Friday, December 04, 2020

The Double Neck Guitar is Finished!

The idea of a double neck bass/guitar is something I've been interested in for a while. I've built a lot of kits over the last couple of years and I decided this would be the last 'kit' I did, before I moved on to trying to make my own bodies and eventually necks as well. This is a much more difficult kit than the usually ones, due to size and the addition of another guitar neck, as well as the associated wiring and pickups.

So understand that before you get into it. Especially if you plan on customizing it like I did.

Now the schematics I got for this originally had both necks always 'on' (or 'live') and the two switches were each three-way pickup selectors. I didn't like that setup so I made a number of changes in the wiring.

First I took the upper switch and made that a selector for which neck was live/on. You could do 'Bass - Both - Guitar', depending on the position of that three-position switch. I left the bottom three-position switch on the guitar to its normal 'Bridge - Both - Neck' selection. However, the selector switch that was in my kit was a five way, which I didn't care for. So I replaced it with an actual three-way. While functionally the same, I didn't like having two positions that were neck only, and two that were bridge only - which is how you had to wire up the five-way to make it work.

Second I had to change the Volume / Tone pots to deal with the new switching set up. The initial design was one volume, one tone, for each neck. I wanted to have separate volume controls for each pickup, not unlike most Les Paul's, so what I ended up doing was buying four 'stacked' pots. Each pot has two knobs. The inner one is volume, the outer one I wired for tone. So every pickup now has an individual volume and tone control. This made the wiring a little more involved, especially as the outputs from each neck had to go through the selector control between the necks.

The third major change I made was I added a second stereo type output jack. The main jack only puts out whatever you have the neck selector switch set to, while the stereo jack always puts the guitar pickups out on one channel and the bass pickups on a second channel. Each channel is always 'live'. This would allow you to wire two different amplifier stacks, simultaneously. Otherwise you'd need an A/B foot switch (you do NOT want to run a bass through a guitar stack; you can blow out the amp with the lower bass frequencies).

The paint job is a metallic water-based paint. I shot two coats. On top of that I shot 15 coats of clear gloss (water based) - except for the back of the necks, I shot clear satin on those (I find a gloss finish to be too sticky when playing). I do believe I should have used four coats of grain filler instead of just two, I think the back would have looked nicer, it is a huge piece of wood.

I used conductive paint in ALL of the cavities. I hate hum and the stuff works. I put copper foil on the back of the plastic cover plates and made sure everything was well grounded.

I used Teak oil on the fretboards - three coats.

The frets did need a fair deal of leveling. They weren't pressed in very consistently from side to side either. I have a leveling bar, which makes the process a lot easier. But then you have to recrown, and  polish, all those frets. Which is this case was like 48 frets.

I don't put the truss rod covers on for about a month or two, because the necks do need time to settle in.



The holes for the wire routing coming out of the pickup cavities are too 'high' in some cases. Especially with the extra wiring I was running. So I had to widen some of those holes and make them 'lower' so I wouldn't have to worry about the pickups interfering with the wiring and vice-versa.

The small pilot holes for the tuner machines on the guitar neck are really poorly placed. It would have been better not for them to have been drilled at all, as they weren't uniform, which means the tuners don't exactly line up. I could have done those better myself.

One of the bass pickups was bad (South pole bar coil blown). This one took me a long time to track down (weeks) - I thought I had mis-wired something. Soapbar pickups are also Expensive! $300 is about what you're going to pay for a pair. Fortunately I found a pair of Seymour Duncan's on sale during Black Friday, so I only had to pay about a hundred bucks for a new set. (I have S & D on most of my basses). Part of what made it hard to find a replacement for them is that the size of the soapbar pickups on this bass is NOT one of the standard sizes. It's more like a 5-string size.

I also didn't like the way the bass pickups are routed through the guitar pickup cavity. It made changing bass pickups with the strings on really challenging. If I were to do it again, I'd drill a separate passage.


In General:

I would definitely rate this bass/guitar double neck as one of the harder kits. Especially if you're planning on changing the way it works. I bought this back around May of this year, but I had three other guitars to do first: two Les Paul's from kits (6 & 12 string with after market pickups and pots), and a custom Jazz Master that wasn't from a kit that required very special parts and wiring.

A good deal of what slowed me down was waiting for the switch and pots I ordered after deciding to change the way it was wired. The entire thing was finished end of October and then I spent weeks trying to figure out what was wrong with the bass until I finally took out the pickups and found one had a blown coil. Then I sat on it for weeks more until I found replacement soapbar pickups on a Black Friday sale and then had to wait for them.

I may upgrade the guitar pickups as well, seeing as I just put a much better set of bass pickups in it, but for now I think this is enough.

I also put D'Addario strings on both necks and not the strings that came with the kit. I like flat-wounds on my basses these days, and the D'Addario guitar strings are worth the money as well. 

Edited to add: I just discovered that the nut on the guitar is bad. The high E slot was cut too deep and now it buzzes on the first fret. So I need to buy a new nut and replace it. Not happy about that, replacing nuts is a pain in the ass. This thing has had MORE problems, all due to shoddy manufacturing. This is why I won't be making any more chinese kits.



Thursday, November 19, 2020

This is why I'm getting out of Audiobooks

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

The Double Neck

 I didn't want to listen to any news today, so staying away from the computer seemed like a good idea. 

Instead I spent the day in my shop working on the Bass/Guitar double neck. At this point I'm just waiting for the dual volume / tone pots (I ordered four so each pickup gets it's own). And the stereo jack. This guitar will have two jacks: The first one is a mono jack and you use the selector switch on the guitar to choose between bass or guitar. The second one will be a stereo jack, where both outputs are live all the time: One channel will be Guitar the other will be Bass. This way you can use separate amplifier stacks. 

Here's what it looks like at this point, without strings or the pots:

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Book 3 of Dan's Inferno is on Amazon

 So yes, in a day that's been 2020 encapsulated, at least there is one good thing! My latest book under my pen name, Jan Stryvant, is now live!

Dan's Inferno, Book III - Heritage


Here's a pick of the cover (one of these days I'll figure out how to make them linkable again - blogger changed UI's a few months ago).


Friday, October 23, 2020

Audio Version of TakeTwo now available on Audible

That's right! The audioversion of TakeTwo, read by the esteemed Andrea Parsneau is now available for sale on Audible. 

Link -> TakeTwo 

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Tales Around the Supper Table

 Hey everyone, I've got a short story in this anthology that just came out: Tales Around the Supper Table

This is an anthology of Texas Authors edited and published by my friend Jim Curtis (Old NFO). All of the authors in this book are friends of mine and they're all very good writers. The current series 'Dan's Inferno' actually started out as the short I was going to submit until it ... sorta got away from me and well, I wrote something else :-)

There really isn't any central 'theme' to the anthology, but there are a lot of good stories in it, so by all means go take a peek!



Saturday, September 26, 2020

The Double Neck Bass / Guitar

So yesterday I took the body off the stand and took a couple of pictures. On the first one, you can see that there is a fair deal of orange peel on the body. That's because it needs to be level sanded, and then polished. Not sure when I'll get started on that, maybe sometime during the evenings in the coming week. On a body that big, that's going to be a long job.

The back of the necks are completely finished. Because they're a satin finish (as I've mentioned before I hate gloss on necks, it makes your thumb and hand stick, they don't slide as well). I also need to level all of the frets. The guitar frets have issues as you move up the neck (away from the pegs) the bass a little as well. Now that I have a leveling bar, the leveling goes a lot faster and is easier. Recrowning and polishing though still take some time.

I also posted a picture down below with the necks set in place, just to give a few ideas of what the finished product will look like. The bass pickups on this one are 'Soapbar' pickups and I was looking to get higher quality ones, but Soapbar pickups are over a hundred dollars a piece! I don't know if I want to go that route on this one. I may see if someone makes any kind of 'adapter' so I can put a different style pickup in there, but I'll probably just go with the cheap ones that came with the kit and upgrade later if I don't like the sound.

The guitar pickups are regular humbuckers and I think I'll probably go with the kit ones for now and change them later if I don't like them. I'm still thinking of changing the wiring and I've figured out two options, both of which involve replacing the pots that came with the kit with dual pots, so regardless of selector position, the pots will always be directly wired to the pickups. Basically each pot would control two pickups. The choice right now is one knob or two concentric knobs. With one, the pots are physically slaved together. With two, you can adjust them independently. I'm leaning towards the second option. 

Right now I suspect I won't have this one finished until the end of October, soonest. Then I'm going to see about getting a planer / joiner and a bandsaw and see about making the bodies at least, from scratch.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Dan's Inferno, Book II is now live!


Sorry I didn't post this earlier, but I had to run into town this morning for a meeting and it slipped my mind when I got back.

But Dan's Inferno: Book II - BeDeviled, is now live on Amazon!





Saturday, September 19, 2020

Finished the Clearcoat

I don't have any good pictures right now, not any that would really do it any justice at least, (the one on this post is after only 5 coats), but I finished the clear coat on the new guitar. 15 coats of gloss on the body, ten on the paddle (that's end of the neck where the tuners go) and six satin on the neck. 

Tomorrow I'll take it off the stand and hang it someplace out of the way for a week or so. At some point I need to check all the frets and see which ones need leveling, crowning, edges rounded off, etc. I also need to oil the fretboards. Those will get about three coats of Teak oil. 

At some point I should probably order new pickups for it. Put something better than the ones that came with it, as they're undoubtedly cheap ones. I'm debating drilling a second pickup jack in it as well. Right now the design calls for a selector switch, that lets you pick bass or guitar. I'm debating a dedicated bass jack, which would allow for separate amp setups. You really don't want to run a bass through most guitar amps, as they have a tendency to destroy them. But if I do that, then I have to redesign the volume controls as well. So still just a thought.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Now it has paint...


I'll start clear coating later in the week, maybe over the weekend. That takes about 3 days (five coats a day for three days). Then it sits for a week or so to cure. The back of the necks get satin finish, the rest is gloss. The reason for that is gloss finishes have a tendency to stick to your fingers and your hand doesn't slide up and down them as well as on a satin finish.

Monday, September 14, 2020

The Next Guitar Project

 Normally I post these on Facebook, but I'm trying to avoid that for a while. For those that follow me there, you know I build guitars as a hobby. Normally I either buy a Chinese made 'Kit' or I buy a body and a neck from places like Warmoth and I pick up the rest of the parts myself from various places.

I then paint and finish it, then install everything. This isn't just a simple matter of spraying it with paint and bolting it together, there's actually a fair deal of work to do and mine tend to have a high gloss finish when done. There's also a lot of set up that goes into a guitar after it's assembled due to the tension of the strings, and what kind of 'action' you want on it.

Today I started which may be the last of the 'kit' guitars. I really want to start making my own necks and bodies. I think I'll start buying equipment for that soon (Planer / Joiner and a band saw mostly). The reasons for doing that is I can now put a 'kit' together in a month or less (usually less, a lot less) and this is a hobby that I want to take up time. So if I start making those parts, it will increase the time of each build. 

This current project is a double neck guitar. 6 string and bass. I laid the first coat of paint down on it today. I'll spray the second coat tomorrow. There was one 'oops' with the headstock on the bass, but I can clean that up tomorrow when a respray. The necks are almost perfect with one coat. The body is going to take a second coat. This whole thing is so big that I used up almost an entire bottle of paint on it (they're small bottles, and usually one will paint about two - plus I normally -don't- paint the necks). 

I'll post some more pics after the painting is finished. But here's a picture of it before any work is done:

Thursday, September 03, 2020

No, I have no idea why POI#8 (The Seven Worlds) is being blocked by Amazon

 And I have NO IDEA when it will be allowed for sale again, if ever.

I called them up and all they know is that they have their thumb up their ass and that's about it.

Normally when there are 'quality issues' you get a warning. Well they didn't give me one, they just pulled the book. (and the pulled it last night because there weren't any issues when I was there last night looking at other stuff). So I fixed the issues and re-uploaded around 9am today, and they TOLD me it was back up for sale 4 hours later, but it wasn't.

Again, I called them, they didn't do shit because customer support at Amazon now is in India and they don't know anything about Amazon and can't do anything either. All they do is make excuses and tell you that they can't do anything.

So I don't know when the book will be back on sale.

EDIT: It finally went back up, after 24 hours. NOW they're telling me I need to add a logical table of contents (this is something they started forcing on people a few years ago). Problem is -> The book already has a logical table of contents. 

So yeah, I'm being harassed for some reason. Maybe because I bitched that the quality department wasn't doing their damn job and just left me hanging for a day?

I think I'm Done with Social Media

 I dumped facebook today. I'll probably still post any announcements that I got there. But it's no guarantee.

So if you want to be sure, either start watching my blogs or get on my mailing list.

This has been a rough year for me. There were a number of family issues and other problems. I couldn't write for most of the year (I was either too busy, too stressed, or just didn't care). I've got half a dozen abandoned novels sitting on my computer that probably will never be finished. The new story was only supposed to be an 8K word short, and now it's 2 books 130k or so and there's more to come. In fact if I can start giving a damn again, I may start writing it today. 

I don't like getting driveby reviews from people who are just trying to hurt my sales because they feel taking me down builds them up. I've been getting that shit for years now, but it's finally starting to annoy me. Yeah, sometimes I bitch about stuff. It's only natural. But when people start piling on, I realized that it's time for me to go.

So I think I'm done with social media. It's not helping me, it's just bringing me down. Maybe I'll update my patreon to put up a weekly chat session or something for all of my patreons, if people still want to reach out.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

I have a new book coming out under my Jan Stryvant name.

It's in presale now, but it will go live on the 1st of September. Meet Dan, Dan grew up in Granite Bay, the middle child in a very rich family. But after the family moved into the city, things started going wrong for them, and now they've gotten even worse for Dan.

Dan's Inferno, Book I: Cursed!

And cover:


(Blogger is being forced by Google to change their interface at user level, and man does the new UI suck)

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Take Two has a new cover

 Some of you may have noticed that Take Two now has a new cover. This is because my regular artist really didn't like the cover that I had on it, and did a new one for me, for free! (He's a great guy). 

So for those who haven't seen it, here it is:

Take Two (link)

Thursday, July 23, 2020

What's Going On?

I've begun to emerge from the funk that my life has been in for the last five or so months. A lot happened since the end of last year, I finished a series (Valens Legacy) that had consumed two and a half years of my life (And it's really not done, there's a possibility of a series being bandied about in Hollywood). The lawsuit got very heated and hectic and expensive during that time. It's actually now finally over after like the 6th of this month (that's when the ability for the other side to enter an appeal expired).
Then there was my mother's failing health and eventual passing. Which makes my cat getting cancer and dying the month before seem like a minor deal (even if it wasn't to me). A few other minor legal issues that I've been putting off dealing with, the need to take a vacation, a -real- vacation, but not being able to because of the current state of affairs (and also having my once a year vacation canceled and losing a lot of money on airfare when it was).

So yeah, been a few rough spots there. Thank the good lord that those are all in the past.

Going forward, I am working on a plan to get ALL of the Portals of Infinity series recorded under one artist (or perhaps a man/woman team). This won't be cheap, because it's over 70 hours long at this point (it'll probably cost around thirty grand). I need to write an addition 30K words or so to make this happen, for legal reasons.

You see, I want to combine books 1 & 2 and books 3 & 4 into two recordings instead of the current four, because they each run about 5-6 hours in length. Back when I created those audiobooks, short books were okay, Audible didn't discriminate against books under 10 hours. However now they do, they've changed the way the market works completely. But I can't just put them together because the people at ACX are assholes. And I have to go through ACX. Also their contracts are 7 years long and they do tend to play fast and loose with the contract terms. (Note above 'need to hire a lawyer' comment).

Another reason to re-record the older books is that first I'd be on the third VA (Voice Artist) for the series, and that's just not fair to the listeners. Second, I want to increase the quality of all the recordings. Some are not apparently up to the level they should be. I realize that I'll probably not make back the money on the first four books when I redo those. I may make back the money on the fifth one. The rest, as they've never been recorded I expect to make the money back on.

Portals of Infinity was the first series I ever turned into an audiobook, and it was still a new frontier when I did it. The rules have changed drastically since then and costs have gone up a lot while royalties have dropped significantly. However I've learned a lot in the process so I'm hopeful that going forward things will improve.

On the story front I actually have several things I'm working on, and there's a bit of juggling going on. I have to do the 30K words mentioned above. I have a new series under my pen name in the offing. Results of that will probably be seen in September. I have a sequel to Take Two that's being worked on, though it's been pushed to spot 'b' in my queue now. There's also a space opera thing I've been messing with for a while now. I'm debating a rewrite on it, but I need to think about that. It'd be under my name and not the pen name. At least I think it will. There's a bunch of shorts I need to write as well, for a number of different things.

I don't know if I'll be able to get these on a schedule. I used to work like that but I developed some bad habits in the last year. We'll see if I can get back to that.

Oh, and as long as Consequences does well, there will be a book #10.

So yes, a lot of work. 

Thanks to all of you for being fans.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Today's Question:

If someone sold Portals of Infinity T-Shirts, would you want them? What about other series?

(and as an update, POI #9 is at the editor, the cover art is in Progress. Take Two: Encore is in progress. 'Everyday Including Holidays' the next book in the Valens Legacy - it's going to be a bridge book of sorts - is in the concept stages with some writing done).

Monday, June 29, 2020

I'm Curious...

Okay, time for another question on things that your humble author/narrator is curious about.
What book that I have written would you want a nice (leatherbound) copy of?

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Another question for everyone this week:

Who is your favorite author? (Other than me)
Kinda curious as to who else you all like to read.

Saturday, June 06, 2020

More Questions!

I thought I'd post a few questions here, one every week or so, to get people's minds off of things. Originally it was just cause I figured people were bored at home. But then things got crazy the other week and I just really didn't want to get lost in that mess. Plus as I have mentioned elsewhere, my Mother passed. (It wasn't unexpected, and no it wasn't Covid either).

So now that I've put a little time between me and then I thought I'd start asking some questions, just out of curiosity. Here's this week's:

Out of the books of mine you've read, Who is your favorite character?

Friday, May 22, 2020

Just an update, because I'm getting questions.

Just an update, because I'm getting questions.

Yes, the lawsuit did eat into my time, especially at the end there. Also, after nearly two and a half years of writing about a hundred hours a week (not kidding, 9am to 1am 6 days a week, and half that on Sundays), I needed a break. It did go on a bit longer than expected however.

  • Right now I'm working on the following novels: POI #9, working title: Consequences. It's over 1/4th done.
  • The sequel to Take Two. Working title: Take Two - Encore.
  • A short that may turn into a novella or possible a novel: Cursed.
  • A 'bridge' book for the Valens Legacy to tie into a follow on series. I thought this would be a regular novel, but I'm starting to think it will be a compilation of shorts and novellas. Working Title: Everyday Including Holidays.
  • There's also a book that I was working on and set aside for a while, it's the start of a short multibook series (probably around 3 to 5 books, but still not sure) working title: Wolfhounds (space opera).

Unfortunately I had to go to NY last week for a week (Family issues) those issues are by no means resolved, though I don't think they're going to go on for much longer. I don't know if I'll have to go back or not.

So, yes, there's a lot in the pipeline and I'm trying to get myself back into a 5 to 10 thousand words a day habit, so I can start getting those things out. I'd like to thank all of you for your patience in waiting for more books, I appreciate it very much. Your support has meant a lot to me. It's just been a rough year, but clear skies are on the horizon. It's just a matter of them getting here.

-John Van Stry, May 22nd 2020

Friday, May 15, 2020

Saturday, May 02, 2020

A Question for ya.

Would you rather get a short story that is exclusive to people who sign up for my email list, or a short novel that is available to buy somewhere else?

This is of course, for people signing up for my email list. Basically the choices are: A short story that you can only get from being on the list, or a free copy of a shorter work that is also for sale.

Monday, April 20, 2020

About that lawsuit I've been involved in for the last year...

The lawsuit is over, and we won.

There has been a lot said about me, and this lawsuit, by people who don't know the full story, or who think it's perfectly okay to profit off of the stolen labor of others. I couldn't address any of that, because of the ongoing suit, but now that it's over I'd like to address a few things.

First off, I hesitate to label the other party as some kind of ethical or moral pillar, because he's not. He never was. He wasn't doing this to fight copyrights or help people; he was doing this for MONEY. Plain and simple. By his own account, he was making in excess of three hundred THOUSAND dollars a year off of his website.

Got that? He was stealing my work, and the work of other authors to make money, lots of money, with which he bought two airplanes and lived a pretty good life. He now claims that he's broke and living out of a conversion van (aren't those expensive?). I don't know if that's true or not, and I don't care.

The primary goal of this lawsuit was always to get an injunction and stop him from stealing my works and the works of other authors. I didn't even know his site existed until I was told my works were on it by some fans and other authors. I sent a C&D, my lawyers sent a C&D, and my lawyers even sent the appropriate DMCA notices. BTW, DMCA did NOT apply to his website. He was NEVER protected by its 'safe harbor' rules. Seriously folks, stop trying to practice law and talk to a real lawyer. The things my critics think are true and legal are bizarre.

Oh, and for all of those saying I should have settled out of court? We tried. Three times. The first time? Mr. McCrea sent US the settlement offer. One that was a hell of a lot better than what he was hit with today. He asked us to write it up for him (because of course he didn't have a lawyer - right). So I paid my attorney's to write it up exactly like he sent it to us.

And he never signed it.

Twice more we sent it to him, at the judge's (subtle) urging. He didn't respond to the first of those and was a bit rude on the last time. Again, it would have left him in a far better position than the ruling that came out today. So when the crocodile tears start to flow, don't pay them no mind. He was given three chances to get out of this for a lot less money, a LOT less.

But he refused.

My reasons, again, for this lawsuit.
  • First is that he was making money off of the stolen work of me and other authors, and bragging about it.
  • Second, he was claiming that by stealing my works (and the works of other authors) he was 'helping us'. If he was 'helping us' why did he post more than say the first book in any of our series? Or more than one or two?
  • Third, he claimed 'he had permission'. Which of course, he didn't.
  • Fourth, he never complied with any take-down requests. Oh, I know he claimed he did, and I was told by one author that any books taken down (in the few instances he appeared to do that) were back up again in days.
  • Fifth, he was destroying the retirement of many authors, who rely on the royalties they get from their backlogs to pay their bills. This is a real thing! People were being financially hurt! This wasn't some small pirate site that maybe a couple of dozen people go to. The site was getting over a million hits per month, by his own account. Millions of books were being downloaded. Books are not like songs where you listen to them again and again. You read a book once, that's it. People who steal books don't come back and buy them later. Claiming that they do is a myth.
  • Sixth, he was destroying the ability of new authors to enter the market. If your book only sells a few copies on Amazon, but it's the 'book of the week' on his website, with people downloading thousands of copies. Do you think that author is ever going to write again? It takes thousands of hours to write a book. It takes money to get cover art and editing services. If you don't get paid for your hard work, you find another job.
  • Seventh, though it would be wrong, because the availability of my books on eBook.Bike was beyond my control, I was worried that Amazon might pull my books and punish me, for them being on his website. After all, he was claiming he had permission for them to be there. Other authors were highly concerned with this as well.
  • Eighth, he was not only impacting my sales, but he was impacting my sales ranking and my marketing. The secondary impact of this theft is a lot harder to estimate, but it was there, and I felt it. Again, other authors felt it too.

Mr. McCrea survived only because lawsuits are expensive. He knew this, hence his challenge 'just sue me!' He knew most authors can't afford it. Well unfortunately for him, I could. I saw authors whom I'm a long time fan of complaining about the damage, I saw reflected in my own sales damage. I've been very successful as an author, I'm very thankful to all my fans, and all of the authors who have gone before me.

So I saw this as an opportunity to pay them back, to give something back to the writing community. To take down someone who was stealing, who was profiting from that theft. Someone who was so self-entitled that he was laughing at the rest of us and just challenging us to sue him while bragging about the money he was making.

Understand that I did NOT want to do this. But if not me, then who? If not now, then when? Sometimes, you just have to stand up for what is right. This lawsuit hurt me, considerably, and not just because of the money that came out of my pocket. Rarely did a day go by that I wasn't thinking about it, and rarely did a week go by when I wasn't having to deal with my attorneys. But it wasn't just about me, it never was.

I'm glad this is over. I'm happy we won, and I'm happy with this ruling. I will look and see if I can find a place to post it so that others may read it. I'm sure the usual sites that have been following this will post copies, I'm sure they'll completely mis-interpret the legalities involved, and I'm sure I'll once again be harangued and liabled in the comments.

To all of you who contributed, thank you very much! I appreciate your hard-earned dollars, and I appreciate your words of support. I'll be shutting down my gofundme soon, the final cost of this lawsuit will come out to be somewhere between seventy to eighty thousand dollars. Yes, going to court is not cheap. However a precedent has now been set, so things will be cheaper and easier for those who come after.

Last of all I'd like to thank my attorneys. They were highly professional and are both incredibly experienced and smart. They helped me through the hard times and I would recommend them to anyone who finds themselves in the same or similar position. Their staffs are also very professional and put in some long hours on my behalf. Joshua and Gary, I couldn't have done it without you, thank you both very much.

-John Van Stry

(yes comments are off, sorry.)

Monday, March 30, 2020

So my Cat Died

I ran out to the store to post a letter and get a few things. When I came back, I decided I should go in my office to spend some time with her. Since she's been sick she's pretty much been quarantined to the office, because it's 'her' room, and the dogs can be kept out. As she hasn't been able to jump the gate since she got ill, it kept her in there too.

I checked her, she was under the low coffee table, which has always been one of her favorite spots (as no one can bug here there). She was a little unresponsive at first, but then lifted her head and looked at me. About five minutes later, while I was checking a few things she let out a yowl and didn't stop. I had to move a bunch of stuff so I could move the table out of the way, but she was convulsing.

So I kept her company and petted her and talked to her, as it got less and less. She was obviously having a hard time breathing (which was the reason for the yowls) and they got softer and longer between and eventually she just stopped. I waited a good long while to be sure, but she had gone.

I went out and dug a grave in the backyard, in the rain. I put it inside the fence-line. I don't want coyotes digging her up. I also put about 50 or 70 pounds of large rocks on top. Don't want my dogs digging at it either, though she's about two feet down. I hate digging in Texas gumbo.

I'm going to miss her. I got her back in 2007, her primary domain has always been my office. She would sit in my lap or on my desk when I was working. She would also sit in my lap when I watched tv, or was sitting on the couch working in the living room. She also would come and sit with me whenever I played bass. Guitar, not so much, but she really liked the bass.

She went downhill fast when she got cancer. It only took a few days until it became obvious she was having problems. Took her to the vet and they told me she had less than two weeks. That was ten days ago. Yesterday was her 'last hurrah'. She was much more engaged and wanted attention and was eating treats and paying attention. Last night she parked herself and didn't move much until this morning. By this afternoon it became clear that she didn't have much time left.

So yes, I'll miss her. I don't think I'll be getting anymore cats. Her name, was Mia.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

So my cat is dying

Took my cat to the vet on the 18th because she wasn't doing well and after keeping her a few days they told me she has cancer and is dying and won't last two weeks.

So yeah, she's definitely sick. She's lost almost all of her muscle tone, I'd say she's skin and bones, but unfortunately her belly is bloated, from the problems associated with the cancer. She drinks a little, only eats treats (in small amounts) really only moves around occasionally and mostly just lies around.

But she's aware and she seems relatively content. Of course she doesn't groom herself anymore, she hasn't got the energy, and I think I may have to wash her soon (not something I'm looking forward to). The thing is, the vet told me she had 'two weeks left, at best'. Well it's almost a week and a half now and at times she seems to be doing better (if only she would eat more).

It's rough being on a death watch. It's rougher still when you have to make a lot of changes to make sure the cat is taken care of, kept away from the dogs (Who won't understand why she doesn't want to play anymore), and because she can't come out and spend time with me anymore, (she used to either lie on my lap or on my desk while I worked) I have to go spend time with her. Every morning you get up and go check on her to see if she's still alive. Every time you go out for a while, you have to check on her again. She can barely make any noise, so you never know for sure where she is, so you constantly have to check before moving a chair back or something. And she's confined to the floor now. All of the things she used to sleep on, she can't get to anymore.

So with all the other BS going on these days, it's just another added difficulty. I wonder just how much longer it'll go on. When one of our dogs died a few years back, we spent a week taking special care of him (and a 120 lb dog needs a lot of care). When he started to act normal again, we thought he'd pull through, then he died that night while we were sleeping. Not a pleasant discovery, but at least he didn't suffer and it was over quickly.

This isn't going quickly, and while she's not suffering now, I don't know that won't change. And if worse comes to worse, will there even be a vet open to take her to? Yeah, not a pleasant thought.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Another Audio Release today on Audible

The Hammer Commission Audiobook Bundle that I was working on a few weeks ago is now available on Audible. Three books, 18 hours, for the price of one book (actually I think they put it on sale too right now).

No Regrets, Book #17 in the Valens Legacy now on Audible!

So for all of you who have been waiting, No Regrets, the last book in the Valens Legacy, is now out in audiobook.

Link -> No Regrets on Audible

Thursday, March 19, 2020

The "I'm Stuck at Home with Nothing to Read" Sale

Many of you I know are stuck at home this weekend and all of next week due to the Corona Virus. I wanted you all to know that I sympathize and wanted to do something to help. So, to make it easier on all of you, I've created this:

Introducing The Corona Virus Sale:

On Sale from this Saturday (21st) at 7am (in US stores) and 4am in UK stores until Midnight Friday the 27th! That's right, all of the following books are on sale for 99 cents, for the entire week!
That's Nineteen books for only 99 cents each (or pence I guess if you live in the UK)!

As John Van Stry:
Hammer Commission Books:
Hammer Commission (Book 1)
Wolf Killer (Book 2)
Loose Ends (Book 3)
The King of Las Vegas (Stand Alone)

Children of Steel Universe:
Children of Steel
Danger Money

Portals Of Infinity:
Champion For Hire (Book 1)
The God Game (Book 2)
Of Temples and Trials (Book 3)
The Sea of Grass (Book 4)

Days of Future Past Trilogy:
Past Tense (Book 1)
Present Tense (Book 2)
Future Tense (Book 3)

As Jan Stryvant:
The Valens Legacy Series:
Black Friday (Book 1)
Perfect Strangers (Book 2)
Over Our Heads (Book 3)
Head Down (Book 4)


That's right! ALL are on sale for only 99 cents each (or 99 pence I guess if you're in the UK) from Saturday morning (the 21st) until midnight Friday, the 27th! If you're stuck at home, I wanted to be sure everyone could afford to have something, or lots of things, to read!

Link to the Sale Page:

Links to books under my name, John Van Stry can be found at:
Links to books under my pen name Jan Stryvant can be found at:

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Upcoming Release Notice for Valens #17 - No Regrets Audibook

Hi Everyone, just got this:

Here's your friendly heads-up that the release date for No Regrets (The Valens Legacy, Book 17) will be March 24th, 2020. The assets were recently submitted to Audible, so the listing should be up in the next week or so.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Mailing List

I would like all of you to sign up for my mailing list. With the way Facebook has started to throttle posts related to, well, damn near anything, it's getting harder for me to notify you when a new book comes out.

The mailing list info can be found on my blog, webpage, even in the back of my books or author central on Amazon. I only send out updates when I publish something, though I think I will start attaching a bit more information to those mails, to let folks know what's on the roadmap for the future.

(It's over there on the right --> )

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Just put TakeTwo in to be published

About to head out to the airport to fly to SLC, but I put this in for processing a few minutes ago. Hopefully it'll be live sometime today.

Friday, February 07, 2020

I'll be in Salt Lake City Next Week

I will be at LTUE in Salt Lake next week. I don't know how many of you live in the area, or will be at LTUE, but if you are going to be at LTUE, drop me a line.

Friday, January 24, 2020

So the Veil Verse book is done.

I finished it last week, and I'm just waiting on Will's approval (Blaise really enjoyed it) and the cover artwork to show. I haven't sent it to my editor yet, I'll probably do that in a few days, I want my Beta readers to finish with it first.

The title of the book is 'Take Two' and it will be published under John Van Stry and not Jan Stryvant. Most likely it will go live early in February.

I may have a Shadow short or Novella out next week. Depends on how much work I can do over the weekend, and how much Star Citizen sucks me in...

Friday, January 17, 2020

Just a General Update

So, someone mentioned to me that I hadn't posted here in a while, so I thought I should perhaps catch everyone up. I have been working, the first draft of the Veil Verse book is almost complete, and I'll hopefully have that off to Will and Blaize soon, so I can find out if I'm okay, or if I mangled their universe horribly beyond description.

I did end up taking off pretty much all of December.

I do have plans for a bunch of stuff this year and I'm starting to work on some of it, I just needed a bit of a break after all of the work on Valens, which pretty much was non-stop for two and a quarter years. It was like one of those big rock tours where you spend every moment in a new place working your butt off but not getting to see the sights :-)

I do want to do a portals of infinity book next. I have some plans to turn out a few more Shadow things, hopefully in the near future. I also have a short series I'd like to write between now and any future Valens series. I've already done some work on that, so I do want to develop it more.

I'm also thinking of a possible stand alone Valens novel, something to span the space between the two series. Probably a bunch more short stories at some point as well. I just need to work on my roadmap for this year.

So yes, I'm still writing, just took a bit of a break before getting back up on the horse.

As for audio books, the next publishers pack, should be out Jan 28th. The last audiobook for Valens (which will be coupled with - I think- the last set of short stories) should be out March 28th.

The next Portals of Infinity audiobook, well I talked to the guy who has been doing them for me, and he's going to let me know whats going on with him, his day job has been working him long hours lately, so he hasn't had any extra time.

For those interested in the Hammer Commission series (which for those of you who are Harem fans, yes there are some harem aspects) I will be writing more in that world. But I don't have a date on anything at this moment.

I'm also on Patreon, and while I know a lot of folks can't afford a regular $5 a month contribution, I am going to see about giving something to the $1 crowd as well, to thank them for their continuing support. I probably should redo my patreon, but I think I've already got more than enough tasks to manage, so I don't want to screw it up.

So hopefully that wasn't too confusing.