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:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XJ7B785

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.