books

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

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

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.

This Is The Life

So how are you all out there in Quarantine Land?

I’m not doing too bad, actually. As a friend recently told me, I live my life on lockdown, so for me nothing’s really changed. I work from home and I hardly ever go out, except to the grocery store, the gym (now closed and I’m getting fat) and occasionally for entertainment, like a play. Or a movie, if I get dragged along. I do miss my hair stylist and the lady who does my mani/pedis, though. Hair, nails and feet looking pretty rough these days, you know? Starting tomorrow, (the 18th) I can’t go out of my house without a mask. Governor’s order. If I do and get caught, it’ll be a hefty fine. I have visions of the county police cruising the streets in force, looking out for wrongdoers. Being black, I sure don’t want to give them a reason to stop me. Might get shot, and I have no interest in giving them some target practice.

So the masks are on order. I bought two kinds. One is just a cloth mask, and the other is one of those carbon filter things that makes you look like something out of a sci-fi horror movie. I bought the carbon filter after the cloth. Was just fartin’ around, and found a company that had them on sale–a twofer. So, yeah. They’re washable, so while one is drying, I can wear the other. I did find one mask I was so… Continue reading

COVID-19 And Us

We’re living in unsettling times.

Dangerous times.

We’re all trying to cope while in the depths of a pandemic that threatens our lives and the lives of our loved ones. When our “leaders” advocate that the elderly should die to preserve the economy, tout “cures” for the novel coronavirus resulting in the unavailability of drugs for people who need them to survive, when preeminent medical experts are contradicted by a buffoon whose cultists hang on every word that spews from his mouth and says that the leaders of subnational governments in desperate straits should “praise” him and maybe then he’ll release the medical supplies he outbid them for and which they so desperately need, advocate that “stay-at-home” orders should be lifted so people can crowd the churches at Easter and get back to work where in many cases, it’s doubtful they’ll be able to keep the recommended distance from each other and in both instances raising the risk of infection…you know what I call that?

Attempted murder. On a grand scale.

And people vote for these monsters.

The hospitals trying to treat everyone who’s sick are really hard hit. They’re overwhelmed, especially in large urban areas. Not enough beds. Not enough equipment to go around. They’re starting to have to make the painful decision on which patients live and which patients die. Just like Italy. Today I read a story about a nurse in New York who died from COVID-19 because staff was reduced to wearing plastic bags for protection… Continue reading

Keyword Blues

For online book sales, keywords can make or break you.

The number of books for sale on online platforms is mind-boggling. Amazon alone has millions (I remember when it was a million, but that was a long time ago). With those numbers, you have to make it easy for readers to find your book. If they can’t find your book, you don’t make money.

That’s where keywords come in. Readers type a few words in the search bar, and Amazon shows you all the books that match the readers’ keywords. Here’s the trick. The author has to put in the right keywords in the book’s metadata so it’ll show up on the sales page. How does an author know she has the right keywords? That’s the second trick. She doesn’t.

So now what?

Lucky for the author, there are apps that’ll help her find the right keywords. I bought an app called Publisher Rocket, which helps me find the keywords–a single word or a phrase–to make it easier for readers to find my books. I plug a few words in the search bar, and the app shows me 1) whether my keywords are useful, 2) my competition (how many other authors use those keywords and the top 10 sellers) and the average daily and monthly income for each author, 3) helps me find the category that best matches my books, and 4) how often the keyword or keywords show up in Amazon searches.

It’s wonderful. For The Underground, I… Continue reading

I Write What I Know

One of the things a beginning author is always told is to “write what you know.”

Of course, that’s not true. If I’m setting a story in a place I don’t know much about–say, ancient Rome–Google is your friend. Just do the research. It’s all out there, and it’s free. Most of the time, anyway. That’s what I did for The Underground. The setting is Seattle and I’ve never been there. So I googled street maps, sunrise/sunset charts and temperature charts to figure out what time of year I wanted to set the story, stuff like that. And I talked to people–people who live there or who frequently travel to the city to get their take on its culture, nightlife, and so on. I spent a lot of time talking to a retired policeman who gave me lots of information and insight. None of it cost me a dime. It’s times like these when the internet is a wonderful thing.

Still, I think there are some things that the writer has to know, on a deep level, to pull off the story. That means the writer has to have personal knowledge, personal experience of what they’re writing about. For me, all my stories have an underlying message, messages that are borne of personal knowledge and experience. I don’t do this intentionally, but it always seems to happen. Most readers read for entertainment, and they may not “get” the underlying message. That’s fine. If they enjoyed my book, if it gave… Continue reading