2012-04-22

WSM first draft is complete

I have finished the first draft of When Ships Mutiny.  Actually, the ending, as I have it now, sort of surprised me.  I had intended to write another final chapter (still might) that sort of wraps everything up and shows how things turned out.  But, as I wrote the final words on the next to the last chapter I realized that perhaps it would be better to not say anything.  I've noticed a trend in writing these days as well as in movies where the storyline ends in such a way as to cause the reader or viewer to think about what will happen at the end.  I'm still debating whether or not I should put in a closing chapter.  Perhaps I will give the book to a scifi friend of mine and let him decide.

In other news, I want to talk about social networking.  I know it is vitally important for writers to maintain their social contacts.  My problem (and I'm sure I'm not unique) is I have prescious little time to write and now I have to spend time looking at Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, and all the other little sites and such that I've hooked into.  (I've not gone to Twitter yet but people keep telling me I should).  I sometimes feel guilty that I can't look back and read everything that's been posted.  Even writing and posting this blog sometimes gets in the way.  For example: I'm working 12-hour nights.  I woke up at 1715.  I have to leave to get to work at 1845.  During that 1.5 hours I have to eat breakfast, check my social network, reply to emails, spend a few minutes with my wife, get dressed, etc.  So, I'm stuffing my face with food while writing this in the hope that I'll get it done in time to post and then post the blog post on my social network sites.  Oh - did I mention that the weather is getting nasty and I should actually leave early?

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2012-04-20

SFWA vs indie authors

This particular blog entry might cause a bit of a stir - but it needs to be said. Let us say that I've hit the big-time and one of my books is now sitting in the top 10 list of Amazon best-sellers. A dream that most likely won't come true but let's just say it happened. I sell 100,000 copies in the first month and 95,000 copies the next. With this new-found fame, I decide it would be a good idea to join the Science Fiction Writers of America. Guess what? I CAN'T! Why not? Because my books have never been published by any traditional publisher. That's a shame because as e-books become more popular there's going to be more and more authors hitting the top sellers list that have refused to bow down to the big publishers. The SFWA needs to accept the fact that there are some very good indie authors out there. They should alter their membership requirements so e-book only authors can be accepted and recognized.

Update on 'When Ships Mutiny': I am closing in on the end. Even though I've been working 12 hour nights, 6 days a week, I've found a lot of time for me to write. I can't sit idle and any time there is a break at work of more than 30 minutes I sit down at a computer and write. Cheryl will be doing a VERY thorough review of the book before it is released and, hopefully, this one will be free of stupid gramatical mistakes.

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Launch pad workshop

Great news! I just received notification that my application to attend the 2012 Launch pad workshop has been accepted. This is a NASA sponsored astronomy course for science fiction writers. I couldn't be happier! I am looking forward to attending. This will give me a chance to finally interface with other science fiction writers as well as to improve my knowledge of astronomy.

http://www.launchpadworkshop.org

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2012-04-16

Bad indie author practice

I just read a blog telling how some indie authors join up into groups to fake their book review stats. For example, if an indie author gets a bad review he can ask his group to go to that review and click on the "This was not helpful" button. This causes the bad review to move down the list. His buddies can then write several good reviews to counter the bad one and then the others can click on the "This review was helpful" link to artificially raise those reviews to higher status. I not only did not know about this practice but I whole-heartedly condemn it!

An author should only accept honest reviews from readers. If they have comments on how to improve the book then LISTEN TO THEM. No author is perfect. The only way to improve is to listen to your readers. Don't be offended unless the reviewer simply writes an offensive review (then I would just ignore it). I've had several comments on improvements I could make and believe me I've learned from those comments. I just hope the indie authors who are engaging in the above practice don't give the rest of us a bad name. If you have to resort to such tactics then perhaps you should not try to become an author.

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2012-04-10

Writer's block

I am now working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. One would not expect me to have any time to write. But, the writer god has shined down on me and I've actually made some good progress on 'When Ships Mutiny'. I was stuck for quite a while though. I knew exactly where I needed to go but I had no clue how I was going to get there. I was at a point in the book where I needed to convince an enemy ship to listen to what the human ship had to say. I sat there looking at the blinking cursor for at least an hour until I finally started to put some words down.

After I got past that point I suddenly realized that on page 128 of what I hoped to be a 250 page (counting pages as if it was formatted to be printed) novel I had set myself up to be able to end the book in as little as 5 pages! This wasn't good. So, I've created a little bump in the road which the main character will have to overcome.

I am also going to have to spend some time working on a detailed description of Evendi culture. I want it to be quite alien yet close enough to human standards to be recognizable. Why take the time to do this? Because it allows me to write a believable story because I know the Evendi inside and out. If I just make up their culture as I go then the book will be full of inconsistancies. I plan on doing this for my next additions to the Galactic Alliance. I will have detailed cultural backgrounds of all the races so I don't get things screwed up as I write the story. Plus, many people have wanted to get to know the aliens better. I plan on accomidating them.

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2012-04-07

I made the top 50 indie authors!

I recently learned that I had made the top 50 indie (independant, i.e. self-published) authors list on a popular Kindle blog. The authors are ranked by sales and I sit at #45. Not bad for someone who publishes simply because I love to write. You can check it out here:

I've received several more very good reviews and positive feedback emails from fans of the Galactic Alliance Series. One reader enjoyed the book but commented about mixed up words. I admit that using he wrong word is now one of my biggest problems. This one was border vs boarder. It will pass a spell checker and it will also (although I don't know why) pass a grammer checker. To help resolve these issues all of my new books will have a good proofing by Chery (my wife) as she seems to never make this sort of error. I've also created a "Screwed up words" file that lists these. I will scan each new book for such words and correct them.

Work on WSM is progressing quite well. I've managed to get past a partial writer's block and now I'm moving along quite well. This is going to be a smaller book than most of my past novels.

Yesterday, I upgraded to Time Warner Cable's road runner extreme internet service. I now have download speeds of 30 MBPS and upload speeds of 1 MBPS. So far things are running very smooth. It did take them three trys to get the new modem up and running but now I'm quite satisfied. It will make uploading new books all that much easier.

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