Axtara Paperback Not Yet Available Due to Amazon Issues

Hey readers! Max here with a quick update. I know I anticipated the paperback for Axtara – Banking and Finance being available today, but alas, it is not. Why? Well … therein lies a bit of a story. Mostly because once again, Amazon went cheap, and that’s created problems.

See, Amazon has a bunch of tools you need to satisfy in order to print a book. Straightforward enough … save that one of them is, well … a little broken. To be specific, their cover program.

See, Amazon provides a template for you to build a cover to. You make it a layer, stick everything within the lines of “everything past here will be cut” and call it good.

Except you don’t. Their program is a little … buggy. Because while it asks for stuff to extend past that trim edge of that template, actually doing so will often result in the program you upload the final cover to resizing your image if it has. Which then means that the cover image may be well inside the trim lines and you have a problem.

Basically? The first time I got the cover past Amazon’s program, I “cheated” and tricked it by doing some manual transforms combined with expanded background layers as a border. The result was the cover I got on the print proof, which looked fantastic.

But apparently, in trying to get that approved for publication, someone over at Amazon noticed that their program was being tricked and rejected it. Hence why it didn’t go up this morning, even though, as I’ll point out again, it worked and the print proof looked great (in fact, a quick Google showed a number of other authors use the same “border trick” to beat Amazon’s cover program, so this is a common thing).

I resubmitted it (and lodged a stern complaint with KDP via e-mail about the shoddiness of their cover program and its resizing issues. With luck, it’ll go through, Axtara will be in flight, if not by the end of the day, then sometime tomorrow.

Emergency Status Update

This post has nothing to do with politics.

Just heading this appropriately, before anyone panics for the wrong reasons.

So what’s up? Yesterday, as I was working on the print copy of Axtara – Banking and Finance, my computer stuttered, froze, and died. Then powered back on … only to shut off a moment later, without even a BIOS POST beep.

For those not technically minded, this is really bad.

Some work later with a voltmeter concluded that the first suspect, the power supply, was fine and functioning within optional boundaries, delivering the power it was supposed to. Which, assuming it’s not failing under load (unlikely), puts the culprit elsewhere.

As of right now, the next suspect, which I shall test in the morning, is the CPU fan. If it fails to start, that would be one reason the system isn’t even passing POST. If it does start, then the problem is either the CPU … Or the motherboard.

Neither are good, because both are costly to fix.

Unfortunately, I’m writing this on my phone. If Monday sees a Being a Better Writer post, it’ll be either because I was able to get the computer online without much difficulty, or because I wrote a short, quick one on my phone.

Given that all my books are on the computer and it’s currently unaccessible, no writing is being carried out.

I’ll update you readers as I know more, but this is not exactly a great development. I’ve got my smartphone, and that’s it.

I’ll keep you posted. Max out.

Weekly Update: It’s Full of Stars and Lovecraftian Monsters – Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey readers! I’ve decided that, at least of the foreseeable future, this Wednesday night update will be a regular feature. A progress report, and a little bit of news!

So, first up, let’s talk Axtara – Banking and Finance. I appears I’ve found a cover artist at last! Good news, I know. With that finally happening, that means I can aim at December release! Ebook first, paperback ASAP (but hopefully before Christmas, for all you book-givers out there).

Excited! I am. Axtara was an absolute joy to write, and I can’t wait for all of you to meet her at long last. Keep watch on things, because there’s going to be more news coming!


Now onto Starforge. As of today, the first draft is sitting at 177,000 words. And I’d say I’m about halfway through the second quarter, so … 37.5% or so. Roughly.

This is the “stars and lovecraftian horrors” of the title by the way. Though the All are easily a more tangible “eat your face off” sort of horror as well. They’re just kind of lovecraftian in their scope.

This book is shaping up to be awesome though, It just keeps picking up speed.

All right, that’s the update. There is some news from the book industry I want to mention, but I’ll put it after the jump. Hit it if you’re curious, otherwise, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Just a News Update. Nothing Spectacular.

So … the title says it all. This is an update on things. Nothing big. Mostly Starforge. And why I’ve been quiet this week.

Honestly? I’ve got a little list of non-writing topics I want to throw out some paragraphs on here on the site, but … This week had enough going on, I think.

How bad is it? Well, let me put it this way: Facebook refused to let me run boosts for this week’s Being a Better Writer, because it asked people to go vote.

That’s it. Didn’t say who to vote for. Just to study and vote. And Facebook tagged that as ‘attempting to influence the election’ and refused to let me boost the post.

Yeah … so I figure “Why risk it?” and just didn’t do any more articles this week. I spent my time on Starforge instead.

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In Which the Universe Attempts Symmetry

Hello readers! Bit of an update here! You may have noticed that like last week I was a bit silent this week, despite not having made any plans in that direction. And, well, you’re right. I was planning on posting more this week. And starting Alpha Feedback response for Axtara – Banking and Finance. And finishing my Jungle reread so that work could begin in earnest on Starforge.

So what happened? Well … my ribs happened. Or rather, idiot teenagers happened to my ribs.

So here’s the breakdown: On Monday, after I’d finished this week’s Being a Better Writer and done a little bit of prework on Starforge, I decided to go out for a nice spot of exercise (trying to stay healthy) on my bike and ride down the local trail near my home. This went wonderfully until

See, this trail has underpasses. It flows beneath several roads, highways, and railways, so in each case it dips down like one would expect, those using the trail emerging on the other side into the sun once more.

No one expects a teenager to fall on them during this process.

See, these teenagers, in one of the more pure examples of how teenagers can be complete idiots, had decided it would be fun to climb up atop one of these overpasses and then drop down onto the trail.

Without looking to see if anyone was coming. Into the lane of the trail where no one would be able to see them dropping down.

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GoFundMe for Uncle Hugo’s Bookstore Open Once More

Quick update to the post from this weekend concerning Uncle Hugo’s Bookstore. The GoFundMe is officially open once more and being run by bookstore folks (confirmed on Uncle Hugo’s Facebook page here). So if you’d like to help donate to Uncle Hugo’s in the wake of this tragedy, you can rest assured that your money is going to the right place.

Here’s the link. Let’s restore the oldest independent Sci-Fi bookstore in America!

Uncle Hugo’s Bookstore in Minneapolis Burned Down During Riots, GoFundMe Open

So this one hit me a little.

I’ve never been to Minneapolis (and this post will not be about the rioting or the situations associated with it, as I’m not trying to invite a firestorm of angry, opinionated people). I’ve never once set foot in Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore. I’ve never even ordered from them.

But I have heard stories about them. This is the place that picked up a self-pub book to sell before indie was a real thing and started sending it to publishers with notes along the lines of ‘here’s how many copies I bought, why are you not publishing this?’ From the stories I’ve heard at cons and from other authors, they’ve flat-out kickstarted a lot of careers.

The store itself is only halfway regarded as a store by many, given that the owner loved collecting rare Sci-Fi books. Many also referred to it as a “museum of Science Fiction literature.”

And well … last night it was burned to the ground. Complete loss. Here’s a picture of what the place normally looked like:

48411962_1590855961865178_r

Here’s a picture of it this morning that was uploaded to Facebook. Linking, since it’s not my picture.

Given the stories I’ve heard about this place, this one hit even me. I’ve never even been there but I’ve heard the stories.

Worse, it seems that the insurance will not cover civil disturbance. At least, not to the degree that would be needed to recover from such a loss.

A GoFundMe page has been started to raise funds for recovery from this. EDIT: The GoFundMe is now open again and verified! Huzzah!

 

News, Updates, Recap

Hey readers! It’s time for an update! So let’s start with the biggest thing on everyone’s mines: Covid-19, AKA the Coronavirus.

By now I imagine no matter where you are in the world you’ve been affected by this thing, and it’s no different in where I am. In pursuit of slowing the spread of this thing to manageable levels, public gatherings have been limited to ten people, no more, by law where I’m at.

For entirely understandable reasons, mind. I don’t disagree with it. I bring it up to illustrate how serious things have gotten over these last few weeks.

But everyone’s dealing with that seriousness fairly well. I say fairly because I have no idea why everyone got it into their heads that toilet paper was the new gold. For that matter, after going to the grocery store last night, I also have no idea why people are stockpiling Oreos and ice cream. The chips and popcorn I somewhat understand, as everyone’s ready to look at nothing but entertainment for the next few weeks, but Oreos? Ice cream? The latter isn’t even a good survival food, since you have to chill it.

Or maybe I’m just being picky and everyone really wants comfort food right now. Regardless, I’m getting away from the topic at hand, which is Covid-19 and its effects.

The big effect? Book sales have slowed massively. Saw a news article about it the other day, and it confirmed what I’d already seen. This week has been dead. Which, since book income is my only income right now, is not a good sign.

There’s not much I can do about either. After all, it’s a symptom of a pandemic, and I don’t have any control over that. This last week people have just been hunkering down, getting ready to ride things out. Maybe once that’s over and people are in the “ride” phase they’ll start buying books again, but it seems right now they’re more worried about other things.

Oreos, I guess. No, I’m not stopping harping on that one. Who loads up on Oreos in a disaster?

Still, if sales are dead for me they’re probably dead for a lot of other authors and creative types out there. Which … hurts. It takes a lot of work to even get both arms on a rung of the ladder of success in creative fields. Getting your feet kicked out from under you is brutal.

With luck, this downturn is temporary, and people stuck at home quickly decide they want some reading material to make their day better. If not, well … I don’t know. A bummer of an answer, but times like these are full of uncertainty and difficulty.

A bit depressing, sure, but I can’t help that. Sometimes bad news is bad news. So then, onward to some better news!

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News Update: Fireteam Freelance, Patreon, Parliament of Wizards, and Coronavirus

News post! All the news I’ve got for you this week! Or at least, today. Starting with Fireteam Freelance news!


Fireteam Freelance

So, it would seem that Fireteam Freelance is slowly but surely gaining momentum, especially with the launch of the second episode! Now, I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news? There’s more coming, including this Saturday. The bad news? This Saturday’s update won’t be the next episode, but rather an interview interlude. There will be another episode soon, but I don’t want to promise anything yet. However, I did make a lot of bonus content in advance, so … Yeah, come Saturday there will be more content, just not episode three.

The next episode is titled Underground Orbit, by the way. But until then, how’d you all like Blackout? It ran a bit long, I think, but I was having so much fun with it I didn’t really mind. I hope you all had as much fun reading it as I did writing it. The power saw scene in particular …

Well, anyway, I hope you guys have enjoyed it. More is on the way! Now, next up, let’s talk about Patreon!

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OP-ED: Hollywood Clearly Doesn’t Want Video Game Films to Succeed

Okay, remember how I said I’d post tomorrow? Well, I’m posting today. You’ll get a post tomorrow. This news I just received … Well, it set me off, and a post had to be made.

I saw Sonic the Hedgehog over the weekend. And you know what? It was actually pretty dang good! But you know why? Only because Paramount reacted to the massive and rightly earned horror the public recoiled with upon seeing their “improved” version of the iconic character.

Sonic Redesign

Seriously. Remember this abomination of terror? The redesign of a classic character that Paramount did only because they apparently wanted to “prove” they could do it better?

Here’s what Sonic actually looks like in the games, by the way, so you can see how badly they screwed it up:

tsr_sonic

Only after being absolutely flattened by angry and horrified responses from the general public did Paramount push the film back and decide to change the final film into something actually resembling the the character whose name they were using, giving us this:

Sonic Redesign 2

Which, you’ll agree is a lot closer to the actual design of the character whose film again, they claimed they were making. You know, they just wanted to improve it.

So why am I talking about this (and exposing you to the horrors of Paramount’s “improvement”)? I mean, I didn’t even get into the absolutely awful choice of music for the first trailer, but I digress.

So why talk about this? Because I firmly believe at this point that Hollywood is doing its best to damage every video game property they can get their hands on. Why?

To damage the competition.

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