Kiss Unpublished

kiss of the maiden

I just unpublished this short story, which I had posted as free everywhere April last year.

I decided it just wasn’t the first foot forward I wanted readers to discover.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the story, but it’s really the first chapter of a novel that doesn’t exist yet, and won’t anytime soon. (I just have too many other books to write first.) So as it stood, it was kind of a cool shark story that opened a door to more… with absolutely nothing on the other side of that door. Which probably isn’t that compelling to prospective readers…

Right now I’m thinking that, eventually, I will republish it with 2 other short stories in it, all of which could relate to that title: Kiss of the Maiden. In the other two cases, though, that kiss is from a deadly, supernatural woman. In the case of this story, it was a “maiden shark” on a distant planet.

Those other two stories are waiting to come back to me right now. One will be published in the next issue of Weirdbook Magazine, hopefully in May. The other is at the Writers of the Future Contest, which should have results any day now.

So it’ll be back. But for now, as it is… It just isn’t suited for the job I want it to do.

But, damn, do I like that cover!

Advertisements

Switching Websites AGAIN?!

Maybe…

I hate all this cyber-stuff. I’m not good at it. And let’s face it, WordPress is not the easiest thing in the world to work with. Especially for a tech-fearing, luddite barbarian like me.

I feel like that evil scientist woman in Superman III getting assimilated….

aa3.jpeg

I discovered a new author website system put out by a now-millionaire guru I’ve subscribed to, and it is an awesome website builder specifically designed for authors, but… It cost $60 a month to use it! Holy greenbacks, Superman! It’s nice, but that’s plain silly! I can get a premium set-up from another provider for a third of that.

Which is probably what I’m going to do, although I really hate starting over again. In 2015 (I think) I started this website, abandoning my Blogspot site and several years of blogging there, and it was a bear to restart then. I hate to have to manually rebuild everything from scratch. But if I can get one of those nice “drag and drop” systems… That’s easy. And I can build it over time.

Besides, if I’m going to start paying for it, I might as well be paying for something easy to use with the bells and whistles I want.

So stand by.

I hope all you nice subscriber folks will follow me over to my new site, if/when that happens. It’ll probably still be “Brinks Chaos Theory” since I’ve purchased that domain, but I doubt I can migrate my follows over.

I’ll let you know if/when the move happens. I’m on spring break this week, in between quarters at the nursing college where I teach. So aside from a lot of more painful tasks to be done (like my taxes!) I’m hoping to get some infrastructure stuff done for the ol’ writing biz. Actually updated a handful of book cover designs this morning, and they look good! Best one is this:

Confident superhero standing with arms crossed

Way better, if I do say so myself. 🙂

Okay, watch for developments. I’m fending off the urge to write new material so I can get more of the publishing side of things handled. Not easy for me–neither the fending off writing nor the publishing/admin tasking.

I have this new collection about ready to come out, too, but need to establish the infrastructure stuff first. I also made this cover myself. (Not too shabby, eh?)

Exploring space from astronomy center

Okay, work to do.

Or sleeping to do. It is after 11pm now.

Or maybe video games to do…?

Decisions, decisions…

Bye-Bye Smashwords

Happy February, everyone.

How the hell did that happen??!!! We’re already into our second month of 2019?! Unreal.

I guess time flies when you’re hunkering down to take cover from winter storms with -40 wind chill factor.

I’m just posting to make note that my work is no longer available at Smashwords.com. It’s a somewhat sad but progressive development on my part.

swlogo

Don’t be fooled by the title of this post into thinking Smashwords is gone. That is not the case! I’ve just decided to trim the fat from my operation, and Smashwords is one of two sites that I plan to cut from my publishing roster.

It’s a great site, I’ve been publishing through them for several years. But in my New Years revision of everything, I’ve decided that they are no longer worth the effort for my operation to keep going through them. Zillions of others continue to publish there and are doing fantastically, I’m sure. But I’m planning some big revisions in the near future, and going through the motions of updating and publishing new material on yet another publishing site… Just not worth the effort for what I’m getting out of that venue these days.

So if you’re looking for my work there, or have taken advantage of the nice coupons I’ve employed there before, you will no longer find my stuff on Smashwords. My stuff is still available just about everywhere else, but I’m downsizing and refocusing things and SW is the first casualty of that revision.

Thanks again, Smashwords! It’s been real!

 

 

Ghost of Christmas Future

aa-future

“The thing that all men fear.”

I only recently understood this line from Scrooged! It isn’t future Christmases that are scary, it’s our ultimate future: death. Thus the reaper-looking ghost. Duh.

This third of three blog posts, however, is not about our ultimate demise. It’s about my hopes, dreams, and (most importantly) plans for 2019.

One thing going forward that I would like to do (if I can scrape together the time) is get to this blog more regularly! Like, once a week, at least, aiming for Fridays and/or Mondays as posting days. I also would certainly like to talk about more than what book or story is coming out, or happens to be on sale this month, or whatever! No one wants to hear only about “Why don’t you buy this?” all the damn time!

Unfortunately, in the chaotic maelstrom that has been my during 2018, I haven’t had much time for the casual, “So how’s tricks?” blog posts. During a typical day, I’ll come up with lots of little tidbits, reflections, and opinions I could share, but having immediate access and/or time to blog about them just isn’t happening.

(And whatever is happening in the really-real world probably takes priority over blogging anyway, right?)

So anyway, one hope/plan for 2019 to blog three or four times a month, maybe every Friday or Monday if possible. And to talk about more than just my own damn books.

Some blog topics I do expect to do are the writing discussions from my book Top Secret Codewords for Indie Writers. The whole thing started as blog posts anyway, so it’s only fitting to bring it back to that too. I can do a chapter a week, or a fragment of, in the case of longer chapters. There are about 15 chapters to the book, so that’ll take a while. Can’t do it right now, because it’s currently enrolled in KDP Select, which is Amazon’s 90-day exclusivity deal. I’m generally against the exclusivity thing, but I do sometimes experiment with it to see what happens.

Another topic I’d like to be able to share more about would be games, more specifically Warhammer 40K and Dungeons and Dragons. I barely get to play either one anymore, but I’d like to! And I’d like to make more time for not just playing, but talking about them in general.

To that end, another of my would-be New Year’s resolutions is to manage to paint one unit a month of 40K miniatures. Over the decades I’ve collected quite a few—too many, in fact! I have enough to field armies of Eldar, Crimson Fist Marines, Space Wolves, various colors of Chaos, Daemons, and a few odds and ends. And I’d like to try out just about every force in the 40K universe, just for fun! I’ll never get them all painted, unless Games Workshop all of a sudden decides to hire me on full-time just to see if I can do it. (Purely as a challenge—they’d never hire me for my painting skills.) But if I can get to a single unit a month—be that one hulking monster or a 10-man infantry squad—that might be a realistic goal. (Semi-realistic, anyway.)

So that’s another possible, don’t-quite-hold-me-to-it resolution: Get one unit of 40K models painted per month.

On the D&D side, it’s mostly talking about what I like about 5th edition, maybe updating my optional rule companion on the Dungeon Master’s Guild, the Fifth Edition Creative Companion. Although, I’m kind of waiting to update that after I write a fantasy book that’s literally been brewing for years, so that I can then include what would be their 5th Ed stats, too.

I also hope to read more in 2019. I’m probably not alone in that one, eh? I’ve read more in the last few months here than I did all year, and probably all last year. I’ve started reading before I go to sleep at night. That helps alot! I was also reading during my lunch while I worked at the busy, busy hospital. Needed the relaxation there. Eventually I’ll blog about what I’ve been reading, too.

And, of course, there’s the usual New Year’s fare: lose weight, get into shape, make more time for friends, make some friends, go to Mars, discover the cure for cancer, and other equally lofty and unlikely things.

The biggest focus for me, though, is more writing and more business of writing. Expand my penned library and build more of an actual business from it so that, one day, it might actually serve as my full-time job. Even if it allowed me to work a day job only part-time, I’d be good with that, too. But if you want writing to be a business, you have to know something about business! So I need to carve out time for that, too. I’m writing and making book covers and all the fun stuff. That’s getting done. But the harder side of things, the marketing, the accounting, the taxes, etc. All that… Not so much.

There are resources out there, indie writers more successful than myself who are lending a hand to (and making a big chunk of income from, btw) other writers.  I have been collecting lectures and videos and slideshows and tips and everything! (…pant, pant, breathe…) I just haven’t had the time to make use of them.

So next resolution: focus on business, as well as writing.

To which end, I also always reassess at the end of each year to see how I can streamline my operation. Remove clutter, reduce drag, you know. This year, I think that means cutting two sites that I’ve been publishing on. Neither of which produces jack for me anymore. (Or ever did.)

Now it could be argued that, since I’m already there, I should just leave everything up. The work that’s done there is done, just leave it be.

But they’re both still work. When I upgrade and update things, like with my whole superhero universe right now, I have to go back on and spend hours on those sites doing it too. And for what? No one ever buys anything there. No one even knows I’m there! It’s hours of work with no appreciable results. So…

Streamlining.

Okay, that brings me to the last section of Future, the best part: my writing plans for 2019.

Of course, no battle plan survives contact with the enemy and mine pretty much change monthly, if not weekly or even daily. But here’s the basic structure/idea I’ve got going forward right now:

In keeping with my “Donut Hole” codeword/philosophy, I have existing series started but not finished. Those need to keep running. But unless fans give me a reason to really dedicate my efforts to one series or another exclusively, I also have many more ideas that have been waiting years to finally reach the page.

So, going forward, my tentative plans are:

  • One Identity Crisis Universe (superhero) book. At least one. (Besides, Deus Ex Machina, which will land January 31st, technically a 2019 book.) I’m already about 10,000 words into Golden Age Heroes (Secret Origins: 3) and about 25,000 words into Twilight of the Gods (Identity Crisis: 3). TotG I literally started writing years ago. It’s going to be a long one, though. I once thought it might be two books instead of one, but I really want to keep it inside one cover right now.
  • One Cold Stars book. This is another long-view vision of a science fiction series. I envision six books, the first two of which have essentially been all short stories. Book 3, Ghosts of Chaucer, will include two novellas. Book 4, then, will be the first full-length novel. (Which I already wrote, back in 2003! Needs tweaking though.) The early books set up characters on their own paths across light-years of space, who, by Book 3, are drawn together into one big plotline. Books 5 and 6 will be way more focused on one galaxy-threatening story.
  • One or more miscellaneous, as time allows. As I said, I’ve got years’ worth of shit swirling around up in my noggin. 2019 will definitely see Green-Eyed Monster come out by spring, which is a collection of 9 or 10 short stories and novelettes. Those are all but ready right now. Beyond that, I could also write the first of my D&D-style fantasy books, start the long-awaited space pirate series, do my relatively new werewolf-space samurai trilogy (not as lame as it sounds, I promise!), or maybe my “strange noir” book. So many options, so little time!

Am I really going to write three or more books this year? With my crazy life?

It’s certainly possible. I generally aim for 10,000 words a month. (Unless I’m editing/revising a book at that time.)

And my doable, working stiff publishing goal is 80,000 words a year, which will already be covered when Deus Ex Machina lands in January. (Although a lot of indies might say, “That’s not enough,” they may not have as much on their plate as I do.)

So the pressure’s off, baby!

That gives me a year to have 80K ready for 2020. Easy breezy! (Though don’t worry—I have no intention of waiting until 2020.)

Okay, that’s it, folks. The end of my Christmas Ghosts. And the end of 2018!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, have a good Kwanzaa, celebrate the New Year, and I’ll see you on the other side of 2019!

(P.S. If you want to join up for the future, you can enlist on my Conspiracy Newsletter by clicking here… I’ll never spam you or abuse your info. I’m way too busy for that crap!)

Ghost of Christmas Past

aa-past

Ah, the classic Dickensian Ghosts of Christmas: Past, Present, and Future. For my purposes, they will be depicted in their incarnations from my favorite Christmas movie, Scrooged.

What do they have to do with what I’m about to blog? I don’t know yet, I’m working on it… I just came up with this as a theme to fit what I want to say. Forcing my words to fit that theme is part of what writing is all about, right?

“Your assignment: write X.”

“Roger that. X on the way…”

What I’m really trying to talk about is the past, present, and future of my writing plans, the rollover of the new year, and the exciting news that’s happening now and how it relates to what’s past, present, and coming up.

(Yeah, that’s it! I knew that, somewhere in here, I knew what I was talking about!)

Which makes this the post about Christmas Past. And for the past several months, this guy has been driving…

scrooged-ghost-of-christmas-past

That should pretty much tell you all you need to know! But I’ll elaborate a little…

Okay, very little. ‘Cuz it’s depressing, confusing, and more than you really care about.

Basically, got out of the Navy in February, in and out of the Navy Reserve since then (active to inactive, actually), started a job, quit by Naval decree, got another one, went inactive reserve (so Naval decree has way less weight), went back to first job. So December 10th was me starting over yet again! At least it was the job I started back in February, so I am at least familiar. But it’s still starting anew.

So unstable life. Moved from Japan to Ohio, family still settling in and finding their places. My son’s been in three different schools this year.

Every step forward is followed by two steps back. You know that dance, right?

Despite all these real-world setbacks, I’ve still managed some progress in my writing world. My yearly goal for words published (not written, but actually published into the world) is 80,000 words. A novel by definition is 40K, though a typical one put out by the Big Five New York publishing mafia is about 80K. I’m going to fall short of that mark this year, but that’s okay! I allow myself some leeway given all the seismic shocks of our lives this past year. I’m lucky to have gotten anything published at all.

Here’s what I did get out there. Most of these are short stories or novelettes that were written before 2018. One book I did write this year. (Crammed it in in only 2 short months, in fact.) Plus, I have a short story coming out still in Weirdbook Magazine #41, hopefully before the year is out.

aa-collage

And even though I fell short of the 80K goal, I’ll more than make up for it in 2019. I already have Deus Ex Machina set up on pre-order, which is 85,000 words by itself. BAM! My 2019 goal is already in the bag! And Green-Eyed Monster will soon follow, which is a collection of all these short stories above, plus several more. BAM! Overkill! And those are all already written! So 2019 will be a productive year.

But that’s a different ghost…

We’re talking 2018 right now. The yearly wrap-up.

For a while there I had decided to stop tracking my written word counts. This was likely one of my new 2018 streamlining goals about this time last year. About mid-way through the year, though, I decided to start tracking them again. My monthly, active writing goal is a comfortable 10,000 words per month. Given my chaotic and over-taxed life, that’s not bad. And even without writing new words every month in 2018, I still managed about 86,000—and that’s probably underestimating April and May when I wasn’t quite keeping track. You can’t publish 80K next year if you don’t write some this year, right? Well, even with riding the whirlwind and all, I still cranked out enough to ensure my current and future publishing goals. Not too shabby.

What I did not get enough of in 2018 was business savvy. Marketing knowledge. Cybernetic infrastructure. The administrative and business side of the indie writing biz. I hope to make more time for that very soon.

For now, given the tumultuous real-world events of 2018, I’m pretty damn happy with the way my writing/publishing year turned out. Which I couldn’t really say until right this minute! Because I, like all indie writers, am too impatient and too hard on myself. Which is why doing little recaps like this are good for me (us). Looking back and seeing that, Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. I mean, uh, Yes, Virginia, you did accomplish more than many aspiring writers this year, despite always cursing yourself as a failure. Therefore, No, Virginia, you’re not a piece of shit.

Good job.

Alrighty, that’s it for the Ghost of Christmas Past. Stay tuned. Expect the next ghost at the stroke of one… (This was the midnight ghost, ya know?)

Two Secret Projects and NaNoWriMo

ts1

Life has been tumultuous here for me, and continues to be as I have some fresh self-inflicted changes coming ’round again. But next week is both my birthday and Thanksgiving, so it’l be a good a week! (My belly will approve, at any rate!) I’m also in the process of trying to switch my biological clock from nights shifts back to day living. It’s 1:30am right now, so that’s a slow-going process.

I have also been working on two “top secret” projects these last couple months.

The first was a short story inspired one day in September as I was eating in the mall foodcourt. (Who doesn’t get inspiration in a place like that, right??!) Seriously, it turned out to be a story I’m proud of and it’s making the rounds for publication right now. So I can’t talk too much about it. But I can tell you there’s biting of the neck and a striking parallel to some real world shit gong on in the U.S. these days.

The second is a new book about writing. More specifically, self-publishing and the writer’s journey. It just went live a couple days ago and is currently only available on Amazon. The book started out as a blog series right here on this website and has now grown into a 140-page book! (Amazon says it’s 115 pages, but when the paperback version comes out, I’m pretty sure it’ll be more like 140.)

I may publish the whole thing right here on this blog, one chapter at a time, eventually. I can’t right now because I went ahead and did the exclusive KDP Select deal on Amazon. The benefit is that, if you’re a prime member, you can potentially get the book for free. When my 90 days is up on that deal, though, I’m going wide. So if you’re an Amazon member, now is the time to score a free book.

I wanted to get it out in time for National Novel Writing Month. People all over the world take on the challenge of cramming in some serious writing in the month of November. I hope some of them will consider checking out my book on the subject. I’ve got 20 years of experience and advice to offer. This book isn’t about making it rich, quick. It’s about hanging on for the long haul and how to actually get your work in front of the reading public. If that interests you, go ahead and take a gander.

Come to think of it, it’s also “Mo-vember,” for mustache growing and men’s health awareness month, but I forgot about that until just this minute! Growing a goatee anyway! 🙂 (Which I no longer have to shave because I’ve officially switch from the Select Reserve (active reserves) to the Individual Ready Reserves (inactive). No more drilling means I can be as fat and hairy as I like! (Which I still plan to keep a leash on, but good to know I have that freedom now.)

Okay, going to do some editing on Deus Ex Machina (the long-promised superheroic sequel to Hungry Gods), which I still hope I might have out by Christmas–or January, at the very least. Then it’s off to bed!

Good night.