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A message from the Seattle Public Library, or as my redneck brethren would say, “Saddle Public Lie-berry… the place with the books ‘n such.”

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Is the underground warehouse in The Gore a real thing?

Throw in rows of shelves packed with supplies and you almost have the underground warehouse from The Gore!

Throw in rows of shelves packed with supplies and you almost have the underground warehouse from The Gore!

If you’ve read The Gore, you may have noticed I sent the crew underground again.  Let’s face it. We all know monsters hangout in caves and tunnels.  Anyway, I made up a secret government system of subterranean warehouses connected by an equally secret government subway system that covers the entire country.  Turns out, there actually are large underground caverns that were built by the government.   I knew that some existed, but to what extent I had no idea.  Now a guy in California is buying up some abandoned underground dwellings built by the military and turning them into resorts and shelters for the pending apocalypse.  The company is called Vivos. No word on whether or not the caverns will be connected by a subway system or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

Check out this story about the resort/shelter on Yahoo! Developer: Kan. caverns could preserve human race

Correction Amazon does pay advances

Timebound by Rysa Walker

Timebound by Rysa Walker to be published by Skyscape

In my post earlier this week about the woeful woes of woe-weary authors, I made the statement that Amazon doesn’t normally pay large advances.  In fact, I said they likely don’t pay any advances at all in most cases.  Turns out I may have spoken out of turn.  Jane Friedman’s Writing on the Ether blog has a story about author Rysa Walker receiving a $50,000 advance for her self-published title Timebound.  That is not chump change, and congratulations to Walker on signing her first publishing contract.  With such a big investment on Amazon’s part, you can be assured she’s going to get some well-placed ad support on the mega online retailers site, as well as some push in the trades.

For those of you not familiar with advances, they are usually paid out a third at a time.  In the olden days of publishing (approximately 5 years ago), it took 12-18 months for authors to receive their advances in full and those advances were usually around $5,000. Authors would get a third upon signing, a third after the edits had been approved, and the last third when the manuscript was sent off to the printers.  I’m guessing Amazon is doing something similar although in a shorter period of time.  I think the book will be re-released under Amazon’s Skyscape imprint in October.

UPDATE – I neglected to credit Porter Anderson as the author of the piece on Writing on the Ether.

The Killing

Joel Kinnaman as Detective Stephen Holder in AMC's The Killing

Joel Kinnaman as Detective Stephen Holder in AMC’s The Killing

I am coming late to AMC’s The Killing party.  I am one of those poor wretched souls that does not have cable.  Why?  It costs too friggin much, and most of what is on cable, in a word, sucks.  I don’t need to know how to keep up with the Kardashians or know what a Honey Boo Boo is or watch brides freak out before their wedding.  For the most part, I am happy with my cable-less lifestyle.

I do miss AMC.  They have fantastic original programming.  Breaking Bad is my absolute favorite show.  Pound for pound, it’s the best writing I’ve ever seen on a television show. The Walking Dead has set the benchmark in the zombie genre.  Hell On Wheels, is entertaining as… well, hell.  And then there’s The Killing.

The Killing is a show that took me a long time to warm up to.  They made the first two seasons available on Netflix some time ago, but I passed it by because it didn’t seem like my type a thing.  Frankly, I’m tired of all the cop shows.  They’re all the same.  Someone’s murdered.  Cops with dysfunctional lives hit brick wall after brick wall until miraculously they piece everything together in an hour.

I started watching the first episode of The Killing a few months back, and I was interrupted about halfway through, and I just never went back to it.  To that point in the episode, I was at best, “Meh” about the show.  As I was wrapping up The Gore, I needed something to watch to just completely remove me for the book’s storyline.  I clicked on the first episode and resumed watching.  I made it through about 90% of the episode thinking I was done with the series.  It just wasn’t for me.  But, bam!  The last scene hooked me enough to watch the next episode.  I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but the performances by all the actors in that scene were spectacular.

I can’t say too much about the storyline of the first two seasons, because every episode leaves you questioning everything you thought you knew about what had happened so far.  Yes.  It is about dysfunctional cops, and they do hit those brick walls, but the show goes much deeper than that.  You witness the effects of a murder investigation on both the family of the victim and the suspects.   And the crime isn’t solved in one episode.  It took them two seasons to solve the murder.

The acting is what sets this show apart.  In my opinion, Joel Kinnaman is the shining star in this series.  He plays Detective Stephen Holder, a former meth-addicted narcotics cop.  To say he’s got demons is putting it mildly, but somehow Kinnaman makes his character not only likeable, he makes him relatable.   Brent Sexton comes in a close second with his portrayal of Stanley Larsen, the patriarch of the victim’s family.  You can feel his rage just beneath the surface.  He wants to do the right thing, but he’s not sure what that is. The rest of the cast is excellent as well.   This is more or less Mireille Enos’ series, and she does a superb job of carrying it, but without Kinnaman, the show doesn’t work.

If you haven’t watched The Killing, check it out.  It is worth a subscription to Netflix. Do yourself a favor.  Stay away from any and all spoilers, because I guarantee you won’t guess who done it

The cutest animal that will terrify you

The hamster horror!

BTW – I’ve owned every small, fuzzy aquarium pet you can buy and here they are in order of “regrets that ever I tried to pick them up, and offer them unconditional love.”

1. Gerbil – Bites the second you lay a hand on it.
2. Hamster – Bites once you’ve cleared it of it’s enclosure.
3. Mice – Sniffs around your hand briefly, lulls you into a false sense of security and then bites the crap out of you.
4. Guinea Pig – May give you a nip when you try to put it back in its enclosure.
5. Rat – I’ve owned a couple of pet rats, and they’ve never bitten me. They are actually highly intelligent and very trainable. It’s as easy to train a rat as it is to train a dog. I have no regrets that I ever owned rats.

One day I hope to konrath

Konrath (kon*rath) verb: To succeed in the world of publishing without the aid of a publisher.

Author Jude Hardin has an interesting post on Joe Konrath’s blog, A Newbies Guide to Publishing. For those of you not familiar with Konrath, he’s the author of a number of books under a couple of different pen names.  I’m most familiar with his Lt. Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels novels.  In recent years, he’s become the voice of the indie publishing scene.  He broke away from the traditional publishing world and has flourished as an indie author.  Every author wants to pull a konrath.

Jude Hardin is also the author of a number of books, the most successful of which feature a former rock star turned unlicensed private investigator named Nicholas Colt.  Hardin made the monumental decision to quit a good-paying job last year to pursue writing fiction full time.  He did so with a publishing deal in hand from Amazon’s publishing imprint, Thomas and Mercer.

Keep in mind, Amazon does not pay enormous advances (unless you’re Penny Marshall – $800,000).  In fact, I believe their general practice is to not pay any money upfront.  That doesn’t mean it’s not a great achievement to get a publishing contract from them.  It is.  I worked for an Amazon.com company.  They know who I am.  They’ve read my books, and they’ve never offered me a contract.  So, they do have some discretion. They won’t publish just anyone.  Bastards.

So, Mr. Hardin should feel good about his publishing deal.  Unfortunately, he discovered that not everyone can hit Joe Konrath’s numbers.  I don’t want to speak for him, so I’ll just direct you to his post – PUSHING THE BUTTON, PART 2: GOING INDIE.  Here’s a sample.

Sales haven’t been terrible, but they haven’t been great either.  Among the three series titles that have been available, I’ve sold about 20K copies over the past twelve months.

And here’s the deal, ladies and gentlemen: that ain’t enough.                      

It’s not enough for me to make a living, really, and it’s not enough for publishers to make an offer on future books in the series. Not the kind of offer I’m interested in, anyway.

My experience has been closer to Hardin’s than Konrath’s. I honestly believe my accountant must joke about my returns at dinner parties.  He even refused to imagine a scenario where I made a significant amount of money when we were discussing different tax structures for self-employed people.  He actually snickered with derision.

I’m not complaining, and I don’t believe Hardin is either. I think he’s just giving a factual account of his journey so far.  I am reminded of Brenna Clarke Gray’s post on Book Riot titled Readers Don’t Owe Author’s Sh*tSimply put, Gray is tired of authors pouring on the guilt trip because they aren’t selling enough books.  She points out it’s not her responsibility to support an author’s dream.  And I couldn’t agree more.

**To be clear, I’m not saying that Hardin is doing anything other than writing an informational post for educational purposes.

Writing is a job like any other.  Authors are no more entitled to throngs of fans than a dental assistant or a help desk associate.  I’ve seen authors on social media sites go nuts with ‘share’ requests and reminders that they ‘welcome’ reviews.  Early in my career, I may have done the same thing.  I may have even encouraged other authors to do so.  I know better now.

There’s an odd sense of panic when you first publish a book.  You feel an ever present clock ticking away in the back of your head signaling you’re running out of time if you want your book to be a success.  That finite window of opportunity only exists in the traditional publishing world.  Indie authors live in an evergreen world thanks to ebooks and POD.  There’s no need to panic.  We have no clock. There’s plenty of time for we indie authors to konrath.

The Takers Audio book and The Gore print version

John Anthony Davis is the narrator for the upcoming audio version of The Takers, and it is coming along nicely.  Any hang ups in the process have been my doing because for some stupid reason I decided to do the Audio book in the middle of finishing up The Gore.  Not smart.  Anyway, John has sent me a few clips, and they are fantastic.  I got unexpectedly emotional listening to his read.  It really hit me when Oz is begging Mrs. Chalmers not leave him alone.  Very powerful stuff.  I think you’ll all be pleased or as they say around here “Y’all will be pleased!”

To answer the question about the print version of The Gore, yes there will be one and soon.  I’ll have more info on Monday.

Have a great weekend!