Category Archives: War Journals

Pendulum Heroes

Hey folks,

While it may seem on the surface that I’m doing my usual incommunicado thing, there’s been a lot of stuff going on in the background.  I finalized my stories for the upcoming issues of Apex and Lightspeed magazines (I’m the FEATURED writer for Lightspeed!), got interviewed by a class of tenth grade students (which I thought was very fun… they asked some great questions),  seriously leveled up my formatting (more on that later), and oh, what else… I finally made my novel into a real physical thing!

Pendulum Heroes is set up for preorder on the majority of ebook retailers.  Check out the Amazon page, which seems to glow to me.  This is for the e-book only… I’m still finalizing the print edition, trivial details such as the ISBN placement and such and as soon as that’s done it’ll appear on the page as an option.

But who wants to wait for all that finalization before I tell you guys that it LIVES!  It’s physically in the world.  Look!

I tried to get as far away as I could from standard covers and the usual format.  I’ve written a lot of stories getting here and I’m especially proud of Pendulum Heroes.  I wanted the physical book to be something I could proudly display on a coffee table and the only way to do that right was making sure most of you could also proudly display it on a coffee table.  To ensure that happened, I teamed up with Micaela Dawn, an artist I believe will be world famous some day.

The inside’s beautiful too.  When I say I leveled up my formatting, I spent an untold age learning things about Microsoft Word most mortals don’t.  I learned about gutter margins, mirror mode, page breaks, section breaks – continuous and new, drop caps, headings, and man a lot.  This may sound weird, but it got fun, y’all… it’s about as close to playing a game with Word as you can get.  Most of the stuff you won’t notice… which is the whole point.  It’s been perfectly formatted so the words disappear so you can enjoy the reading experience.

Pendulum Heroes is set to go live June 10th.  But I couldn’t wait til then to tell y’all and show you the book!  While I highly encourage copping a print edition for the feel of it and for any unadorned coffee tables you know of, the e-book’s also beautifully inlaid with custom stylized touches.  Besides, it’s Friday, some of y’all just got paid and I’d be remiss if I let that money burn a hole in your pocket.  So hit up Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo (they have a preview!), or Apple, preorder the digital version now, forget that you ordered it and then get hit with a pleasant surprise when your device loads it up for you on the 10th.

Don’t tell me I’m the only one who does stuff like that.

If this was your coffee table, you’d already be home by now.

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War Journal 80: The Limited Release

I WANT YOU – to read my book!

So here we are, years of selling shorts to better and better markets, blogging across continents, 80 war journals documenting life in these trenches, and we’ve finally arrived at a public release of my novel.

I’m gonna keep this extra short and teaser free.  You folks who’ve read me kinda know how I story and the folks that may be new to me, whether because you’ve stumbled upon this post from LinkedIn or Twitter or my Amazon Author Page, well here’s the perfect opportunity for y’all to get to know me.  There’s about 95 copies left for free and then the site takes it down, so grab one before they’re gone.

You can find my debut novel Pendulum Heroes here.

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War Journal 79: The Clean Giveaway

I work in I.T. and love emerging technology, but for some reason I am slow on the trigger when it comes to using technology to promote my writerly products.  I think the combination of me being old school, you know with the belief that a fun story and tight writing speaks for itself, along with the fact that I’m a raging cheapskate ($89 bucks a month for plugin features on WordPress?  My no is LEGION) keeps me in a space where I’m just shy of standing on a corner shouting “buy my stuff” like an out of place town cryer.

Enter my protégé and a tell of three sites.

Jen Finelli came up with the idea to have a campaign where select members of Codex Writers give away some product, whether its short stories or novel excerpts or a whole novel.  Since membership in Codex requires some skin in the game (in most cases at least one SFWA recognized pro level sale), readers will get treated to some quality speculative fiction and us writers get a chance to broaden our audience.  It’s a win for everybody.

Swords and Spaceships: The Codex Giveaway will be going on from 18-31 October on Instafreebie.  Naturally, I’m in it, giving those of you who have yet to check out my novelette “Dialogues with Talking Heads” a chance to get it for my favorite price of free-ninety nine.  It’s a fun sci-fi murder mystery so good you might feel bad you didn’t pay me for it.  Plus while you’re at it you get to check out the work of 20 other kickass neo-pros.  It’s a sweet deal, one that yours truly is definitely gonna take advantage of.  Check it out here.

That said, this is a tale of three sites, Instafreebie being one of them.  While “free” may be their middle name, “bi” follows that, as in writers should buy their add ons and upgrades to actually get the most out of it.  One of their mosts is being able to develop a mailing list.  First I was like “Mailing list… why didn’t I think of that?”  It’s a great way to connect to you guys who really, really dig what I do.  I’m talking sending you live and direct never-before-seen short stories, glimpses and teasers of my Pendulum Heroes novel series, and promo codes to save you guys some money on the books when they finally become available.  And that’s just the start.

But I’m also committed to doing that kind of promotion on the cheap.  Ain’t nothing but gristle in these trenches, folks.  To have an operational budget you gotta have an operation and that doesn’t really kick into gear until I’m sitting on a fully packaged novel.  That’s coming and soon, but for now I’m trying to apply my favorite price to everything.

Enter mailchimp.  They basically allow automation of mail lists so only you guys and potentially the folks who sign up for the Codex Giveaway will get access to my exclusives.  Their free package allows for some 2,000 subscribers, so I’m actually not mad at their pay wall.  By the time I have 2k in audience, well, dear friends, that’s when this thing’ll be an operation.

So I built a subscribe to newsletter campaign on mailchimp and here’s where we enter the third site… this blog on WordPress.  I like WordPress, they’ve got all sorts of neat widgets and plugins.  Only thing is, to incorporate the plugins, specifically the mailchimp one which would allow you guys to easily subscribe to my newsletter, I have to pay WordPress $89 dollars a month for their business plan upgrade.

Lemme get this straight, WordPress, you want me to pay almost 90 bucks a month and it doesn’t even come with HBO?

One of these days I may be world famous, a New York Times best-selling author with more dough than Papa Johns, and this post will be archived so that folks will discover this future big shot was once a writer counting his spare change.  That’ll be great… they’ll laugh and point it out and I’ll laugh with them.  But I ain’t laughing now, I’m leveling up my workaround game and I came up with the picture below.    You’re gonna see our hearty sergeant on the vast majority of my future posts.  He likes the gristle, and when you click his picture you go to my page to subscribe to all the exclusive content I mentioned earlier.  Now I can provide the form, you guys can get at the sweet swag.  Everyone wins.  Except WordPress.

So please, make it official… click the picture and join the squad!

Hungry for more gristle? Click the picture!

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War Journal 78: My First Audiopub

Gather round, gristlers, for storytime.

Today I get to announce the completion of yet another side quest on my road to writer fortune and glory; my first time ever getting published in audio format!  My story “The Wind You Touch When You Run” is up and available for not only reading, but for listening over at Escape Pod.

This is one of those side quests that started out virtually nonexistent and then grew into a fire.  I guess that’s what happens when you go from hoping that somebody, just anybody will look at this thing you’ve drafted (some of my long timers will remember those days!) to growing into a quasi-vet.  As my horizon expands, new markets and new experiences in writerdom are my quarry.  I can report unequivocally that it felt absolutely electrifying hearing my story narrated.  The narrator, Dominick Rabrun, had one of the characters sounding like Grit Eastwood-Batman and it so worked!

Back to the story.  “The Wind You Touch When You Run” is about two black men, in a historical role reversal,  on a world where they are working as slave catchers.  I’m not going to go too much into what happens because, hey, you can listen to it (awesome!) over at Escape Pod.  I will say it’s full of not often talked about black history, real stuff that may surprise you.  The name of the story comes from a  Langston Hughes poem called Demand and the protagonist quotes a line from Southern Mansion by Arna Bontemps.  Southern Mansion really fueled the imagery of the story and since they’re linked and pretty convenient to get to, I highly encourage you folks to check these poems out.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t shout out C.C. Finlay over at F&SF Magazine, who put early eyes on it and provided some really great suggestions which made the final story what it is.  He’ll never know how much I appreciated his editorial gaze… well, unless he comes over to the blog and sees me talking about how much I appreciated his editorial gaze.  Let’s just leave the compliment dangling out here on the webz and see if he finds it, shall we?

So get out of here folks… check out my first ever audiopub over at Escape Pod!

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