Well, here it is mid-March. Ides of March, in fact, and I’m enjoying a few days off from work. As promised, I’m working on the next Jefferson’s Road novel: A More Perfect Union. Yesterday I had a great time learning how to pick handcuffs (oh the joys of research!), and I also spent some time putting down one of the key arguments in the book–not that I’m going to give anything away!

I do confess, however, that this story is stubborn. It refuses to reveal itself to me except in dribs and drabs. Bare trickles of text. My goal was to crank out 5,000 words a day for the four days I have off. Instead, I’m lucky if I can get a thousand out. Only 750 so far today. I need easily another 30K to wrap up this story with the word count I expect.

I think the problem is that I don’t really know where it’s going. Every other JR novel had had a relatively clear destination or obstacle in mind. With this one, its more an aftermath of what’s happened. I do know, however, that it preludes the final, essential conflict that must play out in the last book, a fulfillment of the prophecy or dream Peter has in this one.

I suppose I could share that part, at least. Let you guys know where I think we’re headed. It’s been awhile since I’ve done an excerpt, so certainly we’re due for one. I’ll share it below, and then I’ll share where it came from.

That night when I fell asleep, I had the dream again. Bishop Calhoun came to me—only this time it was in the Capitol’s open lobby, repeating once more the words I’d come to fear.

“A war is coming, Peter. A terrible war, when every life snuffed from the wombs of our daughters shall be paid for in kind by the blood of our sons.”

“But isn’t it enough?” I demanded as he turned to walk away. “We’ve already lost so many to the plague!”

“War. Famine. Pestilence and Death. For all this, His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.”

Then I stood upon a precipice, with a sniper rifle in my hands, overlooking a massive field of the dead. Bodies lay all around, fallen over on each other. Blood stained the matted earth, turning it to mud. No matter which way I looked, I did not see another living soul. Thunder rumbled from the heavy clouds, laced with lightning.

So anyway, those words that I gave to the Bishop in Peter’s dream came to me while we were traveling south to Washington, D.C. a year ago. Hit me like walking into a door frame. I don’t claim they’re prophetic–at least, I hope they’re not!–but they were compelling. At any rate, that’s where we’ll go in the last book. This one sets it up. And I do know how the series ends, it’s just a matter of finding my way there.

I began this series as a sprint through The Spirit of Resistance. I ran through Patriots and Tyrants, jogged through The Tree of Liberty, and walked through God and Country. Somewhere in the middle of this book I stumbled, and now I’m on my hands and knees crawling through the mud, reaching for the next mile. Sorry it’s taking so long, but I do promise that I won’t give up until we get all the way through the sixth mile of this hideous road. Maybe by then I’ll find someone to carry me.


The good news is, I caught it now. I’m only 50K words or so into this story–The Music of the Spheres. I’ve been working on it off and on for a couple years now, and this month is my attempt to finish it. What did I catch? I’m so glad you asked.

I just caught on to the fact that this story takes place in Kiev, Ukraine (and points further east) in the middle of winter. It sorta begins on New Year’s Eve, in fact.

And what do I do for research? I spend my days on Google Earth looking at pictures of the city so I can accurately portray it, along with numerous other photographs available via the internet.

What do all these photographs and Google Earth have in common?


Yes, that’s right, I’ve got pages and pages of description for this book giving my best verbal interpretation of this city and countryside as I see it in these images–and I’m supposed to be writing about the bloody winter! Here I am, 50K words in, and I just now realize I’ve been describing the whole thing in the wrong  season! Gaah!

Like I said, it’s a good thing I caught it now. I can’t imagine how stupid I’d feel if I’d actually read this to someone or worse, sent it off to my publisher, with such a glaringly bone-headed error in the entire story. The good news is I’ve got some time off coming up, so I’ll have a few days to go through and pick out all the little tidbits of summer and replace them with winter.

Okay, I feel better. Back to writing.


So Here’s The Plan

Hi guys,

Been awhile since I’ve posted anything, and I wanted to bring you up to speed on the plan for 2015. There’ve been a couple of developments lately that bear in on what the plan is, so I’m going to mention them first.

To begin with, my daughter Rachel prevailed upon me to start a novel (series – ’cause I just can’t avoid them!) inspired by her shared love of Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean. Thus, I promised in November that I would begin The Wizard of The Sky Pirates for her. My son David and I both competed in NaNoWriMo this year, and we both won (largely, I think, to our mutual accountability and late night writing sessions here in the den).

And so, two things were accomplished. A new story world that has surpassed 50k words in length, and once more I proved to myself that I could churn out a lot of content in a short amount of time.

Which brings me to the painful point that I now have eight works in progress all in various stages of completion.

Additionally, I’ve also been enjoying The Indie Author Power Pack which is chock full of advice on how to write, publish, and market your work. One of the best bits is about creating “funnels,” or series of products that lead naturally from one into the other. The idea is to make it super easy to purchase the first product (the top of the funnel), and then gradually require more down the line. In the back of each book, you include a call to action – to join a subscriber list as well as a clickable link to the next book in the series. With my Jefferson’s Road series, I’m already doing that. The first title is free (easy to purchase), and the remaining books are at cost. To be successful, I’ll need several product lines which do the same thing.

Alas! I have several series started, and only one funnel actually functioning! This brings us full circle to the eight WIPs currently out there – and the observation that I can write 50k words in a single month. For most of these books, I don’t need anywhere near 50k words to wrap them up. I just need the discipline to finish them.

Thus, the strategy: beginning in January through August, I will work on only one book per month, with a view toward finishing that book by the end of the month. I’ve calculated out the words needed per day to pull this off, and it doesn’t even get tough until July, where I’ve got a novel that needs 60k words. Naturally, I’ll need to say “Bye” to some of my favorite TV shows (though I can still watch once the words are done), and I’ll need to concentrate my efforts so I don’t fall behind, but this will at least help me clear my plate of the clutter. And, I’ll be this much closer to completing the funnels that I’ll need to drive sales and maybe make a living doing this.

I have a mentor who is going to meet with me monthly to discuss marketing strategies as well. Her first word of advice was to stop writing and concentrate on learning how to sell. I’m going to politely ignore that, of course. 🙂 But I’ll still learn everything I can from her coaching sessions and apply as much as I am able in the meantime. I really do want 2015 to be the year we break through to the 1k sales a month club, which is why I need to focus on getting all this done.

Besides, David and I want to collaborate on a story concept. Wizards vs. Aliens. That’s all I’m gonna say about it. We hope to start in September, which is when I should finally be free enough to work on something. Whew!

At any rate, that’s the plan. Happy New Year!

End of the Month

We’re practically at the end of July already. Can you believe it? Feels like this summer–this year–is just flying by. So far we’ve been inundated in rain for most of this week. Hasn’t exactly been a scorcher ’round here. For the most part, things have settled into a dull roar at the Scott home. Even work has calmed down significantly.

I’m doing some publishing work for a friend–Roz Pullara. She’s a member of the local Rocco writer’s group I attend at the library, and has written a 1940’s family mystery/drama. Her style is quite different from mine, which is certainly fine. She paints with a very detailed brush. Anyway, she hired me to do the cover design, interior formatting and upload type stuff for her latest work. Looks like I’ll be putting together a similar package for her first novel as well. Should be fun. She likes the look of her cover, too. 🙂

In the meantime, I’m still plugging away at my various projects. Looks like I’ll only get in about 20k words or so for the month–significantly off my last year’s pace for June. Then again, I’ve had a few things going on.

I did some promotion-type stuff in June, which nearly doubled my sales. I’m hoping to see more “fruit” from that effort pay off in August, with new readers of Jefferson’s Road moving on to books two through four. I plan to do more “promoting” of some of my other titles in August and especially in September, but I’m conscious of the fact that I only have one series really ready for promoting. Typically, readers (I’m told) look to see if there are three books in a series, and then pick up the first one for free to see if they want to keep reading. While I have six series going, only one of them has more than three titles available. I do hope that I’ll have more series ready for this by the end of 2015.

From here on out, I don’t plan on publishing any new series until I have at least three books in it completed–and quite possibly even four. That way I can try to create some “buzz” with my release strategies. Not to worry, though. There’s plenty enough to keep me busy before I can pull that off.

Anyway, just thought I’d drop a line in before the end of the month. I’m getting back to writing now.

See ya!


Coppersmith on Sale this Weekend

So I’m trying something new: The Coppersmith, my first Janelle Becker Book, will be going on sale this weekend (it’ll start Saturday and run through Wednesday). I’m utilizing a combination of paid advertising and free advertising to get the word out (as well as mentioning it here), in the hopes this will get the ball rolling.

The truth is, though, that I need a few more things in place to actually make it in this business – barring a lightning strike. One, I need to have more books out. I know, I know – I’ve got thirteen titles for sale! Yes, many writers have done it with half that number. Foolish me, I spread myself a little too thin, trying to write over six series as well as stand-alones. The thing is, I need to have at least three books in each series in order to effectively promote them. The first book is made perma-free (it becomes my loss leader, the way I’ve been doing it with The Spirit of Resistance), and the rest are sold as sequels. Those who like the first book in the series often go on to buy the second and third, etc., but only if they are available to buy!

In order to pull this off, I need another seven books. I have to finish writing The Blood-Eater Coven, Anarchy, and The Music of the Spheres, and then I have to begin and complete writing the following: Puzzle (A Janelle Becker Book), The Division of Darkness (Book 3 of The Dragon’s Eye Cycle), A Glass Half-Full, and the as yet untitled fourth New World Order book (I was going to call it “Blood,” but my daughter pointed out that people will think it’s a vampire book. I haven’t yet selected a new title. Working on it, though).

Once this is done, I will be able to promote all six series.

The second thing I need to pull this off is the money to buy some ads on a few particular sites (which I won’t mention here). The sites I have in mind have a proven track record of generating significant ROI when it comes to selling e-books, and  I’m reasonably confident I can’t do this without them.

The good news is this: I should be able to a) finish the three books in process this year, along with the fifth installment of Jefferson’s Road, and easily write the remaining four novels in 2015. As it stands right now, I will only be able to effectively promote two series at the end of this year – and only one of those is independent! My Jonathan Munro Adventures are traditionally published with Ellechor.

This, it seems, is the heart of the problem. Too many series too soon. Sigh. Once I get some of these off my plate, I promise that I’m going to write more books in fewer series at a time. I think this’ll be a little more effective in the future.

Okay. Enough for now. Back to writing!

Cancer Sucks

Let me just say this as concisely and as compassionately as I can:

Cancer sucks.

My beloved wife is now home after a double mastectomy due to malignancies found in both breasts. Been a helluva week here at the Scott home. For those who didn’t know, just understand that a) we found out about this fairly recently, and b) we didn’t want to be answering a lot of questions over and over again, and c) we didn’t want to do the Facebook thing, either. Guess we’re both just a little too old school and uncool for the social media thing. And some of you are quite busy around graduation time, and we didn’t want to detract from someone else’s celebration. Don’t want to be the rain on someone’s picnic, y’know?

At any rate, she’s now made it through two different cancers–kidney and breast–and yeah, they both sucked. I’m hoping things can get back to something resembling normal, now that the hospitalization is over. We’re still facing a long recovery and the whole reconstruction phase, but once she gets past the initial surgeries, things should start calming down. I don’t believe we’ll be looking at either chemotherapy or radiation, because her lymph nodes were clear. Still waiting for 100% confirmation from pathology, but we may be out of the woods. Yay.

Downright exhausting, though, lemme tell ya. Mostly for her, of course, but also for me a bit, too.

We’ve been blessed to have so many friends bringing over meals and stocking our pantry, and my job has been great about giving me time off. I did put in a couple hours this afternoon, but honestly, I’m grateful my son called with bike trouble, because I think I was pushing myself. Haven’t been sleeping right at all these past several nights. My parents are also in town, and were great about hanging out with the kids while I hung out with my wife in the hospital. Oh, and a shout out to Rochester General, too, for the awesome recovery room. They practically gave us a suite!

There’s a couple of people whose phone calls I’ve yet to return. I’ll get a hold of you, soon, I promise.

As far as writing goes, I’m still plugging away, albeit a little more slowly these days. I’ve got one book almost finished, one 2/3rds done, two about half done, and two more about a third done. ‘Course, that’s also written on the sidebar, so  you can see for yourself. I’m on target to get at least three of these finished this year, if not four. But we’ll have to see how that pans out. I couldn’t have predicted the cancer thing, so who knows what might get in the way of that goal.

That’s all for now. Later!

Last Day of Vacation

Okay, so this post is a little late. We were on the road, and access to the computer was a tad limited. At any rate, I wanted to share the highlight of this particular day, which, of course, was going to the Old Post Office Pavilion and into the bell tower.


Here’s a pic of me in the tower, and behind me you can see the line of sight from the tower to the Capitol Building itself. No spoilers for those who haven’t read The Spirit of Resistance yet. Those lines are wires, beyond which is the open air.

I have to admit, it gave me chills to step in there, especially after how significant a role this building played in the series. All in all, the whole trip was amazing.


Vacation 3, 4, and 5

Gaa! I just found out that the edits to my kindle promos didn’t take! Argh! Just lost an entire day of promotional opportunity for Spilled Milk, and now tomorrow, a lot of places will be looking to see a free book from me, and it won’t be free! I hate that!

If anyone sees the free promo and isn’t able to download the book because it isn’t free FRIDAY when it’s supposed to be, please send me a note via this blog and I’ll get a copy to you.

Very disappointing, frankly. If Amazon isn’t going to accept edits to their promotions, then they shouldn’t make that option available. It doesn’t DO ANYTHING!

Okay, enough about that. Vacation. I’m on vacation.

Been doing a lot of walking this vacay. A LOT of WALKING. My feet have informed my legs that they quit and they’re not going out anymore. My thighs and calves have seconded the motion, and have informed the small of my back, who has agreed by planning a mutiny against the rest of me for taking them on this walking tour of our nation’s Capitol.

So far, we have visited Arlington National Cemetery, the monuments, the National Museum of Air and Space – which I’ve already discussed, the National Museum of Art, the National Museum of American History, the National Archives, the National Zoo, and the National Air and Space Udvar-Hazy Center.

Museum of Art was very interesting: I especially enjoyed the Monets. The American History museum was also quite compelling. The whole history of American Warfare is told there – quite fascinating and very moving. Saw also the transportation section (my youngest enjoyed the section on pirates), the history of electricity and steam. The food exhibit was just okay, though. Didn’t feel particularly organized – no real sense of how “eating” has changed in America. More like somebody dumped a lot of historical artifacts into a massive Cuisinart and just let her rip.

At the National Archives, I positively got chills reading the actual Constitution and the Bill of Rights – very cool to see the words actually written there in pen. I’d say the same for the Declaration, but frankly, it’s illegible at this point. Tragic.

Today we walked the Zoo. And that’s about all I can say for it. It wasn’t bad, but the Pittsburgh Zoo was better. The tiger cubs were cute, though. Most of the animals, unfortunately, were in hiding (likely due to the weather). Watched a gorilla throw up. That was very nearly the highlight. Fortunately, the tiger cubs saved the day.

After coming back and resting a bit, we went on to the Udvar-Hazy Center. The Enola Gay was moving. The Space Shuttle Discovery was inspiring. The mother ship from Close Encounters was amusing (yes, we found R2-D2, Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter, several planes, a graveyard, and a screen door on the mother ship. Didn’t see the VW van, though), and the SR-71 Blackbird was menacing. I have to admit, though, one of the coolest moments I had was recognizing a Focke-Wulf FW-190 from a distance. I remember making a model of that aircraft as a kid. To see one now up close and personal felt incredible.

Of course, it also occurred to me that we went from the Wright Brothers’ flyer at Kitty Hawk to Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon in sixty-six years. And even seeing the Space Shuttle, I realized this is technology that is some thirty years or so out of date. What could we as Americans, as people, do, if we set our minds to it in the next sixty-six years?

Tomorrow we’re going back to the city for one last visit. We’re hoping to hit the Post Office Tower (hehe), the White House (a walk around it), the Smithsonian Castle, the Library of Congress (my youngest wants to see it), and Ford’s Theater. It’s a lot of walking – whew! By the time we’re doing, I think I’m gonna need some new shoes.

New books before the end of the year?

So I’ve got about twenty-six days left before the end of the year, and I’m sitting on about 53K words on A Glass Half-Empty and a little more than 47K words on Descent. If I work daily to get to 2K words a day, that’s about 52K words to divvy up between the two of them. Given the difficulty in writing EVERY STINKING DAY INCLUDING CHRISTMAS, it’s unlikely I’ll get both of them finished. That being said, it’s more than likely that I’ll get at least one of them done. Probably A Glass Half-Empty, all things being equal.

That is, of course, if I can keep my hands of writing Anarchy. My youngest daughter, of course, is pushing for it. I’ve composed a chapter and a half on it so far, about 5K words, give or take. Naturally, it’s more fun to start a story than it is to stick with it long enough to finish one. That’s how I wind up with so many works in progress.

At any rate, I’ve put together a pair of new covers (visible on the front page, of course) for both A Glass Half-Empty and Anarchy. Love to get your thoughts on them!

And yes, I will be starting book five of Jefferson’s Road before too long. I know many of you are anxious to find out what happens to Peter (so am I, actually!).

Here are the covers:

A Glass Half-Empty   Anarchy Cover



So I was spending the afternoon painting the front of the house, trying to get the last bit in before the weather turns to cold for it (below 50°), and I’ve been using my children’s old play set as a scaffolding. Probably not the brightest idea I’ve ever had, but certainly not the dumbest.

I know this for a fact.

The dumbest idea, of late, is stepping out on the side beam of the “scaffolding” to reach that last little bit of siding – a space about two feet long by one foot tall. The beam was held together by a pair of drywall screws through the thinnest part of the wood, not the big old lag bolts that tied the rest of this structure together.

Did you catch the past tense there? Oh yeah. Those screws aren’t doing a bit of good now. Mercifully, the pine bush broke most of my fall, so I didn’t completely bash my skull in on one of the concrete drainpipe receptacles we’ve got at every the corner of the house. No, not completely. Just a little bit. Torqued my shoulder pretty good, too. And tore some skin off my, ankle, and back.

What fun.

So here I am, cleaned up and polysporined half to death, sick and tired of the ice packs on the back of my noggin, and assuring the family that I don’t need to go to the hospital, ’cause there just ain’t no cure for stupid. At any rate, I hope to get some writing done. But if it stops making sense, it might be a signal that I should go to urgent care. Not my idea of a good way to spend the evening.

At any rate, that’s my day so far.