Chuggin’

Year-end coming soon.

So. I’ve finished my edits to The Moreva of Astoreth, and have sent the manuscript off to a real editor. I should have it back around mid-November. Assuming I haven’t fucked up too badly, I’ll plug in the edits (if I agree with them), and then send it off for the next stage in the production process. That would be the galleys. I’ll go over those and send it back to the formatter with any changes I may have made. Then they’ll make the book. And then…

PUBLICATION!! That’s scheduled for January 5.

Now. One part of the marketing process is to have people read Advanced Reader Copies and post reviews on the day of publication. Sometimes they’re called a “street team,” a term left over from pre-internet days. See, the way it works is the more reviews a new release has on the day of publication, the higher it gets ranked on Amazon. The higher the rank, the more exposure Amazon gives, like putting it “above the fold” on it’s New Releases page. Most other sites work this way too, but Amazon is the 800-lb. gorilla in the room. That’s why us author types ask that readers post reviews on Amazon.

If anyone out there is interested in being an ARC reader/reviewer, hit reply. The target dates for distribution is 12/15-20/20, and the review posted on January 5. The book will be available in all e- formats. I’m including the link to the Amazon page description.… Continue reading

I Read A Book!

No, really–I did!

Honestly, I can’t tell you the last time I read for pleasure. Day job, writing, marketing–there just never seems to be any time. And I used to be quite the reader. My to-be-read pile is a mile high, both in print and electronic. It’s said that you can’t be a great writer if you don’t read. I don’t know about that, but I see the point. I don’t feel guilty about not reading. I do feel left out when others talk about these great books they’ve read, and I can’t join the fun. Well, when I think about it, it’s not quite for “pleasure.” I look at the writing style. I think about the story, and the way it hangs together. Or not. I learn something about the craft. Hm. I wonder if the books I buy counts as a tax deduction. Be nice if I could pull it off. Don’t think I’ll try it, though. The IRS is pissed at me enough as it is.

So the book was the Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu. Science fiction author from China (as if you couldn’t guess by his name). Absofuckinlutely brilliant! He writes hard sf, which is a subgenre where the story is based on the known laws of physics. My books–the science fiction parts–are classified as science fantasy. Like faster-than-light travel. Life forms made of rocks. Which is a discussion in itself–if it doesn’t have a central nervous system or the equivalent, can it be… Continue reading

Been A While

Hey, y’all! Remember me?

Busy, busy, busy as a bee. Spent most of July getting ready to launch my pre-buzz campaign for The Moreva of Astoreth. Creating ads, doing test runs on BookBub, stuff like that. I also created ads for The Final Victim and ran those. Picked up about 25 new subscribers to the newsletter. Of course, some did unsubscribe. That’s fine, but it made me wonder–why bother subscribing when all you wanted was a free book, especially since you had the choice to get the book and not subscribe? Just seems like a waste of energy–you choose the book, get my welcome letter, then take the time to unsubscribe. It’s a little thing, yes, but it doesn’t make sense. Then again, a whole lotta stuff in the world doesn’t make sense right now. Like 160,000 Americans dead from COVID-19.

Started work on the 3rd book in The Underground series, Song for Mage. I’m also working on the sequel to The Moreva of Astoreth, When Gods Die. Yeah–2 books at once. The plan is to alternate weekly. If I can pull this off, maybe I’ll have both books ready to launch by next spring. When Gods Die has been sitting on my HD for 3 or 4 years. Got about 10K words into it when life’s bullshit started smacking me around. Still smacking me around, just not quite as much.

Joined a sf/f writers’ group that started on Discord. It’s cool, but I gotta learn… Continue reading

Author Stuff

Finished the 2nd pass for The Moreva of Astoreth. Waiting a bit longer to hit the 3rd and final, to let it simmer and then go over it with “fresh eyes,” as it were. After that, it’s on the to copy editor. After that, it’s done, and ready for publication. I’d scheduled to let it loose on the world in December, but had to push it back to January. Didn’t plan that part of the production process well enough. I know how to cure that, but it means I have to give myself self-imposed deadlines. Gaah. Then again, it gives me more time to generate “buzz,” the jargon for hype. Ads, blog posts, and all that. That’s kicking off August 1. Three venues lined up, ads created (I luurve BookBrush!) and more to come. That month, I’ll also start advertising on Amazon, maybe Goodreads (but they’re expensive), B&N, and more.

I’ve started work on The Underground III (no title yet), and I’m pleased to say that one character’s dilemma is scientifically feasible. I love it when that happens. I’ve been researching acoustics, and wanted to know if the sound of tones, as in notes on a piano, would change if the atmospheric composition was different than what’s on Earth. Yes, it does. An experiment with songbirds showed their songs sounded different when the atmospheric content was changed (but still breathable, of course). In this experiment, the notes were an octave higher. I’ll be playing around with it, but the basic… Continue reading

Happy Birthday! Fuckin’ Not!

My phone’s been pinging like a pinball machine. Friends on Facebook or text messaging to wish me a happy birthday.

I’m not responding.

Fuck that noise.

I do not want to be 60 years old (I want to be dead, but that’s another story). I want to be younger. Much younger. Like 45 years younger. It’s not about eternal youth, shit like that. It’s about life choices. Every year, every day, I’m reminded I should have taken the left fork, the road less traveled. I took the right instead, the superhighway that rushed me to exactly the place where I didn’t want to be.

When I was a teen, I remember telling myself and others that I didn’t want to work however many years at a job I hate until retirement. And that’s exactly what I’ve done. It’s funny–not long ago, someone told me I’ve had a good career. Brought me up short. I thought, “career? What career? I’ve had different jobs. I don’t have a career.” Then I realized. I’ve been doing this shit for longer than some people have been alive. And I’ve hated almost every minute of it. Almost, because there were fun times, times I enjoyed, but those were few. Mostly, I wished I was anywhere but here.

So here I am, nearing the end of my “career.” Every day, I wake up with the feeling I’ve wasted my life. Wasted it doing shit I don’t want to do, and not what I wanted to do.… Continue reading

Gag Order

This blog is about to get boring.

Got a company-wide email last week about the death of George Floyd and the protests. We were cautioned that regardless of our personal feelings, we should not express them on social media, not even on our personal accounts. That goes for blogs, too. To maintain credibility, to maintain the magazine’s reputation of non-partisanship, we have to be impartial in our writings. Everywhere.

I’m a journalist. I write a weekly column for the magazine. About taxes. Yep, you read right. Taxes. State taxes, to be precise. What that has to do with my personal political opinions (aside from that I don’t like to pay taxes), I’ve no idea. But the boss man said it, and until I can figure a way to make a living off this author gig, I need my day job.

Muzzled.

So…what do I talk about? My books, yes. Books I’ve read, yes. Cosmology? Have to brush up on it, but sure. Maybe stuff I’ve seen on YouTube. Like, how to build a working car out of Legos.

Meanwhile, here’s a picture of a nice kitty.

Ciao.

It’s All About The Benjamins

Saw an interview with a Dr. Mikowitz today. She’s an immunologist (and something else) and has written a book, “Plague of Corruption,” about how the scientific establishment has been twisted into a money machine, and how those in the machine will do anything to keep it running, and if people die in the process, too bad. Fucking up and covering up. Denying the success of drugs developed in the lab so to find ways to make money off it when it goes public. Mikowitz is an ex-employee of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the man everyone’s looking to as the beacon of light during the crisis. According to Mikowitz, he’s anything but. He’s part of the machine. She related the story of how Fauci tried to force her to hand over material related to a project she was working on (or something like that) and after some back and forth, she was arrested for theft of government property and hauled off to jail. Never charged. No trial. Nothing. Just kept her in prison. And she didn’t steal anything, either.

She also gave some insight about how viruses work. It didn’t come from a bat in some wet market. It was something that escaped from the Wuhan lab, a project that had the full participation of the CDC and the Army. She said she wouldn’t call it “created,” but it’s not “natural.” A combining of several different viruses. If it had been natural, it wouldn’t have spread the way it has so quickly.… Continue reading

Can America Survive COVID-19? Not The Way It’s Going

I read in the news today that Maryland’s Governor Hogan (the state where I live) ordered 500,000 COVID-19 testing kits from South Korea, and had them flown here in secret so FEMA couldn’t intercept them.

It was quite an operation. First, the plane landed at the Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington Airport instead of Dulles Airport in Virginia. Landing at Dulles would have attracted too much attention, and though it’s a big, busy airport, no one inside the Beltway pays much attention to it. That’s because DC dignitaries–Congress and whatnot–always fly out of Dulles.

The plane was unloaded under the watchful eyes of the Maryland National Guard and state troopers. After that, the testing kits were whisked off to a secret location, which will remain secret.

Now, I’m no fan of Governor Hogan, but I have to give him mad props for his handling of this crisis. Like Rudy Giuliani. He’s a seriously nasty, racist sonofabitch, but his handling of New York City when 9/11 happened was jaw-droppingly stellar. He was calm, reassuring, and made no outlandish claims about who was behind it. A real rock. He kept that city together when it was about to lose its damned mind.

But here’s my question. What if FEMA had gotten wind of what was happening and showed up at BWI to claim the shipment? With the National Guard and the state police having been given orders to protect it? What if FEMA had called in the Army to force Maryland to give it… Continue reading

Newsletter Subscriber Update

On March 30, I posted that I had 309 subscribers to my newsletter. As of today, April 22, I have 383.

Might be slowing down a bit…

Ciao.

What Dreams May Come

I had the craziest dream this morning (I’ve been up all night).

The dream was narrated by a man “off camera.” I and about 14 or 15 other people were trying to escape from wherever we were in Africa because we wanted to leave before our stay was up. We ran across a dirt yard dressed in what looked like blue paper hospital gowns over white pajamas to a taxi, a van with windows that was probably meant to hold 8, and crammed inside. A woman had her elderly mother or grandmother with her, who was the last to get inside. She sat on my stretched out legs, on my calves, specifically, which were supported by somebody else underneath. The man driving the taxi starts off.

Scene change. We’re on the plane. Six of us sitting in two 4-seat rows facing each other, like you sometimes see on commuter trains. A Japanese man wearing a darkish purple-brown jacket, like a lighter shade of burgundy, sat hunched in the window seat across from me, staring through the glass. The window seat next to me was empty. We take off. Everyone else in my section prepares to go to sleep by covering their heads with huge bath sheets, except me and the Japanese man, who still sits hunched over and staring out the window. The lights dim until there is just enough to see by. I don’t have a towel, but I close my eyes. When I open them a couple of… Continue reading