throw your story off track, or worse yet, you have to take a little detour.

Well, at least a lot of the next book is underwater now, so that will make some of it easier.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

So yes, the Air Races

I'm back, actually I got back late Sunday, and spent Monday recovering and taking care of things around the house. As for the Air Races, there were a number of good and bad things this year.
The bad things is that this was a bad year for aircraft. About 5 were in accidents and at least two of them were destroyed. Thankfully no one got hurt (well, I think Thom broke his hand, but haven't heard if it was broken or not - Hot Stuff Accident  ). Also, because last year had bad attendance and the main sponsor pulled out, there were less of the acts that go on between races. They just didn't have the money.

However, the new sponsor (Stihl the chainsaw makers) did well, and there were more people at the races this weekend than I have seen there in a good many years. The stands were actually packed. So I'm hopeful that next year they'll have more money. It was also hard on a number of the unlimited racers, about ten of the now aren't showing up, as they just couldn't raise the money to come, and we're talking about past champions. But on the other hand, there were almost twice as many sports class racers than ever before, and while the sports isn't always the most exciting class, it's the every man class, and sometimes it really can be pretty exciting to watch.

So, the races this year had its ups and downs, and some of those were a bit different than I've gotten used to expecting. Hopefully next year we'll see some of the airplanes and other things back that were missing this year, and the crowds will continue to stay big.

I also bought another bass guitar, this one is used, I got a good deal on it from a pawn shop in Reno. It was pretty dirty, and dirty pots were causing it to have sound problems when adjusting the different volume knobs, but that's an easy fix for me. The fret board was also a bit dry (high desert, go figure) and rather dirty as well. It looks like it got played a lot, in a lot of smoky casinos. I got most of it cleaned, when I change the strings, I get the frets and the bridge cleaned out. It's an Ibanez SR300ROM and it has almost the same tone as my SR700, as well as the same thinner neck and 25 fret neck, which is why I bought it. Also, I got a good deal.

Last of all, check out Elio motors if you have the chance, an American made car that gets 84mpg and costs only 7K. They're hoping to start producing them next year. I can tell you that two men over 6 feet tall, can in fact fit in one at the same time. I even have pictures to prove it.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Saturday, September 10, 2016

I do not think that word means what you think it means...

While I appreciate positive reviews, I think some people need to look up the meaning of the word 'graphic'. Graphic sex means it is described, in graphic (complete) detail. If the sex isn't described, but is just hinted at, it's not graphic, because there are no details described.
I guess I've gotten rather good at setting off people's imaginations, even though I don't go into detail in most of my stories, that they somehow think I do. So maybe I should be proud of that?

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

License Statements

As I'm sure a few of you may know, ebooks have licensing statements attached to them, as well as copyright statements. For many years I've used the Smashwords licensing statement, because it was required for you to use it, if you wanted to publish on Smashwords. The reason for the license, at least as I always saw it, was because anyone could quite easily copy your ebook and send it far and wide to everyone. And of course, there are quite a few people who do this. The idea behind the statement is to try and stop that behavior.

Now some will argue that you can take a book and send it around to everyone you know, and that's true, you can. However, you can only send that book to one person at a time. Oh you could try to photocopy it, which is illegal, but that would cost you more than just buying another copy. Also that book will wear out with time. Ebooks don't wear out.

Amazon does have a method by which you can loan ebooks to your friends, one at a time, and it takes it away from you while it does so. Preserving the 'single' identity of each copy. Also, this is part of why ebooks are (at least from me) significantly cheaper than paperbacks. That whole lack of paper that must be bought, printed on, assembled, warehoused, and delivered.

Now, every once in a while I consider re-writing that license statement in my ebooks, I haven't yet because most people don't really pay any attention to it, it's just a legal necessity that I have to follow, and without a lawyer's help, which is expensive, I don't want to screw myself over by changing it. However lately I'm considering making it a little bit clearer. When you buy a copy of one of my ebooks, as far as I'm concerned, you have the ownership of that copy for life (unless you return it of course).

Will I give you the license to pass that right on to others? Sorry, not for 3 or 4 bucks I won't. If you want it to last for that long, buy the paperback. It's printed on high quality paper and odds are it will last a hundred years (maybe more, I don't know) if taken care of. If you look, you'll see my paperbacks are priced lower than comparable paperbacks in the bookstores, and I use better paper.

If you want to loan that book to someone else to read, well Amazon has a process for that and you might want to look at it. Of course if you want to hand your kindle (or whatever you read it on) to someone else, hey I'm fine with that. But if you want to make a -copy- and give or loan that to someone else? That's illegal, and no, I'm not going to give you the right to do that. Again, if you want to pass the book around, spend the couple of extra bucks and buy the paperback. Then you can treat it like a paperback.

Now I realize that there are people who will think I'm being unreasonable over this. I suspect those people also make more money an hour than I do :-P  But you also have to understand that Amazon also has a licensing agreement that you agree to when you purchase an ebook. As far as I know, mine isn't any different than theirs is, and in fact may be a little more liberal.

As for why I'm writing this? Well someone got upset with my licensing agreement. I think they figured that once they bought it, they could give it to whomever they wanted to, I'm not sure. I pointed out the Amazon sharing program, but I haven't heard anything back. Also I'm a bit suspect, because honestly, who reads the copyright and licensing statements in a book? I don't, do you?

Anyways, back to work!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Hammer Commission is doing rather well

Surprisingly, with the release of A new Hammer Commission book, the first book in the series has actually been going rather well and shot up into the top 100 in the three main categories it is in. Not bad for a book I wrote over three years ago!
While it's in the top 20 in the werewolves / shifter categories, it hasn't gotten much below 80 in the SciFi action and adventure category, moving back and forth quite a bit there. 'The King of Las Vegas' really hasn't seem much more action than it originally got however, but then that isn't a story about the main protagonist, Mark, but a spin off of another character in the series.
If the sales continue, there will be another Hammer Commission book, which would be nice as I already have most of the plot for it anyway, but right now I need to finish the new novel, then a POI book, and now perhaps another Hammer Commission story.

And linky for the old book:


Thursday, August 18, 2016

So yeah, Amazon and guns on covers in advertisments.

Got called by Amazon's advertising department today about my complaint on their killing my ad.

They weren't pleased to be calling me, and while they claim they weren't giving me the brushoff, I'm not so sure. The reason for why it was canceled was pretty much bull. Then again, this 'new' direction that they've been taking for a while is pretty much bull as well. Special snowflakes needing to be protected from pictures that might hurt their fragile psyches.

Whatever. I suspect eventually they'll be policing our covers as well, but not yet at least.

So on a brighter note, my battles over the problems with them changing my categories did not go unrewarded. I changed categories on the book 'The Hammer Commission' which is the book that comes before 'Wolf Killer' and guess what? In only 24 hours the changes went through! Awesome.

Also, Hammer Commission is in the top 100 in two categories. Hopefully that will spread to more as well. I honestly did not expect to see sales on that book as well, but I'm rather glad I am. Now if only I could find the time to actually WRITE this week. All of this stuff going on has really been cutting into my writing time.

Oh, and thanks for your patronage, as always. I do appreciate it very much!
-John

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Amazon doesn't like pictures of guns on the covers of books.

So,

There are people at Amazon who do not like the cover of my new book, because the FBI agent on the cover is holding a gun.

I'm not making this up.

If you're thinking of buying it, better hurry up and do it soon. They've already pulled my advertisements for the book, because of the gun on the cover. I wouldn't be surprised if they pull the book next.

http://amzn.to/2aZFnxw

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The new book is out: Wolf Killer

I originally wasn't going to publish until tomorrow, so the book would be live on Friday, but for other reasons (I had to have the asin number and URL for a Saturday advert) I published last night and the book is now live on Amazon:


http://amzn.to/2bgvr7n

Go check it out, I hope you like it. This is the next book in the Hammer Commission universe, it follows Mark as he gets loaned out to the FBI, and picks up after the first book in the series. You do not have to have read any of the other books in the series to read this one. They all stand on their own.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Haven't posted in a couple of weeks

Hi all, Just noticed I hadn't posted in almost two weeks. Not a lot has been going on, the new novel is out to the beta readers, I really need to come up with a title for it. Come Monday I'll start doing a grammar edit on it, maybe even see if I should send it out to my editor. I really do wish someone made a program that actually could fix grammar (I believe I have mentioned this here before) but so much of grammar is subjective, and the rules are so loose, that's it not possible for the English language. Which of course is why no body does it.

So, yes, been busy with that, an with a few side projects under a pen name. Now that all of that is out of the way, I need to start working on the next novel, as I've fallen a bit behind. I wanted to be pushing out the fourth novel for the year by this time, instead I'm only pushing out the third. I know I'll get two more done before the end of the year, but I'd sorta hoped to do six this year, and not just five.

Well, the best laid plans, after all, right?

As for what's new? Nothing really, just lots of work. I lowered the prices on all my paperbacks by about a dollar, by pulling them out of 'expanded distribution' which really wasn't giving me any sales. Most of my sales were via Amazon, so by getting rid of that option it allowed me to drop my prices more, to (hopefully) make my paperbacks more appealing to Amazon shoppers. I know I'm not a name author, so I don't want to charge name author prices. By charging significantly less, I figure folks who only read paperbacks are more likely to buy one of mine.

I also need to see about going to more cons and selling stuff there. That would be completely new territory for me, I've never sold stuff at a con before. But I'm thinking that I probably should consider it. I just wish there were more cons near where I live. It's like a cultural wasteland in this town.

So, that's it for me mostly. Just work and more work. Thanks all!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Reviews! Ratings! Please!

Just a semi-annual plea to ask you all once again: If you read one of my stories and enjoyed it, please go and rate it! Better still, if you could write a short review.

Please!

Reviews are the biggest thing you can do, and they really do help sell books. Also, 50 is the magic number on Amazon. Once a book goes past 50 reviews, Amazon starts to help promote it. If ten percent of my readers left positive reviews, I wouldn't have a book with less than a hundred reviews, and some would have over a thousand.

So please, when you finish an ebook, click through to the rating page and put in a rating. If you enjoyed it, I'd ask that you give it a 4 or 5 star review (for some reason, Amazon considers 3 stars a negative review, strange I know).

Thanks!
-John (your hungry author).

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Zombies!

Not me of course, I'm not really into the whole zombie genre. But a friend of mine, Mark Wandrey, who writes Science Fiction, got  this sudden urge to write a zombie story a while back. It was kind of interesting to hear him talking about it, and he was asking everyone lots of questions on lots of different technical stuff, you could tell there was a lot of research going on.

So, I bought a copy and read it. Now like I said, I'm not really into the Zombie genre, but I'm actually liking this book. I think part of that is because it's a SciFi based story, it's not horror, so things are explained, science is done, you learn not only about the how and the why of the Zombies (and it's complicated) but you learn about a lot of other things in the process.

Also, the story is a very good reflection of our current society, and all that's going on in it. And there are multiple story lines, this isn't all about one person in one place, we are following a number of people and seeing both the realizations and the issues that they have to face.

So, if you're a fan of the Zombie genre or Zombie stories in general, I'd say to check it out. If you're not, you might want to download the sample anyway, and give it a look. I'm pretty sure its on all of the booksellers out there, but here's the Amazon link, it's called 'A Time to Die':


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Never Take Your Eyes Off the Threat

This is something I learned a long time ago, and which became vital in my days of big cat raising and training. You never look away, you never take your eyes off the threat, you never get distracted. I'm not sure if I learned it when I became a scuba diver, or if it was later in the air force when flying. It might have been sooner than that even, but in the world of animal training, especially wild carnivores, it's vital.

So I have a problem, at times, with plot points in stories and shows where the main character, or maybe a not so main character, gets distracted away from the 'bad <whatever>' at a particular point. Because I don't get distracted, I know where the 'threat' of imminent harm is, and I keep my eyes on it. If I have to maneuver to keep my eyes on two things I will, but I do maintain an awareness of what's going on around me, because what my try to distract me, may also spook or distract that which I'm dealing with. Because you never want to get tunnel vision either. You don't have to focus all of your attention on the 'threat, to still see it, after all. Because anything in your field of vision is still in your vision.

A friend of mine always used to unfocus his eyes when in judo competitions or sparring, so he never focused on a specific aspect of his opponent, instead allowing him to see all of the opponent at once so he could react to all of it, and not be distracted by a hand faint, or a head fake. It's really a very worthwhile technique to practice.

Now, for the average person, yes, I can see them being easily distracted, not paying attention to things around them that are supposed to be important (like say their children :-6 ), but for a trained professional? Well, not if their training was really any good. It's like that bit you see in fake fights in movies and stuff where the one guy turns his back on the other in a fight. Yeah, that doesn't happen, you never turn your back, even when doing any kind of a spinning attack in martial arts, you turn your head as you spin, to keep your eyes on your opponent as long as possible.

Of course it's always easier to write a hero who makes lots of simple mistakes, and it's a lot harder to write someone who doesn't. Because then the mistakes have to be a lot more believable.

Anyway, back to work.

Monday, June 13, 2016

It's Late...

I updated, as in re-edited, three of the books that I published in 2011 and 2012. My first three actually. COS and DM I did a while ago (a few weeks) and reloaded the ebook versions with the corrections, mostly grammar and spelling stuff. Dialene I did Saturday night, because I was looking at it and I was like, "Oh wow, I need to fix this!" It had been a while since I'd last read it (years in fact).

So, for the last several hours, I've been taking all of the changes, first from COS, and then from Dialene, and applying them to the print versions. This can be a royal pain to do, because I have to keep the page numbers the same, otherwise the covers will need editing, and I really don't want to do that. With COS, which is like 350 pages, it was a long job. Dialene is a lot shorter, and should be easier.
So of course, it wasn't. There was some weird bug in there with the way the section breaks were formatted, and it turns out there was another problem with the headers that I'd never even noticed, not even in the paperback versions I have. That's how subtle it was.

And of course a pain, took me like 2 hours to fix it.

DM I will do the updated grammar correction upload to the print version on Tuesday most likely. Tomorrow I am pretty sure I won't have the time.

COS book 3 has been in my mind lately, because book 1 sales have lately been picking up. As I said before, if book 2 sales follow through, book 3 will get written. The thing right now that I need to do in my spare time, when I get some of it back, is to check the list of plot points from the old outline and update/finish it. The book is going to be complicated, because it will have 3 (count 'em - three) main point of view characters, and it will be told in First Person Singular. So everything you change chapters, you're going to be changing viewpoints and jumping into someone else's head.

I'm not going to even mention the minor characters whose heads you will be spending a little time in.

The thing about book 3 is that there are three different people's stories coming together in it. Raj's, Balizar/Jotun's, and Samantha's. Sam never had a book of her own, but she is a key player in the story.

In my never ending quest to put food on the table, I may be picking up a contract job here next month. I'm waiting to hear back from the job, I've worked with some of the people there before, so it looks like a good possibility. This would slow me down from my goal of publishing six books this year (and which I'm in danger of missing right now, so I need to step up the work), but it would allow me to do some of the pondering I need to do on some of the story lines. I do think aiming for six novels this year may have been a bit ambitious, but it's good to have goals when you're self-employed.

I don't have a title for the current project yet, it's a sequel to the hammer commission and I'm 25K words into it. I have to go 'back' and write the bad guy's parts tomorrow, as I have to get him all nailed down on his part of the story, then I can pick back up on the protagonist's part, as their story lines are about to cross.

The next book will be a POI book. I'm actually thinking of writing one about Nikki, then the 8th one about Will. She (Nikki) is actually a rather busy person, seeing as she works for a very busy goddess who is always wheeling and dealing and who has a lot going on. While Will is something of an idealist, and maybe even a bit of a romantic (and still a touch naive), Nikki is very pragmatic and jaded.
And a bit of a hard ass.

I still have that other shrean novel out there to finish, but honestly, I'm thinking of just putting it out under a pen name, and turning it into a shifter PNR novel. I'll tell my fans and readers about it, so they can check it out if they wish, but I think it's different enough from the other stuff I write that I should make a clearer delineation between it and my usual stories. A different byline I think would make that fairly clear.

Anyway, it's after 1am, tomorrow is a workday, and the people tearing up the street in front of the house start at 7, so I really need to get to bed.
Good night,
-John

Saturday, June 11, 2016

To whoever thinks that people always scream: Please Stop

Really, enough with all the screams. Most people, do not scream, most men do not scream, and while I'm not positive, I suspect a lot of women don't scream. Children scream, wimps scream, pussies scream. The average person does NOT, especially not every time something happens, and even if they did the first time, they're not going to do it every single time.
Adding screams in to 'heighten' the action? Yeah, that tells me your movie / anime sucks. That you don't know what you're doing, and shouldn't be doing it. And brave or fearless explorers? Heroes? No, those people don't scream constantly.

They just don't.

So please, quit it with all the screaming. You make me think I'm watching a movie about little girls, little wimpy girls (as again, I think most little girls probably don't scream all that much either). Screaming is what spoiled brats do for attention. Not adults.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Wow, Sales on Children of Steel are suddenly picking up...

This is both interesting, and cool. It's mostly Kindle Unlimited readers, but still, it's a considerable amount. Especially as the book came out 5 years ago (March of 2011). If this keeps up, and if I see enough of the sales carry through to Interregnum, I'll definitely be putting book three back on the schedule.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Why does Amazon allow 1 & 2 star reviews on my books by non-verified customers?

I only ask this because I gave a 2 star review to something I received for my birthday, bought via Amazon.
And they deleted it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Spilling the beans, on Children of Steel

Okay, was writing on someone else's blog today and I decided I would finally spill the beans on the major trope buried in Children of Steel that NO ONE ever seems to get. Even the people at TV tropes, where this book has a page, have never gotten it.

So yes, COS is about the future, a future in which we have genetically engineered second class citizens based on animals. They exist because of labor shortages: basically people don't want to work because the standard of living of sitting on your ass at home has gotten good enough that you don't have to (sound familiar btw? Remember this book was written originally in 1990 - and no, that's not the buried trope). I wrote this book long before I had ever even heard of 'furry' or 'furry fandom' btw, it was more in the vein of Cordwainer Smith and his 'animal people'. Though as someone who owned and trained wild cats, and was up on what a lot of Geneticists were doing, and who was following the human genome project, there were some fertile ideas there.

Now, I have gone and dropped hints everywhere, especially in later books in that world, as to why things were the way they were. Multiple races in order to make it harder for them to have things in common to unite against humans. No human 'supermen' because of fears that they would take over (and you wouldn't be able to easily find them), and a few other reasons as to why they were made the way the were. There is even some discussion as to if they are engineered to have certain behaviors, which can be used against them, one way or another, or to control them.

But the one that I thought was the most obvious and which was alluded to constantly but which everyone seems to miss, is based on this old quote:

"Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man." -Aristotle

That is the major background 'trope' in the whole series, it forms so much of the stories, the society, and it is even reflected in the title, which comes from the song 'Types' by Living Color. It is mentioned, more than once, that the government comes in and provides all schooling for the 'animen' for the formative years of their lives. They are taught and trained where they are to be, and what they are to be. 
And I must admit that I am incredibly shocked that so many people have missed this. Especially when countries like France have recently embraced this philosophy by mandating government pre-schools for children. Much of our own school system here in the USA have been taken over by a particular political group who are using them to instill certain beliefs and behaviors in students today, which we are now reaping the harvest of, when we see all this micro-aggression bs, and the movement to stamp out free speech coming from our schools today.

Then again, maybe that is why so many of you are missing it, because you're actually living it.

I find it interesting though, that a book I started writing in 1990, which I published in 2011, is still dead on, on politics and what is happening with society, twenty plus years later.

QuQu's Watching: The Decline of Science Fiction Literature

An interesting commentary. I have another theory as well as to why scifi is declining, but this is definitely a part of it.





Sunday, May 22, 2016

Good Morning Sacramento

So, a friend said, 'you should go on Good Morning Sacramento,' and I was thinking they wouldn't be interested in me, but he said his wife had been on several times for her business, and he told me to write Cody on the show.

So I did.

And he said to come on down!

So here's me on TV this morning:

http://gooddaysacramento.cbslocal.com/video/3403774-author-john-van-stry/

Honestly, it was a lot of fun, Cody was a great guy, Melissa was also really nice. Best of all I didn't make an idiot of myself. The sound guy who set me up (I'm sorry I forgot his name) was great and even the security guard out front was really cool.

It was interesting watching them all work, it's a busy place and there is a lot going on, and to be able to go from work one moment, to chatting with an guest before he goes on, and then back to work without missing a beat is an impressive skill. It's always nice watching professionals work.

And yes, the green room was actually green.

-John

Saturday, May 21, 2016

So the new book is doing well, it was at #5 in Myths & Legends for a few days, but has slipped back to #6 this morning. So that means if you haven't bought it yet, buy it now! :-) And if you have, well, buy a copy for the family, the wife, the kids, the neighbors next store, and that kid walking down the street! ;-)

Anyways, I just want to thank you all for buying my book and supporting me, I appreciate it!

Here's the link: (Blogger is being a pain today, so no embedded pics)
http://amzn.to/1W8LViG

Monday, May 16, 2016

Saturday, May 14, 2016

This time it's Amazon issues

Sometimes I can't win for losing. The new book is selling well, it's ranked about 3400 overall on Amazon right now and will hopefully continue to get lower numbers. BUT Amazon is NOT ranking the book in it's categories. When it fell below 4000 it should have shown up in the top 100 of all of it's categories. BUT they're not ranking it.

Why? No idea. So I sent them an email at 6am
Then at 12 noon
then again at 3:30.

Nothing. Without it getting ranked, it won't show up in the top 100 lists, which or any other lists, which is the Amazon promotion that gets other people, who haven't read my stuff to read it. It is a key part of the Amazon sales demographic. And Amazon isn't doing it for me, and they're not fixing it. This will kill the entire launch if not fixed soon.

I am so screwed. Again. Obviously the universe doesn't want me to be an author anymore.

Edit:

Here's a picture of the relevant stuff to show that yes, I did it right:

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Got the rough draft on the cover this morning

I love my cover artist. This morning he sent me the concept sketch for the cover. Really like the way it looks! Won't be surprised if he has it done Monday. He's really good on getting my covers turned around rather quickly.

Did a proof read edit today. Got back a bunch of questions/comments/critiques from the first of my beta readers, tomorrow I'm going to read and address those. Hopefully I'll be hearing from the others by Monday so I can have this all ready to roll out as soon as the cover is done. I'll be in Reno next weekend, so I very much want this book published before I go.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Cover for Book 7 has been comissioned

So, just waiting for my artist (Dane at ebooklaunch.com) to get back to me with the initial drafts on the cover. That could be anything from tomorrow until Tuesday, depending on how busy he is. I'm fairly certain I'll have the cover by the 12th, he's very dependable.
Hopefully my Beta readers will have gotten back to me by Monday, and just as hopefully there aren't any major flaws that I've missed.

So maybe I'll be lucky and I'll launch on Friday the 13th! :-)

With the way this month has gone, that may not be a bad thing.

Still waiting on getting my money back. They'd originally said 'five days' and well, it's five days and nada. Maybe I should go into bank fraud for a living, it sure pays well and I bet you don't even have to declare your income to the feds!

Anyway, keep your fingers crossed, and hopefully I'll be able to launch next week.

Oh, the title!

Portals of Infinity : Kaiju

Monday, May 02, 2016

Not sure when POI #7 will be out.

I was going to start the 1st re-write today, but between having to run to the credit union across town, then to another branch, then out to buy a battery to replace one that turned up dead on Sunday, it's been a very busy day. Maybe I'll be able to start tonight.

Part of the problem (well most all of this stems from the same issue) is that with my bank account getting hacked during what was a very short month income wise is that I have to wait until all of this settles out and some of the funds start coming back before I can commission the cover.
Then I have to wait a week for the cover to be finished.

So it really depends on how difficult it is to recover money stolen via a debit card, it's not like a Credit Card where the money never goes through, Debit Cards are almost instant, so you have to wait for the bank to get the money back. Or at least decide that they will eat the loss and pay you back for it. Hopefully that will only take a week.

I wanted to have this out well before the 13th, as I'll be away that weekend. Right now, that may still be possible, but it won't be easy.

-John

Saturday, April 30, 2016

It should be legal to kill people who forge your debit cards

Yup, got hit today, lost $1000. Hopefully the bank will return it to me, as it was fraud (they didn't even steal my card, they made a duplicate. See how well those chips work?) Of course now I have to hope that I get enough money back so that the bills I paid on Friday don't bounce.

Also, I hope I get the money back in time to be able to commission a cover by my artist, who is money up front. I was going to do that tonight or tomorrow, but not enough money in the bank anymore. As my bank doesn't open until Monday, I can't get a new card, or access my money at all. Good thing I keep some cash around the house or I'd be totally tapped out.

This is the second time in 30 days I've been ripped off. Last time was a credit card. Now I'm starting to wonder if I'm just unlucky, or if someone has decided to pick on me. All in all, it really sucks.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

POI BK 7 nearing completion

Well, except for one 'act' or scene (and it's a major one) the first draft is complete. Right now it's a bit over 72K words, tomorrow I'll tackle that one last part, and see where it stands. There will be a lot going on in that remaining part so it could possibly be close to 5 K words.

Once that's done I'll probably leave it alone for a day or two, and then start on the first rewrite. That will probably take until Monday or Tuesday. Possibly a bit longer. Then I'll leave it alone for another few days before the second rewrite, then it will be off to the editor. So not exactly sure of the date it will be ready, but I think it is safe to say it will be ready prior to the 15th of next month.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

POI Book 7, still untitled

As usual, still don't have a title, honestly this is the first time I've even thought of a title for the book.
It's almost to 65000 words, I'll probably pass that tomorrow. Not quite sure how big it is going to be, I suspect somewhere north of 80K. Right now I'm hoping to be done by Wednesday, part of that depends on if I can get to 70K by tomorrow night. If it ends up running longer word wise, then it will take a few more days of writing. Working on one last plot point, a minor one. All the rest is pretty much ironed out.

So, Depending on turn arounds for my editing the drafts, my editor editing the final copy, it may by out by the 14th.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I think I will be at BLFC in Reno

So, BLFC is in Reno in 3 weeks. I volunteered to do a panel on self publishing, because I have a presentation that I've done before and I really should start trying to get out to conventions. I actually like BLFC and have been there a couple of times before, I go to Reno semi-regularly, because it's close, and because the air races take place there and I go to them.

The reason why I'm not exactly positive about what's going on yet, is because the con isn't positive about what's going on yet. With only three weeks to go, they still haven't told me if I'm doing that panel or not. They still haven't put up a panel schedule. So I don't know if they haven't made any decisions yet, or if they have made decisions and just not informed me of the fact.

There will come a point where if they tell me I'm doing one, and it's too close to the date, I'll have to tell them I won't be able too. Because I do need to do some work to get the presentation in shape, but I'm not going to waste time on that, if I don't think I'm going to be doing the presentation. Because I'm about six days from finishing the first draft on the current manuscript, and I need to keep cranking on it, if I want to get it done and published soon.

So, not sure what's going on. I think I'll be there Saturday, regardless of what happens, but as for other days, well Friday still looks like it will be out, and Sunday does look possible.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Oh, What the Experts Say....

Lately I've been hearing a lot of stuff out of 'experts'. Now some of this is my fault, as I have been soliciting advice in a few places, but the sad thing is that so many of these experts are really only an expert in one place:

Their own mind.

There are others who do offer helpful information at times, but when they start trying to tell me something that my own experience flatly denies, well, I have to wonder if they're looking at the same thing I'm looking at. Because I know what they're saying just won't work.

I also am a little worried when people point me to 'experts' who haven't had the same level of success I've had. In that they'd had a lot less, and not more.

All in all, it's been pretty frustrating, and in the world of indy writing there is ALWAYS another shyster coming along with their 'give me X dollars and take my course and I will tell YOU the secrets of success!'. Yes, some of the people selling courses do seem to know what they're talking about, especially in their genre of writing. But all things are not equal, and I'm not forking out $500+ for a course from somebody who writes detective thrillers for a primarily female demographic, when I don't write for those people.

Somewhere out there, there is a better way for me to get in touch with my audience.
I just wish I knew what it was. It definitely isn't facebook.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Interesting, the Hammer Commission is selling well again.

The Hammer Commission was written back in 2013. It's the first story I wrote in which Rafael, from 'The King of Las Vegas' appeared. Well, it's now in the top 100 in one of its categories, something it hasn't been for some time now. Apparently a lot of KOLV readers are buying it now.
Kind of nice.


Thursday, April 07, 2016

More Sex? & Does Sex Sell

Sometimes I think I should have put more sex in the Portals of Infinity series, as in explicit sex scenes. Because I wonder if I would have sold even more stories and gotten more of a following.

I wonder this for two reasons, the first being that I look at a few of my contemporaries who went that route and they have better sales numbers than me (about 20 percent to 30 percent better), the second being that I still get treated by the haters as if I actually HAD put explicit sex scenes in the books.

I think that's why I put more explicit sex scenes in 'The King of Las Vegas', after all, if you're going to be accused of it anyway, why not? And even those scenes have been dialed back from their original level, because I felt I went a little overboard in the first draft :-P

Just one of those things you wonder about sometimes.

(And no, I'm not going to change it, too late for that, the die is cast. Just wondering is all).

Saturday, April 02, 2016

How things are going on the Writing Front

Just an update.

'The King of Las Vegas' is continuing to plug along slowly, not as well as I think it would have if the event of the other week hadn't taken place (because it would have gotten that sweet Amazon free advertising), but it really is refusing to die. It's selling at least ten copies a day (plus at least twenty via KU) and has moved back into the top 100 in at least one of its three categories after falling out several times.

I think I should try another advertising / promotion round on it, to see if I can give it a leg up again. If the people who liked it enough to give it a thumbs up on the pirate site were to write a nice review on Amazon, it would definitely help. And hey, if you liked a book that you stole enough to tell other people its good, you could at least do the author a solid and try to keep him writing, right?

Book Seven of the POI series (which as usual is still unnamed) is past the 1/5 mark. I may have some interviews lined up for next week (waiting to hear back from a few companies), so I'm going to try and knuckle down and get more work done over the weekend. My original goal was to try and publish book seven on or around May 1st. I'd like to try and see if I can pull it in from there, as if I do start a new job before the end of the month, I'll be too busy to write for several weeks, if not longer.

The plot for book seven is already complete, sub-plots are being fleshed out, and some side-plots are being looked at. I have  target for how long I want this one to run, size wise. It will interesting to see if my guess as to how long it will take to tell the story is correct or not.

For those of you who have been reading me and buying my stuff, I want to thank you for your patronage and your kind words. What happened last month was rough, especially as it came on the one year anniversary of my father's passing unexpectedly. So I apologize if I sounded a little rough. Book seven will be published. And probably even a book eight (though I can't give a timeline on that at this time).

Again, thanks for everything.
-John

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Not sure where I'm going from here.

Okay, so getting pirated during the launch did have an effect on my sales. I don't know if it is what killed the book, but about 50 people downloaded the torrent, rather than buy my book that day. From what happened to my sales at that point, I suspect some of those would have been paid sales.

The circumstances that put the torrent link right below the Amazon link on Google surely did not help matters any.

The entire matter was rather frustrating and demoralizing, to put it bluntly. I am back to looking for consulting work once again. As for the next Portals book, I don't know. The plot is done and the first several chapters are finished, I may finish it up while looking for a contract, just have to see. It won't be edited, it may not even have a cover art piece, those things cost money and those are costs I have to lay out in advance. Maybe I should do a kickstarter to cover the cost of those? I don't know.

I already have a decent idea of how much the next POI book should make, by looking at the trends on sales from each book to the next. It should be enough to make it worthwhile, but it probably won't be enough to support me. Sadly I suck at marketing and promotion. If I was better at it, or knew more about it, I'd probably be able to sell a lot more. Book one in the Portals series really did do fantastic, but each book after that sold a little bit less, which is normal for a series. That's why really long series are very rare, because no matter how many people bought the first book, eventually very few people will keep buying. It's like a half-life.

I had left it open to write a sequel to 'The King of Las Vegas' originally. That will not be happening now, (unless sales inexplicably suddenly go through the roof). While the initial sales were very good, after the unexpected sales drop, it got kicked out of the Amazon promo system and still hasn't recovered. KU sales did continue to grow for a while, and are still good, but KU pays about half of regular royalties (in some countries it pays significantly less than that), and it's regular sales that appear to drive the ranking system, not KU. So I just can not afford to write a sequel. All future Hammer Commission books are on an indefinite hold now.

I have a shrean book that is more than halfway finished, I may finish it, I may not. I don't expect it to sell at all however, so if I do finish it, it won't be edited and it'll get a cheap cover, if any.

As for Portals going forward, I may still try to do some other stories in the universe, because I suspect everyone is getting tired of reading about Will. But it all depends on how the next one sells, if I do finish it. I have to admit to wanting to pull the one shrean book ('Lost Souls') put it out under a different author name, and see if it does any better. You know, dinging a book by an author you like because it isn't part of the series he's writing that you do like, does NOT encourage him to write more of that series. Quite the opposite in fact.

Two things encourage authors to write more of something: Sales, and positive reviews. And Sales is a very large part of that. Writing takes time, it takes a lot of time. I probably have close to a thousand hours in 'The King of Las Vegas', I'd hoped to make five grand over the life of that book, and have it bring in new readers to the Portals series and bring that up more as well. Right now I've made about a hundred dollars off of it (after expenses). Quite a break from expectations isn't it?

But, writing is like that. You don't know what people will like or won't like, I have been both blessed and cursed with the Portals series, blessed in that so many people have liked it. Cursed in that some people think anything I write will be like it, and if it isn't they're upset, or worse yet, they won't even look at something else because they don't like Portals.

The thing about Portals is, it isn't just about the worlds and the mytho's that William goes through. Oh, that's a part of it, a big part of it of course. But the real story is about William himself. When suddenly you've been handed tons of fame and power, what do you do? How does it affect you? How does it change you, and how will you grow as a man? Look at Ginger Baker, and look at Paul McCartney. (If you don't know who they are, go look them up). Both were very famous, both are still some what famous. Both have made millions. Yet one is still a madman, while the other one 'grew up'.

And to be honest, I can't say which of the two has really had a better life. They both took different paths and have gone different ways, and have made their mark on the world very distinctly. There isn't a drummer alive who doesn't know who Ginger Baker is (not if he's any good) but there are a lot of bass players who probably don't know anything about Paul McCartney.

So yeah, I'm a little down, but I'm not quite out. But for the writing thing? Right now I don't know what's going to happen with that. If you want to help, tell people about whichever book of mine was your favorite, and try to get them to read me.

Thanks,
-John

Friday, March 25, 2016

Please do not Pirate my Books

Please do not download the pirated copies of my books. I keep the prices as low as I can, because I want people to be able to afford my stories, but I have bills to pay and food to buy. I cannot work for free.

The increase in pirating of my works is having a huge affect on my situation, it is getting so bad that I am now looking for a regular job again and will not be writing full-time anymore.

I do not work for a publisher, I work directly for you. When you pirate my work, it is not a publisher who takes the hit, it's me who loses out.

If you want me to keep writing, then please pay me for my work.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

*sigh*

Annnd the pirates hit this morning and my sales dropped significantly.

This may be it for me folks. If the sales don't come back, I'm quitting and going back to consulting. I have bills to pay.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Why I write things other than Portals of Infinity.

Someone made a comment today that basically implied they wondered why I wrote things other than the Portals of Infinity series. Well, it's really pretty simple: Money.

You see, when you write a series, it has a 'sell-through rate', which is how many people who buy the first book, buy the next, etcetera and so on. Now the POI series has had a pretty good sell-through rate for me, but still, the number of people buying them has decreased and will eventually get to the point where it won't be worth it for me to write them anymore.

Book 6, 'Reprisal', sold one-fifth the number of copies as book 1, 'Champion for Hire'. Book 7 I know will sell even less than that. Book 8? Book 8 may very well be the last book of the series, if I can't get people to start being interested in buying the later books in the series, without them having to read the earlier books. This is why I took the numbers off the cover, Reprisal can be read without having to read the earlier books. Book 7 will be the same. I want to try to make the books such that people will be more willing to pick up the odd one, and if they like it, maybe read some of the others.

While I enjoy what I do very much, I can not continue to do it, if I don't make any money at it. So between each POI book lately, I have put out something other than a POI book. After book 7, another Shrean book (this one is not a sequel to the prior one) will come out. A sequel to The Hammer Commission, is also in the works. Because if I can't attract readers to my other stories, and get those other stories to sell, then I'll have to go back to consulting and quit being an author. Both are full-time jobs (to be honest, the consulting gig pays about 3 times what the writing gig pays - I just like this more).

Yes, it would be great if I could write only the Portals of Infinity books, and continue to make a living off of that. I enjoy the world, and the freedom I have with it. I've been trying to write a POI book that focuses on Nikki, as an attempt to let me do more writing in the POI world. I hopefully will still be able to do that, and I can keep the POI books coming out, even if I may have to cut back to only two of them a year. But only time will tell.

And as to why I tend to use cats in my books? Well as I've mentioned elsewhere, I used to raise, train, and even own, big cats. I spent a lot of years with cougars, leopards, lions, tigers, servals, caracals, etc. And by a lot, I mean over twenty. As for Rafael, Rakshasa are Indian demons that look like tigers, but really aren't. I thought it would be easier for people to make the tiger comparison stronger. They also in the myths feed off of hate, fear, anger and build those emotions in people by shape-shifting into the guise of other people in a village and sowing dissent. Eventually they eat the person they've been targeting. I thought it would be fun to have an American College student who was a womanizer (very much like someone I know in real life) become one, and being an American decide he was more into sex than violence. I threw that character into 'The Hammer Commission' for fun, and was surprised that there were people who asked me to actually expand on that character. So I did.

But yes, I like big cats. Sue me. Hopefully one of these days when I move back out into the sticks I'll get one last one, just to have that back in my life again. Of course that would mean no more vacations, but eh, life is full of trade-offs.

So anyway, hope I didn't ramble too much, but if you want more POI stories, then get more people to buy them! :-)

Thank you all,
-John

Monday, March 21, 2016

What I accomplished this weekend

Originally this weekend I was going to work on the print copy of the new book (The King of Las Vegas - go buy one! hint hint! ;-) ) as well as the print copy of Reprise, the last Portals of Infinity book. How that last one fell through the cracks is beyond me, but it did.

Instead, I worked on the fence (because it was starting to fall apart). The fence around my house is a wooden one with those cedar slats like you see in the home depot/Lowes stores. It goes around the backyard, it's nothing fancy, and I have no idea when it was put up, all the houses in the neighborhood have the same thing. Of course setting 4x4's in concrete means rot, sooner if you don't do it right, but even if you do, eventually it has to be fixed. At this point I've fixed about half of the 4x4's, which is a pain. I can't get my neighbors to do the work, because in the past they were all way older than me, or no one was living there. Now, one is way older, the other is at work all the time. At least the new one on the one side has taken to doing work on their side, and THAT is very much appreciated.

So on Saturday, I had to fix a spot where three fence lines meet, and they meet at weird angles because of property line changes, my house was the last in the line of the type one developer built, so the next one, and the one behind me are different, and have different property setups. I had to remove ten to fifteen feet of each fence section, only two of which border my property (the other one borders the other two neighbors) dig up an old concrete footing, set in a new 4x4, replace all of the stuff I took down, and then I also set in too steel fence posts, in concrete, to give that corner additional bracing. Because I have a 120 lb GSD that likes to jump on the fence, and the neighbor behind me has an 80 lb mix that does a bit of that as well when they're running back and forth.

So I spent all day Saturday, getting materials, tearing down, cutting new materials to size, digging holes, building back up (with the post set in the proper place this time), mixing/pouring/setting concrete, then cleaning up all of the junk I had torn down.

I spent Sunday mostly goofing off, because I'm not as young as I used to be, and surprisingly quite a few joints are complaining about all of the work I did. You know, I don't mind getting old, I just hate feeling it :-P !

So tonight, after I get back from my bass lesson, I'll start on the paperback versions of the last two novels. Which leads to a question for any of you reading this. What size do you prefer paperbacks to be? I go with 6 x 9, because it keeps the costs down (you pay by the page on printing costs and I want to keep my prices low for you) and I've seen it used a lot. I've see some people doing 5.5 x 8.25 which ends up increasing page count by about 25 percent. If I did the paperback size you see in bookstores, then the price would be a lot higher. But just curious as to what preferences people have.

So, back to work!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Where do you buy your reviews?

This is a question I'd really like to ask some of the other authors out there, where do you buy your reviews? Because I know what a professional review looks like, and I know when I see one written, but that reviewer has never reviewed anyone else, that it's a bought and paid for review.

Now that doesn't mean the book is bad, I've seen some with a lot of other reviews, and decent sales, so obviously the story is good, but the first batch of reviews, the ones that got people to actually give the story a chance, were obviously bought and paid for.

I'd love to know where they went and got their reviews, because to be honest, as everyone is doing it, and Amazon really doesn't do anything about it (except for the occasional thing every few years) I'm very tempted to do it myself. To date, I've never paid for a review, and for the few people I've given review copies to, I've always told them to note that the got the copy for free, for review purposes. I've always worked hard to be as upfront and ethical (and honest) as possible.

But ethics and honest doesn't sell books. And while I'm going okay, I sometimes wonder if I could be doing better. If I should cheat like the others are.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

The King of Las Vegas is available for Pre-order on Amazon




I actually got a link to amazon to work with blogger!

anyway, It's on Amazon and ready for pre-order, and goes live on the 18th, this Friday. Buy early and buy often! :-)

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Pre-Order page is now up for The King of Las Vegas!

Got the new book submitted to Amazon today, it's in Pre-Order mode right now, and will become available on the 18th of this month (3/18).

Go check it out!

http://www.amazon.com/King-Las-Vegas-John-Stry-ebook/dp/B01CV216KW/

Now I can get back to work on the POI book! :-)

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Coming Soon...

Now I just need to write the blurb and get the manuscript back from my editor.
Aiming for a 3/18 release date right now.

This is the story of Rafael, an American College student, who during a vacation in India fell afoul of a Rakshasa. Many years later when he finally wins his freedom (and gets deported back to America), the question becomes: Where can a shape-shifting tiger-demon find acceptance in America?

Friday, March 04, 2016

Portals of Infinity, Book Seven

Well, I officially started writing book seven today. Now lets see how long it takes me to finish it! One chapter down.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

The King of Las Vegas should be up for sale soon!

So, the cover is currently being made for my next book: The King of Las Vegas.
This story is one from the 'Hammer Commission' universe, and it tells the story of how Rafael, the American College student turned Rakshasa during holiday in India came to be where he is today.

Once the cover is done I'll set it up on Amazon with a release date and everything. Just can't do that without a cover.

In other news Book 7 in the Portals of Infinity series is now underway, still cleaning up a few plot issues and I hope to start the first draft today or tomorrow.

-John

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Today is the Last Day of my Sale 2/25

Well, Today is the last day of my Sale. If you haven't looked, go look now.
If you've been thinking of buying, but held off. Well after midnight tonight the prices go back up.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Big Sale!! Starts Tomorrow (2/19)

This is my 'Post Valentine's Day Sale', because you were probably all too busy on Valentine's day, right?

Well, okay, the way my KU stuff is set up, couldn't start it until tomorrow (and I can't start Lost Souls until Saturday - weird 90 day boundary thing). But I know February is slow for a lot of people, and I figured this might be a good time to have a massive sale, maybe spark some interest in some new readers even!

So! All of my books are going on sale tomorrow! Most are 50 percent or more off, a couple are only 30 percent.

So, if you've ever thought of checking out some of my stories, this is the time to go have a look!

http://www.amazon.com/John-Van-Stry/e/B004U7JY8I/ (my author page on amazon)

http://vanstry.net/vanstry/  (my home page with links to all my books)

The Sale runs until the 26th.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Worth reading

I'm linking to the post below, because I really despise the publishers who do this kind of thing, and I think people should read it to understand that there is a huge bias in the publishing industry (which would never in a million years publish Portals of Infinity, because it has a guy doing actual guy things! Horror!)

Also because I'm a third of the way through the book, and it's pretty good so far. I can't believe they turfed it, because some junior editor somewhere didn't like the fact that the AI decides to wipe out humanity because after watching a reality star get an abortion, they realize that humanity may very well treat them the same way.

In any case, I'd say to check the post out, and give the sample of the book a look.

http://www.nickcolebooks.com/2016/02/09/banned-by-the-publisher/

Monday, February 08, 2016

King of Las Vegas nearing completion

The first draft of my next book: The King of Las Vegas, is almost done. Hopefully I'll finish it up tonight or tomorrow, down to about the last 3K words. Then it's off to the first re-write. I'm not sure exactly how big this one will be, right now I'm thinking it'll be about 70K words, but I'll have to see what the re-write does to it.

My goal is to be able to send this out to my editor next week, I'll probably commission the cover this Friday. Once that all goes out, I'll start working on the next book in the Portals of Infinity series.

As for the King of Las Vegas, this story takes place in the same world as 'The Hammer Commission', it's not a sequel however, this story is about how Rafael, the Rakshasa that rules Las Vegas came to be. There were definitely some challenges in writing this, which may be why it's taken longer to write than expected. I do hope that everyone enjoys it, once it's finished.

-John

Friday, February 05, 2016

Car Work (fun!)

So, the Forester (2006 xt) is fixed and back on the road.
A new battery (I tried Bosch this time) was $140. I could have brought the duralast POS back to Autozone, as it was still under warranty, but there was no way I was going to give durlast another chance to do even more damage to my car.
The new battery cable was $70, and the new terminal was another $15. (the battery ATE the positive cable, it spewed out so much acid, never seen the like in all my life).
Replacing the cable was a pain, I had to pull the intercooler off the motor to get to the terminals, and routing the cables was a hassle.
Then I had to clean the acid off of the tray, the tray tie downs, everything around the battery in the engine compartment, take the battery hold down cross bar, clean the acid off of that, clean the rust off, prime it and repaint it.
The only sealed battery you can by in california is apparently Optima, and well, they're garbage (I bought one once, used the warranty 3 times in one week, then said screw it and went to something else).
I also noticed that none of the name brands I'm used to could be found in my area. I don't know if that's because of some stupid cali law, or some other reason. But hopefully the Bosch will work (Sears didn't have any diehards at the local Sears for my car when I checked on line, which was strange).
So, the duralast is offically the most expensive battery I've ever had for my car, as it cost me $100 in repairs, a weeks downtime, while I waited for parts, and a lot of freaking work out in the cold.
So yeah, don't buy Duralast, they're freaking acid generators. Never saw so much acid build up on a battery in my entire life.

Next is to replace the headlight housings and then the shocks/struts as well as change the oil in the rear end. Hopefully it will then last for another 10 years.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Book review and a recommendation


Pam Uphoff is one of the writers on a blog I read and often comment on, (Mad Genius Club), and a week or so ago she had put up an article on bit characters who got carried away and ended up with more of the story than they ever were intended to have, and could sometimes run off to do major things later on. This really isn't that uncommon an occurrence, my novella 'Dialene' is about a bit character from Children of Steel who didn't even have a line of dialogue in that book!

So yeah, these things happen.

But I found the bit she put up about one of her recent books 'Dancer' ( http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KI8KLOY - which is book number fifteen - Long Series!) to be very interesting, so as I'm a KU member, and the book is in KU, I figured I'd check it out, why not? Technically it's free.

And yes, I'm glad I read it. Don't let the cover fool you, it is definitely not just a book for women. It's very much a good action and adventure scifi story, and even though this is #15 in the series, this one definitely can stand alone. I found the first few pages a little confusing, because yes, this is a sequel in a series, but that didn't last long. Things were explained and done well enough that it didn't intrude into the story or into the flow of the story. Not once in the story have I run into anything that I couldn't understand because I hadn't read the prior books. If past knowledge was necessary, it was always there, as a comment or reminder, or worked in seamlessly in some manner.

I really enjoyed the story, and I would recommend that you at least check out the sample to see if you like it too. It's very much a futuristic world, where humanity has been subtly changed by a bunch of cross dimensional visitors who were stranded many hundreds of years ago, and whose genetic heritage has had some major effects (as well as their political ambitions). It's a very different world and society now, but not different enough that you can't understand it easily.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Some post convention stuff

Overall, the convention was good, even if I was only there for one day. I spent most of my time talking with old friends and acquaintances, and I even allowed myself to tell some old stories about things I had worked at or done many years ago. Normally I try to avoid those, because they're all past history, and I do enjoy hearing other people's stories.

The presentation went well, the crowd was smaller this year, but the con moved all of the panel rooms to the other hotel, which is on the other side of the convention center from the main convention events. Which is pretty stupid. So panel attendance was down overall from what I could see. I still made a few good connections however from the panel. I also found that my new set of slides caused me to run a bit longer than normal, so I may have to edit them down a little bit.

Need to put them up online today as well.

I think this sums up my mood for today:


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Quick Question

For those of you who have been looking at the chapters I put up recently on my Patreon Account, do you think I should continue that story in 3rd person, or go back and do it in 1st?

For the rest of you who have read what I've published so far, the same question: Do you prefer my 1st person viewpoint style over the 3rd person, or does it make no difference to you?

Really been wondering about that a lot lately. I've been doing the current story in 3rd, because the story is in the Hammer Commission universe, and that story was written in third for a couple of particular reasons. But the POI series is all in 1st (as well as the COS stories) and I'm wondering if I should take the story I'm currently working on (King of Las Vegas) and flip it over to 1st person instead.

As I'm about a third into KOLV, I'd need to make that change soon, if I'm going to make it at all. But I'm curious as to which style my readers prefer.

Comments welcome!

Friday, January 08, 2016

I will be at Further Confusion Sat, the 16th

I'll be doing a panel on self-publishing on Sat the 16th at Further Confusion in San Jose at 11am, till I think 12:30 or so. I'll probably be at the con until 8 or 9. I'd like to be there longer, but don't have anyone to watch the dog.

If you want to stop by, feel free. I'll probably be hanging out around Rozga's table in the dealers den quite a bit.