Well hi there. How’ve you been? Miss me? I know I missed me. A lot has happened since I last posted, so I thought I’d drop in here and let you know what happened last year. This will also be a rundown of my 2017 goals, how well I did, and how I feel about it all.
I will also discuss my plans for 2018 and what I intend to do about it.
So at the end of May, I’d written 296,113 words. I was way ahead of schedule. I was going to cruise to my word count goal of 438,000 words easily. I decided to take a month off which turned into two months off. By the end of July I got crazy busy with work and training I need to do for work and August got away from me.
By Mid-September, I was back full force. Nothing was going to stop me. I hit the ground running and was racking up big numbers once again.
Then September 27th hit me like a ton of bricks. I had been unexpectedly caught by a surplussing effort at work. My position had been eliminated and I would get a formal notification on October 16th that I had 60 days to find another position or I’d lose my job.
Let me first say that most companies don’t offer anything like this. Cuts come and you’re out. Plain and simple. I also don’t blame the company for doing what they felt was right for the company. I just didn’t see how I had merited being cut.
This, for obvious reasons, caused me a great deal of stress. My creative brain shut down. It just wasn’t happening. I applied and applied and applied. 175 internal applications in all. I had an interview that gave me a glimmer of hope, but after weeks of waiting, that position didn’t happen.
I had a second interview that went poorly and I knew I wasn’t getting that position either. I was ready to pack my bags, take my severance, and move on. After 21 years, it hurt to think I’d have to leave.
4 days before my final day of December 15th, I had one final interview. I was relaxed, got along well with the interviewing manager, and in less than 24 hours, he’d gotten all the approvals to hire me for the position. 3 days before I would have been looking outside the company.
I was shocked. Floored. Ecstatic. It was an early Christmas present for me and my family. I got to stay on with the company. We celebrated, had a wonderful Christmas, and a terrific New Year.
Well, they had a great New Year. I spent most of the last 4 days asleep and recovering from some bug that has now hit my wife. My wife and my favorite daughter took care of me, made sure I was awake to ring in the New Year, and made sure I drank plenty of fluids. I still have a bit of a cough, but all is looking right again.
I started my new position officially today, as I was on vacation for the last two weeks of the year. It’s an exciting opportunity and I’m looking forward to the challenges.
Back to the whole writing thing. How close to my 438,000 word count did I get? 322,906. 73.7%. A failure.
Did I hit my goal? Heck no. Do I feel bad? NO! I don’t. Not at all. I failed and still wrote over 300,000 words. This is an incredible success given that I hadn’t written much over the 5 years prior. I got inspired to do a huge 15 book arc within in the V&A Shipping universe. I had more ideas than I would have time to write. It was an exciting time. I’m happy with the progress I’ve made.
What I’m disappointed by is that I let my co-author, Mike Plested, down. We had intended to finish Jack Kane 2 before the end of the year. He kept up his end, but due to stresses in my life, I didn’t keep up mine. For that, I’m truly sorry. I will do better moving forward.
Speaking of moving forward…
My goal is even more ambitious than 2017. I’m aiming for 500,000 words. A target that I know I can hit. It’s all a matter of focus. 365 days of words (well, 364 now) and if I spend only 15 minutes a day at least and knowing I’ll spend more on most days, I know I’ll hit that target easily and hopefully surpass it.
Yes, 2017 got away from me. Partially my fault, partially stress related. These things happen. But I can’t let that deter me.
My goal is to finish the 3 books that are over halfway completed and write at least another 6 books throughout the year. At least. That’d be 9 books completed before Dec 31st, 2018. It’s ambitious, but even if I don’t make it, I’ll have been able to say I tried.
I also intend to blog a little more often. I had thought about blogging daily, but for now, I think I’ll stick to putting words down into books and get those published. I still have a backlog of books that I need to edit and cover and get into your hands. That will also happen this year.
Look for many great things on this blog over the coming year. Much will be happening if I can help it 🙂
Until Next Time!
I hope your week is starting out well. There’s a lot going on over the past couple of weeks with fires, shootings, hurricanes, and the like. Please stay safe out there.
Last week I did a give away on Golden West books 1 and 2. If you weren’t able to pick up a copy, drop me an email and I’ll ship them over. If you wanted to get a copy of book 3, it’s only $2.99 and ready for your reading pleasure.
In the comping weeks, hopefully before the end of the month. I’ll have new covers on GRPC 1 and have GRPC 2 ready to go. Now that I’ve put Golden West to bed, it’s time to gear up for a rush of books. GRPC2 will be the start of that. I had planned on putting out a book every other month, but that plan may change. I have a backlog of books. My feelings are now, why sit on them? I’ll be putting out a book a month until the backlog is clear and then putting out books as i get them done, edited, and covered. I’ll be writing under the Jay Bob pen name and hope to have couple of those books done for release early next year while I get the rest of the Sci Fi series gelled in my brain.
There are so many books in my head, it’s not even funny. The only way to get them out, is to write them. I no longer see the sense in sitting on them. They won’t be finding readers if they’re sitting on my computer. So my hope is to have a flurry of books over the next couple of years (at least).
At the moment, I have a minor distraction to deal with. I will share more details another time.
On the writing front: I’m over 20,000 words into the Bassist, over half-way done with Almost-Super Heroes 2, and Michell Plested and I are nearly completed with Jack Kane 2. I had planned on completed 10 books before June of next year. I got off to a slow start, but I will get them done. Rest assured, distractions or no, I will get books done.
Another short update this week. Dixxx Rocks needs to have some words added to it as does Jack Kane. It’s a great time to be a writer. I’m off to go write.
Until Next Time!
I’m visiting my new niece so very short post tonight reminding you that Golden West is still mostly free. If you join my newsletter, you can even get another book for free. If you signed up for Kinlde Unlimited, you can read all my books over there. Here are the links for Golden West, I hope you enjoy the trilogy. I would love to hear your thoughts, good or bad.
Until next time…
Hey Howdy Hey! Check these out! I finally got my new book covers for the Golden West trilogy! What does this mean for you? I means shortly I’ll be posted that these are for sale! The Trilogy is complete. The print and ebook editions are uploaded. The moment they’re live on Amazon, I will let you know.
I also went ahead and dropped them onto Kindle Select as I was seeing exactly 0 sales over the past year from every other platform. If you don’t read on kindle, please let you know and I will send you another format FREE! All I ask for is a review (if you don’t like Amazon, on GoodReads, or somewhere else).
It took a while to get them done, but now that I have them in my hot, little hands, I couldn’t be happier. Just stunning. Wait until you embiggen them. HOLY CARP! Beautiful.
I spent most of the night getting these uploaded, so I’m only making a short post tonight. Hope to have another post up as soon as they’re live (tomorrow?). We shall see. I’m off to go make words happen.
Until Next Time!
Happy Monday, Crew!
Last week wasn’t as productive as I’d like, but I did get a few thousand words down. I’m gearing up once more, slowly, to start racking up big numbers. I plan to complete at least one book per month before the end of the year. That includes finishing Jack Kane and Almost-Super Heroes 2. So between now and the end of the year, I should be typing ‘the end’ on 5 different books.
Just needed to kick myself in the ass.
At least I’m putting words down. That’s the key.
Over the weekend, the Mrs and I had a wonderful time at the Kaa Boo festival (Saturday only). Got to see The Tubes (they’re still strange), Machine Gun Kelly, Janes Addiction, a bit of Muse, Garbage, P!nk, and a couple other bands I need to look up because they were all really good.
While we were there, I got a google notification that someone tried to access my account. Someone from Chicago. This prompted me to do two things I never thought I’d need to do. First, change all my passwords on every social media site, and other sites as well. Then I set up two-step authentication on all sites that allow that sort of ability.
Yes, a royal pain in the rump. But it’s done. It should have been done some time ago. So if you saw anything offensive on any of my social media during that time, my apologies. I have cleared up what I found.
That said, short update today. I need to finish this chapter in Jack Kane and get that back to Michell Plested so we can write ‘the end’ on book 2. We’ll be doing editing, getting that to the publishing, and start our planning for book 3 while we wait for it to come back and we can apply the edits and a publishing date on that one.
Yes, progress is slow. Very slow. Painfully slow. I intend to right the ship and get back on course. The only way to do that is sit, and write.
But man, Rick and Morty is some irreverent fun and The Orville is a lot of fun as well.
I digress. Words need to happen! I’m on that.
Until Next Time!
Wow! Where did the summer go?
First, I hope everyone from all the fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes is doing well. I’ve watched a lot of news and it’s been an awful summer of destruction.
Secondly, thank you all who asked how I was doing. yes, I let June, July, and August slip on by with nary a word written. I’m not proud of that, but it all changes tonight. Tonight I’m back on the horse with both posting weekly updates and getting words down on the page.
Yes, yes. Goals have slipped regarding release dates and word counts. This happens. Dean Wesley Smith calls this the time of great forgetting when authors wake up from their long summer naps and realize that, whoa, where did the summer go. So I’m not alone in my slippage.
I also picked up another hobby. Yes, yes. I needed more to do.
My best friend from high school will be turning 50 next year and for his birthday, he wants to get the bands back together. Yes, bands. The first band he was ever in involved me on drums. I played drums in a couple of bands in the Navy (had a beautiful chrome set with black cymbals). Loved my drum set and playing drums.
When I got out of the Navy, I didn’t feel like dragging drums around anymore. They’re a pain in the rumpkiss to tear down and set up. So I switched to bass guitar. Played for a few years in Ded Bugh (I still have guitar picks from that one). Then my other friend and I moved from Colorado to San Diego and joined Defective and played punk and metal for a few years. Finally around ’96 I hung up my musical ambitions, finished school and that was that.
My friend who’s getting his bands back together didn’t stop. He’s played and played since high school. He’s been in a few original bands as well as several cover bands. He’s the one getting all his friends from all his bands to play one big birthday bash up in Long Beach.
So, I got myself a new bass. Hopped onto youtube, and started relearning how to play. My fingertips are finally toughened up. My fingers still ache a bit when I’m done from stretching across the fretboard, but I’m having a good time and learning a lot. Oddly, I’m learning more than I ever did when I actually played.
Back when I played, I bought Bass Player magazine, but it only had interviews and tabs. If you didn’t know the song, it was difficult to learn. Some people also wrote tabs that had crazy stretches up and down and it was difficult.
Nowadays, you can hop on YouTube and everything you need to know is right there. Want to learn a song? Search on Bass Cover <song name> and bam! There you go. Want to do some fingering exercises? Bam! Right there. Want to do right-hand exercises? Picking exercises? Scale? Bam Bam Bam! All there.
Honestly, I’m amazed at how much content is out there. It’s really helped me get up to speed quickly (I have until February at the earliest). I’ve also spent time listening to the songs we’re going to play and I’m impressed with how good we actually were (with Defective, not with our High School Band).
So I kind of dropped the ball on the whole writing thing for a while. Still spending time with family. Enjoying life. Working way too many hours (Hey, that happens). And doing all those little things. I stopped making writing a priority.
It’s now September 11th. It’s time to get moving. I want to bang out at least 300,000 words before the end of the year. I want to write “the end” on at least 5 more books before the year comes to a close.
One is almost done (Sorry Mike, I’ve been slacking). Another is half done. The rest I know start to finish in my brain and it’s just a matter of spending the time to write them.
As for my release schedule. Yes, yes. As soon as I have book covers, I’m ready to start dropping books. Keep your eye on this space. My book cover designer also had summer fever and hasn’t exactly been working hard. All that is about to change and things will hopefully progress quickly.
I need to get some words done. The time is now.
How has your summer been? Hopefully relaxing and productive.
Until Next Time!
Wow. Where did June and July disappear to?
This summer was crazy busy! That’s putting it lightly. We took, in total, 3 major vacations. We traveled to Costa Rica for 10 days, plus a 1-day layover and a total of two days travel time. That ate up most of June. July we took a week vacation to Vegas. And finally a long weekend camping trip south of Ensenada, Mexico.
I’m tired. That was a lot of time off, yes, but we packed in so much into every trip. I loved every minute of every day. It was great to shut down and recharge the batteries.
That said, on the work front, things are in a bit of turmoil. The company I work for is looking to merge with a major media empire. Because of that, monies for projects are tied up waiting for the merge to happen and new directions for teams to be freed up. We’ll see what the coming months bring.
So where am I at with the writing? Pretty much where I was at the end of May. I haven’t done any writing in two months. I plan to change that starting tomorrow, August 1st, 2017. My goal will be to attempt to write 100,000 words a month each month until the end of the year. Yes, I’ll still be spending time with friends and family. I’ll still be doing holidays and all that. But I also plan to write as much as possible. If you recall, my goal is to complete 10 books in the next 12 months. Well, that goal has changed slightly. Let me explain.
When last we spoke, I think I was back from Costa Rica with a few new story ideas. I plan on branching off a couple of pen names to write some of those books. Try to follow along with me.
J.R. Murdock will be my main writing name. That won’t change.
Jay Bob will be the pen name I use for more adult titles. Things I won’t do in J.R. Murdock titles. Things like swearing, graphic violence, sex, etc.
Jay Robert Murdock will be my romance/ rom com pen name. I promised my wife I’d write her a romantic comedy and a romantic Christmas book.
Under Jay Bob and Jay Robert Murdock, those titles will likely be ~50,000 words long and no more. They will be short punchy stories.
J.R. Murdock, I will still aim for 80,000-100,000 word lengths.
The reason for the multiple names is so you’ll know what you’ll be getting.
So, what will I be writing? Here’s a sample of the next couple of months
Finish Almost-Super Heroes 2
Finish Jack Kane 2
Write The Bassist 1: Dixxx Rocks (This will be a mock rock autobiography)
Write Rod Lance: Space Dick 1 (An erotic space detective)
Write a Christmas Romance
Write a Telenovela style romance (think over-the-top with every possible trope thrown in for good measure)
Then I’m back to V&A Shipping 3, Almost-Super Heroes 3, and GRPC 3.
Now, you might be asking yourself, where’s Golden West 3?
Yes, yes, I know. I was going to try and have that out in early July. Well, on vacation with me was my favorite daughter and, unfortunately, she didn’t have time to get them done. Hopefully, this won’t delay the release of GRPC2. Time will tell.
So, if all goes well, I hope to write 100,000 words a month each month until next year. Yes, a crazy amount of words. 500,000 words over the next 5 months. In that time, I will finish two books in progress, and complete 7 books. That’s my hope. We’ll see what happens. You have a front row seat to watch me fail brilliantly.
Starting tomorrow, I want to try and write, on average, 3000 words or more per day. Every day. Vacations are over. Summer is done. It’s time to get to work. These books ain’t gonna write themselves!
What are your plans for the coming months? I’d love to know.
Until Next Time!
Sometimes you just want to sit back and play Candy Crush…and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Returning to work after two weeks away, I came back to a lot. A lot of emails. A lot of instant messages. A lot of conference calls. Plus, I don’t have an official boss right now and the other two team leads (I’m also a team lead) were on vacation. So everything for the team came to one person. Yup. That was me. Needless to say, it was a little overwhelming. Pile on top it was my birthday and we celebreated a few times, and I didn’t get much of anything done last week.
I’m still very much relaxed and ready to jump back into it. Just doing my best to get my brain back in gear. I’ve got a lot I need to get done. I had hoped to be on track to finishing Almost-Super Heroes 2 before the end of this month. Being that I’m about 40,000 words away from the end, that’s most likely not going to happen. Sorry to disappoint you on that front.
I will be kicking things into gear in July and I’ve set forth a couple of challenges for August and September. I thought May was a challenge? Let’s see what the next two challenges bring. 🙂
First some sad news. I’ll be attending a funeral for a friend. That news hit me rather hard last week as well. He died the day before Father’s day and a few days before his 58th birthday. His birthday is the day after mine and we had celebrated several together. We had grown apart over the years and he’ll be missed.
In other fun news, I’ll be buying a bass. My best friend from high school will be turning 50 next year. We were in a band together in high school with another friend who lives in Long Beach (and is the lead singer in Electric Funeral, a Black Sabbath cover band in LA). The three of us will reunite on stage in February. We’re currently discussing the songs we’ll be playing. I’m really excited to be picking up a bass after…a lot of years. I’ve been thinking of getting one just to noodle around with. Now I have a reason to get one. If I can track down old recordings of us from back in the day, I’ll post them. Our band was S.C.R.O.G. Inc. and we were a bunch of nuts with little-to-no talent. We’ll have to see what shows up.
I’ll also see if I can track down the band my friend and I were in back in the day after I’d gotten out of the Navy and switched from drums (I’d gotten better since high school) to bass. We were Defective and had tons of fun playing in clubs all over San Diego. I’ll have to see if we can convince our old lead singer to come down and join us on stage for a song. That’d be a hoot.
Back to writing. Since I didn’t actually put my hands on the keyboard to create a story, I though up an entirely new series I want to write. This one would be over the top steampunk with a floating city.
But Jay, that’s been done before.
No, it’s a floating castle.
But Jay, that’s been done before.
No, like the entire country is on an airship. I know many of these ideas have been done before, but I think I have a different take on it. I’ve got the setting and characters all fleshed out. I just need to come up with a storyline. For that one, I might just start typing and see where it goes. Man-o-man do I have a lot more books that I want to write now.
Speaking of books, I read a lot. Like, a lot. I try to read a book a week. I haven’t reviewed much because I have so many Facebook Friends who’d I’d like to review their books, but Amazon likes to erase them, so I stopped. I was thinking of teaming up with another person who’s first name it J. and we might start the J & J Book Review podcast. We’ll have to see how that fleshes out. I’ll keep you posted when we start doing that.
Next week I hope to have Golden West 3 released. At least the ebook. The print edition will probably come the following week. I still need to do some editing and redo all the covers. I have some ideas and ran them by my favorite daughter who likes the idea of doing some book covers for me. She’s busy filling out scholaship forms and getting ready to transfer to Newschool of Design and Architecture in the fall. So she’s also a little busy. Again, I’ll keep you posted.
There’s a lot that’s going to happen this year. There are many more stories to come. I know I need to write and this week, I’ll be getting back at that.
Until Next Time
Didja miss me?
So I spent the month of May writing a LOT of words. Writing 90,000 words in a month, working my day job, spending time with friends and family, seeing movies, packing for a 2 week vacation out of the country. May was CRAZY busy.
And exciting at the same time.
So where have I been for the past two weeks? Recharging. It’s been a hectic first half of the year. Not just from the writing perspective, but from a work side as well. I’ve been burning both ends of the candle. The downtime was needed. It was also well planned, my my wife and her sisters.
We spent two weeks in Costa Rica. A day in San Jose, two days at the foot of the most recently active volcano, two days in tree houses, a day at the top of a mountain, and four days at the beach. We saw hummingbirds, butterflies, so many birds, sloths, iguanas, lots of ants, alligators, raccoons, and lots of monkeys. Anywhere we went, animals were everywhere (as were the bugs). It rained daily (Costa Rica is a rain forest after all). We hiked many many miles (kilometers even) and every minute was time well spent.
It was one of those, I can’t believe this is my life moments. Eleven of us went, my family, 3 of my wife’s sisters and their families. We traveled to a lot of different spots, ate great food, met wonderful people, and I couldn’t be happier with our trip.
I could honestly go on and on for days about all our adventures, I may in another post. Watching monkeys on the beach trying to steal people’s items was pretty funny. But I’d like to talk about the power of a writing streak.
When I got back, I thought I’d hit the ground running. Oh my was I so wrong. I wrote a little on Saturday, just shy of 1000 words. Sunday was Father’s Day. I’m writing this blog post, but I will write tonight. Most likely not 3000 words as I was doing in May, but I’ll get some words down. It’ll take me a bit to get back up to speed and once I get my feet under me again, I’ll start making big strides once again. It’s weird right now to think I was cranking out so many words and now I have an issue getting my brain to focus. As I said, it’ll take time to bring it back to that focus I had before, but it’ll happen.
One of the things that happened to my brain while on vacation, I got ideas for three new series. I keep trying to think of just how much I can write in a month so I can write all these books, lol. One title I’ll need to write under a pen name as the titles I write under J.R. Murdock are intended, for the most part, for all ages. These three new titles all would be shorter books (30,000-50,000 per book) and all of them would be a stand alone book in a series (think Doc Savage, The Hardy Boys, Conan, The Executioner, The Destroyer). I’m thinking of titles that I can crank out quickly and drop on a regular schedule.
Why, Jay, why?
Money. It’s really that simple. I love writing V&A Shipping, GRPC, and all those titles. I will still stick to my 5 year plan with dropping a book every other month, but with these new titles I could start writing these books and drop them without impacting my schedule. Especially if I can keep up my writing pace. That’s the biggest challenge I have. Keeping up the speed, the quality, and the schedule.
I have zero fan base. Please, don’t take that as a slight if you’ve been with me since day one. I know my numbers and I’ve sold a few books, but when I post on my blog, I see 5-10 hits on the post. When I drop a book, I see 5-10 sales and I’m lucky at this point to sell a book or two a month. That’s across all titles. I’m not a big name and I take full responsibility for that. I know I need to work on building my audience. To be honest, I’m starting from zero again and I need to do what many other authors have done. I need to get a loyal fan base of 1000 fans. That’s the challenge. I’ll post my journey, of course, and I’m so happy you’re here with me.
For now, vacation is over. It’s time to get some words down.
Until Next Time