Another Book Finished!

Tonight I wrapped up my thirteenth novel. A Glass Half-Empty, the long awaited sequel to A Glass Half-EmptySpilled Milk, is now done and being prepared for publication by Createspace. I’ll prepare a Kindle version probably tomorrow, and then get the Smashwords and Google Play versions done shortly thereafter. Of course, those last two will have to wait until the book has run its Kindle Select term.

In the meantime, I reworked the cover a bit. The gun, I think, conveys a little better what the story might be about. I’ll let you guys know once the book is available.

Whew! Now I’ve just got four more to wrap up before the end of the year. Ha!

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


Off stride a bit…

I confess I’ve been off stride this past week. Fact is, after cranking out better than 42K the first two weeks of July, the last week has been an absolute bust. Less than 1300 words for the entire week!

In all fairness, it’s been a rather busy week at that. My Mom came up to visit us, and we’ve had some car repair issues on top of the kids needing to be ferried all over creation (okay, it’s mostly my wife who’s done that last bit – though I’ve done a little), and we’ve had get togethers on back to back Sundays. All of which conspires to almost nothing written. It’s going to take some effort to get back on track. The word counts I booked prior to this by going over my minimal word count of 2k won’t be enough to cover the loss of an entire week, so I’ll have to stretch to pull this off.

Which brings up what I think is the real culprit behind the word count fiasco. On at least two of my stories, I’ve felt the plot lines sorta getting away from me. And I’ve faced a set back on a third – meaning the heart of the story hasn’t even begun yet because I’m still dealing with leftover issues from the previous novel. It’s been a little disheartening. I suspect what I’ll have to do is sit down and outline these two books, see if I can’t get a handle on what’s supposed to happen so I can avoid any rabbit trails leading to rabbit holes.

On a side note, and perhaps related to the discouragement over all, is the realization that I haven’t approached my writing career as strategically as I ought to have. The prevailing wisdom is to write an individual series, and then release books in that series close together (like months, not years as in the traditional model) to avoid confusing the reader. Writing multiple series is all well and good, but typically this is done one at a time.

On the other hand, I can’t exactly back off on the books I currently have available to just concentrate on one series or another. Well, maybe I could, but I don’t think it would be beneficial overall.

Jefferson’s Road is the closest to being done series I have, so there’s no question I’ll keep writing that. My Janelle Becker books are the best selling series, so it makes sense to keep doing them as well. Given that Topheth has sold so little to this point, I suppose I could pull it down, rename it something more recognizable (I’m thinking of “Burning” or “The Burning”), and then sit on it until I’ve got at least two more Janelle stories ready to go.

Definitely can’t do that with the Jonathan Munro Adventures, so those books are off the table as far as this is concerned.

That leaves me also with the Dragon’s Eye Cycle – a different genre, admittedly, and the Spilled Milk books.  Would there be wisdom in pulling these books and then re-releasing them when I have the rest finished? I doubt it with Spilled Milk, but Eye of Darkness, possibly. I might consider changing the title, and then re-releasing it under a pseudonym, so that I don’t confuse readers with what Michael J. Scott writes. I haven’t sold so many that it’d make a huge dent in matters, so it’s something to consider.

Of course, Turning is still out there as well. I haven’t pushed this one at all, and there are far more to write. I could pull it and then finish more before resubmitting it.

But the real solution, I suspect, is to plan out an entire story arc for a series, write the books ahead of time, and then only release them one a month once they’re all finished, fully edited, and covers professionally done and consistent. I have two unfinished books that might serve toward that end, so I’m not exactly starting from scratch here. It will take some tweaking to make these two books – both stand alones – fit into a single series, but I believe I can pull it off.

So this will be the next strategy, even as I work on finishing the current series that I have. I’ll let you know if I decide to pull anything down and then release more strategically in the future.

Christmas Sale Recap

So, after making two books with fewer than five reviews available for three days over Christmas – and hitting several pages with announcements about the books – here are the results:

Eye of Darkness – 239 books given away.

Spilled Milk – 656 books given away.

As of this writing, I haven’t sold any additional copies. My only hope now is that I’ll at least garner the missing reviews I need for the books to do a proper giveaway. But even that is questionable at this point.


1) When doing a Christmas sale, it’s probably better to do it either before Christmas, or immediately thereafter. Almost no one appeared to download much of anything on Christmas Day (duh), which means that whatever momentum I hoped to gain was lost.

2) There is definitely something to be gained by having five reviews instead of just three or four. Spilled Milk has one more review than Eye of Darkness, and it sold almost three times as well. While that may be a function of a better cover, better title, or just a genre with a broader audience, it may also have to do with the fact that the reviews on it are more trustworthy for the simple fact that there are more of them. And this is particularly frustrating, because I had promises from three people that they would post reviews for Eye of Darkness, and yet nothing happened (and for the guilty parties: I still love ya, and I hope you will eventually leave the aforementioned reviews).

3) It’s probably better to promote one title at a time, rather than more than one. I think doing two at once diluted my efforts. Rather than one book getting 895 downloads, and thus rising higher in the rankings (thus incurring more downloads), I inadvertently made the two books compete with each other, thus diluting the results and probably bringing the numbers down as a whole.

4) Evidently, I’m missing a crucial step in promoting my books. I don’t know if it’s due to my unfamiliarity with Twitter and Pinterest, but those are two tools I know I’ve underutilized. I wish sometimes that I wasn’t such an internet immigrant (I was born on the boat), so that I understood some of these things a little more intuitively. Alas, I’m gonna have to play catch up along with the rest. I probably don’t make half as much use of Goodreads as I could. And drive-by posts at the various message boards don’t help much. There are many people who are quite active and involved on these sites, and I know they sell well – and they all give the same advice: be involved in the forums. My complaint is that a) this takes away more time from my family, b) I’d rather be writing, and c) I’m so much more of an introvert that relating to people I’ve never met is a little counter-intuitive for me. And I can make all those complaints, and none of it matters, because those who participate sell better than those who don’t – no matter what the excuse.

All of which is to say: there’s definitely value in using a publicist than trying to do it all myself.

All right. Enough whining. I’m getting back to writing now. In the Widening Gyre has about 65K words written, and I’ve already started work on the sequel to Eye of Darkness as well as the next Jonathan Munro Adventure: The Music of the Spheres. TTFN!

The Christmas Sale Begins!

It’s about five o’clock on the first day of the Christmas sale. So far I’ve given away a little more than 270 books. Not nearly the numbers that I expect to have by the end of the sale (it usually takes a little bit for the books to get noticed, it seems), but not a bad start. Of course, now that people are getting home from work or last minute shopping and settling in for the evening, I expect it’ll start to take off.

Nevertheless, the two books are both at #46 in their respective categories. I’m hoping we can reach #1 before the sale ends, but I recognize that there’s probably a lot of competition for that spot this time of year.

Spilled Milk:

Eye of Darkness:

Christmas Sale!

So I’m doing a little Christmas sale type thingy. Using KDP Select for two of my titles that need a little love. I’m not making use of my regular publicist for these two, if only because I can’t seem to rally enough reviews for her to put to use.

I don’t know how big it’ll be, given that everyone and their brother will be pushing for Christmas, but what the heck. It’s worth a shot. At the worst, I hope to give a way a couple thous. and maybe garner some of those reviews I so desperately need. At the most, I’ll actually make some money doing this.

I’ve got a little more work to do to pull this off, but we’ll see how it goes. The books are below (if you’re curious), and the promo runs from December 24 through December 26. Maybe there’ll be some new Kindle owners I can dazzle. :P

CHRISTMAS SALE! December 24, 25, and 26, Spilled Milk is FREE to Download!

What would you do to protect your kids? For Gerrold Smith, a widower whose children have been taken from him by the courts, the answer is to hold the city hostage. What starts as a random act of violence quickly escalates into terrorist activity, and as Gerrold discovers the city’s dark secret, he must choose between saving his own children, or sacrificing them to save even more.

CHRISTMAS SALE! December 24, 25, and 26, Eye of Darkness is FREE to Download!

A mercenary ex-Sheriff and a girl outcast from her tribe investigate serial kidnappings and murders. Is it evidence of magick, or is some other darkness bringing such evil into their land?

This took a little longer than I thought…

Here’s the next installment of In The Widening Gyre.

Chapter Ten

My goal was to have chapter ten done as of yesterday, and be finishing chapter eleven today. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Part of it was the family’s insistence on watching a double feature last night, but the biggest reason was, I think, just being tired. The double shift I worked on Tuesday didn’t help matters. The overtime will help, of course, but not as far as the story is concerned.

Some days I just can’t wait till I’m earning QYJM from all this. I don’t really want or need to be rich. I just want to earn enough to do this full-time.

I suppose, in a way, this is a discipline. Paying my dues, that sort of thing. If I can learn to crank out the volume needed to make it as a writer, then I’ll have acquired the discipline needed to make doing it full time a worthwhile investment. It’s not like I’ll ever take a full year to write a novel again. My goal now is one every two months (assuming I can even pull that off!). This way, I’ll be able to progress on all six series I’m currently writing.

My wife pointed out to me the other day that I’ve already released three books this year. True, the sequel to The Lost Scrolls had to be submitted to my editor at Ellechor, but I did finish the edits and release it to her. And, of course, I finished both Spilled Milk and Eye of Darkness this year as well. This means that I only have to complete three more and I’m on target.

If I can wrap up In the Widening Gyre by May (and I hope sooner than that!), then I can take two months to finish Topheth (July), and two more to finish The Tree of Liberty (September), which will give me the last part of the year to start work on the next installments of the Spilled Milk series, The Dragon’s Eye Cycle, and the third Jonathan Munro Adventure. None of them will be due until 2013, either.

I think, once I get the Spilled Milk series done (and I expect only three titles in that set, at most), I’m still gonna resist doing any more series until I wrap up at least two more. I really want to finish off Jefferson’s Road and The Dragon’s Eye Cycle, since both of these series have a clearly defined end point. New World Order (of which In the Widening Gyre is just the first installment) does as well, but the anticipated series is nine books long. That’s a major investment of time, so I can’t really focus all my energies on finishing the series just now. By contrast, both Jonathan Munro Adventures and Janelle Becker Books are somewhat open-ended. I can write as many books in those series as I can think up. And since each novel stands alone, it’s not like I’m gonna have people breathing down my neck like I do for the others.

I think, in the future, I’m might steer away from sequential series. At least, I’ll stay away from this many! Maybe one or two at the most, with some stand alone novels and series thrown in the mix. Still, by the time I’m done with what’s currently on my plate, I’ll have written 33 books.

Don’t think I can complain about that at all, actually.

Bare-bones pricing on my printed books

I finally got around to reexamining the prices for my printed books via Createspace, and the good news is that I’ve been able to lower the prices on just about all of them.

Any lower on these prices and every sale would cost me money. Almost all of this price is printing costs. I make pennies for each one. But, every penny counts!

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Spilled Milk and Eye of Darkness now in print!

I’ve completed the review steps and such for both of these latest thrillers (in Eye of Darkness’s case: Fantasy-thriller), and now they are ready to be purchased. In about five days they’ll be available on, but for now, you can access them directly from my Createspace store.







Spilled Milk – $9.99






Eye of Darkness – $12.99


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“Hunger Games”-esque novel

So I decided to take the plunge and start my “Hunger Games”-esque novel. I’m tentatively calling it In the Widening Gyre. I say “tentatively” because my daughter Sarah informs me that it’s not a good “teen” title, because nobody knows what a “Gyre” is (Gyre = gyration, a spiral. Sheesh!). She’s probably right, but it is the opening line of Yeats’ poem. Unless I rearrange the wording and go with Things Fall Apart, which is supposed to be the next book in the series. I dunno. I have to think about it.

At any rate, I have the book outlined now, and I’ve pretty much wrapped up the first chapter and am into the second already. The chapters are a bit longer than what I normally write, but I don’t think that’ll be a problem. I’ve also chosen to do something a little different: I’m writing it in print-format. Rather than double-spacing it on 8 1/2 x 11 paper, I’ve set the document properties to a book setting, and I’m justifying the text, as well as using the fonts and so forth that I plan to use when the book is printed. I’m hoping this will save me some major editing steps, as I can see the book unfolding before me as I anticipate it will look once it’s finished. If this plays right, I may start doing this for all future books as well. I confess it’s a little odd, letting go of the formatting style I’ve grown used to for so many three decades, but I think it’s the right choice. We’ll see if it comes back to bite me in the hind end later.

On a related note, my print version of Spilled Milk has been delayed by production problems. Most notable is the fact that I’ve had to convert the file from Microsoft Word to OpenOffice format, so that I can use the pdf converter OpenOffice provides that neither my version of Word at home (2003) nor at work (2010) provides (for some reason, they never installed it at work). But this morning I discovered that my Word at workcan create the pdf after all. I can sneak it in through the “send to” function, where the pdf converting has been enabled. This means I no longer have to go through the entire document fixing all the page break errors that were created when I opened the Word doc in OpenOffice (it didn’t like the section breaks I used to change the header/footer information from the first few pages through the rest of the book. For some reason, OpenOffice wants to use just one header/footer throughout, whereas Word allows you to create as many as you want. Unless I’m doing something seriously incorrect.). Regardless, I should have the file ready to go on Thursday at the latest.

Oy! The perils of proofing!

No matter. I’m back to work on the book now. If I can crank this out as fast as I hope, then I PROMISE I’ll get right back to work on Topheth and Tree of Liberty before Spring is out.