Have you ever wondered about points of view and how they affect narrative order? What about the finer points of space opera and other genres? Listen and watch was Josh Hayes and I completely demystify these and other topics...or at least talk about writing and stuff.
Video blogging is new and mysterious to me. I can't speak for Josh or the audience we had during the live broadcast, but I had a lot of fun. Probably, there will more and better video blogs headed this way.
Thanks for stopping by!
I subscribe to Audible.com because I enjoy getting credits for new audio books each month. A couple of days ago, my phone alerted me that I had two credits and I started shopping. There are several novels ready to go on my phone, so I browsed nonfiction.
Which exposed me to Fiction Unboxed by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt. Fiction Unboxed, though interesting, tasted like an appetiser to me. So today I started on Write-Publish-Repeat. I had heard of these guys from a friend of mine who listens to their podcasts and I had also downloaded the free "loss-leader" to their Unicorn Western series. (So far that series is fun, but I have not read the entire book, yet.)
Similarly, I have not finished WPR. This is not a book review, but a moment I wanted to share just in case anyone is listening.
I have read a lot of books on writing, marketing, and everything in between. I have a Master's Degree in Public Administration, which familiarized me with the Pareto Principle and the 80/20 rule. The concept of "1,000 true fans" is not unknown to me, but rather something I dream about and flounder toward in reality with my marginal marketing efforts (and more marginal budget of time and money).
So far I am very familiar with the message Truant and Platt are sharing, yet I am also really enjoying the book and feel as though they may bring it all together for an ah-hah moment. I have always believed that hard work matters, and that is a key message told often and early in their book.
I will continue to listen to the WPR audio book. I have already recomended it to one my closest most talented writing friends, and he bought it. If everything goes as I hope it will, I may even write a review when I am done listening and post it. (Lately I have not been writing as many reviews. My life revolves around familiy, work, and writing with sporadic trips to the gym.)
I hope your day is going well and getting better.
That first cup of coffee after so many weeks was markedly different than the previous lifetime of caffeine saturated experience. In the past, I just didn't feel it. Consumed in moderation, or at least on a reasonable schedule, coffee is my new best friend. I will not be going back to diet soda, mostly for fear of the mysterious chemical cocktail that had me so addicted to the stuff--you know, making midnight runs for a two liter and drinking diet soda with every single bite of every single meal.
Then I Realized I Had a Problem
The coffee I made at home tasted bad and the stuff at my favorite gas station convenience store was not good. With nothing left to do but throw myself on the ground and curse fate, I turned to the internet to learn how to make good coffee. I started with Starbucks here.
Along comes Monday morning. I don't work until later. The wife just went to work and the kids are at school. It is time for some experimentation and a taste test. Since I am not a professional, or even skilled barista, please refer to the Starbucks link above for an explanation of how I made the two kinds of coffee by coffee maker and by coffee press.
Around this time, I also started meeting with Josh Hayes (author of Second Star: Breaking Through and The Forgotten Prince) at Barnes and Noble or Mead's Corner (a local coffee shop). We discuss writing, but mostly we set a timer and do writing sprints. This has helped my motivation immensely. I highly recommend the practice. Call me a complete writing geek, but I would rather do this than any other "social" activity."
Thanks for stopping by and reading this article. Please take a look at my author page and see if you or anyone you know might enjoy my science fiction or urban fantasy / horror novels.
Have a great day!
How Not to Launch a Book (or in this case a 19,000 word short story)
There are dozens of things a writer should do when releasing a new book or novella. I know this because, like many modern day authors, I have read all the books on how to self-publish and promote. I know that releasing a new title should be a huge deal with lots of bells and whistles, ARCs flung to all corners of the globe, and swag piled high. There should be pre-scheduled reviews and paid marketing on all the reputable sites for the genre.
Should be, but isn’t. Not this time.
I love the Grendel Uprising universe. Creating it has sparked some of the most fun I’ve had in years. I just can’t wait to share the story, so as soon as I satisfied my editor and did a final proofread, I started the upload process. Blood Royal, Episode 2 in the Grendel Uprising series, is now winging its way through cyberspace toward an Amazon outlet near you.
So let’s review. Proof Death is the first installment. Blood Royal is the second. The third, Heavy Weapons is a work-in-progress. The entire series has been outlined and is under constant development.
So without further adieu, please welcome Blood Royal to publication.
Grendel Uprising: Episode 2: Blood Royal
Loyal servants of the Earth System Commonwealth must pick a side. The assassination of Emperor Dan Uburt-Wesson has thrown civilization into chaos and no interim government will have the strength to hold the galactic empire together. Rumors of betrayal and rebellion spread from star system to star system as the real battle begins in the most unlikely place. Official news sources have (wrongly) confirmed that every member of the Imperial family is dead. The formation of a new galactic order is imminent. The Earth System Commonwealth has outlived its usefulness.
Only a handful of powerful people know that Aefel 70391, a decorated veteran of the First Armored-infantry Lightning Division, has located four juveniles that will change history. Can Aefel and his unlikely allies protect the Blood Royal? Has he chosen the wrong side?
Grendel Uprising: Blood Royal sets the stage for a war of rebellion, domination, and what it means to be human in the age of the Earth System Commonwealth.
The Grendel Uprising series combines science fiction and historical fiction. The setting is at once a world similar to England and Scandinavia during the time of the Danelaw and a pan galactic empire of advanced technology and deadly political upheaval. During a more prosperous time, entrepreneurs developed entire worlds as historical reenactment societies and allowed nature to take its course. Financial disaster took the planet of Grendel completely offline. There are precious few men or women who remember how they came to the alien world. Now they will face the godlike destruction of modern warfare.
GRENDEL UPRISING: BLOOD ROYAL: EPISODE 2
Last night I received the final proofread of Blood Royal from my editor BZHercules. I have used her services for Dragon Badge, Die Like A Man, Proof of Death, and now Blood Royal. With all three levels of the Triangulation package complete--beta-read, editing, and proofreading--I have started my final proofread. I hope to publish the Blood Royal ebook within a few days.
WEAPONS OF EARTH: THE CHRONICLES OF KIN ROLAND: BOOK 3
In other news, I have decided to put Weapons of Earth into its fourth complete re-write. During the revision of the 50k words in the current version, I spotted a major character conflict/struggle that hasn't been used to the fullest effect possible. This means that I will save 3k to 15k of the WIP and write the remained from scratch.
My head is exploding with action and intrigue for WOE. With luck, I will have much of the basic outline finished in the next few days, at which point I will either start writing like a mad man or delve further into the plot, structure, and world building background. This one is gonna be good!
Thursday and Friday are my best writing days, as far as available time. Clearly I have big plans starting tomorrow. In addition to the projects mentioned above I have ideas brewing for what I call my Secret Science Fiction Masterpiece (SSFM). My writing group has been hounding me to get to work on this particular premise, and I will; when it is as ready as it can be.
Last but not least I have about 5k words already complete on Episode 3 of the Grendel Uprising series: Heavy Weapons. This story involves Aefel's buddies from the First Armored-infantry Lightning Division as they chose between a corrupt general and their much loved leader, Aefel 70391. Some of their past exploits and battles are revisited with plenty of action.
As writers, we must define success and hold the definition dear. To do otherwise is to invite depression. Creative types are vulnerable to all the highs and lows of the emotional rollercoaster. For example, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t dream of hitting number one on the Amazon Best Seller List.
It’s fun, kind of like when my dad and I used to buy a lottery ticket at the beginning of a long trip and while-away the hours planning how we would spend the interest of the grand prize.
The danger lies in vesting real emotion (and hope) in unreal daydreams. There is no forward progress, individually or as a society, without daydreams. But it takes maturity and experience to manage such remarkable enthusiasm.
So my advice, to myself if no one else is listening, is to define success and remember the definition. I have sold more books each year than the previous year. All the experts agree that this is the road to success. There has to be a slow boil before a rolling boiling, yes?
Recently, the world of writers has been a beehive of speculation about the new rules of Kindle Unlimited. Starting on July 1st, 2015, Amazon began paying authors and publishers page by page. Finding the rate of pay is a bit harder than it seems, because as in the past, it varies depending on how many pages are read each month, the size of the fund, and a writer’s individual share.
The general consensus seems to be that the rate of Kindle Unlimited payment will be around one half of one cent, or $0.005. (Please check my math, I suck at it.) Last night I looked at the reported pages read of my five books and one story-story-novella and used my calculator. The result was a little over $14.00. As far as I can tell, the result is about the same to me as it was before the changes in the Kindle Unlimited program.
I have just violated one of the big rules of self-promoting. I have risked exposing myself as not successful. The thing to do, say the marketing experts, is brag about all the money you are making. Allegedly, that makes it easier to sell books.
So here it is. I am going to shuck it down to the cob for you, give you the Paul Harvey, the real deal in all my reckless honesty.
During this late date in July 2015, I have made about $15.00 in Kindle sales and $15.00 in Kindle Unlimited page-sales. With luck, I will multiply that by many thousands in the next three days!
Sorry, let me get back on track here.
The definition, the ground rules, the way I maintain my sanity is this. I love to write. I did it for thirty years without making any money and sharing it by way of a few beta readers and rejection letters from editors and agents. Now there are people who read my stories. I still love to write. Each year I find more financial success. And since everyone likes a happy ending, let me say that my audio book sales often surprise me.
I don’t have to win the lottery. I would, as much as I love my job (most of the time), embrace the chance to earn a full-time living writing stories.
It could happen.
It can only happen if readers take a chance on an indie author like me. Will you take a chance? Maybe read something on Kindle Unlimited or purchase Enemy of Man, which is on sale for one more day at $0.99? Tell a friend?
Best wishes. Have a perfect day.
Most writers have other jobs that pay the bills. Many have families. Some have serious physical disabilities that make every task, including self-motivation difficult. I was reading an article about Andy Rathbone (who writes books for the “Dummies” series and has 15 million in print) when something jumped out at me. He said that when he was a college editor for the Daily Aztec, that he learned to crank out stories whether he felt like it or not. Journalism has deadlines. Writers from this background definitely have that going for them.
Fiction writers? Well, we all think we are artists. We wait for the muse, even if we deny that is what we are doing. For example I might write a blog article instead of revising my latest work-in-progress for the umpteenth time. “Blogging is important. Gotta build that author platform, right?”
Crush writer’s block with these easy steps:
I write fiction. It is my passion. Without it, my world would really suck. So thanks for stopping by. I sincerely hope you succeed brilliantly in all things. Do you have advice we might all benefit from? Please leave a comment or share this article and make a writer’s day.
Where were you when you heard about Amazon’s changes to the Kindle Unlimited policy? I was having the wind knocked out of me after publishing my first serial short story, Grendel Uprising: Proof of Death. Initial reports of the new payment policy upset some authors and caused others to do the happy dance. The version I first received was that the new KU policy was going to punish writers of short fiction.
I thought to myself, “Good job, Moon. Brilliant time to commit to a twelve part serial. Very nice.”
I did a little research. Hugh Howey chimed in with his opinion on the matter, as he is prone to do. In his blog post, Why KU Short Fiction Still Makes Sense, he makes the argument that quality matters in this payment paradigm. If your book, regardless of length, is borrowed and not finished, you don’t get paid. This is either scary or brilliant. The good news is that readers can put the book down, pick it up again much later, and the author is still paid when it is finished. Mr. Howey also argues that books and stories that are finished are more likely to be reviewed.
A six hundred page novel, read to completion, gets rewarded the same as six one-hundred-page novelettes that are read all the way through. This makes the payment scheme literally six of one and a half dozen of another. Chris McMullen offers a nice summary of the changes that begin on July 1st. (15 Questions & Answers about the new Kindle Unlimited policy effective July 1)
I hope that you enjoy reading short fiction and would consider my newest publication, Grendel Uprising: Proof of Death. This stand alone science fiction tale of adventure is episode one of a monthlies series. GU: PoD was professionally edited using the Triangulation services of BZHercules.com.
After July 1st, I will only get reimbursed for my effort if readers like the story enough to read all of it. :)
I hope this new version of Kindle Unlimited really does effectively reward quality writing and serious authors. This has been my dream for thirty-three years. If self publishing crashes and burns, destroying the great opportunities writers of all walks of life currently enjoy, I will still be writing fiction thirty-three years from now!
Thanks for stopping by.
Grendel Uprising: Proof of Death (17, 000 words)
The longest journey begins with a single step, or a high-altitude insertion from the extreme upper atmosphere. What could possibly go wrong? Aefel 70391, a proud member of the First Armored-infantry Lightning Division, must find the Emperor's assassin on a forgotten planet populated by blood thirsty vikings.
Once, long ago when wealthy adventure tourists finally admitted they could not travel back in time, the Grendel Corporation purchased planet 0473829 for cheap and populated it with historical reenactment volunteers. Expenses soared. Bankruptcy followed. Technology went dark. The Earth System Commonwealth Military slowly withdrew protection from the economically and strategically insignificant project.
Seccon 99991, First General and Chief Strongarm of Emperor Dan Uburt-Wesson, disappeared as thoroughly as a myth after committing regicide. A small, but well informed faction of the Earth System Commonwealth Military believe that he has hidden on the primitive — and privately owned — world of Grendel 0473829.
Seccon must die; this is known.
What is the killer seeking in the last corner of human explored space?
Aefel must learn the answer or face permanent exile in the land time pretended to forget.
Episode 2, Grendel Uprising: Blood Royal, is scheduled for a July release date. Seccon betrayed the Emperor of the Earth Systems Commonwealth. Did he make a mistake? Can he keep the Blood Royal alive when modern commandos want them dead?
It will come as no surprise that I dream of earning a living with words; writing full time; going pro and whatnot. As such, I revisit the idea of writing under various pen names in various genres. I read widely, why not write in the same manner. The idea of using pen names is purely for reader convenience. When someone searches for Scott Moon on Amazon, that awesome person knows to expect science fiction adventure, urban fantasy, and a little horror.
A reader would not expect literature fiction or political fiction, or let’s say erotica. Would I consider (or have I tried) writing either of these genres. Sure. None of it is fit for sharing at this point. Any writer who wants desperately to become a full time, professional author, must consider writing romance, even if said writer drops the idea. Romance writers make money. I even read and enjoy reading it from time to time.
Amazon allows for authors to publish under three names on one account (the last time I checked). Currently, I am not using a pen name, but I think there is one in my future. Perhaps it will be a different type of science fiction or horror or something else.
What are your thoughts on pen names? Do you currently write under a pen name? Do you plan on trying this out? If you have experience in this matter, what are the pros and cons?
Thanks for visiting my blog. My currently published fiction can be found here.
Every author knows cover reveals are exciting. This is the fourth book design I've purchased through Pro Book Covers. They just keep getting better.
I remember how excited I was to see Dragon Badge. The first time is always special. When I saw Enemy of Man, it took my breath away because it fit the story perfectly. Sometimes in life, you actually get more than you hope for!
Now I am looking at Son of Orlan with fresh inspiration. Soon my editor will return her comments. Facing the final revision strikes terror in the boldest author, but I can't wait.
The release date has been set for August 1st, but I should be done before then. (It's always good to pad the schedule a little when it comes to polishing 85,000 words.)
I hope you like this cover as much as I do and will consider reading the Chronicles of Kin Roland series.
Crossfire will be playing at the Guns and Hoses charity event on April 12, 2013 to benefit Crime Stoppers.
Last year the Beech Activity Center sold out, so now might be the time to start practicing (every day). As usual, I have about a thousand goals and self imposed deadlines; now it is time to move guitar solos to the top of the list.
I finished what I hope is the final draft of Dragon Attack, the sequel to Dragon Badge. I think readers will enjoy this book; it goes places the first book only hinted at. I have finished Dragon Attack many times over the years. A lot of people, including reviewers, have demanded a second book and I can’t wait to share the continued adventures of Michael Prim and his companions. I also believe in taking the time to do things right. The number one business maxim for self published authors is (or should be) “Write the best book you can.”
I also believe in rotating projects to get a fresh perspective, so I moved back to Enemy of Man, found an editor, and received a sample edit of the first chapter. Samantha Lafantasie, the author of Heart Song is a board member of the Kansas Writer’s Association.
Samantha’s detailed sample edit of Enemy of Man gave me a lot to think about. During a painful moment of self reflection, I admitted that I loved most of Enemy of Man, but needed to address a few plot issues that would have distracted the reader.
I actually enjoy fixing these types of issues, because editing is really just another type of writing--and I love to write. The reason this was painful is that I set three major goals for this spring, one of which is Enemy of Man. I thought it was almost ready to go and now realize it needs more work than I had hoped after finishing the most recent daft. (I do a lot of drafts.)
I began thinking, at 2 a.m. when it was slow at work and the city was asleep, that my readers will lose faith because I am taking too long with books I have promised. I finally consoled myself that this is a serious concern, but writing the best book possible (and waiting until I can afford to have them edited) is priority number one.
The Good news: I pushed through my emotional doldrum (likely caused by sleep deprivation), read more from Enemy of Man, and encountered awesome writing. My favorite moment is looking at a story and saying to myself, with pride and astonishment, I wrote that.
Health and fitness has always been important to me. It benefits writing in many ways. Exercise puts me in a good mood, and contrary to the tortured artist stereotype, I write better when I am happy and full of energy. Go figure. A challenging workout can also provide distance; it can clear your head so that the swirling plot lines encountered during revision and editing seem less daunting.
This week started great. I am determined to finish the Insanity DVD program day by day, rather than pick and chose the workouts I like. But, alas, I did allow other priorities to interfere a couple of days.
INSANITY (Fresh Start)
ST 3-9-13 Fit Test 25 min (Bare feet/ mat)
SN 3-10-13 Plyometric Cardio Circuit 42 min (Bare feet/ mat)
M 3-11-13 Cardio Power & Resistance 39 min (Bare feet/ mat)
T 3-12-13 no workout, altered work schedule
W 3-13-13 no workout, trying to catch up writing time
TH 3-14-13 no workout, trying to catch up writing time
F 3-15-13 no workout, caught in blog technical problems
One of the first things my dad and I discussed when we took the King off the truck, was the need to winterize it and attach a battery maintainer. I rode the bike a few times, despite the cold, and figured the battery was fine (and it is; I started it up today).
Attaching the battery charger / maintainer is easy. All you need do is remove the seat, choose gator clips or bolt clips, and hook everything up. Even I have the skill and tools to complete this DIY project.
I selected the bolt rings, because this option allows for the seat to be replaced with the charging connection left on the bike. All I need to do to charge it now is plug it into the wall. Some people do not like the cord hanging from under the seat, but it is short and has caps to protect the connections from the weather.
Now all I need is some warm weather so I can ride.
Ride safe, ride free, ride into adventure! www.ScottMoonWriter.com (Click to tweet this message)
Some of these books I have read multiple times. They have been highlighted, dog eared, and generally abused. However, despite the intense, emotional relationship I have with these books, they understand others will share the shelves. We don’t have an exclusive relationship. I am constantly searching for another book on writing that informs and inspires. Please post your suggestions.
And always remember - write strong, write free, write like you mean it. www.scottmoonwriter.com Click to Tweet!
How many times have you seen a hero's sidekick (we'll call him Bad Luck Bob) get shot and die, only to learn that he was wearing a bulletproof vest? In a dramatic scene, after the villain is vanquished, the hero goes to his fallen friend. Bob regains consciousness and unzips his FBI windbreaker to reveal body armor with several neat bullet slugs in the fabric.
Getting shot while wearing a bulletproof vest is like being hit by a baseball bat, really hard, or so I've been told. Body blows don't render people unconscious. More likely there would be a lot of screaming and writhing in pain, with a possible 300 cc bladder release thrown in to augment the indignity.
Tasers don’t knock people out, unless they fall and bump their head. A Taser works one of two ways. If probes are shot out and strike with sufficient distance between each other, an electric current (volts, not amps) travel between the contact points. All the muscle in this area suffers involuntary lock-up. No amount of moral fortitude can prevent this. It does not matter how many sit-ups you do or what your pain tolerance is. The muscles lock until the Taser ride stops. (Note: amps are what kill you, not volts.)
Having been Tased with probes, one in the upper back and one in the buttocks, I can attest to the irresistible force of this less lethal control method. The sensation is not so much pain, but a desperate, all consuming need for it to stop. I suppose it is painful, but it is hard to describe. Afterward, I felt good, as though I had done a really good stretch of my hamstring and back muscles. I don't recommend trying this, however, because results may vary. Also, I did not feel the probes being pulled out of my flesh. My mind was on other things, such as not being Tased again.
The other method of Tasing is called the Drive Stun. This is when a Taser is pressed (driven) against a muscle causing pain compliance. This does not cause muscle lock-up except for the muscle being contacted. A person can still fight. Some will yield to avoid a second Drive Stun. Others will get mad.
Neither method causes a person to collapse neatly to the ground allowing the modern day super ninja to finish infiltrating the enemy bunker complex.
It is really difficult to punch someone out. If it were this easy to knock someone cold, MMA fights would not last multiple five minute rounds. Sure, it can happen, but don't count on it. The same thing goes for clubbing a person on the head. Rendering a person unconscious by blunt force trauma to the head is a violent, potential deadly act. There will be blood.
I love the Walking Dead Series, but every person in the show who picks up a gun makes headshots from impossible distances, from moving vehicles, and while sprinting clear of the advancing zombie herd. No. This is ridiculous. (I let it go while watching the series because the tension and dramatic elements were so compelling, a bit like I never question the possibility of light-sabers.) The maximum combat effectiveness for a handgun is twenty-five yards, and if you are going to attempt a head shot while moving, you had better be a Navy Seal, and even then you had better be lucky.
Anyone involved in a knife fight is going to be cut to ribbons, even if they win. Edged weapons are too fast and too sharp. Knife fighting is not sword fighting. If you are close enough to use a short blade and your opponent has a similar weapon, expect to be cut—badly. (I would not recommend sword fighting either, especially with light-sabers.)
An explosion kills with over pressure long before the fire strikes. The blast pushes a shock wave of compressed air that can damage a variety of internal organs. Oh yeah, flying debris is bad news as well. Most people injured in tornados are injured by flying debris.
Virtually every action hero who has dived from an explosion should have been killed (fictionally, of course), even if they ducked the visually dramatic ball of flame.
However, being inside of a door that is breached with explosives is not very dangerous. The force of the breaching charge (explosion) presses extremely rapidly against the door (or wall) causing it to break, bend, or fall inward. The deadly over pressure is reflected back at the breaching team. Explosive breaching is more dangerous for the breachers than for the suspects inside.
This pistol pose has fallen out of style in modern movies. Holding a pistol near your face is dumb for so many reasons. I believe it is used in movies because it allows a nice face shot of the hero or heroine with the gun. Trained military and law enforcement professionals keep their weapons pointed in a safe direction until the need arises to aim at a target. They are carrying deadly weapons, not teddy bears.
Going into a burning building, especially modern buildings full of plastic and synthetic materials, without a self-contained breathing apparatus and protective clothing is suicide. Ask your local fireman. Fire quickly renders the air un-breathable and temperatures rise high enough to melt the change in your pocket in less than a minute. And every door or window you open feeds the fire oxygen. When a character in a book or movie rushes into a fire, it is best for the audience to suspend disbelief, because amateur firefighting is about as realistic as the Modern Warfare video avatar that can run for six hours in full gear without slowing down.
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