State of Writing

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Still plodding along through Rise of the Dragon Impervious… my short-term plan is to have it edited through chapter 8 by the weekend when my real-world life will demand a bunch of attention. I’ll only have about 25,000 words left to edit if I  hit my mark by the weekend… it’s a little slow going because the original pieces were written years ago and, honestly, my writing has simply gotten so much tighter since then.

Of course, I had another great story idea strike me as I woke up over the weekend, stemming from a pretty vivid dream (and it allows me to recycle some of the themes I was excited about from a thriller novel I’d written to about 25% before aborting the project for a variety of reasons.) I hope to write it as a short story–I haven’t done any short fiction in quite a while now, so that might be a fun creative outlet… I think that in the midst of #amediting hell my brain is screaming for a creative stroll.

Blog Tour: Midnight’s Edge

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Midnight’s Edge Series

midnights-edge-secrets-of-sleepy-meadowsMidnight’s Edge Book 1

The Secrets of Sleepy Meadows

By David Chappius & Michael Klinger

Genre: Horror, Supernatural Suspense

About the Book

The title, Midnight’s Edge, comes from the time of night where the veil between the living and the dead disappears and, for a brief moment in time, the dead can return to the mortal world and live again. It is a story of a vile, evil man named Jeremy Wickcliff, whose wife, Lucy, arranged his death years ago to save the town from his wrath of destruction. In present time, he has been plotting from the spirit realm, a place of purgatory, to return to the mortal realm to seek revenge on those who wronged him and reclaim the life ripped away from him.

Publisher Website (Book 1)

http://www.melange-books.com/authors/anthologies/MidnightsEdge1.html

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29244011-midnight-s-edge

Amazon (Book 1-Print)

https://www.amazon.com/Midnights-Edge-Secrets-Sleepy-Meadows/dp/1680461575/ref=sr_1_24ie=UTF8&qid=1475693535&sr=8-24&keywords=midnight%27s+edge

Amazon (Book 1-Kindle)

https://www.amazon.com/Midnights-Edge-Secrets-Sleepy-Meadow-ebook/dp/B0174F4CQQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1475693685&sr=1-1&keywords=midnight%27s+edge

Barnes and Noble (Nook- Book 1)

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/midnights-edge-david-chappuis/1122871032?ean=2940157780296

Smashwords (Book 1)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/587790

Midnight’s Edge – Book 2

The Posession

About the Book

midnights edge - the possession.jpgSuccessful in his plan to return to the mortal realm, Jeremy Wickcliff believes he’s found his son, whose body will allow him to continue to live, and he has brought back his sister, Rachel, as part of his resurgence plan for the Wickcliff family. However, the son that he thinks is his isn’t, and Rachel isn’t exactly his ally. Trapped in the Wickcliff mausoleum in the spirit realm, the Wickcliff ancestors have their own plan to return to life in the mortal realm, with or without Jeremy’s help.

As the witches begin to piece together Jeremy’s plan after a visit from his wife, Lucy, in spirit form, they realize that they must band together in an attempt to stop him from bringing his family back and to banish him back to the ghost realm. With a battle between good and evil takes place on the grounds of the Wickcliff cemetery, the outcome will change the lives of the residents of Sleepy Meadows forever.

Publisher Website (Book 2)

http://www.melangebooks.com/authors/anthologies/2016/MidnightsEdge2.html

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29540539-midnight-s-edge

Amazon (Book 2- Print)

https://www.amazon.com/Midnights-Edge-Possession-Michael-Klinger/dp/1680462482/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475693942&sr=1-5&keywords=midnight%27s+edge

Amazon (Book 2-Kindle)

https://www.amazon.com/Midnights-Edge-Possession-David-Chappuis-ebook/dp/B01D0XY7V6/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1475694045&sr=1-2&keywords=midnight%27s+edge

Barnes and Noble ( Nook- Book 2)

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/midnights-edge-david-chappuis/1123521218?ean=2940152918861

Smashwords (Book 2)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/621374

About the Authors

David Chappuis was born in Waterloo, Iowa, the fifth child of six, and grew up on a farm outside of Madrid, New York. He received a bachelor’s degree in English/Writing and Art/Studio from Potsdam College and later took professional development courses in Interactive Multimedia at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

He has made a living as a professional web designer, designing Radio Station websites across the U.S. He designs, develops, and hosts his own websites and blogs for his writing endeavors.

As well as web design, he co-writes fan fiction blogs for the defunct daytime serials, Another World and Dark Shadows, and runs Facebook groups for readers to actively participate in the stories. He also interviews the real-life actors from the shows as well as other talented people.

He is the co-author of “Midnight’s Edge: The Secrets of Sleepy Meadows”, a supernatural book series, that will be published by Melange Books, LLC in September 2015. He also pens his self-published mystery series called “Jenny’s Not Dead” which is currently available in all popular ebook formats.

He works from home as a full-time writer and graphic artist in southern Virginia.

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Michael Klinger – Co-Author of Midnight’s Edge, Jenny’s Not Dead

Michael Klinger was born in Niagara Falls, New York. He received an associate’s degree in human services from Niagara County Community College and a bachelor’s degree in human services management from the University of Phoenix. He has made a living as a professional benefits specialist.

He co-writes fan fiction blogs for the defunct daytime serials, Another World and Dark Shadows, and runs Facebook groups for readers to actively participate in the stories.

He is the co-author of “Midnight’s Edge: The Secrets of Sleepy Meadows”, a supernatural book series, that will be published by Melange Books, LLC in September 2015. He also pens his self-published mystery series called “Jenny’s Not Dead” which is currently available in all popular ebook formats.

He currently resides in southern Virginia.

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Overcoming Amazon’s Primary Weakness

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Last week I rambled on and on about the distribution weaknesses of Createspace (at least when it comes to Brick and Mortar stores) due to the “returnability” of physically stocked books. I recommended using both Amazon’s Createspace AND IngramSpark in order to get the best of both worlds.

I wanted to talk a little bit more about why to do this. Firstly, it’s important to clarify your goals with publishing. Hardly any physical bookstore will carry a title they can’t return (barring some personal connection) as a matter of principle. But maybe that’s not one of your goals. Those stores would likely still order a Createspace title if a customer special ordered it… Createspace DOES utilize the Ingram catalogue—they just have a no returns policy. If you don’t care about being represented on an actual bookshelf maybe this isn’t important to you. It might even save you money to forego the Spark side of things (there is a $50 setup fee per title, plus you must purchase/provide an ISBN separately).

–IngramSpark’s setup is not nearly as user friendly as Createspace and most users will have trouble with it. You must be sure to setup your pricing properly and setup the returnability options properly or else you’ve just bungled the reason for undertaking the added work. You should also go into your Createspace settings and make sure to turn off the Expanded Distribution options in the CS dashboard or else bookstores you approach about carrying your titles might get confused and decide not to order because of multiple listings in their catalogue.

–While there are fees for IngramSpark, I’d point out that there are ways to get your title up for almost nothing. If my Inside the Inkwell blog is good for nothing else, I try to provide the most economical paths for indies… When I setup my IngramSpark titles I used a coupon code and got the setup fees waived. I utilized a highly reviewed ISBN service to get an ISBN for less than ten bucks (http://www.epubbud.com). Because I do my own art and I already had the formatted files prepared and could easily convert them to PDF, I had no other expenses. It literally cost me only $9 to get my title available at IngramSpark with full returnability. Because I try and get out to chain stores and do signings (and stores like Barnes and Nobles like to carry a few extras for their inventory—but won’t order if they can’t return,) having control over the pricing options, royalty/discount ratios, and returnability are absolutely crucial to me.

I make the cast majority of my sales through Amazon (the Createspace version of my book). I get a better royalty through Amazon than through IngramSpark—especially since I’m using Ingram as my wholesale option. A person COULD funnel it all through IngramSpark if they wanted, but the royalties go down slightly and you lose the ability to utilize things like KindleUnlimited for promotions… then again maybe that’s not a part of your plan.

Hopefully you’ve picked up on the key element to this post: if you are an indie, you can’t just release a book into the wild and hope it survives and thrives—you’ve got to have a plan. Luckily, it’s never too late to develop one. If you need help, connect with some other authors and seek advice.

For more reading, here’s a great post with more details on utilizing IngramSpark:
http://www.newshelves.com/2016/05/21/why-you-need-lightning-source-and-createspace/
http://selfpublishingadvice.org/watchdog-ingram-spark-vs-createspace-for-self-publishing-print-books/
http://selfpublishingadvice.org/how-to-use-createspace-and-ingram-spark-together/

Review: The Remnant

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I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from The Remnant. According to the blurb it would obviously be two things: 1) be sci-fi with a mix of dystopia. 2) come from a faith-based background. I’m on board with both of those things (heck, that’s the primary thing I write and one of my top three genres to read). It wasn’t confusing or a let-down when I cracked he cover and saw it was a little different than I expected from the cover. It was a little less sci-fi than I expected from the robo-cop looking cover, but that was me reading too much into the artwork, but the overall book from Dancing Lemur Press was well done (even if I’ve got a natural bias against 6×9 books that aren’t hardcover—but again, that’s my own personal oddity).

Davidson’s writing is good. It could use a little cleanup in some places (many spots I’d highlight, were I the editor, to suggest some tightened action verbs, but it’s neither a glaring problem nor an overly obtuse one—just something I’m picking up on now during an heavy line-editing phase I’ve going on for a few books—the writing is really good, though… the nitpick is the difference between shiny and mirror-finish.)

Plot-wise, there is an Orwellian feel to the world that develops as you follow Colton Pierce—the main character almost seems to work for the Ministry of Love and the book opens on a sort of watered-down Room 101 where Winston Smith surrenders his humanity. Unlike the classic 1984, however, Davidson interlaces familiar imagery and names brands to keep the reader grounded in a not-too unrealistic future dystopia where people drive Mercedes Benzes, Toyotas, and Mustangs. It’s both scarier and more comfortable at the same time. There is something terrifying about a world so relatable and yet so different which Orwell establishes for his readers—but Davidson’s world has that same terror amplified because of the familiarity, though its oddly comfortable at the same time as readers will easily insert themselves into the ebb and flow of the culture and modern writing style (something readers new to Orwell will undoubtedly struggle to do).

Of course, a key difference between The Remnant and the classic 1984 is that Davidson’s work has an undercurrent of hope whereas Orwell’s reeks of warning. Davidson obviously writes something palatable for a larger age spectrum and the book would be appropriate for YA readers. Rather than seeing the world through the eyes of a doomed man awaiting the interrogation of Room 101 Davidson’s Winston Smith and his Julia (Selma, in The Remnant’s case) escape the clutches of the Big Brother, The Spies, and Thinkpol to lead their pursuit on a manhunt where similarities begin to look a bit more like Minority Report in some ways—although The Remnant is a friendlier and more accessible 1984 with a solid faith component and it manages to do that without becoming heavy handed or preachy.

I received a free copy of The Remnant from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

State of Writing

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Monday is here again, and all too soon. I did get some writing done last week, but not really the kind I really want to do… I’m stuck editing… although I did get John in the John 100% in the can (joke intended) and I’m about 50% done with edits on The Kakos Realm #2… I was able to work on the overall plot arc of the series and inserted a wonderfully villainous character cameo for a big baddie to revealed further down the line and foreshadow a plot point that won’t resolve until book 4, at least.

I really need to get this book edited and off my to-do list so I can move onto the nest two things I really want to get at: draft #2 of Fear in a Land Without Shadows and a rewrite of my YA Paranormal story… I did, however, put a little flesh on bone for The Kakos Realm Series and tentatively setup the titles for 7 books (unless things change).
1. Grinden Proselyte
2. Rise of the Dragon Impervious
3. Death Upon the Fields of Splendor
4. Shaking of the Firmaments
5. Babel War
6. Stalker From The Well
7. The Land of Nod

 

Blog Tour: SF/F

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So hows about a new Friday Feature similar to my occasional Free Fiction Tuesdays? I may host the occasional blog tour at week’s end, even though I typically reserve Fridays for my rare, Random content. I stumbled onto the scene when a blog host familiar with my books thought it important to host a tour for me.

I have two tours running at the moment, but rather than copy all of the info here (as I will do with future tours,) I’ll send you over to the Silver Dagger

Sci-fi: http://silver-dagger-scriptorium.weebly.com/sdsxx-tours/dekkers-dozen-book-tour-and-giveaway

Fantasy: http://silver-dagger-scriptorium.weebly.com/sdsxx-tours/fantasy-feature-book-tour-and-giveaway

Identifying Amazon’s Primary Weakness

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If you’ve been writing for any length of time then you’ve been (hopefully) doing some promotion in order to sell your book–or in the absence of sales, get your book read by an audience–then you’ve probably gotten into Amazon. Why else would you write and then publish as an indie unless you want to be read?

I’ve advocated and blogged quite a bit about Createspace and using it as an avenue to getting published for free… I’m still baffled by the services advertising pay-for “publishing packages” etc… but then again, every year there is a new crop of starry-eyed writers hoping to break out as the next great author.

Createspace pushes straight to Amazon and is free; Amazon accounts for about 70% of the sales for indie published books.If you are going to sell online, then you MUST be on Amazon, and there is no easier and more efficient way to do this than to harness the power of Createspace.

So where’s the weakness? What if your goal is to be carried on bookshelves at local or chain bookstores? Here’s the weakness that you will discover: distribution.

But Createspace distributes through Ingram, the largest network there is–Ingram’s got everyone, right? Well, yes… but there is something called Returnability… bookstores can’t sell back any unpurchased stock if it came from Createspace. And there’s the rub… most brick and mortars WILL NOT carry a title without the option to return old stock, thus keeping you off most shelves.

That’s a problem for may… however, there is a way to get your title carried in Ingram AND have returnability… use Ingram Spark. I will talk about that in a future blog–but the take away for this week for my fellow Indies is this: Createspace alone will rarely be sufficient to get your shiny books onto the shelves down the streets, allow you to do book signings and promo events at those places, etc. I’ll blog more about it in the future.

Review: Second Dive in the Ocean

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Second Dive in the Ocean is a great book, I say this as someone whose spouse went back to school to change careers at age 30 with two kids, a mortgage, and husband with an uncertain career field. It’s certainly a relevant book and one that could benefit many individuals with the candid way that it addresses the basic questions that are so easily overlooked in the emotion and heat of the moment. Some of those highlights are things I’ve often encouraged people to be aware of (so I feel like Ms. Siddiqui and I are on the same page,) are questions like: Do you need a change of job or change of career? Are you not changing because of fear? Where do you find motivation and satisfaction? Are you employable in your desired field? Do you sabotage yourself? Have you adequately planned for a financial change?

What I liked: the topic is very relevant and the book was well written and easy to follow.

What I didn’t care for: honestly, I’d have to really nitpick here–the book had lots of illustrations and anecdotes, but not a great deal of personal stories so reading it was more like going to a seminar where the presenter talked about what/why of the topic but never the who… but those seminars are often still great.

Overall I was surprised by the tone and relevance to the American audience knowing that the book was written and published in the Indian market. Siddiqui writes about the principles and qualities from a global perspective and those items each translate well to the local market.

You can find the book at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KZ6EVBC

State of Writing

Pitched books Saturday at the Rain Taxi Twin Cities Book Festival. I did pretty decent, I think. I also managed to edit a couple chapters and finish all but the last page or two of John in the John which I will finish this week, officially putting it in the can. I hope to focus on editing The Kakos Realm: Rise of the Dragon Impervious so that I can get an editor onto it and start pitching it more heavily. I’m reluctant to try very hard to sell TKR: Grinden Proselyte without the second installment ready to go. I wrote them as one story, originally, and it really makes the story more appealing to have a followup with the guarantee of a second installment right away… I’d like to have TKR:RotDI ready for edits in November.

Also, my imagination is killing me! I’ve got another YA book loosely sketched. Whenever I take a road trip it seems I mentally stumble onto a setup for a great story.