Long Time, No Bloggy

I haven’t been able to get on the ol’ blog much lately. Started another new job, which consists of orientation classes and 13-hour nursing shifts. Also had Navy Reserve drill this past weekend, though my days of drilling may be numbered… (More details on that will hopefully be available in the coming months.)

I had been working on Golden Age Heroes (Secret Origins book #3) last month. Then all this real life shit hit. I also sparked some inspiration for a short story I’m still working on. And I’m thinking I may turn the Indie Codeword blog idea into a non-fiction book for fellow writers. Though I’ll likely continue to post them here too. And would like to make a Youtube channel for the same, plus some other commentary. But when the hell am I going to have time for that?!

I will find the time, eventually. It’s hard when you have two jobs, more depending on what you call a job. But I’m working toward my dreams and taking steps to make them join our shared reality. Just like we all are.

Okay, medical appointment calling my name. Didn’t get much writing done today either, unfortunately… (Life’s too damned busy, ain’t it?!!)

 

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Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Out Now

For a nice pulp-like dose of SFF fiction, you could do a lot worse than to try out Cirsova Magazine. Issue #9 is out now! You can grab the ebook for only $2.99 (or for free with Amazon Prime), and the real life, hold it in your hands paperback for only $8.50.

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And here’s the contents of Cirsova #9. (Click here to see it on Amazon now!)

Novelettes

  • All That Glitters, by Paul Lucas
  • The Orb of Xarkax, by Xavier Lastra

Short Stories

  • The Faerie Pool, by Edward McDermott
  • Our Lords, the Swine, by N.A. Roberts
  • The Bejeweled Chest, by S.K. Inkslinger
  • Jack’s Basement, by Michael Tierney
  • Antares, by PC Bushi
  • Cirque des Etoiles, by Bo Balder
  • Hot Water in Wormtown, by Robert Lang
  • Littermates (Part 2 of 2), by J.D. Brink

Military SF, Space Opera, and Adventure: Ten Books in One!

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I’m honored to have been invited to contribute to the Cosmic Clashes book bundle. My trio of sci-fi stories The Scythe of Kronos has therefore joined this 10-book bundle of out of this world excitement! And you can nab all ten books for less than a buck a piece!

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It’s time to take flight and fight the good fight on the final frontier! The excitement never ends as you launch into a starry realm of intergalactic battles, adventures through space, and ultimate rewards for high-tech genius and bravado. Leap between universes and soar through the stars, led by the boldest heroes of the cosmos. The Cosmic Clashes bundle will take you on the unforgettable interstellar thrill rides you’ve been dreaming of all your life.

This bundle includes the work of Dean Wesley Smith, Sabrina Chase, Stefon Mears, Robert Jeschonek, Harvey Stanbrough, Russ Crossley, Michael Warren Lucas, Perry A. Wilson, and Blaze Ward.

Oh yeah, and me.

Click these links to find it at its home on BundleRabbit, Amazon, B&N, Apple iBooks, and Kobo. Grab this 10-book deal while it lasts!

 

Fantasy eBook Sale: End of Summer Quest

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Being the end of summer and beginning of another school year for youngsters, young adults, and even many grown-ups, I thought I’d try throwing up my first novel for a 50% off sale. Tarnish: The Thunderstrike Saga is now only $2.99, vice the usual $5.99 for the ebook. That price change should have kicked in everywhere by now, but if it hasn’t, just check your second-favorite retailer.

I slightly reworked the book description blurb for this event. See what you think:

Armed with a mythic sword and burdened by his father’s legacy, Wil Thunderstrike embarks on his first quest in this epic fantasy adventure.

Everyone knows the stories of the Colors Three. That trio of adventurers who traveled the breadth of these realms in the post-war years, stalking the traitorous Crescent Moons and bringing justice to those downtrodden left in the Dread Duke’s wake. 

Tavern masters have been spinning those tales for ten years. Ian the Black and Trevor the Red are ten years older.  More so, for the warrior’s life is a hard one.  And Gregor the Golden?  Most likely dead along a mountain pass, in search of more glory than any mortal man needs.

Who, then, will defend Redfield when evil rises from the Blood Marsh? 

Billy Cole is the sixteen-springs-old son of Ian the Black.  Maybe older.  Being the heir of a legend is a heavy burden to bear.  And though “Billy Strong Back” is used to hard labor, it takes more than strength to be a man.  And more than a sword to make a hero. But he’ll be one. Even if he must become a villain first…

Witness the birth of William Thunderstrike in this heroic fantasy epic that breaks the mold for gritty coming of age tales. Praised for its unique storytelling, engaging detail, and heart-felt characters, Tarnish stands alone in the annals of fantasy fiction.

Want more Thunderstrike Saga? Pick up The Prince of Luster and Decay, a Tarnish prequel!

It’s kind of long, I know But I’m not sure how to prune it back. I mean, I could prune it down, but I think this captures a lot of the good stuff. We’ll see, I guess. (Any suggestions are welcome!)

Here are some direct links in case you would like to take advantage of this very temporary reduction in price: Tarnish on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, and Kobo

I’m also experimenting with Bookbub Ads to see what happens there. I’m not expecting any miracles, but it’ll be interesting to finally give it a shot and see how it works out. (For you writer-types out there, I’ll try to remember to let you know via another post in a few weeks.)

While you’re at it, you might also want to pick up The Prince of Luster and Decay, which is somewhat of a prequel novella to Tarnish (features some of the same characters back in the war days.). Click here to find that book wherever you buy books.

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Indie Writer Code Words: Sun Tzu

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Yes, this series continues despite set-backs!

Most of those set-backs  relate to “real life” where the struggle is real! (Hence the INDIE WRITER bit, right? It’s part of the definition of terms.) Lately the biggest factor there has been the Navy Reserves, which they sell as a very part-time gig. It’s not, folks. It’s still the Navy, which I thought I had gotten out of…

Anyway, on to the code word: SUN TZU.

To describe this code word, which I came up with just very recently, here is an excerpt from an email I sent to Henry Ponciano, one of my go-to cover artists.  (You can check out his Deviant Art page here.)

*
Henry,
I have other books already in this same superhero universe, in other series. One is INVASION which you already made a cover for a few years ago! And there are others in the SECRET ORIGINS series, which I am working on the 3rd book right now to release the same time as DXM, which is the cover you just made for me.
So I have been thinking that “sometime” I should really redo all the covers so they look the same. So even though they aren’t the same series, they are the same universe that share heroes and histories and you can tell just by looking at it that they are all related. best way to sell them, right? how would a casual reader know those books are also the same vein if they look totally different?
so i have been thinking, “yeah, that is the smartest way to go. but i’m not going to do that. not now anyway.”
WHAT??? Why the hell not? what am i waiting for??!!
so even though i personally like the covers i have, and i already have an idea for the next one, it would really make sense to go forward with the thing that’s best. that i know is best. why not do that??
it’s Sun Tzu right? why go into battle knowing i’m not doing the best thing, knowing i’ll lose?
So let’s Sun Tzu this bitch, Henry! what’s your availability?
*

Okay, that may or may not help much to illustrate the meaning behind the code word. But it was written within minutes of the lightning strike that established that term in my writer’s mind.

Sun Tzu is the ancient Chinese master who wrote “The Art of War.”

The main idea is this: Win the battle before it starts.

How do you do that? By scouting, planning, setting up, and making the right decisions.  You figure out the absolute best path you can take, and you take it.

Do our leaders these days so this? Hell no! Almost none of us do. Even when we know it’s a bad decision, we do it. Every day.

For me, as an indie writer, it means following the best practices, rather than knowing and NOT following them.

Case in point: I’ve been creating different series within the same universe and, even though a series might have uniform covers that indicate it’s a series, one series to the next in the same universe have nothing to do with each other.

To see what I mean, go here, where all my current Identity Crisis Universe superhero books are.

You’ll see the pair of Secret Origins–Masks and Secret Identities–books look similar, but nothing like Hungry Gods, which is in the Identity Crisis series.

I am currently working on Identity Crisis Book 2 and Secret Origins Book 3. I have a cover for IDC 2 that looks like IDC 1. And have had the plan for SO 3 for years, which looks like SO 1 and SO 2.

But if you see the books from these two related series, featuring some of the same characters, all next to each other, you’d never guess they are related. They just don’t look the same. And cover appearance is 80% of why a reader picks up a book. (Right?!)

I realized that NOW is a great time to consolidate the appearance of all these books so that I don’t have 2 IDC books and 3 SO books, but 5 IDCU books! Wouldn’t that be better? Then everyone will know there are 5 books here, not 2 or 3. (Actually, there’s six including Invasion, and more planned for the future.)

Another case in point: The fact that I have all these different series started, in different genres, and have been working on them for years. Had I focused (as I knew I should) years ago, I’d have one or two complete series right now and be a hell of a lot more successful as a genre writer than I am now. My total word count is over half a million! But it’s spread out so much that you’d never know it.

…Okay, I kinda feel like I’m talking to the wall. (I’m actually talking to a screen, so pretty close.) It’s not you, it’s me. I worry that I may not be expressing the point I want to make. Visually, you’d get it. Or rather, you WILL get it when the task it done.

And the more I blather here about it, the less I’m actually making it happen elsewhere!

In summary: SUN TZU means, if you know the right, best course of action, take it! Don’t do what I have done (and most of us do), which is say, “Yeah, Path A really would be best, but even knowing that, I’m going to take Path B instead. It’s easier and faster, which is all I care about right now.”

You say your books aren’t going as quickly and wide-spread as you’d like? Have you done what you know to be best, like spend a few more bucks on the covers and editing? Or are you knowingly taking the wrong path?

How can you expect better results when you already decided to take the wrong course on purpose?!

SUN TZU my friends. Don’t go to war knowing you’re going to lose. What’s the point of that?

Last Kickstarter Days for Pulp Fiction Mag Cirsova

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I’ve been meaning to get back to a few different blog posts that have been swimming in my brain, but just haven’t found the time. TIME, as I always say, is THE most precious resource. It disappears second by second, constantly, never stops leaving and never comes back. SUCKS, don’t it?

But you know what doesn’t suck?

CIRSOVA Magainze! It’s one of the big pulp rev titles that are bringing back sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery that is written to be FUN. All the big literary SFF mags want stories that are  politically correct and have the big thrust as something that your English teacher would like.

But most of us aren’t English teachers. We what about the rest of us?!

Cirsova is for the rest of us.

And to ensure there’s a Volume Two to this magazine, we need a few more people to care. And, frankly, to show they care by contributing a couple bucks. And/or telling some other folks they know who aren’t English teachers (or are—they like this stuff too, they just can’t admit to it!) about it too.

GO HERE to Kickstarter and see what you can buy for your couple bucks. And help keep this indie mag going and keep giving indie authors somewhere to publish!

 

LAST DAY on Smashwords Summer Sale

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Today being July 31st, it’s the LAST DAY to get ebooks supercheap over on Smashwords. You can score some of mine for free and the rest for only a buck and some change!

I have twenty-one individual titles over there just waiting to be picked up.

So far I’ve had quite a few free ones go–like, every one of them in waves, all bought simultaneously–but not too many of the deeply discounted ones. Are readers really so cheap these days they wont pay a dollar for reading material???

C’mon folks, tomorrow they go back up to regular price!

Just click here to my profile and scroll down to see what’s there. The coupon codes are built in so they automatically kick in at check out.

Nothing is more than $1.50 right now!

Why are you still reading this? Go now!