Peeking Out from the Writing Cave

Photo cribbed from FB

Time for a progress report and other good news.

I made very good progress on the final revisions/edits on Blood Curse this weekend, which was a pleasant surprise. Last weekend, I made absolutely NO progress, and it was a long weekend. I sometimes think I perform better under pressure (self imposed) and time constraints than I do when there’s plenty of time available.

Anyway, I have less than 100 pages left to edit of the manuscript. In its current format, it is 304 pages. That page count will vary between the draft, the ebook, and the print versions.

I did correct a minor detail this morning. I originally had Viktor saying to head south from Dorada’s island to reach open water. However, I changed the location of her island from the Caymans, which weren’t rocky enough, to Islas de Los Roques, which are just north of the South American coast, back before original publication. Neither I nor my editor caught that I didn’t correct the statement of direction when I made the change. Now he orders the ship northeast instead of south.

I realize this old mistake didn’t really hurt the story, but it bothered me to find it. I truly want to keep any Real World references as accurate as possible. I feel I owe it to my readers, especially the ones who WILL fact check me, and to myself to maintain the best quality I can.

In other news: I have even more incentive to finally carve out some time to do some promo videos. I’ve been interacting in the comments sections of several BookTube videos lately. This has already garnered me some promotion space on one of the channels I follow. The Brothers Gwynn have a unique way of announcing premiering books each month by showing a compilation of authors pitching their books and giving release dates.

I will be participating in this once I’ve nailed down a specific release date for Blood Curse rather than the vague “sometime this Fall.”

I also need to create Instagram and Twitter accounts for the purpose of querying some of the reviewers who run the various BookTube channels. Most of them don’t use FB.

I’ve made significant progress on 1st round edits of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe seasons 2 and 3. At this rate, I’ll need to start drafting season 4 before long.

The most enjoyable part of all this editing, both on Blood Curse and The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe is re-reading and re-familiarizing myself with manuscripts written a few years back. In the case of Blood Curse, the original draft was started in 2006, and the first publication (in ebook) was 2011. I think it’s a good thing for authors of series to go back and read the earlier books again periodically. It helps them see where they’ve been and better visualize where they’re going, both in their writing skills and story continuity. While some may bemoan the skill level of their earlier works, they can also look back and visit with old friends with a fresh perspective and, hopefully, fondness — and then whip up freshly revised 2nd editions to hook new readers. (Insert mercenary grin here.)

Alpha Away!

The last two chapters of Hunting the Dragon are finally typed up and will be sent to my alpha reader by this evening. I also have feedback from her on several previous chapters waiting in my inbox.

Progress on what I hope is the last revision/proofread round on Blood Curse 2nd edition (which will be a sort of 10th anniversary edition if I can get it out this year) is slow, but well worth it.

I went into this one originally just to fix my punctuation snafu mentioned in my previous post, as well as insert accented letters; something the free Word app either doesn’t do, or I haven’t figured out how to do with it. It’s turned into line editing and seriously tweaking the prose one more time. I’m really enjoying it, even though I’m only 15 pages in.

My biggest problem is fighting off the impatience and wanting to do ALL the book things at once. I blame my newest addiction for this enthusiasm which must be bridled: booktube channels. For those yet to discover them, YouTube has a couple of genres which truly feed an author’s needs: booktube and authortube.

Booktube channels are primarily collections of videos about book reviews and sometimes book clubs/fans. Many of these channels can give books a wider audience than just promoting on social media and at conventions.

Authortube seems to consist of authors’ channels or videos with publishing and writing tips. For me, especially last year after so many conventions were canceled, these filled my need/desire for writing and book promoting panels. Plus, it gave me fresh perspectives beyond the familiar ones from the conventions I’ve been haunting for years.

I do have plans to revive and bulk up my own channel eventually.

Some day.

Oh! Before I forget, I recently took part in the recording of a panel for the upcoming virtual LibertyCon. The title of the panel is Very Vocal Vampire Voices. Look for it when LibertyCon goes live the last weekend of June. Since it’s virtual, it’s FREE and without an attendance cap.

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.

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.

Captain’s Log: LibertyCon 32

My table at the Kaffeklatsch Sunday morning

LibertyCon 32 has come and gone. As I’ve stated in the past, this is my favorite convention. It is my home. It is my family.

We lost one of our own earlier this year. Richard Timothy Bolgeo, the founder and former chairman of LibertyCon, left this world in May. He was to have been the Special Guest of Honor this year. Instead, he was memorialized and his life celebrated by all.

I count this year’s convention as a personal success. I sold 3 more books than I bought, for a change. I also sold 4 prints of some Anne McCaffrey’s Pern fan art I created for the Dragon*Con ’89 art show. Although I no longer have the original (lost it about 6 residential moves ago), I was informed by the art show staff at D*C that year that the only piece Ms. McCaffrey bought was a print of my Young Queen with Rider.

I will have prints available at my table at Chattacon next January. I’m still debating whether to do a table at ConNooga in February or not. I’ve never made the table fee back at that con. If I don’t, I might reach out to some of the vendors I know about selling on commission at that one.

The art sales may be leading to some art commissions for me. I haven’t been in touch with the potential client yet to hash out details, so I’m not at liberty to say more at this time.

Picked up some tips and information which may apply to that at the first panel I attended: Cover Art and Illustrations for Fiction Books. The panelists, Amanda Makepeace, Mitch Foust, and Melissa Gay, talked about contract dos and don’ts, what to ask a client for or supply an artist with when commissioning book related art, what fees are separate, how the negotiation of art rights affects the final price, and to subscribe to the Patreon of an artist you want to work with in order to get in good with them.

Trust me, during the course of the convention I heard horror stories from both sides about cover art contracts gone bad or artists who were prima donnas to work with. I also heard stories of fantastic collaborations between artists and/or authors and publishers.

I also picked up some VERY helpful tips about getting professional looking cover art on a budget. This gives me hope for stepping up getting Waves of Darkness books 1-7 back on the market.

I learned some very good tips on marketing in the Newsletter Marketing workshop presented by Russell and Morgan Newquist of Silver Empire Publishing. While I’m not sure if a newsletter is right for me, given my very limited free time, I believe much of the advice can be carried over to the management of this site.

Of the panels I was on, in the Crossing Steampunk panel we discussed what genres work best with crossing over. We determined there really are no limits, since Steampunk is more an asthetic than a defined genre. It is open to individual interpretation and taste. My co-panelists were D . Alan Lewis, Claire Count, Quincy J. Allen, H. P. Holo, and Dan Hollifield.

On the Allure of Pirates panel, which I moderated, we discussed why pirates hold such a draw, whether they be historical or fictitious, on the high seas, in space, or even in Hell (Michael H. Hanson was a contributor to Perseid Press’ Pirates in Hell edition of the Heroes in Hell anthology series). The other panelists were D. Alan Lewis, C. S. Ferguson, and James Hunter, a former Marine and real-life pirate hunter. It was really entertaining to watch Mr. Hunter go all fan boy over Blackbeard when some of us revealed tidbits we’d picked up about him during the course of research on pirates and piracy for our books.

I actually had someone show up for the reading I shared with David Burkhead.

Also, the Kids’ Costuming / Masquerade practically doubled in size this year. We had 4 participants. All the kids put some great work into their costumes and props. It was NOT easy to pick a Best in Show. I hope next year’s is even harder. My co-judges were Susan Brady, Debi Chowdhury, and Jonna Hayden. The kids played Cthulu Dice while we adjourned to the con ops room to make our decisions on who won what.

I do have to admit I didn’t make it to a single science panel this year. This is the first LibertyCon I’ve attended where I didn’t go to the Space Update or the Mad Scientist Roundtable. I have shamed myself.

All in all, I had a great time and am looking forward to next year.

An Author’s Plea

I’m stealing this from a book mark advertising R. Kyle Hannah’s novels Assassin’s Gambit, Time Assassins, and To Aid and Protect. The following was on the back and is a heart felt plea from authors everywhere.

IF YOU ENJOY THE BOOK, THEN WHY NOT TELL THE WORLD!

According to publishing industry experts, 80% of book sales are attributed to word of mouth. This figure includes simple book reviews written by non-professional critics on web-sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads.

Many writers work for months or years to produce a good book. So, help your favorite authors out. If you enjoyed the book, take a few minutes to write a nice review online, rank it on Amazon, and tell your friends. Thanks!

HallowCon Approacheth!

hollowcon2017-forweb-large_orig

That’s right boys and ghouls! This will be my last convention of the year as well as my first time attending HallowCon. This con has been going for a long time, and is now under new management (JoeDog McKeel) and in a new location (Quality Inn & Suites).

As you may guess from their graphic, the Rocky Horror Picture Show is this year’s theme. You have been warned.

I will have a table in the vending area as well as being a panelist. By the time you see this, I should have my Appearances page updated with my schedule.

As I’ve stated in previous posts, I will have 10 copies each of each of my Waves of Darkness titles available for purchase. That is 70 books. I really don’t want to have to cart them back home. This will also be your last chance to get them at the old price. Because of a rate hike at the printer’s, my publisher has raised the retail price (on print copies), as well.

Get ’em while they’re cheap!

BloodCurse9DemonBayou9-72dpiSilent_FathomsBlack-Venom-cover-take2Hell's Dodothe_daedalus_enigma_cover_5Maelstrom of Fate proposed cover

State of the Book

Maelstrom of Fate is now available in print format on Amazon, at least. It may take a few days to show up on Books-A-Million or Barnes and Noble. The only reason I can come up for why it or last year’s The Daedalus Enigma haven’t shown up on Kobo is the erotica tag both books received on Smashwords. Just a theory, though.

Make no mistake; the books are NOT erotica, but they both have at least one scene which falls in that category. I am the first to admit I did not write this series for children or the overly sensitive/easily offended.

Meanwhile, I’m considering adding a character profile for Hell’s Breath Island. The island is sentient, and it’s personality does make itself known in these last two books. I found a great photo to use for it on one of the pirate groups I’m a member of on Facebook. Photo courtesy of Patrick Yanaton; used with permission.

Hell's Breath-photographer Patrick Yananton

Don’t forget to come by Hallowcon October 27-29 if you’re in the Chattanooga area then. I will be offering signed copies of all my books for less than the current retail. Some of the prices are just the original retail rates and/or convention bundle discounts. The printer my publisher uses raised their rates back in September. Maelstrom of Fate will retail at $18.99, but I will be selling copies for $15+tax at Hallowcon ONLY. Starting next year at Chattacon (which has moved from the Chattanooga Choo Choo to The Chattanoogan) all single copy prices and bundle discount prices will reflect the new retail rates.

I will produce and post three new excerpt readings videos in the coming month or so (as free time allows) for Maelstrom. I also plan to add it to my Take a Pirate Home for Christmas ad campaign and will probably do a video for that, as well.

Maelstrom of Fate Update 4 and New Video Reading

Things are moving along. As of last night, I have reached chapter 14, paragraph 21. Page count in the current format is 93, and word count is at 28,311. I was able to get a little typing done during the work week for a change, but the majority of this week’s progress was attained Saturday.

I just posted the seventh entry in my Readings from the Log of the Pirate Ship Incubus video series and have added it to the appropriate excerpt page and the landing page for Silent Fathoms.

While doing laundry today, I began to brainstorm a Summer Reading book marketing campaign similar to my Take a Pirate Home for Christmas campaign. This will ideally involve using images of the books in a beach setting with appropriately themed props.

Now if I can just find the time to get to a beach to take the photos before things get crowded (before Summer, in other words).

Finally, I am well into episode 18 of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe. Episode 24 will mark the end of the second season. I need to start hunting for a publisher.