A Note About Broken YouTube Links

So occasionally I’ll check outgoing links on my site from the control panel I’ve got, just to see what people are following, or in the case of YouTube links, watching. Sometimes I’ll use YouTube to show a video that serves as a good example of something.

However, in the last few weeks I’ve noticed that some of these links go to YouTube videos that no longer exist. Which … is fair. YouTube is changing a lot of its rules and operating terms lately, and channels are being shuffled around or closed off as it happens. It’s the internet. Things come and go.

But personally, I’d rather fix those broken links if possible. There’s simply one catch: My stats page doesn’t tell me what page sent my readers to that YouTube link, nor does YouTube tell me what the name of the removed video was (which would at least give me a clue). Thus, the only way for me to know what link could be bad would be to hunt through every single post on this site (which is several years’ worth) looking.

This … is not feasible. I don’t have that kind of time. And nor do you. But that doesn’t mean it’s without hope.

So open call: If you happen to be using the resources here and find a broken link? Just post a comment letting me know, and I’ll see about fixing it ASAP. Don’t feel a need to go hunting for them. Just … if you see one, I’ll see about fixing it. Or, if I can no longer find it, I’ll make that known in the original post.

Simple and straightforward. If you find something that’s broken and you feel like letting me know, do, and I’ll see about fixing it.

Over and out! I’ve got writing on Hunter/Hunted to do!

“A Game of Stakes” Beta Call!

Sorry this is a bit late, but the Beta Call for A Game of Stakes has been sent out … almost a week ago? Crud, yes, it was a week ago. If you’ve been a Beta Reader in the past, check your e-mail inbox! I’m going to try and have this one polished up by this weekend, next at the latest to get it in early before the submission deadline.

Check you inboxes. That’s all I’ve got today!

Being a Better Writer: Self-Deceiving Characters

Hello readers! How was your weekend? Get any good reading in? I did. Working my way through Jack Campbell’s second Lost Fleet series, which has been good fun. Spoilers, but he has an interesting approach to alien life.

Anyway, there’s not much in the way of news (outside of the Beta Call for A Game of Stakes having gone out a couple of days ago, so check your inboxes) so we’re going to jump right to today’s topic. Which, by the way, is a companion piece to a Being a Better Writer post a month or so back on Ambiguous stories and characters.

See, over the course of that post it became clear that there was one aspect which needed its own time set aside. Sure, we can have a plot, events, or characters that is ambiguous or deceptive to the reader, and even to other characters through lack of information, the wrong information, or even the wrong position (all of which, if memory serves, came up in that other post), but what about a character who is ambiguous about things because they themselves refuse to acknowledge them. As in, well, the title today: A character that deliberately deceives themselves?

Continue reading

The Gears of War Tabletop Report: Finale

So, you guys may have forgotten about this, but once upon a time on this site I did a small series talking about my experiences running a custom ruleset tabletop game for, of all things, a game based off of Microsoft’s Gears of War. Ultimately I stopped doing the session reports because they were digging into my time a little too much (I needed to be writing more important things, like the next book and whatnot), but the sessions themselves didn’t stop.

Until this last Tuesday, that is. Tuesday evening was the final session of the campaign. I won’t say it was a great one, because it was my first time being a DM, and it was a completely custom system that I built and had to do on-the-fly adjustments to … but there were definite fun moments and our team did have some good times.

So how did it end? Well, the players managed to prevent a surviving faction of UIR soldiers from setting off an experimental heavy-metal bomb (atomics, something the Gears universe isn’t very familiar with) in the middle of the COG defensive line on the Jacinto Plateau. Basically, they almost died, but saved the day, and in the end, were rewarded with a ship—something they’d been looking for all campaign. Sure, they had to fight for it, but with a gratuitous selection of high-powered weaponry, the players were able to find it, defend it, and then lay waste to everything that approached while loading it up.

The best campaign ever? Not by a long shot. But … they did have fun. And I did too.

Continue reading

Being a Better Writer: Scale, Scope, and Ideas

Welcome back readers. How was your weekend? Was it good?

Mine was. A Game of Stakes is going into Beta Reading this week thanks to my Saturday, so it’s one step closer to being done! I’m going to try and polish the Alpha off today, which was going to be yesterday, but  … Well, I had a work shift. And for the moment, Being a Better Writer takes precedence. Sorry for the delay, however.

Also, one other bit of cool news. I’m not sure about the internet etiquette for this scenario, so hopefully I don’t mess it up, but I’ve started getting hits from Wikipedia? Why? Being a Better Writer is being used as a source reference!

Again, not sure of the etiquette here. I only just noticed because I started seeing referral links from Wikipedia but … hey, cool! One further notch in “look how far I’ve come!”

Sands, maybe someday I’ll have a Wikipedia page dedicated to it or something. I’d not thought about that angle until this moment. Kind of an awesome thought.

I’d best get to work on building a future where that can happen, then! So, with news out of the way, let’s talk about ideas and scale.

This one is … an interesting topic. One that was brought about, as many of my topics are, by reading. In this case, it was reading two Science Fiction books, unrelated outside of genre, back-to-back and looking deeply at why I enjoyed one so much more than the other. After thinking about it for a time and letting my mind run across a large number of different traits and possible reasons, it was reading a third book that finally made things click in my head. And when it clicked, it clicked.

It has to do with scale and scope, plus ideas, and how those are brought about in your story.

Continue reading

Colony Keywords and Patreon Rewards

Hey readers! I’m making a quick news posts on two topics of interest before diving back into editing work on A Game of Stakes. Read through them both! I promise they’ll be short and one comes with cool feedback potential!

First, since it’s quickest, the October Patreon Reward is live on Patreon. If you’re a supporter of $1 a month or more, you’re getting a sneak peek at … the first two chapters of The Dusk Guard Saga: Hunter/Hunted! That’s in addition to the prologue teaser that went up two months ago. All you need to do to see either of them is be a supporter ($1 or more), so if you are, head on over and check the preview out!

Now, that other topic. Colony keywords? What am I talking about? Well, I’ve got a bit of a request of you readers of Colony.

Amazon Advertising works by lining up keywords with folks’ interests and searches. Things like “Sci-Fi” for example. Or names of similar authors. The more keywords a book has that are representative of it, the better and more focused your advertising is.

Now, I’ve gone through and given Colony‘s advertising a decent list of keywords. But I’m curious, what keywords would you readers choose to describe Colony? Post a comment and let me know what comes to mind. I’m curious to see what keywords you guys come up with that my own view missed!

And with that, it’s time to edit!

A Few of My Least-Favorite Things …

Advertising.

Don’t get me wrong, advertising is a great way to get eyeballs on my work, and by association, cash into my bank account . Advertising is a must-have in the modern world, since well, everyone else has it. With so many shouting voices out there, simply standing with your product hoping to be noticed is akin to being buried.

But while I enjoy the fruits of my advertising, actually coming up with ad-copy tags and little blurbs to attract the eye? Worst part of the job so far.

I’m not alone in this. No joke, I’ve heard one prominent author state that one of the best parts about being a huge success was that they no longer had to come up with ad-copy blurbs or even have anything to do with the advertising process. They just sent the book over and that was that. Maybe occasionally they’d get a question they had to answer to help their advertising agent market something a bit more specifically, but that was it. They could just pass it off in exchange for money.

I long for that day, and find myself very much in agreement on coming up with ads and the like. Unfortunately … I’m not where that author is yet. Given their particular position, I’ve got a long ways to go, really. Which means that right now …

I write my own advertising. And I hate it. Compressing a 355K book down into a 150 character teaser that’s got to appeal to as many eyes as possible in order to get them to click on it? And come up with all the search keywords that can appeal to a possible audience?

Yup. Just did the former one, again. Changing things up to keep things fresh. Only took me an hour-and-a-half this time to do it so … improvement? Regardless, we’ll see what the sales numbers look like at the end of this month, tweak things again …

Yeah, it’s a constant system of change. At least until I make enough money to hire someone else for the job.

Anyway, that unpleasant part of my day done, I’ve got a lot of writing ahead of me. It’s a new month, and I plan to make up for the shortcomings of the last one by surging ahead with a renewed vigor!

Oh, speaking of vigor, the Monthly Patreon reward will go up on Saturday. It won’t be a Jacob Rocke short, sadly. Between getting sick for a week and the rest of my schedule, I wasn’t able to come up with something that satisfied me. But … well, we’ll see. I’ve got a few things I can give advance looks at.

Anyway, advertising is figured out for the next month, thankfully. Hopefully the new changes make it even more capable at getting copies in front of eyes. In the meantime, the next project as far as sales go is getting a “Black Friday weekend” sale going on everything, so if you were thinking of grabbing copies of Shadow of an Empire or Colony as Christmas gifts, look ahead for that!

With that, I’ve got a palace infiltration scene and hunt for a shade to write, so I’ll catch you all later.