Thursday, January 29, 2015

Last Chance: Superheroes vs Zombies for only $0.99

Just a quick reminder that my new superhero novel for grown-ups is still up for pre-order until the end of the month, during which time you can snag the ebook for only 99 cents!  After February 1st it will go to it's natural price of $5.99, so this is a pretty good deal.  The paperback is also out now, generally for $13.99 (depending on the retailer, who might be offering it for less).  
Here's the blurb:
Superheroes. Undead. ‘Nuff said.

The country’s premier superhero team is missing. So when a mutant monstrosity goes on the rampage, it’s Spitball to the rescue! He’s a third-string hero today, determined to be first-string tomorrow. And the Army may be giving him just the chance he needs. Spitball has been invited to undertake a secret mission into America’s heartland. What he’s about to discover, however, is not a chance at stardom, but a horror movie come to life...

Hungry Gods is a fast-paced adventure of costumed superheroes, government conspiracy theories, and flesh-eating zombies.  

And here's where you can find it for "pre-order," which means you pay now and on January 31st it'll be delivered to your device or computer.  

If you read it, and you like (or even if you don't), I'd certainly appreciate it if you'd take a moment to post a review (on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, your blog, wherever) and let everyone know how fun (or disappointing?) it was!  Thank you.

KICKSTARTER UPDATE: A Box of Books has Arrived!

The box full of paperbacks has arrived!  And they look MARVELOUS!  The matte covers are REALLY nice.  Classy, definitely classy.

The box only took ten days after printing to reach Japan, which is pretty amazing.
Hopefully in the next week or two I'll have all the paperbacks mailed out.  Bear with me, my work schedule is kind of a monster. (In fact, I'm currently attending day-time training and then doing two 12-hour night shifts over the weekend, no break in between...)
When I send these out I'll include any bonus books you have as well (based on your reward level and survey responses).
I'll still plan on sending out ebook versions to everyone who's got an ebook of Hungry Gods or a paperback coming to fill the time gap, just as I promised.  That should happen in the next few days too. 
At that point we'll have what I'll call the Standard Round all wrapped up!  Yeah, we did it!
Which will just leave the Bonus Round, which, if you'll recall, is the collection that is replacing the short story "sidekick".  My hope is to have that published by June of this year.  I still have quite a ways to go on the two big stories in it, plus proofing, cover design, publication, etc.  It'd be nice to have it ready before then, but June is a pretty realistic goal right now.  
I just have one more favor to ask, as if you haven't already done enough to make this project a reality.  After you've read the book, please tell people about it.  Whether you're bad mouthing it or singing its praises, spread the word.  One great way to do that is topost a review, like on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, your blog, wherever you find and talk about books.  Word of mouth and evidence that someone has actually read (and hopefully enjoyed) the book goes a long way to bringing more potential readers to consider it for themselves.  THANK YOU.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Freedom! Short Story Paroled

My short story "Puppet Theatre" has just come off the Kindle Select chain gang.  I was lying in bed when I realized the date and so I had to jump up, hop in the car, and go pick it up from jail!

I just threw it back up on Smashwords and all its distributor channels, but it'll take days for it to get spread around again.

Part of my new writing philosophy in 2015 is to give the finger to the whole exclusion idea.  Amazon may be a giant, but it's a mistake to put all your eggs in that one basket (no matter how big that basket may be).  Unfortunately I was late to save my novel Tarnish from the Kindle Select jail cell--you have to activity UNclick the box or else it will automatically re-up for another 90 day round.  So Tarnish comes up for parole again in March.

I'll be waiting at the gates with flowers and a six pack.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

More Pirating: Paying Authors For Their Work

My network of spies have made me aware of the below site and this string of posts.  It's hard to figure out when this all happened, because the time signatures occur before the reviews referenced were even written, or the book even published, for that matter.

I'm not sure if I should be flattered or pissed.  I'm both, actually.

The link goes to a site where cheap, lazy internet folks are discussing how to steal my book!  At first, I was like, "What??  They want to steal MY book?  Gee, that's so sweet."

Then I was thinking, "Wait a minute, you bungholes?  After all the time and money and sweat and blood I put into that book, and you can't cough up a few lousy bucks to pay me for it??  I don't even get what you pay, I get a percentage.  You're not ripping off a multi-billion dollar publishing house, here, you're ripping off me!  You can buy the ebook for the same cost as a Big Mac value meal.  And while you're stuck on the pot with diarrhea after your Big Mac, you could be enjoying the book in the comfort of your own bathroom.  You cheap bastards!"

It's very frustrating to someone who sees very little return or sign of interest in his work, to find out that people ARE reading it, they just aren't paying for it or allowing you to know that they care.  How am I ever going to get out from under my day job to write full-time this way?

Folks, if you enjoy an indie author's book, please BUY IT.  Don't pay someone else, like the person who stole it first!  Indie books are generally cheaper anyway, and the authors aren't making much off of them as it is.  And if you do steal an indie book and then say, "Hey, hurry up with the next one so I can read it," and can't figure out why that author doesn't have time to write the book between day job, side job, and family time...

You get the idea.  You want to see more work from aspiring young authors?  Pay them for their time.  Reward them for their work.

* * *

(And at this point, I have to confess to some hypocrisy: thanks to the magic of Google Image searches, I use a lot of images in my blog posts that aren't mine and I haven't paid anyone for.  In my own feeble defense, I do try to reference the artists if I can.  And I generally use images everyone recognizes as popculture icons, or ones that some giant company has already made an awful lot of money off of.  So I'm usually stealing from the rich rather than the poor.  I don't feel it's as much of a crime as what I'm discussing above, but I am guilty of it too.)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Hungry Gods Paperback Available Right Now!

As of about two hours ago, the handsome paperback edition of my superheroes and zombies novel for grown-ups (on account of language and violence, don't ya know) is up for sale!

And quite possibly your own favorite paperback retailer.  You don't know if you don't check!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

5th Edition D&D: Steampunk Wizard

Daisy Geartwitch is here!  But first, read this little update...

From the DMG, you can download the 45 page PDF file for a measly $1.99.  Here's the description:

Fantasy author J. D. Brink first discovered Dungeons & Dragons more thirty years ago.  Finally, with the advent of the Dungeon Masters’ Guild, he can now share some of his own game innovations with fellow players of the world’s greatest roleplaying game.  

Contained herein are more than 40 pages featuring custom game rules, a new experience point system, and 16 new feats for players.  But that’s not all. 

A Cthulhu warlock, steampunk mage, Shinto samurai, and rogue spymaster: these are just 4 of 10 characters created from new takes on existing classes, complete with detailed backstories and decision descriptions.  Ten characters meant to provide players and DMs with new inspiration for developing their own worlds and the heroes to save them.     

What's in the book started here on the blog as a creative exercise in character creation for the 5th edition of D&D.   

I also used to have some cooler, more specific images for the blog, but they weren't acquired by strictly legal means.  (Turns out Google is not a magical copyright-granting fairy.)  So sorry, the images are gone.  But you have a good imagination, right?

So using the creation guidelines outlined in the book (which includes a bonus feat for everyone), I made up some PCs both for my own inspiration and for yours.  Hopefully they'll give you some new ideas for your own game.



“I admit she’s talented.  Perhaps too talented for her own good…” – Guild Master Gursh McWyld

Wizard (3)
Alignment: LG 


HP: 21
AC: 15
PROF: +2
SAVES: INT (+5) WIS (+3)
              ADV vs. magic
INIT: +6  (includes small size)

RACE: Rock Gnome
* Int +2,Con +1
* Languages: Common, Gnomish
* Darkvision
* Gnome Cunning
* Artificer’s Lore
* Tinker

BACKGROUND:  Guild Artisan
* Guild Membership in Tinkerers’ and Alchemists’ Guilds (though not liked in either)
* Tinkers’ tools
* Alchemist kit

* Arcane Recovery 
* Arcane Tradition: School of Transmutation
-- Transmutation Savant
-- Minor Alchemy

* Spell DC (13)  Spell Attack Mod (+5)
* Spell Slots: 1st (4) 2nd (2)
* Prepare 6 spells
* Known Cantrips: Mending, Shocking Grasp, Dancing Lights
* “Spellbook” Spells (plans and formulas for devices and alchemical mixtures)
-- 1st Level: Find Familiar, Grease, Chromatic Orb, Identify, Color Spray, T’s Floating Disc, Fog Cloud, Feather Fall, Shield
-- 2nd Level: Web, Cloud of Daggers, Blur, Locate Object

* Arcana (+5)
* Investigation (+5)
* Insight (+3)
* History (+5)
* History (+7) on magic items, alchemy, devices, etc.
* Bonus Languages: Dwarven, Elvish, Halfling

* Lightly armored

FAMILIAR:  Klick-Klack, the clockwork owl

* Tools, belt pouches, & satchel (arcane foci)
* Light crossbow with bolts, 2 daggers
* Studded leather armor
* Tinker’s tools, alchemist’s kit
* Traveling clothes, working overalls
* Selma the donkey (with cleverly locked saddle bags)


Daesimach Geartwitch—Daisy for short—is herself rather short; she is a gnome, after all.  And while she had generally been regarded with respect and a smile among her own people, she found the greater world to be less receptive.  Was it because she was a gnome?  Perhaps elves and dwarves, even halflings, were better respected in the human lands?  Not only was she a gnome, but she was also female.  It was jealousy, her friends told her, played an equal role to these, if not more so. 

Daisy was presented to the Pact of the Philosopher’s Stone Guild (alchemists) and the Turns of the World Guild (Tinkers and Artificers) with great enthusiasm by her mentor, the great gnome master Cagghai Pennybottom.  She became a guild member on his recommendation, and to say that she was excited would be a terrible understatement. 

Perhaps the excited, ingenious young girl didn’t realize that her great success and new ideas might be an insult to some of the older, less talented guild members who had always thought themselves important.  Those jealous old men clearly couldn’t compare their own abilities to this young, inhuman, female prodigy.  Pennybottom’s command of respect was the only thing that kept Daesi in good standing with the Guilds’ more rancorous chiefs for as long as it did.  And when the old gnome master disappeared, it wasn’t long before Daisy found herself in ill-favor among her “peers.” 

She seeks now to find out what happened to Cagghai Pennybottom.  Not to restore her respect to those petty guild masters, but to discover and, if necessary, rescue her friend and teacher from whatever fate has befallen him.

Like most gnomes, Daisy is generally cheerful and innovative of mind, but she has learned to distrust the baser motives of the human world and its inhabitants, be they human or not.  She feels more at home in communities of the shorter races—dwarves, halflings, and gnomes—and this is where she can finally feel free to be herself.  She otherwise spends too much time guarding her emotions.  Therefore, despite the miracles of craft and chemistry that she is capable of, Daisy generally does not live up to her true potential.  The only friend she feels completely at home with is the mechanical owl Klick-Klack, her homemade clockwork familiar.


As with all of these D&D character creations, I wanted to do something different with the class.  Here I’ve made a wizard, always my least favorite class.  Wizards are traditionally too fragile and, in the beginning levels (which is where I prefer to play), they tend to be one-trick ponies.  (Can you say magic missile?  I hates me some magic missile…)  It seems like everyone who’s ever made a wizard made the same damn boring character and stocked up on the same damn spells, first and foremost being magic missile.  (Notice Daisy doesn’t use it, though it would fit her well as self-propelled darts of some kind.)

I wanted to make a wizard who wasn’t a spellcaster in robes, but instead is a gadgeteer and craftsman (or craftswoman, in this case).  And though it does kind of conform to the stereotype, it seemed most appropriate to make her a gnome.

The most important thing about this character is that her spells are not incantations, but are clockwork, steampunk, or alchemical gadgets and effects!

Her “preparing spells” at rest is mixing potions, and winding up and preparing machines.  A few spells (like Mending) are as much talent as minor magical effects, but mostly I imagine her throwing breakable glass vials and releasing tiny devices to achieve her magic.  Feather Fall, for example, might be spring-loaded wings, a small parachute, or propellers with claws for grabbing peoples’ backs.  Shocking Grasp could be metal conductors in her gloves hooked up to a chemical battery and/or routed through the metal studs of her leather armor.  Chromatic Orb and Fog Cloud are chemical mixtures in small glass globes.  Color Spray is a strobe light that shines through a prism.  Cloud of Daggers is a swarm of wind-up, free-flying, bladed propellers.  I chose all of her spells based on the idea that they could be imagined this way (and specifically didn’t take magic missile!).  I also assumed that in her three levels of adventuring she’d picked up a few extra spells for her spell book in the form of formulas and design schematics, so she’s got a few more than you might expect.

In her creation, I replaced the persuasion skill from the Guild Artisan background with Arcana, given the nature of the guilds she’s part of. Besides, Persuasion isn't befitting this character's social awkwardness, which is also reflected by her low Charisma score.  These experiences do, however, make her good at reading people, thus her Insight skill.  I also tweaked the background to give her two toll proficiencies, one in each of her areas of expertise.

Also fitting the theme is her homemade familiar, Klick-Klack the clockwork owl.  (Inspired by the original Clash of the Titans movie, my favorite as a kid, but I believe that owl’s name was Boobo).

I actually made up Daisy over a year ago as part of my character creation exercises on my blog.  The other wizard on this list, Kurzette, I made up just a week ago for this book.  And now that I’m revising Daisy’s story, I see the eerie similarity in their personality and story.  I guess inventive, shy nerds have a lot in common, eh?  (Including talent!  Break out of your shells, my fellow shy nerds!  Trust me, there’s nothing to be afraid of!)

This character is one of my favorites from this exercise and I have already developed her into a central hero in my future series of fantasy adventure novels.  (If only I could escape the day job to get them written!)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Superhero Dentistry

Writing this new story is like pulling teeth!  Barely getting anything out.  Actually, I've been managing about 800 words each session (x3 so far), which isn't terrible but not my standard (usually at least 1000), and it's been a struggle each time.  Just not in-tune with this story or characters yet.  But "mood is a thing for cattle, or love play, not for writing."  (Actually, it's not for "fighting," but I adopted it long ago to say "writing".  Anyone know the quote?!)

It's easier to write this blog post than to write the damn story, so out of cowardice and laziness, that's what I'm doing.  Here's some teaser images I stole off the internet to give vague hints.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Eldar Harlequin Rules JDK

I have mixed feelings about the rumors of a new Harlie codex.  I remember back in the day when making a harlie force was doable.  And I can still visualize the White Dwarf pages from 1980-something when they first came out and had tables to roll on for psychic powers and had all the coolest gear.  They've been really pruned back in the last couple iterations, which is a shame, though I'm not totally convinced they should have a full army codex of their own.  Though it has gotten me to thinking, and so I decided to present my own JDK (as opposed to 40K... you know, I'm J. D. Brink...) version of a quick Harlequin Codex.

Harlequins should be like mashed potatoes: light and fluffy.  I don't feel like giving them any heavy vehicles or kitting them out too much goes well with their fluff.  They should remain small, quick, and generally silent.  With that in mind, as well as the current Eldar codex, these are my fast and dirty Harlie lineup ideas:


Standard special rules for the "army" are: Fleet, Hit & Run, and Furious Charge.  These are as the Harlies currently have them in the Eldar Codex (as opposed to Ancient Doom and Battle Focus) and they fit well.  Let's make that standard across all our units.


Using the standard force org, with the following special consideration.

   -- Harlequin units (like those in the Eldar Codex) are considered Elites.  However, you may take a number of Harlequin units as Troops equal to your number of Mime (Troops) units.  Any Harlequin troupes beyond the number of Mime troupes must take up an Elite slot.
   -- Death Jesters are not a Harlie upgrade but a separate Heavy Support entry.


Character models of the Rogue Trader Era included Warlocks, Avatars, High Warlocks, and High Avatars.  Of course those names are taken by others with Craftworld Eldar now, so we'd have to come up with something else.
I'm not going to go too into making up stats and special rules and all.  My basic ideas would be:

Solitaire:  Max of one on the board (not just one per detachment), an Independent Character that cannot join any units.  Stats would be similar to a Phoenix Lord (but no armor save).  They might has a short list of "warrior powers" to choose from that can make them more badass.
   -- Gear: Rictus Mask, various weapon options.
   -- Friend of the Wind: May choose one of the following: Infiltrate, Scout, or Deepstrike.  The Solitaire may also choose in the Movement phase to disappear, going back into reserve to Deepstrike next turn.  Whenever he does Deepstrike, he scatters only D6" and can do so into terrain without suffering a Dangerous Terrain test.
   -- She Who Thirsts: The Solitaire's role in the Dance comes through in his or her very nature.  He is a Level 1 psychic with the Terrify telepathy power.
   -- The Art of Disappearance:  No one uses a Holosuit like a Solitaire.  He/She has a 3++ invuln save against ranged attacks and a 4++ invuln against close combat attacks.
   -- Blade Dancer: In a duel, he/she rerolls to hit and to wound.

"High Warlock": (they used to be called that)  This would be a level 2 psychic, upgradable to 3, who can pick either Telepathy or Telekinesis as their discipline.
   -- Mind Link: All Harlequin units within 12" can use her Ld (10) when making Ld checks.
"High Avatar":  Some form of badass combat leader.  Like the Solitaire, he of she might have special ability and weapon options.


Mimes:  Mimes are like your less experienced Harlequins, the understudies of the performance crowd.  Let's make Mimes basically the same as Storm and Defender Guardians.
   -- Gear:  Instead of armor, they wear Flipbelts and Holosuits.  Like Guardians, kit them as either shuriken catapult squads or sword and pistol squads, with similar options on gear.

Master Mimes:  These are upgrade squad leaders for Mimes, not a free-standing unit.  WS5, A2, LD9.
   -- Silence:  Master Mimes can project a psychic aura that "silences" other psychic powers.  He and his unit Deny the Witch on a 3+ and all other units within 6" can Deny on a 4+.
   -- Gear: Blades of Grace -- twinned mono-edged sabres that incorporate shuriken pistols like the scorpion chainsabres.
Weapon Profile: S(as user) AP6 Rending, A+1 (cuz there's two of them)

Skyrider Jetbikes: Mimes on bikes.  Basically, same as Windriders.  Can upgrade one to a Master Mime.
   -- Aerial Artistry: All Harlequin jetbikes incorporate a Holo-field.  This combined with their daring aerial acrobatics allow them to take a 5+ Jink (cover) save even when firing their weapons, and a 4+ if they Turboboost (like in 6th edition).  Barring that, they may take a 6++ invuln save (based on holosuit technology).


Harlequins: Basically as they appear in the Eldar Codex now with the Troupe Master upgrade available.  Shadowseers are also an upgrade model that can only be taken with a Harlequin troupe, but I'm adding some stuff.
   -- Gear: As normal, but I'm changing the rules slightly for Kisses and adding some other options.  (See below)
   -- Shadowseer: The Shadowseers retain the Veil of Tears power.  They can also allow the unit to Deepstrike onto the board, ignoring the Dangerous Terrain tests for terrain if they land in it.  (Seems they were there all the time, you just didn't know it.)  Also see my new Hallucinogen Grenade rules below.  


Harlequin Jetbikes:  Basically Harlequin stats on a jetbike (with T4 of course).  May have an upgrade to a Shadowseer and Troupe Master.  Cannot take a Kiss (moving to fast) but can take a Jetbiker Flail.
   -- Aerial Artistry: All Harlequin jetbikes incorporate a Holo-field.  This combined with their daring aerial acrobatics allow them to take a 5+ Jink (cover) save even when firing their weapons, and a 4+ if they Turboboost (like in 6th edition).  Barring that, they may take a 6++ invuln save (based on holosuit technology).
   -- Jetbiker Flail:  (Optional unit upgrade.)  These are vicious weighted flails and bolas of monofilament line.  The Harlequin Bikers tangle them around their foes then jet off again, jerking the razor-thin cords right through their prey.  These weapons are only usable on the charge and the unit is obligated to perform a Hit & Run at the end of the combat round (if they fail it only means that they didn't quite get away, but the attack is already finished).
Biker Flail profile: S+3(includes furious charge), AP3, Armorbane, on charge only, must attempt Hit & Run

Air Dancers:  Mimes with Jump Troop rules.

Vyper Squadron: Same as in Eldar Codex.  (In my opinion, about as big a vehicle as Harlies should be flying.)
   -- Aerial Artistry: All Harlequin jetbikes incorporate a Holo-field.  This combined with their daring aerial acrobatics allow them to take a 5+ Jink (cover) save even when firing their weapons, and a 4+ if they Turboboost (like in 6th edition).  Barring that, they may take a 6++ invuln save (based on holosuit technology).


Death Jesters: As in the Eldar Codex but you can buy upto 5 at a time as a squad/troupe.  These, like Warlocks, can then be broken off to act as independent characters who can join other infantry units, or make attacks on their own.
   -- Gear: Rictus Mask and Shrieker Cannon (see both below)

War Walkers: As in the Eldar Codex but with the Harlie special rules, not the Eldar ones, and with a holofield 5++ invuln save, rather than a power field (same diff).


Pretty much DE Venoms with a shuriken cannon and the Aerial Artistry rule.  

   -- Rictus Mask: Causes Fear
   -- Neuro Disruptor: Harking to the Harlies of old, this is a Template weapon that short-circuits the enemies' brains.  Template, S*, AP*.  Effected models make a Ld test on 3D6.  If they fail they cannot act at all next round and are paralyzed with no saves of any kind allowed.  Models attacked are treated as having WS0 and cannot counter attack.  If not all models in a unit are effects the others may act normally but may not move out of coherency with the paralyzed models.  Vehicles are not effected by this weapon.  
   -- Webber: Another weapon of antiquity.  The webber launches a sticky net that envelopes and crushes the enemy.  All models hit must make a Strength Test or suffer a wound with no armor or cover saves allowed.
   -- Hallucinogen Grenades: Act as both offensive and defensive grenades.  If thrown as a weapon, they have the following profile: Range 8", S2, AP4, Assault 1, Blast, Strikedown (halve Init and move as if in difficult terrain)
   -- Shrieker Cannon:  The rules in the Eldar Codex don't support the fluff.  Therefore:
Range 36", S6, AP5, Assault 3, Bladestorm, Poisonous, Pinning (the "genetic toxins" should be poisonous!)
And since these are one of our Heavy Choices, maybe they have the option of also buying alternate ammo, a Sunfire Shuriken that gets super-hot when exposed to the air.  The range, however, is a bit shorter because eventually the ammo burns itself up.  All Jesters in a squad must fire this in the same turn:
Range 24" S7, AP2, Armorbane
   -- Harlequin Kiss:  Again, the current rules don't support the fluff.  If the weapon turns into a visceral blender then it should have Rending and cause Instant Death.
   -- Harlequin Blades:  The whole squad has the option of paying 3 pts each to get Rending on their hand weapons.

*And for the record, I'll say again that I think shuriken ranges should be: Pistol (12") Catapult (18") Avenger Catapult (24"), Cannon (36").  If 36 is too much, then make it 30 and consistently add 6" to all current ranges.  Isn't that fair??

All in all, I'm a big Harle fan so a codex sounds cool to me, but I'm not sure that really makes me "for it".  But since I like to make up my own rules anyway, I figured I'd take my turn at a Harlequin Codex too.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Resolutions: Writing in 2015

It's the Year of the Sheep, which is very evident here in Japan (even though I don't think the Chinese New Year has rolled over yet).  But they still celebrate January First with the rest of us, and so it's time for making promises we don't intend to keep.  Er, uh, I mean...  Setting goals for the new year.  My goals this year focus on becoming a better and more productive writer.

I've been making some positive changes in my writer's philosophy these past several months, influenced greatly by prolific genre writer and indie guru Dean Wesley Smith and my own more honest observations of myself, the industry, and the indie writers' realm all together.  

I could write quite an essay out of all this, but I'm going to try to keep this simple, for your sake and mine.  (It's now after 4am, after all, and I need to get to bed!)

My writing resolutions in 2015:

1. Conquer "book as event" thinking.  This is something DWS talks about quite a bit.  In a nutshell, it means that I choose not to spend a crazy amount of resources (time and money) obsessing over and/or promoting every book or story I write.  Those resources are much better spent writing the next one!  So I plan to write, publish, repeat.  As opposed to write, publish, spend a few weeks patting myself on the back, spend a lot of money marketing through channels that may or may not work, come out disappointed at the end and maybe muster up the courage to do it all again.  Doesn't sound too great, does it?  So I'm going to tend more toward Hugh Howey's path (poster child of indie writers everywhere), which is generally to write more material and let the books market each other.

2. Approach "Pulp Speed".  This is also a favorite topic of DWS.  Pulp Speed is like Warp Speed, but instead of traveling across the stars you're trying to crank out stories like they used to back in the Pulp Era.  Realistically, working 12-hour shifts and spending time with my family, I'm not going to write a million words a year.  Just not going to happen.  But combined with #1 above, I can certainly get a lot of stuff written if I keep my head down and focus.  My planned publishing plate for 2015 includes two novelettes, a novel-length collection of stories, and another full novel (that's all in addition to Hungry Gods, which I've just wrapped up; that's technically a 2014 book).

3. Proportional resource management.  This refers back to the Big Two Resources: Time and Money.  I'm not saying in Resolution #1 that I'm not going to do any marketing at all.  I'll do some, but I don't want to spend too much money nor more than a few days on it.  And only with the bigger books.  The little stuff (like the two novelettes/novellas I plan to write) don't need marketing efforts.  Realistically, they just won't return the readership or the money spent on them.  They're small projects and so they get a small piece of pie.  For example, I'll just do the covers on the small boys myself (with some help from my more artistically gifted wife) rather than hire a professional.  Big books deserve more (but still limited) resources, while smaller ones deserve less.

My reading resolutions in 2015:

1. Read one novel per quarter.  I know this is not earth-shattering and most of you probably read four books a month, not a year.  But for me, this is a realistic goal.  This is to exclude comic books, graphic novels, game books, etc., which make up a large portion of my book browsing time.  I've read quite a few graphic novels and several-issue trade paperbacks over the last couple years, because they don't require much commitment to get done.  More pictures, less words, ya know?  And while those are all well and good, I won't improve my own writing much without reading more novels.  So I need to carve out that kind of time commitment.  Besides, my "to be read" shelf hasn't stopped growing just because I got busy.

2. Make at least one of the four an indie published book.  Only fair, right?  I already have a few in mind.

3. Post reviews of these books.  If I want folks to review my stuff, I should be reviewing what I read.  Besides, maybe someone will read my review, investigate me further, and find one of my own books they'd like to read.

There.  Three on each side, nice and balanced and simple enough to get done.

And now, speaking of resource management, I'm going to bed!  This is a blog entry, after all, not a novel, and I've spent enough time on it.

Thanks for reading, and please share your own goals for the new year, writing, reading, or otherwise!

Prince of Thorns Book Review

I was determined to finish this book by 2015's opening, and I managed to do so today on the First.  I don't want to make it sound like a chore though; this was a fun, easy read that kept me very interested.  Below is my official Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble review.  (Though I have to point out that it's frustrating leaving a review on B&N because there doesn't seem to be a spot for the "headline" until after it posts, at which point it looks like I missed it...  Damn site.)

A Dark, Page-Turning Fantasy Ride

My first impression of Jorg, the narrator and hero of Prince of Thorns, was that I might not like him, even though he did remind me of Alex from A Clockwork Orange.  (Turned out I hit that right on the nose, as the author himself directed me to an article where he said that Burgess’s classic was the inspiration for this book!)  Jorg is driven by rage and revenge and, being a teenager, that fit him well.  What else motivates young men other than passion?  Even though he wasn’t always a “good guy,” Jorg did mature a bit over the course of the book and I got to like him.

The book also enjoyed (as I did) a very quick pace, cool quests, an unruly band of thugs as heroes, some cool monsters and magic, and some surprising world-building.  I’m definitely interested in Book Two and will add it to the list.  4.5 stars from me (rounded up to 5). 

(I'd also like to note that part of my New Years Resolutions is to read more novels and review them when I'm done.  My Resolutions posting is coming up next...)