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.

Topheth is FREE today

I’ve started my 2014 book selling campaign with a FREEBIE – Topheth, the sequel to The Coppersmith, is free today only at Amazon.
Janelle Becker is back. This time she’s assigned to Rochester, New York, where a serial arsonist is burning churches. His targets pass racial and religious boundaries, and his message of judgment becomes peculiarly focused on Janelle herself in this dark thriller.

Can Janelle and Curtis find this arsonist before he traps them both, or will their new-found passion for each other leave them burned?

Feel free to grab a copy and leave a kind word if you like it. ūüôā

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.

A Sequel to The Coppersmith

Topheth, the second “Janelle Becker Book” is now available for purchase on TophethAmazon.com and through Createspace. If you liked The Coppersmith, then Topheth is sure to satisfy.

From the back cover:

Special Agent Janelle Becker teams back up with Detective Curtis Bold to uncover the tracks of a serial arsonist burning churches in Rochester, NY. His targets pass all racial and religious boundaries, and his message of judgment becomes peculiarly focused on Janelle herself even as things heat up between Janelle and Curtis.

Can Janelle and Curtis find this arsonist before he traps them both, or will their new-found passion leave them burned?

Only $4.99 for the Kindle, and only $11.99 in print. Grab a copy today! ūüôā



And Just Like That…

Topheth is done. I wrapped up the final two chapters tonight (more accurately, this morning). The final tally for the book: 81,045 words. Not too shabby, frankly.

I’ll still be vetting it with my writer’s group on Wednesdays, letting them assist me in editing it and getting it ready for publication, which will happen sometime early next year. I still have to go back and be sure I incorporate all the previous edits I’ve already received on it. And I’m curious to see what they think of the ending, and the consistency of the characters, plot line, and so forth.

But since the overwhelming response has been positive so far, I’m not worried in the least.

This means that all I have left to wrap up this year is The Tree of Liberty and In the Widening Gyre. Yes, I’m finally getting back to that story. Probably not tonight, but this week for sure. I have to reread the whole thing to remember where I left off and recover the voice I was writing with.¬†At present, I have a little better than 55K words written on it, so there’s no reason I can’t finish it sometime in the next twelve to fifteen days. And then I’ll be free to advance onto another project.

NaNoWrimo Days 29 and 30

Just so we have the numbers…

Day 29  Р2,843

Day 30 – 3,107

TOTAL: 50,320!

Yes, it’s official: National November Writing Month has come to a close, and after an exhausting last ditch effort, I have successfully written over fifty thousand words in just thirty days. Final tally, between the two books is as follows:

The Tree of Liberty:  28,976 words added. 69,979 words total in the story.

Topheth: 21,344 words added. 76,297 words total in the story.

Neither book is finished yet, but both are rushing headlong to their conclusions. I’m going to try and wrap things up in the next week or so, see if I can’t get these done and into the hands of my BETA readers before the end of the year. And then, I can return to In the Widening Gyre and wrap it up as well. But for now, at least, I can relax.

NaNoWrimo Days 26-28

Very productive these past few days. I think we’re gonna make it!

Day 26  Р4,049

Day 27 – 3,632

Day 28 – 4,606

Total words: 44,370

I have only 5,630 words left in the next two days to reach the 50K Finish Line! So far, I’ve added almost 29K words to The Tree of Liberty and slightly better than 15K words to Topheth. Both books have now broken the 70K word mark, but unfortunately, neither is finished just yet! Still, we’re a lot (and I mean A LOT) closer to being done.

Some of you will be invited to be BETA readers for The Tree of Liberty. I hope to release it in 2013 for “general consumption” but I’ll want to get feedback and reviews on it before that time. Since Topheth is being read at my critique group, I’m just gonna hold off on releasing it until they’re done (or nearly done with it).

This is all part of the new strategy to actually market and promote these books with something resembling intelligence.

The third book I hope to finish this year, In the Widening Gyre, I will continue to make available as it gets finished. But once it’s done and y’all have given your thoughts on it, I’ll take it down from the site and put it up for sale. I know it’s frustrating to have the book only 2/3 done, but I promise I’ll get the rest completed. I genuinely want to be more disciplined in my approach as I move forward with this, but there are so many stories to write, and they don’t all like to wait. That’s sometimes why books get back-logged and other projects move to the front. In the end, they all get a little closer to being done, but they don’t always come out as soon as some of us would like (I guess I include myself in that as well, frankly).

In the meantime, I’ve put together a sample cover for the fourth Jefferson’s Road book: God and Country. I invite you to check it out on the front page (yes, I know about the colon. I’ll fix it in the final version.).

NaNoWriMo Days 19-25

19-Nov 1123
20-Nov 0
21-Nov 0
22-Nov 3988
23-Nov 3430
24-Nov 1768
25-Nov 1078

I’ve got 32,083 words finished as of 11/25 (11/26 numbers are still being generated, but they’re in excess of 3,100 at this moment.) I still need to come up with another 15K words or so before Friday. I think I’ll make the threshold just in time.

So far, Topheth has passed the 70K mark, and is rapidly careening toward an end (looks like it’ll wind up somewhere in the 80K range); and The Tree of Liberty has pushed past 62K, and is still climbing. I’m not sure how many words it’ll have. There’s a few hiccups in the plot line I didn’t see coming, which might lengthen the story–I hope, not unnecessarily.

I believe I’ve hit and pushed through the wall, and now only sheer, dogged determination is going to get me across the finish line.

But if I get through this, and then can still wrap up In the Widening Gyre by the end of December (barring any unforeseen-by-any-except-the-Mayan-end-of-the-world events), then I will have successfully completed no less than six different novels this year (Spilled Milk, Eye of Darkness, The Elixir of Life, Topheth, The Tree of Liberty, and In the Widening Gyre). Not too shabby at all!

Next year will be the year of sequels! I hope to write a stand alone for NaNoWrimo 2013, though. I have a number of candidates in mind.

And the series just don’t end. Just the other day I came up with a concept for a space opera based on the political intrigues surrounding a future Silk Road (that’s what happens when I spend too much time watching the History Channel), in which contact with earth has been lost, and the far-flung colonies believe that humans on earth have been wiped out. It’s got a lot of grit, with something resembling a Firefly feel (though without the whole controlling planets and failed revolution type thing). It’ll be less cowboy, too.

Of course, God only knows when I’ll get around to writing it. But this is precisely why I’m aiming to churn out multiple books per year. I’ll never get anything fun written if I don’t ramp up my pace. God willing, at some point in the near future, I’ll be able to do this full time. Then we’ll see what can happen.

All right. Enough rambling. I gotta get my “B” back “IC”. Later!

NaNoWrimo Days 13 – 18

Day 13 – 0

Day 14 – 1,532

Day 15 – 3,638

Day 16 – 834

Day 17 – 119

Day 18 – 0

Total word count so far: 20,696

I have 62,666 words written in Topheth and 53,978 words written in The Tree of Liberty. At this point, I should have 30k words written, so you can see I’ve fallen behind by about 10K words. Can’t say whether or not I’ll be able to catch up at this point, but there are some positive things on the horizon.

a) Co-op classes are finished for this term, so I don’t have to put in¬†writing time to compose lessons.

b) I have a class to teach on Tuesday, but most of the material is already developed, so even that shouldn’t be too big a problem.

c) This is a holiday week, so I don’t have any overtime, and I think I’ll be able to get caught up on the rest of it. This includes having all day Wednesday available. And even though I’ll be working Thursday evening, the guys will pretty much be in Turkey induced comas at that point, so the house will be fairly quiet. I’m working alone that shift as well, so I ought to get a lot written – even on the holiday.

So there ya go. I have no excuses for not catching up over the next four days. I need to do about 4K words a day to break even, however. Yikes!  My best days were on the 7th and the 15th: 3,766 and 3,638 words respectively. Now I have to break both those records for four days straight. Wish me luck!

NaNoWriMo Days 9-12

Day 9 – 645 words

Days 10 and 11 – Nothing

Day 12 – 1,150

Total so far: 14,573

Yeah, I’m wa-ay behind. Between writing up a co-op lesson, helping my kid get his video ready for his film-making class, taking a sick kitty to the vet and putting together the “Yes, You Can Be Published (For Free)” course for Tuesday night, I haven’t had a whole lot of time or energy to do much writing. And to make matters worse, Tuesday night into Wednesday morning I’m working an 11 pm to 7 am shift at a new¬† house in Penfield. This means class will wrap up at 8:30 pm (or so), and then I’ll be crawling back outta bed by 10:30 to run down to Penfield to stay up all night. Oh yeah, I’ve really thought this through.

On a positive note, I have the rest of Wednesday and all day Thursday off. I hope to rest¬†and finally get some words cranked out. My son will, doubtless, want to watch a “guy flick” with me on Thursday, but I should have quite a bit done before that time.

The bright spot is that Tree of Liberty has now (finally!) passed the 50K mark, and once it’s done, I’m gonna be looking for some BETA readers. I’ve got a few in mind, provided that they leave me reviews once I post it on Amazon. I may yet do the same thing with Topheth.

I’ve been rethinking my overall publishing strategy – as in, actually developing one for 2013. I hope to actually plan out my launch and marketing¬†rather than just dumping the books on the market without any regard for when or how I might¬†try to sell them. Yes, this means a slight delay for the books I’m currently completing, but I believe¬†it’ll work in my favor overall to do things a little more deliberatively.