Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Musings at the Bookstore.

The competition is pictured above. This is just a random shelf in the scifi/fantasy section at Barnes and Noble. I don't know if it's possible for the prices to show at this resolution, but they are almost all 7.99. That's not sale price, just the price on the book.

It sort of makes me wonder about the role of the print book for the independent or small press author. If you can't sell it at the fifteen dollars, because the competition is at half that, what do you do?

 One possibility is selling it at cost. If I were to self  publish, that would be the route I would be tempted to go. Just give up on the idea of making money on print books, and sell them at cost in the hopes that at least they get out there to act as mobile billboards advertising my name. It makes more sense than having them priced at a level nobody is going to buy them, and I wouldn't be making money that way either.

Then focus on marketing the ebook. Undercut the big names, and try to compete in that market. There is a lot I need to learn about that market though, so this isn't exactly a final conclusion on my part.

Oh well, this is all just musing off the top of my head.

Good Morning

Today is Rowan's new "therapy day," which means I'll be gone for most of the day. She will be taken to the Woodlands and dropped off at her new school at nine oclock, then picked up a little after noon to be taken to her two therapy sessions at Children's Hospital. That means I may as well hang out in the Woodlands for the day.

I'll probably hang around Barnes and Noble, and the Mall. That way I can do a little more research, if nothing else. B&N has wifi, so maybe I will take my laptop.I have a huge 17.3 inch laptop, so it's not all that mobile. Maybe I'll look and see if there is some store there with a better carrying case for it. That would be good, since the one I have can barely have the laptop squeezed into it and there is little room for accessories or anything else.

On another note, I may have finished the first draft of the wedding dress story. I say "may" because I'm not sure if I want to add one final part or not. It could end where it is now...but it would be kind of abrupt. It actually ended up going a different direction than originally envisioned, but I like this version better. That's the way these things tend to work out. Stories take on a life of their own when being written.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What We're Up Against

This is my recently released novel. A work I'm proud of, and I think it to be of high quality. But it is still from an unknown author, as much as I hate to admit it.
This is a also a recently released novel. It is in hardback, and is a top twenty seller from a major publishing house.

Do you see the problem?

This is challenge that all independent authors and small presses face. A trade paperback from a relatively unknown is only nineteen cents cheaper than a best selling hardback. And it gets worse. I went to Barnes and Noble recently and discovered that the average paperback was selling for about eight to nine bucks. And these were big name authors in the genre. So how do I, or a small press, compete with that?

Well, the truth is...I can't. Not in print. These big publishers run off thirty to fifty thousand books in a single run, driving the cost per book way below what a print-on-demand (POD) book is going to cost a small press or indie author to make. And there is really very little we can do about it. I'm sure that POD will come down in price over time, but it will always be more expensive. And that's a big problem. It's the reason I tracked over a thousand potential customers over the internet when they were led to my website by the recent ads I ran, then watched as over two hundred were successfully persuaded by the site to proceed to the buy button at for the vast majority to balk once there. At that point, they knew what the book was about, had read excerpts...and even a free sample...and even were introduced to the cast and charactors. They found all this interesting enough to proceed there was only one thing left to stop them. The price.

So I'm doomed, right?

Not necessarily. Thanks to technology, there is a now a new playing field...and one that the big publishers aren't terrible happy about. Check THIS out. LL Dreamspell is my other publisher, and they are getting into ebooks in a big way. And notice the prices. That bestseller from before is 9.99 on the Kindle, because those big houses still have that overhead and those agents, editors, CEOs, and marketers to pay. But now the small press and the indie author can find their own small status to actually be an advantage. This is why New York authors were grouching about the effects of ebooks on hardbacks at Apollocon. And thisis the great leveller of the playing field between the small press and New York.

And this is the future.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Thoughts on Apollocon

The Dealers Room

Authors Alley

Well, now that Apollocon is in the past and I've had a little more time to cogitate on it...not to mention let my hands settle down...I have a few thoughts on the matter.

1. The average age of the attendee was much older than I expected. This was not like the conventions of old, with teenage and college age kids dominating the demographic, while the occasional oldster was usually found to be behind a dealers table or sitting on a panel. I'm betting if you averaged all the ages of the attendees this weekend, you would end up with a number north of forty.Even a quick peek into the gamers room showed a population that I would blend in with better now than my younger days.

2. I did okay, sold a few books, and my table partner, Cherri Galbiati, did well too. Now the interesting thing here is that she is a mystery writer, and this was a scifi convention, yet she did good for herself. It would be interesting to ask her later what she remembers of the demographics of her customers. Mine were primarily male, and in their thirties. There was an exception or two, but I knew them so I'm not sure that counts.

3. I saw no kindles or other e-readers, although a couple of people professed to have them elsewhere.

4. Word was the panel of authors views on ereaders was surprisingly negative. I notice though that a couple of authors on that panel were New York published. I wonder if there is a relationship? Probably so since I can't picture small press authors bemoaning the effects of ereaders on hardbacks.That's hardly a consideration in my calculus, that's for sure.

5. I also have a few thougthts on cost, but I'll save that for another post.

Overall, the most interesting part of this convention was sitting on the other side of the authors table. When I first attended conventions, back in the eighties, I thought authors were those people who descended from their places on high to sit on panels and benevolently share their lofty opinions on things with us little people. Then they graciously showed up in the dealers room afterwards so we could bask in their glory and get an autographed copy of their latest masterpiece.

Now I've learned it ain't exaclty like that. Oh well, that's what happens when you actually chase a dream and catch it. It turns into real life. But that's okay. It's still all good.

It's Over

Apollocon is behind me, and I'm pretty much a wreck.

Despite Cherri's heroic efforts in finding me a gluten free brownie yesterday...the damage was done. After three days of stuffing on glutenized foods, AND all the excitement of the convention, I'm a mess. I came home and went to bed at 4 PM and slept straight through to 9:30 AM. My hands are shaking so hard I can barely use the computer mouse (guess how many corrections I'm making while typing this). The world still seems to be on the other end of a tunnel. And I still have to get my daughter to her therapist here in a little while.


The convention gave me a lot to think about, and I will go into that later this afternoon. Hopefully my hands will have settled down a little by then. I just needed to get this post written before my mom started calling, wondering what happened to me.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Apollocon Saturday

Spent another day in the dealer's room of Apollocon. Met a lot of very interesting people, and sold a few books. I'm beginning to wonder if anthologies don't do better as impulse buys than as something sold on the internet. The anthologies seem to get the most attention by people who stopped and handled the books. Maybe that's why you see anthologies sometimes at airports and truckstops.

Just a thought.

I've been eating gluten because there really isn't much choice at the convention, and my brain is slowly draining out the bottom of my skull. I should have a double digit IQ by tomorrow afternoon. Fortunately, that's all I have to make it to. Then I'm done. And that will be it for the marketing for a while. It's time to get back to writing.

That will be nice.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Apollocon First Day

Here I am, still bright eyed and bushy tailed on the first day of the convention. Let's see how long that lasts. Meeting the public can be an exhausting experience...but rewarding. Lots of interesting people here.

But I must sleep, for tomorrow will be long.


I'm Off to the Convention

Apollocon is finally upon me, and it's time to find out what being on the other side of that table in the dealer's room is all about. I'll be selling my books...

The Ways of Khrem (my novel)
The Middle of Nowhere; Horror in Rural America anthology (my story is "Storm Chase")
The Bitter End; Tales of Nautical Terror anthology (my story is "The World in Strips")
Pandora's Nightmare: Horror Unleashed anthology (my stories are "So It Begins", and "And So It Ends")
Silver Moon, Bloody Bullets: Werewolf anthology (my story is "Roadkill"
Mystery of the Green Mist: Mystery anthology (my story is "Between Friends")

I will be selling these books for either a tiny profit, cost, or below cost...depending on the title. At this point it's more important to get myself read. Besides, I'm starting to come to a conclusion about print books. I'm beginning to think they are more use to the small time author as mobile advertising for the upcoming ebook than they are as a source of income themselves.

Oh well, I didn't get everything done that I planned for this convention; partially because I didn't even have some of those plans until a few hours ago...see how my mind works...but mainly because I just ran out of time. It's okay, I've got the basics covered. Now it's time to get ready to go.

One last thought...once this convention is over, I'm going to scale back the energy and thought I've put into promoting lately and start concentrating on writing again. Fun is fun, but it's time to get back to work and start producing.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Late Start

I finally got to bed at a decent time last night, and loved it so much that I didn't want to get up this morning. So I'm running a little late on things.

I now have my bookmarks for Apollocon printed out, and they are waiting to be cut at Office Depot. They came out looking really good...even better than they look on the computer screen. So that's another task successfully completed. My poster is done as well, and also looks very good. Heck, all our table needs now is little flags and streamers...maybe sparklers at the corners.

Also, my brand new Sanyo Xacti HD2000 camcorder of awesomness arrived yesterday! Woohoo! Now I shall capture all those precious and embarrassing moments in glorious high definition!

*does a happy dance around the room*

Anyways, there is still more that needs to be done, so I shall get busy. The house is in better shape after the visit of our cleaning lady, but I've noticed we have let stuff pile up where she is having a harder and harder time sorting it and putting it away. Time to get rid of some junk.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More Digital Play

Above, is a very rough mock-up what I'm thinking the ghost story collection for the Kindle could look like. I've still got a lot of different fonts to try out on that 4, and I'm considering enlarging it a little more. I want the cover to be simple and strong. This is just one idea, and I've got a couple of others...but I would need to do a little free hand art to pull those off and that's not easy for me. Still, it's worth a try.

As Apollocon approaches, I've been doing more artwork than writing anyways. I'm designing bookmarks to give away to the people I actually manage to sell my book too. Heck, I'll give them away to people who just need them. I'll have one set advertising The Ways of Khrem, and another set advertising The Barrow Wolf. No point in putting a bookmark into a matching book.

Truthfully, I'm having fun. I used to enjoy doing artwork before my hands started going bad, and now this lets me do it all over again. And it's actually for a purpose, which makes it all that much more rewarding to do. So it's like a + satisfaction.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fiddle-Farting Around

I didn't get a lot done yesterday. Rowan's therapy schedule has been expanded to three days a week, which cuts in on my productivity. It's in a critical cause though, so I'm not complaining. At least I managed to get out of the house last night, and have a writer's night out with Cherri Galbiati. We had a good time, discussing book cover strategies, and the upcoming Apollocon. I didn't eat anything but a small plate of fries since all the gluten I've been taking in lately has literally made me sick. But a good time was still had, and we were out late enough that dragging myself out of bed this morning was done under protest.

 Lately, I've mainly done some strategizing, and different forms of digital artwork. On the strategizing part,
I'm currently thinking of compiling a four-pack of ghost stories and simply titling it "4," or "4 Dead Girls." since it happens that all the ghosts in this one so far are female. I've got an idea for a book cover that will be simple, strong, and should stand out when reduced to thumbnail size.

I've noticed that's a peril that a lot of publishers and cover artists haven't adapted to in the new age of digital bookstores...having their bookcovers turn into little smudges of colors when reduced to the size that it's often presented when shown with a list of other books at the online market. From now on, the big test of any cover I make will be checking to see how it looks as a small thumbnail. The Barrow Wolf does well in that catagory, although I'm going to have to think about that font in the future.

Oh well, that's it for now. The house is a disaster, and I guess I'm supposed to do something about that.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Another Weekend Ends

I'm back from a weekend spent with family and old friends. I went to the wedding party of woman who I used to babysit when she was three, and I was twenty. Needless to say, I'm feeling pretty ancient at the moment. But it was good to see that life turned out happy for her and her family. In real life, happy endings are to be treasured.

Of course, when you're a writer that's not always the case. I always try to make sure and not get into a habit with my endings. In some of my stories the protagonist prevails, and in some of them they fall. When you write horror, you can't let the reader get comfortable knowing that your the type of writer who's charactors always get away, or always get "gotten." Fall into either rut, and you're stories lose their edge.

The current ghost story I'm working on is for a self publishing project. I intend to make a packet of four or five good ghost stories, and then sell them for .99 cents...or 1.99. I've got one story called "Storm Chase," that I have the rights back to, and another unpublished story called "The Tragedy Man" that only needs a little reworking, and there are two stories for it right there. The bridal story makes three, if it comes out well. And "comes out well," is critical. I will have to make sure my self published stuff is off the highest quality, just as if I was submitting it to a publisher. I can't fall into the trap of putting out subpar work, just because there won't be an editor looking at it. Just the opposite. I have to be three times as demanding of these stories. They will be out there representing me.

Yet, while I'm moving the main focus of my short story efforts towards e-book, novels are still another matter. I'm fairly confident I'm can rise to the challenge of formatting and putting out a short collection of stories, but I don't know about a novel. That's where a publisher still comes in handy. Finding the right home for the right novel is the name of the game there.

But first I need to get back to work on this short story collection. Having Rowan home during the summer makes working on the novels difficult anyways. And the short story collection can be educational for working and marketing in the ebook market. Also, it means I can  play with cover design...which I find to be enormous fun.

Anyways, that's pretty much it for now. Tomorrow Rowan starts her new Monday therapy at Learning Lane, so I will be taking her to therapy three times a week now. That's okay, it's good for her and that's what matters.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gone for the Weekend

I'll be gone all weekend, visiting family and friends. I'll be sure and take my camera, and practice showing more curiousity in the world around me.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

One Zonked Little Boy

The last time I caught a raccoon in the attic, I woke Sheridan to see it but he was so wiped out he didn't remember. He was disappointed and insisted I wake him again if caught another. When I caught this one, it was almost midnight and I once again tried to rouse the boy to see the varmint. This time I decided to record the effort to prove to him that Dad didn't let him down.

So here it is.

He was woke up after about three hours of sleep, and led to the living room to see the raccoon. Despite appearances, he is NOT awake.

My New Coal Mine Canary

Since I'm currently working on a couple of horror/ghost short stories, I was a little concerned whether I was achieving the proper level of suspense and tension. I like to have a certain level of scare factor in my stories, and refuse to simply settle for substituting gore...not that gore doesn't have it's place from time to time, but it's used way too often as an easy substitute for "scary."

So how can I be sure something is scary?

That's when a stroke of genius hit me. My wife, Karla, usually refuses to read, watch, or listen to anything that's scary. The only time I ever got her to a horror movie, the results were pure hilarity. So now her job is to act as my "canary."

Her job is to read a story, as far as she can, and if she reads it all the way through then I know the story is lame and needs to reworked. On the other hand, if the canary "passes out", and puts the work aside, then I know it's got potential.

I want to take this opportunity to publically thank my wife for being such a good sport. Thanks, honey! You're the greatest!

On another front, the new central air unit is installed and the house is a wonderful temperature in the low seventies. Ahhhh....even the cats love it.

On another note, I caught another raccoon in our attic trap. It was humanely released, of course. Film later.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Braving the Forest Primeval

One of the main reasons I was wiped out Monday and Tuesday.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Forging Ahead

Blogging early tonight, because the men who will be installing our new central air conditioning unit will be here around eight in the morning and access to the computer will be tough. That's okay, I'm willing to sacrifice a little time away from the computer to have it be below ninety degrees in my house. I'm just wishy-washy that way.

I've been thinking about my current and upcoming writing projects and events...and what possible changes or adaptations need to be made. Currently I have stories in five anthologies out with two small presses, with seven more stories in four other anthologies on the way. I have one novel out with Pill Hill Press. And I have one independently published short story on the kindle. Not bad. I would call it a good start.

And it's been very educational watching how the market has changed in the short time I have been in the business. Things that made sense for me to do just a year ago, now pose a completely different picture. I'm having to keep learning my craft as a writer, while also learning the market around me as it evolves. And that makes planning a bit of a seat of my pants proposition. I'm kind of leaning towards working on a project by project basis, and choosing the destination of those projects based on their individual merits.

I really haven't shelved Argiope. It's more a matter of setting it aside to simmer while I jump over and do a short story or two for a different project. I'm also toying with the first glimmerings of plotlines for the sequel to The Ways of Khrem. Then there is also a vanity project I'm considering. And all of these would have different routes to publication, each based on what I think would be best for that particular projects set of circumstances.

Right now, everything is fluid and all is in motion. I'm just going to keep working, and pay close attention to what's working and what isn't.

And in case you were wondering about the fate of that raccoon in the video...

Working With It.

In the story from yesterday, the character of Catherine Hatcher has now been changed to Tiffany Hatcher. That's just the way stories evolve as they are written. Sometimes you're hunting that right name to hang on a particular character. Thanks go to Cherri Galbiati for helping me come up with a more appropriate name for this character.

It's good I'm a writer, because I was so sore and exhausted today that even writing was taxing. After a weekend of laying turf, catching and releasing raccoons, and taking kids to the zoo, my poor body is rebelling. I feel like I weigh ten thousand pounds, and have noodles for appendages. I can tell, as bad as it was today, that I'm still going to be paying tomorrow too. Bleh!

On an even more exasperating front, our central air conditioner went completely kaput. So the house has been a nice balmy 88 degrees all day. We now have a little window unit struggling to keep things semi-livable until the people come to install a new central air unit on Wednesday. That's assuming the raccoons don't eat them when they go up into the attic. They've been warned.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day at the Zoo

Yesterday, we took the kids to the zoo...along with our friend Charlie and her kids. It was hot, but we were expecting that. I was wearing my white shorts and shirt, in a vain attempt to reflect all the heat somewhere else.  On the bright side, there was a breeze which made things a lot better. The kids also played at the little water park there, and had a ball. Of course, the biggest attraction was the dinosaur exhibit.

What is it with kids and dinosaurs? I guess it's that the beasts were just so darn big and cool looking. Anyways, the animitronic animals got more attention and interest than any of the real animals there.

Also, we decided the time had come to attempt to let Rowan go without a stroller. This was a big first for her, and she actually did pretty well. That has two bonuses...first, neither me nor Karla has to wipe ourselves out pushing a stroller anymore...and second, Rowan is pretty tuckered out from all the walking by the time she gets back to the car. No more easy riding for her!

I've also been getting some work done on a short story. I'll post the first seven or eight hundred words later today.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Big Game Hunting

Other people put on their camo suits and head out into the woods to do their hunting. We do it in our attic while wearing pajamas. Safari's are for sissies.

It turns out there were three or four of them up there...minus one now. It was pretty calm about the whole thing until I got the cage down into the living room and the cats came to investigate. That didn't go over with it well. So I took it out to my car and I turned it loose in a nearby park, unharmed.

Sunday, we are planning to take the kids to the zoo. Now the question is...will Dad be up to it? I did some lawn work today, laying down topsoil and turf, and wore myself out pretty good. Then there were was the great raccoon caper. As mentioned in my interview with Lenka, one of the features of Charcot Marie Tooth is I can wear myself out and be almost useless for the next day or two. I'm hoping I didn't push it too hard, because I'm going to take those kids to the zoo no matter what shape I'm in.

I'm scared to think how I'll be feeling on Monday...assuming a raccoon don't eat me.

Varmints and Stuff

Okay, so it appears the critters that are holding Olympic tryouts in my attic are raccoons. There are at least two of juvenile and probably his mother...which means this situation is probably beyond our ability to deal with ourselves. Not without firearms anyways, and I don't think that's an option.

So who takes care of things like this? Who does one turn to for raccoon extractions? This situation can't continue, and I already shudder to think what's probably been done to the stuff we keep up there. Besides, it's beginning to upset the boy at night. Not to mention I find it hard to sleep when it sounds like something is unscrewing the light socket above my head.

The Raccoon Family must go.

On another front, the short story about the wedding dress is proceeding smoothly. Right now it's just called The Wedding Dress, but that's just a placeholder and it will be changed. I haven't decided what I'll do with it yet. Well, actually I sort of have...I'm going to write four or five stories, and then once I've got all of them I'll decide what to do with them from there. I just want some production, and I feel the need to see some finished products. Maybe I'll build my own little anthology. We'll see...but I'm going to insist on quality.

Friday, June 11, 2010

So A Raccoon Moved In To My Son's Room...


Last night, the boy had been hearing "strange noises." He wanted Mommy to come lay down with him to keep him company. She finally relented, and went to do so...then about a minute later came back out and told me to go get the live trap out of the garage. Quickly realizing I couldn't do that, she then told me to go hold the boy's closet door shot and SHE would go get the live trap. The boy was ordered into our room, and the trap set up in the middle of his floor.

She told me that there was a raccoon in Sheridan's closet, and that it appeared to her to be a juvenile. We  left the closet door slightly open and closed the bedroom door out to the hall. Our only can of canned catfood was left in the trap to tempt our midnight intruder. Karla then went to bed and I went out on a writer's night out.

The next morning we open the door to discover that the raccoon had not fallen for the trap, but had returned to his playground in the attic above. Shortly after that, the trap caught our cat.

Oh well, at least the trap works.

Today I go back to work on the short story I've started. All I've got is the opening scene so far, but I think it sets the stage and the charactors well. It's basically just two women talking as they go through stuff in the attic. So far, so good.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thanks Lenka!

Lenka, over at interviewed me for her latest broadcast. She did a great job, and I did pretty good too...although I still sound like I come from a backwoods trailerpark with nothing but some extra chromosomes to keep me company.

We chatted about living with CMT, The Ways of Khrem, and life and writing in general. It was a very relaxed experience, and I think I'm finally getting over my terror of interviews. Now I just need to watch out that I don't turn into a huge ham.

Anyways, it was nice talking to somebody who lives with the same condition that I do, and who could truly understand what I was talking about...not just the physical aspects of Charcot Marie Tooth, but the guilt and the embarrassment that comes along with having something that wipes you out for a long time after any exertion. It was cool to talk with someone who also had learned to meter her energy, and make allowances when she knew she was about to do something that would deplete her stores.

Thanks again for having me, Lenka! We'll do it again sometime!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Changing Hats

Okay, it's time to put my writer's hat back on and get back to work. I have been doing nothing but cover art, ad art, and promoting lately...and that ain't why I got into this field. I know it's important, and I intend to keep doing it, but I'm going to take a break from it and get back to writing. I need some new stories.

I've currently started a ghost story involving the wedding dress of a dead murderess. It has potential...but they all do when you first start working on them. We'll just have to wait and see where it goes. I have several "good beginnings" stashed away in folders. I may take a look at a couple of those as well.

Today, Heather comes to help with the housework. This means another week that we are all saved from drowning in the rising mess. I'll be taking Rowan to her therapies, and this time I will remember to plug in my laptop so it's good and charged so I can take it with me and use it in the waiting room. I sort of blew it yesterday, and had to leave it at home. Yeah, it's a poor excuse for a writer who doesn't keep his laptop charged and ready to use on a moments notice. I've gotta work on that...and the housework.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hunting for Ideas

So let's pretend a young bride-to-be is helping her mother-in-law sort through the junk in her attic, when they come across a lovely old wedding dress. The mother-in-law reacts in disgust and tells her that the dress belonged to the psychotic fiancee of her deceased brother, who killed herself and the mother-in-laws brother in a fit of jealous rage. They lay the dress aside, the mother-in-law decides to go shopping, and the young lady takes a nap...

...and awakens to the sound of silk rustling out in the hall.

It's an idea.

Anyways, I'm setting Argiope aside for a while so it can simmer on the back burner. I'm thinking about trying to make a "four-pack" of short stories while waiting for inspiration on the novel.

Today is Rowan's speech therapy, so it isn't one of my better "writing days." We'll just have to see if I get anything done.

Rowan is turning into a little computer junkie...who defends her rights to the computer with ferocity. We're going to have to watch that. She didn't even want to get up and go with me to  pick her brother up from school. As far as she was concerned, he liked it there and he could jolly well stay there so she wouldn't have to share. Sigh. Whatever happened to the sweet, loving kids I saw in all the advertisements?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Technical Difficulties

Blogspot wouldn't let me update my blog last night or this morning. Not a huge deal, but I'm surprised I haven't already got a call from my mother... checking to see if I'm dead in a ditch. It's okay, Mom, I'm still here.

I had another interview on Page Readers at Blogtalk Radio. This time it was with a bunch of other authors, all who are in the Silver Moon, Bloody Bullets anthology. I was the first author interviewed after the editor. I managed to not say "um" over a couple of hundred times, and this time I didn't sound so terrified. All in all, it went well.

Now that I have "The Barrow Wolf" finally published on the Kindle, I need to get back to writing. The question I go back to work on Argiope, or do I do a few short story's? I'm actually sort of in the mood to craft a few good short stories. I'm sort of blocked on Argiope again anyways. That seems to happen periodically with that book, but it's okay. I'm now halfway through it, so I know it will eventually get done. I just need some inspiration on how to go forward.

Now I just need to get motivated to find the house under all this mess. I've been focusing on writing and promoting matters, and letting the housework slide. I also need to check the trap up in the attic and see if it's caught the sasquatch that keeps running laps over my bedroom. Somehow, I doubt it.

Oh well, back to work.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


It's Sunday morning, and the kids are ensconced at their computers while the wife snores lustily in the bed. All is peaceful in our little kingdom.

Today Sheridan will go to a friends birthday party, and I will spend time with Stinkerbell. Maybe we will do a little schoolwork so she won't fall out of the habit this summer. That's my biggest fear...that she will backslide over the summer and lose all the progress she made this past school year. I will have to keep an eye on that.

We have her signed up for ABA therapy on Mondays, speech therapy on Tuesdays, and speech and occupational therapies on Weds., so I'm hoping that will mitigate any backsliding she does over the summer. Oh well, time to enjoy the peace and quiet...the relative peace and quiet, that is.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Okay, NOW it's Available

The Barrow Wolf is now available at on the Kindle.

Now the fun begins again. I'm working on ads in another window as I type this, and soon will have them up and running.  This is an entirely different type of product than the The Ways of Khrem, even though it takes place in the same world. This is a short story uploaded for digital distribution, and it's priced at ninety-nine cents.

If all goes well, this will be the first of several kindle ventures. I have some other stories that I'm considering polishing and packaging together. Oh well, one thing at a time.

Back to work.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Actually, it's not available quite yet. It will probably take one more day. But I have to be ready, so I'm gearing up for ad campaign number two. I learned a little about strategic ad placement with the last campaign, so I know i can be a lot more efficient with this one.
Why ads for just a short story on the Kindle?
Two reasons. First of all, I need to at least run some ads to work on what I'm learning, and to give some validity to the experiment I'm running. And second of all, I want to give the story the best chance I can. Not to mention, you always learn something by doing. So I'm going to run a more targeted and lower budget campaign this time, but hopefully an effective one. This time the ads will just link straight to the story on, since a whole webpage dedicated to a short story would be kind of much. Oh well, we'll see how this works out.

The Barrow Wolf

Finishing the Week

Well, the last day of school is behind me, and the week is careening towards a rousing finish.

Last night, I invited my friend Cherri Galbiati over to watch me attempt to upload my first short story to the Kindle. Let's just say it was a bit of a learning experience. I think I uploaded and downloaded that thing thirty times, trying to get it to look semi reasonable on the page. And this was while my attention hound of a seven year old was hovering in the background and trying new and original ways to interrupt the process. Fortunately, his sights were mainly on Cherri, and she did an admirable job of keeping the little booger busy.

Finally the process was done, and then I was told to wait about forty eight hours until the story would be available for purchase. Then Cherri and I went out to Denny's to talk writing, but I was so tired I was practically falling asleep in my french fries. So we made an early return of it and I went straight to bed.

Now it's Friday, and I have two kids expecting me to entertain them all day today.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Gathering Data

A man named Robert J. Ringer once postulated that "Reality isn't the way you wish things to be, nor the way they appear to be, but the way they actually are." He then went further to state that "You either work with reality, or it will automatically work against you."

So keeping those principles in mind, I have been gathering data on the advertising campaign I've been running, as well as paying close attention to all of my other experiences in my new career as a writer. I behooves me to gather as much information as I can, so I can make the best judgement possible as to what the realities are. And while all my information is preliminary, I'm starting to realize the writing business of today is a far cry from what I imagined it to be. I will be running another experiment soon, in the form of publishing an ebook short story, to round out my data a little bit. I want to be able to move forward with informed confidence, and the only way to do that is to gather all the data that I can.

On another front, today is Rowan's last day of school. It's a short day, which means I will have three final hours of semi-peace (the boy is home, after all), before I start sharing all my days with a rambunctious four year old. Then she will launch her summertime project of seeing if  she can drive Daddy into pulling out all his hair. I'm sure she has gathered her data and is ready to move forward with confidence as well.

Oh well, that which does not kill me, makes me stronger...or bald.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Moving Onwards

As my first set of internet ads start to expire, I'm getting ready for phase two of Project : Learn Writing Realities of Today. While I'm waiting for the final numbers to come in, I'm preparing my next release.

It is titled, The Barrow Wolf...and it is the story of a young shepherd who embarks on a quest for revenge. It runs a little over eight thousand words, and is currently being polished before I try to figure out how to format it for the Kindle. If all goes well, it should be submitted to the Kindle store in about a week. It will be sold for .99 cents.

It will be interesting to compare the results of the ebook market to the printed market.

On another note, today I intend to put the trap I bought up in the attic and hopefully capture the creature that has moved in up there and converted the space into it's own private gymnasium. Last night I think it was using our rafters as parallel bars...when it wasn't trying to unscrew the light fixture above my bed. Yep, something must be done. It will be kind of like my own private safari, in the savannahs of my attic. A real Hemingway experience.

Then I'll write a story about it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Direction Change

Well, it's certainly been an interesting past couple of least the parts where I've been conscious. This time I only slept for eight hours, so I'm hoping that whatever was making me sleep so long is finally behind me. If nothing else, I'm well rested.
I'm still studying advertising numbers and sales, but I've decided to broaden the experiment. I'm going to take a story I'm working on, that was slated for a future anthology, and submit it as a straight to kindle story instead. The purpose of this is twofold. The story, called "The Barrow Wolf," takes place in the same world as "The Ways of Khrem," and having it out on kindle might act as free advertising for the novel. Second of all, I'm curious to see what the performance of a short story on the kindle would be, and what all goes into publishing on that platform. I know I'll have to generate a cover, but that shouldn't be too difficult. So that's what is going on on the writers front at the moment.

I'm also talking to Lenka of in order to set up an interview on her show. This show would deal both with writing, the novel, and living with Charcot Marie Tooth. Now that I have survived my first interview, I'm looking forward to this one without the same level of terror. We'll also see if I can do it and keep the number of times I say "uh" under a thousand repititions.  It ain't much, but it's a goal. I'm gonna have to work on things like that.