NEWS: Jack Kane 2 is underway!
It’s been far too long since I mentioned Jack Kane and the Statue of Liberty. Yes, this stand-alone book is wonderful and you would love a copy (you can get a copy right here). Mike Plested and I worked very hard getting that one out the door and then both of us had life events that took up a majority of last year bleeding over into this year.
Suffice to say, we’re finally up and writing once more! Jack Kane 2 is under way. We don’t have a full working title yet, but that will be coming along any time I’m sure. We’re passing it back and forth so it should get done in a far shorter time than the first go ’round we had with Book 1. The writing and plotting will be tighter. The characters are already fully formed. It’s great fun so far and we’re nearly 20,000 words in! WOO!
So if you haven’t read book 1, now is a great time to get caught up. You won’t need to read book 1 to understand the events in book 2, but it’ll help get to know the characters. As soon as this one is complete and off to the publisher, I’ll be sure to let you know. Needless to say, I’m very VERY excited to be back sitting at the keyboard. I think doing these little blogs posts are helping as well.
It’s an exciting time. I’m glad you’re still with me for the ride!
Until Next Time!
JACK KANE NOW AVAILABLE!
Two and a half years ago (or more depending on who you ask) Michell Plested and I began work on a book. We wanted it to be funny, filled with action, and readable by people of all ages. He pitched it to a publisher, and Ta Dah! Jack Kane and the Statue of Liberty found a home.
It’s been a long time and a lot of work to get here and it’s incredibly exciting. We’re so happy to share this book with everyone and hope that it finds its way into the hands of millions (not just because we’re greedy, but because we love to have people read our work and feed our egos as well as our bank accounts). If you’ve found a copy, I hope you enjoy the adventure as much as we did creating it for you to read.
So if you’re one of the millions who will read Jack Kane, thank you. If you haven’t picked up a copy, here’s where you can find it. Bear in mind, that it’s currently ebook only. Once we sell a hundred copies, this WILL become a print book as well. So if you’re holding out for a print edition, convince your friends to buy the ebook. The sooner we hit 100, the sooner it’ll be in print. It’s only $2.99 and oh so worth it!
Champagne Books: http://champagnebooks.com/store/index.php?id_product=527&controller=product
Hey! I didn’t forget about you
I’m going to start including pictures in my posts. I hope you don’t mind. They may or may not have anything to do with what I’m rambling about, but hey, it’ll be there. 🙂 I’ll try to include where I picked it up from just in case someone gets fussy and wants me to take down the picture.
So I’ve been busy lately.
Over the weekend we went up to Lemoore to see my nephew’s promotion ceremony. He’s in the Navy and just advanced from Chief Petty Officer to Chief Warrant Officer. Usually the next step is from Chief to Senior Chief. Going to Warrant Officer is a big deal because it’s the only way to go from Enlisted to the Officer’s ranks. Not many of these advancements are performed and it’s a very big deal. There weren’t a couple Master Chiefs (those come after Senior Chief and is the highest Enlisted rating) and a Chief Warrant Officer 5 (steps for Warrant Officer go from 2 through 5, 5 being the highest level). To say I’m proud of what he’s accomplished would be an understatement. This truly is a life changing event for him and something that is what an enlisted person should strive for.
Had my brother been able to make Chief, I’m certain he would have gone to the Warrant Officer ranks, but his rate was so tight (only one or two first class petty officers were advanced to chief per year) he was never able to make chief. I’m still very proud that my brother was able to put in his full twenty as enlisted and retired with all the honors he deserved.
I spent my four years in the Navy and it’s a lifestyle. It’s not an easy lifestyle. It’s very difficult and most people can’t handle it. I was one of those that couldn’t take it after four years and needed to get out as soon as I was able. Therefore I have a great admiration for those who are able to serve and make a life out of it. If you have served or are serving, I admire what you’re doing. Thank you.
So going up to Lemoore I took some time off from writing. since getting back I’ve knocked out 7000 words (1503,2115,1733,1639). I’ll be doing more today/tonight. I’m nearly the 40,000 word mark and halfway point of the book. I think it may end up longer than I’m expecting and I’m fine with that. A book is as long as it needs to be and given that I’m just getting to the practice portion of the book (the competition will be even longer) I fully expect this book to grow from 90,000 to 100,000 words. We’ll see what happens in the next 40,000 words before I even start to worry about that. All I know is I’m having fun with the book, the characters, and the universe they’re in. The book is set in the V&A Shipping Universe and Vic, Joey, and the rest of the crew all make an appearance. This book will take place shortly after V&A Shipping II and perhaps we’ll do some more mixing of characters in V&A Shipping III and GRPC 2. I don’t know just yet.
Asteroid Bunnies is up next. I can’t want to jump into this book. It’ll be a blast to write. I’m going to shoot for a 30,000 word book, but again, it may grow beyond that as it’ll also be the first in the series. If all goes right (I almost typed write) this year, Astel 2 will be up after Asteroid Bunnies. Then I’ll finish To Fall From the Sky (that one needs some fixing before I jump back in, but it’s already half-way done). They I think it’ll be Almost-Super Heroes (about 1/4 done), and they Life of Lists. I’ll see where I’m at after that, but suffice to say, I’ve got my work cut out for me.
Beyond writing, I’m reading a LOT of books lately as well. When I lay down I’m trying to read one or two chapters before I fall asleep. It’s doing wonders for my writing. I find the more I read, the more I want to write and therefore the more I actually do write.
Speaking of reading and writers…Scott Sigler (the FDO himself) will be in my neck of the woods on Monday. I will be down at Mysterious Galaxy bookstore here in San Diego. If you’d like to meet him (or hell, if you want to meet me!) I’ll be there and so will Siggy. I’ll be buying a second copy of Pandemic to get signed (I won’t go to a signing and NOT buy a book). Yes, I already have a reading copy. I’ll be needing a signed copy. I don’t want to get food crumbs and cheetle in my signed copy dontchaknow. Yes, Yes I could buy the ebook, but that’s not the point.
Okay, I’ve rambled enough for one day. My next post will be about Lucky or Unlucky. 13 stories of Fate where you can find Me, and Mr. Plested and, obviously, 11 other writers. This is an anthology for 2013 from sffworld forum. If you’re a writer looking for a community, this is a great place to drop by.
Finally! Enough links for one day. Sheesh. Okay, I’m outta here! More to come from me tomorrow!
Until Next Time!
Book Review: Mik Murdoch by Mike Plested (available from Five Rivers Publishing August 1, 2012)
Growing up as a kid in the backwoods of Minnesota I spent a great deal of time dreaming of what I would do if I had super powers. I had read a lot of comics and knew a lot of different super heroes. I spent a lot of time staring down a tree trying to bend it to my will. I never succeeded. I jumped off a lot of things in an effort to fly. I’m lucky that I never broke anything. I held my breath for what felt like hours and it turned out to only be seconds. I found tools and old objects in the ‘dump’ we had in our back yard.
The ‘dump’ was a large hole in the ground that we were trying to fill in so people would ‘dump’ all sorts of things back there. A lot of broken lumber, old cars, appliances, trees. It was great fun to explore as the pile changed all the time. My brother and I had built a tree house from scraps, put knobs and dials on the walls. Constructed our own contraptions that did many different things.
What I’m saying here is Mike has written a book that really hit home for me.
As a Reader: Mik, for me, is a typical boy. One who is not content with just being a boy. He wants to do more and be more than he is. He tries hard and when bullies knock him down he gets right back up. When he runs into a problem he can’t solve, he tries to gain super powers to over come them. That’s just like any eight-year-old I know. Through trial and error Mik succeeds in failing in many interesting ways. Along the way he’s bullied by a girl and her dog, a glowing turkey, and continues to work hard along the way.
This book is intended for middle-school to young adult and it’s a fun story. It’s told in a series of events throughout the school year and each has Mik working hard to resolve the problem or situation at hand. Not the least of which is keeping his superhero secret identity from his parents. Mike Plested does a great job with building Mik up, giving him challenges that he must think his way through, and work hard to overcome. Not everything he does is successful and Mik learns through trial and error.
As a Writer: When I got through the first half of this book, I had thought the story telling was a little bumpy in spots and I had gotten into the meat of the story. What I discovered was this wasn’t just one story, but multiple stories all wrapped into one. I loved the way Mik went through all his attempts trying to discover how to achieve his own super powers and always had to come to a solution that made sense and fit within the reality of the story.
Mik’s growth from frustrated kid trying to gain super powers to a boy moderately satisfied with accomplishing tasks within his own means is a fun growth arc. For the most part Mik is left to his own devices though there are times when his parents intervene on his behalf and that helps to add to the realism of his growth. The adults are not clueless, but don’t pry too much which gives Mik freedom to do what needs to be done to work on achieving his dream.
Recommendation: Mik Murdoch is intended for a younger audience. Knowing that going in will allow older readers to enjoy this story. Even if this isn’t your cup of tea, it’ll make great reading for your middle schooler or young adult reader. A fun journey of a young boy and his dog (Krypto). From what I can tell we’re not done with Mik. Or at least we can hope we’ll see more. This is only the start of great things to come from Mr. Plested. I’m glad to say I was there from the start.
Daily Update: Back to the grind
Today after a long weekend I’ve got the nose to the old grindstone.
I say that, but I do love my job. Obviously my dream job would be to sit around all day writing the words I want to write instead of the ones that make me money, but I still love my job. Writing code is still a creative outlet. Writing documentation and requirements, well, I can do it even if it’s dull work. At least I’m sitting inside on the computer and I can get up and grab something from the fridge when I want it.
Do you want to know what my favorite part of this weekend was? I’m sure you do. It was taking a picture of couple of ducks.
NO! Wait.It was my favorite daughter learning to ride a bike. Mostly riding a bike.
When I was a kid and I wanted to go somewhere, I didn’t ask Mom or Dad “Hey, can you take me over there?” They had their own things to do and as a boy I was left to my own devices if I wanted to go somewhere. If I walked it could take a painfully long time to get from point A to point B. So if I didn’t want to walk somewhere, I had to learn how to ride a bike. It was a powerful motivator for me. Living in the sticks like I did meant everything was a good distance away and to get there took a good deal of time on foot. So I learned how to ride a bike.
My favorite daughter never had that motivation because we drove her to school, drove her to her friend’s parties or she got picked up. We live in the city and even though it’d be a short bike ride, it’s in the city. I’m not a fan of my favorite daughter out there on the road where some driver not paying attention could run her down. Call me over protective, but I’ve seen too many bad drivers.
It wasn’t from lack of trying. We used to spend a lot more time camping and she did have a bike with training wheels, but where we camped it was just as easy to bike as it was to walk. Again, not a lot of motivation.
This weekend was different. We’d bought her the bike some time ago and she’d been on it a couple of times, but never for very long and she never really got the hang of it. So I took her out bike riding and had her run with her legs down and balance. Then put one foot on the pedals. Then two feet. Just coasting, not pedaling. She knew she had to pedal so she started doing that on her own. Sure it took the better part of a day and we started and stopped many times, but she got the hang of it enough that the next time her friends said “Hey! Let’s go ride bikes” She was able to go with.
It was a proud dad moment, that’s for sure.
In other news, I’ll be writing like a madman again this week.
In even more news, I interviewed Mike Plested about his book, Mik Murdoch. Check out the interview here.
I’m off to go find more pictures of ducks.
Daily Update: Jack Kane Edits are done
Last night I had a marathon of editing and I got through the rest of Jack Kane. I got through the last third of the book and my oh my does my brain still feel like mush. Not in a bad way. More like the way when you decide to walk for the first time in months and you feel wiped out but there’s the surge of endorphins that makes you feel elated. I’m riding that kind of high today.
What Mike and I created together is a fun, fast-paced book. It’s still got a couple of holes that Mike and I will likely pass back and forth and fill in, but over all it’s a fun story. A little more polish and we’ll get it sent off to beta readers, some editing friends, and then it’ll be the big agent hunt. Our intention is to find an agent or publisher for this book. We’ve already talked that one through.
We’ve both read and re-read all the talk of going Indie, contracts, royalty rates, and the like. At this point in our careers it’s a matter of gaining momentum. Once we have that momentum, there’s nothing wrong with creating another property and going Indie. It’s a matter of keeping an eye on the contracts to make sure all the clauses are in order. I also have friends that know contracts and have offered to give them the once over to make sure we’re not signing over rights that we should retain.
I was going to write a long post about “To Indie or Not to Indie” but I will write that when my brain isn’t as mushy as it currently is. I tried to read a little before I went to bed and I could barely keep my eyes open. I also slept in until nearly 9AM. That hasn’t happened in a long time and it felt great. Nearly 12 hours of sleep. After the week I had and getting through the edits of Jack Kane, I think I earned that little nap.
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. I don’t know when I’ll get around to my daily update so Happy Mother’s day to all you moms out there. I hope someone special in your life makes the day extra special for you.
Today is too beautiful of a day to stay inside. Tomorrow I’ll write about Mother’s Day. And Ducks.
Daily Update: The ebook pricing debate
It seems that every couple of months (sometimes monthly) a battle will rage about the pricing of ebooks. Because of the Department of Justice stepping in claiming that the Big 6 are doing bad things, price fixing, the agency model, and so many other terms, the internet is abuzz with information right now. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone is claiming that people want cheaper ebooks. People want to spend less money on books than what the Big 6 is charging. I keep hearing all this noise.
I’m subscribed to a lot of blogs and have done enough reading to formulate an opinion. I’ve even given myself time to digest all of this information to be able to form a coherent thought about all of this. Being that I’ve bought books for a good majority of my adult life (and enough of my teen life) I know enough about books and how much they cost. Do you want to know what I think about all of this?
People will pay what they’re going to pay.
It really is that simple. It doesn’t matter if an ebook is $14.99 or if it’s .99. It really doesn’t matter. People will pay what they’re going to pay. Let me explain
I’ve bought a lot of books. Boxes and boxes of books. I love to read. There are some authors (like Tad Williams) that I will buy the hardcover as soon as it is out and devour it. I’ve paid as much as $29.99 for a hard cover novel. It never bothered me. Other authors, let’s just take Piers Anthony as an example, I’ll pick up his books in trade paper back. The most I’ve paid for a Piers Anthony novel is around $6.99 or $7.99. The point is, the price isn’t what got me to make the purchase. The author is what got me to make the purchase.
But that’s physical books. Perhaps I’ve put more worth on having a physical copy, right? Well, let’s look at my buying as of late.
I’ve picked up a lot of free ebooks. I’ve read a couple. They’re alright. I’ve picked up a large number of .99 books. I’ve read a few. They’re also alright. I haven’t picked up a stinker of a .99 book yet because I’m picky. I’ve picked up a few stinker free ebooks and I can see why the person is giving them away. These make up less than half of what’s on my ereader at the moment. Most of what’s on my ereader? Samples and books over $4.99.
That’s right. I only have a few books in the $2.99 – $4.99 range. Why? I really like the authors and I wanted to get their novels. I will always buy a Stephen King novel. I love his writing even if Under the Dome left me underwhelmed with the ending. I still loved the characters, the incidents, the mystery. The ending just sucked but I still got my money’s worth. I’ve picked up 11.22.63 and the Wind Through the Keyhole. It doesn’t matter what the price it. I’ve got a few Mike Stackpole novels on there as well. Again, I’ll buy whatever he produces because I really enjoy his style of writing.
But let’s look at the samples. Do I only pick big 6 books? NO! I’ve got a lot of Nightshade books (bought some of them outright), I’ve got Apex books, Edge/Tesseracts, Pyr, and I do also have some Big 6 books. The publisher isn’t what’s driven me to purchase the books. It’s the author being out there, talking about their book. It’s me getting to know the person that wrote the novel, looking at the first few chapters in the sample and I’ll buy a copy. I’ve got Skalzi’s Redshirts on my reader. Fun stuff. I’ll be buying the book when it comes out. Doesn’t matter what the price is. I know I want to read this book. I’ve done this with many authors.
Beyond that, I’ve got Chuck Wendig’s Blackbirds also. Why? I’ve read his blog. I enjoy his writing style. I will pick up the next book I know even though I haven’t read the first. It didn’t matter what the price was. I wanted the book, I bought it.
You may think, “Well you must have a lot of extra money to buy all these books.” Not really. I don’t spend as much on books as you might think. I’ve gotten some book that I was waiting on when they were suddenly free on the Kindle. I’ve won a couple in giveaways. Some were dropped to .99 and I couldn’t pass up on that deal. I’ve even gotten a couple free because I blog and every once in a while I’ll do a book review. Give me a free book, I’ll review it. It’s the least I can do.
But my point is I’ve only a few times in my life cringed at book prices. You want to charge me $21.99 for an ebook? That’s pushing the limit a little too far. Unless it’s an omnibus with three or four novels. Then I’ll pick it up. I bought the Stieg Larsson books for $29.99. Why not. That’s three books. They’re getting great reviews. They seem to be worth the price. I’ve also picked up a trilogy for $2.99 because the premise sounded interesting.
I’ve bought books from people I follow on twitter. Why? They seems like interesting people and I like to support interesting people.I’ve got a few Scott Roche books on my ereader and I do need to get through them and review them. Same with Justin Macumber and Zoe Winters.
So where do I think books should be priced? Well, I think that depends. If you’re an indie author who’s got one or two books out, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick them up for .99. If you’ve got several books out then I wouldn’t be surprised to see them at $2.99 as I would think you’ve got more books out, you’re good at this writing thing. If you’re doing this for a living and making money and you’ve got a proven track record, I’d be more than happy to pay $5.99 and up for one of your works.
My point is it’s not the price that’s important or at stake here. It’s the author. Price for me depends on how established you are. Do I like what you’re doing and I’ll be willing to pay $12.99 or more for your new novel (like the next Wheel of Time book) or are you a brand new author who I’m willing to take a chance on? It’s not a hard and fast rule. You can’t put a line in the sand and say “No one will ever pay more than this” because you’ll be wrong. Sales figures prove that. Look at the Amazon top 100 and you’ll see prices all over the map. It’s something personal and something that each author needs to figure out for themselves. Just because J.A Konrath says “$2.99 is the golden price point for a book.” Doesn’t make it true. It only makes it true for him. It makes it true for people who’ve set their price at that level and had success.
What are your thoughts on ebook pricing? Let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
Tomorrow I’ll write about ducks
Daily Update: May Gray
In the San Diego area we have something every year called May Gray. It’s when the marine layer comes in and engulfs the city with haze. This will run into June and become June Gloom. It normally burns off, but every morning is filled with fog and dampness. This means if you wash your car, it’ll most likely be dirty the next day due to the overnight moisture.
What this means for me is headaches. The high humidity helps my sinuses fill to the bursting point. It’d be nice if I could just blow my nose and be done with it, but that doesn’t happen. Ah well. Life goes on.
Yesterday my favorite daughter was supposed to be back at volleyball practice. She had to do a one mile run on Monday so her ankle was sore and she didn’t practice. Darn it. There’s always tomorrow.
I started this post early in the morning. It’s not 8:30PM and I’m just getting back to it. It’s been one of those days where everything happens to keep you from getting back at it. I’ll get over it.
I met with my co-author, Mike Plested, tonight and we had a great conversation. We’ve both been busy wrangling cats and find a point where our paths cross has been difficult. Somehow the stars aligned and we both looked into the face of God and saw each other looking back.
Okay, that’s just weird. But we discussed several things including: Marketing the Action Pack Podcast to reach a larger audience, Beta readers for Jack Kane and the Statue of Liberty (now that editing will be off to him shortly), our top secret project, and several other things. Our paths are intertwined at this point and that’s a big plus. Mike has gotten some great contacts out there in the writing universe, I’ve got…production value? Yeah, let’s go with that. I’ve been cranking out a large number of words and I intended to keep getting more and more written this year. I’ve only just begun.
Since the first of the year I’ve written nearly 184,000 words. I’ve completed a few new short stories, the Action Pack, gotten deep into To Fall From the Sky (to be shelved until a later time), and more. I’m 20 days (roughly) ahead of schedule and I couldn’t feel better about it.
Yes, I should be doing more to promote myself. I’ve been lacking in that department. This summer I plan on stepping that up. June will be a very VERY (did I say very?) busy month. It’s JuNoWriMo. I am taking a vacation at the end of the month. There’s more volleyball practice. I’ll be starting a new project at work. There are other personal issues that shall not be discussed here. Even with all that going on I’m still going to blog daily and I will complete JuNoWriMo (50,000 words in the month of June) before I go on vacation. I know I can do it.
This is what I mean when I say I’m in production mode. I’m producing more words than I ever have before. It feels great and the May Gray and June gloom will do nothing to stop me from writing more.
On the reading front (you may have noticed a couple of book reviews) I’m reading Stephen King’s 11.22.63 and The Wind Through the Keyhole. I’ll post reviews on those once complete. I’m loving 11.22.63, The Wind Through the Keyhole, not so much. One feels like a great King novel, the other feels like… It’s hard to say but it’s almost like he’s just trying to cash in on the Dark Tower once more. It’ll all be in the review.
I’ve got some editing to do before I get to bed. My talk with Mike distracted me away from writing about ducks. I’ll get to them tomorrow.