Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Why I'm not releasing to Audible anymore

 It's plain and simple: I make more money elsewhere.

Yes, even with losing the sales to hundreds of you, if not thousands, I still make MORE money selling on Bookfunnel than I do on audible, even though I sell less than a tenth as many.

Now THINK about that a moment....

I'm selling WAY less than I do on Bookfunnel. But I'm making more money. Why is that?

Maybe because Audible has been ripping me off for the last several years? After all they got CAUGHT doing it at least once, why would they change? 

So yeah, don't care. Done with Audible. The whole reason I didn't DO audiobooks for years was because of the people at Audible (and their customer service will tell you to fuck yourself - they're not nice people).

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Recent Releases

 First off, the latest book in the Valens Heritage series is now live:








There has been a lot of 'issues' with Amazon during the launch of this book, and as the post below mentions, if you want reliable notifications, join my mailing list.

Next up are two NEW audiobooks - and remember I do NOT put any new books up on Audible unless they're under an existing contract (so the Valens Heritage books will be there as they come out - but the rest will not).

The audiobook for Dan's Inferno, Book IV: Vengeance is now live and forsale! (Performed by Jessica Threet and Dan Wisniewski)

Also the audiobook for book #7 of my Portals of Infinity Series is also now live (performed by Jessica Threet).

If you're interested in seeing which other books of mine are now in Audio format, go to my home page and click the link for 'Audiobooks' on the left hand side.
Van Stry:



and remember! Sign up for my mailing list!

A reminder to sign up for my eMail List

 It is becoming clearer and clearer that Amazon is not sending out notifications of new works reliably or at ALL for certain authors (your humble narrator being one of them). The ONLY people who got notifications so far on my new Jan Stryvant Novel, were the ones on my list, or the ones who follow me online.

And I forgot to post about it here (because it was a Jan Stryvant book) because I was trying to get the word out everywhere else.

Folks - the facts of the matter are simple: If you want to read my books when they come out you MUST sign up for my mailing list or you won't know that they ARE out. Amazon wasn't showing this new book to ANYONE who didn't have the URL for over 24 hours (they claim their store is 'busted' but oddly enough only a couple of authors in the same genre were having this problem - funny that).

As for my mailing list: I will never share the details of it with anyone. It'd take a court order to get me to turn it over and even then, they're gonna have to talk to my lawyers first. I don't like spam either, so it only gets used for new releases, audiobook releases, and kickstarter announcements.

Here's the link: http://vanstry.net/vanstry/maillist.html

That works for me and my pen name.

Also, if there are other authors you like out there, you should get on their notification email list as well, or someone somewhere, who works at a big nameless corporation just might start deciding what you can or can not read.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Dan's Inferno Audiobook Kickstart!


Only 4 days left to go on the Audiobook kickstarter for Dan's Inferno, Book IV: Vengeance.
Only $600 to hit our goal!
So if you haven't pledged yet, now's the time to do it!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

For all the Writers Out There

For all the Writers Out There

Now, I don't format or line edit other writer's works very often. I've been writing for over three decades now, and doing so professionally for a bit more than ten years. I am very familiar with all things that encompass writing, formatting, layouts, editing, etcetera, and at this point there are no excuses for doing some of the things I see y'all doing.

So listen up and pay attention. If you know someone out there who writes, send them this. Force them to read it. Cause I'm sure I'm not the only one tired of dealing with this particular group of highly annoying behaviors. Again, there's no excuse for this, and if you try to make one, you're wrong. Just accept it. Cause you are.

First off: If you're writing in an electronic media and not on paper, or typing on an old fashioned typewriter save your files into the DOC format. Got that? .doc! Docx is also perfectly acceptable, but NOTHING ELSE IS. Nothing! And F**KItAll No PDF!! Never Ever  PDF!! No No No! Bad dog!

If you can't put it into doc or docx format, then maybe you need to wait until you've learned how to use a real word processor. The world uses doc and docx. If there is anybody out there in the publishing world using anything else, I'm sure they're also using the finest buggy whips you ever did see as well.

Important Note: Google Docs. Just say NO. Seriously. Putting your writing up on google docs (hell putting ANYTHING up on google docs) is like sending your kids to Jeffery Dahmer's house because it's convenient and you 'know' that he'll 'treat them right'.

Listen up, chowder heads - Google is the Biggest Copyright violator in the history of the world. They have violated the copyright on Every Single Book in Print in the entire world today. Not eighty percent, not ninety, One Hundred. It's only because of a series of massive lawsuits in multiple countries around the world that they were stopped. Putting any of your intellectual property on a site famous for stealing intellectual properties proves to the world only one thing: You're an idiot.

Next! FORMATTING!! Look folks, we are NOT writing on paper. Got that? No editor is going to come along and write comments between the lines of your document.

What does this mean?

SINGLE SPACE! That's what this means. Under NO conditions should you be doing ANYTHING but SINGLE SPACE anywhere in the whole damn document! New paragraph? Single space. Line wrap? Single Space. One point five or double space is both annoying and HARD TO READ. It just looks stupid. Don't do it. There is no excuse and I don't want to hear from any of you why it's okay. Unless you're writing for it to be printed out and sent to an editor in printed fashion (in which case you would NEVER EVER email it to anyone) - Single Space. Repeat after me: Single Space.

Note: The passage of time in a story is often denoted by...? You guessed it, a BLANK LINE! Now, if you're double spacing your lines, am I to suppose that time passes every time I get to a line wrap? Worse yet, do your characters just stand around staring off into space at the end of every paragraph? And when you DO come to a time lapse are you going to leave a quarter of the page blank? Or for those double-blank-line time lags/scene changes are you going to leave a half page blank? A whole page?

Seriously. It's 2021 - get with the program. You're not on mom's underwood or dad's selectric. You're using a word processor on a computer.

Now Every Onward! SMART QUOTES!!! Yeah, there is nothing so stupid as smart quotes. Don't use these. Ever. It's bad enough that in the process of editing you are going to end up with them facing in the wrong directions, forcing some poor soul (including me) to have to go through and do a mass edit/replace on your ENTIRE document to remove them. It's unprofessional. Sure, it was fine when you were twelve years old in school. But you're an adult now. Leave all the fancy stuff out of your word processor and go put some stickers or sparkles on your writing laptop instead (personally I prefer stickers).

Again - just no.

Very Important Note: Smart ANYTHING. Again, no, just don't. Go into your word processor and turn off ALL of the 'smart' characters. Because they're not smart. They also can seriously hose your manuscript. It took Amazon TEN YEARS to get their manuscript processor to figure out the 'Smart ellipses'. Until they did every manuscript with one came out with weird characters in the middle of the ebook. I'm sure there are a host of other 'smart characters' they have yet to fix.

And on a related note: SMART LINKS! You did turn those off years ago, right? You did? Because those (and macros - turn those puppies off too!) will get your document flagged as a virus and tossed into the trash. Because that's all they're good for, viruses.

Other, lesser Sins:

  • Indentation: Please use it. It should go only at the start of every paragraph. What you set is up to you, a lot of programs default to .5 of an inch, I use .3 personally, but it's a matter of taste and style.
  • Your Name: Please put it on your manuscript and please put it the way you would like it to appear. If there's a difference - for whatever reason - between your name and the name you want it to appear under, please make it clear.
  • Markups and Editing Notes: No. Don't want to see it. If you're sending in a story, nobody wants to see that stuff. Clear all of it and turn tracking off. Discussions on altering a manuscript shouldn't take place ON/IN the manuscript. Those need to happen in email text, or on a phone call. Otherwise they just might end up in print. (okay they won't, but do you really think I want to have to figure out how to remove them?).
  • Font: I personally don't care what font you use, because I'm going to change it over to whatever font I'm publishing in the moment I cut and paste your short story into my workspace. Others however may have a requirement for what you need to use. If so, please do as they ask. Not everyone understands how to change fonts easily on the documents they receive. And again, this is why you ONLY USE doc and docx formats. Otherwise we're going to be forced to cut and paste text with NO formating. All your paragraph breaks, spacing for time, all of that will disappear and then we have to painstakingly recreate it, until we get too tired to mess with it anymore and leave your manuscript a mess and just let everyone make fun of you. (and trust me, we WILL complain about you - it's what editors do).

So all in all, I hope these few words of advice have helped you. Please remember that this isn't advice, but dictates from on high, offered by the gods (okay, your editors, but seriously, is there that big of a difference when you're sending your story into an anthology?) And it will please them all greatly if you were to follow them.

- Our livers will also thank you.



Sunday, October 10, 2021

To All of my Fans & Readers:

I thought I had mentioned this before, but apparently it didn't get spread around, so I felt I needed to mention this now, publicly, so that everyone was aware of it:

Starting over a Month ago, I began removing some books from the Kindle Unlimited program, and they will NOT be going back in.

Right now, it's only the books that have had very poor sales. KU is a numbers game, if a book sells a lot, and people keep buying it, keeping it in KU is fiscally sound. But if sales quickly taper off and they're poor? Then leaving it in KU kills me financially. Going forwards, everything that I write & publish  will start off in KU for at least one 3-month term. If it continues to do well, or the series it is in is doing well, that book will stay in KU.

Besides, it's not like the prices on my books are high, when you consider that people who are a lot less popular than me, charge $5.99 to $7.99 for what they're putting out. MOST of my books are priced at $2.99 and $3.99, which in today's market is a steal. Even $4.99 for one of my works is a good deal. Even with the runaway inflation we are having, I have resisted raising any prices (and hope I can continue to do so). But KU has ALSO not raised its payouts. Again - KU is a numbers game - if I'm selling a lot, it's worth being in it. If I'm not, it ain't.

Pulling those poorly performing series out of KU also allows me to try and find a market on another bookseller where they may perform better. One of the terms of KU is that I can ONLY sell those books on Amazon. I've honestly considered (and may eventually) pulling my $2.99 books from KU (because who can't afford $3?) so I can put those out on other booksellers to try and encourage more people to buy my books on Amazon.

There's also another, sadder, reason for pulling some of my series. Every cover on Dan's Inferno was marked as 'Pornographic'. All of the covers. Yes, covers 2 and 3 were a little risqué. Cover 1 wasn't, and cover 2 was as vanilla as it comes. Someone at Amazon obviously took issue with the series and got it banned from advertising. I figured their next step was going to be to claim my having that series in KU was a violation, so they could ban ME.

So yes, sorry, but this is my sole source of income and someone at Amazon has happily been going around attacking my covers on other series as well, which has forced me off of Amazon's Advertising program for a while (and perhaps permanently).

Lastly I want to be clear that I will keep my major series in KU, unless it becomes clear to me that it's no longer safe. There are people at Amazon who use alleged KU violations as a way to remove people they don't like. I put my books in KU as a service to You, the readers, and my Fans, in an attempt to save you money. But there comes a time when I have to put my own well-being and ability to continue to write stories for you, first.


-John Van Stry / Jan Stryvant

Friday, September 10, 2021

Just an update and all that, but tomorrow is 9/11


Next week, in Wednesday I start my vacation, we'll be leaving for the Reno Air Races, in you guessed it, Reno. We come back Monday. I don't know how much, if any, work I'll get done then. Part of it depends on how much the Races suck this year (after last year's cancellation a LOT of the big names aren't coming this year - guess they figured it'd be cancelled again). Also, we're losing our box seat as there is now only FOUR of us in it this year and the minimum is TEN. The box has been 'shrinking' ever since the crash (over a decade ago now), but last year's cancellation put the nails in the coffin. I'm pretty much expecting to see the lowest turn out in the history of the races, as a lot of people probably have figured that if they canceled an OUTDOOR event over crap like that, they ain't spending their time and money on it anymore.

Also air travel has gotten to be incredibly difficult, and for some of us, wearing a mask is physically disabling. Because we can't breath. And when you already have permanent lung damage, shit like that isn't much fun. So a part of me is expecting this to be the last year of the races. Regardless this will be the last year of the box. I'm just the latest 'caretaker' of it (the guy that coordinates the tickets). The last guy retired from that about 4 years ago. But the 'heritage' of this box goes back over 40 years. It was founded by the rec.aviation newsgroup (remember newsgroups?) of which a few friends of mine were members. Which is how we got an invite, when space opened up, almost 20 years ago.

I'm still editing Summer's End for Baen. I work on that evenings and weekends, but the last few days I've been doing electrical work outside until it's too dark to see (we've added an outbuilding). I also need to do a short story for 'Tales Around the Supper Table part 2'. The first book was a big hit, so we all decided to do a second one and I volunteered to do the 'scut work', namely the physical assembly, formatting, layout, that kind of thing. Jim, who is in charge of the anthology hates dealing with that stuff. Me? I'm used to it, so it's no big deal - even if everyone's submission comes in a different format, with different fonts, layouts, etc.

I'm at the halfway point on Sean now. If it wasn't for my 'once a year and I missed it last year vacation', Sean would be going out by the end of the month. Now, I'm not so sure. We'll just have to see. As half the people I used to see won't be at the races this year, I may end up with a lot more spare time on my hands than I usually do.

One Last Thing: Tomorrow is 9/11. Now I was lucky in that I didn't lose anybody who was a friend or family member. I have pictures from friends who were there that day and who watched everything that happened. My brother is (or should I say, 'was' as he's now retired) NYFD. He new every single firefighter that died that day. Some of them very closely. The Fire Chief he'd worked for in the past, and the Chaplin was also a friend. His station was at that time, the fireboat station, which is a short walk from the towers. The Station that got completely wiped out was one he was often 'loaned' to, as my brother was by then a pump operator, and whenever theirs were out, he'd be sent over there, as the fireboat he worked on normally ran with two.

Another friend of mine worked in the towers, but he refused to be there anytime around the date of the previous attack (also on 9/11) so he was home. Another friend of mine was responsible for the fire systems in the building (his company was, but that building was his responsibility) and on the tenth of every September, he had to survey the entire site. So he'd been all over those towers the day before (he's the one that sent me the pictures, some of which I 'wasn't supposed to have'.)

I also did a little work in those towers myself. A company I worked for back in the late 80's put some specialized storage systems in one of the offices there (used for securing and filing legal documents). I don't know if that law firm was still there come 2001 however. I did watch those towers get built, and I'd been in them many times, I'd even been up on the roofs of them. My friend who sent me the pictures watched the first tower go down, and as he was in another skyscraper, he could see right through them (this was typical, because of the central core / open floor plan design - if the light was right, you could see into and even through the building) and he told me he watched the floors buckle from the fire load. The whole thing gave him PTSD because he saw a lot of people die that day.

So, tomorrow, take a few minutes to remember what happened, all those folks who died, some of whom were just average slobs like the rest of us, working for a living, and some of whom were the brave people who gave their lives trying to save others. And don't forget who did it, either. Never forget that.

Have a good weekend, everyone, and if I don't post much after Wednesday, now you know why.


Thursday, August 19, 2021

New Book

 I've been sick, so I haven't been able to write for several weeks. The next book in this series was supposed to be finishing up now, so when I published this book, today, I'd have the next one ready to go in another 2 weeks.

But I was sick.

I thought about holding off and not releasing this until next month, when the next book will be ready, but I decided not to. So the next book will be a while, sorry, but life happens. 

I hope you enjoy it:


Friday, August 06, 2021

Michael-Scott Earle is having a Birthday Sale!

 In case you didn't know it, MSE is having a birthday sale on his ebooks and audiobooks! 

Check it out! MSE is a great guy, and a great writer:

Michael-Scott Earle's Birthday Sale!

Thursday, August 05, 2021

Dan's Inferno, Book III - Heritage AudioBook is now out!

 For those of you who have been waiting for the next Audiobook in the Dan's Inferno series, it is now up on BookFunnel. 

You can buy it either by clicking this link: Buy Dan's Inferno Book III

Or by going to my 'store' when I have links to all of my audiobooks at:  http://www.vanstry.net/stryvant/AudioBooks.html

There are also links on my author's page.

Please note that the Valens Legacy and Valens Heritage will be on Audible, as I have those rights under contract to Podium Press. But anything that I do, going forward, will not be put up on Audible.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

 This is the 'Bridge Book' between the old and the new series, technically, but I called it Valens Legacy 18 because while it's several years later, it's mostly the same people. We're just starting to see how the world is changing. 

'Mihalis' will be the first book of Valens Heritage, the next series.

Here's the link: Everyday, Including Holidays

Cover pic:

Friday, June 18, 2021

Free Book This Weekend


FREE this weekend (Sat and Sunday) on Amazon:
(Black Friday)

Monday, June 07, 2021

A Little Something About Lost Souls

So, now that a bunch of you have read it and yes, provided some valuable feedback, I thought I'd mention a few things about the story.

First, it was written before any of the Portals of Infinity books were written. By several years. The idea came from part of a graphic novel I saw, that was still in it's infancy, when helping a friend bind magazines (he ran a small press). There was a story (that I suspect never got finished) about two characters who'd grown up as friends and were now at odds (though one of them was completely clueless and didn't know it).

I found the idea interesting, though I had a different take on it. I also had no idea where that story was going to go (and never found out, I sincerely doubt it went more than another few pages past what I saw - a lot of artists in small press never finish their stories). So it got written, and re-written a few times, then I decided to publish it back in 2015. I had another story in the same world (I think it's at about 30K words?) that I was going to finish and follow up with.

But Lost Souls completely bombed. So I shelved that other (unrelated) story in the same world and more or less gave up on it. Maybe I'll put it up on my patreon / subscribestar one of these days, we'll see. I may still have some of the notes on the world / story floating around, but back then I kept a lot of plot ideas in my head, so I don't remember what the resolution was on the second story. Or a fair deal of what was to take place in the second part of the book.

As for why I wrote it? Well I wanted to 'diversify' I wanted to have a broader appeal, and back then I was thinking of being a more 'mainstream' kind of fantasy author. This is why when I wrote Shadow and then Valens, I created a pen name. Part of what killed Lost Souls was that it wasn't what people wanted to see from me back then (I got several emails about that). Though now looking back at the cover, yeah, it was too romancey. I'm gonna throw something simpler on it — that or I may just pull the book completely from the shelf and unpublish it.

One of the things I was told the most about it, back then, was that people didn't like a hero who was so loyal, that he followed orders from his leaders and never disobeyed them. That he'd ride off to exile, even though he knew it was just politics and that he was being 'thrown under the bus' for political gain.

The thing is, that's life in the military. You can be 'thrown away for political gain' and you're expect to suck it up and accept it. It's called 'falling on your sword' and it's a part of life in those worlds and this hero was so loyal, that when he got blindsided, he never saw it coming and didn't know how to react. The thought that people had lied and were engaged in far more nefarious plots never occurred to him. His enemies played off of his loyalty and so he accepted his banishment at face value.

Now he's coming back, older and wiser, and a lot more knowledgeable about corruption, greed, backstabbing, conspiracies, and other such things. Now his loyalty is flavored with not just doing his duty, but doing it in ways that don't leave him holding the bag. Not just blindly running off and doing as he's ordered in the heroic and self-sacrificing way. He's not just a pawn on the chessboard. Sure, he'll take out the 'king' and win the game, but he's not going to play by anyone's rules but his own. Because the truth is, he's playing for himself now.

So that was the story I was trying to tell. How well I did *shrugs* you can be the judge on that. For my first real fantasy novel that I wrote, I guess I didn't do too badly, and I've learned a lot since then. Like I said, it was written before I wrote the first POI books, I think I wrote it in 2003? But in either case, it's done now, and I doubt I'll ever revisit that story again.

So, just a little background, in case anyone was interested. Thanks again to all of you who read it and gave me feedback, I did learn a few things.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Free Book

 In the search for answers I'm putting one of my books up for free from tomorrow for five days. This is probably my worst selling book ever and someone told me yesterday that the story was good, they just felt the cover was giving people the wrong idea? So take a look (if you want) and feel free to tell me: Does it suck? Or does it need a better cover? Or is it something else?


Banned from Facebook - Again...

 Just caught a 3-day ban on facebook for advocating for self-defense against violent mobs.

Yeah, I'm a bad man...

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Just TWO hours left on the Portals of Infinity Audiobook Kickstarter!

 It's up to Five books ($10,000) now, which means you'll get the current versions of 3, 4, & 5.

The new versions of 6, 7, 8 & 9.

And the re-recorded / re-produced version of Book 5! 

And for the low low price of $30, you can have them all!

More info here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/johnvanstry/portals-of-infinity-audiobooks

Saturday, May 01, 2021

The Portals of Infinity AudioBook Kickstarter

Hey everyone! Well the Portals of Infinity Kickstarter is down to 8 days, as it ends on May 9th. At this time books 6, 7, 8, and 9, have been funded! Which is great. The next goals of this kickstarter - where the funds will go next as it continues to grow - are the re-recording of books 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1, in order to have them all with the same Voice Artist (Jessica Threet).

Now for those of you who haven't pledged yet, I would like to point out that for a mere $30 you will get Seven, count 'em Seven, audiobooks. You'll get books 3 , 4, and 5 with the current Voice Artist (Dusty) and then you'll get book 6, 7, 8 and 9 as they each come out. If any of the first five are funded to be re-recorded by this kickstarter, you will get each of those as they come out as well.

That's a lot of swag for thirty dollars, right?

I also want to take the time to thank everyone who has already pledged money to this kickstarter. This is my first one that I've ever done, so yes, maybe I undercharged, but the response has been overwhelming and I'm very excited by just how well it has gone. I've been told that in the last week I will see another surge in donations, and I hope that's true, as I would love to be able to have all of the books in this series done with a single Voice Artist, instead of three.

So once again, you have Eight (8) days left to get in on this deal and get at least Seven (7) audiobooks for the low low price of $30 (US).

 Thanks all of you!




Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Critical Drinker: An Open Letter to Hollywood

An Open Letter to Hollywood 

I really do agree with this. They used to do such wonderful things, but they don't anymore. 

As the saying goes: Shut Up and Sing. You're an entertainer, do your f**in job. This is why I try very hard to not inject politics in my books, for all that I may say political things on social media.

Because it is my job to entertain you and I struggle to try and do my best. Castigating people about their politics, their beliefs, anything at all, isn't entertaining. So I do my best to avoid that.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Public Service Announcement

 You know all those memes out there that are asking you a question about something from your past? And you're supposed to tell them the answer?

It's all to be used to hack you or sell your info to advertisers. They're not there for 'fun' they're there to STEAL YOUR IDENTITY.
Seriously folks - just don't.

Monday, April 19, 2021

It's Weird Sometimes...

 ... how things develop. All of my writing, all of my writing, exists on a system drive on my network that doesn't even bear my real name. The folder for my writing is at the top, but it's the last folder in the directory, so I always have to scroll down quite a ways to get to it. 

Because Writing starts with a W, obviously.

Then, when you get into that directory, none of the folders (and there are several) has my real name on it. You have to know which one to click on, and then there are the project folders, some of which are obvious and some of which ... are not. You'd think after all these years and all these novels and shorts and novellas that I'd have an easier to navigate system.

But I guess it's exactly because of all the years involved, and there are a lot of them, that the system which evolved, which was never planned, is the one that I have. There are times I've thought of changing it, but then backups and all the rest of that would have to change as well (yes I have onsite and offsite backups that run daily/monthly/bi-yearly). Also changing it would probably end up with me getting lost and making mistakes for weeks on end, as I've been using this storage format for so long. Plus, if you don't know the layout, you're not going to find anything. So it does keep others out of my stuff, even though the number of people with access to my network these days it very small (unless they fly out here to visit).

So for now, I'm gonna keep it.

In a side note: The POI kickstarter - which ends on May 9th, is just a few dollars away from funding the fourth book for audio (which would be book 9 in the series). Once that gets funded, the order for audio starts at 5 and goes backwards, as I'd like to try and get those all re-recorded, so I've got one VA doing all of them. A LOT of people have told me that I had the price set way too low on the kickstarter. Perhaps they're right. It was my first one after all.

There probably will be a kickstarter for the next audiobook in Dan's Inferno sometime next month as I've already started talking with Jessica about getting it done. She's definitely very busy these days, and I'm one of the people who has a lot of stuff that I want her to do.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

In Other News

 I finally started going to the gym again. It's been like a year, so of course I'm sore as hell after a few days. At least both shoulders hurt equally now! :-) But honestly I think the exercise will help keep my right shoulder issues in check. The hard part of course, as always, is building the habit back to go out 3 times a week.

What's funny is when I'm stretching out my shoulders / arms by doing big windmill like motions with each one, one at a time. The right shoulder makes a LOT of noises now when I do this. The left shoulder, which has been operated on and rebuilt about a decade ago is nice and quiet. Same for the elbows (though the left side was a lot more recent).

But i do need the exercise, now I just need to adjust my lack of schedule accordingly.

Yeah, So, I don't know what to call this post...


So... (ever notice how certain conversations always start off with 'So'?)

There's this 'author' who has been reviewing ALL of my books.

ALL of them.

Van Stry, Stryvant — all of them.

He's given almost every single book 3 stars.

On Amazon, 1, 2, and 3 stars are NEGATIVE REVIEWS. Says so, EVERYWHERE.

(And if you disagree with that, too bad. It's their sandbox, their rules.)

Now, I don't fault people for not liking my stuff. That's fine, to each their own, etc etc etc. I don't even respond to reviews unless they're just really off the wall, or they say something that's not true, and even then — rarely. (Well, unfortunately Amazon has taken down the ability to reply to reviews, which is sad, because it could be a lot of fun sometimes).

ANYWAY. I come across one of this person's reviews on another medium (and no, not naming them, don't want to call them out, they don't deserve that even if I ended up pounding my head against the desk). And I finally just had to ask, after like FORTY negative reviews: Why are you still reading me, if you don't like me?

They reply about how much they like my work and have almost always given me positive 3 star reviews....


Seriously, read the friggin' rules!! Especially when you're an author publishing on Amazon! There is NO EXCUSE for this kind of behavior. You want to be a pro? ACT like a pro! Read the damn rules; know what you're doing, then if you FUCK UP — own it!

All of this time I figured this guy had some weird hate boner going on for me. Especially from the way his reviews read (I read a couple trying to figure out just what the hell was going on and if I needed to be careful answering the door). I love it when people who aren't successful at my job try and tell me how to be more successful. Valens Legacy was my most successful series ever, selling about a million copies (if you count the audiobooks) and got me a lot of exposure as well as income. Hell, there are people in Hollywood still considering it for a series (fingers crossed).

So please understand if I'm just a bit ... hesitant ... to take advice from someone who sells maybe a handful of books a week. If you want to be successful in any business, the people you want to copy err, emulate, are the people who are going gangbusters.

But really, if you want to leave me bad reviews, fine. But the worse thing you can do is leave over 40 negative reviews, and then when finally called on it claim ignorance.

As an author, I no longer leave negative reviews, even if I hated the book. I'm a bit hesitant to leave positive reviews on Amazon, only because I don't want to get in trouble with Amazon, who sometimes pitches a fit when authors review another author's works.


If I wasn't such a lazy guy, I'd make up a page with a list of all the books I loved and just link it from my website. I actually used to have one, but it just got too hard to keep up with.


So yeah. Head-desk. And here I thought all this time he was just trying to prove that he was a superior author/writer and was trying to lure people away to read his books... (hell, maybe he is, I don't know. *sigh* Welp, another mystery answered. Maybe. Sorta. Ah, hell...)


Monday, March 29, 2021

Oh, there's a Discord server now...


I think this is the link to join - I'm not a big Discord expert so forgive me if I got it wrong. :-)


Sunday, March 14, 2021

The Portals Of Infinity Audiobook Kickstarter is doing great!


So my Portals of Infinity Audiobook kickstarter is closing in on the stretch goal for the third audiobook.

That means if you pledge $30, you'll be getting 6 (six!) audiobooks. The current versions of Temples and Trials, The Sea of Grass, and Demigods and Deities, Plus Reprisal, Kaiju, and The Seven Worlds!

 All of that for $30! That's $5 per audiobook!

I will be adding some higher tiers to the Kickstarter over the next week, ones that have been suggested to me, as well as a couple I wanted to do as 'add-ons' but was unable to because of the way Kickstarter works.

And remember, if I hit the total goal of this Kickstarter ($20,000) You'll be getting all 10 (Ten!) of the current books, in audiobook format, by the very talented Jessica Threet!


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Kickstarter for the POI audiobooks is now live!


 Those of you who have been following me may have heard that I have been planning a kickstarter to fund the production of audiobooks for my Portals of Infinity series.

That kickstarter is now live:

Portals of Infinity Audibook Kickstarter

If you're at all interested, please go take a look.

Friday, March 05, 2021

New Merch at my Redbubble Store

 So yes, I have a bunch of merch for sale now using the two icons I now have for my work. I actually ordered a bunch of it myself, just to make sure it looks good and is well made. I should get it in about 2 weeks. 

For those interested, here's the link -> https://www.redbubble.com/people/vanstry/explore?asc=u

Thursday, February 11, 2021

They Don't Believe They're The Good Guys - Not Now, Not Ever

Someone put up an article the other day where they were talking about some story that followed the bad guy from some other story and there was that whole 'every bad guy is a good-guy hero in his own head.'

Yeah - that's bullshit.

People have this terrible habit of thinking that only they are real. That everyone else, everything else, thinks like they do, feels like they do, believes like they do. They fall for that tired old saw that 'he's only evil because X happened to him, and you'd be evil too if X had happened to you!'

Yeah - that's bullshit too.

Bad people know that they're bad. They know that what they're doing is wrong - they just don't care. They either feel they can get away with it and not get caught; or some soft asshole, who believes the above, will go 'aww they didn't mean it' and will either let them go or let them off with little to no punishment. If you've ever raised children, you've seen this behavior a thousand times before. Your child (or even your pet if you have smart enough pets) knows that they're breaking the rules, that you'll be mad, but they figure that they'll either outsmart you and get away with it, or you won't punish them.

For those of you who don't punish them - congratulations! One day your child is going to have the boom lowered on their head and they're not going to like that! You've done a lot to set your child up for failure or worse yet, a nice trip to one of those lovely state maintained facilities. But they're not really evil, they're just stupid, lazy, and self-centered.

Now let's talk about the evil people. I have had the experience of knowing more than a few of these over the course of my life. These people know, when they do wrong, when they rape or murder, or do worse to someone, that what they're doing is wrong. Evil even. Guess what? They don't care. Hell, not only do they not care, but some of them even get off on it. You see, to them, the rules are for you, not for them. They can do whatever they want and if it hurts you, so what?

They're not sociopaths, oh no, they understand feelings and they socialize quite well. But your little rules are meaningless to them. What's right and what's wrong is what they decide is right and wrong. And that's always what's right or wrong for them, or their friends/family, if they feel close enough to them. Take smoking pot. A lot of you know it's 'wrong' but you still do it. You look at the laws and say 'eh, I'll do what I want, because I want.'

Well most killers or vicious abusers feel the same way. Oh they know what they're doing is a lot more serious than smoking pot, and they'll approach it with a lot more care. They know it's wrong, they know it's even evil. But they don't care, because they're benefiting from it in one way or the other. You are meaningless to them. Or maybe you mean something to them, but this means more and they're sorry they're going to kill/beat/rape/cripple you, but they're going to still do it to you and move on. Because they're evil, they're perfectly fine with being evil, and they don't make any bones about it.

Are they heroes in their own story? Yes. But they're not the good guys, and they know it. People don't join certain gangs out there to be good guys. They join to be evil guys. The bad guys. There isn't some 'incident' that happened to them and made them decide suddenly to be bad. I've had some very nasty things happen to me. Terrible things, soul crushing things. I didn't decide to go out there and suddenly become a violent or vicious man because of it. Same for dozens of people I know personally and millions more I don't. My name is legion when it comes to something like that.

There are a lot of people in the world who don't care what the laws are or what they say, but are still good guys. They're good because they were raised with a moral code and they believe in it and strive to do good things and good works. Those people exist regardless of what the law says. Regardless of what bad, nasty, evil, or terrible things have been done to them.

The same is true for those who only seek to do evil. They know what good is, what right is, they just have no desire to do those things for a lot of reasons, not all of which come down to some sort of 'mental' disease. Most of them are perfectly sane. Many of them have also suffered some terrible thing, but it didn't change them, they may use it to 'justify' why they do certain things, but that's just a lie to lure you in so they can get what they want from you.

Don't try to explain evil away. Don't try to rationalize it. Your only real choices in life are to either kill it, move far away from it, or leave it clearly impressed that if it fucks with you, it will suffer more trouble than it's worth. Sometimes you can respect it, but odds are you'll never really understand it.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

No, I'm Not Dead...

Someone pinged me the other day and mentioned that I hadn't posted anything in a while and wanted to know if I was alright or not. So I figured that maybe I should post something to let you all know that yes, I'm still here. And considering the kind of year we've all just had, I hope you're all still here as well.

Yes, the last few months have been challenging. There's been all the 'other stuff' going on that we're all aware of in the world, that's been filling the airwaves and the internet and that's really enough to drive anyone crazy. On top of that there were the revelations of just how Audible has been fucking all of us indy authors over, that wasn't fun and seeing sales on things that should be doing well, but weren't, you can't help but wonder 'is that 2020 messing with me? Or is it Audible's fucked up book keeping ripping me off?'

Not pleasant, trust me.

The holidays were good, and I ended up having to do about 5 grand in emergency home repairs (home repairs are always more expensive two days before Christmas and the day after New Years - but when certain things break, they gotta be fixed right away). It's also more fun when you have company during those little disasters. Living out in the country also makes it more of a pain in the ass as well, because some things you have to go to Dallas to get. During the holidays. Yeah, that's a trip.

But the holidays were a pleasant diversion and I enjoyed the company and the time even with those problems.

However, writing has been a trial. I've been on Book four of Dan's Inferno for almost TWO months now. I don't think it's ever taken me this long to write a book before  (well, Children of Steel took a year - but then it was my first ever novel). It's not the book, I actually -know- what the story is. It's just all been me. I've been struggling a bit and at this point if I could just get my act together I could probably finish the first draft in about two or three days.

Then I'll agonize over it, because it took so long I'm gonna be all worried that I got it right. I have been writing, slowly, on the side, in the evenings, chapters for a new Shadow novel. This one will be more of an anthology. I'm not sure yet exactly how I'm going to pull it off and theme it, but the first three 'stories' / 'chapters' all take place before he becomes Shadow - When he's still working for Boston Implantables (that's the place he went to work after he got out of college when he was still an 'avenger' and before he discovered sex and partying).

I have other stories in my head, that I've got notes on and which I'm constantly thinking about, I just need to push through these doldrums and get going on them. A new story that I'm going to try and sell to Baen books after talking with Toni, which will be a hard scifi story. I started with hard scifi and I've love to just do one again. Then there's the other stories I've mentioned that got put on hold last year when I had so many family and other issues to deal with.

Part of my problem is that unlike what you hear about most authors, I'm an extrovert. I like going out. I like doing things, I like being with people. Guess what I haven't been able to do all year? Yeah, that stuff. And it's made life hard and it's made some of the things that happened around the middle of last year harder to come to terms with. Like my mother's passing. Yes, we all knew it was coming, she'd been ill for a while and going downhill for years. But it still doesn't make it any easier when it happens. And all of the stupid shit that the governor back in NY was doing, made it even worse.

So it's been a bit hard to get closure on that.


I suspect that all of you out there have had it just as bad. This last year hasn't been a good one and I don't think things are going to get better overnight either. But it's not really my place to say. For now, my goal is to finish this book. DI may end up being only four installments instead of five, because it looks like I'll have covered all of the plot that I had originally made in four books. DI was never intended to be a long series originally, it was something I started after dealing with the worst of last year's stuff and to get me back up to speed so I could get back on track with the 4 unfinished novels that are sitting on my hard drive.

I'm just hoping that the unexpected things that seem to keep happening over the last two months just stop happening. Like, I injured my wrist and I'm in a brace now for two months hoping that I -don't- have to have surgery. Only time will tell. It's the little stuff like this that's been driving me crazy. I need to put my shop back together (I got a few new tools) and start working on another guitar, but - gotta wait for the brace. So I get a little frustrated, woodworking is one of my stress relievers. I swear at blocks of wood instead of at strange characters in my head. (The wood seems to pay more attention than they do, oddly enough).

The recent censorship drive on Facebook hasn't hit me yet. I'm on Mewe as well now, so when it does, well, hopefully I'll survive it. I think I'm going to start posting here weekly as well, just so you all know what's going on. When you see someone like Larry Correia being banned from his own groups, groups he never talks politics on, because they're afraid of something he 'might' say, a guy who's got like 50K fans there... well small fries like me can be crushed in an instant. I've stopped posting completely on Twitter and am debating shutting the account down. I probably should scale my posting on Facebook back more than I already have. Because there are definitely witch hunts going on and I have felt the long arm of the federal government when the powers that be decide they don't like something you said - and you know what? I don't want to go through two years of not being able to get a job again because I'm on a 'list'.

So I'll probably be cutting my presence on social media back, hopefully a lot, and try to just focus on my writing and try to ignore the insanity around me. Maybe when the brace comes off and I can play again I'll see if there's a bar band that needs a bass player and spend my evenings doing that a couple times a week so I can start getting out again.

I'm hoping to get my website redone here soon, to something a bit more professional, and I should probably start putting up links to the books of my friends out there that I really like. Some of them I'm sure you know, but there are others you might not know and they're good writers with good stories and very much worth checking out. And if conventions ever start happening again, maybe I can start going to some of those and giving you (those of you who want to that is) chances to talk about things in the stories and ask questions and such.

So, yeah, not dead (yet) and just a bit frustrated with everything that's happened to all of us this last year. I got a ton of projects and things I need to get finished, and I'm pretty much the only one who can do it (I really need to find an assistant I can trust and hire them), so at times I feel kind of 'task saturated' and all that. I gotta lot of things I want to do, I just need to start getting them done.

So here's hoping that this year is a better one for all of us.

Take care of yourselves, PLEASE. You're the ones that make this all worth doing.