“A Trial for a Dragon” Alpha Reader Call!

Hello readers! As society breaks down outside your door, I’ve got good news! The kind that’s good enough for you to put down that bat you’ve been hammering nails int, and maybe even make you reconsider putting on those post-apocalyptic leathers for another day or so.

A Trial for a Dragon, my entry for Parliament of Wizards (more at the link if you’re lost) is now ready for Alpha!

Yes, it took a few days, even once the first draft was done. See, the submission limit where wordcount is concerned for Parliament is 17,500 words, and the first draft of Trial clocked in at around 19,960 or something like that. So clearly I had to do some cutting and trimming. A lot of cutting a trimming. Sands, I even rewrote the entire introduction, cutting out some elements and getting it down to about 1,500 words less.

If you’re a Patreon Supporter, by the way, the original, expanded introduction is a supporter reward, so it’s not gone forever.

What’s Trial about, you may ask? Well, I’ll leave that for the jump. First I want to make two details clear:

  1. It’s time for Alpha Readers to have a crack at it.
  2. Work on the next episode of Fireteam Freelance has begun.

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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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Patreon Supporter Content Update

Hello readers! I hope you’re all staying healthy and hale out there! Just dropping a quick update, mostly for Patreon Supporters.

Why? Because they’ve gotten two bits of bonus content in the last two days. And substantial content at that.

The first? Well, for those of you that have read the Interview Excerpt with Adah Nay, AKA the latest Fireteam Freelance entry, you may have noticed some … discrepancies. After all, it was edited for “space constraints.”

Well, thanks to a team member, a raw unedited version of that interview chunk is now up on Patreon as a support bonus! Comparing the two might lead to some … interesting … differences.

But that’s only the first bonus. The second? As I work on my entry for Parliament of Wizards, tentatively titled A Trial for a Dragon, one of the things I need to do is cut down my wordcount, which ended up about 2,100 words past the 17,500 limit.

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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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Parliament of Wizards Submission Call!

Readers! I have news! For you! Which I mentioned in Monday’s Being a Better Writer post but is finally getting its own post here. Submission calls are open for LTUE’s fourth Benefit Anthology, Parliament of Wizards!

If you’re stumbling across this post with no prior knowledge of what any of those things mean, let me catch you up. LTUE is Life, The Universe, and Everything, one of the best (if not the best) writing conventions out there, attended by hundreds of experienced authors and industry professionals all for one epic goal: To talk about writing in all its forms. This is a conference you come to in order to meet your favorite authors and then listen to them talk about the ins and outs of writing.

Better yet, since the goal of the conference is to help writers learn how to write, it’s also open to students and charges $5 for student attendees. LTUE is about giving resources and knowledge to writers of the world, and students are part of that.

Trace the StarsSo, in order to help keep that student cost low even as the con has grown again and again, the LTUE Benefit Anthologies were set up. These are collections of short stories written by a wide variety of authors, some new, some long-time industry vets that are household names, each around a themed topic, and sold entirely in support of the convention.

That’s right, the authors and editors don’t see a penny. All the proceeds from each sale go toward keeping LTUE running and making sure that the price for students stays at $5, so that the young would-be writers of today can get the education to help them become the writers of tomorrow.

To date, there have been two LTUE anthologies published. Trace the Stars, a collection of Science-Fiction stories, was the first and published in 2019. The second collection was published this year, just in February, and titled A Dragon and Her Girl (and I’m in that one!). The third collection, Twilight Tales, will be released next year (2021).

70081760_568294170598543_7425837595373862912_oWhich means that submissions have just opened for the next and fourth collection, Parliament of Wizards, 2022’s release! Stories about wizards. Submissions are open from now until April 30th, and not only is it a good place to submit a story too as they’re open to authors of all experience but again, it’s to help one of the best writing cons out there keep their costs down.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in submitting to, hit the jump for some more details and link to Hemelein Publications’ submissions page!

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Apologies for Vanishing

Hey readers! I live!

Yes, I know I kind of went completely silent after Monday (and given this post-LTUE week, probably not the best idea). But … it wasn’t just you guys I went silent with, nor was it for a lousy reason.

Okay, well it was lousy, just not in the way you’re probably thinking: I caught the con-crud. That’s right, a fusion of who knows how many cold viruses knocked me on my butt pretty good. Monday was okay, Tuesday was a little worse but not too bad … but yesterday? Yesterday it had advanced to a fever, which kind of wrecked my writing for the day (not only did it take a lot longer to put a sentence together, but I half expect that when I look at what I wrote today I’m going to find it wanting).

Good news, though. Last night I bundled up under what would normally be way too many covers and burned the fever out over the course of the night. I’m still sore, stiff, and coughing a bit, but I’m at least on the mend. And mentally competent enough to get back to work and see how much of what I wrote these last two days holds up.

With luck it won’t be too bad. But then again, writing while sick never feels that way at first …

Anyway, I apologize for the delay this has given to updates for the site. Yesterday or today would have been a post-LTUE post talking about some of the stuff I chatted about with other authors at LTUE, but right now I think I’ll wait until tomorrow to get Fireteam Freelance caught up,.

Speaking of Fireteam Freelance, what have you readers made of it so far? I know it’s been a popular post to read, but no one’s said anything. Maybe you’re all waiting on a bit more material before passing final judgement, in which case I’ll keep my own thoughts confined for now. But are you enjoying it? Looking forward to it?

Actually, while I’m writing, I should give you all one bit of post-LTUE news (and commentary): A Dragon and Her Girl, from the reviews dropping in so far, has been warmly received.

I actually finished reading through my copy Tuesday night, and it’s a delightful amount of fun. If you like dragons and heroines in any supply, you should definitely take a look at grabbing a copy.

Anyway, slowly returning to human semblance (or as close as I get, anyway) and coming back to life. More tomorrow!

Life, The Universe, and Everything Starts Tomorrow at Nine AM! Plus LTUE Sale and Fireteam Freelance News!

It’s here, folks! Starting tomorrow at nine AM, Life, The Universe, and Everything begins!

I don’t know how much more there is I can say on this (but clearly a lot, judging from the size of this post). I mean, I’ve just about covered it backwards to forwards pretty clearly. Life, The Universe, and Everything is the Fantasy/Sci-Fi writing convention all about creating Fantasy and Science-Fiction. With hundreds of panels staffed by authors from all across the industry, LTUE is absolutely the best place to be if you want to learn about the art of writing a well-crafted story.

Seriously, take a look at the schedule (PDF warning for those on mobile) and all the different topics that’ll be on display as soon as LTUE opens its doors tomorrow, and marvel at the awesome contained therein. There are panels on various scientific methods for building cities on and under the ocean (surprisingly, I didn’t end up on this one). There’s a panel on building a brand. There’s a panel on using weather in fiction (I’m on that one!).

All of these are in the first hour. LTUE is awesome. Every year I inevitably find two or three panels I wish to attend that are all at the same time, and lacking the ability as of yet to be in multiple places at once, must choose which panel to attend.

Some are laugh-out-loud funny. Others are fascinating explorations of technology or writing techniques I’ve not explored. Some are just (for myself) a nice refresher.

But there are so many to chose from! Even just glancing at the schedule, I can see panels I’d love to attend. The Cold War and Science-Fiction? Or Folk, City, and Farm Magic?

Well, I’m on the latter, so I think my choice has been made for me. This is another “two places at once” situation. Anyone got a time-turner or a delorean I can borrow?

70081760_568294170598543_7425837595373862912_oOh, and let’s not forget that the launch of A Dragon and Her Girl also happens tomorrow at LTUE. Those of you that have pre-ordered your copies, start checking your accounts then! I’m excited to get my hands on it as well, since while I’ve read my story in it, there are still nineteen other stories about dragons and heroines in there I want to pore over!

If you’re not going to make it to the launch party but will still be at LTUE, you can also track me down during the con or during the signing event on Friday night and get your copy signed by yours truly! Yes, I will be at the book signing/sale fair. Curious how that’s going to work out as my books are all digital? Well, they are … but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a presence, sign copies of A Dragon and Her Girl, and a few surprises in store for those that swing by my table.

Semi-Pro Kinda LifeSeriously, LTUE is going to be awesome. Those of you attending, if you spot me walking the halls (see my mug there to the left) feel free to say hello! If I’m running to a panel I’ll let you know, but if not, you’ve got a very good chance of snaring me in a conversation! Many a time at LTUE an entire hour has vanished in conversations between folks in the halls, sometimes digging deeper into the topics of a panel, other times books, and even sometimes obscure but fascinating topics like the restoration of Santa Fe 2926 (a conversation which I look forward to engaging in once again this year and hearing how the last year’s progress has gone).

Also, before we hit the jump, which will head to my LTUE schedule so those of you attending can know where I’ll be, some other bits of news you’ll want to be notified of.

Jungle CoverFirst, everything is on sale for LTUE. Colony is 50% off, Jungle is 25% off, Shadow of an Empire is 50% off, Dead Silver is 67% off, and Unusual Events is 50% off. The only one that’s not discounted is One Drink, because it’s already as low as it can go under the current store rules. It’s 99 cents, folks.

Anyway, the big LTUE sale will run through Monday, February 17th, so if you’re looking to complete your collection, or looking to expand it as a newcomer who just picked up a copy of A Dragon and Her Girl, you’re in luck! You can literally grab everything I’ve published to date for $15. That’s over a million words of adventure, mystery, magic, mayhem, and more.

But only until the 17th. Click the cover to the right to go to the Amazon page and start browsing!

Now, onto the final bit of news before the jump and the schedule: Fireteam Freelance. Episode 0 dropped last week and, within a single day, became the most-read feature on the site that week. Off to a good start, I’d say. Well, for those of you that are fans, I’ve got good news. This weekend you’ll be getting an interlude. Not a whole new episode, but a smaller piece that slots in between “0” and “Kamchatka” while work continues on that next episode.

Patreon supporters, meanwhile, will get that interlude today. Rewards for supporting Being a Better Writer and all that. So if you’re a Patreon supporter, look for that interlude today, if you’re not, then come back this Saturday for a small glimpse leading into Episode 1!

All right, that’s all the news. Hit the jump for my schedule, and I hope to see you at LTUE!

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