Monday, April 14, 2014

Housekeeping

In my continuing tinkeration (it's a word now people) I make some changes to how my stuff is listed on Amazon. Nothing dramatic. Just the use of a pseudonym that I considered before, abandoned, and have reused (see, tinkeration.)

Anyway, as you could see here all the more speculative fiction is now under Ronald Thomas. That way, if someone who doesn't know me is looking for books, they'll get what they expect if they pick up a secondary title.

"But, won't that confuse people who found both sets of stories enjoyable," you may ask. That assumes people have found the stories to begin with, and data suggests that is an unfounded concern.

Oh, and to that end, Resistant Blood 2 is currently free

Friday, April 11, 2014

KDP exclusive or list everywhere

As I immerse myself in self-publishing, there seems to be some contention (not real disagreement, mind you, just your typical internet squabble) about which is preferable (for eBooks only):

1. Utilize KDP select and its benefits (Free Promotion, Kindle Countdown, Prime Borrows, Better royalties in some regions)

2. List everywhere (Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords, etc.)

My experience (limited as it is, and not based on very substantial sales overall) is that the other markets don't work for me. Might they in the future? Sure, and I may be losing out on sales if I don't stay in those markets when it turns.

However, I do see some small benefits from kindle promotions, and my "borrows" have always been more than the sales at other places combined.

So, for me, for now, I'm all in with amazon.

Of course, with commitments being only 3 months at a time, I could always back out if needed.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Free (or nearly so)

Some of my non-crime fiction is discounted today for those in the mood to try something odd from yours truly.

Henry Adamson knows his wife is in danger. He knows someone at her company is planning to kill her. He knows it deep in his soul. He just doesn't know why he knows it. Or when he found out. Still, he'll fight for his wife's life despite the uncertainty. Angry and half-mad from lack of sleep and fear, Henry nearly murders an innocent man

People enter his life, offering explanations of the false memories. Stories of secret psychic organization, rouge telepathic terrorist and long hidden government secrets are offered as explanation.

Henry and others who have been effected must learn what is real and who they can trust. The wrong choice will result in madness and death. The right choice might avoid madness.

Forced Memory is a horror thriller in the spirit of Scanners and Push filled with tension, guns, and a few exploding heads.

FORCED MEMORY currently just $0.99 at Amazon 

The world is an empty place. 
Most people died from the bug. 

Those that live, are cramped into huge, walled cities. 
Except the immune. 

The "Lucky Few" 

They ride the rails and do the work that keeps the cities going. 

This is part 1 of a serialized story. Parts 2 and 3 will also be free for a few days over the next couple of weeks.

RESISTANT BLOOD Part 1 currently Free at Amazon

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Resolutions Update

Well, Q1 is over (yes, I work in a bank.) so I figured I'd work on my self-appraisal. Now, what were my goals I set this year?

First, writing:
1. Write what I want. There's nowhere near enough money coming in for me to worry about audience confusion of the like.

I've written what I want, just not enough of it

2. Well, really has to happen first, but, figure out what I want to write. I've got a feeling I know the genre, but there's still so much to figure out.

Okay, so I wrote what I wanted that day. I have, I think, finally figured out what I want to write, though. So that's a plus

3. Finish what I start. I have 5 unfinished novels right now. I need to either finish them, or mark them off for good.

Uhhhh....

4. Stop looking at sales numbers. They're not good enough that I count on any money, so it's all just anguish and anxiety with no payoff.

Uhhhh.....

5. Read what I want to write. It's so key l but I forget.

Nailed it.

Non-writing:
1. I have a job I enjoy and it keeps my family comfortable. I need to appreciate that more than I do.

Yes. 

2. Keep attached to Twitter and Facebook. Not to market anything or build some platform, but just because the group of people I interact with there are good people and I enjoy the even limited relationship I have with them.

I did. I think.

3. Get out more.

Well, I did pull lots of weeds.

4. Keep priorities and still find time for all the important things.

That's getting better.

5. Stop all the dumb habits that keep me fat.

Nope. Still fat.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Writing, self-publishing and an apology

This has been a weird year or so writing. My output has been low. Well, that's not entirely true. There have been many words, they just don't add up to any completed work. I could point to many reasons.


  • I have a new job, that demands much of my time, but that I greatly enjoy. I manage a team building statistical models, which is something that I really love. It may be hard for some to imagine, but the process of evaluating data, thinking through different model forms, interpreting results, improving fit and examining the impact is fun.
  • My kids' activities are taking more of my time. Getting the girl to her many hours of dance and officiating the swim meets of the oldest take time, but it's time I'm happy to spend. Taking the youngest to his many trial sessions is also fun, though I do wish he'd find something he loved.
  • Home improvement. Building, painting, gardening, etc. It's all worth the time, and I spend more time doing that these days as well.

All of those are true, but none of them are the real reasons. I haven't finished anything, because I'm stuck in my head. I keep evaluating if what I'm doing is "right" or if I could sell it. There's really no room for that. I'm not saying in some artistic purity sense. More that, for me, getting stuck in that place never works. I'm a tinkerer and self-doubter. Nothing's ever right, and if I add other dimensions to the decision, it's just more things that I can't decide.

Two guys, Brian Lindenmuth and David Cranmer, have seen the back and forth, commit-backout mess that I can be. I'm sorry to you both. Neither of you ever expressed any frustration, but I know how I am. 

For me, for now, self-publishing is the answer. Really for all the wrong reasons. I need to be able to mess with something any time. New cover. New description. A new edit. New format. Whatever. Is it productive? No. Not at all. I know it. But without being able to do it, I obsess and it takes any energy left for writing and uses it up.

So, you'll see some more stuff from me up in eBook and POD. I'll finish what I can and put it up when it's ready. Sometimes it'll come down and then emerge again. Maybe different. Maybe not. 

As I said, I'm not defending this as a way to go or a good decision. It's just what I have to do at the moment.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cloud Atlas (movie) - I know, not exactly recent

I finally saw Cloud Atlas. I posted a quick note on twitter that I liked it, but I've been thinking about the movie in the couple of days since. I still think its a good movie and recommend it to anyone, but there were some things that worked really well, and some not so much.

1. Emotional connection. The movie has elements of both romantic and platonic connection in each of the stories (many times in addition to what the book developed). This created connection with the characters that carried through all the editing and provided a touchstone. I think this was well done for the most part (though, perhaps a bit rushed at the end of the Big Island story)

2. Tension. There was building tension in each scene. I was never bored during any of the cuts or when the scenes were allowed to stay awhile. A strong sense of mystery is something that I always look for, and Cloud Atlas delivered.

3. The use of actors in multiple roles. This was hit and miss. I think it did a good job of visually conveying the theme of actions impacting souls across time. It also made it easier to connect quickly to a new character, as you had seen them before (excellent for Hugo Weaving's roles as he was always a bad guy.) However, it was also distracting. There were moments where I'd simply be focusing on the makeup. In some movies, that wouldn't be a problem, but the nature of the editing in Cloud Atlas demands your attention. Also, some of the actors (Hanks in particular) were both nice and not so nice, and seeing him over and over didn't help feel for the new characters.

4. Humor. There's light and dark humor in the movie (including a subtle, but ultimately prophetic mention of Soylent Green). Most of it works pretty well.

5. Visuals. The movie is gorgeous. Effects, setting, camera work, makeup. It's a joy to simply view.

6. Editing and flow. Probably the biggest change from the book, and while required, make the movie difficult to follow without careful attention to the actions and dialog (not made easier in the Big Island story). The book structure gives the reader time in each story and change only a few times, while the frequent jumps in the movie force you to keep all six story lines in memory. It's effective in many ways, and I doubt the book structure would work in the time given, but it's also a challenge.

As I said, I recommend it. It interesting and thought provoking. It strives to be something different, and though it doesn't get there, it is an effort at great story telling. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Updates: eBookSoda, Writing and Beard

Various items (I know you were all perched on the edge of your seat, leaning precariously forward in anticipation of new news.)

eBookSoda: If there was any bump in sales, I couldn't see it. Any difference wasn't any more than noise. Just more to suggest that a writer's time is best spent writing more (and hopefully better) material.

Writing: Still no specifics, but things are looking good for one of my projects. I'll let you all know when I can, but the one-eyed hobo seems to have found a home (now I just need to finish that last section)

Personal: I haven't been loving the beard lately. Time to shave it off? Not yet, but it's trending that way.