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Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Giveaway!

Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Giveaway!

Scott Roche, a close personal friend of mine is doing something CRAZY! He’s giving away books. Not just any books mind you, signed books! and not just any signed books, but books from SOMEONE ELSE! Like I said, CRAZY!

Scott is giving away a whole BUNCH of books! Books by the great and wonderful Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine (also close, personal fiends of mine). Tee and Pip have written a series of books entitled: The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. Their latest book is coming out on March 25, 2014.

This is a rafflecopter giveaway (I can’t post the script on my wordpress site) but I can link to it! GO HERE! GO HERE NOW! Do all you can. There are signed print books, ebooks, much happiness and madness to be had by all. If you have no idea what these books are about, hop onto Amazon and pick up a copy of their first book! They’ll make you happier.

If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer, but Mr. Roche is probably the better person to ask.

Good Luck!


Authors You Should Be Reading: Scott Roche



There are so many words to describe Scott Roche. Most of them are unpublishable, so I’ll just get straight to talking about him.

The Short:

Scott Roche is an author, editor, podcaster, producer, man about town, MMA Champion, beer drinker, womanizer, and an all around good Christian. He’s done so many things over the year that it’ll be difficult to list everything so I’ll just point you to his website and you can do a lot of reading on your own. The Long part of this post will deal with my interactions with this man and you’ll get to know a little more about him. He lives at (don’t try looking at any of his other domains like or because they’re more than likely expired. Honest.)

The Long:

Scott Roche, a close, personal friend of mine, was born on a pirate ship, fed to sharks, saved by a wooden boy, and transplanted multiple times. This accounts for his scatter-brained ideas and his lack of ability to keep his URLs up-to-date. He likes to hop from project to project and will, at times and much to everyone’s surprise, actually complete one.

I became aware of his existence when he decided to podcast his novel, Archangel. I would link to his website for this book, but like I said, he has the super-power to let him domains expire. Don’t get me started.

I’ve stalked followed him for years and would communicate with him from time to time. More often than not, he would forget who I was and it felt like starting our friendship all over again. We would laugh. We would cry. He would forget me and we’d do it all over. It felt a lot like 50 First Dates except I’m not about to kiss him. No beard on beard action going to happen to stop asking.

I still don’t, even though I’ve known Scott for 37 years, know exactly what it is he writes about. He dabbles in horror, sci-fi, Young Adult, Fantasy. He’s posted his fiction on smashwords, kindle, BN, Kobo, and he’s even started to give things away for free on Wattpad (We both followed Dan Dan the Art Man’s lead, and I’ll get to Dan Dan in another post, trust me, I will! Oh yes I will!) Scott likes to spread himself out as much as possible and get things all over the place. Sort of like the genres he writes in. The boy is all over the map. Trust me, he writes something you like. Pick a genre, he’s probably done it.

The first book I read of his (and failed to review because I suck at reviewing books and such) was Ginne Dare: Crimson Sands. This is a YA Sci-Fi book. Buy it. You’ll love it. Trust me on that one. Scott actually finished writing it! If you don’t love it, call me. I’ll explain to you why you do love it. It’s a fun book, well narrated, and quite enjoyable.

Somehow Scott, Mike Plested (you remember this slacker from last week, right?) and I started the Action Pack Podcast. Scott was going strong until we hit the halfway mark or our stories and suddenly he had to drop out. He quit. He gave up! He surrendered! Something about too many commitments. Sheesh. I think his drinking sank him to an all time low, but I’ll let you be the judge. I mean, seriously, have you seen his website? No sober man would create a site like THAT.

Anyway, with his duties on Flying Island Press, his own fiction schedule, his podcasting schedule, his anthology editing schedule (He edited the awesome anthology Dead Ends A book where the proceeds of the sales go to Charity!. It’s awesome because it contains me! WOO WOO!), he said too much is too much. Sadly, he left the show and went off to do all those other things he had already committed to. We can only hope that one day he returns to complete Hidden Planet because dag nab it! He left us in a lurch! People want to know how that ends SCOTT! Dead Ends is right. You should have put Hidden Planet in there. GAH!

But I digress. Where were we?

Ah, Yes, Scott Roche.

Check out his kindle page for a moment, if you will. Look at all these stories. Pages and Pages of stories. Check out his wattpad page. Go ahead, I’ll wait. See all those stories. All free on Wattpad. Good Golly Miss Molly. He’s been busy! So many words for you to read, so little time. Check out his about page on his page. See all that stuff he’s been up to? I assure you that if you take the first letter of every title he’s produce, and rearrange them (you know, like an anagram or cryptogram, or whatever) it’ll spell out J.R. MURDOCK IS A PUTZ! It’s a secret plot to try and destroy me! Secretly. Like in some strange cryptic way.

So, Scott Roche. Lazy Author that can’t complete what he starts or evil, super genius? You decide. Either way, he’s still a close, personal friend of mine and I’ll defend his drunken ramblings to the death! Well, at least under great pain. Maybe a little bit of pain. Put the knife down. Back away slowly. Please.

Check him out. He’s well worth your time and your dollars (unless you’re too cheap to spend $2 on one of his books, you can always read him for free on wattpad you know). Once you’ve read his drek, come back here, pick up one of my books and you’ll see what a true genius writes like. Honest. In an ocean of authors, he’s just another drip. Read him. Love him. Stalk him!

Until Next Time!


Things an Author should never, ever do, and a few things they should always do.

I’ve written this post at least five different times and each time I just never felt I was getting the right tone. I’m going to try yet again and I hope it comes across right this time. We’ll see how it goes. I may delete it again just for the sake of deleting it.

EDIT: I decided I finally got it right this time. Enjoy!

This list is a simple list of do’s and don’ts, but I’m going to try and go a little deeper than do this cuz I say do this. I’m going to try and give a little background and examples as to why these are a good idea and how they’ve worked out for others (both good and bad).

1) Don’t misreport your numbers:

I’ve been around the podcasting community since before podcasting was a term. I was listening live when the term podiobooks was coined. I recorded promos for many podcasts over the years and I’ve seen its ups and downs. I know a large core of the earliest podcasters and I saw much of what was happening.

There was an author that saw some other podcasters get published by a small press and he wanted to be the first with a big six publishing deal. So he took his podcasting downloads and convinced an editor that each download represented a potential reader that would buy his book. Sadly, that’s not how podcasting works.

If I download each episode of a podcast, I’m one person even though I may download the same episode from 3 different devices across 30 episodes. That’s not 90 potential readers, that’s 1. So by inflating his numbers to make it look as if he had 70,000 plus listeners, there were high expectations as well there should have been. Even if 10% buy a copy, that’s 7,000 books sold which is pretty good for a first time author.

Now I can’t fault this person for trying. He pushed and pushed and pushed to try and sell more copies, but sadly there just weren’t enough people that had already listened to the podcast that wanted to buy the book (I bought one). So this author was rejected to publish the sequel through the big publisher. The backlash was pretty sever by the author and he vanished from the podcasting community burning his bridges as he went. It was sad to see because he really was a talented author.

So a simple lesson, don’t pump those numbers. I’ve had over 100,000 downloads of V&A Shipping episodes, but have only sold a handful of copies of the ebook and print book. I had no expectation that it would explode out of the gate. That’s just not reality.

What you should do is one of two things. Either tell them your numbers and accurately what they represent, or leave them out all together. For the most part they’re unimportant and could only raise unrealistic expectations. Let your work speak for itself.

Author Scott Sigler did this the correct way. He had a publisher approach him because of his podcasting. They released his first books and they were a moderate success. He kept podcasting books and publishing books. He grew his audience slowly by giving away content to the point where he had enough people buying his books to support him keeping content out. At no time did he try to be more than he was (well, not personally, but his online persona he was HUGE, but that’s another story). Scott did things right by allowing things to grow at their own pace and used real numbers (book sales) to propel him to a big 6 publishing deal.

Not only that, he’s got an audience NAY! A community of junkies out there that cannot get enough of his work and have no trouble telling everyone they know about Scott’s work. He didn’t force a community, it just grew up around him. I’m not sure that was even his plan to start with, but it was incredible to watch him posting his first episodes on the Dragon Page to where he’s now pretty much a machine pumping out content left and right and the quality just keeps getting better and better.

2) Don’t artificially inflate your numbers:

But Jay, isn’t that the same thing?

NO! NO! IT’S NOT! Let me explain before you jump all over me. Sheesh. I mean, it’s similar, but different.

So I saw a Google+ posting by an author pleading for people to ‘click the link to visit her home page’. Well, that’s fine. I’ve seen that before. I’ve posted links to my site for people to visit. I get the desire for traffic. This author went about 20 steps too far.  The next lines in her post caused me some concern. “Hit refresh a few times and if you can, please do this every day. I have a few friends hitting refresh on my site about a dozen times a day each because I need to get at least 4000 hits on my site a day so I can go back to a publisher that said if I get 400,000 hits on my site in 6 months, they’ll give me a publishing contract.”

I wanted to cry. I really did. Why? Did you read #1? This author is setting herself up for FAILURE! Failure in a major way. The publisher will have expectations. If they think you’re getting 400,000 real hits in six months, they’re going to translate that into sales numbers and set a target. If you miss, you lose. You will never again get a publishing contract. You will have lied your way in and fall flat. I cannot express how bad of an idea this is.

Want my numbers? I get about 3 hits a day to my site. On a crazy busy day I’ll see 30, some days I won’t see any. I know people are reading via email and with rss readers, and a few even follow via I get that. I know there are more people reading what I post than visit the actual site. I understand that. Really, I do, but I’m not about to start asking people to pump up my numbers just for the sake of pumping up my numbers.

Author John Scalzi has done this right, in my opinion. Sure, it’s taken him fifteen years, but he’s getting on average around 50,000 visitors per day. He gave away content, posted his views, played nice, and built a community around his website. Yes, because of this he was able to sell his novels and make a good living. Like his work or not, he’s done well and did things right with how he got his community going.  There’s that word again, community. We’ll talk more about this later. For now, just don’t bother telling people your numbers or try to get people to help get your numbers higher. It’ll happen. Don’t force it. You can’t force a community to grow up around you just like you can’t fool a publisher with unrealistic numbers more than once. Sales will point you out as a fraud.

3) Don’t be afraid to offend people:

Now I’m not talking about going all Orson Scott Card and spewing hatred disguised as an opinion. That’s just plain wrong and you will burn in your own personal hell of your own design.

I’m talking about people like Chuck Wendig. Chuck has no problem speaking his mind, using offensive language, and get all up in your grill about what he thinks. He’s very passionate about writing and has no trouble telling you that some writing is crap while other writing is brilliant. He comes across as a cross old grandfather that sits at the end of a bar with a scruffy beard, a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other telling the kids how much things sucked when he was a kid.

The thing is, at no point, does Chuck go off the deep end and attack people personally. I’d love to meet Chuck one day because I have the feeling he’s really a great guy. He’s funny as hell and his blog is a blast to read (if you go there, be aware there’s lots of offensive language). But you can’t be afraid to be who you are. Or build up a persona that you can hide behind and spew things that are offensive, but not hate-fueled. You need to find that line, dance on it, but don’t cross it. Like I said, check out Chuck. He’s doing things right.

4) Don’t be a dick:

Many things will get you far in life. Being a jerk to people won’t. Now I’m not saying you need to be a saint out there (you saw the above post, right?) but you need to mind your Ps and Qs. I’ve seen authors do some pretty crappy things to each other. Using sock puppets to leave negative reviews, starting flame wars, blogging about untrue information, using their community to try and trash another author, and just plain being jerks. This could be from denouncing women as inferior, to claiming that minorities aren’t as good as ‘whites’, or any number of things. I don’t care even if you feel this way, not all press is good press. Just because you’re a misogynistic butthead doesn’t mean you need to spread hate to try and build a community. You attract more flies with honey than $#!+ my mother always used to say.

I would give an example of how this has been done, but i don’t want to give the person any more traffic than they deserve.

5) Do Be nice and give back:

John Scalzi does this with does this with his “Big Idea”. Chuck does this with his Terrible Minds interviews with other authors. Scott Roche did this last year when he gave away an indie book a week! There are many ways to do this. I’ve never done much of anything and in the coming weeks, that’s all going to change. I’m going to start a series of posts about authors that are close, personal friends of mine that I think you should be reading. Be they indie, pro, or just giving away work on WATTPAD (or any combination of the three). This will be just a little way to give back. I know I don’t have a massive audience, but I feel I should share those authors that I enjoy.

6) Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there:

I’m going to mention the first two bloggers that come to mind: Mur Lafferty and Jenny the Bloggess. Both of these women are AWESOME in totally different ways. I’ve met Mur and she is a wonderful human being. I haven’t met Jenny and I’m not sure my brain could handle meeting her, but I do have a beaver skull to protect me should I run across her one day and her army of taxidermy animals.

Mur has had issues over the years with confidence. She’s spoken publicly about this and she’s also suffered with depression. She’s put all that out there in her struggle about writing and how difficult it is at times for her to get past her demons and just sit and write and not feel like a fraud (Mur, you’re the real deal and you’re awesome #justsaying). Much of the time she’s filled with wit and is highly entertaining, other times she’s just Mur being Mur and keeping it real.

Jenny has also had similar struggles. She’s blogged about them on some rather serious posts, and other times she posts things that get you inside her head and make you wonder what makes her tick.

Both of them are terrific people and even though they’ve mentioned they have trouble talking about their issues in public, they’ve gone ahead and do so anyway. Much to their surprise, people weren’t frightened away and many rallied to them to try and boost them up in times of need. They didn’t shy away from those ‘bad’ days and they didn’t sugar coat things either. To watch them over a length of time and read their blogs has given me a profound respect for what each of them has gone through over the years and each of them has been successful in their own way.

So what does this little list give you? It gives you ways to get yourself out there and grow a community. Like I said, I’ve watched, I’ve learned, I’ve not followed through. Hence, I didn’t grow a community around me. I know how to do it and I know it’s not something that can be forced or done artificially. It just happens and usually to the surprise of the person the community forms around. I don’t think any of these people set out with a plan of “I’ll build a community and sell tons of books.” They just did what came naturally and what felt right and it worked. They were entertaining enough to attract people to them and real enough to keep people around them. They also interacted with their audience and be part of their own audience rather than be put up on a pedestal to be admired.

I respect each of the authors I’ve mentioned. I’ve read works by each of them and I’ve been thoroughly entertained by their books, but more than that, I’ve been entertained by what they do beyond the books. I read each of their blog posts, I listen to those that have podcasts. I don’t always leave feedback or join in the conversations, but I do enjoy what they have done, are doing, and will continue to do. Each of them has, in their own way, made me a life-long fan of them, not just of their books.

I’m off to go do things right.

Until Next Time!


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

Until Tomorrow!


Daily Update: Two Days in One.

Yesterday. Holy cow.

So I had this training session yesterday. It’s for work. It’s dry material. The instructor knows it’s dry material. He does his best to keep in interesting. It’s still dry material, but we need to go through the lessons.

I met my friend Mike.The one who’s done all that music work and cover work for me in the past. You know, for V & A shipping, Billy Barbarian, Murdockian Tales. Yeah, that guy.

He’s a local to this area and we headed over the Bay Bridge. Saw Alatraz and the Golden Gate. Saw, as in, “Hey, see that over there.” We didn’t atually visit. What we did visit is China Town. That was so muh fun. A very touristy place and there were no tourists. Being a Monday night there was no one out and about. Oh, sure, there were a couple of people. It was nothing like what I expected. I had expeccted wall to wall people.

Being a local, Mike pointed out shops to buy touristsy things. I bought touristy things for the Wife, Mi Suerga, and My Favorite Daughter. I think they’ll like what I got and it was all so inexpensive. That caught my by surprise.

It was neat to see some things and I’ll mention that more in a later post and why it was so cool to see them.

Again, the local Mike piked out a place for us to eat. He’d been there before. A young boy followed us to our table. Sat at our table. Climbed up on our table. Giggled, laughed, had a great time. High-fived me. I took a picture with him. I took a picture of the menu on the white board writting in Chinese. I ate something with pork and noodles. A little sweet with a great spiy after taste. It was some good stuff.

Afterward I called up J.D. Sawyer. Mike and I drove over to hang with him. We had a beer, a great cigar, and a lot of conversation. Being both authors we discussed authorly topics. Suh as:

Works in progress

Works in print

upcoming works

legal rights

story concepts

story finances

how little writers make

We also talked about many other author friends and shared a lot about those authors. We talked about (in no certain order)

Scott Sigler

J. C. Huthins

Mur Lauferty

Gail Carriger

Scott Roche

Jake Bible

Paul E. Cooley

Mike Stackpole

Terry Bisson

Mike Plested

Lorna Suzuki

We talked about publishers

Dragon Moon Press

Hades Publiations (Edge)

Flying Island Press

Kindle / Amazon

Smashwords vs Paypal

It was hard, but I did allow Mike to talk as well. He and J.D. share a common interest in photography so they also did a lot of talk about photography. Before we knew it, it was late, the cigars were long cold, and the wind had picked up significantly. Mike and I called it a night.

Perhaps it wasn’t just two days in one, it was three. I did so muh that I woke up this morning and started packing for home. I sent a great deal of pictures home for the wife and my favorite daughter. I miss them. Even keeping myself busy didn’t keep my mind off of things. Even though I’m having a great time up here, I do miss them. It’ll be nice to go home and sleep in my own bed.

Until Tomorrow!


Daily Update: Action Pack Podcast is live!

Last night the Action Pack Podcast went live. The three of us involved with this endeavor are quite excited. The concept is serialized fiction spread out over a year. Each story will end on a cliffhanger and a new episode will come out each month. There will also be print editions available over at Flying Island Press. You can pick up the podcast at Action Pack Podcast. Stop by and let me know what you think.

My fellow authors, Mike Plested and Scott Roche, are also helping generate noise (buzz?) about the podcast. Stop on over at their sites and see what they’re all about. All three of us are quite busy podcasters and writers. Don’t forget to check out Dan Dan the Art Man, the man responsible for our artwork!

As for writing, it was another productive day. Got another 2000 words out. It nice when I hit a flow and can roll with it. Hopefully I can keep this pace up during Lent and carry it on beyond. I’m already 4 days ahead of my yearly writing schedule. This is important because the last thing I want to do is fall behind again. I was able to get caught up and now ahead. I see no reason to stop now.

I finished a short story and sat on it for a couple of days. I had three or four ‘ah-ha’ moments and those went into the revisions. I’m now waiting for a response and requested edits (edits will always be requested, I’d be surprised if they weren’t). I’m quite happy with how the story turned out. I can’t want to see how it does once it makes it out into the wild.

Now more about how I got to where I am today.

After spending nearly five years as a starving musician, I decided that being in a band just wasn’t in the cards. It was a good run, but unfortunately I could not motivate the guys beyond small clubs and it was all on my to do any promotion, book gigs, etc. Combine that with the lead singer wanting to be the only creative force in the band, and I felt stifled. I had creative ideas that I needed to get out.

I did not explain this in earlier updates, but this was when I really had to take a look at what I wanted to do with my life. In high school, I played D&D. Sean and I both played and continued to play as adults. I loved the game. I had decided to write a book based on our characters. Yes, one of ‘those’ books. There were many stops and starts during high school, in the Navy, even while I was in a band. I just could not get the story going.

After leaving the band, I had a great idea for the story. Yes, the characters were still based on the D&D characters, but everything D&D was out of it. Well, to some extent. There were still monsters and random encounters, but I had decided to make it more of a story and less of an adventure. I had to get them to meet in a way that made sense. I had to have a story that I could tell.

Well, suffice to say it sucked. I trashed it again.

Then I met a comic book artist. He was just getting started and he was GREAT! I had gone back to school at ITT Tech to get a degree and I wrote pages at night. He agreed to pencil the work. I got cranking on the script. I was excited. I was going to write a COMIC BOOK! WOO WOO!

The guy was really good. He went on to write Warrior Nun Arela, moved on to be an intern with Jim Lee (I got to go to the studio and meet his entire crew, that was awesome) and eventually moved on to Marvel and last I heard he was doing Catwoman for DC. He’s done well and I’m glad he did. I don’t know that doing a little independent comic with me would have helped him that much. Check out Pete Woods as he’s done great things in the field of comics.

So after this period of time, I kept on writing Of Gnomes and Dwarves as a comic. I had decided that the first run would be 15 issues telling one storyline and then I’d move on to the next storyline. I wrote 48 or 49 issues before i ran out of steam and could not find another artist. I tried submitting my work, but it was rough and I go no interest.

I dove back into school. It was very easy for me because it was basically a rehash of my Navy ‘C’ school. Getting ‘A’s was as easy as staying awake in class. My comic had been shelved, but I was still happy to talk about it to anyone and everyone who would hear about it. They all thought I was nuts, but that it was cool that I’d written something even if it wasn’t published.

I got to work on 8080s and 8088s and we even upgraded an 8088 to a 286. This was at a time when a 386 was cutting edge. If you don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry. These were IBM computers and the PC was just starting to take hold. It was before the computer explosion of the mid-90s. These things weren’t cheap, but they were getting there.

Then I met the woman who would become my wife. More on that, tomorrow.

Until Tomorrow!


Daily Update: Some actual updates

Shin Splints: The front of my legs still hurts after I exert myself doing activities such as helping out at volleyball, wandering around the grocery store, helping out at volleyball, walking to my truck too quickly (I park in the street away from the living quarters), helping out at volleyball, going up and down the stairs too  many times, helping out at volleyball. The plus side is it only hurts for a short time afterwards and not into the day after like it had been. This is making me happy though I’m not ready to try out my ‘land legs’ any time soon. I still have yet to get up to the gym at our complex, but I intend to start going very soon. Hopefully this weekend.

Sputtery Truck: The check engine light is still on. The registration is due, but I don’t have to smog it this year. I know why the light is on and it’s nothing critical that cannot wait at this point. I’m happy that each time I go out I can start it up and it doesn’t look like Spy Hunter with a billowing cloud of smoke pouring out the back end. This was usually followed up with it overheating and that hasn’t happened either. I’ve kept an eye on the fluid levels and all looks good. It’s on the road to recovery.

Action Pack: Currently I have Mike Plested’s audio. I’m waiting on Scott Roche’s and I need to record my own. I’ll be recording the promo as soon as I get the audio from Mike. We have the cover art for the ebook edition of the stories that will be available at Flying Island Press. I’m waiting on my friend who shall be known as Mike Lafayette to produce music for me. He will be out after the 25th and assures me that I’ll have music before then. This will be just in time to drop the first episode on the 29th. Nothing like cutting it close, eh?

Writing: I’ve been going at it slower than I’d like, but I am catching up to my annual goal. At one point I was 5000 words  behind. I’m now less than 3000 and gaining ground with every word I type. I’m having fun with both my research and my writing. If I wasn’t having fun, I’d be putting projects aside. It’s great to see my word counts going up.

Getting Caught up with Friends: I hadn’t spoken with Kimi Alexandre or Jack Mangan in some time. Sure we’ve exchanged emails, but it’s nice to get on skype and just chat with online friends that you don’t get face time with. Online chatting will keep you caught up with some goings on, but there’s nothing like hearing another person’s voice to get caught up on everything.

My Favorite Daughter: If you haven’t guessed, it’s been a lot of volleyball. I’ve been helping out at practices and it’s really great to see how the team is starting to really mesh and play as a unit as opposed to individuals. All I can say is my kid rocks 🙂 but I may be biased.

Jack Kane: Edits are progressing on book 1 and plotting is progressing on book 2. Mike and I have been using Google Docs crazy and the more I use it, the more I like it. I’m sure there are a lot more features in there that we aren’t using, and as we find them, we’ll use them.

Scriviner: I’ve been using scriviner to edit Jack Kane. I’m really liking the interface and I can see now why so many writers rave about it. As soon as I’m able I’ll be buying a license for it and I’ll be moving all my works into the tools. I’ll also use any notes I put into scriviner up onto the wiki page I created and am currently not using. I do have every intention of getting everything up and in there.

MixZing: I’m still liking this music app on my tablet. I haven’t run into any issues and the ads only come up when I open the app and I can live with that. I have the widget on my homescreen and it works great for a shuffle and for playing entire albums. So far, no complaints other than the EQ will cause the tablet to lock up so I just don’t use it.

Work: Work is going GREAT! Frickin love my job. I’ve been doing a big mix of paperwork and documentation and a little bit of coding and I think this is what’s been slowing down my daily writing output, but the job does come first. It’s been a great start to the year with only a couple of unexpected bumps along the way, but nothing we can’t get past.

Sorry this is such a long post today.

Until Tomorrow!


Daily Update: Things happen when you’re not looking

I now have two secret projects I cannot talk about yet. There is a lot going on behind the scenes that once I can talk about them, you’ll be just as excited as I am about them. Even though I won’t always post about everything I’m doing (or I’ll repeat myself from time to time) doesn’t mean new things aren’t happening.

Writing: Didn’t happen much last night. Okay, happened very little in fact. I intend to correct that tonight. My favorite daughter had volleyball practice last night so that ate into my writing time. I also spent some time with the wife because it was, after all, Valentine’s. The rest of my writing time was eaten up by discussing a certain project that will come to light in the near future.

Action Pack: Mike Plested has written up the promo. Now it’s just a matter of recording and producing it. All three of us will have parts and from the initial ideas we had, it’s going to be awesome. Heck, from what I’ve read from the other two stories, the entire Action Pack will be filled with awesome! I hope you’ll be there to join us. I’ve been bugging Dan Dan the Art Man and he assures me I’ll have my cover graphic tonight. I should have my page up over on the web site tomorrow.

More Writing: I’m going to try for a few days in a row of 2000 words of fiction. Why? I need to get caught up and/or ahead of my writing goal and I have a couple very hot projects that I need to get under way. I’ve been way too lax with my writing (in my own opinion) and even though I’ve been blogging daily, I haven’t been writing fiction daily. I need to correct that.

Jack Kane: Edits are under way and plotting of the second book are also under way. This is a fun story and the sequel is mapping out to also be a lot of fun to write. Jack, Betsy, Felonious and his minions, are all great characters and just easy to write. Mike Plested and I are having too much fun and I can’t wait until this falls into the hands of readers.

Distractions: I’ve been distracted by Ancient Aliens and not because I subscribe to their belief, but because I find their point of view fascinating. It doesn’t matter what you believe in, it’s easy to poke holes in any theory, faith, belief. I never try to argue with what another person believes because faith and belief are personal. I just like to observe and from that observation, a billion story ideas come bursting forth. *note, I used to argue with people’s faith but once someone says “I believe…” the argument is over because facts no longer play a part in the argument. #justsaying. I find it best to listen, insert comments, and avoid confrontation. It never ends pretty.

More Distractions: I’m not a big TV watcher. There are a few shows I love. Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men (not so much with the loss of Charlie), Gold Rush (what? You’re not watching this show?), Storage Wars, Shipping Wars, and that’s about it. I’m not big on any on going series and will usually pick up a show once it’s run its life. Like the aforementioned Ancient Aliens. I used to watch any Sci Fi shows on TV, but got frustrated with half a season or one open ended season and then nothing. So I stopped putting effort into anything else TV has to offer. For now, I’m directing that energy back into writing.

Speaking of writing.

Until Tomorrow!


Daily Update: I’m not Jake

To those that know me online, I’m J.R. Murdock. To those that know me in the real world, I’m Jay. I’m not Jake though I’ve been called James, Jim, Jake, John, Jason… Think of a name that starts with J and I’ve been called it.

Does it surprise me when people get my name confused? No. People get used to hearing a full name and when they get one letter, it’s easy to extrapolate and add on letters you think you heard that aren’t really there.

What’s funny is when someone is on a podcast talking about you and they start calling you someone else’s name, then asks you about it after the fact. It’s even funnier when you’re working on a colaborative effort with someone for a few weeks.

Yes, my good friend Scott Roche was on the Dead Robots Society podcast and… well, let’s just say I’m not Jake. He got a little confused and mixed me up with Jake Bible (a fellow author and worth your time to read). Hop on over to the DRS Podcast (not always work safe) and check it out. Scott had some great things to say and he’s doing 52 weeks of Indie where he’s giving away a book a week and one winner will ‘win them all’.

Got a lot of writing done yesterday. I’m not quite on track with my yearly writing goal, but I’m getting caught up. One of the things I forgot about when writing a lot is that I come up with more ideas than I can possibly write. I have another fun idea and should I find the time I’ll start getting it out there. I know I have a lot of projects, but this one could be fun to work in there.

Speaking of getting it out there. I’m slow. I know this. Kance Encounter is coming. My favorite daughter has practice again tonight and I’ll be working on that while I wait for her. Got edits back from Scott and Mike on my Action Pack Story now title Golden West. As soon as I have the cover art in my hot little hands from Dan Dan the Art Man I’ll get my page up over there. The podcast is coming together nicely and it’s interesting working on a collaborative effort in this manner. I’m not working alone on two of my multiple projects which is making keeping on track a little easier.

Speaking of making it easier…

Until Tomorrow!



Daily Update: Still Provided Daily!

I’ve written daily for some time and I’ve continued to watch the number of subscribers to this blog drop. Am I annoying? Should I keep going? Should I stop questioning myself and just keep at it? Should I stop asking questions I don’t have the answer to? Are my dogs trying to communicate with me at a subconscious level I don’t yet understand?

I’ve read Scott Roche’s story for the Action Pack Podcast. I can’t wait to get the audio. It’s gonna be fun. I haven’t listened to Mike Plested’s audio yet, but I will be doing that tonight. At some point during the week I’ll be recording my audio. Then I’ll be bugging another friend of mine about the rest of the music so I can get the podcast assembled.

Then I need to write a piece for Dan Dan the Art Man (I haven’t forgotten about that). I also need to write my piece for my secret project. My Teacher is a Zombie is coming along nicely. Had fun writing last night’s scene and the next scenes will be loads of fun to do. I also need to get working on Second Kance. I need to do edits, I need to write. I need to get off my duff, don’t I?

Yes, yes I do. I wrote a couple thousand words last night. I’ll be doing another couple thousand tonight. I should be able to get myself back on track with my overall writing goal for the year and for this month. I just need to keep hitting keys on the keyboard in the right order and I’ll get there. It’s a magical feeling seeing some of my writing projects take shape.

Tonight my favorite daughter has a voluntary practice. I’ll go and I’ll write in the truck during the first half and go in for the second half. When I’m actually sitting and writing I can get out over 1000 words an hour. It’s just a matter of sitting and actually typing out the words.

I just realized that I hadn’t put out an Unorthodox Writing Tips. I’ll get that out tonight as well. I guess with so much writing to actually get done, I should get on some of it, eh?

Until Tomorrow!