Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Wrap-Up: Writing, Review, and the Final Days

I have amazed myself with what I can accomplish when I really set a goal and strive for it!  I decided on DEC 22 that I was going to finally write a story I’d been dreaming on for a while, and get it done in time to submit it to the current quarter of the Writers of the Future Contest.  That deadline being DEC 31st.  So I had one week to get this done, even with Christmas and working four 13-hour shifts.  

To my own amazement, I made it!  And in doing so, learned a little about myself, my writing, and conquered a couple of imaginary barriers within myself to getting things done. 

One being, the false idea that I have to be setup in 95% perfect surroundings and situation in ordered to get real writing done.  That shouldn’t be necessary.  As I’m fond of saying but not of practicing: “Mood is a thing for cattle, and love play, not for writing!”  (If that sounds familiar or you’re hearing it in Patrick Stewart’s voice, I stole it from 1984’s Dune movie and changed one word.  Can you guess which?) 

Another one is embracing the teachings of Heinlein and Dean Wesley Smith.  Specifically, I sat down, banged out the story, and with just a once-over of revision, sent that bastard out!  BAM!  Now it’s time to move on to new stories of wonder! 

(Actually, it’s time to get my butt back to writing the sequel—or rather prequel—to Hungry Gods.)

In other news, this blog has now officially surpassed the 100,000 page view mark.  Woo-hoo for that!

And with 2016 only days away, I have of course been refining my goals for the next year.  I actually started working toward that in October and have been making progress since then. 

One aspect of that is to do even less blogging than usual (which isn’t that much to begin with), less Facebook (maybe even do away with it all together), less Tweeting (again, virtually none now), and less of all the messing around that isn’t writing.  Only WRITING is writing.  Everything else is of limited value.  Very, very limited, in my opinion. 

I did spend an awful lot of time on other-than-writing things in 2015, including some reformatting, republishing, and too much marketing (though not nearly enough by some folks’ standards).  My research and experiments in marketing proved that the amount of money and time dumped into that stuff does not come back to you.  Or at least, it didn’t come back to me.  I think the marketing market is exaggerated by those who stand to make a buck from it, while those of us trying to utilize it (under peer pressure from those who may or may not really know what they’re talking about) end up not getting the exaggerated results we were promised.  I think you have to be at least a minor-league Somebody for any of that marketing to do your book sales much good.  And in order to get there, you have to do more writing! 

So my goals for words produced keep going up, even while my time allowed for doing so keeps going down.  Though I did surpass the 100,000 mark on words written this year!  Actually, about 123,000w.  Woo-hoo for that, too!  Now that word count is a measure of work done, not necessarily of words published in books.  My blogging this right now goes into that count, as does time spent revising, adjusted as half as many words – it’s a weird equation, but one I’m comfortable with.  Because, again, it’s a measurement for me on how much writing work I’ve done, and this year I did a damn good job, considering I work 50+ hours a week, have a family, and spent 2-3 months barely writing as I was gearing up for a deployment to the Middle East.  And in 2016, I hope to be even more productive.

I also learned a lot this year.  One of those lessons, in fact, was to not spell out exactly what I did learn or what my ever-shifting plans may be.  Therefore, I’m not going to say anything more about that.

In fact, I’m not going to say anything more at all right now.  Happy New Year, everyone.  Now, I have writing to do!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Superheroes vs Alien Invasion

My short novel Invasion is now available.  Again.

Let me explain.  Invasion first appeared in Dreams of Flying, but the way it ended I realized that the story had to go on.  Invasion is now the first of a series that I hope to complete in the next few years.  (Dreams of Flying, then, will be republished with some new material to take Invasion's place later on.)

Here's the description:

The future of the Identity Crisis Universe hangs in the balance.

A swarm of biomechanical monsters attack the Volans Space Station during a test of its artificial gravity system.  Two of the station’s engineers, however, are more than just astronauts. 

The Earth’s Apex superheroes—a physicist turned nuclear colossus, a hyper-intelligent silverback gorilla, and an otherworldly gladiator —are all that stand between an alien beachhead and the billions of innocent lives below.  Adam Smasher, Symian, and Ballista must fight off an insectoid infestation with one foot in the airlock, and the other kicking inorganic butt back into space.

But repelling the first wave may not be enough.  In order to safeguard the Earth, the trio volunteer to leave this world behind and venture into deep space, where the void—and the mission—may be darker and colder than they ever expected.

Fifteen years after the events of Hungry Gods, the superhero lineup is very different, and about to change even more.  J. D. Brink’s mature brand of spandex adventure comes to a new series for grownup fanboys and fangirls of every timeline. 

*  *  *

This puppy is only available as an ebook right now, paperback coming soon (weighs in at 160 pages).  Here's a few places you can find it, but there are others.  Try your favorite ebook outlet, chances are it'll be there:

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Superhero and Zombie Audiobook

After a lot of hard voice work by Todd Menesses, the Hungry Gods audiobook is available for purchase!  Don't have time to read anymore?  Maybe a chapter during the commute or at the gym is just what you need.

Find this fun superheroes versus zombies adventure in three convenient cyberspace locations:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Tarnish: Fantasy Trilogy

My coming-of-age, fantasy novel Tarnish is now available in trilogy form!  The whole thing is certainly still available in its full 130,000 word unabridged version (as an ebook, paperback, and audiobook), but since that’s equivalent to three regular novels anyway, I thought I might as well break it down into its three “acts” and see what happens.  So readers can pick up the same novel that’s been out there, or they can try it in a smaller series of books with some cool new covers (which were great fun to make).

Here’s each book’s cover and individual description:

Silver, they call it, the light of the full moon: celestial magic that changes men into beasts and calls the dead from their graves... and young men to their destiny.

Billy Cole is the son of legendary folk hero Ian the Black.  He should be marching to war, battling dragons, and rescuing fair maidens.  Unfortunately for him, the war is long over, the last dragon was slain by the Dread Duke, and all the girls in Redfield are either several years younger than him or already married.  Billy is sixteen springs old and ready for a life of valor and excitement.  So far, however, he seems destined only for boredom and manual labor in a small farm town. 

Then a scarecrow tries to kill him and a monster of swamp water and vines trudges into town and attacks his father.  Evil has risen from the Blood Marsh and Redfield needs a hero.

And while Billy has the brass to take on an entire army alone, he’s smart enough to know better.  Instead, he straps on the sword of Trevor the Red and takes the name Wil Thunderstrike—wandering hero and teller of tales—to venture into the Free Fertile Lands and find the help they need.

But the world beyond Redfield isn’t like in the tavern tales, and not everyone who carries a sword is a hero.

Tarnish is a grittier coming of age tale than you’re used to, where destiny is forged, not written.

Wil Thunderstrike’s journey into legend continues…

Forging ahead despite his earlier failures, Wil Thunderstrike arrives in the shadowy city of Fellwater in search of his prey, the bandit Mad Dog McCray.  And seeking the heroes he needs to save his hometown, of course. 

Though it’s easy to get distracted in a place like Fellwater.  Gambling on boxing matches and chasing a flirtatious pickpocket prove to be dangerous forms of entertainment.  Wil soon finds that he’s making more enemies than friends. 

Meanwhile, back in Redfield, Trevor and Ian fight to hold off the Blood Marsh and to hold the town together.  Farmers and tradesmen, however, make poor soldiers and in this small war, there will be casualties.

But all is not lost.  Wil meets a rival storyteller who promises to introduce him to just the kind of hero he’s looking for to save his home.

And only then do the real trials of William Thunderstrike begin.

The making of William Thunderstrike concludes in this action-packed volume.

Billy Cole—formerly Wil Thunderstrike, now the warrior Lockheed—has started down a new heroic career path as one of León Shimmerskin’s champions.  But the illustrious tales of the Colors Three never prepared him for his new patron’s particular brand of justice.  The path of the traveling hero, it seems, is darker than he’d imagined.

When he at last returns to Redfield, Lockheed must face the tragedies that have befallen his home and its people.  And by his own actions, he will either prevent or bring about even more of them. 

The final battle for Redfield is coming, and it will decide not only the fate of Billy Cole’s home, but that of his soul as well.

*  *  *

This series is available only in ebook form at all major retailers: The Quest ($0.99), Among the Shadows ($2.99) and Heroes and Villains ($2.99).