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.