Nathan Hystad's debut science fiction novel has become a best seller in several categories including Alien Invasion, Action / Adventure - Travel, and Science Fiction - Metaphysical & Visionary and earned over forty reviews within the first two weeks of publication.
Fans of these genres might know Nathan from the anthologies he produced and edited through Woodbridge Press:
A lot of amazing things have happened recently.
Writing collaborations, insane weather patterns, and new friends.
This morning I had big plans for the day. Why? Because it is my day off from work, all the kids are at school, and my wife works. A few things went wrong with this plan but will get to that later.
I have four kids across a wide spectrum of ages. One of my middle children is in college and on the rowing team. I remember this particular part of the training season fondly, or maybe an absolute horror, but yes fondly. I was in shaped back then.
So my daughter is on her way to indoor training, translation let's see how bad this can hurt until it's time to get on the water again. She informs me, possibly in a slight panic, that an ice storm has completely encased her Jeep in frozen precipitation. I calmly explained to her that I've done this before and even though she thinks it is basically un-scrapable, that we can get it done.
The Moon teamwork begins. I use all the skills I've learned in Kansas and abroad, notably how to cut grooves of the ice with the scraper and then break those down. I lean my two hundred pound frame into the work and begin to clear away the windows. Sleet and snow continued to pour down.
Then, a flash of lightning.
Keep in mind it is very dark this early in the morning… And snowing.
Why is this so amazing? Probably because I've been writing a novel with Richard Fox called The Rage of Winter. It is set on a winter world and has some similarities with the Winter War of nineteen thirty-nine — except in a sci-fi environment with the fate of the entire galaxy at stake. Last week I did research on Google about thunder snow, because it sounded cool.
Thunder snow is extremely rare. For reasons that are slightly beyond my scientific capacity to explain, but that I can basically understand if I read it from someone else, you get a thunderstorm in the winter with flashes of lightning. Very cool and scary.
So that was different. I made a video and put it up on our Keystroke Medium Facebook group.
The Rage of Winter is the second book in the Terran Strike Marines series I am writing with Richard Fox. The first book, The Dotari Salvation, is alive and well and never has too many reviews… Hint, hint. Please and thank you. (All the books mentioned in this article are available through Kindle Unlimited, a service I was on the fence about for a long time. Now I couldn't live without it. I'm reading more than ever before!)
My solo work is still coming along nicely, but I have had fantastic opportunities to collaborate lately. In addition to Richard Fox sharing his writing awesomeness with me, teaching me his very impressive plotting and pacing techniques, I've been working with Craig Martelle on the Darklanding series.
Darklanding is something really special in the world of science fiction. We originally conceived it as something like Firefly meets Tombstone and other old westerns. The characters have taken on a life of their own since then and fans seem to really like it. Episode five, An Unglok Murder, is coming out very shortly and will be a little bit of a murder mystery. Despite my background in law enforcement, I've never written a murder mystery. So this is mostly space opera / Western, but there is a little bit of whodunit.
I hope you will check it out. Each episode after number three is thirty thousand words, a decent sized novella. (And, spoiler alert, six and seven are complete...ready for launch every 18 days. What started off as a short tale at the end of the known galaxy is now pushing two hundred thousand words and will be three hundred thousand by the time it's all said and done.)
So back to what's going on today. Turns out we had a snow day which has cut into my writing productivity, but hey the kids like it. Except for one who has a migraine kid, thanks to my genetic code. Life is always interesting. Sometimes it's less easy than other times. I'm happy to be here and feel blessed. Once we get through today's headache, there will be great celebration!
I hope you have an aweome day.
Hello there, my name is Scott Moon. You probably don't know me, but if you do, you may have seen Keystroke Medium, an interview show where Josh Hayes, Ralph Kern, Chuck Manley and I talk about reading, writing, and everything in between. We’ve interviewed some of the best writers of speculative fiction in the business.
I write military science fiction, as do many of my friends.
What else do you need to know about me? Well, I love audiobooks. I’ve even had a few of my books made into audiobooks by professionals. But that is not what this blog article is about.
Once upon a time, I woke at an absurd hour one Thanksgiving morning and thought nothing would be better than to read my books live on YouTube. So I gave it a try, but defaulted to the path of least resistance, which was "video by cell phone". To get the best quality, and not to wake up the entire family, I went out to my car in the garage which was turned off for safety reasons obviously, and proceeded to read into the camera.
There were problems to this approach, although it wasn't too bad. The sound quality was pretty decent and it was a straightforward process to upload the video. But let's be honest, I've always wanted to create my own audiobook. If you follow along with this project I've started, you'll see that I'm reading pretty neutrally. Not a lot of voice acting going on here, but I plan to improve. (More on that later.)
So even though I will never have time to become a full-time voice narrator, or the skill, I think I have the ability to become a pretty serious hobbyist in this regard.
If you are an author who has considered audiobooks, which you should because they are the biggest growth industry we have available to us right now, then you may have gone to ACX and read the terms of publication. One thing will jump out at you right away. The ACX contract is for seven years. So if you are an enthusiast like myself, it might be best not to lock in a decent but not professional project for that period of time. Especially if you want to charge money for it. (Be patient, young Padawan!)
My YouTube audiobook is a happy medium--my reasonable and totally unpretentious compromise (I hope). By the time I'm finished with this book, I should have mastered most of the technology needed to produce a basic audiobook and improve my skill as a voice narrator also. (I really love audiobooks and admire my favorite audiobook narrators like they are rock stars. I couldn't tell you the name of the lead singer of my favorite bands like I could back in highschool, but I can list the best narrators out there right now. I listen to a lot of audiobooks...have I mentioned this?)
What should an author do to start creating audiobooks? The title of this blog is “easy first steps”, so let's get to that part right now.
1) Listen to audiobooks. Listen to a lot of audiobooks. You may find that some voice narrators are so talented you would listen to the book regardless of what the book was about. Keep this in mind for later when you are hiring your own narrator.
2) Check out ACX.com. This is the audiobook equivalent of Kindle direct publishing. It's not as easy to navigate but it's not impossible. There are two ways to hire a voice narrator through this system. You can pay someone or you can sign up for a royalty share. I've done both, and they each have their pros and cons. (Also, there are other audiobook alternatives to ACX that should be researched. I haven’t used them yet.)
3) Read your books aloud. If you are serious writer, you should be doing this already to help catch typos and get a feel for the flow of the language.
4) Try out a simple and inexpensive program such as audacity or GarageBand. Read your book and edit it. Keep it simple. At this stage in my audiobook journey, I am basically taking out obvious mistakes and places where I clear my throat or take a breath that the mic picks up. The most useful thing I've learned recently, is to delete the unwanted sound bite but keep the gap in the audio file. This will make more sense if you're looking at your editing program (Audacity, GarageBand, Adobe, ect…). What this does, is maintain the rhythm of the speech without all the heavy breathing.
That's about all I have for today. I've included links to the first three chapters of Bayonet Dawn. If you could do me an awesome favor and give them a listen, that would be fantastic. You might even consider liking and subscribing to my YouTube channel.
Thanks for checking out my blog. I hope you have a fantastic day.
Bayonet Dawn - Chapter 1 - Contact (part 1)
Bayonet Dawn - Chapter 1 - Contact (part 2)
Bayonet Dawn - Chapter 2 - Gone
Bayonet Dawn - Chapter 3 - Brother
Followers of Keystroke Medium (www.keystrokemedium.com) have the inside scoop. I have been writing with Richard Fox in his Ember War universe. Check out the exclusive YouTube interview here. Richard also announced the project on his Facebook page here.
I absolutely loved the Ember War series. Writing this book with Richard Fox is a dream come true.
The Dotari Salvation is complete and will be published in January.
Announcing a new Ember War Universe series! Terran Strike Marines launches in January!
When The Terran Union has a mission it cannot fail, it calls up the Strike Marines. They are trained to improvise, adapt, overcome and win every fight.
Earth’s allies, the Dotari, face extinction from a deadly disease. The cure lies in deep space, and Lieutenant Hoffman and his team will join the starship Breitenfeld for the journey into the void.
Lurking in the abyss is a threat that’s waited with inhuman patience, and Hoffman must lead his Marines through a gauntlet and evade a foe designed to hunt and kill humans.
The Dotari Salvation is an action-packed military science fiction adventure set in the best-selling Ember War universe.
Recently, I switched from twenty years of working nights to day shift. During my weekend that is not a weekend, I get some one on one time with our new puppy. Mavis had surgery yesterday and needs to be watched. Everything went well, but being a dog parent is serious business.
Last night we had really awesome interview with Armand Rosamilia over at Keystroke Medium. My head is still hashing out all the stuff we talked about. So that's good.
In a couple of hours, I have to host an interview with Chris Fox and Ralph Kern. We are going to talk about Chris's new recent release, Behind the Lines: Ganog Wars Book 1. Normally this would just be another day in the exciting life of the Keystroke Medium crew, but Josh can't make this time slot, so the tech stuff falls to me.
Anyway, please take a look at the video. Like and subscribe. Share it around. Everyone likes, puppies, unless they are puppy eating aliens. So don't be a puppy eating alien.
FYI, I am not letting any monsters from Ganog or anywhere else anywhere near Mavis!
Book Three in the Grendel Uprising series, Heavy Weapons, is set for pre-order on June 17th. Why would I do that and what is Viking Sci-fi?
Before I can explain, there are a few other things I needed to cover about the Keystroke Medium show I recently cohosted.
Please check out this short video. Like, subscribe, and share for maximum effect.
On Friday morning, I created an off-the-cuff video about this unique event for writers. I was getting ready for a nine hour drive home. With energy and motivation practically oozing from the universe, I decided to write for an hour and make a video before hitting the road.
The video isn't too long. I will do others once I have reviewed my notes and implemented some of the best practices and suggestions of the presenters and other attendees.
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Few things are more obvious to a writer than the following statement. If I could write five thousand quality words a day, it would change my life.
This idea isn't new, but it has been with me all day. And it’s as magical as lightsabers, warp drive, chocolate, or an endless supply of coffee.
So let me say it again.
If I could write five thousand quality words a day, it would change my life.
What are some barriers to this goal?
First Steps Toward 5k a Day
Today I'm going to share three simple steps that can help increase writing productivity. There are a ton of books, blogs, and experts on this subject. You can spend hours or weeks or months researching it or you can just listen to me and get started.
The bulk of my new word count goal will be fiction, but I believe two thousand to five thousand words a day will also allow me for some room to blog. Please look forward to further discussion of this topic another's and leave comments. I would love to know what other people are doing to achieve their goals.
Thanks for spending some time here on my blog and if you enjoy listening to podcasts and YouTube interviews, please check out www.KeystrokeMedium.com (where Josh Hayes and I talk about reading, writing, and everything in between.)
Have a great day!
(The links below, are if fact, affiliate links. Using these links earns me a small commission, but that isn't why I wrote this blog article. Both of the books are excellent. I have the older version of Dragon Naturally Speaking, and assume the newer version is also good.)
Life is an adventure. I read to expand my horizons and write because I must.
- The Craft of Writing: 7 Magnificent Books
- Use of Force Myths
- A Really Useful Tool
- Project Rotation