What I have done lately…

Yes, it’s been awhile since I published anything on this site (or on Amazon, actually), so I thought I’d bring you up to speed on what I’ve been up to these past few months.

Firstly, there was the holiday season, including NaNoWriMo, which I participated in again this year (and won! Yay!), and then Christmas of course. Always keeps me on my toes.

Got a new computer. Still learning how to make it work well for writing. It didn’t come with Microsoft Office, and since Microsoft is being stoopid and not letting people buy a package including only the programs they want instead of stuff they don’t while charging an arm and a leg for the privilege of using a software product they don’t actually get to own–or better yet, requiring a monthly subscription (buwahahahaha!)!–I decided to ditch Microsoft and go with a freebie company. Why pay for the cow, right?

Still, it’s a new software package and it’ll take some getting used to.

Nevertheless, I am writing. I’ve produced over 80K words since October. And yes, once more, I have wa-ay too many irons in the fire. It involves the creation of two entirely new series.

But wait! Before you scream AAUUGGHH! at me, lemme ‘splain: For about a year now, I’ve been toying with a new approach to story telling. Rather than writing a full length novel (and of course I’m still doing those!), I want to try writing a set of smaller stories in serial format. I began with a rather dark retelling of Gilligan’s Island (it involves each of the castaways as representative of one of the seven deadly sins with Gilligan as the devil–oh never mind!), and then got inspired by Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle and came up with a Christian adventure story set in the Republic of the Pacific States (which I imagined long before they started threatening to break away from the U.S. due to the Trump victory, I promise!), where Christianity is illegal and the government is run according to the rules of political correctness. As I got into the story, however, I quickly realized that I didn’t know how to write a story in serial format. It kept coming out as a rather long-winded novel. Not what I was after.

I shelved it, and for NaNoWriMo this year, began work on a different story called Elementals, dealing with four characters who each possess some ability to control an element or have some kind of superpower (think Heroes or The Flash, but a little less outlandish), and who come together to try to make life work. At any rate, the important thing is that I’m figuring out how to write in serial form, where each episode is self-contained, and yet also advances a major story arc. I plan to take this approach and reapply it to the Christian story, because I think that concept is a little bit better and more in line with my kind of fiction. I’ll still finish Elementals and put it out there, but it’s just written for fun and on my end, to learn. I’ve planned on at least six episodes for this one. The Christian story is far more involved, with at least three seasons of seven episodes each in consideration. I don’t know yet how well I’ll be able to get it done, but I aim to try.

In the meantime, I still have to finish up Jefferson’s Road along with many of my other projects. But I’m writing much more rapidly now than before, and I can often crank out 2K words in about an hour and a half. I hope to keep writing at least this much every day. True, I haven’t exactly done it every day yet this month (wow! Is it really the 9th already?), but its better to set a high goal and miss it than to set a low goal and miss that one too.

I Need Your Help

Announcement!

So I am very excited to announce that Jefferson’s Road – Book Five: A More Perfect Union is now available for review, and if you would like a copy to look over, all you have to do is send me an email and say, “Send Me Book Five!” in the description. Of course, it’d really help if you were on my mailing list, so if you’re not, please consider signing up here.

But Wait, There’s More!

If you do ask for a review copy, it also means saying “Yes!” to some particular responsibilities which are time-sensitive. Because I’m launching this book on October 3rd (Yes, I know. I had to push it back a week), I must have all edits completed by September 23rd – and that means I’ll need your notes and unvarnished thoughts by September 20th.

Yikes! That’s Not Much Time!

True, but I really am looking for some visceral feedback, and a little time pressure kinda ensures that. If interested, I’ll send you details with the book.

The second thing I’ll need is a commitment from you to do two things: to buy the book, and to write the review. Now, why buy the book if I’ve already given it to you free? Good question – I’m glad you asked! Amazon weights reviews from readers more highly than from those who’ve received a free copy. They put a little orange flag at the top that says, “Verified Purchase” which tells future readers they’re getting honest feedback, and not something an author has paid for (yes, some authors are unscrupulous enough to buy reviews!).

To facilitate this, I’m going to set the book’s price artificially low on Saturday, October 1st through Sunday, October 2nd. The lowest price for which I’m allowed to sell the book is $.99. Please pick up a copy during this time, and then leave your review at Amazon here. If you’re up for it, you can also leave reviews on these sites as well (B&N, iTunes, GooglePlay, Goodreads, Kobo, and Smashwords), but Amazon’s the whale. I’ll put in these links as they become available.

Don’t run your review by me first. I want to keep this process honest. On October 3rd, as I’ve said, the book will go live, and I will be raising it to its correct price of $2.99. I’ll also be announcing it via social media and other networks. I’d love to have this book go live with a dozen reviews from paid sales right out of the gate.

Truly, I can’t do this without your help. Thanks so much. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards,
Michael J. Scott

DONE!

Wrapped up book five of Jefferson’s Road tonight. 87,616 words long. Now comes the long dark path of editing it and getting it ready. I’ll be putting together the pre-order info on this title later this week (not tomorrow, probably, ’cause I’m bushed and booked already), and I’ll be asking those of you on my Advance Reader’s Team to take a look and give me your feed back. I’ll send out an email to that effect soon.

In the meantime, I’m going to relax and watch a show. I’ve earned it. 🙂

Steaming Right Along…

So a quick update: I’ve now added almost 12K words to A More Perfect Union, and I’m on target for a completion date by August 31st, and a release sometime in September. The book is now about 91% done.

I’ll be making this title available for pre-order September 1st. This will also correspond to a promotional push I’ll be doing that month for The Spirit of Resistance. I’ll also be looking for beta-readers/reviewers to help me get this book out before the month’s end.

What can you do?

a) sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t done so already. You get two free books when you do. And there’s more free stuff, insider thingies, and discounts for subscribers.

b) like my page on Facebook. The more “likes” I have on this page, the better able I’ll be to reach a new audience who may never have heard of Jefferson’s Road.

c) offer to be a part of my Advance Reader Team. This group I’ll be managing through my email list (so you do need to be signed up to receive the early draft), and I’ll be looking for edits and feedback on the story before it goes live. This is deep insider stuff, allowing you, as a reader, an opportunity to have some input on how this story develops. I’ve been working on A More Perfect Union for almost two years now, so making certain I maintain consistency is a key. That’s one of the things I’ll be asking the ARTists to look for, along with typos, grammar inconsistencies, plot holes, dangling plot threads, and general “believability.” It’s a lot.

d) be willing to offer a review on the book. I’ll be promoting it shortly after it goes up, but I’m hoping to land some reviews before we “launch.” I’ll fill you in on that as we get closer to the date.

e) tell your friends. 🙂 Word of mouth is the best way any book sells. I’ve received so many glowing reviews already on this series, I’d hate to see anyone miss out.

Thanks so much!

Michael

Happy Monday!

Hi Everyone,

I’m writing this from somewhere outside of Jackson, TN. Yesterday we drove from Rochester all the way here, and we’re about halfway to my parent’s house in Texas. Long drive.

I just wanted to give you a quick update. The sale has ended for the Jefferson’s Road Omnibus. I hope you were able to grab a copy on the cheap. If you missed it and would really like to leave a review (based on you reading the series so far, of course), please email me and I’ll send you a copy as soon as we land somewhere. WiFi’s a bit iffy here, and I haven’t been able to access Facebook to start the campaign, which launches tomorrow. I’ll try again when we land.

At any rate, we’re off and running. God speed!

Michael

Jefferson’s Road Omnibus available and priced cheap!

Hi Everyone,

As promised, the Jefferson’s Road Omnibus is now available at Amazon and is sale priced at $.99 through Monday, January 5th. If you’ve enjoyed the series, please consider grabbing a copy to leave a review. Amazon gives greater weight to reviews based on reader purchases. It’ll also help to boost its ranking before I formally launch the books on Monday.

I know this is our first time doing this, and I’m not expecting miracles this time out, but it’s an important part of the process, and something I’ll continue doing every time I launch a new book. For those who’ve already signed up to my Advance Reader Team, you’ll get copies of new books even before they’re available to anyone else so I can solicit your feedback.

Also, if you haven’t signed up yet, I’d love to send you two of my other novels as a bonus for doing so. I’m offering both The Coppersmith and Topheth free to any one who joins the mailing list.

Thanks again, and happy New Year!

Pipework

Stephen King once said “Writing is laying pipe.” I’ve found that to be true. Four days into the new plan, and I confess I’m chafing a bit. That’s the nature of discipline, of course, and I’ll push my way through it. But it’s still laying pipe. My goal this month is to finish Nicholas, for which I have to crank out 1,158 words a day. Every day. It’s not that bad, of course, and I’ve met my objective for the past three days (three days?! You’re whining after three days?!), but it’s still laying pipe.

No matter, I’ll push through and have it done. Next month is The Blood-Eater Coven, for which I only need 1,140 words per day. After that, it starts getting harder. 🙂

Opinions, please!

Hi everyone,

I need some opinions on these covers. They’re all variations on the same essential theme for my Jefferson’s Road books, based on what appears to be typical for political-thrillers that I found on Amazon. Tell me which one you like best, or none of the above.  Thanks!

Option 1 Option 2 Option 3 Option 4

Option 5 Option 6 Option 7 Option 8

Oh, and a couple things: The text is supposed to be the same on all of them, as are the sizes (not sure what happened between the first two and the third one, but I’ll fix it later, depending).

 

 

Still At It

Well, it’s been awhile since posting anything. We’ve been dealing with surgeries and their aftermath, as well as the ever so fun and stressful job stuff. And, of course, I’ve been writing. Kids are back in “home” school and I’m teaching three co-op classes this semester on top of everything else.

The WIPs are moving along, as you can see by the chart. I doubt I’ll have Nicholas done in time for Christmas this year, which is a bit of a bummer – ’cause it’s a Christmas book. No matter. It’ll give me a chance to push it out properly for next season.

I’ve been at a bit of an impasse with A More Perfect Union, which has, finally, resolved itself. I kinda know where the story needs to go, and where things need to be so I can wrap them up in the final book. It’s just a matter of getting there. I feel like I’ve lost some of the fun and poetry from the first volume, so I’m hoping to recover it before the series ends.

The other thing I’ve been contemplating of late is an attempt to ignite more interest in some of my other books. I’ve come to learn that Amazon rewards authors who publish more content more frequently. While I’m cranking away on these novels, I’m starting to seriously consider serializing some of them – publishing a collection of chapters once a week for a period of weeks – to take advantage of this peculiarity of the ‘zon. Some call it gaming the algorithms. I’m not so sure it is, as much as it is recognizing the nature of the medium in which we publish. I’ve got two books I may take down and then republish in a serial form, if only because they’re being rather roundly ignored – and I think they’re worth another look – if people could find them. I suppose if it doesn’t work, I haven’t really lost anything. It’s not like they’re selling right now as it is.

In the meantime, I’ve got two other WIP’s I’ve begun working on that aren’t in the bar chart on the side. One of these doesn’t have a satisfactory title just yet. The other one is part of a series I’m going to hold on to until I have at least three in it written. Part of a different marketing strategy, you see.

I have to remember this is like a 100 mile marathon, and just keep plodding along until enough content shows up to put me over the top. I just hope I’m still young enough by the time that happens to enjoy it. Oh well. I suppose this is what I get for waiting so long to pursue my passion. God knows, I tried when I was younger. Just couldn’t seem to pull it together enough to finish anything.

I have high hopes for my son, though. He’s started several projects, but the one he’s working on now has well over three hundred pages. I hope he finishes this one. Then the real fun begins!

Okay, ’nuff for now. I’m back to writing. Later!

Vacation Days 1, 2, and 3!

The fam and I are taking a little break. We drove down to Virginia on Saturday. Let my daughter drive for about an hour. White-knuckling the arm rests sure does take a lot out of ya. After we caught our breath and got our blood pressure back down to normal, the rest of the trip went off without a hitch.

The hotel we’re staying at is really nice. It’s a two bedroom suite in Herndon, VA, with its own kitchenette and three TV’s so everyone can pretty much watch what they want. It’s nice. Two bathrooms makes it easier, too.

On Sunday we took a trip over to Arlington to visit my father-in-law’s grave. I never met the man – he died before my wife and I connected – but it was still humbling. Just driving through the cemetery is a humbling experience. Endless fields of grave markers clearly demonstrate the cost of freedom.

Afterwards, we drove over and parked by the paddle boats near the Jefferson Memorial. Spent a little time reading some of the words etched in stone around that monument, and thinking how little our current government seems to be operating by the principles Jefferson espoused. I particularly liked this one:

I have sworn before the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

Consider that one in the context of political correctness! And then there’s this one:

Almighty God hath created the mind free. All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens . . . are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion . . . No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion. I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively.

I particularly like that one, especially in context of the Left’s fascination with all things Islamic these days. Does anyone really believe that Jefferson would have submitted to paying the jizya? Or that he would have supported the blasphemy laws found under Shariah?

And just in case people take the above quote to suggest atheism is better, consider this one:

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.

After seeing Jefferson and reading his quotes, honestly, the rest of the monuments we saw were a bit of a let down. FDR’s memorial is, frankly, tainted by his progressivism. Hurray for Social Security – ’cause that’s just done so many wonderful things for our country. People forget that churches, charities and religious institutions were getting the job done of feeding the poor during the Great Depression. It was governmental interference in the market that both caused the problem (the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act), as well as prolonged it. Not that I want to get into a lengthy debate here. Martin Luther King Jr.’s memorial was okay, except that he looked so grim-faced. And nowhere in the memorial are any of his immortal words from the “I have a dream” speech. Is it because we really do want to judge people by the color of their skin and not the content of their character? Or are any judgments on a person’s character due to the color of their skin? I think not. Given that our current President is half-black, half-white, would it be appropriate to say I don’t like the white half of him because it’s plagued by liberal cultural Marxism?

I’ll take tongue out of cheek now. 🙂

We also climbed the steps to the Lincoln Memorial. He didn’t have nearly as much as Jefferson had, but I did like this quote from his second inaugural:

Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray— that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.’

After that, we wandered around the World War II Memorial (still under construction) and the Washington Monument (still under repair), and then headed back–footsore and weary. Spent the rest of our evening ensconced in our room, cozy and warm, reading or enjoying some shows on TV.

This morning I woke to eight inches of snow on the ground and closings everywhere. Felt right at home. Fortunately, though, not all the museums are shut down, so I’m hoping we can hop over to Air and Space and maybe another one and not lose the day just ’cause these poor southerners don’t know how to handle a little precipitation.

Yeah, that tongue’s found its way back to my cheek again.

And I hope we’ll actually get a chance – probably in the next two days – to get up to the Old Post Office tower. I’ll leave you fans of Jefferson’s Road to guess why… 🙂