Update – August 2015 – Good, Bad, and Ugly

Those who follow me might have noticed that I’ve not been nearly as active on Facebook or anywhere else for the past month or so. In fact, while I thought I might be doing updates like this every month, the last “monthly update” was back in May. I’ve posted since then, but not a proper update on what’s going on with my writing. Still, I have at least posted various bits of interest over the past two months, so that’s not so bad, I guess.

So, what’s my current status? Dead in the water – for now.

At the beginning of this month (hey, it’s still August for several hours yet) I started a new job. Gone is the part time janitor gig that gave me plenty of free time to devote to my writing. This is a full time manufacturing job. But, it’s more than that. This is a very physically demanding job, and I’ve never been the most robust of individuals. More, the products we make are in high demand right now, and the company is understaffed – in part because a lot of people work a few hours and decide to throw in the towel. It’s just that miserable. So, due to this high demand and lack of personnel, overtime isn’t just super available – it’s frequently mandatory. In the past four weeks, I’ve had one Saturday off, and several long shifts (10 and 12 hours). I believe only once was that voluntary.

But, there is also good news – otherwise, why would I put myself through it? The big thing is that this new job will finally allow me to meet some financial goals I’ve had for a very long time. It was through necessity that I took on the full time job (the mail-order business isn’t doing what it used to, and the janitor gig was insufficient given some new expenses that have come up). But, this new job will allow me to take on the new expenses and more. So, that’s good stuff. The benefits are okay as well.

But, what about the writing?

So, here’s where things stand on that. My yearly goal of averaging 500 words per day is likely sunk. I was beginning to lag behind last month and this new work schedule has almost certainly put me too far down to catch up. Frankly, the new job has been brutal. The first few weeks, all I could do was go to work, eat a little, and sleep. Just catching up on Facebook was difficult.

However, my body is beginning to adjust. Also, I can feel the creative juices starting to flow again. I hope that’s what those juices are, anyway…

The point is this: Two weeks ago, I despaired to think I might never have the spare time and energy to ever seriously write again. But, in recent days, I’m finally seeing a little light at the end of the tunnel. My free time is still going to be severely limited, and putting in three or five hours at the writing desk in a night isn’t likely to happen any time soon. However, I can see now that my energy reserves are recovering and getting in a few words after work may be a possibility. Hooray for hope!

Those who’ve been following along will recall that I finished two projects early this year. One was A Man With A Gun and the other was an undisclosed novella to be released under a pseudonym. Both of those are still in the first draft stage – more or less.

You may also recall that since that time I’ve started on two new projects, as well as considered tinkering with the longer version of Out After Dark. Those projects are on hold for now. The first sort of fizzled but may be resumed later. The second also fizzled, but remains at the forefront of my mind. As for the long version of Out After Dark… Who knows? It does keep coming back to me, though.

Right now, my priority projects are the two finished drafts. I plan to get those revised, edited, and ready for release before the end of the year. Yes, A Man With A Gun should be out this year if things go as I plan. Cover art for both of those projects is either in the works or almost finalized. I am still waiting to hear from many of my beta readers for A Man With A Gun, but will likely move forward with revisions soon regardless. So far I’ve had a lot of excellent feedback from those who have finished their read-through and it looks like this is going to be a popular read!

Finally, there is some pretty big news coming soon, so stay tuned. I don’t know if things are at a stage where I can talk about it, but I hope to make an official announcement in the coming weeks. I hope that was vague enough for you…

Anyway, that’s where things stand right now. Stick around, and let’s see how this all shakes out!


OH! Just in case you missed it: I was proud to be the first sponsor for Armand Rosamilia and Mark Tufo‘s new podcast, Arm N Toof’s Dead Time Podcast. My spot ran on episode three. Good stuff! A big thanks to Armand for the very kind words!

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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!

 

 

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!

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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.

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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:

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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!

Latest News On Frostwalker – And A Giveaway!

Frostwalker Cover Art

Well, it’s been about nine days since Frostwalker was released. So far, the book has been well received and I offer my sincere thanks to each and every one of you who have been kind enough to purchase a copy either in ebook or paperback. Your support is greatly appreciated!

For now, I wanted to do a quick post to mention a few things about the book. If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, you may have already heard about some of this, but it doesn’t hurt to mention these bits of info again!

First, I’d like to invite you all to enter the Goodreads giveaway that is going on right now and will end on June 15th. To enter, you just pop on over to the Goodreads Frostwalker Giveaway page, and sign up. If you don’t have a Goodreads account, it’s quick, easy, and free to create one – and you’ll probably love the site! I’m giving away three paperback copies, so you have three chances to win!

Second, I want to offer a special thanks to book blogger Laura Thomas who was kind enough to do a review of Frostwalker on her blog, FUONLYKNEW, as well as inviting me for a very fun interview! She has high standards, so I was very happy to see that Frostwalker got five stars from her! She has also done a review of two of my short pieces, Out After Dark and The Card. You can see those reviews on her blog as well!

Lastly, I want to mention that while the paperback edition of Frostwalker is still only available through CreateSpace and their parent company Amazon, the various ebook versions are popping up at lots of different sites. So far, the ebook is available at the following retailers:

Smashwords | Amazon | Kobo | Sony | Diesel | Versent | iTunes

As I’ve mentioned before, you can read the first third of the book for free at Smashwords.

Thanks again to those who have purchased the book. I hope you enjoy it immensely! Please feel free to give me your thoughts on the book, good or bad, by either leaving a review where you purchased it, or on Goodreads, or by dropping me a line using the form on my Contact page here on my blog.

Thank You!

 

A Word On Self Doubt – And An Update

Self doubt truly is the enemy of writers. I imagine this is true for many creative types. I know that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about just how good or bad my work is. Is it really worth reading? Am I just kidding myself about this whole writing thing? But, this is poisonous thinking. Let me give you an example. Continue reading

Latest News, A Recent Interview, And More

I just wanted to post a quick update to give you all the latest info on what I’ve been up to.

To begin with, I’ve recently finished a new short story! It’s currently titled The Card and is around 4,200 words long. This one is a more traditional horror piece, not vampires or zombies. It’s still in the first draft stage, but edits will be ongoing and it should be finished relatively soon. I’m not sure yet what I’ll do with it. I may release this one the same way I’ve released Out After Dark and Best Served Hot, but there may be other considerations. In any case, when it’s available, I’ll be letting you know about it here as well as Twitter and Facebook!

Meanwhile, Frostwalker is still undergoing edits. Nothing new to report there, but just wanted to mention that progress is being made. We have top men working on it. Top. Men. (And a couple of top women.)

In other news, Best Served Hot is currently on display at the Indie E-Books site! If you’re not familiar with Indie E-Books, here’s how it works: With the indie publishing revolution, there’s a huge amount of reading material out there. But, how do you know what you’ll like and what’s not for you? At Indie E-Books, you can view short stories by independent authors and get a feel for their work. Sort of a test drive for fiction. You can read the stories for free and even leave comments.

Also, Indie E-Books conducted a quick interview with me! If you want to check that out, it’s on their blog. Give it a read and be sure to tell your friends!