I haven’t blogged in a while. I’ve been too busy, really, and using what writing time I have to focus on…well, writing. It’s been a struggle this year. Lackluster book sales and a busy schedule have combined to reduce my output and put a bit of a heavy weight on my shoulders. Add in a sinus infection and crappy Michigan weather and I’ve got lots of excuses, but no real justification.
Meanwhile, I’ve stumbled across a new idea. Not for a story, but for a character. The last time this happened I struggled and finally ended up finding a home for the new character. She ended up starting up a series in my Dark Earth setting and, over the span of the last five years, has been responsible for bringing in a little of sales and happy readers. Here’s the funny part – those books would have done a lot better if they had a woman’s name on them instead of mine.
Waving my finger at the way in which we pick books to read aside, I’m still pretty darn happy with how Katalina Wimple and The Lost Girls turned out. I still love the character and what she’s been through and accomplished. It’s because of her that my new idea is gaining more and more traction in my head.
So who is this character? I don’t know yet. I do know it’s a she. I also know she’s in a sci-fi setting because she’s been in some pretty rough stuff and only survived because of very advanced medicine. Probably injuries comparable to something Darth Vader-esque. Except she’s not nearly as whiny and obnoxious as the shmuck that was Annakin Skywalker.
So where does she go? Vitalis? Dark Universe? Something new? I’m not entirely sure, to be honest, but I’m leaning towards Dark Universe. Not what I had intended for book three in that series, but I might introduce her there. Set the stage, so to speak, so that she can start things up after book three is over and I’ve told the major story arc I had planned for Aden and the crew of the Uma.
Or maybe another idea will come along and I’ll do something else with her. It’s hard to know, honestly, but I do know I really like her and she’s here to stay. My wife’s books aren’t doing as well as they did last year and she’d disappointed by that enough that she’s slowing down. That means, hopefully, I can focus more on my stuff. For lovers of Dawn Michelle don’t worry, she’s not giving up and going away, just slowing down and thinking things through.
On that note, book three of The Lost Pack is due out soon, perhaps by Monday. Book 4 is close behind, maybe another week or two. Books five and beyond are coming too, she hasn’t gotten to them yet though. I’m pushing to help her get them out, the sooner we do the sooner I can turn back to Dark Universe and Voidhawk, in particular. I really want to start my next Voidhawk book, but I’m also dying to continue the Dark Universe setting. Decisions, decisions…
Just got this from my partner and friend, J.E. Taylor. After checking it out I was only too happy to pass it along. Sounds like a great deal to me and there’s some top notch authors involved (to be fair, probably all of them, but I can’t honestly say I’ve read every author in this collection so I won’t pretend I have). Anyhow, enough babbling – on to the news!
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This is an ironic title to me. The intent was a review of the novella written by a friend of mine with the title, Vacation Gone South. The sentiment is happening to my family as I write this – my wife and children are on a mini-vacation helping to bring my in-laws back from Florida and allergies, strep throat, a smashed finger, pinkeye (in both eyes) and exhausted children have made it a trying time for them.
But that’s not why we’re here. This is about Will Brink‘s book, Vacation Gone South. The book is about a former elite Special Operator trying to enjoy a vacation with a work buddy in Panama when things go suddenly and wildly wrong. Bullets fly, people are getting hurt, and mixed throughout is the perfect dose of humor and educational introspection.
I’m going to be the first one to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. Oh sure, I know Will has a history of training and working with all sorts of military and paramilitary organizations in his role as an exercise and nutritional guru (in fact, that’s how I met him), but I wasn’t sure how writing fiction was going to work out for him. To my delight, he delivered a solid hook with the first sentence and the story just kept on swinging until the bell was wrung.
To me the go-to writers for espionage and action and intrigue are people like Robert Ludlum. Mix in some Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler for good measure and there are some quality stories to be read. Vacation Gone South keeps the entertainment value on par with those guys and adds in some tradecraft and basic “howto” style tips along the way in an internal running dialogue. It made for a light, fast paced, and very fun read that I had a hard time putting down.
My recommendation? Try it out! You won’t be disappointed. Sure, I may count the man a friend and that might make me biased, but you wouldn’t believe the number of stories I am asked to read that I just can’t make it past the first few paragraphs on. Vacation Gone South delivered the entire way through. In fact, I think I only found one typographical error throughout, which proves that he really took this seriously and got a quality copyeditor.
I’m looking forward to more in this series – there are unanswered questions just begging a sequel… or many!
Yes, you read that right. Wormholes and fire breathing alien. In this case, a Pyrosian. But wait, what the heck is a Pyrosian? It’s an alien species from the system of Pyros. Reptilian in nature, although not truly a reptile Terrans classify such creatures. They’ve got a hide that many boots and purses would be envious of, stand a bit taller and thicker than humans, and have faces that are a cross between an alligator and a Terran. And here’s the kicker, for all that fearsome image they have, they’re normally quite peaceful. Normally.
Ever since the exploits of Aden and the crew of the crew of the Uma, things are changing. Not little things either. Inexplicable mutations are occurring throughout the universe. A Pyrosian that can breathe fire, a Tassarian with telekinetic abilities, and many, many other feats that were impossible days ago. People of all races aren’t the only things affected. Creatures, technology, and even worlds and entire solar systems are being evolved.
Restoring the Aspartillian energy may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but now Aden and his friends are discovering it came with a price. In their case, a price numbering in the billions of galactic credits. That’s how much the Kesari are willing to pay to have them captured. It’s a price that is hard to argue and harder still to fight. The Uma’s crew has gone from what seemed like a payday that would set them up for the rest of their lives to life on the run, where they can’t trust anybody. And maybe not even each other.
Out of the Dark is book two in my Dark Universe setting. It’s such an exciting series for me I can’t begin to explain or describe it. My interest and excitement for my other books hasn’t waned in the least, but with these books I’m seeing so many things I can – and will – do. Into the Dark continues to be received exceptionally well, so that tells me that this is what people are waiting for. And it’s only the beginning, there’s so much more yet to come!
Enjoy it and stay tuned, book 3 is in the near future. I believe next I’ll be returning to Voidhawk for the eighth novel in that series, but a lot could happen between now and then!
This blog post isn’t so much a new release blurb so much as a call for me to ask WTF is wrong with America. See that picture above? I’m told it’s too scary and sexy. I’ve gotten feedback telling me people expect it to be fantasy porn to “rapey”. The nicest feedback in that camp is “sexy wrestlemania.”
To be fair, there’s been a few people that don’t see it that way at all. They like the cover. Heck, I like the cover, I think it’s really awesome. It shows a strong warrior who has the crazy eyes going on. Why? Well it’s not because he wants to take the athletic woman covered in snakeskin tattoos to a dark alley and do violent / pornographic things to her! The big guy has a story and a lot of depth to him, none of which includes any particular or unnecessary violence towards women. Yet the feedback I’m getting about that cover is that the guy is what’s freaking people out, not the girl.
So this question is not about the cover, it’s about what the hell is wrong with society. Why is it such a frightening or dreadful thing for a man to be large and muscular? I get the crazy eyes bit, but that harness he’s wearing has nothing to do with 50 Shades of Grey, it’s appropriate attire for his time and place. Has Planet Fitness won with their bullshit propaganda about big hard working athletic men and women are to be ridiculed and feared?
I’ve busted my ass in the gym for most of my adult life and built myself into a large and physically powerful man. Does that mean women and children should run screaming from me because I’m obviously going to chase them into a dark alley and do bad things to them?
I know I can’t change the horrible mess that our culture and society is becoming. Books have been accused of being subversive, or at least as catalysts of societal change. 70+ books later, society keeps getting more and more out of whack with what makes sense. With age comes the wisdom to see such things and to modify what I say and do and deliver to fit the times, but it also comes with bitterness. To that end, I am looking at redoing some of my covers in hopes of drawing in a bigger crowd of people.
Because of all of this, I choose to dream and spend as much time as possible in fantasy. I want to revel in stories and worlds where dedication and commitment is admired. Where people aren’t made fun of for trying to be better at what they believe in. I want to read about heroes that act on principle, rather than being afraid to stand out and be different. That’s what I want, and that’s what I write. People who make a difference for the better. Sadly, my heroes these days are fictional. The world is lacking in champions that I can find admirable.
If you’re like me and you like to escape the politically correct nonsense we live in, maybe you should ignore the threatening cover and try out the book above. It’s the second one in my Serpent’s War series.
Next up on my plate is Out of the Dark, the sequel to Into the Dark. Or, if you prefer, book 2 in the Dark Universe setting. After that? Probably the eighth Voidhawk book, the eighth Vitalis book, or maybe even book 3 in the Dark Universe series.
Continuing the website rebuild project I’ve added a section on the bottom left. I forget what I called it, but it’s under my newsletter signup form. The content of this section is a single ad chosen randomly among the ads I have on file. So far I’ve got four, one for my wife, a couple of other authors, and another to a new website put up to showcase free reads on the Kindle.
My plan? Millions of dollars in advertising revenue, of course! Okay, maybe not. In fact, I’m not charging a damn thing for this. Stupid? Maybe, but I don’t figure I can justify charging until I know if it does any good. So far the results are disappointing, but I am tracking the number of displays and number of clicks. Then, if things do eventually start working out, I may dig deeper into monetizing it.
But how? Am I going to be one of THOSE guys that charges for ad space? Maybe…but probably not. I’d rather go with an affiliate account and spare my fellow starving writers. That and I have this annoying habit of trying to help people. Sure, my ulterior motive is that if they succeed I can ride their coat tails into greatness, but so far I remain firmly entrenched in the helping others mode.
This experiment did get me thinking though. What other web pages can I build up to help myself and others? The http://www.readfantasy.org ad I added last night really got me thinking. Except that’s already been done now, so what else can I do? Happily taking ideas if anybody has them.
And yes, I need to build up a website for Dawn Michelle too, but that’s going to take a little more time and effort. Meanwhile I’ve still got to write. Rise of the Serpent is coming very soon and I’m on chapter four of Out of the Dark, book two in the Dark Universe series. At this rate I should have Out of the Dark ready to go by mid to late March, as long as I can do my part and my editor and cover artist are available.
There’s an amazing woman in the world that deserves some recognition. Not only is she a kick-ass mother and wife, but she puts out some slightly twisted and sometimes downright juicy books too! Case in point, after a hectic week we lost track of release day of the second book in her Tooth and Nayelle series. I’m here to cross-promote it and hopefully drive a little more attention her way. She does shine in the spotlight, after all…
Tooth and Nayelle is a paranormal romance / thriller serial. In total it will be five parts, each of them novelette length and priced at $.99. Or, for readers that are in Kindle Unlimited, it’s free! Yes, when she’s done she will release the entire series as a bundle (which will not be in KU), but the stories aren’t done yet.
That’s nice – but what’s it about and why should you care? Well, the story is about a young woman that has been hunted since childhood. She watched her family torn apart by a pack of very special wolves. She saw things that were impossible, and when she tried to tell people, they condemned her for it. That sort of support system can leave a person not only haunted and damaged, but doubting her own sanity.
The bad news is, they’ve come back, proving that she isn’t crazy. Just in time to tear away the only thing she has left in her life, her friends and the young man that she dared to dream might be the one guy that helps her feel like a person again. Someone that matters.
If you’re interested in a fun and thrilling ride, go and check it out! Both parts 1 and 2 are available, and while they are short reads, they are a lot of fun.
Tooth and Nayelle – Part One:
Tooth and Nayelle – Part Two: