Hi Everyone,

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything to the blog, and also since I’ve actually published anything new, aside from Nicholas, of course. My expectation is that this is soon going to change.

To begin with, you will doubtless notice there have been some significant changes to the website. I’ve been studying my little tushie off on how to the third leg of authoring correctly (the legs are: writing, publishing, and marketing) – hence the website change.

Do you like the new look? Is it a little more user-friendly (ie: easier to navigate, etc.)? I hope so. You’ll notice there’s some free stuff being offered. I’m giving away two of my novels – The Coppersmith and Topheth – to anyone willing to tell me where I can send them. All I need is an email address. Along with that, you’ll be added to my mailing list to receive notice on other cool stuff as well as have an opportunity to join my Advance Reader Team and help me out significantly.

The Advance Reader Team will get early copies of my book and will be specifically invited to give honest feedback – anything from character and plot development to typos – before the book goes live! I confess I’ve been doing this a little backwards, not quite knowing how to get my book into the hands of readers who care until after it’s been published. It seems stupid, but when you’re building in the dark, things don’t always come out right the first time.

I’ve connected with Mailchimp – an email service – to assist me in coordinating these emails with everyone, and I’m crossing my fingers that it all works correctly.

The second thing I’ll be doing is beginning a twin outreach to Facebook users beginning in January. First, I want to invite all those people who have liked my works in the past – particularly Jefferson’s Road – to join my Advance Reader Team mailing list. I’ll be sending some posts to your feeds via Facebook advertising to invite you to join. I have a sign up list on my Jefferson’s Road Facebook page already if you want to get an early start. The second part of this outreach is finding readers on Facebook who might also like Jefferson’s Road and offering them an omnibus edition. I’ve already uploaded this to Amazon, and it will go live in January.

Naturally, the omnibus edition won’t have any reviews when it goes up, so you could really help me by downloading a copy and leaving a review. I’m going to make the omnibus edition available for $.99 for a limited time to give you a chance to get a hold of it on the cheap. I’d do it for free, but Amazon gives weight to reviews from actual purchases rather than just friends and family (as if my friends and family don’t give honest, critical reviews! Go figure.).

In the meantime, I’ve uploaded new editions of all my books which have the new links to the mailing list, reviews, and other ways to stay connected in them (except the Jonathan Munro Adventures, which are managed under Ellechor Publishing House).

And before anyone says something along the lines of “Why doesn’t he quit all this marketing stuff and just get back to writing! C’mon, we’ve been waiting for the next Jefferson’s Road for over a year now!”, please note that I hear and share your concerns, and I commit that I will get the next Jefferson’s Road novel completed soon, ideally by March. Think of it as a New Year’s Resolution.

And yes, I’ll get Wizard Sky Pirates and Anarchy done soon as well (my daughter Rachel is pestering me.). Truth is, I have a number of works nearly complete, and I hope to be sharing them with you all quite soon.

And just to keep you on the edge of your seats… there’s a new story thread in the works along the same lines as Jefferson’s Road. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ve been inspired a little bit by Amazon’s rendition of Philip Dick’s The Man in the High Castle as well as the Political Correctness movements around various campuses – especially Missouri State. It’ll be a spy thriller kind of thing taking place in the future, after the United States has fragmented apart. I’m essentially putting it in “the same universe” as Jefferson’s Road.

Just to recap: if you haven’t done so already, sign up for the mailing list today, get your free books, and join my Advance Reader Team. It’s about to get interesting.

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!


Okay, so this post is a few days overdue. Sue me. On September 5, 2013, I broke the 200,000 mark for the first time in a single year. I’d love to say that was 200,000 books sold, but it ain’t. It’s my word count since February 15th. The actual count (as of this moment) is 204,644, with another 1200 words to go to make this evening’s quota.

Of those 200K words, more than half were written since July, when I knuckled down and started trying to crank out 2k words per day. My actual average is around 1500, but better to aim for the moon than for the streetlight. At this pace, I should easily be able to write and finish between six and seven novels per year. Naturally, I’m hoping for more.
My six WIP’s are all closing in on 40K words (half done). The average is 37,400. I don’t think I’ll actually finish all six this year, but there’s a real good chance of knocking four of them out of the park.

The only one that sorta befuddles me on that point is Nicholas. Since this is a Christmas story, I’d sorta like to have it done by November at the latest, but it doesn’t look like I’m going to make it. I’ll finish it regardless, but it’ll just have to wait until next Fall before I release it. Probably right around the time you first begin to see Christmas sales going up.

In the meantime, I’ve worked out a schedule for next year’s books. I’m going to do the fifth Jefferson’s Road book, another Janelle Becker novel, and the second book in the New World Order series. I’m also going to work on a set of three novels that comprise a new series called “The Issachar Initiative.” These will be spy-thrillers about an off-book black ops organization responding to problems around the world. I’ll tell you more about it once I begin work on the project. I hope to cannabalize one of my half-written books for this purpose, and retask an outlined book for the same, and then write a third one as I’m working up the first two. I’ve never tried to write three books in the same series at the same time before, so it should be interesting. Regardless, I expect to release them rather close together.

At any rate, you can look for Jefferson’s Road: God And Country, Descent, A Glass Half-Empty, and The Blood-Eater Coven (Book 2 of The Dragon’s Eye Cycle) sometime early next year. I’ll also be wrapping up a third Jonathan Munro Adventure, as well as Nicholas for the 2014 schedule. And, of course, the second Jonathan Munro book comes out from Ellechor this November.

Okay. Enough updating. Back to work!

Do You Believe in Prophecy?

A friend and I get together for breakfast every other week or so – just two guys trading ideas, stories and the like, sharing what God is doing in our lives and how He’s calling us to serve Him next. He told me that he thought God might’ve spoken to him in his quiet time, and that he thinks God told him that I would get a book contract in a week.
That was on June 25th.
Naturally, I had him write this down on a scrap of paper I’m keeping in my wallet, but I thought I’d record it here as well, just because… you know… just in case it’s true.
I don’t doubt for a minute that God can speak today. I’ve heard His voice myself a time or two (at least once He yelled at me. Deservedly so, of course). Some like to assert that God doesn’t speak anymore, but I find those arguments unbiblical. It’s not like He has cosmic laryngitis or anything. And why would He give us the indwelling presence of His Spirit if He didn’t aim to talk with us now and again?
Of course, that doesn’t mean we always hear Him right. I think it’s fairly easy to insert our own wishes in place of God’s actual voice, and maybe that’s what my friend has done. Which is kinda cool in its own right – means I’ve definitely got people pulling for me on this one.
On the other hand, maybe he did hear from God. I guess we’ll find out in a few days.

On a different note, I’ve been working up a book trailer for Jefferson’s Road. Yeah, I know – it ain’t published yet. But I’ve pretty much decided that it’s going to be – one way or another. If Kelly Mortimer declines to represent it, and no one else picks it up, I’m going to go ahead and use a POD printer to get it done – then find a way to get it into as many hands as I can. I figure I’ll have to do some marketing anyway, even if it is picked up by a traditional house, so it won’t hurt to be prepared.
Thing is, it’s just one of those stories that needs to be told. There’s too much crap coming down the pike not to do something about it. I fear for my country – not so much from what the current adminstration is doing, but from how it continues to divide us. I don’t think the rifts will heal, and with continual pressure pulling us in both directions, I don’t foresee us holding together as a people much longer.
I know I sound like some kind of moderate. I’m really not. But I don’t think the Left will let up until they’ve destroyed the country, and I don’t think it will be much longer before the Right is so fed up that they do something rash – like the Baird’s in Jefferson’s Road.
In a way, Jefferson’s Road is my own prophetic warning. See, it ain’t really about killing the President at all. It’s about a new Civil War ravaging our country – a war based not on geography, but on ideology. No convenient lines will demark the battle fronts. Not even red state vs. blue state. I’m anticipating a complete, societal meltdown. That’s what I want to warn against. I just hope somebody’s listening.
Maybe you think I’m being overly dramatic. Maybe you think it can’t happen here (thank you Sinclair Lewis). Or maybe it’s already happening. I read about bricks being tossed through election headquarters and political volunteers getting roughed up. Protests and counter-protests. People getting arrested for daring to pray in public (happened in Elmira). Assaults on free speech. And the President appointing more leftist czars than you can shake a stick at. I keep an eye on the news, and I think “It can’t be long now,” and I just feel such an urgency to finish the next book and get these stories out there before it’s too late.
Back on 9-11 the whole country came together because we had a readily identifiable enemy. But our togetherness didn’t last long, did it? That’s the problem. There are two ways to unite a people. You either give them a common vision, or you give them a common enemy. We don’t have a common vision anymore. So common enemies are all that work.
Nietzsche said, “Only a horizon ringed about with myths can unify a culture.” The common myths that made us Americans have been under assault now for generations, and I fear that the new generations don’t even know what it means to be an American anymore. And without that common vision, and without a common faith in a Creator God, we will not stand much longer. A strong wind will blow us down like a hollow oak. Anyway, that’s just my take on things.

New Story Idea

So my wife had a dream last night – nightmare, actually. In the nightmare, she said I was a serial killer (go figure), and that I had been hiding bodies in the basement, and eventually, the detritus from their decay began to seep out onto the floor, which is how she kept finding the bodies.

She tells me the dream this morning, and I instantly think, “What a good idea!”

No, not the killing people part and hiding them in the basement. Bad idea. Bad, bad!

No, the part about a wife discovering her husband is a serial killer. What if a woman is married, and after becoming a Christian, begins to ‘hear God warning her about her husband.’ Everyone else suspects she’s crazy, schizophrenic. She’s starting to wonder herself. Meanwhile, she keeps discovering more evidence that her husband might, in fact, be a serial killer.

Anyway, I’ve decided to call this particular book Revelation. Don’t worry, I’ll still keep working on the other stories I have.

See, this is why I think I’m really supposed to do this. I keep getting new story ideas all the time. I have so many stinkin’ ideas right now, I have no idea when I’ll find the time to write them all. But I’ll keep at it.

Anyway, this will be a fun way to explore the difference between hearing God’s voice and going crazy (and isn’t it wonderful how our modern culture assumes that if you talk to God, you’re a saint, but if God talks to you, you’re crazy.).

Meanwhile, this will be deliciously dark and foreboding. Another theme to touch on will be the contrast between Biblical submission, the quasi-religious cultural version of submission which is really suppression, and the modern cultural response of “liberation” which only produces chains instead (naw, I’m not thinking literally here. Too easy).

I’m inspired by my wife’s nightmares. B-yoo-ti-full!