Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On A New One Up!

So The True Adventures of Hector Kingsley will now be up on Amazon! Just a few hours for Amazon to review it, and it will go live. That makes book two of this little publishing effort, and book one of the year 2012. I'm just hoping that the story manages to shine as much as Wolfhound has. Hopefully those little voices murmuring at me that it will all end in failure can shut up now. Blergh.

In any case, go read the book! We will be getting more versions up today and tomorrow. See you around!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

On Delicious Treachery

So the past couple of weeks I've kind of been struggling with some health issues. Eating was difficult, I kept getting chills and shivers, and I was generally weak. Acid reflux seemed to be a major problem as well. I figured it was just a flu at first, then I kind of started to worry as it continued to last. I lost a little weight and started to get a little desperate to find something my throat would tolerate. I won't lie, I was kind of starting to worry that I was on the edge of a major mental breakdown over stress or something. Or maybe that something incredibly serious was wrong with me.

No, it was not stress, nor was it disease. It was poison!

You see, in my family we have this weird hereditary trait that makes all the males develop food allergies in their twenties. That means we could be eating food that's never hurt us before, such as avocado, and all of a sudden our throat swells up. Once we figured that out, we've kind of been tracking my dad's allergies and avoiding them preemptively, just to avoid the problems he's had. These include cats, avocado, tree nuts, apple skins and a few other things.

We had wondered if my problems lay in my allergies, but we couldn't figure out what I was eating every day that would cause the issue. Guacomole has been banned, I don't eat apples fresh anymore, and I don't eat cats (though that does sound delicious). And its not like I was chomping down on a brazil nut every afternoon. So we gave up on that idea.

Which is why it wasn't until yesterday, after I had an attack of cold sweats and sudden weakness, that I checked the packaging of the granola bars I've been taking to work. You know, the ones I've eaten at work as a snack or a side for my dinner for nearly two years. Guess what they have in them? That's right. 'May contain traces of tree nuts.' So now I can confirm I've got that allergy. Believe me, I've been poisoning myself with it for the past two weeks, and the symptoms are nothing I want to go through ever again. Blergh.

Treacherous little nut-filled granola bars. Why couldn't you have stayed loyal? Mutter mutter, ungrateful hippy food mutter mutter...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

On Relief

There is nothing better than finishing the copy edit of a book. Kingsley's ready for the final readthrough, and that's more about enjoying the story and the tone and all. Maybe another week and the madness will be over.

Relaxing sighs on three, two, one...


Friday, January 20, 2012

On Initial Obstacles and a New Interview

So for the past three weeks or so I've been trying to get the beginning of Social Contract written. I say trying because it seems like I keep running into some kind of mental block.

It's hard to figure out why that is at the moment. Maybe with Wolfhound's success, I'm a bit worried about branching out into another type of story. Like I won't be able to duplicate my success if I don't stick with the same formula. Or maybe I'm just juggling too many projects again; between the Kingsley copy edit, somes revisions on other stuff and the emergency room, I don't seem to have a lot of time to spare. Another possibility is that I've simply exhausted myself again. I wrote four books in thirty nine weeks last year, and that kind of a pace can leave a mark. Maybe I just need to slow down? Or maybe this is going to turn out like another New Realm, and I'll have to cut my losses. Then again, I always have trouble with beginnings, so...

Dilemmas like these seem to be part of a writing career. Sometimes the problems and obstacles aren't as cut and dried as they would be in another career. As I continue to write, though, I think I will get better at identifying them and resolving them. For now, I think I just have a bit too much on my plate, mixed in with a bit of plain old fatigue. My focus is going to shift a little so that I can clear some of that away. Then maybe I can return my progress on new words to my usual, semi-berserk pace.

Oh! Also, I have an interview up! It is over at Sarah M Eden's blog. It was a lot of fun to do that one, and I hope you enjoy it too. In any case, I have just two chapters left to revise and Kingsley will be ready. Come on, focus...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On the First Ammendment: SOPA

So Hollywood wanted Congress to help stop online piracy of videos they made. They wanted Chinese websites and the like to not post the movies they'd spent millions creating. The obvious solution is to lobby Congress to get a new law passed, right?

And in true Hollywood tradition, that law calls for the establishment of a blacklist for websites that illegally use copyrighted material. The copyright holders--or, by pure coincidence I'm sure, the Attorney General--could obtain a court order to basically attempt to wipe these sites from search results and domain names worldwide. There are also provisions for holding search providers and other companies liable for assisting the sites which are in violation.

While I am all in favor of copyright law--as a writer who plans on making a career out of his copyrights, how could I not be--this is freaking insane. How this law couldn't be horribly abused straight from the outset is a mystery to me. False accusations could mean retaliatory suits against the people who shut down non-violation sites, but what if that person was the Attorney General? You know, the one who participated in arms smuggling recently and still hasn't even been indicted? Or what if the small business site is simply unable to raise the funds to make a case for itself? Do they get to claim reparations for their lost business? What happens if a business hires someone to post copyrighted material to a competitor's website, and then reports it to SOPA? Is there a difference between the use of a single uncited photograph, and the streaming of a whole movie? What if, perish the thought, the Attorney General is politically motivated in which sites he blocks, and targets opposing political sites, or sites for businesses which contribute to his opponents?

The worst part is how incredibly ignorant the members of Congress seem to be about this whole thing. At the hearing discussing the bill, it seems like absolutely no one was actually qualified to discuss Internet filtering, and the broad base of opponents to the law were generally excluded. The opposition to SOPA comes from virtually the entire political spectrum, from Tea Partiers to Politico. Google, Wikipedia, Reddit and other web based companies have taken a stance against this abuse of governmental power, to the point where some of them have blacked out their sites in protest today.

This bill, and a similar one called PIPA, are complete and total violations of everything the Constitution and the Bill of Rights sought to provide us with. If the bill sought to provide an opportunity for the Attorney General to burn a printing press accused of printing things in violation of copyright law, or shut down a newspaper accused of sedition or copyright violation, the reaction would be the same, because the abuses would be pretty much the same. I sympathize with Hollywood--you guys spend a lot of time and money to create entertainment for the world, and having it stolen by people and posted on the web has to be devastating. The fact that things like Twitter and Facebook have started to effect and change your industry can't be comfortable either. The fact is, though, that this bill is a disaster that will not help the situation, and even if it was effective, the cost to free speech and the abuses it would make possible for government and business officials would be too high.

In short, kill this bill. Kill it with fire and never look back.

Thus concludes the political rant. Will get back to more interesting things on Friday. See ya!

Blacked out Google image provided by, well...Google.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

On Changing Focus

Okay, so I promised myself I wouldn't talk about how well Wolfhound is doing with this post--something about beating a dead horse, I think--so I will confine my comments on that book to a single word.


There, now that I've got that off my chest...

The copy edit of The True Adventures of Hector Kingsley is going well. The plan is to finish that edit by this Thursday or Friday, and then go back and do the final readthrough next week. That would give us about half a week or so to get the formatting everywhere all set up, so that hopefully we can just put it all at once instead of going at it piecemeal. The book should be out by February 1st, with the sample chapters up here a little bit before that. It would be a major relief to just have it up and done now, but I believe the book deserves just as careful a look as Wolfhound did, and I really want Kingsley to have his time to shine. Jacob certainly has...

Fortunately, my editor, Tristi Pinkston, has given me a lot of help in that area. The work by Bob Ennis on the cover art certainly doesn't hurt either.

It's just really hard not to focus on the numbers for Wolfhound the whole time. Checking the sales numbers like fifty times a day probably won't change anything, but it makes me feel like I am. So I need to put a stop to that and change my focus to what needs to be done. Wish me luck...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

On A Turning Point

So, Wolfhound has been doing pretty well lately.

To be honest, that's kind of an understatement. December was about twice as profitable as we had expected, and as of right now, we've already passed the dancing-in-the-street threshold for January. We've gotten six different reviews from people with really positive comments, which is always encouraging, and made it pretty solidly onto three of Amazon's bestseller list categories which will probably help us continue to sell. Plus, we've even managed to put together the Smashwords version of the book! The one thing we haven't been able to deal with has been advertising--I've been so busy trying to keep my writing schedule that ads and stuff have taken kind of a low priority over writing itself--but I guess that can be expected when I've got a full time job to worry about and a family to help. Hopefully at a future date I can make the whole ad thing work, but for now we are doing good!

I suppose that in a lot of ways we've now reached a turning point because as of now, Wolfhound has repaid our initial investment in the book. The copy edit and everything else is now paid for. Anything we make from here on forward is pure profit. On top of that, we've managed not to just rest on our laurels. We're now about to publish a second book, which might possibly grow just as fast as the first one did, which means that in a couple of months they might be both paid back. We've become profitable as a small business! I didn't expect to reach that point until next year. It's incredible.

Of course, this means we're going to have to adjust our expectations going forward. My standards of success have been kind of inflated, and I'm wondering if that means I'm going to face a few disappointments later on. Still, it will be worth it to see this opportunity go forward. What's life without a little risk, right?

I just want to thank you guys for all of your support. It's been a great ride so far, and it's only going to get better from here! See you around.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

On Decisions

Alright! So the excerpt is now done for the first book of Kingsley. Now I have a small choice of projects that I should work on next. I can either launch myself into the copy edit of Hector Kingsley, or I can do the revisions on Edawku.

Hmmm. I'm already a little bit in the Kingsley mindset, and it would be a relief to get some of that out of the way before the end of the week. Maybe just the three first chapters so that they can be ready for the sample?

But wait, what is this? Megan has already finished the alpha read on Iron Angels! That puts my two month dawdling on her story to shame. Bitter, eternal shame. How could I not read through her book now?

Man, there are just never enough hours in a week...

Monday, January 9, 2012

On Keeping Perspective

So the book thing is really moving forward! We're kind of shocked at how well Wolfhound seems to be doing, and we've already gotten two more positive reviews. It's been great seeing what people have enjoyed about the story, and I'm kind of looking forward to that kind of feedback in the future. Something I could get used to! :)

We've even been selling a few copies of Killer as well. For those who don't remember, Killer is the short story I wrote and entered in the Mayhew Short Story Contest at BYU. It did pretty well there, but it hasn't sold a lot on Amazon while it's been up. I guess some of Wolfhound's success is pulling it along though, which is kind of fun. We'll have to see what happens with both of them once Kingsley's first book goes up!

While that's been going on, I've been readjusting to going back to work in the ER, getting far too little sleep, and frantically trying to juggle writing projects. Between writing the Kingsley extras, writing the new material for Social Contract, getting ready to do the final revisions on Kingsley and a bunch of other stuff, I'm going kinda crazy. The fact that I keep obsessively checking Amazon to see if I'm failing yet doesn't help. :P

At the same time, I've needed some help to keep things in perspective. Luckily the other day I got to take my daughter on a walk. We just wandered around the bike paths near our apartment and visited a local park for a while. It was  lot of fun to watch her experience the world; just grabbing a leaf and playing with it was like a wonder to her. Seeing the world through her eyes and being able to enjoy those little moments reminded me of simple and straightforward life can be, and how important it is to just sit back and take a breath of fresh air. Otherwise we get lost in the mess of things, and that's no good for anyone, least of all us.

So that's my rambling report for the moment. Hope all is going well for you guys! See you around

Friday, January 6, 2012

On the Roller Coaster

Yeah, it's definitely been up and down these past few days.

My book has been selling really well! In fact, we're doing well enough that it's kind of inspired a paranoia level paradox in me. Am I just building my hopes up to be brought down hard later on? Will a bunch of the new readers decide it sucks now and one-star review me? Maybe it's all just a government conspiracy meant to lull me into complacence? (You can tell I've been writing cyberpunk, huh?) I am excited and uncertain and jumping up and down over this success in something I've dreamed of forever. It's kind of like a dog actually catching a car they've been chasing for years. What do I do with it now?

On the other end, somebody found a typo. Left an extra word in that needed to be removed. Crud. At least it is only one in like 120k words right? I just need to change that up.

Also, had a wonderful interview today that should be going up on the 20th. I will post the link when it does. Look forward to it.

I've been able to start work on the bonus material for Kingsley, and I am enjoying it immensely. For those not in the loop, I've decided that people who buy the hardback and paperback versions of Kingsley will get an extra little bonus at the back of the book, mostly as a reward for buying the more expensive version. My wife has been reading it over my shoulder and I've won a few appreciative head scratches, so it should work out well!

Also, I've been plugging away at Social Contract. Somehow all the success that Wolfhound is enjoying has put a lot of pressure on me to not screw up the new book. That stress is relatively frustrating at this point, because every first draft has giant gaping holes in it that need to be resolved. I should be worrying more about how to set up the setting and lay groundwork for the future character development, but then the realization that people are going to expect a good story out of me now intrudes. Grg.

Yeah, you can see how chaotic things have been. My own private little roller coaster. So far it is turning out to be a fun ride though, so I can't complain. Hope everyone is doing alright out there, and as always, thank you for your support. See you around!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On Bleh

You never realize exactly how much you are on the internet until your modem dies and you suddenly don't have the internet to be on. :(

Fortunately we were able to fix that problem fairly quickly, which is why I once again have a steady, glorious connection to the interwebs. All the better to obsessively check on Amazon with.

Speaking of which, we got another review! And it was another good one! Sales for Wolfhound are still going fairly well; I've been impressed with how the book is doing, and I've come to the conclusion that December and January are golden times for a new book. If things keep going like this, then Wolfhound will have paid itself back easily. That sort of early success definitely does wonders for my self confidence.

Of course, now the more neurotic half of my brain is chipping away at that confidence by making me worry that I will let these people down with my next book. All of a sudden I have expectations to live up to, and that was an unexpected burst of stress to deal with. At least Iron Angels is now out, Social Contract has been started (Mwahahaha!) and I have a few days to pound away at Edawku before I dig into the Hector Kingsley copy edit. No pressure though. Right?


Monday, January 2, 2012

On A Good Start

So here we are in 2012. Has the apocalypse started yet?

Wolfhound has been out for almost a full month, and I have to say we've been doing pretty well! The book has officially hit the "good job" mark and kept going strong, though I don't think I will post actual sale numbers here. Pride goeth before the fall and all that. :) We've also got a review up, which was pretty positive and very encouraging. I had been getting a little worried as to why we hadn't got any before then, but I guess people were just taking some time to get through it. I just want to meet those expectations in the sequel!

Iron Angels is pretty near the completion of the next draft, with a bunch of helpful alpha readers set up. That's always nice to have, especially since I suspect the schedule for that book is going to be cutting it a little close. My goal is to have it ready by tomorrow and out to the readers as soon as my fingers can hit the keys. Wish me luck!

The final copy edit of The True Adventures of Hector Kingsley has been delievered! That means that my next project, outside of doing an alpha read, will be to revise that book and get it ready for publication in early February. I'm getting both excited and nervous about it, but I think it will do at least as well as Wolfhound, if not better!

In any case, I suppose I should get back to work, shouldn't I? Hope all is going well for everyone, and I will see you later!