Monday, September 29, 2014

FREE Book - Pangaea, Eden Lost

Time to test the waters and see what all the hoopla is about.

I was told by a friend and it became a mantra...


I'm breaking that rule, but first let me explain.

Years ago, I was writing and sending my stories to markets that paid absolutely nothing. Why?  Simple.  They would print me, I was getting published.  A friend took me aside and explained.  "Of course they'll print your stuff, you're giving it to them for free. You should be getting paid for your stuff, you're a good writer."

I finally wrote my first novel and it was published by a small publisher.  I made money and life was good.

I wrote my second novel. After several rejections, I decided to self publish.  I read everything I could about doing self-publishing and discovered John Locke's novel and how to sell my book for $.99.

Once more my friend came to my rescue. "Bob, you spent how much time writing this book?  Do you feel that $.99 is valid price.  What's your royalty? $.35?"

It was then I realized that I was practically giving my book away.  Maybe John Locke could do that but then again, John Locke was a millionaire BEFORE he started writing.  He had a "fan" base already established and some of them were very notable people. At that time, and even today, I didn't hob-nob with the rich and famous and I certainly had no way of swaying the owner of a major television or radio station to give me an interview.

So, I sell my books at a higher price. Maybe if I sold them at $.99 I'd sell more but I doubt it.


Amazon offered me the opportunity to list my book "Pangaea, Eden Lost" for free.  They gave me five (5) days in a three (3) month period to do this.  I saw no reason to give my book away - my mantra had kicked in.  I was worth more than free.

So, as an experiment, after reading about a gentleman who offered his book free for one day only, gave away over 10K copies.  He was releasing another book soon and wanted to get his name "out there."

Okay, I'm about to release a new book which I am finishing up and out in the next 30 days.  

So, "Pangaea, Eden Lost" is going to be free on Wednesday, October 1, 2014.

Will I give away a lot of copies?  This is the test.  Maybe next week I can tell you how it all unraveled and my plot to saturate the reading world with my latest novel and get my name noticed - failed.  Maybe next week I can tell you that my plot was a grand explosion to amaze me beyond belief.

If you've suffered this far - be sure to click this link on Weds - and Weds ONLY and make sure the price say $0.00 ... otherwise you'll be paying for the book and I'll be making some royalty.  Of course, if you pay for the book and I get royalty, you'll still get a great read - one worth every penny you accidentally spent. 

If you do download my book, please read it and if you would, please take the time to give it an honest review when you finish.  Thanks.

Until next I ramble on...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Eating A New Year's Resolution

October 1, 2014: My novel, "Pangaea: Eden Lost," will be available for free ONE (1) day only.  This is a savings of $4.99 and a great read.  All I ask in return, please give it an honest review.

Hard to believe that over 2/3 of the year has passed already.  In fact, in just a few short weeks, the end of the month (September), it will be 3/4 of the year shot with only 3 more months left until the end of the year.

Where did the time go?

On January 1, 2014, I made a resolution to publish 4 (FOUR) books this year.

Only with sheer, pure luck and all the happy gods smiling on me will that happen.

Still, I am not off by that much.  I am currently cleaning up the edits for the 3rd novel to be published this year.  Three is not a bad number of books to release in one year.  And I know that I can do it... definitely three, for sure.

What caused me to miss my goal?  There were several factors.

1) Goofing off.  Worst thing to do.  Like the hare in the race with the tortoise, I was ahead of schedule (2 books done by May 1 and finalizing edits almost done of book 3). I knew I had all the time in the world to get the third book finished and finalize the fourth.  Wrong!

2) I had a couple of edit jobs that took away some of my time for writing.  Again, item 1 seemed to play a good part in this.  I was ahead of schedule.  I could edit 3 books for clients.  Right!  I had to edit a book of 76k, 89k and 103k.  I miscalculated my time needed since I was editing newbies, first timers and I wanted to be as thorough and fair as possible.

3) While working on the edits for my clients, I realized a major issue in my current novel I was trying to finish up for publication.  It was a major flaw.  You can't have a lead character who is led around by the other characters.  It became a major rewrite to correct the flaw and then a whole new edit process.  Remember?  I was ahead of schedule.  Suddenly I was behinder schedule more than I realized.  I was to be done with this book by July and publish it in August.  Again, wrong!  It is now September and I am just getting into the edit stage on it.  I should now be working on book 4.  I'm not, and book 4 has a lot of work to do!

4) Summer and life got in the way.  Contrary to popular belief, writers do have a life.  There are those other humans in the house that the writer must interact with and even socialize.  My wife is a saint and tends to allow me the luxury of writing but I'd forgotten that the grandchildren enjoy week stays with us.  You can't ignore grandchildren - especially the younger ones who are 4 and 5 and well, the 9 and 12 yr old ones also want to see you.  Day trips to do things and camping trips tend to take away time from writing.  The one redeeming grace I had was my older four grandchildren are over 18 and work so we didn't have to entertain them - although the one did come out for an evening at the campfire.

5) Of course, there is this blog and I also do a weekly writing tip which take a bit of time away.  Normally I can come up with a topic to write about for a writing tip, but this summer, I seemed to be distracted and the thought process was clogged and I struggled for ideas.  I usually release these project each Monday and Sundays became evenings and nights of terror as I strained to write viable blogs and tips.  One week, my blog and tip was released late into the day on Monday rather than shortly after midnight.  Can I blame the grandkids for this form of writer's block?  Nah.

Of course, as winter moves in, perhaps I might get lucky and find myself stuck in the house more and able to spend that time at the computer getting my writing done.

Hmm?  There is still three (3) months and a couple of weeks left to get things done and fulfill my resolution.  I might not get the book I chose finished, but I could do a different book. Maybe I shouldn't give up so easily. I realize I still have a big elephant sitting in front of me but the easiest way to eat that elephant is one bite at a time until it is finished.

Time for me get busy eating!

Until next I ramble on...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Scrivener - Again!

Scrivener.  I discovered this piece of software in the Spring of 2014, used the FREE 30-non-consecutive-day fully functioning program and fell in love.  It was exactly what I'd been looking for and for a PC user, this is a wonderful discovery.  Seems the Mac people have known about this for quite some time.

Anyway, there is a slight learning curve but once you get the basics, the extra bells and whistles are like more and more frosting on the cake ... or discovering a really cool toy in a box of Cracker Jacks.

One of the first things I learned and used heavily is the split screen.  Yes, I know, I can open several windows of Word and have it all available ... but I have to bounce through them and I have to FIND them. With Scrivener, my files and files of research are stored (full web pages, images, whatever) right within the project - there is no hunting for whatever-name-you-used file.  It's just a simple drop down to the left to the "Research" tab, click, and all the files you have saved are there for you.

I'm a visual guy and I will search the web (it has everything!) to find an image of what I think my character looks like - sometimes even two or three images.   For instance, I knew my inn-keeper was a largish male, bald, heavy mustache and eyebrows, apron, running around with a towel or rag on his shoulder, etc.  I found such an image. (Johan Steen, - this is a copy of his work in progress, the finished product is even better!)  I use the image strictly for me to use as a guide when describing Hvar, owner of The Red Horse Inn, in my current work-in-progress.  When I am stumped or confused about Hvar, I am able to click and see him and the creative juices flow. The same holds true for my other characters, locations, gods, etc.

Above to the left: Hvar, The Innkeeper and to the right, village with The Red Horse Inn.

Now this split screen is also very useful in combination with another feature of Scrivener. I can have the image up on side to use as a point of reference and the story on the other side. Talk about instant gratification.

The Snapshot. Using Snapshot, which is a copy of the project at a point in time, I can compare an older version with the current version or even replace the new version with the old version.  Snapshot(s) are my old way of saving versions where I used a sub-directory with a date so I knew when it was.  Again, no searching through file and piles of info, just scroll down the left.

There are too many wonderful aspects of Scrivener to describe how to use them in one blog.


I thought I'd reveal one trick I learned on my own.  I have several - and when I say several, I mean like about ten (10) works-in-progress going on at the same time.  I will work on whichever one my Muse decides strikes her fancy.  She's a coy and fickle one and I've learned to just go with the flow and work on what intrigues her at the time.

Now, from within Scrivener, I can switch out - bring up - any project I desire.  That is all and well but what if I am just opening Scrivener and want to work on XYZ and the last project I worked on was ABC and that will be the default project to open when Scrivener begins.  I found a work-around in Windows and I'm pretty sure it would also work in Mac.

Originally, I had my WIPs in Word and had created 'shortcuts' on my screen to those documents.  To mimic that - I open the project (.scrivx) of the desired file.  Since I keep my novels and stories in separate directories (i.e. C:\WIPs\story1\  and C:\WIPs\story2) the Scrivener "project.scrivx" file is in a directory with the filename of your choice (xyz.scriv) and in that directory is the "project.scrivx" file.  In fact, I've considered re-doing my files since Scrivener names each project and assigns it a diretory.  So my "WIPs" directory currently has several sub-dirs, each the name of book.  Scrivener has created a directory within those and I could easily let Scrivener create the sub-dir in WIPs.  Note to Self: Look into this aspect. (Anything to make my life as a writer easier!)

If you make "project.scrvx" the shortcut for your desktop icon, it will open Scrivener.exe automatically and default to the story of your choice.

I now have 10 Scrivener icons with different names of my of WIPs on my desktop that when I click, open the appropriate story to work on without having to select it inside Scrivener if it isn't the default opening file. Okay, so this tip isn't a mind-blower.  I'm proud of the fact that I discovered it on my own and I couldn't find anyone else who had come up with it.  Maybe others aren't as impatient as me when I start to write but I want the file I want to work on at the start, not click to get it.  Yes, I realize it is only one more click, but ...

PS: I have a gadget (widget, whatever) that I use which clears my desktop of all the icons and places them into scrolling folders.  My WIP shortcuts are stored there and easy access.  I think the product is called Launch Control and I've created folders, one which is "WIP" and holds all the direct-link icons to my writings.  Until I installed this widget, my screen was cluttered with about 60+ icons for applications, games and my work projects.  Now my screen is clear and Launch Control sits to the side, ready to do my bidding.

Until next I ramble on ...