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!

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The Witch Haunt Interview

The Witch Haunt has interviewed Jennifer Collins, my trusty freelance editor! I’ve been happy to hire Jenn for years. (I don’t know if anyone else calls her that, but I sometimes do. I’ve always thought that the proper way to shorten the name–with two Ns.) She  catches all my oopsies and makes great suggestions when my rambling just doesn’t make sense to anyone but me.

Though I must admit, she does like commas more than I do. But that’s her job! 🙂

Check out this interview here on the Witch Haunt.

(She was eve nice enough to mention me and my books in there.)

Writing, Job Search, and Podcasting

Some news in no particular order:

  • I’m continuing to work on Golden Age Heroes and hope to finish the first draft before September 1st. From there it’ll be 2nd draft revisions for both GAH and Deus Ex Machina, so I can sequence them together for release late this year or early next year. (Hoping to have them out by Thanksgiving. We’ll see how everything goes.
  • I’m currently unemployed (oh no!!!) but do have some interviews lined up for this week. I thought I’d be like, “Oh that’s okay, more time for writing!” But I’m not. I’m more like, “I’m a grown up with a family, I need a freakin’ job!!!” I always tell other people that in today’s world, only suckers work. It seems every punk with a cell phone camera is a self-made millionaire these days. If only I knew how to do that!
  • Which leads me to this: Anyone know of a video blog or podcast looking for semi-regular guests? I’d like to start in the audio-visual biz, but lack the technical skills. I also don’t know how much I would have to say on my own talking to an unblinking camera. But I’d like to get in with other folks who do know and like to talk about writing, sci-fi/fantasy, gaming, reading, whatever. If you have any leads, do let me know!
  • I’ll also continue to try to get a blog post up once or twice a week. I have more Indie Writer Code Words to discuss, just a lot on my plate with higher priority right now.
  • There’s also the new release of Warhammer 40K Kill Teams, which I’d like to get into (and blog/podcast about). The fun part for me is making the team and painting up them up, so I hope to find time for that soon too.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading!

Snake Eyes is Live. Plus More Cheap eBooks

Python snakeskin leather background, snake skin, texture, animal

As of July 20th, my latest standalone short story is live just about everywhere.

How do you kill a man who has Lady Luck wrapped around his finger?

The man known as The Gambler went from loser to ruler almost overnight. Now he sits at the head of all tables. And those he toppled, the mobsters getting his scraps, they want him dead. 

But rumor has it that The Gambler has a cosmic cheat. A piece of science fiction come to life that twists all probability in his favor. 

If you believe in that sort of thing. The hitman they call Snake Eyes, he doesn’t. His dice are loaded. So is his gun. 

Let the final game begin.

A tale of death, noir, and impossible odds from the author of One-Eyed Jacks, Unfeeling, and Moondance. 

You can find it by selecting your favorite retailer–just click here. 

Also, July is still on, and so is Smashwords’s annual Summer/Winter Sale. Everything of mine over there currently has an automatic coupon attached. That’ll get you short stories for free and everything else for between 1 and 2 bucks! Check it out now, cuz July is just about over! 

New Superhero Secret Origins Started!

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Despite the recent chaos and ego beating of my present job searching situation, I managed to start on the next book today!

I was thinking the other day to blog about how hard it is to get started.

“A beginning,” the Princess Irulin told us in the first line of 1984’s Dune movie, “is a very delicate time.”

And despite all your mental preparation, squeezing out the beginnings of a new story or novel is hard. It’s like jumping out of an airplane or off a cliff (I imagine). Even if you’ve done it before, looking over the edge at what awaits below is still there. Throwing yourself from that nice safe bit of solid ground beneath your feet is just not natural.

Okay, it might not be quite that bad, but starting is difficult. It takes a leap of faith. And sometimes a shove out the door from behind.

It’s especially tricky when your confidence is not at its best. Which is my case at present, in the face of trying to support my family with no job at the moment. But I spent the last two days in job searching mode and have set up two promising interviews next week. So I think that may have secured for me the sense of, well, security to enable some new writing today. With that safety harness strapped across my shoulders, I was ready to take the leap!

And so I have. Got the first chapter in the can! I haven’t decided yet if the title of this novella is going to be The Golden Age or Golden Age Heroes — it’s been GAH in my mind, but that feels awkward to me coming off the tongue. (What do you think??? Let me know in the comments!)

Either way, it’ll be Book #3 in the Secret Origins series, right behind Masks and Secret Identities. (Which you can learn more about by clicking those titles now…)

And then, this book will get paired up with the recently completed Deus Ex Machina as the next superhero sequence this fall/winter.  (For more on sequencing, see the last Indie Writer Code Words post here.)

Okay, gotta get moving. Lots more to do with the day. But the most important bit is done!

Indie Writer Code Words: Sequencing and Rain Check

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Continuing my series of posts here, I’m talking about top secret code words used by me as a writer. Some may be used by other writers, too, in which case I picked them up from elsewhere. Some are the terms I am using for my own creative process. And I figured, if they’re worth me churning in my brain, they might be worth sharing online with other indie writers as well.

Today’s top secret word is for a concept I’ve gotten elsewhere, but I don’t think they call it what I call it: SEQUENCING.

The idea is that you have better luck selling a series than a standalone book, and even better if that whole series—or at least a trilogy worth or two or three at a time—come out all at once. Or at least in short order, say, each a month apart.

Much like your favorite Netflix or on-demand series, readers these days are impatient. They want to get the whole thing NOW. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) So the idea is, if you have 3, 4, 5, 6, or more books all ready and out there RIGHT NOW, you could have a runaway hit on your hands! If they read the first and say, “Yup, I’m in,” you might have just sold a whole series all in one blow. Something like that builds speed quickly, too, spreading by algorithms and by word of mouth.

However, posting just one book and promising it’s the first of a long series, and then not getting that next book out for a few years (like I just did—or am doing, I guess, since Deus Ex Machina isn’t out quite yet) is generally not helpful to gaining a readership.

Therefore, SEQUENCING is a good idea. That is, launching books in a sequence, right?

The trouble with this is, if you’re a working stiff like me, who has to have at least one (if not two or more) day jobs in order to support the family, it’s hard to do that! Writing just one book takes time, much more time than we would like. So finishing that arduous journey and then just sitting on it until you can do it all again (which takes a long time again) requires a mighty portion of patience and will power.

And that leads to my next codeword: RAIN CHECK. The relativity of this word seems obvious, but it is also derived from the codewords STORMWATCH and WEATHERSTATION. These both refer to my scheduling and tracking spreadsheets. “Stormwatch” was an older version, “Weatherstation” is the newer one.

RAIN CHECK is scheduling a sequence of books or stories for the future. It has two parts:

(1) Having the will to schedule things in a sequence and fighting to urge to publish as soon as a book or story is ready to go.

(2) Staying focused enough on one series or universe to make that happen.

The word RAIN CHECK is a reminder to me to stay focused and follow through with the plan to SEQUENCE.

And these concepts have been proven by many an indie author more successful than myself. Writing and waiting is well worth it.

After all, if your first book gets everyone all excited, but there’s no more for those excited readers to move on to… They move on to someone else. And by the time your next book does come out, they may have forgotten all about you.

And that sucks.

For me, in my most immediate future , the plan for sequencing is to finish up everything on Deus Ex Machina (Identity Crisis series: Book 2, thus the sequel to Hungry Gods) and to pair it up with The Golden Age (Secret Origins series: Book 3). (Working title, still needs to be written!) Both of these series take place in my Identity Crisis Universe, a genre-bending realm of superheroes, sci-fi, humor, and gritty mystery.

As I posted recently, I have finished the first draft of Deus Ex Machina. So, step one complete!

Now I have to write The Golden Age—planning to keep that one to about 30,000 words or so, what I consider a short novel. Then go over both works again to make their 2nd drafts. Then send them to my copy editor for a once over to get my 3rd (final) drafts. Then I just need to cover them (both in progress now), format them, and get them out there!

Right now I’m shooting for November-ish as a publishing date, give or take. Still working out the details, and it depends on how long everything takes to get done. I want to allow some time to promote and offer deals on previous books in both series, thus building some awareness and excitement again for both series.

And then…

We’ll see what happens after that. Do these superhero books take off into the stratosphere? Or do they trip over their capes and fall flat on their faces? Those results would help determine my next sequence of books: more of the same, or hop to another genre.

Those considerations will also involve more codewords, like RAIN CHECK and DONUT HOLE. (Stay tuned for those posts in the near future…)

Superhero Sequel Nearing Completion!

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This week (Tuesday, July 10th), I finally finished the first draft of my novel Deus Ex Machina, the sequel to Hungry Gods (Identity Crisis, Book 1).

AT LONG LAST!  

It’s literally been YEARS in the making. I’ve started and stopped it a few times, all for various reasons.

Which was a mistake. For various reasons.

This was also before the concept/codeword of SEQUENCING came about for me, which is the next post in my “indie writer codewords” series.

Anyway, at this point, there’s not a whole lot I want to say about DXM except, Yeah! I did it! The hardest part is done! 

And it turned out longer than I expected. I was projecting 60,000 to 75,000 words. The first draft is 83,000, a nice, solid length for a novel. (Final form will be around 320 pages, maybe?)

Unfortunately, it’s still going to be a few months from release. (More on that reasons for that in the next installment of my codeword blog series.)

Meantime, though, that sketch at the top is a sneak peak for you. It’s a prelim sketch for the cover art by Henry Ponciano.

Henry has also done the illustrations for two other covers for me: Invasion and One-Eyed Jacks. You can find more of his work and contact him on Deviant Art here:

henryponciano.deviantart.com

His end of the DXM cover work is actually done at this time, but I’m not ready to share all that yet. Wait till I’m closer to launch and ready for some promo to stir the pot.

All in due time.

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…Weeeeell, if you really want a good sneak peek, you can go purchase the superhero anthology Collateral Damage on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited right now. My story in there, “Tuesday Afternoon Mayhem,” is the actually first few chapters of Deus Ex Machina.

Enjoy!