Category Archives: Blog Post

Follow up on the Bird Book.

My grandma was very onto birds. So much so that she clippers an article from the newspaper on what attracted certain birds to your yard. Interesting article even all these years later.

Bird Book

I take a lot of pictures if birds. Perhaps an unhealthy amount for someone who isn’t a bird watcher as a hobby. My first name is really Jay and my nickname growing up was Jay Bird.

My grandma’s loved, in her retirement years, to sit by the wondiw and watch the birds in her trees and yard. When she passed, the only thing I wanted was her bird book she would use to identify those birds. Not sure what got me to dig this book out, but I’ve very glad I found it.

I bought 2 books today.

Akata Witch (The Nsibidi Scripts Book 1) by [Nnedi Okorafor]
Akata Warrior (The Nsibidi Scripts Book 2) by [Nnedi Okorafor]

I’ve been a fan of Nnedi Okorafor for some time, even if I forget how to spell her name. I saw she had a YA series and decided to pick up the first two books in the series as they were only $1.99 each and the 2rd book came out today. What better time to get into a new series?

My Dinner with Andre.

I don’t think I even know anyone named Andre. I did, however, have lunch/dinner with Jack Mangan and his family. He gets out to the coast a little more regularly, but it’s been a few years since we’ve met up and gotten caught up. It was great hanging out at Cabrillo National Monument and having a bit of lunch.

I bought 2 books today.

I bought 2 books today because there was a sale, so…books.

The first was Game of Thrones: Book 1. Yes, I’ve read this book before. I didn’t really care for it, but after seeing the HBO Series, I feel I need to give it another chance and read the additional books. There was so much more in the book that never made it into the series, that I feel that’s why I should give it another chance.

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) by [George R. R. Martin]

The second book was The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel. I’ve known about this book for a very long time and I’ve heard it referred to as “caveman erotica”. No, that’s not why I picked it up. It’s one of those books I’ve been meaning to dig into for a long time and, well, it was on sale. Why not?

The Clan of the Cave Bear (with Bonus Content): Earth's Children, Book One by [Jean M. Auel]

First book I finished reading this year.

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know “The dog” ate a few of my signed books. One of those was a book signed by Neil Gaiman. I’d gotten that one signed when I met him at World Fantasy Con 2011. I was sad the book was gone.

Neil sent me a personal message after I’d made that blog post. Something I never anticipated nor expected. I shared the message with the boy, whose dog ate the book. He shared the post with is sister. Again, if you’ve read along, she didn’t believe that he’d emailed Mr. Gaiman and laughed at him. She also didn’t believe that Neil had sent me a personal message.

As a joke, she’d gotten me two Neil Gaiman books for Christmas. I share with her the story and the message Neil had sent me and showed that it was from his verified account. She now believed the story, but still thought her little brother was silly for emailing Mr. Gaiman and expecting a response.

Art Matters, because your imagination can change the world, is a collection of 3 essays by Neil. Having heard the Make Good Art speech he’d given (on YouTube) I heard the entire book in his voice and read it with his slow, confident reading style. It was a joy to sit down and enjoy this book, much like the books will tell you to read fiction for enjoyment as it’ll help your imagination and help you understand empathy.

A wonderful book to start off 2022. Let’s see what book I finish next.

Oh, for those wondering about the card, I bought a deck of Star Wars playing cards to use as bookmarks. As I have a tendency to read a LOT of books and sometimes multiple books at the same time, I needed bookmarks. I didn’t want to spend a large chunk of money on several bookmarks, so I bought a deck of playing cards. As I read a book and finish it, I’ll post a picture of the book (be it physical or ebook) and a picture of the playing card bookmark.

I also purchased a steampunk tarot deck that I will use for each short story I read this year. Let’s see how far I can get through both decks, eh?

Under the Whispering Door – TJ Klune

Under the Whispering Door by [TJ Klune]

I’ve had this one pop up in my feed several times. I’ve read the description. I’ve read a couple of reviews. It was only $3.99, so I grabbed a copy. I know nothing about TJ Klune, but Under the Whispering Door looked like something I’d be in to, so, why not.

Jade City – Fonda Lee

Jade City (The Green Bone Saga Book 1) by [Fonda Lee]

One of the things I’m going to do this year is post the books I buy/read. I’ll give a little insight as to where I heard about it and why I bought it.

Today’s book, the first of 2022, is from Orbit Books: Jade City by Fonda Lee. I heard about this from Vlog Brothers 2000th episode and decided to check it out. It was only $4.99 so I thought I’d give it a whirl. Yes, I’ve got others books to read first, but we’ll get to this one soon enough. It’s a World Fantasy award winner, so I’m guessing it may be a good one to day.

2021 – A Year in Review

2021 Year in Review | NIDDK

Good Morning, Gang.

I meant to do this more toward the end of 2021, but hey, the beginning of 2022 is as good a place to start.

Before I begin, let me apologize for my silence toward the end of the year. I didn’t mean for that to happen and the end of the year was filled with much goings on and time was at a premium. I won’t promise that 2022 will be better, but I will do my best.

First off, on the doggie front: If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, in 2021 The Mrs and I became empty nesters. We had lost two of our older dogs, My Favorite Daughter moved out with the last dog, leaving us with an empty house. We adopted Gracie and she’s been a great dog. Something happened to her leg and we’ve been to the vet twice, both times they didn’t have much to do or say about it. We’re taking her to an orthopedic surgeon this month to get her rear leg addressed. This will likely require a couple of weeks of constant care and therapy as she recovers. I’ll keep you updated on how she’s doing.

On the reading front: I set a goal to read 40 books last year and I did an awful job keeping track of the books I read. Kindle did a good job and I read 40 titles on Kindle, but I’m confident that I read far more books than that when physical books are accounted for. One thing I plan to do more of on this blog is keep better track of the books I buy in any medium, short stories I buy, graphic novels, etc. I will also post which ones I’ve read. Yes, there will be a difference there. I plan to make a post every time I buy something and link to that author’s site and places where you can buy what I’ve picked up if you like. If there’s one thing I’ve discovered about my blogging, people prefer to read about other books with a small spattering of what I’m up to and how my books are doing.

On the writing front: I wish I could say I wrote a million words. I wish I could say I wrote half a million. Truth be told, 2021 wasn’t a great year for writing and there are a million excuses I could give for that. I won’t give any. Let’s just say that coming into 2022 I have a renewed purpose and am looking for a far more productive year. I did write, I just didn’t keep track of how many words I put down or how many works I finished. Again, I aim to do better.

On the publishing front: We published 4 new books in the V&A Universe, one collection of short stories, and 17 short stories. This is a high point for me. I’ve gotten myself on a schedule, stuck to it, and got works out there into the world. I couldn’t be happier with how I’ve done with getting works out into the wild to see how they do. I’m pleased that anyone bought or read a book be it free or otherwise. The fact my stories are getting any kind of notice is a great thing. It shows me that I need to keep at it to keep attention on the books.

That said, how’d we do for sales?

My goal was to make $100 in 6 months. It took a little longer than expected, but with the last sale in 2021, We did cross that $100 mark. If you missed the sale, let me know, I’ll email you a free ebook or two to say thank you for being here. Books sold far better than short stories, but I won’t give up on writing short stories. I sold, on average, 1 short story per title released. I gave away far more books than I sold, but that’s to be expected. There were over 5000 page reads in Kindle Unlimited. I went wide with all but the V&A Universe books (and sold nearly nothing across other platforms). All in all, not the best year I’ve had, but it was a great start. I didn’t expected to be a break out sensation. I had a big audience, once upon a time, and I didn’t keep publishing to retain that audience. That’s on me. Now, I need to keep pressing forward.

On the audio front: Yes, I do plan on producing audio in 2022. I won’t make any promises, but I do intend to fire up the mic, and get recording. I’ve so many books to record and I plan to change my YouTube channel from 5-a-Day-With Jay to doing audio production of my own works. Short stories, and books. I may still do a weekly “Hey! It’s Jay” but for now, let’s play it by ear.

On the video front: As I mentioned, we’ll see how this goes. In 2021 We had over 1000 views for a total of over 3200 minutes watched. Several of you joined me when I went live and I was happy to have you along. I published a LOT of videos, learned a lot, and had fun doing it. I didn’t run out of ideas or things to talk about, I simple ran out of steam putting a lot of effort into something that I wasn’t seeing much of a return on. Again, like this blog, the channel was about me and I found out videos did better when I talked about someone or something else. Or told a story. So I’ll need to revisit and reinvent what I’m doing on that front and keep it moving forward as well.

On the job front: I won’t go into details, but much of what slowed me down on writing and publishing were many disruptions at the day job. This happens. Like so many other creators, writing isn’t my fill-time gig. It’s what I do in my spare time. If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t keep doing it. Same with the job. I love my job and I’m doing quite well in my chosen profession. When push comes to shove, I’ll be choosing the day job over writing because that’s what puts food on the table. Perhaps when I’m old and gray I’ll spend my retirement writing all the stories I don’t have time for now.

All in all, 2021 was a good year for me personally. It was far from what I had expected, but I did the best with what I had to work with. 2022 is looking like it may turn out to be a good year as well.

If you’ve made it this far, even if you skipped to the end, please drop me an email. jay@ofgnomesanddwarves.com. Say ‘hello’ and let me know which book of mine you’d like to have and in what ebook format you’d like it. I’ll get it sent over straightaway. My way of saying, thank you for making 2021 great.

I’m off to get a good start on the year by doing a little rearranging in the computer room.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Sale is Live!

Sorry to keep dropping this, but I wanted to make sure you knew the sale is live. If you picked up the 3 free ebooks, awesome! Now is you chance to pick up the next three in the series for only .99 cents each. These will be on sale all week.

Regular blogging will resume next week.