So long, 2020. Hello, 2021.

2020 was kind of a strange year… (Is that an understatement?)

Overall, I consider myself and my family rather blessed. Our jobs were affected very little by the Chinese Plague and we stayed fed, warm, clothed, healthy, and happy.

I’m certainly not digging all the societal ‘norms’ that we’ve come to with COVID, but they’ll end at some point I’m sure, like previous pandemics, we’ll move forward still. (At least this wasn’t the zombie apocalypse.) I look forward to never wearing a mask again, but I’m glad everyone is learning to wash their hands diligently after they go potty.

I’m anxiously awaiting longer days, warmer weather, knowing the actual numbers of my book sales, going back to church, and socializing again.

Lows of the year – Too many big picture ones, but the Presidential Election and Covid certainly top the list.

Highs of the year – Getting my first book published. That was awesome. We also sold our old house and paid off the majority of any debts we had. (So long student loans!) Now all we owe on is our minivan and house. I highly recommend becoming debt free, it’s the only way to live.

Going into 2021, what do I expect?

In America – Chaos. Lots and lots of Chaos.

In Writing – I’ve slowed some as I wait to see if sales were high enough for the publisher to accept the sequel. I’m pretty confident they’ll take it, but it’s hard to be working on a third book in the series while the second languishes on a thumb drive. I do need to write a ‘teaser’ for the back of the book still, so that may get posted here once it’s finished.

I’ve got a map for the series to be four books right now. Which works well, since I’m considering using West of Prehistoric/East of Prehistoric/South/North etc as titles. Then yesterday, after some delicious BBQ and a trip to the local gun store to see the barren ammunition shelves and thinning gun racks, my dad gave me a brilliant idea for a 5th ‘offshoot’ book for the series. So that’s a good possibility as well.

And I’d love to do another series on the same world, based about 20-25 years later. The early 1900’s was pretty cool when it came to weapons. 🙂

At some point I need to get cracking on my WWII Monster Book, the outline is finished on that. Then there’s the Space Marine Book I want to write, nothing is done on that. And I’ve a word file full of possibilities for other books that I’ve written down and forgotten about. At any rate, I need to finish the third book and hopefully get most of a fourth book written as well before 2022.

In Blogging – Probably gonna post less. Politics is to chaotic to comment on right now and societal upheaval seems around the corner. So I’ll mainly be sticking to writing updates, some book reviews, and such that tickles my fancy.

So… 2021.

Bring it on, cause it ain’t stopping for us.

Let’s hope for the best, know that Gods Will shall be done, pray hard for the guidance of our leaders, and keep your powder dry.

And I’m gonna start writing my little fingers off.

Publishing Contract Signed!

Severed Press will be publishing my book.

http://www.severedpress.com/

I’m pretty stoked. From everything I’ve read, they are an amazing publishing company and best of all their covers are works of art. (Yeah, I’m shallow like that. Nothing sinks a book faster than poor covers… except poor writing!)

Woohoo!

“You can’t make money writing!” Oh pffftttt….

This is a garbage myth and I’m sick of hearing it.

I visited Scribophile (A writers website) today for the first time in months and skimmed the forums. Everyone kept repeating it as thought it were truth, and it ain’t.

Look. If you want to write stuff no one will ever read, be my guest. Have fun with that. Enjoy the ‘art’. But don’t go spreading the lie of unsuccessfulness to people with hopes and dreams of being a full time writer. Because who are you to tell them they can’t succeed? And how do you know that they can’t?

Is there a limit to entertainment?

Can there only be X number of successful actors? Writers? Bears riding tricycles?

No.

Are there only X number of successful books allowed to be published? Is there a limit? Is it ten thousand? What about readers? Is there a limit to your readers? Are they all taken by other authors?

No.

(And if you said yes, you’re a self-defeating fool.)

Math time – Rowling’s sold over 500 million books. There are over 7.3 BILLION people on the planet, so only 6.6% of them have read one of hers and she lives in a castle made of gold bricks.

And those readers – Are they never going to buy anyone else’s book? Did they just read hers and say, “No thanks. I’ll never do that again!” Or are they waiting on something else that piques their interest? They can be YOUR readers also.

More math – There are 250 people born every minute. Which means every minute, regardless of the age group that you write for, there are 250 people aging into it. 250 new potential readers. 250 potential buyers who will give you money in return for being entertained for a few hours.

“But they speak foreign languages!” So? Harry Potter has been changed into dozens of languages. “But they are scattered over the world!” So? Harry Potter has been read around the globe.

“But…but….but…” But nothing. 1 in 15 people have read her books.

So what’s your excuse?

“It’s not lucrative enough!” “You can’t make money!” “You’ll starve!” “She basically hit the writing lottery!”

Oh stahhhpppp.

There are enough successful people making a living at writing that you’re just being a whiner.

People who say things like that should be honest.

THEY can’t make money writing because THEY are holding themselves back. THEY are choosing to not work harder, not study the craft, not learn grammar, not practice writing descriptions and dialogue or whatever their weak areas may be. (Or, judging by most people who use Scribophile, THEY waste vast amounts of time dinkin’ around internet forums discussing writing instead of actually writing.)

Personally, I’m not shattering folks dreams.

You want to be a writer? Go be one. Send me a copy if it’s good.

But to be a writer, you’ve got to WRITE. Not bitch about it. Not whine about the ‘art’ of it and how people ‘just don’t get it’. And your constant complaints about how difficult it is to break in to publishing won’t make you more successful.

You’ve got to beat that keyboard like it owes you money.

You’ve got to put the effort in. The more you put in, the more you will get out. I like the gym. I go a lot. I can bench 315 pounds. I didn’t get there by going to the gym occasionally. I didn’t get there by not learning about weight lifting. I didn’t get there by not suffering through the tedious reps over and over and over and over. I wanted muscles so I had to lift constantly to get them.

As for you, you’ve got to WRITE. You’ve got to hound publishers. You’ve got to hone your craft. You’ve got to eek out bits of time in your busy day to do it. Doing it ‘when you feel like it’ ain’t gonna cut the cake. You’ve got to force it into existence, you’ve got to find the time, you’ve got to sacrifice sleep or going out or watching cats chase laser pointers on YouTube for hours.

Sure.

Some people write crap and make it big right off the bat.  Others write beautifully and never do. Why? I dunno. Too many reasons. Sometimes it’s their fault, sometimes it’s not.

But you can choose to either resign yourself to being one of the failures, or you can work harder at it and make some money. People who repeat stupid mantra’s like ‘you’re gonna fail because everyone fails’ are worthless and you should avoid them before you catch their sad little ‘woe is us’ cooties.

People need to stop telling others they can’t do it just because they think that THEY CAN’T.

It can be done. It may take you longer than others, or you might shoot to success on your first try. (That’s what I’m aiming for…) But regardless, it can be done if you keep trying. And telling people that they’re doomed to fail is one of the surest ways of impeding their success.

Stop being a pessimistic blight on the writing world.

Tell someone they can make it for a change.

***

As for me? I’ve an excel spreadsheet with the agents I’ve contacted, the publishers, dates, comments, responses, etc. I’m keeping tabs on everything.

I’ve studied the daylights out of publishing. I’ve read about the financing, the royalties, the advances, the chances, the difficulties, the expected rejections, etc.

I KNOW that I’m going to be rejected constantly, every great book has. It ain’t nothing new. I’ve already been passed on by two agents but also passed the first hurdle for two publishers. Personally, I was thrilled to be passed by agents, because it meant I was finally reaching into the ‘lead time’ of people getting to my unsolicited work. And I track that as well. If I email a query to an agent, I write down their stated ‘lead time’ to hear back from them. So it’s just now reaching the four-six week mark since I started seeking publishing. Now I’m going to start getting responses. (Still looking for you BAEN… even though you’ve a 9-12 month lead time! Eeek!)

How are things looking? I dunno. Okay, I reckon. I’m plugging along and making it a point to spend a couple days a week sending in submissions and queries and researching new potential agents/publishers.

I’ve firm faith that I’ll be published. Because my writing doesn’t suck, and I’m going to be relentless about it because I want it that bad.

Take note of that last line.

Instead of telling each other ‘You can’t make it! No one can!’, it should be, “Want it bad enough and you will!”

Remember 250 potential readers are born every minute.

Praise Jesus and write-write-write.

1885, an excellent year.

Why did I choose 1885 for my Epic Story Of Lost World Adventure Awesomeness?

Well, there was a lot of cool stuff going on.

Such as, the roller coaster was patented. The Irish tried to blow up the Tower of London with dynamite. John Babbacombe Lee was hung three times and didn’t die. (The English declared it ‘Divine Intervention’, and eventually released him. This is like Game of Thrones ‘Trial by Combat’… except it was more like ‘Trial by Hangin”) The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York and the Rabies Vaccine is a success. (Yay!)

None of that matters a single bit in regards to the book. But it’s neat to know.

BUT, the BONE WARS was nearing an end. That was when a pair of rival archeologists tried to destroy each other while discovering new species of dinosaurs in the American West. Eventually they ruined each other socially and financially. It’s kind of a shame they didn’t just resort to a duel though… Anyways. This is just too awesome of a historical event to not include, and some of the ground work is already laid in the first book.

There was also the Temperance Movement to ‘Ban All Fun Activities by Men’…

But most importantly, 1885 also pushed us into the wonderful world of smokeless gun powder and metallic cartridges while black powder was still being used to good effect.  John Moses Browning was about to reveal his famous 1886 Winchester, and one of his earliest inventions, the 1885 High Wall had just been put into production.

(Sadly, we’re still over a decade away from the pump action Winchester Model 1897 Shotgun that would eventually be used in every military conflict up to Vietnam. Could you imagine how cool one of these would be against apes and dinosaurs? -stab- KABOOM!)

WncsterCatMod97trench

Man… the things I want to write about…

Anyways…

Did I mention that the military was still using single shot Springfields? (Sucks to be you guys when faced with an army of numerically, and physically, superior apes with a prowess for soaking up bullets. That makes for great battle scenes.)

There were also a lot of famous characters still alive, or who’d recently deceased.

Wyatt Earp was 37 years old. The shoot out at the OK corral took place four years prior. Doc Holliday was still alive and up to no good in his flamboyant style. Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, and Theodore Roosevelt were all running around at the same time as the villainous likes of John Wesley Hardin, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Even Laura Ingalls Wilder, Sitting Bull, and Jeremiah Johnson were this side of the dirt.

1885 was a heckuva year to be alive.

Oh, and the very first edition of ‘Good Housekeeping’ was published. Which is probably why the Temperance Movement took off…

 

“This Book Doesn’t Suck.” – Reviews and Thoughts From Random People on the Internet.

These are a collection of reviews from when I posted the first four chapters and asked for unknown people on several web forums I visit, to read and critique my book with honest, and vicious feedback.

I figure the people who know me personally may mislead me with good intentions. But no one is as cruel and vicious and blatantly honest as random people on the other side of the internet who care nothing for your feelings.

And yup, out of the 117,xxx words, I had a shameful amount of ridiculous little word errors. 😦 But no one made any complaints about the general story line, so that’s nice.

I’m down. I’m a pretty voracious reader and the fact that there is a hand cranked gatling gun, an ape, and a triceratops piques my interest.

YJJPWrangler 5/14/2019

***

Just got done reading through the first four “chapters”. Most of the edits I made were grammatical/punctuation in nature but I did have some issues with some sentences. A few thoughts:

-totally unique subject matter. I’ve read quite a lot and this is by far the most “diverse” setting I’ve found
– definitely gives me a feeling of the “land before time” theme(not a bad thing)
-is this supposed to be young teen or adult fiction? reason i ask is there are certain points in the 4 chapters that could greatly use some expletives. great for adults, maybe not so much for kids
-The first part of the first chapter was odd to read. I felt like I needed to know more about Jed before continuing. but I’m sure you fill in his backstory later on. (I do. :P)

I’ve got the comments saved on a word file if you would like them. I am looking forward to reading the rest of it.

-YJJPWangler 5/15/2019

***

“Awesome book. While reading , I felt like I was right there in the middle of the action with everyone. I quite literally could not put the book down, I could not wait to find out what happened in the next chapter.

Looking forward to the rest of the series.”

-A_Kelly. 5/29/2019

***

I think the book is pretty awesome. It’s a little out of my genre but I can’t wait for the publisher. I’m not sure how many pm’s you’ve received but add my name to the list. I’m dropping a 10 spot for the privilege too. I’ve just got to figure out the logistics to get it to you. Great book!

-thebrotherinlaw. 5/26/2019

***

Damn man, I LOVE it!!! I am through the first three parts and will start the fourth ASAP!!!

Also, if that pic isnt the cover of this book, I will be thoroughly disgusted!!!!

-JSJJ388. 5/14/2019

***

Hey man, just finished part four of the book. I gotta say, you’ve got me hooked! Let me know what you need to send me a copy, and when its published I’ll buy a copy.

-JSJJ388/ 5/15/2019

***

That was definitely riveting! I read down to where his horse came back the next morning. I should not have even started because now I am running late to get my office work done before heading out to work! I do have some criticisms so will hopefully come back to it and share. I don’t read fiction at all but your writing style kept me glued.

-R Q 5/15/2019

***

When this goes to print, I’ll gladly buy a signed copy for my collection. Nitpicky grammar nazis aside, I think its very well done for the genre you chose to write about. Keep it up, you have the knack for fictional story composition.

-308/223 Shooter. 5/17/2019

***

I can’t believe you killed that horse in the beginning!

-Mom. 5/28/2019

***

This book doesn’t suck.

Jeepinmatt. 5/28/2019.

***

Just wanted to say I really enjoyed reading the parts you had posted. Being that I grew up on westerns I could easily visualize the scenery in my minds eye. I didn’t feel that it was lacking in description whatsoever. I did notice some errors, but I am not one to judge.  It seems you have several folks more adapt to editing than I could ever be. I look forward to reading the rest, please keep us updated as to its release.

-Rox&Mud 6/4/2019

***

So far, so good. All minor stuff to fix, almost everything noticed is sentence structure… nothing big and plot shaking. Thank goodness. Seems to be the sort of stuff a typical editor would catch.

Of course there’s some complaints in the beginning that are addressed later on in the book…. Such as the Main Character using the term ‘mother’. Everyone wants him to say ‘ma’ or ‘momma’… but it’s revealed later that he comes from an aristocratic southern family. He was raised with proper genteel manners. That’s an important part of his back story and one of the main story arcs that continues through the series.

I also changed a team of horses to mules, for no reason other than to spice the story up with some variety, and I missed a reference to them being horses.

Silly me.

Anyways, go read it – give me feedback. Then pray I find someone who will publish this so other’s can read it too.

RAWR! Pew! Pew! Pew!