Only Four Days Left!

The Myths and Legends Storybundle expires in just four days!

bundle

Once it’s gone, it’ll never come again. These things are as fleeting as the winds of magic on which they ride.

Get 13 fantasy books for just 15 bucks!

Some of that money goes to charity!

And a little bit of it goes to me, as well as all the other authors who contributed books to this great deal of summer adventure.

Even if you only read a fraction of the books here, you still get your money’s worth!

Do it now, cuz after May 31st, it’ll be too late!

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Trump and 1984: Part 2!

 

platypus-mini

On the 20th of May, my newest story landed: Platypus: An Orwellian Tale

Actually, it’s not a new story. I first wrote it in 1999. It was, in fact, the thesis project for my Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Bowling Green State University.

Not quite so long ago (February of 2017? It was really that long ago?!), I wrote a brief post about the emerging comparisons between 1984 and Donald Trump as President.  So now that Platypus has finally seen the light of day (after a little tweaking by the author, 19 years wiser), I figured I’d post this and let you all know that.

You can click here to find Platypus at your favorite ebook retailers. (Paperback out soon, though it’ll be more like a chapbook–it’s a novelette/longer story, not a novel.) Meanwhile, if you want to read a little blurb of the story of the story, read on here…

A Primitive But Interesting Species

My first degree was a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

Really! I was one of those people!

Well, I didn’t start out as one of those people. I considered a lot of majors when I was seventeen and eighteen years old, generally among the hard and soft sciences. But after taking an interest survey for “undecided” college students, I turned away from them and embraced my creative side instead.

My mom would ask me what I was going to do with a degree in writing.

And I’d answer, “I don’t know, I’ll find something. I’m not worried about it.”

What I ended up doing with it was enlisting in the Navy, even though people were saying, “Shouldn’t you be an officer if you have a degree?”

The recruiter said that, no, I could go officer after boot camp.

And he should know, right? I mean, military recruiters would never lie to young, impressionable morons just to meet their monthly quotas, right?

Obviously, I was idealistic and stupid.

Well, stupid in hindsight. Just a young, naive dreamer at the time, like most of us at that age.

And if you, Dear Reader, are considering a college career in writing or a similarly idealistic path, please let me extend a bit of advice:

If you’re going to go to college and accumulate decades of debt, you need to get a degree in something that pays. Major in a paycheck (that you will still enjoy), and minor in what you really love (that probably doesn’t pay squat).

I know that’s not what you want to hear, that I sound like your mom.

But guess what?

I’ve been there. And twenty years later, I’ve learned something: Mom was right.

Anyway, where was I going with this rant?

Oh, yeah.

“Platypus” was my college thesis project. It was by far the longest story written by anyone in my writing program cohort. (Though not the longest story I’d ever written—there was another I wish I still had, something Shakespearean in nature, about a king who thought himself immortal. Damn, I forgot about that until just now!) It was probably also the only genre piece of the bunch, too. We were taught that genre work was crap and that all serious artists wrote cryptic slice-of-life vignettes where nothing remotely exciting or interesting ever happened.

I do think that I came away with a little more of a literary approach to my swashbuckling, warp drive adventures, which I’m proud of. And this story is obviously an ode to that masterpiece of lit and genre, George Orwell’s 1984. (Which, by the way, has had a resurgence in popularity lately due to the strikingly similar politics of our current President…)

Anyway, this twenty-year-old story, this “primitive but interesting species,” has finally arrived for your entertainment. I hope it does both things for you. That it entertains, yes, but also that it carries a little of that literary weight and warning about what could be, if we are blindly compliant, intentionally ignorant, and allow it happen…

Hmmm… that didn’t really say much about the story itself, did it?

Here’s the blurb/teaser about the book too:

In the dystopian future, there is no poverty or war. Nor is there hope or mercy.

In Risen Cleveland, life is regimented and devoid of color. Literacy is obsolete and God is dead. Nothing ever changes. And it’s better that way. Easier. Safer.

Until one man dares to ask the forbidden question: Why?

An ode to George Orwell’s shocking warning and timeless novel, 1984.

Find it here.

Have a good Memorial Day weekend.

And thank you, my fellow veterans, for your service to our country!

 

Dragons, Swords, Magic, and Wizards!

The Myths and Legends Fantasy Storybundle

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Kevin J. Anderson (of Dune fame, among many others) has curated a new superpack of fantasy ebooks over on storybundle, and he’s invited me to take part!

These thirteen books cover a range of classic fantasy types, from epic quests, to modern retellings of classic myths, to humorous encounters with Little Folk, to lit-RPG adventures, to sea monsters, ancient curses, and saving the world. These indie-published authors include Cat Rambo, Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Jody Lynn Nye, M.L. Buchman, J.T. Evans, Christopher Katava, Stefon Mears, Alex Singer, Meyari McFarland, Linda Nagata, and, yes, J. D. Brink!  There’s also the Undercurrents anthology edited by Lisa Mangum, stories of “what lies beneath” (proceeds from this anthology benefit the Don Hodge Memorial Scholarship Fund for the Superstars Writing Seminar).

If you’re not familiar with how Storybundle works, you name your own price and get the whole batch instantly delivered to your e-reader. For as little as $5 you get the base bundle of five novels, or for $15 or more you will receive all 13 books, enough to keep your reading life filled with magic all through the summer and beyond.

As always with storybundle, a portion of the proceeds goes directly to benefit a charity, in this case the Challenger Learning Centers for Space Science Education. When you pick up a copy of the Myths and Legends storybundle, you’ll receive a lot of great books for around a dollar apiece, you’ll support indie authors, and contribute to a very worthwhile cause. Everybody wins!

But this bundle will be available for only a limited time. After June 7, it goes away.

Go to https://storybundle.com/fantasy to grab this fantastic deal while it lasts!

Galaxy’s Edge, Geek Gab, and Nick Cole

You know how sometimes you can hear (or be told) something many times, but it isn’t until after about the 20th or 50th or 100th that you finally say, “Oh, now I get it!” ???

Big thanks to Deuce Richardson for enlightening me to Geek Gab episode 128, and a big thanks to them for having on Nick Cole, one of the two authors of the huge mega space marine hit Galaxy’s Edge series, and an even bigger thanks to him for what he had to say on there!

Haven’t heard of any of these people? I hadn’t either.

But I had heard, from many folks, that if you want to make it big as an indie writer you have to write in series, and get that series out in short order, and play Amazon’s algorithm, and a bunch of other stuff. And while I acknowledged it and saw the wisdom in it all each time I heard it, it didn’t really sink in or make me think about changing my plans or getting more serious. Partly because the writing aspect in my life is always second-fiddle to about 3 or 4 other more important things in my life.

But suddenly, having listened to this podcast this morning, it actually sunk in and kicked me in the shin and said, “Hey, I’m talking to you asshole, are you listening?!”

It also makes me want to read (at least the first book of) Galaxy’s Edge. Add that to my ever-growing to-read list.

So, finally having “come to Jesus” about what I need to do to actually make some headway in writing, I come to the same most difficult question: What to write? (Among other serious questions, like, What time am I going to start getting up every morning to do some writing before work?)

So if you tuned in he other day for when I laid out my almost ever month publishing schedule for this year, it might be up for some changes. If I continue to scatter shit all over the place like chicken feed (to continue that analogy from that post), I’ll continue to be unknown and ignored.

So what series to I decide to dedicate myself to first? The superheroes universe I’ve already started and have multiple (chickenfeed) series started in already? Is superheroes a big enough genre to actually get any traction?

The coming of age fantasy series I started FIVE YEARS AGO–actually, I wrote Tarnish more like EIGHT years ago and it took three years to get it out after that.

One of, like 2 or 3 other fantasy series I have in mind but haven’t started?

The space pirate series I started with short stories published in Cirsova Magazine?

Or one of a zillion others.

Whichever I pick, it will mean essentially abandoning the others for a year or two (or three) while I finish out that whole series. Which I really can’t see doing. But if I bounce back and forth across 2 or 3 different series, one book at a time, I’ll just continue what I’ve been doing, which is not working.

Think Netflix. Everyone watches a whole series/season at a time, right? And get pissed when they have to wait for the next episode. They don’t want one episode now, one next year, etc. They do the whole thing in a weekend.

That’s what I have to do. But which one…?

strip

I’m going to finish what I have going right now. Deus Ex Machina is 70% done and I am going to do that first. But after that…? I’m guessing I’ll sell a dozen copies and then… nothing. So plow ahead on that or… something else?

I have several books in several series figured out. I could do any of them. But I need to write like 3 or more books and THEN start publishing them. What can I crank out quickly, in sequence? And if I get locked into that genre for a while, will I be happy with that? If I suddenly have a best-selling sci-fi series going, how easy will it be to switch back to finish my superheroes or fantasy series? Or vice versa?

Decisions, decisions.

Fortunately I have some time to figure it out while I finish up some things…

 

The End, The Beginning, and The Continuation

HGsad

Well, we didn’t make it.

Not by a long shot.

But a couple of good things come out of this anyway.

One, everyone who did officially contribute to the failed Kickstarter (all SIX of you) will still get the finished novel! I’ll email you your preferred ebook file type when the time comes. At this point, I’m hoping to have it finished and ready sometime between August and October. (Life still has me in a pretty brutal chokehold at the moment, but I hope to get back to writing at a decent pace by the end of May.)

For you folks, I’ll try to email you via Kickstarter when the time comes. In case that doesn’t work out for some reason, you can tap me on the shoulder at jdbrink@brinkschaostheory.com with your email address and I’ll get back to you with the book when the time comes.

The second thing to come out of this, strangely, was a big sense of relief. While I certainly would rather have had the funding and popularity of a successful Kickstarter campaign, the dismal failure of it kind of took some weight off my shoulders.

It was like some unseen giant placed a hand on my shoulder and said in a big, deep voice, “Look, dude, you just ain’t that big a deal. You ain’t even a small deal. Relax. No one knows you’re there and no one is waiting for your next book.”

Okay, it sounds more depressing than reassuring if you put it that way, but there’s a positive in there too, I swear. The positive is that any stress or demand I place on myself is just that—only placed by myself. Which means I can chill out and stop being mad at myself for not making more progress faster.

I mean, I WANT to make more progress faster, but life just doesn’t have room for that right now. We are four damn months into the Total Life Transition and it’s still pretty chaotic. We’ve been staying in our new house for less than a week now and still don’t have any of our possessions there. They have finally arrived in Ohio, but we won’t get them for another week and half! No TV or internet there yet either—I’m sitting in a park on a beautiful spring day right now, sucking on some unsecured, invisible ether signal from a nearby business. My new job is busy and my schedule there is still in flux as they struggle to make up for staffing holes. My son is finishing this year at one school and starting next year in a new one (since we’ve moved), we still need to find family physicians to get started on other issues, my wife is going out of the country for a bit, I finally check into and start my Navy Reserves stuff next weekend, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

It’s a fucking merry-go-round that’s spinning out of control and on fire, the wooden horses are trying to buck us off every day with some new unexpected problem that comes up before we can solve yesterday’s new problem, and the evil clown running the thing just keeps laughing and laughing and laughing…!!!

*sigh*

Sorry, didn’t mean to slip into that mess.

Back to the positive thing: Downsizing.

Now I can once again downsize my writing and publishing operation. Focus on what’s important, stop wasting my time on what isn’t working, and get more out of it. Trimming the fat on the 80/20 principle.

So that’s what I’m going to do. Stop being so ambitious in certain directions and focus more on the writing. Basically that means cutting my puny marketing attempts even further, cutting my almost non-existent social media attempts (including blogging), cutting a lot of stuff that really doesn’t matter until you have a body of work that generates a modest fan base. I sell a few books here and there, and people sometimes come back for more, but it’s piecemeal, it’s like chickens scratching and pecking for random corn. There isn’t much point in any of it until I have a big ass mound of corn built up for those chickens to feast on, and to tell their chicken friends about.

I know that “conventional cyber wisdom” (meaning the murmurs of the faceless mob in the last 5 years or so) is that you need to build a platform to get popularity and be noticed. That means being on Goodreads and Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and all these other places, just being there and socializing and getting your “face” out there.

Well shit, fellas, that sounds like a fulltime job to me! When I am supposed to do any writing?

So I’m bucking that cyber-crap and going to living my new life and writing more books. My plan is to make advances through series and give folks a solid line of entertainment to follow. The trouble is deciding which of my many series I have in mind to follow up on first. But cutting out the blathering into the ether (kinda like this post, which most of you have stopped reading by now anyway), I can send that time and those typed words into something more constructive.

And what might that be, you ask?

Okay, diving into Part Two of this very long type-fest:

The Up-Coming Reading Schedule.

I still have an ambitious publishing schedule planned for the rest of 2018. And I’m considering trying to fill a couple more holes so that something new will come out every month for the rest of the year. (Not bad for having no writing time for five months now, eh?)

This is the tentative plan. We’ll see what I can add and what falls off as reality comes to pass. Most are short stories, novelettes, and novellas at this point. The only novel this year will be Deus Ex Machina and Green-Eyed Monster will be a long collection with most of these stories at the end of the year.

April – Kiss of the Maiden. Out now and free of charge!

May – Platypus – up for pre-order now

May – Tarnish as a featured book in a Storybundle bundle, curated by Kevin J. Anderson (big-time SF writer, if you didn’t know)

June – Moondance

July – Hunted

(These lat two might switch places—we’ll see what happens)

Summer issue of Cirsova Magazine – “Littermates” Part 1

August – Deus Ex Machina

(August if I’m lucky. If not, could be SEPT or OCT.)

Sept-Oct – could be DXM, might get another work or two done that have been brewing just so I can hit every month.

Fall issue of Cirsova Magazine – “Littermates” part 2

November – The Proposal – published in Weirdbook magazine, as well as coming out as a single short story from Fugitive Fiction (me).

December – Green-Eyed Monster

Pretty darn good for a big failure who isn’t writing, right? Not too shabby. See, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. 🙂

And almost all of this is already written! So I hope to have whatever is coming out in 2019 well underway by the time January comes around.

But for now, it’s Downsizing, Evil Klown Merry-Go-Round, and keeping to the above publishing schedule.

And, finally, that’s the end of this update and blog post! Thank you for your attention!!!

 

End of Days

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Before I go pick up the U-Haul van, I need to make a last-ditch effort on this Kickstarter campaign for my new novel, Deus Ex Machina. Please see below for a quick blurb and to see what you can earn by pitching in just a few bucks to help our cause.

U-Haul? you say.

Yes, after three months of eating on card tables and sleeping on the floor, we finally got our new house! The house my son will grow up in. Of course, we’ll still be sleeping on the floor for a while, as our worldly possessions are still en route from the Navy. Hence, a van is enough to get our things moved today.

Which I have to go pick up now! So while I work on that, please take a moment to read what’s below and check out the LAST 48 HOURS of my Kickstarter.

***

This is it, folks! The final 2 days for the Deus Ex Machina Kickstarter campaign.

We still have quite a ways to go, but it’s not as far a leap as it seems. Our goal is not a big one. Twenty more contributors could make this happen. Or twenty folks who told twenty other folks. It’s still very much in our grasp.

And what’s at stake?

I have three primary objectives here: fantastic cover art, eagle-eyed editing, and cool voice narration for the audiobook. And I’d settle for the first two if that’s all I could get.

But Kickstarter is an all or nothing system. If we don’t reach our full goal, the whole thing shuts down.

What’s in it for you?

KS-SIDEKICKS

Books! A whole superheroic universe for the nerd in your life! And we all know some superhero fans these days. Capes are like video games—they’ve finally come out of your parents’ basement and gone mainstream!

KS-MAJORHERO

So please take a moment to check out the campaign, your reward options, and the new video I made for it, which sums up the situation nicely. (Just click here!)

We only have about 48 hours to make this happen.

THANK YOU!