Update – April 2015 – New Project, Stalled, Beta Reader Group

I mentioned in my post last month that I might try making this update idea a monthly thing, so here’s what’s up from me lately.

To begin with, I finally got back to writing! After finishing the first draft of A Man With A Gun back on February 8th, I took a break to recharge and maybe do some of the non-writing things I needed to do. That was supposed to be two or four weeks, but sickness, laziness, and just being busy with the things I’d let slide while focused on writing pushed that back. Still, on April 7th, I started on a new project! In fact, that day I put in 4,357 words on that new project, which is my single highest word count day so far this year.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to last. I’m currently 12,000 words into the new project and stuck. There’s something not right with the new story. It seems like something is missing. The writing seems okay, and I think I like the characters, but it feels like it’s meandering. That said, it was supposed to be a short story anyway, and it’s already 12,000 words. A Man With A Gun was supposed to be a short story as well, and it ended up being an 87,000 word novel.

So, what am I going to do about it? Well, to begin with, I’m going to stop and switch to some other things. I believe the new project needs to stew a little longer before I go back to it. The muse hasn’t finished chewing on that one yet. The “other things” I’m switching to are a little varied…

Those who follow me might recall that I mentioned another project I had finished earlier this year when talking with Armand Rosamilia on his podcast recently. As I said on the podcast, that was a novella (35,000 words) that won’t be released under my own name. Part of the reason for that is because it wasn’t written by me alone – it’s actually a story that was developed together with my wife. She and I hashed out the story (a large part of it being her creation) and then I wrote the actual manuscript from that outline/plot.

That story needs revision and editing. But, we are also working on turning it into a possible series. We’ve been brainstorming on that a bit. As a side note, I recently mentioned on Facebook that I had purchased the full version of Scrivener and that it is primarily aimed at writers who work from an outline. For me, that’s not how I normally work. But, for this project I’m doing with the wife, it’s been quite good since everything is plotted from the start. Not that anything I write stays on the plot for very long…

While I may talk about these side projects more in the future, for the most part it won’t be something tied to my own name in any direct way. So, no, I won’t tell you what it is. 😉

Aside from that, I’m also looking at some technical issues. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I built a computer last spring. It was an epic gaming rig and it was awesome. However, the motherboard unexpectedly died recently. Unfortunately, that computer is where I was storing my older writing files. The hard drive should be fine, but if the computer won’t run, there’s no way to access that drive, obviously. I plan to repair that computer soon, but haven’t had time to tear it down. In the interim, I may swap that drive to a working machine so I can get to my older files.

Why is this at all relevant to my current writing projects? Because among those files are the older projects I haven’t worked on in a long time. Among those projects is a little short story named Out After Dark. I’ve mentioned before that many people have asked for a longer, full-length story from that. What I released was a 2,100 word short – little more than a single scene. What’s written (and languishing on that hard drive) is , if I recall correctly, a 14,000 word manuscript that may someday become much more. I figure there’s at least a novella there, if not a full-length novel.

I’m not making promises on that. It may be that I’ll never release a longer version of that story. But, for now, I need a project to work on while the current one cooks a little longer. The project with the wife isn’t ready to move forward yet, so I may or may not work on Out After Dark – if I can get to my files!

Lastly, A Man With A Gun is still in the beta-reading stage. I’ve been thinking for a while that it would be nice to have a way to organize my beta-readers and bring things together in an orderly fashion. To that end, I have created a Facebook group! It’s called Brandon’s Beta-Reader Barn, because I’m bad at naming things and I like alliteration. If you’re interested, pop by and request to join. No promises that I’ll accept everyone, but that’s how you get in if you want in.

The group will be for people interested in beta-reading my work. Possibly, in the future, some of my author friends might want to seek beta-readers from the group as well. It’s entirely possible that the whole thing will just not work as intended – but, I won’t know until I try. Still, I think it will be faster and easier than doing everything by email, and this way the betas can all talk to each other about how silly my stories are.

That’s pretty much everything going on with me lately. Here’s hoping I actually get some stuff done soon!

 

OH! One last thing: I recently read an awesome book! It’s called The Martian, by Andy Weir and it was just amazing. You really gotta check this one out if you like science stuff, survival stories, or snarky, upbeat protagonists. Click the cover image to snag a copy over at Amazon! Note: There’s more than one version of the cover art. Don’t let that throw you off. I just like this version better.

TheMartianCover

Seriously, this book is EPIC!

 

 

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Frostwalker Paperback Edition Price Increase Coming

Frostwalker Cover ArtI’m of an age where paperback books were generally pretty affordable. In truth, many still are, but prices have indeed gone up. For me, the “normal” price of a paperback book was in the area of six to eight dollars. When I think of the cost of an “average” paperback, my brain just spits out $7.99.

However, sadly, those days have slipped into the past. These days, a more normal price for a paperback (if there is such a thing as a normal price) is around $9.99. At least, that seems true for many of the books I buy, aside from the larger volumes, such as epic fantasies.

When I first released Frostwalker, I wanted to keep the paperback edition pricing low. In part, this was due to nostalgia over those older prices. There’s a part of me that still feels like paying more than $7.99 for a book of that size is maybe a bit much. Another factor was simply the fact that I am an unknown author to most of my potential readers. Having a lower price, combined with the good reviews the book has been getting, might be just the incentive for a reader to take a chance on my work.

But, in order to reach a broader audience, I need to be able to break into more distribution channels. These channels have a higher overhead cost, which means that the author’s portion of the sales is significantly smaller. In order to even be eligible for those channels the price has to be increased above a certain threshold just to cover the cost of distribution.

So, beginning February 1st, I will be increasing the price of the paperback edition of Frostwalker to $9.99. The ebook editions (Kindle and others) will remain at $2.99. The upside is that, with time, the book will be available for bookstores to purchase, as well as libraries.

If you intend to pick up a paperback copy of Frostwalker, but haven’t done so yet, now would be a good time to grab yours!

New Year, Same Me!

It’s that time of year when everyone seems to be making new year resolutions – and then posting about it. So, what are my resolutions?

Honestly, I don’t generally do that whole resolution thing. Not since I was a kid anyway. I quickly learned that making a promise to myself that I wasn’t sure I could keep was a good way to do nothing but end up feeling bad about myself and adding stress to my life that I just don’t need.

The saying “New Year, New Me” sounds inspirational on the surface of it. However, for myself, that just doesn’t work. I know myself well enough to know that changing what year I (forget to) write on checks doesn’t change who I am. Besides, I kinda like the person I was in 2013. I think I’ll keep him around for a while.

However, a new year is a new beginning of a sort. It’s a good time to think about what we can do better. I think the new year resolution thing has gotten a little out of hand for some folks. When we look back on the year just ended, we should look at what we did right as well as what we could have done better. We should certainly note those areas we were lacking in, and try to improve ourselves, as we should always try to do throughout the year.

In other words, don’t resolve to scrap the person you have been. Resolve to improve that person. You don’t need a new you, you just need to be honest with yourself (about both the good and the bad) and continually work to be a better person today than you were yesterday.

For myself, one of the shortcomings I have often discussed, particularly on Facebook and Twitter, is my difficulty with staying motivated. With the new year, I’ve taken a new look at how I set goals, and how I manage my writing time.

To begin with, I had suspected that I might be a morning writer. That’s weird, I know, because who wants to do anything in the morning? However, I’ve experimented with writing first thing in the morning and so far it seems to be paying off! In fact, I’ve been using my wife’s laptop, which she keeps by the bed. I’ve done a lot of writing in the past few days simply by waking up, grabbing her laptop, and cranking out a thousand words before I ever get out from beneath the blankets. Whatever works, right?

Another thing I’m doing is trying to be realistic with my writing goals. In the past, I have had some truly epic days. The first night I worked on the first draft of Frostwalker, I cranked out over 12,000 words in one sitting. But that isn’t what’s normal for me. I have to be honest with myself about how much time I can realistically devote to writing on any given day, and how much energy and enthusiasm I can maintain.

I know that I can’t write every day. Between running a business, having a part time job, family life, and all the other things that make demands on my time, there are simply going to be days when I can’t (or won’t) write. Beyond that, when I do write, I know that I can’t consistently do 1,000 words every day. Some days are just going to be less productive than others.

So, I’ve decided not to have a daily goal. Instead, my goal is for a daily average. If I can average 500 words per day, that’s good for me. So, if I write 3,500 words on Monday, I’m good for a week. Of course, writing 3,500 on Monday doesn’t mean I don’t try to write on Tuesday. But, if I can’t write on Tuesday, either due to work commitments or just sheer lack of energy or motivation, I’m covered. This gives me some wiggle room. At the end of the year, if I meet my goal, I’ll have written a total of 182,500 words, which is a couple of average novels worth of content.

Of course, 500 words per day isn’t great. However, that’s not a limit (I can and do write more), it’s just a realistic (for me) goal. It is very important in any endeavor to set goals. Without goals, you can’t have direction for your energy and you end up wasting energy for little or no gain. But, you’ll find nothing but frustration and despair if your goals aren’t realistic. I have to be honest with myself, and that means that 500 words per day on average is a reasonable, reachable goal. Setting a goal of 1,000 words per day, and then getting 800 per day, means I’m failing. Setting a goal of 500 words per day, and writing 800 per day, means I’m meeting my goal and then some.

One interesting side effect of this has been that I’ve actually done much better than expected. I have, in fact, written over 1,000 words per day since putting this goal in place January 1st. However, today I took a day off to get caught up on work that had to be taken care of. I could have written this morning, but I knew that doing so would have made it that much harder to do the work that pays the bills tonight. Counting today’s zero word count, my average output per day since January 1st (inclusive) is 1,004 words per day – twice what I’ve set out to achieve.

I don’t know if I’ll keep up that pace, but that’s what I have so far. If I don’t keep up that pace, it doesn’t matter. My goal isn’t to average 1,000 words per day, but to average 500. I’m ok with this. I have accepted that I’m not going to be that guy who writes 2,000 words per day. Not at this point in my life, and quite possibly not even if I end up writing full time. I’m me, and I’m ok with who I am. I work to make the most of that person, not to frustrate myself.

For the record, what I’ve been working on is A Man With A Gun. I’m still not sure where this story is going, or what it might end up as. It’s a departure from my usual work, but nothing truly worthwhile comes out of staying in your comfort zone. It may be that the project will be a full length novel, or maybe a novella. It’s getting a bit lengthy to be a short story, having passed 15,000 words. It may also be that it will fizzle and die. That happens too, sometimes. But, wherever it goes, I intend to follow it to the end.

In any case, here’s to a productive and successful 2014!

Cover Reveal – Circus Of Lost Souls, by Riley J. Ford and Rebecca Hamilton

CIRCUS OF LOST SOULS

horror ebookCirque du Lune is killing off teenagers, but it’s all part of the act.

Or is it?
As the body count rises with each performance, one girl at this infamous theater-based summer finds herself contemplating what’s real and what’s not.
What if it’s not just a horror show, but a live snuff performance? What if the murders . . . are real?
* * *
Sign Up For Release Notification — When you do, you are automatically entered to win a free copy of the book, and you will also have an opportunity to purchase the book at the new release discounted price. We will only email you once for these purposes, and your email from this list will not be used for any other reason at any other time.

Frostwalker Sell Sheet

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post here about what I’ve been up to. Aside from cover reveals and such for fellow authors, I’ve been kind of quiet. However, I’ve not been entirely idle!

For one thing, work continues on A Man With A Gun. It’s been an unusual experience, as it’s been really difficult to stay on task. I’m 10,000 words into the story and I’m still not sure exactly where it’s going. I still think it’s going to finish up as a beefy short story or possibly a novella, but it keeps surprising me.

Aside from that, another project I’ve been working on for quite some time is the media kit for Frostwalker. I think I may have that nearly wrapped up. One of the more difficult tasks involved in building the media kit was creating the sell sheet for the book. For those who don’t know, a sell sheet is kind of a poster or flyer with information about the book. While it can be used to promote the book to potential readers, a sell sheet is typically directed at book retailers and distributors.

Those who follow me on Facebook or Twitter may have already seen this. But, given my lack of graphic design skills, I’m rather happy with what I’ve managed to create, so I’m going to show it off here as well. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it – take a look! (You can click the image to see it full size – it’s rather huge, as it’s intended to be used for both digital and print purposes.)

Do feel free to share the image with your friends!

Frostwalker Sell Sheet

Frostwalker Sell Sheet

Cover Reveal – The Li5t of Five, by J. Scott Sharp

My friend and fellow author J. Scott Sharp is just about to release his next work! This new novella is set to be a real page-turner and I can’t wait to read it myself! I’m very happy to take part in the cover reveal for this new story. Jason is an excellent friend, and a terrific writer. Come take a look!

Cover Reveal – I Am Forever, by Wynne Channing

 

 

A special treat for you today! The cover reveal for Wynne Channing’s upcoming novel I Am Forever, the Sequel to her best-selling What Kills Me! Check it out!

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