Tag Archives: publishing

2020 Business Plan

I just recapped 2019 (Link) and consider it a success. It wasn’t exactly profitable, but I learned some things and was able to publish three titles last year.

One of the main things is that I can write more than one story at a time. I call the secondary one my side project and chip away at it when my main project bogs down. I’ve been known to park my brain for weeks dwelling on a plot issue, then hit the keyboard after I’ve worked it all out. It’s worse while working on my trilogy.

By having a side project, those lost weeks are pointed elsewhere, and somehow the main problem works itself out anyway. My side project jumps ahead, and when it’s time for it to emerge from its cocoon as the main project, I may be 50K words into it.

It’s kind of like how I keep multiple storyboards going. I always have something ready to start.

I intend to keep doing this in 2020. I don’t have a side project right now, but once HMS Lanternfish hits somewhere around 50K words, I’m going to start another one.

I finally wrote that cyberpunk story I’ve been bringing up for years. It needs a cover, a final read through, and formatting, but it’s very close. I enjoyed taking modern problems and poking them with a stick to see how our world might look in a hundred years. It’s called Grinders, and will be coming your way in early 2020.

With an incredible stroke of luck, I could release it for Chinese New Year. This is the Year of the Rat, a big part of the story goes down at the parade in San Francisco, where it is also the Year of the Rat, and a couple of rats play an important role in the story. Yours Truly is also Year of the Rat. That’s some serious juju right there, and I’d like to publish it then.

I don’t think it’s a deal killer if I don’t hit that target, the best laid plans of rats and men, etc.

Grinders is my stand-alone title for 2020. Sequels will eat up the rest of the time. I can’t seem to give up stand-alone work, and it’s something I really enjoy.

As far as sequels are concerned, I need to produce the next Lanternfish tale in 2020. I’m working diligently on it, and would love to have it available before the schools get out. My track record at that deadline is horrible. I don’t seem to have any luck with summer releases, so I dream of having it ready before then.

Another loose target is the Halloween season. I have this earmarked for the next story about Lizzie and The Hat. They are finally going to face actual vampires. This won’t be anything like you’ve seen before, and will take place mostly in the country music environment. They’re going to have to stalk their enemy across rodeo dances, county fairs, and such. There are some fun scenes already planned out, and Lizzie is going to tire quickly of this kind of music.

There is also a new character that I can’t wait to bring into the tale. I see him as a possible recurring character. If you’re old enough, you remember how James Garner always seemed to have that one smarmy guy show up in his work. My new character will fill that role, and could fit into future stories. Besides, he has a speech impediment that The Hat will make fun of. That brings out Lizzie’s “social justice warrior” and adds a few fun interactions.

This story will be the side project once I nudge Lanternfish along a bit. After it moves into the main slot, I might start another side project. This one would be a post-apocalyptic story with many earmarks of a western. I will also return to first person POV in this one.

This is an ambitious year, but I think I can make it happen. I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve after last year. First is that Grinders is already written, much like the first Lanternfish book was. Second is that stories about Lizzie and The Hat are generally short novels. If it works, the post-apocalyptic thing could be ready prior to 2021.

I have one problem that I’m trying to sort out. Maybe you can help me with that. I’m convinced that my best promotional effort is to publish the next book. Being a self publisher is a numbers game. I’ve been around long enough to see people fade after a book or two. I’m not one of those people.

Readers could take authors more seriously with a number of titles under their belt. That’s pure theory, and they would have to be good stories. I feel like I’ve reached that level, and could attract new readers by having a decent catalog of titles.

The problem arises in timing of those releases. I ran into a problem of releasing two books sixty days apart. Viral Blues did well enough, but I think Serang suffered because of this. This is a complex problem, but here are some of the factors to consider.

• I have a personal phobia of the summer months for a new release. I’ve never done well during summer, but that limits me to the nine other months. That becomes a book every three months during the sweet spot.

• Promotional fatigue is a real thing. It hits my blog followers, online circle, and it hits me, too. I will need to identify many more sites to promote my work. I don’t want to wear out my regular group of hosts. I like my hosts and regulars. I want to balance being a friend, offering my space to them, and being able to promote my own projects on occasion.

• Lanternfish is a trilogy. I don’t expect much fanfare for the second book other than from those who loved the first one. In my imagination, book two may sell better after the trilogy concludes. With this thought, could a summer release for book two serve just as well? That would help spread things out around the year. Am I selling the second book of a trilogy short?

• Could a blog tour with two or more books on the same tour have any benefit? This would cut down the number of promo posts, but each title would have to share stops along the tour. Is there a way to use pre-release sales in this scheme? You can have one book right now, and the other will be delivered in 60 days?

• Does the crack dealer method still work? Meaning does a giveaway for book one help move sales for book two or three? It used to work, but has that also changed?

Personally, I don’t like the idea of giving my work away. If $2.99 is going to break someone’s budget, they’d be better of paying the power bill. I have to admit, there might be a strategic advantage to some freebies. There used to be one, but things change so fast I don’t know anymore.

As far as titles that could serve as the gateway drug to my writing, The Playground kind of leads to Viral Blues. The Hat leads to Viral Blues and any other book in the series. Serang and Voyage of the Lanternfish could serve the same purpose for the Lanternfish trilogy. Honestly, 2020 might be too soon for this concept, but I’m open to suggestions if you have them.

I want to keep blogging two to three times per week. Yeah, it’s a place to talk about my work, but it serves its own purpose, too. I like chatting with you guys. I’m not afraid to talk about my writing efforts, but sometimes you get bulldogs, sourdough bread, camping trips and other things that add a bit of quality to life.

Otto is helping Dad today.

Story Empire has been a good thing for me, too. It challenges me to come up with appropriate topics, and while I don’t always pull it off, I come fairly close to the mark. I don’t know how much more I have to share there, but there are always new writers coming along, so revamping some things might be possible. That usually takes me a couple of times per month, so I’ll be seeing many of you over there during 2020.

These are ambitious goals, but they are within reach. I might not hit all of them, but I intend to give it my best effort. I hope you guys will come along for the ride. Do you ever make a business plan for the year?

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2019, I’m calling it a success

I always try to do a year end assessment this time of year, then follow it up with a business plan in the new year. This is the assessment post.

My goals for 2019 were to step back from social media a bit and to explore sequels in my stories. In this, I was successful. I used to make custom tweets and make time to share them, make the occasional post on all the other formats out there, but honestly, they accomplish nothing. I keep these formats, and this blog auto-feeds to them, but the main goal is to point people here.

Currently, social media is for my own entertainment, but I try to share favors. Meaning, if someone tweets about my books, I try to follow and share their pinned tweet. I like finding out about all the baseball trades, bulldog pictures, and simple stuff on Facebook, but that’s about all it’s good for. I joined a big group event on Facebook that was promoted like an online trade show. It was a total failure, and I won’t make that mistake again.

I stopped paying for Facebook ads and Amazon ads last year. They never really did much, and the last few times they did nothing. My promotional efforts these days are in the form of blog tours, and a promotion company. Even then, I don’t always hire the promo firm.

When I released The Hat, the promo company really paid off. I got a bunch of early reviews, and sales were great. Things really tapered off after that. I used them for Viral Blues this year, and got one review from the NetGalley portion of the bundle.

As far as exploring sequels and series work, I count it as a major success. Success means different things to different people, so some explanation is in order. I’ll include covers and links, but I’m skipping the blurbs. This isn’t about promo, but assessment.

The first thing I published was Voyage of the Lanternfish. This is a crazy pirate fantasy with magic, monsters, and gunpowder. I’ve heard the term Flintlock Fantasy thrown around, and that might be a reasonable description.

It’s important to note this is not a sequel to anything. It’s the original book in what is destined to become a series. I published it on New Year’s Day, so it counts as 2019.

This book sold fairly well, and the comments I got on it led me to the trilogy idea. Reviews are lagging, so I’m a bit concerned.

Something else came up in a lot of the discussion. Two characters clicked with people, and they came up a lot. One isn’t so much a character as a collection of root monsters. I count them as one, because they function in swarm capacity during the action scenes. In my mind, they were just a bit of silliness to fill in the corners while Lanternfish was on a long sea voyage. Kind of like how Scrat fills out the edges of the Ice Age films. However, people loved them. I even had one ask for a root monster stand-alone book.

I don’t see that happening, because some of my over-the-top characters are better in small doses. A little is wonderful, too much can lead to brain damage.

Once I decided this could fit the classic trilogy format, I panicked a little. It would take at least a year to produce the next volume, and likely more than that. How am I going to keep fans interested during that time? This is where the other standout character came into play.

Lanternfish is set in a fantasy environment, mostly because I want to avoid comparison with Pirates of the Caribbean. There are some parallels to real world places, and it isn’t hard to understand that Serang is from pseudo-China. Her character, and this part of the world, made it easy to write her story.

Serang was raised by monks, then fled the country to become a pirate – kind of. This is a stand alone title, but it supports the Lanternfish environment. My hope is that Lanternfish fans will learn more about Serang by reading her book, and that it will tide them over until HMS Lanternfish is ready in 2020.

There is also a chance that people will read Serang first, then follow her into the Lanternfish stories.

Honestly, I dropped the ball on promotion of Serang. I released her story about 60 days after Viral Blues, and did an extensive tour for it. (More on that later.) When Serang published, I worried about my regulars suffering from tour fatigue. I took her on tour, but cut it short as a business decision. I also did not use the promo company for her story.

As of this writing, she only has four reviews on Amazon. This is partially because Amazon won’t let some people post reviews. They can still post on BookBub and Goodreads, and she’s doing better there. It seems odd to me, because these people review a mountain of books. It isn’t like they’re all shills for C. S. Boyack, but there’s nothing any of us can do about it.

I think she deserves better, and all of the reviews have been glowing.

The third book was a true sequel. My first one. It’s called Viral Blues, and is the follow up story to The Hat. The Hat sold incredibly well, and is the best reviewed book I have. Because of this, I thought Viral Blues would do better than it did. I paid the promo company for this story, and pushed the hell out of it around the Halloween season. It did well, but maybe I expected too much.

Lizzie and The Hat are back, but so are a bunch of old favorite characters. I’ve gotten some nice comments about Lisa Burton returning to a story, and admit she’s kind of a scene stealer at times. I’ve also gotten some great comments on Clovis. Both of these characters came with existing fans, so it was fun putting them in a new tale. Lizzie and The Hat carry the story, but it’s kind of like a superhero team-up.

I doubt there will ever be another story like Viral Blues, but it was a blast to create it. Lizzie and The Hat will go on, but it will be in their own adventures. These stories are paranormal with a lot of dark humor and snark.

I don’t want to jump ahead to my Business Plan, but I have some fun ideas for Lizzie and The Hat.

My goals for the two series are different. When it comes to Lanternfish, a trilogy almost demands prerequisite reading to carry on with the story. Stories about The Hat, can be read as stand-alone volumes with more available if you enjoyed the one you picked.

My Story Empire friends helped me scratch out some branding ideas for the series. With Lanternfish, there is no mistaking that figurehead. If it appears on all the covers, that should be good enough. When it comes to The Hat, I commissioned a small badge I can include on all the subsequent tales. It’s Lizzie playing her upright bass. It’s just a small icon that will let readers know it’s part of the series.

When it comes to the other parts of writing, some things changed. With three publications, they almost had to. Writing all those tour posts takes time, even if they are excerpts. All of my tour posts are unique, so I don’t wear people out when I run out a new story.

***

I didn’t return to blog posts about the writing cabin until late Autumn. This was a mistake. It’s easier to blog about what I’ve been doing than it is to fictionalize the same information and converse with Lisa. However, my stats clearly demonstrate that readers prefer interaction with Lisa.

I didn’t post as many Idea Mill posts this year, and they performed well. I need to step it up on that front. All of us need ideas for our stories, and sharing the oddball things I stumble across is kind of fun.

I also skipped Macabre Macaroni this year. I was neck deep in promotion for Viral Blues during October, and didn’t have time to write scary micro-fiction for the blog. Honestly, it passed without much notice. It’s one of those things people love when it appears, but don’t seem to miss if it doesn’t. No idea what to think about this.

Lisa Burton Radio slipped a bit, too, but that was on purpose.  Here’s a bit of my thought process. Feel free to disagree with me, but I’m just being frank. As an author, I know how hard it is to find good free promotion. Even then, there is only so much you can do. Talk about your main character, maybe your antagonist, plot. Sometimes share an excerpt.

I created something unique, in that Lisa interviews the character of your choice. It’s different enough to draw attention, and they are always popular posts. I started out asking people to give me a chance. I even advertised on various sites to get guests. I wound up posting weekly without much gap for two years. We moved some books, too.

However, there is a downside. They take a lot of work to put together. This is a collaborative effort, and it eats into my time. Many times, the guest author never even shows up, or publishes one comment to the group in passing. These posts work when the author pushes the hell out of them. I have one guest who still tweets out his older post from a year ago. That’s how it’s done.

Lisa Burton Radio is still available upon request. I’m not begging for guests any more. It’s a choice slot, and you get out what you put into it. I’m using the time I gained to write my next book. If you’re interested, Lisa will be happy to talk with your character.

To close the year out, I did something I swore I’d never do again. I held some Amazon free days for one of my books. The Playground is an older title, but several characters from this book made an appearance in Viral Blues. It also has a loose Christmas theme behind it. Honestly, we moved a crap-ton of books. My stats even showed it reaching single digits on one of the categories. I could call it a best seller at 100, so at number 9 I was kind of impressed. What I’d like to see as fallout are people following Clovis and/or Gina over to Viral Blues. A few reviews would be nice, too.

It isn’t lost on me that Serang, Voyage of the Lanternfish, and The Hat could make timely free books when the sequels are ready for publication. Watching the fallout from my Playground promo closely to figure this out.

Obviously, there is more to life than my author career, but this is a writing blog. My life has health issues, pets, relationships, and a 40 hour-per-week job, too. This post is an assessment of my 2019 success and fumbles as an author. My goal has always been to entertain people for a few hours. It’s even the name of the blog. With that in mind, I think 2019 goes in the win column.

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Writing on my flex day

It may sound like work, but don’t buy into that. I write for relaxation, and I got plenty in today.

I planned on hitting it hard because I have company coming this weekend. This time, I don’t even regret losing the writing time. Sometimes it’s nice to get out of the house and do something else.

This morning started like every other one. I intended to sleep in, but at 5:00 my bladder reminded me that it was still present. Since the dogs are used to getting up at 4:30 they wanted breakfast. — of to the races.

Coffee and food later, and I did my social media surfing. Everything except for blogs. Those take longer, so I held them for early afternoon.

I opened a new document and started writing. A mysterious ship named the Blackwall sailed into the harbor at Tusconi searching for the owner of the largely abandoned Lanternfish.

It took me some effort to put together the gap in time for my characters and reveal bits about this period of their lives. A big part of it involved moving the pieces around to deal with Bonnie Philson, now Cuttler.

James spent an entire novel rescuing her, and I can’t just abandon her to start this yarn at sea. She also doesn’t fit the mold as a pirate, so it took some effort.

I still haven’t hit all the characters yet, and only mentioned a few of them without any page time. This is a large cast, so I can’t just shove them all in the first chapter. Character soup is something I can’t stand. Besides, in theory someone could start here without reading Voyage of the Lanternfish. They deserve to get walked in.

I ended the day at just shy of 7000 words. That’s a good day for me, and while I have hit higher marks, I haven’t done it many times.

It occurred to me that because of this book, which I am calling HMS Lanternfish, I am currently working on four different books right now.

I received my corny graphics for Viral Blues, and manipulated them into the manuscript. Since this is a sequel to The Hat, I wanted to keep the same style.

I made cover sheets for Serang and Viral Blues last weekend, plus, I have one I’m dabbling with that I haven’t even mentioned in public yet.

The main focus for 2019 has always been subsequent titles. My group convinced me to try series work, so that’s where I’m going. Lanternfish will be a trilogy eventually, with Serang as a supporting tale. Lizzie and The Hat will be an ongoing series that won’t have prerequisite stories before you can enjoy them.

Me, being me, I can’t just give up on stand alone titles. The one I’m dabbling with is a bit of science fiction. I learned I can draft more than one story at a time if they are different enough. Somewhere between Lanternfish and science fiction they ought to be different enough. The advantage is that when the well runs dry on one story, the other one lets me get new words down.

I still have to figure out blog tour posts and get all of that moving. My target is to have Viral Blues out in time for the Halloween season.

Look over yonder, in the sidebar.

If you haven’t picked up Voyage of the Lanternfish, it makes for a great summer book. There will be more coming, so those of you who want to explore more of this world can do that.

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Checking in today

Hi, Gang! The tour is going well. We’ve had some fun conversations along the way, and there are a few posts yet to come. I hope you don’t mind the reblogs. Entertaining Stories isn’t just about this blog, it’s also about publishing Entertaining Stories a couple of times per year. Publishing leads to promotion, even if that isn’t my favorite thing. If nothing else, every tour stop is unique, so it’s not a total waste of bandwidth.

The book is doing okay. Results could always be better, even when things are great. Early reviews aren’t just good, they’re downright encouraging. This will certainly help with sales. My sales usually involve a spike up front, then the slow-burn starts. This is because my regulars pick it up right away. (So grateful for my regulars.) The tour goes to sites my regulars host, but it allows me to reach their regulars, who sometimes are new to my work. That early spike got me as high as 108 in one of the fantasy categories on Amazon. It’s since dropped down, but it’s still encouraging. (Fantasy categories are a tough nut.)

One of my goals is to continually improve, and I think Lanternfish shows bits of improvement over my previous works. Reviewers will give me some hints to this.

My 2019 goal was to explore the idea of additional works in an already existing environment. I’m currently writing two different stories with that in mind. Eventually, I’ll have to park one of them and focus on the other, but I will finish both. One of these is a prequel for one of the supporting characters from Lanternfish. It seems to be taking on a different tone, and that’s because much of the “comedy relief” didn’t exist at the time of this tale. I’m pretty happy with how it’s coming out so far, even if it is more serious.

About that comedy relief, the root monsters are pretty popular. In fact, they won’t leave me alone. I formulated two new scenes for them during my commutes this week. This is how many of my stories take shape. In fact there are quite a few other scenes involving my pirate crew. There is a good chance of a sequel for Lanternfish too. I may start a storyboard this weekend.

I sent out samples of these new stories for critique, and am getting the results back. My main focus is going to be making improvements to what I’ve already written. I don’t have new fiction on my list at all. The next goal is reading. I’m jazzed to dive into End of Day, by Mae Clair. I don’t usually read sequels any more than I write them, but dang that first book was good.

Finally, I need to check the Story Empire schedule and figure out when I’m up next. I don’t want to drop the ball over there.

Doesn’t seem like much of a list for a holiday weekend. My time isn’t completely my own though. Old What’s Her Face is off too. Between the spaces, I’ll obsessively check blog comments along the tour stops. You guys know how much I like comments.

What do you have planned for your weekend? Do you make a task list, or take it as it comes?

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For my next amazing stunt…

Story Empire is the group blog I belong to. Today, I’m holding down the fort over there and discussing those times when an author isn’t drafting new material. This post is intended to be a companion piece to that post. I’d appreciate it if you guys would also check out the Story Empire post, because it goes over other things than where I’m taking this one.

I have a bit of soul searching about what I might tackle next. I have no intention of starting a new draft before December, November at the earliest. It takes time to whip the storyboard into shape, and I want to be as productive as possible when I finally open a new project.

One of my mantras is: “Write the story you want to read next.” It’s served me well over the years, and keeps the task fun. The downside is that my mind moves around a lot. I write science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal stories. I like to switch things up.

The beauty of a group blog, like Story Empire, is that I get to hang out with people who are smarter than I am. Some of them have pointed out that I don’t have a series. I’ve covered a lot of bases; short story collections, novella, novels… no series. Some of my characters have returned via the short story, like Lisa Burton, or Pete from Will O’ the Wisp.

Still, they’re right… no actual series. I can’t see myself being focused long enough to write a long series, but still; throw JK Rowling kind of money my way and I’m your huckleberry. I might take a stab at a trilogy, but that would likely be my limit. Part of the problem is keeping the setting, characters, and plot entertaining.

I’m going to write this next part out as much for myself as you guys, but it opens the topics up for debate. I’d kind of like to hear what you have to say. Here are the things in my pipeline.

The one I may never write: This is an African adventure set in the colonial era. It will involve black magic, at least three kinds of opposition, and a bit of romance. (A new test for me.) It will also involve the safari. Because people have unrealistic views about hunting today, I may never write it. I don’t want to deal with knee jerk reactions to the hunting of fictional animals. I have some wonderful settings, scenes, and deceptions for this one, but I may have to add it to the scrap pile.

Score this one as more down side than up.

Grinders: This is a cyberpunk tale involving those who perform enhancement surgeries on themselves and each other. This stuff goes on today, and I can push it to an extreme in a science fiction environment. Imagine lots of neon, holographic advertising, and way too many people. I can dabble with where the internet world may take us one day. This might include cyber shut-ins who never leave their apartment. Drone deliveries, vitamin D deficiencies, and more.

Score this one as a plus in the story department, but not maybe career enhancing for me at this point.

The Group Project: I’ve had a lot of requests for a return of both Clovis from The Playground, and Lizzie St. Laurent and The Hat. It occurred to me they could exist in the same universe. They need other characters to interact with, and there are quite a few of my existing characters who could play a role here. This evolved, in my mind and on a storyboard, into something like an Avengers story only with a paranormal background.

Score this one in the middle somewhere, because I’ve never seen anyone do something like it before. The benefit to my career could be to interest readers in my backlist. Maybe a fan of The Hat picks it up, because it will be a sequel to The Hat. As they read it, they decide Lisa Burton is more interesting than they thought and want to pick up her novel. Or it could irritate readers, because Lizzie and the hat have to share the stage with other characters.

Another Lanternfish story: I just finished the draft of Lanternfish yesterday, but this world is ripe for another story. There is a war going on, and involvement of the pirates in the war could prove interesting. Yes, it’s a fantasy, but real things happened along this line and adds some credibility to them getting involved.

Score this one a bit of plus and a bit of minus. I feel this way, because nobody has read Voyage of the Lanternfish yet. If it flops, I don’t want to put six or seven months into a sequel. If it succeeds, the time for a sequel is upon me. It would head me down that path toward a trilogy. Lanternfish is the first one I’ve written that I feel could support a trilogy. (Sequels yes, but an actual trilogy is what I’m talking about.)

***

Those are the main possibilities, but they have to be looked at with a longer vision too. It is possible to write another Novella about Lizzie and the hat. This might be done a bit faster and satisfy their fans. Then I could focus on one of the other stories. I have an additional idea that could become a story pretty easily.

I could look at a third Experimental Notebook. That lets my mind bounce from tale to tale, which I enjoy. Then I could knuckle down and focus on some kind of sequel.

I also have a loose idea for a novella called Serang. She is a character from Lanternfish, and this would be her prequel story. The merit here is to satisfy any Lanternfish fans I might get while then writing one of the other novels.

Are fans willing to wait on sequels these days? I know all about George RR Martin, but I don’t quite have his kind of fan base. Would readers be satisfied with a trilogy that takes three years to deliver? These days, authors are pressed to publish more rapidly than ever before. If readers would stick around that long, I could squeeze some other stories between these and keep myself happy at the same time.

Keep in mind that I’m good for about two publications per year. With Lanternfish finished, I might put out three in 2019… maybe.

These are the things I have to sort out between now and late November. Before that, actually, if I’m going to spend some quality time on that storyboard.

What do you folks think? I know there is no correct answer here, and that I ultimately have to decide. I’m open to a bit of debate, and it may help me figure something out.

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Planning the weekend

Today marks the end of the longest two weeks we have at my paycheck job each year. In the last two weeks, I’ve had to put on a tie three times, make two presentations to groups, and several small ones to a political body. Prior to that it was all research, scripting, and Powerpoint stuff to get ready. But it all ends today! (Of course, I’m behind now at other work projects.)

On Tuesday morning, I received the upload copy of The Yak Guy Project from my formatter. Do you have any idea how hard it is to park on that for days that never end? Well, it’s hard for me.

Saturday is another matter. I can do my early chores, and start hammering it through Amazon. I have contacted the usual suspects and they agreed to help me with one of my home-made blog tours. There are a pile of pre-written posts in an attempt to keep them all unique. I also have some Lisa Burton art I’ve been parked on for nearly a year. I tried to contact folks in a small batch. This way, I can send them stuff and see what’s left. Then I can start a second wave and not lose track of who got what post. I used to do this all at once, and wound of losing track of things. Two waves should work… in theory.

Warning: There will be reblogs at Entertaining Stories. When people help me, it’s the least I can do to try driving them some traffic too.

I’ll send everything to my hosts after Amazon gives me the green light. After that, I need to update my sidebar to reflect the new title, deal with Goodreads, and all the peripheral stuff.

I already took the time to give the place a facelift. We have some nice fruit trees in bloom to replace the mud of Spring. Lisa’s ice sculpture of The Hat finally melted in the banner, but the yak is sticking around.

This is always an exciting time, but it kind of stresses me out. In some ways uploading to Amazon feels like putting my manuscript through a shredder. I had one bad experience many years ago and it’s stuck with me.

I can’t wait to get through this day, but the weekend will all happen in due time. I just have to remember this calming lesson:

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Meet Michele Jones

Quantum Wanderlust
Michele Jones is one of the masterminds behind AIW Press, and the two anthologies I’ve been invited to participate in. She’s also the author of one of the stories inside Quantum Wanderlust. She’s here to give us a behind the scenes of putting an anthology together. Let’s make her feel welcome and use those sharing buttons today. Thanks.

***

Hey Craig, thanks for having me. By the way, I love Lisa’s radio show. You have very interesting guests. If you don’t mind, I thought we could talk about putting together our newest anthology, Quantum Wanderlust.

I believe there are some similarities between producing an anthology and writing a successful story or novel, or producing a live radio show. It all comes down to planning.

Our team meets and discusses ideas and themes for upcoming anthologies. We’ve done holiday, westerns, and wanted something different. Thus, Quantum Wanderlust was born. Of course, the ideas that didn’t make the cut were filed for future use.

Once we have chosen the theme, we develop the concept that all submissions must adhere to. All of our anthologies have guidelines the selected authors must abide by, theme, word count, and of course they must not be offensive to the readers or the participating authors, therefore, we stay away from political and religious topics when producing the anthology.

After hashing out the details, we have a call for submissions. This includes reaching out to the authors that participated in previous anthologies. We provide the details of the anthology, such as theme, word count, deadline, editing process, and marketing.

After we have commitments from the authors, we create an online forum for information pertaining to the anthology. This is where we discuss the progress of the stories and the marketing we will be doing.

While that is happening in the forefront, we work behind the scenes producing the marketing material. We gather the author bio, and any links they provide for their work. As the stories come in we start the editing process. We review all content to make sure it adheres to our rules, and edit for grammar. Once completed, all edits are returned to the author for approval. Don’t be alarmed, any edit that we do will not change the author’s voice or the plot of the story.

Once we have all the finished pieces, we start the layout for the compilation. We come up with a one or two line short synopsis for marketing and we pull a quote to introduce the story.

I’ve read all the stories in Quantum Wanderlust. Craig chose to travel back in time and came up with a great plot twist in his story, Swift Wings. I chose to travel to the future in my story, The Fabric of Time, where one snag in the fabric can alter the future.

Don’t forget to pick up your free copy of Quantum Wanderlust at all the major sites. These thirteen authors will take you on some interesting time travel adventures. Oh, and if you don’t mind, please leave a review.

***

Quantum WanderlustWhat if you had all the time in the world?

Thirteen authors answer that question with short stories about time travel. Go back in time to right a wrong, forward to see the future. No jump is too large, no method unfeasible, no lesson beyond learning.

• Visit the past to learn a family secret.

• See the formation of a future dictatorship.

• Assume responsibility for weaving the fabric of time.

• Travel back in time to WWII.

• Use a family heirloom to solve problems.

• Wear an inheritance to visit ancestors.

• Leave a dystopian future for the hope of something better.

• Make history come true in an unexpected way.

• Fight evil fairies to protect a chosen angel.

• Live with the childhood memory of visitors until the day they arrive.

• Seek medical help for a memory issue and get way more than bargained for.

• Discover that with great power comes great responsibility.

• Uncover the secrets of a pharaoh’s tomb and curse.

Do the characters observe or interact? Is the outcome better or worse than the original timeline? Read these stories to learn how far they go, how they get there, and what happens when they return.

The scope is virtually limitless, definitely timeless.

Pick up your free copy here

Michele JonesBio:

Michele Jones lives in Western Pennsylvania with her husband and two spoiled dogs.

Along with her writing, family, cooking, and sports are her passions. She is a diehard Penguin, Steeler, and Pirate fan… really, a diehard anything-Pittsburgh fan.

Michele writes memoirs, short stories, romance, and poetry, but her passion lies in writing paranormal, suspense, and thrillers.

You can follow her online at www.michele-jones.com

Connect online:

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Published Works | Goodreads

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Not bad for a flex day

Like all flex days, this one started off with a task list last night. The day started with my alarm dog at about six o'clock.

Otto and Frankie play together all the time now. A big part of this involves him feeling much better. We took more detailed X-rays about two weeks ago, and had an additional expert look at them. He has several problems, but there was concern about one specific issue. It involves bone tissue that is degenerating and regrowing.

Our vet said the possibilities were bone cancer, and a bone infection. The cancer is almost unheard of with a dog Otto's age, and the infection is also extremely rare. He wanted to try an antibiotic in an abundance of caution, but thinks maybe the X-ray simply showed something that isn't there.

Here's the deal, though. After two days of antibiotic, Otto started feeling better. After a week, I have my boy back. He runs around, plays ball, and is acting like his old self. He still limps on occasion, but two weeks ago he was dragging himself across the floor by his front legs.

How the hell does anything get a bone infection?

They've been absolutely crazy today.

Oh, come on guys, you're making me look bad now. They were playing, I swear.

I wound up doing some maintenance on my part of the Story Empire blog, and finished that. About an hour ago, I found even more to do there, but still consider it a win.

I also explored and joined a new app a friend told me about. Something called Triberr, but don't ask me anything about it just yet.

I finished the edits on a 5500 word short story for an anthology, and delivered the edited version to them.

Edits on the Yak Guy Project are finished. I'm going to put it aside for a while to work on other projects. Quite honestly, I'm thinking about submitting it to a publisher. I haven't submitted anything for years, but maybe the hybrid author is the way to go. Right now, I just need time to think about it all.

I got another five star review today for the Second Experimental Notebook. I need to write a third one of these, and they make a great side project. Not just yet though.

First I need more micro-fiction for October. I intended to write one today, but never got that far. I might rough one out while my ballgame is on.

Ah, here you go. See all happy today.

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Pulling back the veil

Regular readers of this blog know I’ve been working pretty hard on projects. There seems to be a little of that going around these days, because I’ve discovered some kindred spirits.

We’ve formed a collective group, initially for some group promotion, but it’s grown into something more. Today, I want to tell you about Story Empire.

I’ve joined up with these wonderful authors to bring you something new:

Our initial common ground is the paranormal. We’re all pretty diverse, and we have other common interests as well.

We’ve all been working hard on different corners of our cooperative effort, but the work of Staci Troilo really shows in the new website and blog. Look at these wonderful graphics.

Huh, how’d I manage to use that last one? (Because Entertaining Stories is my blog, that’s why.) Didn’t she do a super job?

We’re still working on our group promotions, but the website and blog is live right now. Staci even made a lovely post about dialog that you might find helpful. We intend to include some writing, publishing, and promotion tips on the blog.

We’re growing and getting a feel for what’s to come, but you can follow the blog right now. In fact we’d appreciate it if you did. We’re all going to be posting there in due time. For now, the focus is on the paranormal, Halloween is fast approaching.

Check it out. Follow the blog. Share our startup across social media. Drop us a hint about what you’d like to see there.

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Assessing my effort so far

On Friday night I posted a list of things I want to accomplish before returning to the paycheck job on Tuesday. I think I’m doing a pretty good job of things so far. Let’s take a look at the list, and I’ll scratch things off to indicate what I’ve been doing.

The checklist:

  • Take life as it comes, including another date night and puppy play
  • Work on short stories
  • Read all my Macabre Macaroni stories, edit as needed
  • Publish my second Experimental Notebook (mostly)
  • Work on any Lisa Burton Radio stuff that comes back in the mail
  • Go through my critiques and make changes to The Yak Guy Project
  • Read one book, start another
  • Blog

I got a bunch of writing done yesterday, so I completely ignored that today. It was hard, because it’s what I want to be doing. Mom always said you have to finish your Brussels sprouts before you can have dessert. It’s kind of like that.

Otto and I played a bunch. He’s teething right now, and looks kind of like a wild boar with tusks in the bottom jaw only. The top canines are coming in fast though and his rawhide toys were pretty popular today.

I put in some work on future Lisa Burton Radio interviews. Those are all in the mail, finished, or awaiting final approval. I still have to schedule this week’s post via WordPress. Maybe I’ll do that after this posts. I love the scheduler option for these.

I finished my reading project, but didn’t get around to starting the next one. I have a book of short stories next by one of the regulars here. I want to read another one by a friend after that. Short fiction is one of my favorites and I’m kind of excited about both of them. Sue and Nicholas, I’m talking about you.

I probably screwed up on the publishing front. I wanted to do a short pre-sale for The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II. When I pushed everything through the mill it asked when I wanted to book to deliver. It never asked me when I wanted the pre-sale to start. I wouldn’t be surprised if I have to write a panic post tomorrow because the pre-sale already started. If that’s what happens, I’ll have to own it like I planned it, but readers of this blog will know the truth. Maybe I can blame everything on my assistant.

Some of the items on my list are ongoing, like blogging and working on the short stories. Tomorrow I’ll save the Macabre Macaroni stories for break times. It may seem odd, but reading and tweaking seems to use a different part of the brain than drafting new material does. At least it does for me.

I’m going to focus on the short stories in The Enhanced League. I may crack into the short stories I want to read too.

Then again, I may not do any of that. I may have to write a panic post about the release of my new book. If that shows up in my timeline tomorrow, you can all have a laugh at my expense. I really wanted to start on the 24th, not the 15th. Part of the problem is the lack of time to dedicate. My wife and I have plans that won’t provide another day to do this.

So there you have it. Picking away at my list, and I can do the fun stuff tomorrow. I think I’ll have two of those pumpkin beers tonight, but I doubt they’ll help me sleep. I’ll probably toss and turn all night wondering if Amazon will have my book available tomorrow morning.

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