Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Why don't people review the books they like?

If someone hates a book, they'll write a review about 50 percent of the time. Even if they only read a little bit of it. The people who hate something are always very quick to write reviews.

If someone likes a book, they'll write a review 1 percent of the time. That's right, one in a hundred people who like a book with stop to write a review about it.

You'll tip people for good food, good service, for all sorts of things. But you won't take 30 seconds to tell an author that you liked his book. A book that you only paid a few dollars for, but which entertained you for hours.

No, I don't get it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Another unexpected joy...

So, yard work is done, I'll just put the tools away in the garage and go shower and get to writing ....

Hey, why is the garage flooding and what's that gurgling noise?

$600 and a few hours later I now have a new hot water heater. At least I was already dirty. :-( Now I just have to fill it up and wait for the water to heat up (gas).

Sunday, May 14, 2017

And this is one of the (many) reasons I need to leave California


California threatens to shut down book signings and therefore small booksellers

That's right, it's illegal for me, an author, to sign the books I write here in California, unless I meet a whole long laundry list of demands. The MINIMUM fine for messing up or not keeping records for -7- years?

Thirty Thousand Dollars. ($30,000)

This being California, if you think there aren't people out there just waiting to take advantage of this situation to screw over authors they don't like, or to make a buck, you're dreaming. When the ACA passed we had a guy making millions going around suing every place that didn't have a suitable wheelchair ramp.

This is what happens when you put evil people in office.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

I am so tired of Grammar Nazi's, who DON'T KNOW GRAMMAR

So yeah, some guy gave me a 3 star on Deities and Demigods, because 'there were too many apostrophes,' as in I used it's instead of its throughout the entire book. They then go on to how I need to hire an editor.

What is it with these morons who don't know grammar and their complaining about indy authors needing editors? Really? WHAT IS IT? Cause I hired an editor for that book!

So I went through the entire book and looked at each and every single case of it's and I found -1- (one) that's it, just ONE wrong usage. Which of course I fixed immediately. All of the rest were either contractions for 'it is' or 'it has'. Every Single One.

I don't know what it is with these people. I'll put my editing, before I hire an editor, up against -any- publishing company out there. Because I've seen worse in paperbacks by the big 5 that I have bought, than in my own average story. This is also why I fired my editor. What is the point of hiring an editor to fix your grammar mistakes and typos when these yahoos who do not know grammar at all are going to complain about it no matter what? I could have perfect grammar in a book, totally perfect, but they're still going to complain. I guess so they can feel superior or something.

Look, we all make mistakes, it just happens. And I appreciate those who do find them and send them to me in an email so I can fix them. But those folks who write reviews where they crow about 'all the bad grammar' and then don't supply the examples? Yeah, those people are full of it.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

So Google has changed the definition of Fascism

That's right, Google has redefined the word 'Fascism'.

(sometimes initial capital letter) a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.
(sometimes initial capital letter) the philosophy, principles, or methods of fascism.
(initial capital letter) a political movement that employs the principles and methods of fascism, especially the one established by Mussolini in Italy 1922–43.
Mussolini was a leftist btw. So was Hitler, they were both socialists. And now Google is trying to redefine fascism to mean right-wing, when it does not and never has.
I guess Google will start re-writing history next.
So folks, if you want to see what evil truly looks like in this day and age, all you have to do is look at Google. Because this really is evil. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Almost done with being sick!

I got sick Saturday. A combination of cold & flu & massive allergy attack. Somewhere in there I think I also picked up a case of food poisoning as well :-P

Today is the first day I haven't spent more in bed than out of bed, which is nice, because I usually don't get sick for more than a day or two, so being down for like four in a row was complete misery (and I felt it too).

Now I can get back to work!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017

This is Why I Suck at Marketing

So, just read a story today by an author who has 'New York Times Bestselling Author and USA Today Bestselling Author' branded on all of their books. All of their books.

And they've only been writing since last year, and they don't really have that many reviews on most of their stuff. Now the story wasn't bad, really, it was just all action and not much plot and minor character development. We just go from action scene to action scene, and the book is probably about 55K words long, so it doesn't get to the point of actually being too much action.

But still, I'm looking at this going, 'how did this person make both of those lists?' Especially when they don't say which of their books made the list.

Well some internet searching and I found it. They got into this huge mega box set deal, and there were some good authors in the set (over twenty authors in the box set total). The entire set made the bestseller lists. So yeah, technically he's a bestselling author now.

I would never have thought to put something like that down.

It's like all of those authors who write their bios in third person like someone else is talking about them, or who go through their reviews on the page, pull out a few, and put them up in the 'editorial review' section. Hell, I've gotten reviews from third parties, completely unsolicited, and I've never put them in there.

I really do not understand marketing for ebooks, or just books in general, I guess.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Has Amazon been putting DRM on my books without my Permission?

I don't set DRM on my ebooks. Some people are claiming that Amazon is now applying DRM to all ebooks, even those where the author has requested it not be set. Are any of you seeing this with my ebooks?

Monday, April 17, 2017

So yes, that Harem story

I finished one, and will eventually (probably next month) be putting out a second one. They are under a different name however: Jan Stryvant. Why? Because while I actually enjoy harem fiction, (I think the E. William Brown stories are some of the best) it's not really what I normally write, and well 'Brand Recognition' I guess you would say. I don't mind people knowing that I wrote it, however I want people to understand that this is something different from what I normally write.
And yes, I'm sure there are people who are going to hate me for writing it. Again, different name, so they can just ignore it and not worry about stumbling on it by mistake.

Anyway, here's the link for it on Amazon: Shadow, by Jan Stryvant 

Let me know what you think, and if you like it, write a nice review and tell all your friends.

I may make a gmail address and possibly a blog page for that author name, so if people want to talk about it, they have a place to go. Without having to know my real name.

Politics and checking your six

Now I normally do not talk about politics in this blog, because I figure that none of you are coming here for that, and I don't blame you. I am actually an incredibly politically aware person, and once upon a time I was also extremely active in politics. For a number of reasons I have tried to back off from a lot of it (which I won't discuss here - though some of it has been mentioned elsewhere), but the sad truth is, you can no more get away from politics than you can get away from gravity. Because it's always there.

Right now we are seeing a lot of unrest in the country I live in (the USA). It's not the first time this has happened in my life (I was born in '59), I remember the riots and the terrorists we had in this country in the 60's and 70's. These people murdered others, blew up things, did all sorts of very heinous crimes, even if some of them are now 'celebrated' people, you must remember that they are murderers. They did in fact kill people, and it's only because of really bizarre political dealings that they are not now in jail. Though some of it I think is due to certain people wanting to 'forget' and 'put it all behind them.'

Well, I hate to say it, but the truth of the matter is that we are heading back to those times, and probably worse. The 'Battle of Berkley' wasn't an aberration, it was a sign of things to come. None of this has peaked yet, far from it. Now that those being preyed upon have woken up and started fighting back (and winning) you can expect the people leading the attacks to start bringing nastier weapons than the bricks, pipes, bottles, and clubs that they have been using since last summer.

In most of the state I live in, the government has already chosen a side in all of this, which is why when the violent types crash the rallies and the protests, the police disappear rather quickly, or just watch and don't get involved. People are noticing that, and they're not very happy about it either. After all, we pay the police to stop these things, not to encourage it.

I would tell all of you this summer to rethink any travel plans you may have. Especially for when the weather gets hotter and tempers get shorter. Go look up what months we had the worst riots in the 60's and 70's, and what kinds of places they were in. Look at where they are now as well. If you live in one of those kinds of places, you might want to think about moving. And if you're planning on visiting any of them, I would change those plans.

There are very dark clouds on the horizon. If you don't want to get sucked into this against your will and become a victim, now is the time to start thinking about it.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

What I've been doing...

So, because a bunch of you all wrote me (or responded on Patreon) I took one of my old stories that I wrote for my own enjoyment years ago, and spent a week re-writing, editing, re-arranging, and generally just spending 14 hour days on.
I've now given it to a bunch of folks to read (and hopefully they'll get back to me soon) because I want their opinion on it. It's hard to step back from something you wrote a long time ago and be sure it's good enough to put out. And as this is long (it weighs in at almost 150K words) I suspect it will be a few days before I hear anything, (well one person finished it and said they loved it, so I'm hopeful).
And yeah, it's a harem type story. The story is about a guy who suffers something terrible as a child and develops super powers because of it. He then uses his powers to hunt down and punish those people and others like them. Until one day he starts to wonder about life, and the meaning of his, and decides maybe it's time to start over.
The prologue covers that, and is the set up for the rest of the story, as he decides to go learn about all of those things he's missed. Of course, because of who and what he is, it isn't going to be easy, and while he's not evil, he's not exactly good either. If you're a big fan of the 'super hero code' that the comic books use, you'll probably hate this story, because this guy isn't like that, and neither is his story.

If I get enough thumbs up from folks on it, I will publish it. It will be under a pen name, which I'll mention here. The reason for not putting it out under my name is that it isn't exactly the kind of thing I'm known for writing (and people these days don't like you straying all over the map), so using a pen name will signal everyone that it's something different and not to be shocked at the blatant sex and swearing and violence.

For now, I'm just waiting to hear what people say about it, while I go to work on another (and somewhat) different one. Then I'll go back to working on the stuff that I said I'd be doing. If the harem stuff does well, I'll do more of it. For now it's just a question of wait and see.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Serious Question on Future works (Harem?)

How many of you are into Harem type fiction?
I know the POI books are considered to be 'Harem' by some, and I can see that it sells really well.
So, how many of you would like to see me write some basic harem type stuff?

Just curious here.

I enjoyed this book. Quite a bit.

A friend of mine who also writes, wrote this recently, and it's a really good story:

Cartwright's Cavaliers

It's a futuristic sci-fi story where Earth's biggest economy is its Mercenary companies. It features Mechs, and some other aspects of futuristic warfare, as well as some space combat. Plus you have a very out of place kid who inherits his father's Mercenary company, who happens to be something of a brony and Anime fan.

It's a fun story. Check it out.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Short Stories, and why I don't write them anymore

I used to love writing short stories, and I used to write them fairly often. There were several reasons for this, the biggest being that those were what people where accepting for print. But also because they were low time investments: a few days work and you were done with it for good.

Writing short stories also teaches you a lot about writing. Pacing is more important, and in a short story anything that does not advance the story must go. Must. There are no exceptions.
Novellas of course are the bastard children of short stories and novels that result from drunken liaisons in dark alleys. Really! They are! Just ask one about their parents some day.

But lately, I haven't really been able to write one. And it's sad because there were two anthologies I probably could have gotten a short story sale in, but I just couldn't shift my mind into doing it. I suspect this is because I've been on a novel grind. Everything lately has been about the novels I've been working on, and want to get done this year. I've been so focused on trying to get that done, that when I'm writing, if it's not part of either the book I'm currently writing, or one of the ones on the roadmap for later this year, I'm just not interested in putting any of it down.

I'm not really even interested in thinking about it.

I guess I've just been very 'tunnel vision' about things for the last six months or so. Especially writing. I think some of that has gotten a little worse lately as I'm behind schedule on my plan for this year, I've barely started my second novel that was planned for release next month, and here it is the end of March already. It's hard to focus on something that isn't the 'primary job' when the primary job isn't going well. My mind keeps wanting to go back to the thing that's not going right so I can get it back on track. A lot of that has to do with the way I worked as a consultant. I always got my work done ahead of schedule, some times weeks or months ahead, and then I'd just sit on it while I waited for the other groups to catch up. This way last minute changes were easier to deal with.

Those kinds of things are easy in technical work, which often isn't very creative. But in an endeavor that is 100 percent creative, not so much. And it has been frustrating. I know my plan this year was to write six novels. One published every two months. But I've already realized that I'm probably not going to be able to do that, because you can't publishing anything within about 20 days of Christmas (a lesson I learned last December when I put out a book ten days before Christmas and its release got totally lost in the holiday sales).

The big thing right now is that I need to get POI #8 (Working title: Playing the Game) into heads down and writing mode. Then I need to do the last DOFP book. After that, probably more POI. Maybe I should just consider writing a POI book that is a series of shorts and novellas to fill in a bunch of the gaps and side quests that are part and parcel of Will's life? That would definitely let me flesh out a few things you normally don't see in the novels. Then again, I don't know if you'd all be interested or not.

But it all comes back to being on this runaway treadmill that really requires you to publish every sixty days or so, if you want to stay relevant on Amazon, and keep people seeing your works, and keep selling. I took too much time and money back in January to try and improve my Marketing and expand my fanbase / reading pool. It was, unfortunately, a very big waste of time and money. I even hired someone to help and sadly, that didn't work. It seems that most of you discovered me due to Amazon, not any other outside channel. So I should have been just writing the next novel, not wasting my efforts elsewhere.

I also spent too much time and mental energy trying to land a publishing deal. When they said they weren't interested in my current story lines but were impressed enough with my writing that they would take me on, if I came up with a new line just for them, I should have just turned them down. Instead I spent two months trying to come up with something for them. It takes me a very long time to come up with the idea for a series, or a world. A very long time. While I do have some ideas 'lying around' none of them are really in a final state to write about, or I already would be.

So, if the next POI book does well enough, and I can get both it and the DOFP book done in quick order, maybe I'll have enough breathing space to pick up on writing some short stories again. That or I'll have to find a 'real' job again. Or maybe switch over to writing uber-females in vampire military scifi engaging in galactic conquest :-p

Monday, March 20, 2017

To all of you pirating my books

How about at least nominating me for an award or something? Like the Dragon Awards, or something else that is free to vote on. I know that there are several thousand of you out there, and well if you're not going to pay, how about doing something (that's free) for me that will help me sell more to those who will?

Think about it.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sometimes I just don't get it

I'm an engineer by training. And for me, one of the things that means is that if something works, you use it. And you stick with it. You don't go switching to something new unless there is a good reason, like more or better functionality, or the old one doesn't work anymore, or it's cheaper to use.

Stuff like that.

Now when it comes to instant messengers, I have all the old ones, AIM, Yahoo, a few others. Because that was what other people used, because they only used what came with their service. But now everyone I used to talk with over these things have moved onto a dozen new instant messengers, all brand new ones, with all sorts of things I hear them complaining about.

Why did they move?

Absolutely no reason at all. The services aren't any better, in many cases they're actually worse (in that they raid your private information and use it to try and get others to join - among other things). They just moved on like a flock of birds I guess. To the new 'better' thing. Hell, I don't even use skype anymore, it's pointless to me 99 percent of the time, I give people my phone number and tell them to call me. But amazingly enough, people still use Twitter, even though there are better services out there that don't censor a quarter of their users, and which don't inspect all posts for passing some kind of political litmus test.

Yeah, just don't get it. Must be getting old or something.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The ballad of fixing my Car(s)

So, it always seems that everything that can go wrong, does so right around the time I have to pay my taxes. This year was no different. I have two cars, and they both broke at the exact same time.

Now one of the cars I don't drive very often. It's a sports car I bought a few years ago for various reasons. Normally I only drive it on weekends, but working from home now, well it can go months without being driven. When I was working in Oregon a couple years back, it would also go months without being driven. So the battery went dead this week, for the third (and final) time. There was no recharging it; it would no longer hold a charge. And batteries here in California are pretty damn expensive. Maybe they're that way in the rest of the country, I don't know. I just know from other things (motorcycles) that the prices all have doubled in the last four years.

While that was all going on, my other car started to make the grinding noise of death from somewhere around the fan belts. I thought it was the alternator at first, so I had to start pulling off the belts (there are two - one for alternator and power steering, one for AC). Of course, as odds would have it, it wasn't the alternator.

So, I had to pull off the AC belt, which means pulling off the electric fans attached to the radiator. I get the belt off and check the idler pulley, and it's grindy. Very grindy. That's what I get for buying a cheap plastic one a few years ago when it died the last time. So off to Napa and $40 later I have a really nice heavy metal one with a lifetime guarantee. Yes, the car is a 2006 Forester XT. It's got 130K miles on it. Or, like the Subaru people like to say: It's just getting broken in.

So I put the new pulley in and promptly break the idler adjuster (damn! Didn't I do that last time I changed it? I did? Double Damn!) so I order that and have to wait a few days.

Now, a bit of an aside here. Last week, when I noticed the A/C wasn't working, I recharged it. And things got really noisy after I did. That was when I noticed that the high-pressure line was leaking, hence the noise. Turns out the o-ring went. So I replaced the o-ring and recharged the system and everything was fine.

Or so I thought.

So, get the new idler adjuster, put it on, fire it up. And the compressor is what's now making the noise. So, either the compressor is shot, -or-, hopefully, when the system bled down twice due to the bad o-ring, it lost a lot of oil. So I go buy some oil. It's not too expensive and the can says it contains an ounce. So I put it all in, and the compressor gets nice and quiet like it should be. So obviously it needed oil!

But! Now the system is over-pressured! So I bleed it down.

Now, no cooling, but lots of heat!

So, now what? I figure that maybe whatever propellant they put in the oil can isn't cooling, or maybe it's too much oil or something. I know the older systems took a lot of oil. Or maybe the compressor is shot.

So, I go buy a can of coolant (TEN dollar core charge on a CAN? WTF????? Thank you California!!). Bleed the system down to 0, then refill it with the can. This time the system hits a nice legal pressure, and even as I put the rest of the can in, barely climbs up at all. And best of all, it's blowing nice and cold now!

So. Hopefully it's fixed. It is possible that the compressor may have gotten damaged from the lack of oil, I'm hoping it didn't. At a new one is about $150, which I don't have right now. (That's putting it in myself, so add the cost of oil and R-134a to that). But at least it's all back together and seems to be running fine again. Both cars that is.

But I think the Forester may be up for a clutch soon....
And it still needs the headlight enclosures replaced....

So, if you have, say five or ten thousand friends out there who are looking for something to read, tell them to buy some of my books. So I can finish fixing the car!

Monday, March 13, 2017

So, my 1911 Colt build

(Yes, this has nothing to do with writing, but when your hobby becomes your job, you need a new hobby!)

A couple of years ago, I started thinking about building a 1911 colt. Why? Well, I've always liked them, always wanted a decent one, and figured this would be a good way to get a decent one at a good price.

Yes, I can hear some of you laughing.

But I've done all my own gun-smithing for years now, and I've built a rifle or six, done the 80 percent lower thing and custom modified a few things along the way (all legal of course). I'd seen you could get 80 percent frames on 1911's, and yes, I'd heard that it is not at all easy to build one yourself. So I figured I'd give it a shot.

The frame I got some time ago. The unfinished frame that is. All the drilling stuff was easy and I got around to that eventually. Last year I borrowed a friend's mill to cut the side rails - that took over an hour, because I must have measured it a dozen times before I cut it. I only had the one frame after all, and I sure didn't want to ruin it. A distinct possibility as I hadn't even run a mill in like thirty years, and his was a rather old and rather primitive one (by today's standards). So, finally it was all done. The frame that is, now all I needed where the parts!

Guess what are no longer cheap, even if you can find them? Yup, 1911 parts kits. With everyone wanting to make guns that the state doesn't know that you have, sales boomed and prices went up. One guy at a gun show even had the balls to tell me: You're paying extra so the government doesn't know you have that gun! Hey, the government already knows I have guns! I don't think they're going to care about one more. Honestly, it is cheaper to buy a 1911 now than to buy the parts for one! Assuming of course you can even find them from someone other than con artists at gun shows.

But eventually I found a place online that had a decent kit, at a good price. The only problem was, it was back-ordered from here to eternity. But what the hell, right? So I ordered it, threw the frame in the safe, and forgot all about it. That was last year, over six months ago. (or was it nine? I forget).

Well guess what showed up this last Saturday? Yup! The parts kit. So I broke out the book I had bought a while back on building 1911's from scratch (I'm doing a series 70 btw, the gun doesn't need yet another safety) and started to review. It turns out that all of the caution on the milling paid off, the slide is a perfect fit. I thought I'd end up with a loose fit, or a tight fit, but nope. Got that one right at least.

Next I'm looking at the grip safety. Yeah, that's gonna need a lot of grinding to make that even begin to fit. The frame comes back too far. Then of course I'll have to lap it to make it smooth. But at least it seems to fit fine in all other aspects.

So, if I can find the time, I'll probably have that finished in about a week. I'm thinking with any luck, I might be done with this project before winter. I'm not looking forward to fitting the barrel; I've heard a lot of horror stories about that. Hopefully, as I bought the barrel and the slide from the same place, they'll match up properly. But I did buy this for the challenge of doing it, and being able to say that I did it, once it's complete.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The new book has gone live

It should be up on Amazon now. Here's the link:


Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Off to the Betas...

So I sent the manuscript off to my beta readers to review. I approved the concept sketch for the cover. Now I'm gonna have a drink and go collapse on the couch. Still kinda sick.
Not sure what I'll do tomorrow. Thursday or Friday I'll do a grammar edit, I suspect over the weekend I'll hear from my beta readers.
Maybe I'll do some plot work on POI #8 while I'm on the couch relaxing tonight. I need to get kicking on that here real soon. I wanted to put that out next month. Don't know if I can hit that target now, as this book took longer than expected, but why not try, right?

Monday, March 06, 2017

Being Sick Sucks

So, got sick late Thursday, but got the 1st draft done Friday. Got most of the first re-write done over the weekend, but it's not finished yet. A lot of Sunday and most all of today has been in bed.
Hoping tonight I can get back on the the re-write so I can finish that and send out to my beta readers.
Cover has been commissioned, but I see the terms have changed slightly, so not sure how soon the turn around will be now. But with being sick, I'm already a bit further delayed than expected. So not sure it will matter.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

For those of you into audiobooks, book one of the Hammer Commission series is now available in audio format on audible / ACX:
The Hammer Commission, Book 1

Book 3 should be out by month's end (Book 2 is already out).

Also, Portals of Infinity, #3 is currently in audio production. I'm hopeful we'll see that one next month.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Just an update

So, for those who are curious, I'm hoping to finish the first draft of book 2: Present Tense either tomorrow, or Saturday. Then I'll do the first re-write, after that I'll send it off to my Beta readers and start work on the next novel. I'd like to publish it by the 10th, but we will have to see how that goes, it will depend on how long the subsequent re-writes and edits take.

The next novel in the que is POI #8, however I may write the first few chapters of 'Days of Future Past #3, Future Tense,' before I start on that. Primarily so I'll be able to get back into that world faster when I go to write that book, which will be after POI #8 comes out. Right now I'm cruising along at 4 to 5 thousand words a day (which is still less than I'd like to be doing, but it's a good number), so if I spent a few days on Future Tense, I could get 20K words down on it fairly quickly.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I have an aggressive publishing schedule this year, I want to put out six novels, and several short stories as well. I have a lot I want to write about, in the series that are already underway, and if I can keep myself going at my current pace, or better, I think I should be able to do all of that. Present Tense did present a few problems, not the least because of a seasonal funk that I'm sometimes subject to in the winter, but also because the world is a different and new one that I'm writing in, and sometimes certain things have to be developed, often things the reader never even sees, because if the foundation isn't solid the house will fall down and sink into the swamp.

I'm hoping to do several cons this year. I'll be at Liberty Con in Chatanooga (end of June), BLFC in Reno (start of June), another I can't remember the name of in Modesto (August), and possibly some more. I want to try and start selling at some of these, and see what that does for me overall. I also want to try and make it to NY this year to visit family, but we'll have to see how that all goes. If I can combine it with a business trip, for a con or something, then it would be a lot easier to do. Because time off is going to be at a premium this year (see above about aggressive publishing schedule) so on a lot of things, if it isn't directly work related, it's not getting done.

So please, tell your friends about me, get them to buy all my books and call Hollywood and tell them they need to option me for a movie or three. Because I could use a little time off! :-)

Friday, February 24, 2017

First person, or Third Person?

So, thinking of starting work again on the third book in the COS trilogy, this would be the book to follow Interregnum. The big question is, third person, or first person?
The first two books have been told in first person, but book three jumps around to several different viewpoints (and back again) throughout the book. Because it doesn't just follow Raj around, it also follows several other characters from other books in the 'world'.

So if I did it as 1st person, there would be a lot of head jumping, and I don't know how well it would work. If I do it as third person, it will be the first book in that 'world' system done as a third person.

So, comments?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Advertising someone else...

An artist that I know online is putting out a comic that I've been following for a while now.
I actually like it, the story is a little strange, but it's consistent and I enjoy the art.
I'm also very curious as to where this story is going to go, because it really has some interesting twists and turns.

So if you want to check it out:

I'd put up a twitter link to the artist () but I'm not on Twitter. They're also on FA, for those of you who go there.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Portals of Infinity Audiobooks, more coming soon!

Okay, so today I just did the deal with a new voice actor to do book #3 of the Portals of Infinity series. I'm not sure how long it will take for them to do it, right now we're thinking about two months as this is their first audiobook, and not only do they have to get the procedures down, they also have to learn the process of getting the files in the proper format for ACX (which is actually pretty involved).

I'm very happy about this, and they are too. They like the series and they want to do -all- of the remaining books in it. As they have a lot of fans from other work they've done, I'm hopeful that this means the audio books will see really good sales fairly quickly (as we get them out) so he will be more than happy to keep working on them.

Dusty Rhodes (Dustykatt) is the guy who will be doing them. We actually go way back, and when I heard he was looking for a book series to do, I asked him to do it. I'm really happy he's into it, the demo he gave me was really good and I liked it. I very much want to see the whole series done in audio, and I'm hopeful now that it will get done. It won't happen over night of course, at five more books (with another one coming) it will probably take a year to get them all done. But at least the process is going again.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Now the world can see what Governor Brown's neglect looks like

For his entire time in office, Governor Brown of California has neglected state infrastructure, especially as it applies to water resources. I actually think it's something of a fetish for him, along with his ability to fail at pretty damn near everything he does, other than run for office and play political games (i.e. tell lies). When he was attorney general for the State of California, he used his powers and the 'anti-global warming laws' to shut down many major projects, because curing concrete gives off CO2. So he used his power to do a lot of destruction.

And now we're seeing the price. One of the biggest dams in the world is about to fail. It already destroyed the spillway, because no one bothered to take care of it, and when they last did maintenance on it, they did a shoddy second rate job. Then the idiots who run the dam shut the spillway OFF for several critical days, and well now the water is flowing over the 'emergency spillway'. That's a fancy title for 'the top of the dam'. Now true, in the particular area, it was made to be the first place for the dam to breech if the water went up too high. But still, it's not supposed to be used except as a last ditch 'we hope we don't all die' kind of thing.

You see the problem is, the ground beneath that 'spillway' really isn't made to withstand the kind of flows it is now seeing and guess what? There is now a hole in the dam.

They finally opened up the spillway to the max, something the idiots in charge should have done days ago. But these people don't know math and they don't know science, and they could NOT understand that if water is coming in faster than it is going out, the water level will go up, not down. Honestly, they didn't understand that. I'm not kidding. They didn't.

Seriously, they couldn't figure that out.

If the emergency spillway fails, that means the top ten or twenty feet of the ENTIRE lake will suddenly flow out, all at once, unimpeded. What does that mean?

Well it means that Oroville will be scoured clean from the face of the earth. It means that the secondary dam will be destroyed. It means that the Feather River will massively overflow its banks. Same for the Sacramento river, so Yuba City will see serious damage, the Capitol will flood, and probably a few bridges (like I-80 and maybe I-5) will be washed away. It will do billions of dollars worth of damage (it's already done tens of millions of dollars worth of damage)and probably thousands dead. All because Moonbeam is too damn incompetent to do his job. Same for the rest of the democrats in office.

If only we'd elected responsible adults to office here in California. But responsible adults are not what the people of California want.

We have a huge storm coming in a few days. And then there is the huge snowpack that will melt come spring. If they manage to save the dam tomorrow, that is no guarantee that they will save it again next weekend.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

On Audio Books

Just in case I haven't mentioned it (I think I did, but I forget), I am working with someone to try and get the audio book versions of the Portals of Infinity series restarted. No promises yet, I still have to find out if this person not only wants to do it, but can do it. Right now they're investigating it and considering it.

This would be their first audio book, but not their first bit of voice work.

We will just have to see what develops. If it doesn't work out, I have a few other things I can try next. I very much want to get more of these done, I know there are people out there who would like to buy them.

Monday, January 30, 2017

So, yesterday was busy...

And I'm sort of playing hooky by writing this instead of getting back into working on Present Tense today. Part of this is because I just ran into this huge tower that wasn't in the outline, and now I have to decide what to do with it.

Yes, these things do happen to authors. I'd always heard about it, didn't believe it, but then it started happening to me on occasion.

So like I said, yesterday was busy, because it ended up a work day. I wrote up the first three chapters (was only supposed to be two) for the proposal for an editor to see if they like it. I haven't heard back yet, so I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. If they don't like it, I think I'll just ask them what exactly do they want, and then try and see if I can deliver that or not.

I also spent an hour beating my head against the wall while trying to deal with my Credit Union's software, thankfully a phone call cleared that up this morning, but still. It wasn't fun. If it keeps up I'll go elsewhere, but I've been with them for about 25 years, so changing isn't something I'm exactly thrilled to do.

I also spent yesterday doing some set up work for the people who do my audio books currently. I had to put together some information for the next two that they're doing, to hopefully make it easier for the voice actor and producer. I'm still incredibly happy that they want to do more of my stuff. And I'm also happy that the stuff they already did is selling so well. They're good people, they deserve the sales. Plus I make money too, which is also good.

I think I may make another post later today about the fact that I write stories primarily aimed at men (unlike just about everyone else these days) and how I don't feel guilty about it, and I don't like it when people think I should.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Hammer Commission #1 and #3 (Loose Ends) are now in Audio Production!

Yes! That's right, the first book in the series 'The Hammer Commission' and book 3 'Loose Ends' which was just released last month are both now going to be made into Audio Books! I've got the same producer (Gregg Savage) and the same voice actor / narrator (Doug Tisdale Jr.) working on them!

Yes, I am very happy, (if you haven't noticed). The books are targeted to come out in the middle of March. I don't know if I'll get them at the same time, or one before the other. I'm just happy that they're going to be done.

So for those of you who said you wanted to wait until Book 1 was done before you'd listen to the series, it's coming!


I really need to do this more...

I really do need to start posting here at least twice a week. If nothing else, so you all know I'm still alive and still writing!

So, I'm back on writing 'Present Tense' the sequel to 'Past Tense' which is the first book in the 'Days of Future Past' trilogy. Audio book sales on that have really been amazing, over a hundred copies sold in less than a month. I hope the sales keep up strong, because I want to see the sequel made into an audio book as soon as I publish. The folks I work with work on a royalty split, because I'm not rich enough to pay upfront :-(  So, it has to sell a certain number of copies before they'll do another one.

At this point, I'm about 16K words into the book, a lot of things came up last week, and as I've mentioned in the past, this is a rough time of the year for me. At least that seems to have moved on.

As for coming attractions, well I finally plotted out the submission to Castalia house. I need to now write the first chapter of that story (the second chapter is already done, because this is an idea I'd been camping on for years). I'm hoping they like it, and that they decide to buy it. We'll just have to see where that goes. I've put enough time into it at this point, that if they don't sign it, I'll probably end up writing it anyway.

Once I finish with 'Present Tense' I will start writing Portals of Infinity #8. I have a good deal of it already worked out in my head. I just need to tweak a few plot points and that will get done. I do want to write #9 this year as well, so we will just have to see how my year goes.

I also want to write a sequel to "The King of Las Vegas' as well as the next book in the Hammer Commission series as well as the last book in the DOFP trilogy.

Oh, and as if that wasn't enough work already, I'm going to start on the sequel to 'Interregnum' at the end of the month. HOWEVER that is going to be done differently than how I usually do my writing. I will post one chapter a month of the story to my Patreon page, visible to anyone and everyone who contributes at least a dollar or more. That does mean it will be slow going, however at least it will get written. Sadly my Children of Steel series doesn't sell very well. And I get it, 'Furries' don't read scifi, and being branded as a 'Furry' story tends to kill most things if it's not all about sex (and it isn't at all). However I wrote the original book before I even knew such a thing as 'furry' existed. And I'm a bit attached to the story. So I'm going to try and wrap up that story arc.

If enough people sign up for it that is.

So, right now I'm looking at another five to six books I want to write this year, after this one comes out. Hopefully my sales will do better than last year, they were okay, but I have some expenses coming up this year, plus I suspect I'm going to owe the government more than I expected (don't we always? Self employment tax sucks - that you have to PAY extra to be self-employed is stupid).

Oh, anybody going to see 'The Musical Box' in SF on the 23rd of Feb? Thinking of going to see them again. Yeah, it means driving into SF, but they really do put on a great show, if you like classic Genesis.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

So, just things in General

I'm thinking I'm going to start posting here a little more often, at least for the upcoming month. January and early February are always a bit rough for me, not as bad now as when I lived further north, but SADD (or whatever it's spelt like) does effect me, and while December is always busy with family and holidays and such, January isn't. So things do set in.

Probably the biggest side effect for me in this is that it really slows down my writing and my productivity at creative pursuits. So starting a new book at the beginning of the year is a difficult task. Add to that, that I am always slow in the first few chapters and it's been a bit rough getting started. I'm barely through chapter two in the new book, but at least I've got a lot of the later chapters already scripted in my head.

Now I just have to get there.

On the other side of things, it does bother me that the sequel to Interregnum isn't going anywhere. It's low priority simply because I know I'm going to lose money on it. It's more of a 'passion' book than a money maker, and when all of your work needs to bring in a decent return, it's hard to justify something that you know you will be losing money on.

However, I may have hit on a way to make it pay. Simply put, I'm thinking that I will write about a chapter a month in that story, and I'll put it on my patreon page. I'll make it available to everyone who pays at least a dollar a month to read. Yes, that means that it will probably take close to two years to write, but at least it gets written and people get to read it. Then, when it's done I'll just put it up for sale on Amazon for everyone else who might be interested.

I would of course still be making my weekly posts of my current projects, this would be something separate. Anyway, it's an idea that I'm thinking about. I'll float it by a few places and see what people think.

Also we've started to look for a new house. California is really too expensive for a writer to live, and while the increasingly 'hard on gun owners soft on criminal' laws have been pissing me off (along with the ever increasing tax burden) the whole 'banning' of all shopping bags really just put it over the top. There were no reasons to do that, well no scientific or logical ones, and it just proves that morons are running the show here, and it's time to go before they ban toilet paper (you laugh, but it's coming, that or something equally stupid, trust me. The power hungry never are satisfied and once they start with the stupid shit, it always goes downhill fast).

Nevada is looking promising. I'd like to go further east, but there are reasons to not go so far (namely my other half has been told that their employer will continue to employ them if they move to a particular area in Nevada). Plus we like to go to the air races every September and there are a few other things we go to Nevada for as well (and no, not gambling).

However, I really hate moving. Selling and buying houses is a nightmare, and I honestly hope I never have to do it again. I also am really tired of moving. I have moved a lot since I left college, and I have lived all over the country, and I've had to travel a lot for work. Part of why I was happy to quit my day job and go to full time writing. I got tired of spending weeks at a time away from home.

Back on the work front, I'm trying to learn how to do marketing. Most of my sales success had little to do with my appalling lack of marketing ability. So now, I'm trying to expand my readership and reach new people by actually engaging in advertising. The problem is, I really don't know where to do it, or how to best reach my target audience. Hopefully I'll learn. I'm also trying to push the audiobooks, because I've been told that they won't do another one until sales hit a certain level. And the people who did them did such a nice job, I want them to make money too.

I really need to learn how to market better :-)

And for all of those who have responded to me, either here or by email, on the cover question, thank you!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Cover Questions

I'm thinking of redoing a few of the earlier covers for the Portals of Infinity series. Primarily books 1, 2 and 4. But I'm really not sure of how to change them. I like #1, because I think it gives a good clue to the series, but others have said that the quality of my covers needs to improve. #2 I've grown a little unhappy with, and I've had a lot of people neg on #4. I do like #3, but if I change the others I may change that one as well.

As for the style, especially the style of #1 and #2, I was aiming for the 'forgotten realms' vibe when I commissioned them, that rough kind of artwork that they used to use. And it seemed to work very well for me.

But the question I have is: If I redo the cover early covers, which ones should I do?
Should I go for a similar style, just a more refined version?
And what do you think the covers should show?

I've got some ideas on all of this, but I don't want to put them up, I'd rather hear from my readers first. I won't be changing them anytime soon (end of February would be soonest, I have quarterly taxes do this month, and those will be eating up nearly all of my royalties), so you can give it some thought if you want. But I would like to hear any comments you have on the covers, positive, negative, what you liked or didn't like, and any suggestions for better scenes to put on them.

Thanks everyone!

Friday, January 06, 2017

Review copies of my Audio Books, would you like one?

If you would, please do the following: Open an account on Audible, if you don't already have one. Then tell me which book you would like a copy of, and send me your email address that the audible account is linked to (I need that to send you the book via Audible).

I have a limited number of free copies I can give away, and would like to give away the more recent books (Days of Future Past - book 1, and Wolf Killer) over the older Portals of Infinity (Books 1 and 2) but I do have some codes left for those two books as well, if you are more interested in them.

All I ask is you consider giving me an honest review. I don't expect reviews from everyone, just hopefully enough to be helpful.


Sunday, January 01, 2017

Audio Books, Days of Future Past, book 1 coming out in Audio version soon

So, book one - Past Tense of Days of Future Past, is coming out in audio format on ACX/Audible here in the next few days. Along with that I get a number of free copies to give away for the purpose of reviews. So if anyone wants a free copy of any of my audio books, in exchange for an honest review, please drop me a line (vanstry@gmail.com) and I'll send them out.
I don't get a lot of these, so please only ask for one if you will listen to it and write a review. I want to keep my current voice actor and studio happy, so they continue to do books for me! It will also help with my quest to get VA's for book 3 and on for the POI series.