Month: April 2012

No Kickstarter, but Singularity ebook is a go!

Update 1: Added Amazon Kindle links.

Okay, so the Kickstarter project to get the novel Singularity Deferred didn’t go over so well. That’s fine; it was something of a long-shot. So, we move on to Plan B: While I won’t be able to crowdsource the funding from contributors (who would have received the book as well as incentives), I’ll simply put out a first edition e-book to raise the funds. This will allow me to possibly succeed in two ways:

1. If the sales of the e-book go really well, then that’s all I’ll need to rely on and the funds from that will go to the professional graphic design and artwork, layout, marketing materials, and print run. But, if after a while the income isn’t as great as it might be but the feedback is positive, then…

2. I can use that feedback and garnered book reviews posted where it’s purchased (Smashwords,, and Amazon*) to help give a second Kickstarter attempt more promise. And, whatever funds gained from the e-book sales, would help mitigate what I would need to generate from Kickstarter contributors to complete the print project.

So, if you want an exciting scifi adventure to read, spend a mere fraction of what you would in a Nook or Kindle store e-book and purchase and download Singularity Deferred! Then, when you discover how much you’re enjoying it, go back and post a review, if you would. It’d certainly be appreciated!

And while you’re there, buy an additional copy or two to give as gifts! Everyone wins! 🙂

(*At this moment, the review processes to add the novel to is still going on. But if you have a Nook or even a Kobo or iPhone/iPad, copying the EPUB you buy from Smashwords should be a breeze!)


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“The Return of the Novella, the Original #Longread”

The Atlantic has a really interesting article entitled, “The Return of the Novella, the Original #Longread.” The author discusses how the novella, once the literary standard, is now the red-headed stepchild of the publishing industry. I like this section from Stephen King’s discussion on the topic in Different Seasons:

“I couldn’t publish these tales because they were too long to be short and too short to be really long,” he lamented. King illustrates his point with a geographical metaphor: The short story and novel are like two respected nations sharing a vast, ill-defined, and sordid border region. “At some point, the writer wakes up with alarm and realizes that he’s come or is coming to a really terrible place,” King intones, “an anarchy-ridden literary banana republic called the ‘novella.'” It’s a dark place for a writer to be, and most feel they must keep going, or else turn back.

Then, the article begins to discuss the Melville House Publishing project to publish, in physical print form, classic novellas. Cool idea!

But it took a frustratingly long time for the writer to even touch on the subject of e-books and online publishing. Finally, near the end, he deigns to spend a couple of paragraphs on the topic:

And, increasingly, the prohibition against short books seems to make no economic sense. Thanks to e-readers and digital editions, we’re seeing a renaissance in the mid-length non-fiction. The journalistic equivalent of the novella is thriving—whether it’s through Kindle Singles or Byliner one-offs like Jon Krakauer’s blockbuster expose, “Three Cups of Deceit.” These novella-length#longreads have proven to be profitable for authors and publishers as well as pleasurable to readers. Why shouldn’t the increased formal latitude extended to journalists be granted to fiction writers, too?

That’s all he says on the subject. In an article (a good and informative one, don’t get me wrong) that defends the novella and discusses its potential come-back, he only gives a passing mention to the single most important lifeline to the novella: e-publishing. And, especially, the self-published novella. That’s not to say the established and contracted author wouldn’t want to put out their novellas in convenient packages–even this article mentions how contemporary writers would like to have that option. But publishes have priced themselves into trouble with their hyper-inflated e-book prices. When you’re making customers pay $15 for a digital copy of a book, when the dead tree version is only a buck or two more, how can you justify charging less for 2/3 the size work? I mean, $15 for a product with no physical existence, no material cost, virtually no overhead, regardless of if it’s a 100,000 word work, a 40,000 word work, or a bazillion-word work, they’re in a bind justifying charging their likely $12 price for something that the consumer will more readily pause and wonder why they’re paying that much for the equivalent of a 60-page book.

The self-publisher is in a perfect position to take advantage of the big publisher’s foolishness. As many novel writers are charging $3 to $5 for a novel, they can easily charge a very reasonable $1 to $3 for what the article writer defined: “a narrative of middle length with nothing wrong with it, an ideal iteration of its own terms, that can devoured within a single day of reading.”


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30 Day, not so much

sorry 🙁

I’m afraid I’m going to have to renege on that earlier promise to go through a rough draft process using the book First Draft in 30 Days. That is, I’m probably going to continue using the book, but I’m afraid if I try to analyze and review and blog about each step, I’ll be doing more words of that than my actual story! And right now, I can’t afford that. Let me explain:

I was laid off of my day-job last week. Sort of. That is, my job goes away by the end of June, and technically I’m without a main income (and insurance) at that time. But, I can apply at my work for one of the new jobs that are replacing it. I’m hopeful, and I have a good chance–but nothing is certain and I have to just assume that I’m going to be unemployed in 2 months. And even if I’m not, this event is showing me that I have to kick my writing and publishing efforts into full gear if it is to become a viable second income any time in the near future.

What this means is that, while have one collection of short stories out there, and soon an e-book novel (the Kickstarter is apparently not going to meet its goal, which means no print version in the foreseeable future), I need to really start pumping out the books! And then, get the publishing imprint going once I have the product and experience out there to back it up.

So, from here on out, I need to pump out the words hardcore on my next manuscript, and not take the time for long blog posts. Sorry. 🙁 In any case, I’m still too inexperienced of a writer to be showing off my early research and sketch-notes! Perhaps, once this next novel is completed, I can take the creation materials and do a retrospective on how the book worked. We’ll see.

Anyway, since the topic of work and jobs has been broached, I want to share something I found on BoingBoing this evening: a leaked copy of highly successful video game company’s employee manual. Reading that PDF and seeing how well they’ve incorporated a ROWE/anarcho-collective work environment–makes me very jealous! Although, once I can transfer my writing/publishing into my main job, I’ll have my own results-only work environment, and maybe I’ll make up a similarly creative and rewarding employee manual for myself. 🙂


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Podcast 008: Singularity Deferred, chapter 6

Please see podcast episode 3 ( for background on this podcast and the reading of this novel.

At the time of this podcast release, a Kickstarter should be running to help fund the publishing and distribution of the novel. (

The complete audiobook will be published for free on Podiobooks, probably coinciding with the end of the Kickstarter and the beginning of the hardcopy publishing.

For more information on this novel, now and in the future, including a text/ebook sample, see the page:

Thanks for checking it out — hope you enjoy!

(Theme music:

“Cybernetic -Feat Zefora” (Stizreth) / CC BY 3.0

Intro music: “Oxygen Garden” by Chris Zabriskie
CC: Share, Non-Commercial, Attribute
Podcast feed:



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Quick Kickstarter update

Kickstarter logo owned by kickstarter.comWell, the Kickstarter project to publish my novel, Singularity Deferred, is nearly over, but it’s far from successful. Despite the contribution of some very generous people, it doesn’t look like it’s going to reach the goal. The various places I planned on promoting the project hadn’t turned out quite the way I’d hoped. For example, just as I sent my promotional material to Dragon Page: Cover to Cover, they decided to stop putting out episodes.

However, I have one last hope: a favorite author of mine, John Scalzi, is actually allowing people to promote their Kickstarter in a special thread every Wednesday! I’ve set up an alarm to remind myself to post there promptly the next two weeks before the Kickstarter ends.

Some significant changes coming in my day job very shortly. We’ll see how that affects my writin’ n’ publishin’ work shortly.

And finally, in update news, my cold’s just about subdued enough to be a non-issue. I plan on recording chapter 6 tomorrow evening. Then, look for the official beginning of the novel draft exercise I mentioned last week.



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Podcast update

Sorry for the delay on a new podcast episode; I’ve had a horrible cold all week. I and my voice are better, now, though, so I’m planning on getting a new ep with the continuation of the reading of Singularity Deferred this Sunday evening.

Thanks for your patience!


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Response: Name of the Wind

I’m calling this a “response” as opposed to a “review” because, well, an actual review deserves a much more involved and lengthy analysis. I just wanna make some comments!

So, I finally finished Patrick RothfussThe Name of the Wind a couple of nights ago. I started it…early last year, but only got about 20 pages in when I got distracted by something shiny. Then, a few weeks ago, I went on a Hunger Games jag and read that trilogy in about 4 days. As I mentioned in my post, “Hunger Games review and reaction,” that series had affected me so deeply, so fundamentally, that trying to read anything afterward was like tasting ash. I picked up and put down several books I had been in the middle of, and nothing appealed to me. Then I picked The Name of the Wind back up, and bam! I was on another jag, reading that every moment I could. (Thank you Nook and Android Nook app!)

Absolutely brilliant writing! Patrick’s way with words and structure, of painting scenes and clever dialog… captivating! And, it’s (technically) his first novel to boot! (“Technically,” because, as I recall from podcast interviews with him, he’d written and rewritten it enough times to make it, like, his 6th book.) But what really floors me, is, also according to him in interviews, he’d never really learned English grammar. He was always just good at picking up and sussing how words must fit together.

I can understand that! I relate. Despite my reading and writing at a very early age, despite my obsessive love of reading growing up, of my love of writing stories… I sucked in English classes. I graduated high school without any clear learnin’ of a participle from a preposition, a phrase from a clause to a run-on from a comma splice. Nominative and dative? Weren’t those Roman senators or something? It wasn’t until I took German classes in college when I finally had to learn English grammar. How could I get good enough grades in HS English to have been in AP English?! Because, like Patrick, I just groked grammar without knowing the jargon. Although, unlike Patrick, I’ve had to learn it all in order to get an English Master’s with the hope of teaching college English. Ironically, I’m not teaching yet Patrick is! Amusing. 🙂

Anyway, I digress. The Name of The Wind was like a dark, adult, punk Harry Potter. Orphaned boy, “wizarding” school, quest to find out and beat what killed his parents who loved him very much… all that. But that’s where the similarity ends. (And while I did say “adult,” it’s not that kind of adult novel. There’s some violence, some anti-social behavior, some implied sexuality–but all pretty tame. It’s simply that, while a young adult can (and should) read this novel, it’s meant for the adult reader.)

I did have a few qualms, though. I noticed a few instances of continuity errors. Sadly, I can’t bring any specific examples to mind, but they were things that made me have to go back and find where X was referred to earlier and confirm that there was a problem in its later reference. Oh well, nothing serious. But ti did make me feel a lot more positive about my own novel.

So, I just started on the sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear. I understand it’s a little more dark. It’s certainly at least as good so far.


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First Draft in 30 Years. Days! Sorry, days.

So, there was a time in which I collected writer’s guide books. I still have most of them, from Orson Scott Card’s Characters & Viewpoint to Jack Bickham’s The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes, novel books like Oakley Hall’s The Art & Craft of Novel Writing and Bickham’s Writing and Selling your Novel (I seem to have a lot of Bickham’s books), a handful of writer’s guides like Police Procedural and Scene of the Crime, idea books like The Writer’s Idea Workshop and The Writer’s Book of Matches, and general writing helpers like Woe is I and Zinsser’s On Writing Well. At a glance, I have more than 25 of these writer’s helper books that promise to make you a published, if not brilliant, writer.

And then one day I realized: I read more about how to write than I do any actual writing! Thanks to the Intertubes, with all its bloggies and podcastings, one thing I learned from a great many actually published and brilliant writers who don’t have writer’s guide books, is that the old chestnut is true: A writer writes. Whether you subscribe to the theory that you’ll be a skilled writer after so many million words written, or so many hours spend practicing your craft–the bottom line is you don’t get better by reading about writing, you get better by writing.

(Well, and also fixing your writing. I mean, you could write a million words, but if you think everything you write is golden–you’re not going to get any better at all! The trick to write write write, and then fix fix fix. Only by doing that that that over and over and over, does one become a better writer!)

That said, there’s some benefit to all these books. I mean, it can be helpful to learn about good motivation, scene beats, dialog tags, the pros and cons of point of view and voice, and other aspects of the craft. And, learning these nuts and bolts might shave some hours and words off the time it takes for the complete novice who would otherwise trial-and-error their way into learning these things. Not everyone can be a naturally brilliant yet unschooled Patrick Rothfus. *grin* (Am completely digging on his Name of the Wind right now. Captivating!)

I suppose it’s somewhat unfair of me to slam these helper books and say “We don’t need no stinkin’ Writer’s Digest press books!” since . . . I’ve actually read them, and I’ve no idea if (once I finally put the books down and picked up the metaphorical quill) I started writing, if I hadn’t read those books over all those years, I’d be writing at the same level as I am now. (Assuming, that is, my current level is a recognizable level and not, you know, a sub-level.) I’ve heard from more than one successful writer that creative writing classes are a pointless waste (can I have those 12 credit hours back, please?), but I wonder if they say that because they’re that rare breed that was able to suss the craft more easily from reading others’ works and emulating it in their own? After all, additionally, many of these same writers claim that being successful takes only a glimmer of talent–the rest is all perspiration! Is there anything wrong with seeking to perspire a touch less if you can learn some technique and skill without the trial-and-error?

Regardless of to writer’s guide or not to writer’s guide, the key is to write! No matter what. Don’t wait, don’t “learn” and delay until you’re “ready,” because no matter how much you read and learn you’ll never just be ready. Not without some sweat equity invested!

And so here is where I get to the point of this post (obviously, some people may need to write less). If some of these books, in moderation and taken with a grain of salt and in conjunction with doing, can help, let’s take a look at what benefit they may offer. And, more to the point, I wanna get some more tangible use out of them. So, I’m going to start reviewing these books here on the blog, in conjunction with trying and doing what they suggest.

I’m going to start with the compellingly titled First Draft in 30 Days by Karen S. Wiesner, because, conveniently enough, I’ve a new book I’m tinkering around with that I need to get a first draft going on! Here we can see what a helper book can offer when it’s one that leads you so directly to do and not read.

(I can tell you right now that I won’t be able to do this book in the strict, consecutive days format it mandates–I’ve a day job, family, and whatnot. But a day every couple, and maybe a couple days in one when possible, will be a pretty good way to keep this active.)

So, this week: let’s start a first draft!


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