Even More News!

Good_News_EveryoneWhiskey Delta, my zombie apocalypse-themed indie novel, has just sold over 750 copies! What’s more, another good review has come in, once again pushing the overall rating up a bit. And of course, they hit on the usual points:

Good Book (4.0 out of 5 stars)
Great story with interesting people. Spell was poorly done and many editing issues were present. Would like a sequel

Rest assured, Pappa Zulu, the sequel to Whiskey Delta, will be coming in just a few short months. Obviously, I need to finish my work on WD’s second edition, and then give the next installment a full and thorough edit. And if there’s time left over, I hope to have Alpha Mike finished before 2014 begins. Fast times!

Oh, and I do hope the good news continues. As it adds up, you can expect to see less of these constant updates!

Big News (Updated)!

zombie_gore1Hey all, just thought I’d share a rather interesting and positive bit of news that came to my attention recently. Not more than two weeks ago, I put Whiskey Delta up for public consumption in both paperback and Kindle format. This would be the zombie apocalypse novel that Rami was able to get Max Brooks to mention while he was speaking at Ohio State University doing a talk.

Well, whether it was because Mr. Brooks gave it a mention, or just the inherent appeal zombie fiction seems to have, or a combination thereof, sales have been taking off! In fact, in the last two days, it has sold just over 200 copies! For most writers, that’s a drop in the bucket, but for an aspiring dude like me, it’s a veritable salesquake!

Thanks to all who have taken a chance on this piece of indie fiction. Rest assured, its encouraging and makes me think that Pappa Zulu, the sequel to this first installment, just might be worth publishing too! Who knows, it might force me to buckle down and get to work on the third installment as well, aka. Alpha Mike.

Update: Some reviews have come in, and the new is… generally good!

1: Whiskey Delta (Five Stars):
This was an excellant book from start to finish. I will be looking for other offerings from this author. He knows how to tell a good story, properly his characters and keep a reader riveted.

2: Almost There (Two Stars):
This book started out great but the spelling and gramatical errors really handicapped the book. Charachters change names several times through the book and the military lingo is never completely explained,and at times is very incorrect. There are no gunnery sergeants in the Army or the Air Force. This book has great promise but suffers from terrible editing. The story is great it just needs a little work.

So what I’m hearing is great work, need editing. Huh, tell me about it! My weakness always has been the process which needs to begin after the creative process ends. Well, some would say editing is part of that process, and an intrinsic one at that. But to me, editing and promotions have always been like the clean up and bookkeeping tasks that the artist retreats from in horror. So I either need to change my attitude, or get an editor! But dang, they cost money…

Still, that’s an average of three and half stars after two reviews. I gotta think that’s not bad. And not to be petty or vengeful but did you notice the unfavorable reviews was itself full of spelling errors. Just saying…

The Birth of an Idea: “Alpha Mike”

Zombie Apocalypse by geodex
Zombie Apocalypse by geodex

I love it when an idea comes together! And what started as an experiment into zombie lit back in March of 2012 is coming together at last with a third and final installment. Yep, after a few weeks of hiatus, I’ve managed to finish my preliminary draft for the third act of Whiskey Delta, which I have decided to name Alpha Mike. Like the previous two installments, the name is an acronym based on the NATO phonetic alphabet.

And as with the previous two novels, this acronym has special significance. To break it down succinctly:

Whiskey Delta = WD = Walking Dead

Pappa Zulu = PZ = Patient Zero

Alpha Mike = AM = Ambulus Mortus

In each chapter, the name refers to the overriding theme of the story. Whereas Act I in any story is all about introductions, I chose to name in honor of the term used by the main characters to designate their enemy. In Act II, the war took a different coarse, as a new enemy emerged that wanted control over the cure. As such, this story was named after the first man infected by the virus – aka. Mance Harmonn, Patient Zero.

And for the final act of the trilogy, I chose the name of the virus itself. Those who have been following this series will (hopefully) recognize it as the Latin designation which literally translates to “walking dead”. Since the final installment will focus on bringing the war in its entirety to a close, I could think of no better name for it. For as the Mage, a central figure in the story, will be quoted as saying:

This is a war unlike any other in our history. We fight not against men or nations, not for spoils, honor, or revenge. Ours is a war against a contagion, an infection which turns our own against us and corrupts all life. Ours is a war against fear, chaos, despair, and death itself.

I plan to begin work on it just as soon as this season of the Walking Dead is over and I finish my work on a few outstanding projects. These would include “Arrivals”, my last contribution to the Yuva anthology, and editing Rami’s story Reborn City. Those are in various stages of completion and I shall not risk getting distracted at this point! As they say (or maybe I just made it up), overbooking is the enemy of completion!

So if you’re into zombie lit and liked the previous two, expect new chapters coming soon! As usual, they stand to be packed with plenty of zombie-smashing action, military misadventure, and post-apocalyptic goodness. Just watch for the title, Alpha Mike!

zombie_nightmare

Pappa Zulu Complete!

zombie_goreAnd it’s done! The second installment of my zombie apocalypse is finally complete, and I’m set for a break! My thanks to those who’ve been following the story for lo’ these many months, and my hopes that you will be available when it comes time to start work on the third and (presumably) final chapter. But we’ll see how that goes. Could be this series is more of a “trilogy in four parts” kind of thing. You never know 😉

Anyway, onto the business of this novel. This one was even longer than the last! At 305 typed pages and 109,442 words, compared to Whiskey Delta which weighed in at 261 pages and 93,746 words. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America guidelines specify that a novel is any book with 40,000 words or more. At what point does a book become a tomb?

And much like before, I prepared a write-up and a cover for it’s eventual release in ebook and paperback, which I want to run by people now. As you can see, the cover is a mish-mash of army colors and a scene of paratroopers on the attack, while the back sports my usual “bio” pic and a small blurb on the book itself. Here’s what it says:

“Men rise from one ambition to another: first, they seek to secure themselves against attack, and then they attack others.” -Niccolo Machiavelli

In the barren deserts of New Mexico, the war against the Whiskey Delta continues. After years of fighting, the “Mage” and his Rattlesnakes have managed to get the upper hand on the undead, while back at their base, “Doc” Cooper and his team are getting close to producing a vaccine from the Patient Zero strain. But things quickly change when a new opponent enters the arena. Ever since their encounter with rogue forces in LA, the Mage has worried that there are military forces back East, people who owe allegiance to another master and want the Patient Zero strain for themselves…

Pappa_Zulu

Now comes the next part… At this point in time, I still need to finish doing edits for a Mr. Rami Ungar who’s made it clear he wants his new book Reborn City, to make the birthday deadline of November. In addition, I’ll be busying myself with the Yuva Anthology, which has expanded in recent months to take on more authors and now comprises five full-length short stories.

And once that is all done, I think I’ll get to work on that Apocrypha tale I’ve been reminiscing about. And of course there’s the matter of keeping up with all the cool science, tech, entertainment news and book reviews from the wide, wide world of science fiction. No slowing down over here! I’m just that awesome! Yeah, not really, but I do what I can… stay tuned!

200,000 Hits!

inspirationWell, well… another milestone has come, and it seems I missed it by about 48 hours! And that was after over a week of waiting for it to come. I am referring not only to reaching over 200,000 views, but also to the fact this blog is reaching the end of its second year. Just two months to go, and storiesbywilliams will be two! Ah well, I’m here now, and there are a few things I want to say to mark this occasion. Well, for starters, I would like to say thank you once again to all the people who have come by and made this milestone happen.

And then there’s the people who come by more than once, and on purpose. Those people deserves a thank you too! And third, there are the people who’ve come by, stuck around, and even offered supportive comments. Those people deserve an extra special thank you! Were it not of the enduring and consistent support of you fine folks – and you know who you are! – this blog would have flopped and gone under a long time ago.

fireworks2Yes, I know it seems like I’ve said this many times over now, but that’s the thing about marking milestones. They tend to kind of build up after the first few. First there’s your first 100 views, then 500, then 1000. After that, the milestones become fewer and farther between. But until you get into six or seven figures, they are likely to happen quite often. But I want to space things out a bit more, so I promise not to say anything until I reach 500,000 views.

Zombie_Apocalypse_by_geodexSo lets see, what’s next for this site? Well, I just published Data Miners, that was good, especially after three years of being in development. Pappa Zulu is also nearing completion, which will be nice because I plan to take that opportunity to go back, edit Whiskey Delta, and then release it! I foresee a zombie-fighting trilogy emerging, so stay tuned for more on that (still need a name for the third one though).

And of course, there’s Yuva, which needs to get finished and go through a full-on edit. And somewhere in between all that, I plan to restart my old idea, Apocrypha, my first real attempt at speculative sci-fi that wasn’t set in the distant future. Man, these next few months are going to be busy!

apoc_soldiersAnd I hope you all stick around to see what happens. And of course, I promise to remain a committed follower and viewer of what you have to say and will consider myself flattered that you choose to involve me in your adventures, stories and creative processes. After all, sharing makes for a more richer life experience, if for no other reason than because it lets us know we’re not alone.

This is what we do, people, and this is why we do it!

Relaunching an Idea: Apocrypha!

future-city-1Recently, I began to seriously contemplate revisiting an old idea. Not just any old idea, mind you. This was an idea that went back to 2008, to the point where I first decided I wanted to move away from far-reaching, distant future speculative writing. It was also my first real stab at social commentary, predating Data Miners by several months, and which called for a lot of research.

The name I had in mind for it was Apocrypha. Basically, the two threads that came together to form this idea for me were the ideas of Demarchy and Apocalypticism. At the time, the idea that digital technology and wireless communication might one day lead to direct democracy, while religious fervor might actually spike within the current century due to climate change and the social impacts thereof.

singularity.specrepHowever, after a lot of tinkering and writing the story halfway, I found I couldn’t really make the idea work. It was my first attempt to write something contemporary and it really didn’t go so well. I’ve since tried to reboot it at least once and found I could only get a few chapters out of myself. But I couldn’t dispose of it entirely, not after all the work I put into it and all the bits of wheat I felt were buried in the chaff. And so, its lingered in my files for years.

And now, years later and after all the tech research I’ve done, I find myself coming back to the idea. This is due in part to to trends which I’ve been researching in the last few months. The way I see it, by the middle of this century, two trends will be coming together, and its anybody’s guess which will come to determine our future. The one is technological growth and change – culminating in a future of post-scarcity – and the other is Climate Change, which will lead to a future of nothing but!

Megalopolis'And that’s where this story opens up. The year is 2030, and the world is a fast-changing place. On the one hand, mega-cities have taken root in several places, such as the Nanjing Peninsula, the Gangetic Plain, Cascadia, the Northeast Megalopolis, the “Blue Banana”, and the west coast of Japan. Life in these megalopolis’ is increasingly characterized by violence, poverty, unemployment, bigotry, and an ever increasing fast-pace of life due to increasingly advanced technologies trickling down to the street.

Meanwhile, the wealthy and privileged continue to buy up property and move to higher altitudes and latitudes in order to avoid the coming difficulties. It is widely accepted that within the next few decades, waves of immigration and refugees will pour into the coastal and border regions of the developed parts of the world (those that exist outside the equatorial regions that is) and life is likely to get more difficult.

In the midst of all this, a new group is taking to the streets, a group of quasi-apocalyptics who claim that the End of Days is coming. Their message is code-named Apocrypha, since it is really a cover for their more deeply laid plans to usher about something far more sinister. As they say, some spend their lives waiting for the apocalypse, while others are determined to make it happen in their lifetime.

Crashland.ebookThis story was actually the basis for my short Hunluan, which is part of the proposed Grim5Next anthology known as World’s Undone. It’s also the basis for the serial novel Crashland that I began posting over Story Time.me back when 2012 first started. Funny thing, the year 0f 2012 was marked by a lot of dystopian and apocalyptic lit. Maybe that’s why I want to revisit it now, seeing as how we’re in the clear for the time being!

In any case, as soon as Yuva is complete, Pappa Zulu is all wrapped up, and I’m done editing and releasing Data Miners (one of these days I’ll get that damn book finished!), I plan to return to this concept and give it my full attention. There’s plenty of potential to make some predictions about the future and that’s something I can’t pass up! In addition, it was my first attempt at something truly speculative and relevant and I definitely want to pursue that again.

It is my dream, after all, to produce something that capture the spirit of this age, and since Climate Change, break-neck progress, and fears for the future seem to be the dominant trends as I see them, this might just be the book to do it with! Look for it soon, I hope it will please the discerning reader!

climatewars

NaNoWriMo 2012: A Requiem

tome-of-undeadNovember is finally coming to an end and December is now upon us, which means the following things. It’s time to get the snow gear out, people who have grown mustaches for Movember can finally shave, and NaNoWriMo is officially over. For those who took part in it this year, my congratulations. For those who finished on time, my profound congratulations and respect. As for me, I started, stopped, and then started again. It seems this November I had a bout of temperamental inspiration which led to a weird outcome.

Originally, I wasn’t going to participate, seeing as how I had just finished work on my zombie apocalypse story known as Whiskey Delta. That took me at least a week into the month of November and I kind of felt burnt. Yet at the same time, I was rearing to go on production of the sequel and even got some encouragement to do so. Didn’t seem like a good time to take on another writing assignment. But then I was struck by an idea about the lives of future people who lived in an Arcology, a concept I’d been wanting to tackle for some time.

After coming up with a name – Etemenanki, the name of the Ziggarut that is believed to have inspired the Babel myth – I set to work. However, my passion soon faltered as I realized the idea was not well thought out, and the burden of having to write 2000 words a day sapped my inspiration further. I realized what I wanted to be writing was the sequel to Whiskey Delta – aka. Pappa Zulu – so I shut down Etemenanki and got to work on that instead.

But then I noticed that at NaNo website, you can easily change which story you’re working on by simply changing the title on your entry and resubmitting its basic data. Nowhere, except on the word count feature, does it keep track of the story itself. So I figured, what the hey? I changed the entry name to Pappa Zulu, and began submitting my chapter for it instead of chapters for Etemenanki, and the month of November proceeded. Granted, I lost a lot of time thanks to my starting and stopping, but at least I enjoyed it this way.

As of today, my final word count on Pappa Zulu is 27265 words in length, roughly half of what it needed to be to complete the challenge in time. Ah well, so sad. Better luck next year. By that time, I hope to have my act together on what I plan to write, to start on time, and not change my mind partway through. This is why they say not to change paddles in midstream, you know 😉