The Actuals: Book Seven of the Oz Chronicles is back on!

Fire and Forget Soldier is spinning its way through the publishing machine, and it is out of my hands, so The Actuals: Book Seven of the Oz Chronicles is now back in the creative cross hairs.  I’ve reacquainted myself with Sunshine Carter, and I am back in Oz’s world, not to emerge until I reach the end.

Musical Countdown Wednesday – The Takers: The Tenth Anniversary Reimagined Edition

More Pink Floyd today. It’s David Gilmour doing an acoustic version of Wish You Were Here. This is Oz’s song. The Takers; The Tenth Anniversary Reimagined Edition will be available for download on Halloween, but you can trick-or-treat worry-free by pre-ordering today.  I’m so running out of clever ways to make this announcement.  Oy!

Another week another musical countdown – The Takers: The Tenth Anniversary Reimagined Edition

Last week was all about C. Hoyt Caldwell.  This week the focus turns to a familiar character in a familiar setting featuring a few new twists.  The Takers: The Tenth Anniversary Reimagined Edition will be available to read on Kindle this Friday. That’s right.  Oct. 31. Halloween. Take that JK Rowling!  Pink Floyd was and always will be the primary musical influence behind the Oz experience for me, but if you have any suggestions this week let me know, and I’ll include it in the countdown.

Today I give you Comfortably Numb by the aforementioned Pink Floyd.  And remember you can pre-order the book today!

The Closeout Kings is in the hands of beta readers

Based on all the feedback on Facebook, here, and in the non-internet world, this looks like the winning cover.

In the hands of beta readers

I put out a call for beta readers for The Closeout Kings on Facebook, and I was pleasantly surprised by the response.  As a result, the early first-revised draft of the book is in the hands of 20+ readers.  I’ve never used that many beta readers before.  At most, I’ve used a half-dozen, so it will be interesting to see the results.  I created a survey on Polldaddy that allows the beta readers to anonymously rank the general elements of a story (character, plot, setting, humor, etc.), and I also gave them the opportunity to leave detailed comments about any issue they want to address.

I’ve already gotten some excellent feedback on dialect, firearms, trucks, and other details. These are factors that are as important as the major aspects of storytelling, and are incredibly helpful.

The book is almost 84k words, so I don’t anticipate I’ll see a significant number or survey results for a couple of weeks, so that leaves me some down time to hop on other projects.  Those other projects include Book Seven.  I’m going to play around with some plot points and see if I can pull together a full skeleton of the story.  This is Oz’ finally journey, and I’m somewhat terrified I’m not going to do him justice.

I may also take a look at The Tree Readers again.  It’s become an epic Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel that is currently well over 100k words, and by my estimation, it’s only about 2/3 of they way done. Given that it’s taken years to write, I don’t see myself rushing to get it done now.  It’s one of those manuscripts that I may finish, hand off to my agent and forget about it.

That’s my state of writing report for now.  Stay calm and keep reading.

Shhhh! I’m studying Breaking Bad

No half measures

No half measures

I’ve been re-watching Breaking Bad to bone up on my character development skills.  I know I should be reading, and I am.  Unfortunately, I’m just not as inspired by my current reading choice as I am by Walter White.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Watching Breaking Bad is like taking a Master’s Class in writing, particularly when it comes to story structure and character development.

My chosen material of study has sparked an idea for a pivotal scene between Wes and Oz in Book Seven.   I count that as a win.

The Gore and The Takers

Yes, I am evil.  Why do you ask?

Yes, I am evil. Why do you ask?

I just wanted to take a moment to thank all the early readers of The Gore.  You’ve been way too kind, and I appreciate every word.  Perhaps the kindest comment yet is that I seem to be getting increasingly evil  with each book in the series (Thanks Thom Millman).  After listening to cuts of the audio book for The Takers, I totally agree.  I’ve done some horrible things to Oz, and things just keep getting worse for the kid.  But, that’s my job.

Speaking of The Takers audio book, it’s coming along nicely.  John Anthony Davis (or as I call him, JAD) has been great to work with.  I’ve lived with these characters for so long, I know their voices better than most the people in my life.  JAD has been patient with me when I’ve asked him to be ‘more redneck’ on a couple of the cuts. He’s doing such a great job I’ve gotten chills listening to the story.  As I’ve told him, it’s not my writing, it’s his voice.  This is an entirely different world for me, and it’s really a lot of fun.

I’ll have a bio of JAD later in the week.  We’re not ready to release the book yet, but we’re getting there.   I’ll also be doing a write up on my experience with ACX.  Once again, the Amazon family has found a way to give authors even more control over their own careers.

The Takers and Book Six

I’m working like hell to make the June 3 deadline on Book Six. It is going to come down to the wire, but starting Monday, I’ll give daily reports on my progress.  The title has changed.  It’s now called The Gore: Book Six of the Oz Chronicles. 

The Takers is getting the audio treatment.  A voice actor by the name of John Anthony David is working on the recording for the audio book, and I believe we’re shooting for the end of June as the completion date. 

Speaking of The Takers.  It will be free for Kindle from Saturday, May 18 – Wednesday, May 22.  Tell your friends!

Book Six will be released….

Many of you have asked when Book Six will be out.  Some of you haven’t.  And, one of you actually wants to know what the point is of this series.  Given that information, many of you will be happy to know I’m ready to give a release date, and at least one of you won’t care.  

I have still got some work ahead of me, but if I commit myself here and now on this blog, I’ll get it done.  Over the next 21 days, I am going to nail down the final draft with all the parts in place.  Then the following 14 days will be editing and fine-tuning, and then I will submit for publication and receive review copies approximately 7 days later.  Assuming those are pristine, I will start sending out pre-release copies.  Seven days after that first batch goes out, i will make the book available for Amazon via Kindle and then print.  So, if you’re keeping score at home, that’s 21+14+7+7 = 49.  The puts us somewhere around the first of June. There’s a chance I will flip things around and release the Kindle version first, but I’ll still stick to the time frame because I usually send paperbacks out to advance readers to get their feedback before I publish. 

Let’s call it June 3. 

I will still continue to post chapters of The Tree Readers on Wattpad.  Those pages were completed a few years ago, and it doesn’t require a lot of time posting them.  When Book Six is up and running, I will do my best to complete The Tree Readers and release it for Kindle. 

That is all.  I’ll be in my cave writing if you need me.  I may poke my head out to post mock ups of the cover for feedback. 

The Oz Chronicles passes a milestone

101 reviews and counting

So, we indie authors count victories in smaller increments than the big boys.  For instance, the Oz Chronicles books just passed a tiny milestone.  The five books just went over the 100 reviews mark on Amazon.  Collectively, they have a total of 101 reviews to be exact.  Even cooler, only one review is a one star review, but I count that one as a badge of honor because it was a mother who made her boys stop reading the books because – well, why don’t I just post the review so there’s no chance I misquote the woman.

Terrible………My teen boys love to read so I am always looking for a good series. I typed in teen fiction and this series popped so I bought all of them. After they were almost done with the series, I asked them what it was about. By the time their description was over I felt like I wanted to throw up. What had I subjected them to? I couldn’t believe the gore details they described. Sure that I had not subjected my Sons to this type of disgusting reading, I had them read aloud. I made them stop and took the books away. I cannot believe that these were in the teen section. Gross, Gore, Evil, Blood, Guts……….I’m so full of regret that I had ever bought these. The series should not be listed anywhere near teens. In fact, it should be labeled with a parental advisory. I think I’ll burn the books. I will use much more discretion with my selections from now on!

Thanks to all who are among the 101 reviewers (even the mother who wants to burn them).  You’ve helped me sell books over the years, and I can’t ask for more than that.