11/21/17

Emaculum Audio Book is Here!

I might have missed the deadline on this by a tiny little bit…

So, first, the official announcement:

And second, an acknowledgement that this audiobook  might have taken a *tiny* bit longer than I intended. Like two years longer. Okay, like…um… three years longer. I could talk about all the reasons for this — delays from actors, life challenges, agent changes, my general stupidity, to name a few — but I won’t. The bottom line is that I dropped the ball on this. Thankfully, I have good friends.

Enter Lynn Roberts, a reader of my books who has followed me since the first of my Scourge books. Lynn’s helped me out in more ways than I can count. He’s been so awesome that I made him the captain of my street team, The Knights of Calas. A while back ago, I was bitching talking to him about the problems I was having with the audiobook. And Lynn stepped in one more time.

“You know,” he said, “I used to do some radio work. If you want, I could do it.”

Lynn doesn’t have an English accent, but he’s got an impressive, deep voice. And I know he is passionate about The Scourge, a quality that is far more important than anything else. Also, each of his biceps is bigger than my chest and he could kill me if I said no. So I played it safe and gave him the go-ahead.(Obviously I’m kidding–I was stunned and awed, and grateful that he would want to take it on).

Lynn sat in his makeshift studio for an ungodly number of hours, recording take after take of each chapter and sending them to me for approval. He had to suffer through my draconian criticisms and endless nitpicks for months, and he did it without a single complaint. I can’t thank him enough for his work. It’s because of him that this audiobook exists.

I’m sure some people will fault the book because Lynn does not have an English accent, like Nico Evers Swindell, who read Scourge and Nostrum (and did a fine job). But Emaculum is read by someone who loves the series, someone who has been consistently loyal to me, someone who stepped up to help me when I needed it.And if anyone complains about the accent, Lynn will probably crush their spine with his pinky toe. (That’s totally not true. Lynn is too classy for that. He would use the pinky on his hand.) Also, because the rights to The Scourge series have reverted to me (have I not talked about this? I guess I have another blog post to do), the first two audiobooks are no longer on sale.

So I guess Lynn and I will have two more books to do…

Hallelujah.

03/4/16
Scourgeware

The Scourge, Giveaway!

A quick note to let all of you know that I am giving away five e-book copies of The Scourge. The raffle is being carried out with the Amazon Giveaways tool, and simply requires that you follow me on Amazon to enter.

Here’s the link to the giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/6be1876300ba5a1d

If you haven’t read The Scourge, now’s your chance to get it for free. And if you have, now’s the chance to spread my plague far and wide by giving it to your friends and family. Or something.

I’m giving this raffle thing a try, and if it does modestly well (or better) I’ll start giving away other merchandise in the future (including this Scourgeware I designed but have never printed).

Thanks, and, if you enter, may you contract The Scourge!

 

 

 

01/25/15
EmaculumPrint

Emaculum Print Book Now Available!

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note to let you know that the Emaculum print book is now available! At the time of this writing, it’s only available from CreateSpace. It will be available on Amazon in a few days, but if you want to get it now, please use this link.

I don’t make a lot on the print copies, but I think I actually get a little more money from the CreateSpace copies, so even when they are available on Amazon, I’d be grateful if you bought them from the link above.

Apologies that it took so long to get these printed. I’ll be offering a few signed copies for sale ($20) in the next few days, so contact me if you want to get your name on the list!

Thanks again for all of your wonderful support. And stay tuned for some more news next week.

 

10/14/14
P1130332

Comic Con – Sunday (and Book Signing!)

 Hello peoples,

Sunday was another exhausting but amazing day at the Jacob Javitz Center. As promised, Belle and I donned our Edward and Elizabeth costumes and paraded around the conference. I also did my book signing in armor, which is not as easy as it sounds. And what a wonderful book signing it was. We gave away 50 copies of the The Scourge to 50 of the coolest people on the planet. Big Thanks to Courtney Miller of Skyscape for running the signing and making sure everything went smoothly (and humorously). Thanks to Ben from 47North for making the entire event happen, Britt for organizing it, Alex for supervising and being a wonderful human, and Justin for everything else. Oh, and a *huge* dollop of gratitude to Preston Ray, owner of the armor I was wearing. He was kind enough let me carry off his $2000 baby to New York without a second thought. Thanks!

Things I learned:

1. Wearing armor for three hours is not as fun as it might seem.
2. Signing books in armor is tricky.
3. There are some mentally deranged people at Comic Con.
4. I am one of those mentally deranged people.
5.  Parking in New York is ridiculous.
6. Breastplates look similar from the front and back.
7. Never buy a pretzel from a roadside vendor.
8. Fed-Ex Kinkos has got your back when you need last minute printing.
9. Did I mention the mentally deranged people at Comic Con?

And now, a gallery of images from my signing and the madness that is Comic Con.

 

01/21/13

Serial – Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

Hey everyone. I did a guest post on Lindsay Buroker’s blog and I received lots of questions about it, so I figured I would talk a little bit more about writing for Kindle Serials, here at my home blog.

First of all, I’d like to define exactly what is involved in serials, so we are all on the same page (screen, for you Kindlers).

I wrote a Kindle-Serial novel for 47North, called The Scourge. A Kindle Serial is a new type of novel that begins life as a series of episodes that are automatically (and periodically) downloaded onto Kindles (or other devices that have the Kindle app installed). A reader pays $1.99 for the novel, and one episode downloads to his or her device every two weeks until the novel is finished. The reader never has to pay for any other episodes. $1.99 covers the entire novel. You just get it a little bit at a time.

But you get the story as it’s written, so if you buy it now, you will get all episodes that have been released thus far, (we’re on episode 5 at the moment), and then you will get episode six on Tuesday, and episode 7 in two weeks, and episode 8 (the final episode) two weeks after that. Confused yet?

Here’s a good example: Let’s say you love The Walking Dead television series (guilty). So you decide you are going to buy the whole season 1. But let’s pretend season 1 is still airing. They are still showing episodes every week and the season isn’t finished. If it were a Kindle Serial, you would get every episode that has already aired, then you would start receiving each new episode at the same time as everyone else. Until the season is over. But you never have to pay for any other episode in Season 1 again. Make sense?

Once all the serial episodes are delivered (the novel is finished) it is no longer a Kindle Serial. 47North turns it into a standard property, which means The Scourge gets an ebook version, a print version, and an audiobook version, and the price goes up. So, in our analogy above, the entire season 1 of The Walking Dead  is over (all episodes have been aired), so it gets turned into a box set and you can watch it as often as you like. But unlike a box set of a tv show, if you paid for the serial as it was being written, you end up with all the episodes as an ebook and you don’t have to pay for the “box set”. Lucky you. Unless you want a print version or audiobook version of the “box set” in which case you would end this metaphor immediately.

So, that’s how the Kindle Serials work. Now, to answer a few other questions I’ve gotten concerning serials:

1. Yes, I have a standard publishing contract with 47North. They created the cover for me, provide copy editing, proofreading and some editorial direction. I received an advance for the book and will get royalties when the advance earns out. (Which it pretty much has already. Yay me.)

2. Yes, The price of the book as a Kindle Serial is fairly low. But the exposure I receive from Amazon is priceless. I am selling far more books with this title than I ever have with my independent title, and I get far more exposure. And, when it becomes a standard property of 47North, the price goes up. Win.

3. Yes, writing this way is difficult. There are many, many challenges, but there are also many, many rewards. I will post on those pros and cons in a couple of days.

4. Yes, working with 47North and Amazon Publishing is a joy. They allow me input into a lot of areas that other publishers never would. What sort of areas? Well, massive input into the what the cover will look like. Input into the marketing blurbs (including bio, synopsis, back cover blurb, and to whom it should be marketed). Their royalties are better than standard publisher royalties, and they pay on a quarterly basis (with ‘standard’ publishers you are lucky if you get paid every six months). And they know how to get things done quickly and efficiently without sacrificing quality.

5. Yes, you receive email notification from Amazon when a new episode is available. And no, you don’t have a ton of little episodes cluttering up your Kindle. It is always just one book, it just grows bigger with each episode. Your place is still marked in the book, but you just have more to read. And your percentage read goes down.

Got questions on Kindle Serials or writing serials? Please let me know in the comments. This is a fascinating way to write and I enjoy talking about it.

That’s it for now. I’ll have an Episode 6 post a little later this week (Episode 6 comes out on Tuesday, by the way), then will post more about serials after that. Thanks for reading!

 

 

12/2/12

Learning to Right…uh Write

When I started my writers’ group about three years ago, it was mostly as a favor to the all the other writers in my geographical area. You see, I was a *professional* writer. My career included a three-year stint as a reporter and long stretches as a freelance writer and magazine editor. I had a page-one feature article in the Boston-freakin’-Globe, for Pete’s sake. So, in an act of charity, I decided to allow other writers to read my fiction.

Am I not a merciful?
AM I NOT A MERCIFUL!!?

I promised myself I would be a father figure. When others discussed my work, I would politely ignore the tears of adoration in their eyes. I would be humble and graciously downplay their praise.

When finally it was time for my work to be reviewed, I scheduled another story for that night too. Because, really, what was there to critique in my work? There was only so much gushing I would allow myself to take.

The night arrived and the group gathered. I waved my hand in a Pope-like manner, allowing the critique to begin.

And they tore me apart.

“Do you realize that you have three pages of a guy riding a horse?” one of the writers said. “There’s no talking or anything. Just a guy. And a horse. And bushes and shit.”

I smiled. Ah, petty jealousy. I love it.

“Yeah, I cut most of that out too,” said another. “You’re story really doesn’t begin until page six.”

The night wore on. Page after page after page of suggestions. A few compliments sprinkled in here and there, but mostly constructive critisicm. This wasn’t petty jealousy. This was bad storytelling and bad writing.

“Do you realize that you have three pages of a guy riding a horse?” one of the writers said. “There’s no talking or anything. Just a guy. And a horse. And bushes and shit.”

I smiled. Ah, petty jealousy. I love it.

It didn’t matter that I had spent half my life writing professionally. It didn’t matter that I read more books in 7th grade than most people read in a decade. It didn’t matter that I placed second in a state-wide short story competition in college. It didn’t even matter that I went to school for journalism and creative writing.

Writing good fiction is, quite possibly, the hardest thing anyone can ever do.  (With the possible exception of forcing yourself to sit on a really, really cold toilet seat.) When you are writing fiction, you are having a hand at God’s work. Designing and creating and breathing life into something that is only an idea. Just wisps of thought that must be turned into reality. What a colossal pain in the ass! (The creating, not the toilet seat.)

Sometimes I hold my bowel movement for days.

Despite the magnitude of the task we take on, there is no room for arrogance when you are learning to write. As the Tao Te Ching states, “You will never be a great writer until you understand that you are a terrible writer.” Okay, the Tao never said that, but it should have.

“You will never be a great writer until you understand that you are a terrible writer.”

I read a popular blogist’s post once that told people they don’t have to write every day if they can’t find the time. That’s the most destructive thing anyone can say to aspiring writers. We are all looking for reasons not to write. Excuses. And he gave his readers permission to not take their craft seriously.

The truth is, if you want to succeed at anything, you do it *every day.* You work on it harder than anything else in your life. Because you can bet there is someone else out there working harder. If you can’t find time to make writing a priority, then maybe you really don’t want it.

It has been three years since that first writers’ group session. Three years of hard toil and hundreds of thousands of written words. And you know what? My group is still tearing me apart.

Their criticisms are smaller now, thankfully. More nitpicky. They talk mostly about things that fall into my blind spots. Things that can only be seen from another perspective. Which is as it should be.

My writing mechanics have improved. My storytelling and pacing have improved. My dialog, always my strength (I think), has improved as well.

Am I a great writer now? No. I won’t make the mistake of thinking that again. But I recently signed a publishing contract with 47North for my novel, The Scourge. It’s a sign, that I have improved, and a nod to the writers’ group that tore down my pretenses and allowed me to become a decent novelist.  They were the ones doing me the favor.

And I thank them.

11/20/12

The Next Big Thing

Writing is a lonely thing, so when writer’s reach out to one another and work together, it is more than just teamwork. It is solidarity and understanding and a true appreciation for what we go through. So in the spirit of solidarity and appreciation (and the hopes that everyone participating gets a bump in their sales) I present my link in the long literary chain called The Blog Hop.

First off, I want to thank Chris Turner, who was kind enough to think of me for this endeavor. Chris is a selfless and tireless writer with a high output of wonderful fantasy novels. Please have a look at his blog. You will be impressed. I promise.

So, as my part of this Blog Hop requires, I will now talk a bit about my works in a question/answer format, as if the voices in my head and I were having an honest discourse.

 

Q: Why do you write fantasy?
A: I have read fantasy all of my life. I think it’s just a general sense of discontent with reality. In fantasy, anything can happen. The laws of the universe can be twisted. It’s like that old X-Files poster that shows a picture of a UFO and says, “I Want To Believe.” Kind of my vie won life and my bank account. I truly do want to believe that there is more in our world. In fantasy, aliens do exist. Dragons can fly. Magic is real. Although I have to say, my fantasy novels feature a low-grade-plutonium version of magic. There are few flying dragons and no elves or dwarves. It is typically Real Life 1.1. When laws of nature are broken, it is a big deal in my books, and it doesn’t happen often.

Q: What is your latest work?
A: My latest novel is called The Scourge and it has been published by 47North, Amazon Publishing’s SciFi/Fantasy imprint. It is a Kindle Serial at the moment, meaning you pay one price ($1.99) and the novel is delivered in episodes, at no extra cost. It’s an awesome way to write. There is an immediacy to it, knowing that hundreds or thousands will read what I am writing in a few short weeks. It really makes you write well and write quickly, and it’s one of the best things I have written.

Q: What is The Scourge about?
A: Well, it’s sort of a historical fiction. I say that, but really it’s a love story. But a love story that is mostly action and adventure. With a bit of fantasy thrown in. And humor, definitely humor and quirky characters. Oh, and did I mention the zombies?

Q: Sounds like quite a story.
A: That’s not technically a question, but I will use the opportunity to summarize the tale: A plague sweeps across 14th century England, maddening its victims and giving them a taste for human flesh. Against this backdrop, a knight, Sir Edward of Bodiam, searches for his wife. She was in East Anglia, far to the northeast, when the plague struck and he has not heard from him. So he and two other knights make the journey across a ravaged England searching for her, fighting zombies, meeting odd characters, and struggling to hold on to whatever faith they possess.

Q: Can readers get a sample of the story?
A: Yes! I highly recommend that readers take a look inside the book on Amazon and read a bit. I think once they read the first few pages they will understand that it is quite different from the typical zombie stories they have read. It is darkly funny and wrestles with issues of faith, religion, loyalty and morality itself.

Q: Thanks for your answers. Please kill Scott Palmetta, the boy who made fun of you in 7th grade. 
A: You’re welcome, voice in my head. And I’m not going to fall for that again.

And please, those of you still reading, please visit Chris Turner’s blog. You won’t be disappointed.