Can You Say, “Red Flag”?

Hee! Yesterday I got home from work to find a message from Stratton Press on my answering machine. (Yes, I still use a land line at home. Just like I hand write my rough drafts. I’m old. Deal with it.)

According to the message, they’d sent me an email I had yet to respond to. They were interested in my book Hell’s Dodo.

Just out of curiosity, my husband had worked a little Google-fu on this company. They bill themselves as a hybrid press. They are, according to his research, an authors’ services company, not a true publisher. They get bad marks on Writers Beware, and some not to flattering blog posts about their business practices.

Additional red flags for me:

A. I never queried this company.

B. The representative who left the phone message lied. I checked ALL my email accounts, including one I haven’t used in years, and found no email from Stratton Press.

C. The book mentioned in the message is the 5th book in a series. Seriously?

All I can figure is some of my Facebook posts drew their attention. Whatever. I have no intention of contracting with them for any purpose.

Welcome to Organized Chaos

Oi.

I have plans, so many plans. Time, however, is an issue. Been working a lot of 6-day weeks, but that might calm down a bit in April.

I’m waiting for all the info from the game developer so I can do a promo video for Dragon Poker. They were going to launch it at LibertyCon this year, but the convention had to change to a virtual format this year. The online version of the convention will be free and open to all, rather than have the membership cap of the physical version.

I’ve been watching a lot of author-tube/book-tube videos lately. This has had the effect of putting my planning mode into high gear. I want to create a good bit of content for my YouTube channel to promote my books. I want to re-release Blood Curse later this year, and building interest beforehand will hopefully boost sales and pre-sales. I’d like to put some of the things I’ve learned to use, so that hopefully this second edition will take off and do better than the first time around did.

Still, time remains the crucial factor. Wish me luck. Thanks.

Bereavement and Business

Sorry I’ve been so quiet online this month. My father went to the hospital again on my birthday. He’d been having serious health problems all year last year. This time, he didn’t make it home.

While he did test positive for COVID in December, it was asymptomatic and not the cause of his death last Wednesday morning. However, it did prevent the medical school he’d arranged to donate his body to from accepting. They refused on the grounds of protecting their students, which is understandable.

He will be cremated. The family will have to find out if they will take a body if a positive COVID diagnosis is far enough in the past, since my mother has a similar arrangement. She also had asymptomatic COVID in December.

On to business: I’ve completed inking the Dragon Poker art and am working on the color accents for the top tier version of the game.

The plan is to have the game available by June, and to do the official launch at LibertyCon. Barring another postponement or health issues, I plan to attend. (The convention is sold out, but I already had a membership for it.)

If you are interested in the Dragon Poker cards or the Dragon Riders of Pern LARP they are a companion game for, go to Antiquarian Boardgames for more information.

I am about to start minor revisions on Blood Curse before I format it for print. Hopefully, I can manage to get time to do some promotional videos for my YouTube channel.

That’s the news for now.

Book News (and stuff)

I must agree with Viktor on it this time.

The rough draft of Hunting the Dragon (Waves of Darkness book 8) is in the bag. The first 10 chapters are with my alpha reader, and she’s promised feedback notes, hopefully by next week.

The remaining chapters are still in handwritten form and need to be typed up. I will start on that soon. I have to admit that the back half of the rough draft is a hot mess and in need of some scene rearranging and serious polishing.

Meanwhile, I’ve completed inking all the Dragon Poker portraits. I will be doing a color accent version of them for special edition sets of the cards. I’m told those will be offered in a wooden case.

Next on my agenda is the reformatting and revision of Blood Curse (Waves of Darkness book 1). The new edition will be in the 5×8-ish (not sure of the exact measurements right now) size rather than the 6×9 trade paperback version it was previously published in. I plan to snazzy up the interior as well. All this is necessary before I can order a new cover design, since I need a page count to determine the width of the spine. The size change will change the original page count, of course.

Finally, happy news: someone bought one of the 6-episode mini-omnibus ebooks in my The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe steampunk serial. This is the first sale of the year and the first sale in months!

That is all for now. Thanks for reading!

Coming Up for Air

I think everyone out there already knows what a crazy, fly-by-night carnival roller coaster ride 2020 was, so I won’t dwell on it.

I hold hope but no expectations that 2021 will turn out better. It’s already off to a rocky start. Still, there is some promise. (Just try to ignore the ongoing political $#!t storms. Hurricane season has nothing on U.S. politics.)

Time for a personal progress report.

ART: I’m almost done with inking the Dragon Poker card art. Just 2 of the 17 left to ink. There has been some discussion of making a top tier version of the game available with color accents on the face cards (not full color). I will probably add those digitally. Antiquarian Boardgames plans to debut the cards at this year’s LibertyCon, provided it doesn’t get postponed another year or go virtual.

I will be putting some sort of promotional video for the cards on my YouTube channel later this year.

WRITING: I’ve made some progress on Hunting the Dragon, but not much lately. I’ve been concentrating on the Dragon Poker art during the longer winter shutdown of my day job. I do have plans to attack reformatting Blood Curse later this month. This is a necessary step before contracting for a new cover. The reformat may change the page count, especially since I haven’t decided whether to stick with the trade paperback size of 9×6 or a slightly smaller page size. The page count determines the thickness of the spine and is required data for most of the cover artists I’ve researched.

I also plan to have new cover art for the episodes of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe as well as The Girl Who Fell from the Sky done prior to publishing episodes of season 2 later this year. I apologize for the extended delay of the serial, but I’m still learning the tricks of self-publishing and the marketing of such.

YOUTUBING: Yeah, I think I have been a little over ambitious with my plans to revive the channel in relation to actual available time for all this. I’m not giving up, just not gonna promise a lot of content in a short time period. The new videos will be added as I can manage.

CONVENTIONS: So far, LibertyCon is the only regular convention I’ll get to attend this year. Chattacon is virtual this year. My dealer table/membership is supposed to roll over to next year. I do plan to check out the online program content, but I won’t be presenting any this year. ConNooga is canceled this year due to COVID. I have no plans for any other conventions at this time.

That pretty much sums up my updates for now. See you here again soon, hopefully.

Brain Hurricane

Had more ideas for this second Waves of Darkness story arc storming through my head this week. Given the nemesis I’ve given Viktor, I figured I needed to up the stakes for him in these second 7 books. (The rough draft of book 8 is nearing completion, so I need to get with my beta reader and hopefully recruit a few more.)

I won’t list the details here, since they would be spoilers spread out over books 8-14. I’ll just say to expect things to get personal between Viktor and Dragon. At least one main supporting character will be taken out of the picture. Allies will be attacked or subverted. Nobody will be safe.

All I can say is it’s a good thing my mask has been hiding my maniacal grin from my coworkers when these ideas start playing out in my head. I don’t want to scare them too much. Mwahaha!

Yet Another Farewell

I am at an age (and in my hometown) where I usually read the obituaries in my local newspaper. I saw in Sunday’s paper that one of my old high-school teachers passed last Friday.

William Joseph “Jody” Norris, age 70, was the sponsor for the school newspaper during my sophomore and junior years at Soddy Daisy High School. Most of the time, journalism class was more like a study hall. Coach Norris is partially responsible for The Adventures of Pigg &Woolfe existing.

In order to give us a grade once, he gave us a creative writing assignment. We were to take a nursery rhyme or classic children’s story and rewrite it. I chose The Three Little Pigs and wrote a space opera short story. I was very into Star Wars at the time.

Decades later, I took the names of my two main characters, Clyde Pigg and Draeyger Woolfe, and concocted a steam punk serial for them.

You never know how you will touch someone’s life. …Or how they will touch yours.