A Turkey Day Gift

Happy Thanksgiving!

For those of you in the U.S., today is the first day of Eating Season. I hope you have your sweat pants on, ‘cuz that waistline won’t look the same by day’s end!

This post started as an email to only those on my mailing list, but then I figured, It’s Thanksgiving! And I’m thankful for every set of eyeballs that land on this blog, too, so why not share with everyone?

I have to get to work on the sweat potatoes here shortly. This will be my first Thanksgiving back home since my exit from the Navy. I’ve been in twice now and both times–a total of almost 14 years–I spent most holidays far away. So it’ll be nice to have my nuclear family able to finally join in the festivities with my greater family.

And I’m making the sweat potatoes! They may be disappointed, though, because I’m not planning to follow the recipe my mom’s been following for the last several decades. I’m reducing the extra sugar content and going my own way with real (not canned) yams! Gasp! Oh no! Why did Jeremy have to come home and ruin Thanksgiving?!

But before I get cooking, I want to get at least one chapter of Deus Ex Machina revised. I’m on chapter 9 right now and have set a deadline of December 10th to have all 37 or so completed and ready for the editor. DXM is book 2 of my Identity Crisis series, following the superheroes and zombies novel Hungry Gods. I hope to have DXM up for pre-order by the end of December, maybe even by X-mas.

To that end, here’s my THXGVG gift for you: a FREE ebook download of Hungry Gods. If you haven’t read it yet, give it a shot. If you’re not sure if you like superheroes, give it a shot anyway. It’s free, right? No strings attached, I promise! You might be surprised. My books aren’t written for children and are probably a bit different than the vast majority of spandex books out there. HG is part capes, part horror, and part humor. And again, it’s free, so it doesn’t hurt to try!

https://dl.bookfunnel.com/c98sacd0i1

Download it before your trip so you’ll have an escape from Aunt Suzy and drunken Uncle Sammy! Share it with your family so they can get an escape too! Let Sammy and Suzy fight it out with drumsticks while the rest of you are hiding with your e-readers in the next room. 🙂 And it’ll give you something to read while you’re waiting for the Black Friday riots to quiet down.

Happy Turkey Day, everyone!

J. D. Brink

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Free for Halloween: Superheroes and Vile Villains!

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Collateral Damage, and all the Superheroes and Vile Villains books, are FREE right now on Amazon. These are four collections of short stories featuring spandex-clad goodies and baddies doing what they do best! Grab them while they’re free!

What’s that, you say?

I only come on here to tell you when to go get shit?

Yeah, I know. (Hangs head in shame.)

I’m a busy guy right now! Still on hospital orientation for the new job, possibly getting over to the inactive side of the Navy Reserves soon (yeah! more freedom!), and it’s Halloween for goblin’s sake! Mostly off of work today but have school work to do for the job, then trick or treating later.

I have been working on some writing though, just in time for Nanowrimo. It’s a book about writing that I hoped would be out by tomorrow but I just finished the second draft last night. So maybe out next week? It’s not a holy tome full of instant success secrets or anything (and I hope you wouldn’t believe me if I said it was), but it does feature some secrets. More on that soon.

I’ll be going to night shifts for a month starting next week. I hope that means I’ll have more time to do writing stuff, such as get Deus Ex Machina through the second draft (finally!) and some other stuff. The night shift thing is a two-sided coin though. (Aren’t all coins two sided?) I get more time to myself, but I’m also tired as hell. So we’ll see how that works out.

Meantime, if you like superhero short stories, pick up a volume or three of Superheroes and Vile Villains!

 

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 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!

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!

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!

July: All Books for a Buck

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It’s that familiar time again. Not only is it the birthday of our country, but it’s also time for the annual Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale. The ebook pioneer is now 10 years old (!) and celebrating as they do every year: by discounting a whole bunch of ebooks!

Right now, you’ll find all my books on Smashwords for right around one dollar. The automatic coupon mechanic cuts everything by quarters, so not everything broke evenly. Therefore, some books are a nice, neat $0.99 or $1.00 even, others are $1.25 or $1.50. But everything is right around that $1 mark.

If you’ve been wondering what all the fuss is about and maybe even admiring a cover and thinking you’d like to give one of my stories or novels a try, now’s a darn good time! Just go to my Smashwords page (by clicking here, for example) and scroll down to see all the books on their site. (Some of the newest stories aren’t up over there yet, but those are all a buck too, somewhere.) The coupons reducing them are automatic, so there’s no extra work for you.

Thank you for your support and I hope you take the chance to enjoy them for less!