Monthly Archives: June 2017

Upcoming New Release – The Pathless Void

For years my Welcome page has said that I write science fiction, but up until now I’ve never actually published any.

The Pathless Void was an unofficial NaNoWriMo project from years ago. It was my first attempt at writing anything so quickly, and I was happy with how the first forty thousand words turned out. But while I did clear fifty thousand words during the month, I decided that the last ten or twelve thousand were not very good. So the project has languished since that time.

What I’ve decided to do is go ahead and publish the first forty thousand words as a novella in ebook format. The original book was intended to consist of two sections about that length, each a mostly self-contained narrative, and what I’ve published now is the first of those two. Down the road I plan on serializing the story in order to continue it, but the second section will go in a very different direction from what I wrote the first time around.

The upside is that you will be able to get the ebook and read and the story as soon as it’s reviewed and accepted on Smashwords and Amazon – at least the first installment. It reminds me a lot of some of the “Golden Age” sci-fi that I read when I was younger, with speculative space travel technology based on our current scientific understanding but extrapolated into the future. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did when I was writing it.

As soon as I have links where you can order the new ebook of The Pathless Void, I’ll post them here. Watch this space for updates!

Learning CreateSpace

My self-publishing adventure continues!

Lately I’ve been learning how to do CreateSpace so that I can put out my own print books as well as ebooks. Almost two years ago now I put together my short story Cthulhu Unbound, a satirical Lovecraftian piece, and bundled it with the prelude to Arcana in an effort to boost my ebook sales. As you can see from those sales ranks, so far it hasn’t really worked, but obviously one short story a writing career does not make. I’m more tenacious than that.

Between working with my Moonfire Publishing editor on Ipswich and Written in Blood, which are still on track to come out this summer, I have another project that I think many of you will find amusing. A few of you have seen it already, and heard me read a bit here and there. That’s what I really need CreateSpace for, since I want to release both a print version and an ebook this time around. So I’ve been learning the ins and out of page layout, designing covers, and all that good stuff. It’s fun, though it helps if you’re (A) obsessive, (B) an IT person, or (C) both, like me.

So why CreateSpace? There are other options out there that don’t support Amazon’s evil empire, but unfortunately at this point none of them really provide the same level of exposure. Amazon is now something like 40% of the entire book market, which when you think about it is pretty nuts. But the bottom line is that they do appear to have the best publish-on-demand setup, and no surprise, it integrates into their online market better than anybody else’s does. You can make an argument for going with somebody else, but let’s face it – margins in book sales are so tight these days that every little bit makes a difference.

As for that new project – consider this a bit of a teaser. Right now I’m in the process of putting the book together, and I’m not going to be announcing what it is until that’s done and I’m a little further along. Suffice it to say, it’s a great, great classy book that I’m sure you all will love to read. And I’m going to leave it at that for now.

Switch Modalities

I’ve been doing a lot of work with my editor at Moonfire Publishing lately, finishing up the remaining work on my upcoming summer releases. So that’s where my mind has been. I thought that today I would share one of the best tricks that I’ve been able to come up with for editing your work when you don’t have an editor, and are trying to get a manuscript ready to self-publish – switching modalities.

Editing books is pretty much the bane of the self-published author’s existence. One of the biggest differences between traditionally published books and self-published books is the quality of the editing. You can hire a freelance editor to work on your manuscript, but that can cost thousands of dollars. If you don’t have that kind of money, here’s a handy trick that will help you edit manuscripts on your own.

Editing your own work is so difficult because of a phenomenon called “word blindness.” If you’ve ever tried to edit a story or a novel, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You’ll go over your manuscript again and again, and you won’t find anything wrong with it. But then your work is published, and you realize that some parts of it still have typos, errors, sentences that don’t make sense, and so forth. You were sure they weren’t there when you proofed the thing.

Much of that is a product of composing your work on a computer. Some authors write by hand and then transcribe, and that does work for catching a lot of errors. But it’s also a great big pain in the butt. If you’re a poor transcription typist like I am, it takes forever. Composing on a computer is also a lot faster than writing by hand. The problem is that when you compose on a computer and do all your editing on a computer, word blindness is hard to avoid.

The simple solution is to shift modalities. First, compose and edit your manuscript on the computer until you are happy with it. Then switch modalities – print the manuscript out and edit it again, with a pen on paper. This seems kind of silly, but it really does work. When your brain reads through text on paper, the words are processed slightly differently than they are on a computer. So much of your familiarity of your manuscript is short-circuited.

Once you have your on-paper changes, and you will have some, go back into your digital manuscript and update it to reflect those changes. Then print the whole thing out again, and read the printout out loud. Yes, read the whole thing. When you run into issues, and you probably will, mark it up with a pen once again. Then, when you’re through that, update your digital master copy to fix any issues that you found reading the text.

You probably will be surprised at how much better this process will make your manuscript. It’s no substitute for a professional editor, but it should take care of the vast majority of typos, errors, and awkward sentences. It’s time-consuming, especially the reading out loud part, but you can do it yourself and it’s free. With the amount of time it takes to write a story or novel in the first place, the results make it totally worthwhile.

Summer Releases

As it turns out, I’ll have two new novels coming out this summer from Moonfire Publishing.

I already mentioned Ipswich, the long-awaited sequel to Arcana, in an earlier post, back when it was originally accepted for publication. It was tentatively scheduled for a spring release, but it’s looking like it will be summer now. We’ve been working on the editing and the manuscript is shaping up great. I’m very happy with it. I think you will be too.

If you liked Arcana you’ll love Ipswich. It’s a tighter, more accessible story that doesn’t skimp on the elements that made Arcana a unique novel. There’s magick, of course, along with necromancy, witchcraft, and spirits.

The second novel is a collaboration with Sheila Marshall, a paranormal vampire tale titled Written in Blood.

Written in Blood is set on the North Shore of Lake Superior, around Two Harbors and the evocatively named Castle Danger. In case you’re wondering, the latter is a real town. You can find it on a map and everything.

It tells the story of an ancient vampire with the power to write the fate of the Northland in his blood. He uses this power to write his ideal companion into existence, and summons her to Castle Danger. But she carries with her a secret that may lead to both their undoing.

Fans of vampire and paranormal fiction will love Written in Blood. It has mystery, romance, action, and of course plenty of bloodletting. Watch for it along with Ipswich this summer, and check out the Moonfire Publishing website for updates and announcements.