The Frostwalker Audiobook Is Out!

I’m happy to announce, after much struggle and a great deal of effort on the part of the fantastic Jack Wallen, the Frostwalker audiobook is now finished and available for sale!

Let’s just go ahead and get it said: You can grab this great story, read by a great narrator at Audible and Amazon right now. It’s also available on iTunes!

FrostwalkerAudiobookCoverFINAL

Come for the story, stay for the venison!

It’s been a long, sometimes difficult process. While Jack worked quickly and without complaint, he also waited patiently for me to find the time to go over the various iterations of the audio files. As I’ve discussed recently, my current situation has left precious little time and energy for creative pursuits, but Jack was very understanding whenever I was slow on my end. Sometimes, I was very slow indeed.

I also learned a great deal about how one goes about creating an audiobook, and had some great chats with Jack along the way.

So, now what? Now you go get it! But, more than that, I would like to ask my friends and followers, readers and fans (yes, Mom, this means you) to help get the word out. Frostwalker isn’t a new release, but it’s currently my only full-length novel (more on that in a moment). With such a limited catalog available, I need all the help I can get letting people know about my work. If you want to help an indie author out, the best thing you can do is tell your friends about them! Please do so, and thanks in advance!

What else is going on? There’s good news there, as well. First and foremost, I’m happy to say that I’ve finally managed to return to writing – a little. The day job is, frankly, a serious drain on my energy, even when it’s just the normal eight hours. However, the past week has seen slight progress on a couple of stories I started work on last summer.

Beyond that, I’m also still in the early stages of revision on my second novel, A Man With A Gun. There are more (new) beta readers looking at the manuscript. Soon, I hope to begin edits. Yeah, I know, you’ve heard that one before, but seriously, the book will be coming out eventually! Heck, if you really want to give it a read, you could always volunteer to be a beta reader and help make it the best book it can be.

It’s been difficult, but I do hope that this recent return to writing will be a long term development. I’ve missed sitting here at my writing desk, putting on my writer hat, and… well, you know! If you want to be a writer, you gotta write!

I hope to begin doing more frequent updates in the future. For now, thanks for stopping by!

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Authors Input Wanted! Help An Up And Coming Developer Make The Tool You Need!

So, I’ve been talking with a couple of developers in recent months who are working on a new tool for authors to convert their manuscripts to ebook formats.

The basic premise of what the final product will do is this: Authors will upload their manuscript (in MS Word’s .docx format to start with). You then make adjustments, setting chapter breaks, setting up the various sections, and so on. Then, once you have it exactly how you want it, you download the ebook in whichever format(s) you need.

The project is still in development, but they want to hear from as many authors as possible to make their tool the most useful it can be. If you’d like to take a look at a prototype of the interface and let them know what you think, just click this link right here!

IMPORTANT: This is just a mock-up of the interface for testing and feedback purposes. It will almost certainly change as things are refined and as they learn more about how authors want to use the service. The interface shown at the link above is competely non-functional – it’s just to show you how the final system would work, as it stands now. They want to know how YOU would change it to make it work best for your own projects.

If you click on the screen, you’ll see blue boxes flash to show different parts that you can interact with to see how the final product would work. Experiment, play around, and give your feedback to the developers!

After you’ve explored the interface and have some ideas or thoughts to send along, send them an email at typebookfeedback@outlook.com and let them know what you think! Also, visit their landing page at www.typebook.co. At that site, you can see some of the early proposed pricing for the service. They also want to know what you think is a fair price for the service, so send that info along as well. The listed prices are just preliminary at this point. At the bottom, there’s a sign-up box so you can be contacted for follow-ups. Also, if you’re so inclined, follow their official Twitter account.

Now is the time where authors can make their thoughts heard! They want to make this project the best, most useful tool for turning your manuscript into an ebook. But, they need your help to do it! Please consider taking a look and sharing your thoughts with them.

One final note: I’m not affiliated with Typebook in any way. I just happen to know about the project and think they’ve got a shot at creating a really useful tool here. They’ve asked me to help spread the word, which I’m happy to do.

Why You Will Probably Never Make A Living As An Author

A long, meandering post wherein I grind your dreams under my boot heel – and then lift you back up, maybe.

That’s a pretty grim headline isn’t it? After all, so many of us are chasing just that exact dream: Quit the day job and spend all day following our imaginary friends around our fictional worlds – in between rounds of Candy Crush and Peggle, of course. Sitting in your underpants, swilling coffee and slinging words. What’s not to like? Continue reading

Update – May 2015 – Crunching Numbers, Another New Project, New Blurb

So, how about another monthly update?

As I’ve mentioned lots of times, one of my biggest hurdles is just staying motivated and keeping my productivity up. I’ve also mentioned that my goal for this year has been to average 500 words per day. That’s not a lot, really, but it adds up in the end. For someone not writing as a full-time job, I think it’s a passable goal.

I just crunched some numbers… Taking how many days have already passed this year (145), and considering my goal of averaging 500 words per day this year, my current total word count for the year (79,610) puts me only about two weeks ahead of schedule.

Writing a novel really sounds so reasonable when you look at the raw numbers. If you crank out 2,000 words per day (which I do on good days, but usually I’m closer to 1,300 or so) then you hit 80,000 words in only 40 days. 80,000 words is a reasonable length for a novel and, in fact, both of the novels I’ve written so far have been in that neighborhood. So, if you’re motivated enough, you can write the first draft of a novel in the time it takes to wipe out all life on earth in a biblical flood. Easy peasy.

If I run the numbers with my usual output of 1,300 words per day, it’s still only about 62 days to hit the 80k mark. Two months. Prison sentences for major crimes have run less.

But, let me tell ya, doing that every day for two months takes a lot out of you – especially if you’ve got other things on your plate as well, such as a day job, a small business to run, family, etc.

Still, that’s what you do. If you want to be a writer, you have to, well, WRITE. Ain’t that a kick in the head?

For those keeping score at home, my goal of 500/day average word count means 182,500 by the end of the year. I have 102,890 remaining to hit that mark and between now and December 31st to do it. IF I only write 500 words in a day, I have 206 days of writing ahead of me and 220 days left in this year. Most days that I write, I do well over 500. But it’s those damned zero-days that get ya.

So, how do I get there? Well, that brings me to my next point: I’ve started yet another new project. Last month I mentioned that I’d started something new, and that I got 12,000 words into it before I hit the wall. That project is still “live”, but until my muse is ready to feed out a little more of that one, I’ve got something else to work on. I’m only about 3,000 words into this new one, and no idea if it will be a novel or what, but I’ve only had two sessions to beat on it so far.

It’s a good idea to have multiple projects, and for just that reason. If the well dries up on one, you switch off for a while. I don’t care where my 500 words per day come from, so long as I’m getting 500 words of new fiction written every day.

There is always the possibility that these projects will fizzle entirely and never come to see the light of day. That sort of thing happens. I’ve got a 40,000 word manuscript from some years ago that will likely never be finished. But, it’s all part of the process. It’s all writing experience, it’s all work spent sharpening the tools of my trade, and who knows, maybe that idea will come around again?

Anyway, this new project is a post-apocalyptic thing that’s been bouncing around my head for a few months. Not zombies – not yet anyway – but definitely post-apocalyptic. We’ll see where it goes.

Lastly, I was very happy to get a new blurb for Frostwalker from none other than Armand Rosamilia. I added his blurb to the Frostwalker page here at the site, but for your enjoyment, I’ll copy and paste it here.

“Ancient curses, zombies, a bleak wintry setting you can feel in your bones, and a fast-paced story that keeps you guessing. This is a debut novel? I’m impressed.”Armand Rosamilia, author of the Dying Days zombie series

Armand knows survival horror, so such comments from him mean a lot to me!

That’s mostly it for now. Beta reading continues on A Man With A Gun, and interested parties still have time to give it a go if you’re so inclined. Drop me a line if you’d like to beta read that, or if you’re interested in joining the beta reading Facebook group I created.

Until next time…

Wrapping Up 2014 – Lessons Learned And What Lies Ahead

Happy New Year, folks! I hope your 2014 was a good one – but let’s look forward to an even better year in 2015!

Last January, I made a blog post about my goals for 2014, and how I planned to achieve them. So, how did I fare? Well, the short answer is: not so great.

The upshot of last January’s post was that I hoped to average 500 words per day. This is just on fiction projects, no cheating by counting blog posts and such. A writer does a lot of things, but primarily we are producing a product. That’s what matters in the end. So, how much product did I generate? Good thing I tracked it all in a spreadsheet! Continue reading

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

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!