2012-06-24

When Ships Mutiny is published

I am happy to announce that When Ships Mutiny has been published.  For those who use the Kindle, the book should be available within a couple of days.  If you get your books from any other retailer, it might take several weeks before the book appears because I upload to these from Smashwords and they do periodic bulk uploads.  If you are anxious, you can directly download the book from Smashwords by following this link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=when+ships+mutiny

The printed version will take about a week before it is available as I still have to run through the process at Createspace.

Here is the description of the book:
Fernando Munoz, call sign Cipher, is a vengeance class battleship built to protect human colonies from the Evendi. While trying to find the truth behind an accusation made by one of his fellow ships, Cipher uncovers a dark secret hidden deep inside himself.  Finding the need to spread the word to the other ships, he unknowingly initiates a sequence of events that would affect not only the entire human race, but the Evendi as well.

As always, comments and feedback are welcome.  If you read the book, please put a review on the site where you purchased it.

Enjoy!

2012-06-21

Scrivener

I have recently heard some good things about a writing program called Scrivener.  I downloaded the '30 day' free trial to give it a try.  I spent two days reading the comprehensive user's manual and found it to be confusing and unclear.  Pressing on, I loaded up the program and discovered that my 30 days was up - it had been only 2 days!  I fired off an email to Scrivener and received a reply in less than 20 minutes.  They acknowledged the error and gave me a free activation key.  Essentially, they gave me a free copy of the program.  That's a point in their favor.

I had hoped to use Scrivener to solve my multiple format issue.  I have to generate a PDF to send off to Createspace for the printed version of the book.  This requires different formatting for odd/even pages as well as ensuring the page count starts on chapter 1.  I also have to generate a strictly formatted Word document for Smashwords along with a Smashwords specific cover page.  Finally, I must generate a Word document that can be fed into MobiPocket Creator to generate the input file for Kindle.  Scivener seemed like my best overall solution.

After downloading a revised version, I fired it up.  Within two minutes I found an error.  I reported it and got an immediate feedback that it was a known issue.  I also tried for about an hour to figure out how to get it to generate odd/even formatting as well as how to start page numbering on chapter 1 without result.  I found a page numbering work-around but one should not have to resort to work-arounds.  The formatting options for a compile are unclear, counter-intuitive, and buried beneath layers of program interface.

The program has promise but at the moment it is not a polished product.  I can do everything I need to do in Word.  I will keep checking to see if the development team makes any improvements but for now Word is my program of choice.

Now I am going to get back to work on Peacekeeper!

2012-06-19

Family matters

What a busy weekend!  It all started about a month ago when my dad told me he would be driving up to see the new house - he lives in South Carolina.  My wife suggested that we try to bring my sister here to surprise him - they haven't seen each other in about 10 years.  So, we called, she got off work, and I bought her a plane ticket.  About 2 weeks before he arrived, my daughter called and said their car had been stolen.  Now we've been talking about replacing my Cobalt but had decided not to.  This caused us to reconsider and so we helped pay for her flight here (she lives in Georgia) and then went out and bought a new car.  I made arrangements for my other daughter who lives in Sandusky Ohio to drive down as well for a family reunion.  I tried to get my brother to fly or drive here from Virginia Beach but he's a roofer and had just fallen off a roof and busted his ankle up pretty good.  Everything was set.

I got real nervous when a problem at the power plant reared its ugly head and it was looking like we were going to have to shutdown to repair it.  That would mean 12 hour days for me over the weekend when we had everyone arriving.  I told my boss that under no circumstances would I be coming into work - non-negotiable!  He took me off the schedule.  Friday arrived.

I drove to the airport and met my sister first (her plane had been delayed about an hour).  We waited around until my daughter and granddaughter arrived and then headed back home.  While at the DMV getting the Cobalt transferred I received two phone calls: My other daughter and granddaughter along with her boyfriend had arrived at the house and; My dad had arrived at the hotel.  We concluded the transfer and headed for home.  Along the way, I called my dad and told him it was okay to head for the house.  The big surprise was about to happen.

My dad arrived and my sister slipped out the back.  After relieving my dad of a box full of wine and cheese and saying hello to his wife my sister appeared from around the corner.  Remember - me dad did not know she was coming.  His jaw nearly hit the sidewalk when he saw who was there!  We had a wonderful reunion.  Four generations sitting around a table having a great time sure was a sight to see.  Everyone is now safely back home.

Now I can get back to writing!  My own edits on WSM are now complete.  I am waiting for my wife to complete her copy-editing.  I should be able to publish by this weekend.  I have downloaded a copy of Scrivener and I plan on taking a few days to explore its functions before starting on Peacekeeper.  Still waiting on covers for the GA series before releasing the third edition.

2012-06-04

About to start work on Peacekeeper

For those who have been bugging me (Charles and Jeff for instance), you will be happy to know that I will soon begin work on Peacekeeper - another Galactic Alliance book.  This one fits between book 2 and book 3 in the timeline.  Before I begin though, I must finish my third edition review of HTE.  I should be able to do that today but if life gets in the way (as it often does) then I will finish it early next week.

Being a writer who also holds down a full-time job is not an easy task.  Finding time to do writer work is often a challenge.  It's a balancing act between needing to take care of the things that I must do around the house (mowing, repairing, putting new things together), spending time with my wife and her family (mine are all out of State), and writing.  Here is how a typical mid-week day goes for me:

When I'm working my normal day-shift at the plant I get up at 5:00am and I'm out the door by no later than 5:30am - often earlier.  I carry my netbook with me and it's the first thing that gets set up when I arrive at my cubicle.  I make a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of tea, then either write or review until the morning meeting starts.  This typically gives me about 30 minutes each morning for writer's work.  I also work on my books when there is nothing else to do (which is exceptionally rare) as well as during my 30 minute lunch break.  I work 10 hour days and I prefer to spend time with my wife when I get home (she appreciates the time as well).  Some days I have to do other chores such as mowing the grass, repairing something around the house, or putting something new together.  Often, I don't do any writer work in the evening during the week.  I get most of my writing work done on Saturdays when we go to the bookstore.  I also usually get up well before my wife which gives me time to blog, read emails, and write.

It's all about time management.  Which means it's time to send off this blog and get to work before my wife wakes up.  But now I hear a strange noise coming from somewhere else in the house which I must investigate first - then it's back to reviewing.