A New Years Gift For You

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Thinking about buying that Swords, Superheroes, and Space Opera Bundle (available for a limited time), but not sure if you’d like author’s work enough to buy hundreds and hundreds of pages for the price of but one ebook?

(That’s a loaded question, if you hadn’t noticed.)

Tell you what. How about a free sample?

If you follow this link, you can download Masks from Bookfunnel for free right now.  My gift to you.

Not sure if you want to do that either? Geez, you’re kinda picky…

Here’s a quick sample. If it pleases you enough to want to read more FOR FREE, then go get your free copy. And if you like that one, maybe you’ll spring for the other EIGHT BOOKS for only SIX BUCKS.

CHAPTER ONE

RED MANTIS

The nondescript grey van turned left, without signaling, and rolled lazily into an alleyway.

Another car followed from a distance: a small, red Prius with the headlights switched off.  It was a hybrid model, capable of prowling the streets nearly silent on battery power.  That’s what the driver told himself, at least.  Truthfully, the payments were kind of steep on a gym teacher’s salary in Mesa City, but he loved that car.

Tonight he wasn’t a gym teacher, though.  He was a superhero.

Red Mantis allowed ten seconds to pass after losing sight of the van.  Then he crept the Prius to within a block of the alley, gliding along the curb.

There was no other activity in sight.  It was past ten o’clock at night, after all, and this was a small business neighborhood.  There were no residents here.  No one to notice any suspicious activity.  No one to hear a young girl scream.

He eased to a stop, threw it in park, and turned off the engine.

From across the street, Mantis could see that the alley was flanked by a small adobe-faced shop on the left and a larger, dark building on the right.

Papito’s Tailor and Dry Cleaning was a square, one-story structure with a large, darkened front window.  The mechanical centipede of the rotating dry cleaner’s rack made an ominous shadow on the other side of the glass, but there was no obvious movement inside.

The other place was a much larger lodge hall, three stories of dark brick.  The Honorable Brotherhood of the Sunset Horizon, the sign read.  The lodge crest looked Native American in theme: a red semi-circle resting on a thick black line, irregular, like a brush stroke.  A falcon or hawk soared above and a sinuous snake crawled beneath.

“That even sounds like a cult,” Red Mantis mumbled to himself.  “Why hasn’t anyone looked into these guys?”  He peered over his steering wheel.  “Huh.  Maybe that’s why.”

A smaller sign read: “Food Pantry: Tuesdays 5-7pm” and “Bingo Night: Thursday at 7”.

Maybe I’m chasing the wrong suspicious van

He looked at his watch, its face spun around to the underside of his left wrist to allow for the rigid plastic brace that was strapped to his forearm.  The digital display read 10:14:49, alongside the time zone and his current pulse rate, which was an excited 92 and anticipating more.  (Let’s face it, the watch had probably cost more than he’d needed to spend, too.)

He’d now allowed twenty-seven seconds to pass since the van had left his sight.  Too long.

Without another second of hesitation, Caesar Hernandez—the Red Mantis—popped out of the driver’s seat, adjusted the crimson plates of his segmented combat armor, pulled the pointy-frilled mask down over his face, and burst into action.

 

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My New Year Starts… NOW!

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Or, now-ish, anyway.

I’m now officially done working the floor at the hospital. Nothing left to do here but checkout.

And sell our car, turn off our Japanese cell phones, pack out everything we own and ship it overseas, figure out where we’re going to live in the States, get David into school there without missing too many days, buy a house, start my new job, get into the Navy Reserves, and a hundred other things.

Whew!

No wonder I’ve had an eye tick for last couple weeks.

No, really. I have. I’ve also averaged 4 hours of sleep the last three days. That doesn’t help either.

It’s when you have massive life upheaval like this that you realize, unless you actually make a living as a writer, that you’re writing really isn’t that big of a priority. It still is, in my mind and heart, it’s still the thing I think most about, but it sure as hell isn’t paying any bills right now, getting us across the Pacific Ocean, or feeding my family, so… Not a big deal.

And when I start my Master’s Degree this spring or summer, it will unfortunately take a further back seat. Which sucks. I love my writing. And I have more stories in my mind right now than I will probably get done in my lifetime. At the rate I’m going, anyway.

Although once I’m out of the Navy and settled into my next life, I expect to have more writing time. Eventually. And in seven more years, when I can retire from the Reserves, I hope to have even more time. Maybe by then I’ll actually have enough books out there that they’ll be paying some of the bills.

Dare to dream.

Most writers, in case you didn’t know, do not sustain their lives on writing alone. Even many of those published by the Big Five companies. Most writers are not millionaires. And the forecast is that fewer and fewer will be. The hay day of the millionaire writer is over.  I never asked for a million dollars anyway. A tenth of that per year, a twentieth, would suit me just fine. At that point I would consider myself to be a “professional writer.”

And I don’t know that I would ever stop working, anyway. I’m leaving the Navy as a nurse and moving on to teaching nursing school, something I greatly enjoy doing. Even if I were making a sustainable wage as a writer, I’d probably still teach at least part-time. It’s a worthwhile cause and I’m not sure I would feel satisfied with a life where I spend every day just holed away typing on a keyboard in the basement. I’ve always felt a need to do more for more people. I don’t know that just entertaining folks with wild stories would be enough.

And so begins 2018. Bye-bye 2017. We barely knew you. And we won’t really miss you.

Starting last new year (has it been a year already?!), I had stopped tracking my daily writing word counts. That seemed to be more accounting than was worthwhile to me, and sometimes only reminded me that I was not writing as much as I wanted to be. Instead, I tracked only words published, which I continue to think is way more valuable. A lot of people patter around on their keyboards writing words that no one ever sees. Published words are out there in the world.

So I simplified my tracking system from a day by day account to a monthly task account, further divided into quarters. This was codenamed “Stormcloud.” (I love to make up codenames. All my pricing matrices have codenames, my file for book blurbs is called “Witchdoctor,” etc.) So whatever task I completed or book I worked on would have a colorful entry in my spreadsheet simply noting what it was. For example, in January of 2017, I have some orange blocks that say, “SIDs finished” (SIDs is shorthand for Secret Identities) and “Kronos pubbed” (The Scythe of Kornos). If I did some marketing, sent out a newsletter, or some other writing-related task, I noted that there too. For example, in October I took a vocational vacation to the Oregon Coast and spent a week in a writer’s workshop learning a crap-ton about the business end of writing and publishing. That’s definitely in the Stormcloud matrix.

In 2018, I’m thinking of going even simpler. No more big, colorful monthly graph where I continue to track my every move just to justify to myself that yes, I did do something toward my writing career this month. The new system is codenamed “Scarecrow” and it’s just a schedule. Just a plan of what I want to get done in 2018. And it doesn’t take up much space.

Two major books: Green-Eyed Monster, which is a collection of 7 novellas and stories (some of which will also appear as solo stories once a month over several months), and Deus Ex Machina, which is the quirky superhero novel following Hungry Gods. And that’s it. And pretty much all of those things are already written or very nearly written.

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Much like in the world of Big Publishing. The stuff that comes out this year will have been written last year or, more often, years before. In the case of most of these things I’m bringing out in 2018, most of these words are two, three, or more years old and are just now, finally, seeing the light of day. Or were published in magazines previously, so I had to wait for the rights to come back to me. The shorter stuff was also waiting for me to have more stuff to package them up with, in the case of the Green-Eyed collection.

So how did everything total up? Was 2017 a good year?

Sure it was! Even though I feel, as every writer does, that I didn’t write nearly enough words and didn’t get nearly enough out for readers to grab onto, it was a good year.

In 2017, I published 81,500 new words. New, as in they’d never been published before 2017. Pretty darn nice for one busy-as-hell guy doing all this on his own. (With some hired help from editors, artists, and the wife.)

But when you add in repeated words—such as stories that were published by a magazine or anthology and then later by me too, or the books I revived from previous years that I had removed from publication for dumb reasons, that total is way more impressive: 274,000 words! Over a quarter million! Wowzers! Almost half of that is the revival of my Tarnish: Thunderstrike Edition all by itself, which combines everything so far in that universe into one volume.

Those totals beat out 2016, when I published 77,500 new words and a total of 99,500 with reprints and all. Which is still pretty darn good itself!

And according to Scarecrow’s estimates (like it’s secret artificial intelligence or something), I expect to publish about 100,000 new words in 2018, between the Green-Eyed stories and DXM. Plus (I nearly forgot!), I have another Leonidas Hawksblood space pirate installment coming out this summer in Cirsova Magazine. Two installments, actually, as it’s a story in two parts. That’s another 11,500 words.

Words already written in 2016, along with at least 70,000 that are done as of right now.

Which makes it easier. Especially with the HUGE life changes we’re about to go through. Having the hardest part already done gives me a full year to get them finished up, polished up, and out the door. All the while, going through massive real-life stuff, starting new jobs and graduate school, ensuring the family makes the transition without too much psychological trauma, and everything else.

So my 2018 is already shaping up to be a hell of a year.

How’s about yours? Leave a comment and let me know!

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By the way, you can still grab everything published in 2017, plus a couple bonus stories, via the Swords, Superheroes, and Space Opera Bundle. Hundreds and hundreds of pages worth of fiction for only SIX BUCKS. Get it while it lasts, folks, because once I get settled into my new life and 2018, this incredibly cheap bundle of books is going to go away. (Click here to find it on Bundle Rabbit, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.)

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

(2018 image from freepik.com, btw)

Welcome 2018, Celebrate 2017

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2018 has arrived! HOLY POOP, how did that happen???

Now that the holidays are over and life is beginning to return to normal, how’s about something to read?

Right now you can get everything I published in 2017, and then some–that’s NINE books–for only SIX BUCKS. 

That includes the first two books of two different series, plus a complete trilogy and its prequel! And then some!

Click here to go straight to its home on BundleRabbit.com. You can then buy it from there (in which case you can elect to send some of your purchase price to charity) or click links to B&N, Kobo, or iBooks.

(Notice there’s no Amazon on there? Nah, they can sit this one out. They got enough of your Christmas money, right?)

I encourage you to grab this while you can. Because this is specifically a 2017 bundle, it will soon fade away!

Thanks for the support and happy new year!

 

An Aeldari New Year: 40K After Y2K

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I’ve had the Warhammer 40K monkey off my back for the most part of the last three years, being stationed here in Japan where I had no one to play with. And no time to mess with it.

But now that I’m counting down the days left here (about 17 right now, if you’re keeping track), I decided to bust some nerd kits back out. Actually, I just want to use some expensive Citadel-brand spray paints before I move, ‘cuz you can’t take them with you. Literally, you can’t ship potentially explosive cans of spray paint. I inherited some from another guy who couldn’t take them either, and now I face the same situation. Use ’em or lose ’em.

So I’m using them, trying to put together some models I’ve literally had for YEARS and get a nice base coat of paint on them. The only army I brought with me was my Eldar, thinking that in three years I’d get the whole bunch of them painted. That didn’t happen. Too many higher priorities. But I’m getting some done now. And here’s what I got so far.

Above is another of my custom made Dark Reapers. I used mostly Dark Eldar kits with a fantasy Dark Elf head wearing a skull-faced mask. This young lady fills out a squad of five.

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Continuing my use of Dark Eldar as Craftworld badasses, these are three of what will be six “Shining Spear” aspect bikers. My fluff is that they are Samm Hain Wild Riders with an array of vicious, super-charged weaponry.  The faster they fly, the more kinetic energy their whips, flails, and swords charge up.

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Here are some more of the staple of any good Eldar force, my Dire Avengers. I love me some aspect warriors, and these guys are the noble warriors incarnate. (I don’t bother with Guardians anymore.)

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I don’t mix Dark Eldar parts with these guys. Well, okay, I did throw a head in there. Once painted, I plan to lay his helmet at his feet. I do try to make some unique characters out of some among the squad, even though they’re all alike on the stats.

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I had extra parts for one more model, so I made this guy. He could be another avenger exarch (which I have plenty of), or even an autarch. Though with so many, far cooler HQ choices, why on earth would I take one of those?!  (Unless it’s to get a biker character. I have done that in the past and enjoyed using him.) For this model, I was also experimenting with a ninja kung-fu pose. Turned out okay.

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And finally, one of my favorite Phoenix Lords, though I don’t use him very often: Asurmen, first of the Dire Avengers. This is a classic DA exarch model I’ve had since the 90s. I just add a the catapult bracer to his sword arm and replaced his pointy arm with a new plastic one.

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Asurmen deserves a cooler model, but this will do just fine. He’s bigger and more intimidating than the rest. I’ve never seen one of the official Asurmen models up close, but the pictures just look too bulky and clumsy.

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And, by the way, HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

Personally, I’ll be working night shifts on the 31st, 1st, and 2nd. Sucks,eh?

But those are MY LAST SHIFTS. EVER. I start checking out of here next week, then back to the States mid-month. So I’ll take the holiday hit with a smile. 🙂

Okay, 5am here, gotta get to bed! Nighty-night, 2017!

 

 

 

 

Signed Copies for Christmas

 

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Turns out springing a surprise book signing for the one-day on-base garage sale with no real notice… Poor planning.

That’s why I’m opening the flood gates again right now.

(Also not great planning… Sorry, but I’m a very busy man!)

Like the poster says, if you want a signed copy, come and get it! If you’re on base here on Yokosuka, easy peasy. If you’re not and you’d still like one, it probably won’t make it in time for Xmas. But we can try! You just have to pay a little extra cash for the price of shipping and hope that Santa Claus is driving the mail truck…

Write me at jdbrink(at)brinkschaostheory.com or use the contact form on the “contact” page. Payable in cash if in-person or by Paypal if not.

Not on Amazon: 9 Superhero Ebooks for 6 Bucks

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Just in time for Christmas, here’s a bundle deal for you. If you’ve been curious about my work, or are already a fan who’s been looking for more but not sure where to start, start here!

I decided to throw everything I produced in 2016 into one deeply discounted book bundle for an end of the year explosion. 

Uh, explosion of fiction, that is.

The Swords, Superheroes, and Space Opera Bundle. Available on BundleRabbit, B&N, iBooks, and Kobo.

And NOT available, you guessed it, on Amazon. This one is for the little guys, like you and me. They’re getting enough business this time of year.

You can get to all of the other retailers from the Bundle Rabbit site. Just hit the “BUY NOW” button.

But an advantage of buying right there on Rabbit is that you can choose to donate 10% of your purchase money to a charity. Especially nice this time of year! I have selected the Wounded Warrior Project and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, both charities that mean a lot to me, personally.

(I also get a bigger chunk of your pie if you buy on Bundle Rabbit, since I don’t have to share it with the other retailers. In case you want to support me, as well, over them.)

With all the traveling and downtime you’ll have this holiday season, you’ll want to grab plenty of quality entertainment. And this is it! Enough to keep you turning pages well into 2018!

The normal total price for all these titles adds up to $35! But you can get this giant-sized file of fictitious fun for a whopping grand total of $5.99!

But only for a limited time. This is an end of 2017 bundle, which means once we start wading into 2018, this book deal is going to go the way of the do-do. So do-don’t mess around, buy it today! (okay, that was a terrible wordplay. Sorry. None of that shit in the books, I swear!)

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A few of these books aren’t exactly, strictly 2017 material. Say, about 500 pages of it. (Which still leaves hundreds more!) Tarnish: Thunderstrike Edition was a book I published a few years ago, decided to unpublish, and then recently decided to throw back into the world. It contains the entire Tarnish Trilogy and the prequel of the series. Four books in one! And that’s just one book of the nine!

The Thorne Legacy is the first installment of the Cold Stars series of sci-fi stories, and since The Scythe of Kronos came out this year (book 2) I figured I should put that in there too.

Also, I must confess to a couple of repeats in the collection overall. Medicine Man, Frozen Heart, and Puppet Theatre were published as individual stories and were also included inside bigger triple-story collections. So they come up twice each. But that still leaves hundreds of pages of single-appearance material, so no biggie.

 

Click here to check it out on Bundle Rabbit. 

Happy reading and Merry Christmas! (Or Happy Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or… insert your preferred winter holiday here. They’re all good ones!)