No Wild Oats, But I’m Sowing Something

Those of you who follow my Facebook page have probably noticed that I’ve not been posting a lot of writing updates lately. That’s because I’ve not been doing a lot of writing lately. Fear not, work continues on A Man With A Gun, but it’s been slow and the words aren’t flowing lately. The story needs more time to gestate in those lower chambers of my mind before it can be brought to the page. Yes, I am a writer – but I am also many other things. Among those other things, I’ve been getting my hands dirty.

It may be a genetic thing. My parents were farmers, before retiring in recent years. Their parents were farmers, too. Hogs, chickens, tobacco, assorted vegetables, and so on. I imagine those who came before my grandparents were largely farmers as well – it’s just what we do, I guess.

Then again, maybe it’s not just us. Maybe it’s something intrinsic to mankind. The days start to grow longer, and frost becomes less common. The sun shifts its path through the sky, cresting the horizon earlier, and from a point further north each day. The Earth starts to awaken, and something that had lain dormant within us through the cold winter months begins to stir.

Let me be clear about something up front: I have no desire to actually be a farmer. It’s not the sort of thing I can make a life out of, despite that call that I feel. Also, it looks suspiciously like work. Frankly, I’ve grown up farming and it’s not how I want to make my mark. I love the people who do it, but it’s just not for me.

But, I do feel that call. Also, I like fresh tomatoes. Usually, I have no luck. I get a late start, I lack the equipment I need, whatever. However, last year I was able to have a little bit of success. I built a raised bed, only 4 x 8 feet, and about 2 feet deep, and crammed it full of tomatoes and a few other things. Okay, a LOT of other things. It started out looking like this:

2013 Garden Bed Start

 

 

And ended up looking like this:

2013 Garden Bed End

It grew like a jungle! There were tomatoes everywhere, and the one huge plant sprawling on the corner (a German Queen) produced tomatoes nearly the size of my head and had vines spreading out over a 6 ft diameter area. It was insane – and very satisfying! Also, I discovered that if you have a jalapeno plant in your garden, your wife will put jalapenos in everything she cooks. But it was good, and we’re looking forward to more of the same this year.

This year, it’s not so crowded:

2014 Garden Bed Start

Just tomatoes and peppers in there this time, but several varieties. We’ve got Cherokee Purple, Cherry Tomatoes, Boxcar Willies, Jalapenos (both hot and sweet varieties) Aji Dulce, and one just for fun: Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper, the 2013 Guinness World Record holder for hottest pepper. This year there will be tomato cages as well. Tying them up to stakes was an exercise in futility last year, and it was way out of control. For those who are interested, all twelve of these plants were ordered through www.chileplants.com, and we’ve been quite happy with them so far. We’ll see how they fare in the hot North Carolina summer!

But, wait! There’s more! Since the raised bed is going to be tomatoes and peppers alone this year, there’s got to be somewhere to put the green beans, corn, potatoes, and other assorted odds and ends. This year, I made use of the tiller, and after this afternoon, I think the thing is going to kill me.

Yes, I cut my hair. Settle down. It will grow back!

Yes, I cut my hair. Settle down. It will grow back!

That little plot isn’t much, but it’s probably enough to get some stuff in the ground and maybe soothe that itch to grow things. Before this afternoon, that was grass and weeds. Now, after much sweat and some blisters on the hands, it’s a garden – or will be in a few days.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing instead of writing. Or, at least, some of what I’ve been doing. Do any of you out there feel that call? Does some primitive part of your brain pull you out into the sun, drive you to till the earth, and watch things grow at your direction? If so, do you answer that call?

Authors Supporting Our Troops – Time To Pitch In!

No matter what your political leanings or beliefs, one thing we all agree on is that it’s important to support those who serve in our armed forces. Many of my own family members have served over the years, as well as many friends. But whether you’re a friend, a relative, or a complete stranger, I am forever grateful for those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedoms.

Because of this, I was very happy when I stumbled across an event being run by fellow horror author Armand RosamiliaAuthors Supporting Our Troops 2014!

ASOT 2014

This is a great chance for authors like myself to give something back to those who have given so much. I’m proud to be a part of this event, and I hope many of my friends in the indie author scene will join in!

New From Noree Cosper – The Flower Of Hell



Title: The Flower of Hell

A Short Story in the Van Helsing Organization Series

Author: Noree Cosper
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 2/14/14
Cover Artist: Rebecca Hamilton

Originally part of the Paramourtal Anthology, this short story is being rereleased on its own. Get a chance to learn more about Gabby and how she became involved with the Van Helsing family.

Gabriella devoted her eternity to carrying out her vengeance against demons. As she pursues her latest prey she stumbles across another hunter. To Gabby, Dimitri is an unneeded distraction, but he attracts her like no other man has for centuries. Will this hunter unlock the feelings she’d buried long ago or will he just open her up to more heartache? Can Gabby protect both of them from the demon stalking the Paris streets?

The Flower of Hell is out now!
Grab your copy today!

 

About Noree Cosper

Noree Cosper loves writing about magic in the modern world. While growing up in Texas she constantly searched for mystical elements in the mundane. She buried her nose in both fiction and books about Wicca, Religion, and Mythology. Everyday became an adventure as she joined a group of role-players, acting out her fantasies of vampires, demons, and monsters living in the world.

She embraced her nerdom wholeheartedly.

Noree grew, but never left her love for fantasy and horror. Her dreams pushed her and her hand itched to write the visions she saw. So, with her fingers on the keys, she did what her heart had been telling her to do since childhood. She wrote.

Connect with Noree

Get My Books Free During “Read An E-Book Week”, March 2 – March 8!

The ebook revolution continues! Books in digital format are still a bit new to some people. But, this portable, flexible, and connected new way of reading has taken the world by storm. If you’ve never read an ebook, now is your chance to give it a try – for free!

girlreading

Read An E-Book Week is an opportunity to pick from thousands of books for free and try ’em out. You don’t need to have a Kindle or any special hardware. Chances are, whatever you’re reading this on will work just fine. There are free Kindle apps for PC, Mac, Android, and Apple devices as well as other formats, such as PDF, that you can read on your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

During this year’s Read An E-Book Week, I will be offering all of my works at Smashwords for free! This is a great opportunity to check out my pulp horror short story The Card if you’ve not read it before. If you really want to cash in, grab my survival horror novel Frostwalker and save $2.99! While you’re at it, my other short, Out After Dark is also free – but it’s always free at Smashwords anyway.

ThreeBookCovers

How To Participate

During the event, head over to Smashwords, add my books to your shopping cart, and use the coupon code RW100 before you check out. It’s that simple! Just use the coupon code when you checkout at Smashwords and you’re set!

Thousands of other books will be available for reduced prices or even free like my own. Take a look around and see what catches your eye! But remember, this event only runs from March 2nd until the 8th. At midnight (Pacific time) at the end of March 8th, the deals end – but the ebooks you get to keep!

Take the plunge and get into ebooks – you won’t regret it!

Get My Short Story “The Card” Free – But Act Fast!

So, here’s the thing: I know what it’s like to shop for books. I also know what it’s like to have a very limited budget for entertainment. This is why I understand the difficulty people have with taking a chance on an author they don’t know. For most of the Earth’s population, I am one of those authors you just don’t know.

Because of this, I think it’s very important that relatively unknown authors such as myself get their work in front of readers. Until you know me, and know that my work is worth your limited entertainment dollars, I can’t reasonably ask you to risk your cash on my work. It’s going to take some give and take – and I have to give before I take anything.

That’s part of the reason why my short story Out After Dark is free. Another reason is that it’s rather short, and I don’t really think it’s long enough to charge for. Granted, publishing it through Amazon means that I can’t set the price to free – but Amazon does price matching. That story being free at Smashwords and all the other places that Smashwords distributes to (iTunes, Sony, Kobo, B&N, etc.) means that Amazon makes the price on Out After Dark free – at least, on the US Amazon site. Not entirely sure where they’re setting the price elsewhere.

The CardHowever, that’s just one story, and it is rather short. The Card is a longer piece, and it’s not in the overdone vampire genre (even if I think Out After Dark is a new twist). The Card is a very original piece. I do think The Card warrants a price, and 99 cents is pretty much the lowest you can go.

Now, in an effort to get my work out there, and give readers a chance to get to know me, and a chance to enjoy my work, I’m posting this coupon code to get The Card for FREE. However, this coupon code is only good for the next day or two. It expires February 14th, but I’m not sure if that is midnight (California time) the morning of the 14th, or if it will be good until the end of that day. Smashwords wasn’t entirely clear on that when I generated the coupon code. Bottom line: get it fast while you can! Here’s the code:

TQ57Q

To use this code, go to Smashwords and add The Card to your shopping cart. Input the code in the space provided, then check out! You may need to create a Smashwords account, if you don’t already have one. It’s free and easy to get a Smashwords account, so don’t let that hold you back. Using this code, The Card will be yours, and on your account, for as long as you want it. No strings attached!

After you’ve read The Card, if you liked it (or even if you didn’t), I hope you’ll leave a review at Smashwords. If you’re so inclined, you can review it at Amazon and Goodreads as well.

If you like my work, I hope you’ll try my full-length novel, Frostwalker. Again, I don’t feel like you need to spend your money without knowing you’ll like what you’re getting. You can read the first 33% (one third) of the book for FREE at Smashwords. I hope you’ll check it out!

Lastly, please share this with your friends! I really want to reach as many of you as possible. Someday, I wouldn’t mind writing full time, paying my bills doing what I love. But even if I reach that goal, I hope I never lose sight of what is important: This isn’t about making money. It’s about telling great stories and entertaining readers!

Thanks, and enjoy!

Are We Indie Authors Trying Too Hard?

I’ve been reading a how-to book lately. Specifically, a book on how to “build your author platform”. This book hasn’t been particularly fantastic, although it’s not so much that it’s full of wrong ideas, it’s just that I’ve already heard all of these things before.

But, the book has made me think about something that keeps coming to me every time I read about this sort of topic, whether it’s a book for writers, or a blog post, or anything else. Every time I delve into the topic of “building your author platform”, I keep getting this slightly skeevy feeling, like we’re missing the point of the whole writing thing and simply turning ourselves into hucksters. Continue reading

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!

Frostwalker Is Now In Amazon’s Kindle MatchBook Program!

This is just a quick little post to tell you about a new program Amazon is doing. It’s called Kindle MatchBook, and it’s pretty cool for those of us who like to read both at home and on the go.

The upshot of the Kindle MatchBook program is, if you buy a paperback on Amazon, you can get the Kindle Edition of the same book for a discount. In the case of Frostwalker, I’ve set that discount to 100%, meaning that those who buy Frostwalker in paperback through Amazon can get the Kindle Edition for FREE!

Also, if you’ve already purchased a paperback copy of Frostwalker through Amazon, you should be able to get the Kindle Edition for free as well. By the way, Kindle isn’t just for Kindle devices – there are free Kindle apps for PC’s and other platforms as well!

Frostwalker Cover Art

So what are you waiting for? Go get it!

 

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.