Some Good News Before 2020 Ends

Some Good News Before 2020 Ends

The year 2020 has been rather interesting, in a totally messed up kind of way! In fact, it’s already in the running for “worst year ever,” a title previously held by 2016. At the same time though, there have been some developments this year that I’m thankful for. And today, I thought I’d share what some of those were.

Continue reading “Some Good News Before 2020 Ends”

Papa Zulu – Second Revision 1/2 Done!

editing1Editing is such a slow moving process, which is why I hate it so! As it’s not enough that you go through your initial draft and make all those pesky corrections, then you have to go over the whole thing and implement them. Then, assuming you haven’t made additional mistakes, you got to wait on beta readers to pick out anything you missed. Only then can you finally submit your work and wait for the kudos and criticisms from the reading public to come in.

At least, that’s the process when you’re working from a paper manuscript and doing most of it yourself. Were it not for the fact that this way is actually faster for me than scanning line after line of a doc file, I would have abandoned it a long time ago! And of course, its become a necessity since I can’t afford most editors rates. Oh, the slings and arrows of being an indie writer/teacher!

papa_zuluBut alas, this post was supposed to be about good news. After finishing the edits on Papa Zulu‘s first draft – the sequel to my Whiskey Delta zombie-apocalypse novel – I am now half done implementing all the edits and rewrites I made there. The process has felt arduous, but I’m actually surprised by the progress. I seem to be able to get four to five chapters a day done, far better than my initial prediction of say, one!

And in case its not patently obvious, I am very anxious and impatient to get this done! I was so hoping to have this novel finished by the end of this past summer. Despite its initial success, Whiskey Delta has been accumulating dust over at Amazon and the reviews have ceased since the last few (which were all really good). So I am determined to get the ball rolling and figured the sequel would be the best way of doing that.

thumbs upAnd of course, part of why this editing process is taking so long is that I am determined to get it right this time. Whiskey Delta still only has a rating of 3.5 stars thanks to all the people who penalized it for having editing mistakes. In my haste to get it out there after Max Brooks mentioned it by name (thanks again, Rami!), I took some serious flak for that. This time around, I want there to be no mistakes, or at least as few as possible.

I’m also hoping that getting the sequel out will help me get the ball rolling on the third one – Oscar Mike. I tell ya, that book has been through two starts and stops now, but I just can’t seem to capture the essence of what the third book should be about. Somehow, I feel that some sales and some feedback on the second installment might help me get my priorities straight for the latest.

Such is the life we’ve chosen isn’t it, my fellow indies? I sincerely hope you’re all doing well with your own pursuits and your works are garnering praise or at least some constructive criticism. And may we all find our way to that lovely person, known as an editor, who can take some of this arduous process of our hands and help us to do better!

Papa Zulu: First Round of Edits Done!

editing1At long last, and months after I was hoping to have it done, I’ve finally managed to give Papa Zulu a full first-round edit. Now, I just need to make all the corrections, maybe get an edited proof, and let my beta readers look over it for additional mistakes. Alas, after all that reading and correcting, this is only the first of many read-throughs.

See, this is why I hate editing! It’s slow, tedious, repetitive, and I hate having to read my own writing because it’s like listening to your own voice droning on and on and on. But lucky for me, I’ve got people lined up to handle things from here. Good thing I decided not to do NaNoWriMo and instead dedicate myself to this. Otherwise it would be 2014 before anyone saw this sequel! Not to toot my own horn, but those who liked Whiskey Delta did ask for a sequel. People don’t like to be kept waiting…

Pappa_Zulu1Oh, and when it is finished, this is what the cover will look like. I chose to split the difference and incorporate the best of both covers, which gave me this. Look for it on Amazon and Kindle in the coming weeks. Onto round two!

 

NaNoWriMo 2013!

https://i1.wp.com/susandennard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/NaNoWriMo.pngWell, NaNoWriMo is once again upon us. And after two years of taking part, I am contemplating a third. The only problem is, I kind of got nothing to go with right now. Sure, I got some ideas, some possible suggestions. But I don’t feel I have the inspiration. So I thought maybe making a list might help shake the rust loose and provide me with a needed push. Maybe a few suggestions could help there too.

Basically, I have it narrowed down to four possibilities. First, I have a repitched old idea that I’ve been looking to rework for some time, followed by a short story idea that I think has potential and would like to see written in full, a third installment in my zombie series that needs to be written at some point, and the option of ditching all that in favor of finishing up with my edits and reading.

https://i1.wp.com/cfiles.nanowrimo.org/nano-2013/files/2013/09/2013-Participant-Facebook-Cover.png

Here’s a basic rundown on each:

  1. Apocrypha: This is a story I began writing back in 2008, but stopped when it started to go nowhere. Since that time, I threw out the original draft, began rewriting it, and then threw that one out too. It’s a story that seems to stick with me and has potential. It just needs a good rewrite. It takes place in the coming decades, in a world approaching the technological singularity and also reeling from the effects of overpopulation, displacement and climate change.
  2. Pavitratā: This story was originally called Purity, and it involves a battalion of Marines who are being sent to a distant solar system to stabilize the situation on a colony world that has descended into civil war. Plenty of action, adventure, and maybe even a little social commentary. Hard to say, lets see where it goes!
  3. Oscar Mike: The third installment in my Whiskey Delta series, this book picks up directly after events in Papa Zulu. It takes place roughly six weeks after the battle that characterized most of that book, and introduces another major twist to the story which threatens to alter the entire course of the zombie war.
  4. Shag NaNoWriMo! I got work to do: As I am still not finished editing Papa Zulu, reading some stories for review, or catching up with a whole lot of relevant stories that have taken place in the last few weeks, I could just forego the whole damn thing and stick with the work I’ve got.

Those are my options. And just to make it fun, I thought I might put in a poll card and get people to vote. What do you think I should do for the month of November?

More News!

zombie_graveyardGood morning all! Once more, I have some good news from the world of publishing and zombie writing! First up, my newest book to hit the shelves, Whiskey Delta, has just passed 650 sales. Woohoo and woohoo! And yet, I am mourning the fact that the people I dedicated it to are unable to read it yet. C’mon people, you got to get on that! Uh, but you might want to wait until I finish with all the edits.

Speaking of which, the creation of Whiskey Delta’s 2nd edition is coming along nicely. My trusty editor and I have polished the first quarter of the book, which seems to account for the majority of the typos and errors.  But of course, we won’t stop until it’s done. And then I plan to get on the second installment and make sure it is in prime shape before it’s release. I am hoping it is received well, since the sequel came up in more than one review.

And in other news, I just bought a copy of World War Z. It only seems fair that I read the book of the man who got me off my ass and made me publish this work (with Rami’s help of course). It was actually during a conversation with a teaching colleague of mine that I finally decided to buy a copy. I was telling her about my story, and she brought up Max Brooks. As I waited for her to finish, I began chuckling to myself. She paused asked me what was so funny, to which I replied “you’re going to laugh”.

I then proceeded to tell her how a friend of mine (hi again Rami!) mentioned me to Max Brooks and how he went on to mention my name and the name of my story in his speech. She laughed, and then told me exactly how awesome his book is. I’m only a few sections into it, but I can tell you she was right. The book is a work of genius, much as the reviews would have us all believe. If y0u”re looking for a good read and a twist on the zombie apocalypse, I say invest in a copy!

Big News!

zombie-attackGood news from the my small corner of the indie publishing world. My latest book, Whiskey Delta has just sold over 500 copies, including ebooks and paperback! Yaaaaay! And what excites me about this is the fact the vast majority of those sales happened since the 21st of April. That means that over 400 books were moved in the last two weeks. I can only assume that this means the popularity of it is growing.

And to add to the good news ball, I got another four-star review, which in addition to being nice, put the book’s overall rating back to 3 and a half stars. Once again, the reviewer was sure to mention quality of story combined with poor editing. I’ll let him tell you:

FINALLY! A zombie story where the US Military is not hopelessly inept, but is instead taking the war to the enemy and doing a damn good job. I choose to look past the vast amount of editing needed… and instead focus on a kick-butt military adventure during a zombie apocalypse. Fun, exciting, great action, and characters that you get to know and even care about–what more can I say? Buy it, enjoy it, ignore the typos and other errors and just get into one of the better examples of military adventure/zombie apocalypse cross-overs out there.

Now that was exactly the kind of review I was looking for! And rest assured, sir, the editing is being done! I’ve managed to clean up three chapters so far and noticed that the most glaring mistakes seemed to be in the first chapter itself. Not good! Not good at all… But rest assured, the 2nd edition will be clean, and the second book immaculate! I’m taking steps right now to procure a professional editor so the quality of my books won’t be left in my (incapable) hands!

More Reviews Are In!

Whiskey_Delta

Hi folks. As the title suggests, more reviews have come in for Whiskey Delta and the sale figures are going up! Unfortunately, that’s where the good news ends. Of those buyers who chose to offer opinions about my book, the same combination of “good story, but needs some serious editing” was apparent in their comments.

Here’s what the latest reviewers had to say (note the first review has been shortened due to it being very wordy!):

An exciting and well told story (4.0 out of 5 stars):
This is a great book – exciting storyline driven by gripping and well laid out plot lines that keep the reader ‘on the edge of their seats’ right to the end. Even better is the superb characterization of the two main characters and also the driver Whitman, however, considering the small number of characters in the book, I thought the author could have spent a bit of extra ‘fleshing’ out of some of the others a bit more.

The reason the book was a four star not a five star, was that it had simply the worst editing I have come across on Kindle and I am not someone who cares that much about the odd misspelling or use of ‘their’ when you mean ‘there’ and so on as I am usually so lost in the story I barely notice… I must say though, that I am very happy that I did overcome my ‘scruples’ and bought the book in the end as the story was completely riveting from start to finish and the writing itself – aside from typos and little slip ups are all forgotten when caught up in the thrilling ride the author takes you on. Highly recommend it.

Not bad huh? The full length comment contained traces of displeasure about the lack of editing, but the overall feeling is that I wrote something pretty good. Well get a load of what this guy had to say:

Not a grammar Nazi but…, (2.0 out of 5 stars)
By Heuchler:
Thought it was a decent story, but the editing or the lack thereof killed it for me. Ever dozen pages seems to have a spelling or grammar mistake. Even basic things that could be caught with spell-check are there, which leaves me wondering how they were not caught.

Again, not to be petty, but the “not grammar Nazi” made some typos of his own there. And I know I’m going to hell for saying this, but with a name like Heuchler, that last thing you want to make is a Nazi reference!

Still, after reading these, it tore it for me. Whiskey Delta needs to be cleaned up and re-released! The public is speaking with one voice on this, and those who are giving it low marks are starting to bring down the overall rating. As it stands, WD is ranked 3.0 stars out of 5 and that’s just not acceptable. For any indie looking to establish a reputation and garner sales, a 3.5 or higher seems like the desirable place to be in.

What’s more, three copies have been returned after purchase. I can only assume they started reading and were deterred by the errors. And though this represents a mere 1% margin, it doesn’t seem too acceptable to me at this juncture. Barring accidental purchases, every copy sold should stay sold, in my opinion.

Lucky for me, I won’t have to take it down to fix it up, but it will mean the updated version will be clearer and (hopefully) polished whereas the ones that are currently selling will not. I can live with that, and hope the market won’t really notice much. Right now, the sales and positive reviews have me highly jazzed about prepping and releasing the second installment and working on the third. But for that to work, I need the first installment to be as good as it can be and get better reviews.

1000th Post! Yaaaaaay!

fireworks1Gee, I don’t know what to say here… Aside from the fact that this post coincides quite nicely with the 2nd anniversary of this blog, which just came and went, and comes what I can only assume will be a week before the site reaches the milestone of 250,000 hits. So I guess there are a few reasons to celebrate. And at times like this, when we take the time to look back, I also like to look ahead and see about what goals need to be set.

Well, in the last year I wrote two zombie stories which still need to be edited and released. And on top of that, I’ve already begun plotting the third and final one in the trilogy. When they are complete, I hope to release them individually and as a box set, so zombie fans can decide for themselves just how much reading they want to do! Trust me, I’m not sparing with my use of words, but I do like to think I keep them interesting.

Whiskey_DeltaThen there’s Yuva, which is coming along nicely, but needs a big push to get to the finish line. And who better than yours truly, el editore-en-hefe (that’s editor-in-chief for those who don’t speak mangled Spanish)? Of the sixteen stories in the anthology (we started with twelve), fourteen are spoken for. Not bad, but as the editor, I need to whoop some butts to make sure we make our summer deadline!

Ah, which is itself a bit of news. After talking it over with my co-editor and inspirational muse, Khaalidah Muhammed-Ali, we decided that a hard deadline was needed. Some people specifically asked for one when initially signing on, but I’ve left that somewhat open, as I’m kind of loosely-goosey when it comes to timetables. I’m more of a flex-hours kind of guy, task-oriented rather than time-oriented. But as it stands, summer of 2012 is when I hope everyone will have their homework in!

gliese-581.jpgAnd of course, Data Miners had just come out, and it’s proposed sequel, Data Pirates, has been sitting on the shelf for some time. DM took me three years to write, so naturally I’m hoping for a speedier turnover on this one! And whereas the first one focused on the subject of “white-hat” hackers, people who believe in freedom and information, Pirates will focus on the darker aspects of hacker culture, on the so-called “black-hats”.

DatapiratesAssuming I can get all that done in a timely manner, there’s the matter or revisiting a very long-term project, one which I’ve been working on since late in 2009. As some may know, I released a novel called Source some time ago. Almost immediately after I finished writing it, before it was even published, I began work on the sequel, entitled Fortress.

As part of the dystopian, distant-future collection, it’s a old-school sci-fi romp that is dark, gritty, and has lots of war, struggle, and mysanthropic impulses. However, I decided to commit to some sequels to it in order to ensure some measure of a happy ending. No dystopian story, unless its purpose is to issue a stern warning (see 1984 or Brave New World), should offer its readers some slim ray of hope (see Catch 22).

FortressYeah, I design covers before the work is even complete. What can I say, I like to see how a book will look, long before it’s even finished! Hopefully, these covers will pack a good 40,000 plus words in between their two folds. Oh, and if anyone knows a good editor who works for cheap, I could sure use their help! I like to write, I do multiple projects, but when it comes to my own work, I suck horribly!

And of course, there’s the editing that needs to be done for Rami and other friends, still yet to be completed. And always, the research into the future and what course it will take must continue. Always, always continue. The world is not slowing down and neither is the future, despite what some weirdos might say! 🙂

Sickness, Weariness, and more Rejection

Weariness_by_Eireen

Wow, that title line sounds depressing. But that’s kind of my state right now, dealing with a worsening cold, some serious commitments that leave me strung out, and another form letter telling me my work is “not a good fit”. Yes, it seems that this past week has been the week from hell, or at least my own limited version of it. I have heard some people describe a week which could set your teeth on edge, so mine is really just a whiner’s approximation. Still, I think it’s been pretty sucky and I intend to complain. So consider yourself warned!

Oh, and my apologies to all those who read my site and have been taking part in the superhero challenge, or who are waiting on edits from me and have noticed delays. The events of the past week have been preventing me from being my usual verbose self, not that I’m making excuses. I’ve written and edited sick before, but things have been different lately. That should change soon, but until such time, let me tell what’s been occupying the past few days..

It all started around Wednesday, when I felt the onset of sickness that was characterized by bad headaches, general congestion and stuffiness, and a lack of energy. I figured twenty-four hours would be all I needed to kick it, so when I got a call asking me to fill in for an EA at the school where I work, I accepted it.

There’s a reason they call it “dog tired”

That night, I slept about five hours, worrying I wouldn’t be any better. Somehow, knowing you have to sleep to make the following day work always gives me parasomnia. By morning, I felt like crap and figured there was no way I was making it in. However, the lady who called me and asked me to fill in had already left town – her daughter was having a baby! So instead, I went into school, grabbed the sub list, and began calling everyone on it to see if anyone could take my place. No one was available, except one lady who was also sick but willing to soldier on. That clinched it for me! People were having babies and willing to work sick, so why was I trying to duck out? I decided at that point to officially to suck it up, slug some coffee, and do my damn job!

Well, that didn’t go so well. For starters, I was in the Kindergarten room with the woman I like to call the “micromanager”. She’s nice, but the tendency to explain simple tasks in minute detail, which annoys me! However, silver lining, she was impressed with the way I knew how to use the fancy functions on the printer and gave me a ton of administrative work to do. I like this stuff, so I spent much of the afternoon getting her lessons prepared for the coming weeks.

But of course, there were downsides. For one, it took me three cups of coffee just to keep from passing out. Two, the main child I was responsible for needed to be changed at the end of the day. This was the first time I changed a dirty diaper in my life, and it was one of the most icky experiences I’ve ever had! You don’t put a grown man and a child in a closed room together, as a rule, especially when it involves changing their clothes and cleaning them up. But I got through it and was kind of honored they trusted me enough to do something so sensitive.  Ah, and then came downside number three, which was me being given bus supervision at the end of the day. And clearly, the children picked this day to be extra hyper and constantly be out of their seats and making messes with food and drink (which they are not supposed to have on the damn bus)!

But alas, it all ended and I went home to pass out. My wife was a real sweetheart and took the bus home too, and made dinner so I could rest. I made the mistake of sucking down some beer so I could feel better, which didn’t do me any favors since the next day, the cold was back with a vengeance. And I knew that we had to get up early and go help her brother move the next day, so I tried to get some rest and recoup. Needless to say, Saturday was a real trial! All day we spent cleaning out his cottage, vacuuming up cobwebs, dealing with black mold, and trying to erase ten years of continuous habitation. My feet got soaked from the muddy grounds outside, and once again my head was throbbing and my body aching and sore.

Oh, and when I opened my email to see what I’d missed, I found a letter from the latest magazine I submitted my work to, telling me that Domicile 4.5 was not a “good fit” with their work. They didn’t even mention the numerous articles I sent them, but I assumed their opinions on those were the same. It didn’t help that the message was clearly a form email letter with the field for the title of the submission being left open. That made what was already a hard day even harder! But at least we had some hot pizza and some sack time to compensate.

Today, we go back to help out some more. The moving is largely done, but there’s still some odds and ends to pack up. Then, silver lining again, we will get to see my wife’s family and see the new puppy her mother got! She looks so cute and furry from the photos, so I imagine the day will improve. Ah, but then the weekend is over, and I’m committed to go up north to house sit my parent’s house this Wednesday, their eight cats and my grandmother during mid-week. Sounds like a mini-vacation, but we already did that this past summer; and believe me, it was not a vacation!

As I griped to my wife about last night, when am I supposed to get better here? Unless I don’t get worse today (again), and Monday and Tuesday prove to be restful and incident-free, I’ll be going north a veritable corpse, in danger of infected my grandma. Dammit body, get better! However, I anticipate a third silver lining, as the days up in Comox with little to do but housesit, catsit, and make sure my Grandma is attended to will give me plenty of time to recoup and catch up on all my writing and editing duties. I’m hoping I will be better come Wednesday, and the trip north won’t be like this weekend, feeling half-dead in the midst of highway driving!

Like I said, full of complaints and whininess. In the grand scheme, I got nothing to complain about. I just really need this week to be over, know what I’m saying?