New Reviews for Whiskey Delta!

Good_News_EveryoneI have just received word that Whiskey Delta has received its fifth review over at Goodreads this afternoon. And the review was pretty good, 5 star good in fact, and pushed the overall rating of the book up to a full four stars. The reviewer was woman named Seregon (I’m omitting her full name to protect her anonymity), who is an actress, model, and fan of indie writers who enjoys reading and reviewing.

When I learned this last bit about her, I couldn’t help but contact her and send her a free copy in exchange for an honest review. And here is what she said (just the first part to avoid the biggest spoilers):

This wasn’t your typical horror/zombie book. It was more about survival, much like the Walking Dead. If you’re a fan of that show, you’ll really like this book. Taking place in SoCal, the military has a special team designated to find Patient Zero, aka Papa Zulu, aka the first person known to have contracted the virus that turns people into Whiskeys (zombies…

I was impressed with the dialogue and references to getting by in life that involved a lot more than dealing with zombies… I like that each character has his/her own personality and is three dimensional. The reader follows and can relate to each character on some level and there’s no feeling of “fluff” anywhere in the story.

Even if you’re not a zombie fan, you might still enjoy this book. As I said, it’s less “horror” and more about completing an important mission.

Wasn’t that nice? Always good to be differentiated from the rest, not to mention being compared to one of your favorite franchises (she mentioned The Walking Dead in the post and compared this book favorably to it). Reading it put me in a good mood instantly!

good-reviewAnd, in truth, this is the second 5 star review I’ve received in recent months, I just happened to forget to post about the other one. In that case, it was a woman named Kellie, also a fan of the new literature and someone with a soft spot for zombie and horror novels. In her case, she responded to a discussion thread I started months ago where I was asking for reviews.

She responded, and a few weeks later, this is what she had to say (Once again, the reviews is edited for spoiler content):

This is a badass Zombie book. Braun and his crew have a very important classified job to do as its classified im unable to tell you about it… This book is awesome! Very suspensful… The threat of the zombies have you wondering when they are going to jump out and bite someone. The whole crew is likeable you don’t want anyone getting hurt… This author really knows what hes talking about with all the military terms and the battles. Wait for the battles, you feel as if your there and the zombies in this book don’t just shuffle, moan, and bite. They run and fight back… I said it once ill say it again AWESOME! I hear there’s a sequel. I will be on it.

Again, wasn’t that nice? I tell you, a good review makes it all worthwhile, and a bad one is enough to put a writer (this one, at any rate) in a funk for a good while. Having heard kind words about my writing like these, I’m all the more pumped to get Papa Zulu ready for publication. In fact, I’m itching to do it now, but releasing the last one too soon is why I got some of the mixed reviews I did. Very interested in avoiding that this time around.

In the meantime, to all indie writer’s, keep hitting those keys and your eyes firmly fixed on the prize. If you love what you do, nothing should stand between you and recognition and respect, not to mention some decent sales figures! I hope we can all look forward to some of that too 🙂

zombies-city-and-the-crowd

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!

The Grand Old Word Count

sb10067155f-001A little while ago, I saw a challenge – not sure where, could have been Goodreads or Facebook – where indie authors were challenged to take all the stories they had written and tabulate a total word count for them. Like a lot of writing exercises, it was clearly designed to put things in perspective.

All too often, writers can get hung up on sales numbers or the total number of books they’ve managed to get out there. Especially for indies, these numbers can seem underwhelming or discouraging at times. So naturally, its fun to take a look at some bigger numbers and see just how much we’ve really shared, because that is what writing is all about right?

So I did my grand total. And just for some added perspective, here’s some other big numbers for comparison. The average person has a vocabulary of between 35,000 – 75,000 words*, depending on their age, level of education, and life experience. And in the course of a day, people speak between 7,000 and 20,000 words, depending on their gender (apparently, women speak more than men)**.

ar_storybookBetween Data Miners, Whiskey Delta, Papa Zulu (yet to be published, but is complete), my Legacies short stories, Source, my Yuva shorts, and other assorted tales I’ve put up on this site, my grand total of words is:

531,944 words published so far!

And that doesn’t include the countless words that are sitting in my Stories folder that haven’t been published yet. I’m telling you, there has to be at least 250,000 words between all those unfinished stories, novellas, and shorts. So I really can’t count those… yet!

word_cloudBut I would be remiss if I didn’t include the roughly 1250 articles I’ve published on this site. God only knows how many words I’ve spewed in those! Obviously, I’m not about to add them all up, but a random sampling of five articles put the average at about 2000 words each. Multiply that by 1250 articles and you’ve got… oh my God… 2.5 million words!

Okay, let’s upgrade that then to roughly 3.000.000 words published so far. So basically, in the two and half years that I’ve been running this blog, I’ve written the equivalent of what an average man speaks in the course 428 days straight, or the average woman does in 150 days. Is it me, or is that nuts?

And now I put it to you indie writers… between your indie published stories, blog, articles, short stories, novellas, full-length novels, and flash fiction, just how many words have you generated and shared with the world?

*bbc.co.uk

**dailymail.co.uk

Good News! The Latest Reviews Are All Positive!

picture by tt83x at deviantART
picture by tt83x at deviantART

Well, well, well… you remember when you were young and things weren’t exactly going your way? Remember how your parents would tell you to hang on and wait because things would only get better? Or perhaps you had one of those cheery optimistic friends who’d constantly tell you that things are always darkest before they turned to light. Not to be over dramatic, but I felt myself in need of that kind of advice awhile back.

And now, I feel like it’s paid off, because for once I got some good news on the review front that was all positive. As I had hoped, it seems that the 2nd edition of Whiskey Delta has been absorbed by the reading community and the returns are coming back positive! Two more reviews have been added to the queue, one a four star and the other a five! The net effect of this has been to push the overall review of Whiskey Delta up to 3.4 stars (though it looks like 3.5 on the book’s listing).

But what I’m most happy about was that there were people who had just “good book” or “good read” to say, without all the additional remarks about editing and proofreading. In fact, out of a total of twenty, only two reviews actually came back negative on the story itself. Most people who gave it two or three stars said they liked the story, it was just the technical errors that bothered them.

Not so much here. Here’s what the latest reviewers had to say:

(5.0 out of 5 stars) Great read:
Great story about soldiers doing solider business. I recommend it to anyone who likes this type of book. Waiting for the next one!

john

(4.0 out of 5 stars) A great read:
Lots of action like the way he made me feel as if I was there in the middle of the action. Looking forward to more.

Jesse

Not too wordy, but that’s fine by me. In short, they liked it, and wanted a sequel. And I thank them for it. This is the stuff authors yearn to hear, the stuff that makes the effort feel like it was worth it and which encourages them to keep writing. And to all my fellow indies out there, especially those I know personally, I hope that you too are getting your share of positive reviews. Lord knows we need this kind of thing, don’t we?

Competition is fierce, the market is being flooded and publishing houses are simply not taking risks on new authors as much as they used to. Every additional star and positive review we earn translates to more sales and more recognition!

Go indies! Peace out!

Nominated for Blog of the Year 2012!

Blog of the Year Award 6 star jpegIt’s just an honor to be nominated! Actually, its wonderful to be part of a community of people who inspire you, appreciate you, and share themselves with you. Getting nominated for an award is just a reminder of this process, and that’s what really nice about it.

So thank you so much to Renee Heath and Carolyne Page, the lovely ladies who are responsible for my nomination. You do such great work and are such great people, I hope to live up to your standard!

Like all Blogger Awards, the 2012 BOTY has rules which must be followed. They are as follows:

  1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award.
  2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.
  3. Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/ and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!).
  4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.
  5. You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.
  6. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…!

Well then, here’s to the people I wish to nominate for this years “Blog of the Year”!

  1. Raven Lunatick – Science fiction, fantasy, and weird-stuff enthusiast, this woman and indie writer is a real go getter who regularly produces flash fiction and interesting articles on the world of weird and scary things! Also, her selfless dedication to protecting the rest of us from such literature as Fifty Shades of Grey cannot be under-appreciated. Man, this woman is a trooper!
  2. Rami Ungar – Dedicated indie writer, sci-fi fan and enthusiast of all things geeky, like me! Our paths are converging in many, weird ways, makes me think our destinies might be intertwined… spooky! And of course, he’s got a superhero alter ego – Revenger codename: Judgement!
  3. Audrey Johnson – World traveler, social activist, humanist and all around adventurer, there’s very little Audrey hasn’t seen and done, and hearing about it is a real treat 😉 Also, were it not for her constant encouragement, writers like me couldn’t produce.
  4. Nicola Higgins – Fellow writer, sci-fi geek, futurist and martial artist, Nicola is also a regular favorite of mine. And it’s not just because we have so much in common… necessarily 😉  Read her stuff, you’ll see what I mean!
  5. Lady Romp – Dedicated intellectual, fashionista, pop culture commentator, and speaker for women everywhere. Her philosophical investigations, social commentary and inspirational quotes are always interesting to read.
  6. Mike’s Craft Beer – One of the best reviewers of beer and craft brewing I’ve known who’s passion and knowledge for the malted nectar of the gods is even greater than my own!
  7. Khaalidah – The hardworking wife, mother, medical practitioner, writer and self-professed geek! I nominate her pretty regularly, but there’s a reason for that 😉 Her ongoing dedication to life, plus her thoughts on the world, on literature, on science fiction, and her active involvement in writing with myself and others is an inspiration. Oh, and did I mention her Revenger alter ego is the Veiled Tsunami?
  8. Greta van der Rol – Action, science fiction and romance are this ladies trademark styles, and her passion for the written word (especially the production thereof) is encouraging and astounding. Hope to rival her vast collection of tomes one day!
  9. Nina D’Arcangela – The Dark Angel lady – which is not only the meaning of her last name but her alter ego (she’s part of the Revengers too!) – her regular infusions of deep, gothic poetry and literature are nothing if not spine-tingly-dingly! But somehow, she still manages to be a bright and spunky lady and a breath of fresh air!

Congrats to all of you and all of us! I’m sure we deserve it (darn tootin’ we do!)