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Where I’ve Been

No reviews, no editorials…where the hell have I been? Well, besides moving and dealing with my pet sitting business, I’ve been pouring my writing energy into this:

Not actual cover or title!

Barbarian Girl, as some of you might remember, was a novella that was available from October 2011 to January 2012. You can search back in the archives for articles on it. After 4 copies of this novella were sold and I gave it away for free for a bit, the trolls made realize that the book was complete and utter garbage so I pulled it. My reasons for doing so:

1. The editing job on it was terrible and made an already problematic book much worse. While I had my current editor give the book another pass, it was fundamentally flawed and couldn’t be saved.

2. I tried to cram way too much stuff into a book which clocked in at around 22,000 words. Characters that should have been more developed weren’t while major plot developments were glossed over. I needed to slow down.

3. Trying to apply K23’s narrative style to anything other than K23 is a recipe for disaster. The reason why the bizarre plot structure in K23 works in many cases is because I created a world in which that structure fits with the quirky nature of the setting. Trying to apply the same concepts to a world which I based on our own simply didn’t work at all.

Therefore, I’m working on Barbarian Girl 2.0, a complete rewrite of the novella from the ground up that retains the main character and general plot. Some characters are getting chucked while others are being developed to the level they should’ve been in the original work. The world is being made more cohesive – I’m trying to be much less preachy and moralizing – and perhaps most importantly I’m using a standard plot formula this time.

Hopefully when I’m finished I’ll have a better and more marketable book that I can be proud of.  I’m taking my time with this, writing a little bit every day, so don’t expect it until the fall at the very earliest.  There’s no rush to get this out.

As for K23, I’m keeping the K23 Detectives as my “brand” for the time being, just like John Locke uses Donovan Creed despite writing things other than Donovan Creed. Regarding the books themselves, if they magically start selling I’ll finish the fourth book and resolve the cliffhanger at the end of the Impending Darkness. Otherwise I’m putting K23 on the shelf for now. I’ll revisit it again in a few years, most likely focused around a completely new set of characters.  As for reviews, like I said, I’m busy with other things.  If I don’t get any out by the end of the month I’ll remove the book submission form.

Finally, I still do tweet a lot, so you can always find me on Twitter if you need to.

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Props to my Illustrator

 

I am sure by now you’ve seen these covers. I’ve got many compliments about them because they are very good for self-published covers, most of which can be quite terrible.

Her name is Florence Wong and she also drew the  K23 badge and the hominia map.Here is her deviant art page. If you like her work and interested in hiring her, send her an email  at vivadawolf at gmail dot com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Man With Nothing To Lose

I could rant all day about society views and molds women, but I can also rant an equal amount of time about how society views  and molds men.

My main vitriol is directed at the prototypical action hero, aka the man with nothing to lose. You know this man, the who lost something very important, usually his family, thanks to the villain, and seeks revenge. He’s emotionless and ruthless  with it comes to killing the villain and will stop at nothing to get what he wants, usually revenge. He’s almost always alone  when taking down the bad guys, as working with others gives him something to lose.

The examples are vast and this character is so common, I  feel I only need to talk about one:

If 24 was real, Jack Bauer would either be dead, in jail, or a crazed homeless hobo.

Jack Bauer is your prototypical man with nothing to lose.  Over the eight seasons, Jack Bauer lost his wife, love interests, his daughter(relationship wise), his job, friends, the list just goes on and on.  The reason, of course, is for Jack to keep snapping and act like an action hero.   He always has a plan, always in control, even when it seems he isn’t. He’s ruthless, willing to break the law and torture people in pursuit of the bad guys. Also, he refrains from stepping over the line, to becoming an outright bad guy.

In most of these stories, the only thing the distinguishes a good guys from the bad guys, is the bad guys kill and torture anyone, innocent or not, while the good guys kill and torture only the bad guy.  Say what you want about the torture in 24, Jack Bauer never tortures innocent people, that’s why he’s the hero.

In reality, if a man(or woman for that matter) snaps after losing something important, he usually becomes a spree killer, grabs a gun and commits horrific acts of violence. The killer usually ends up dead himself, or in jail for life. The spree killer is vilified, yet the man with nothing to lose is glorified, despite still being technically a spree killer.

Arnold kills 99 men in Commando, and we're supposed to like this guy?

How media gets around this problem is by dehumanizing the enemy. There are usually scenes of the bad guys committing heinous, unforgivable acts.. The henchmen are nameless, anonymous men with no past and no back story. You’ll feel no remorse for them because they aren’t human. How different would it be if every time a the hero killed an enemy, their crying family runs out.

The man with nothing to lose is telling boys and men its ok to kill, as long as they anonymous or bad, ie. turning them into soldiers, into killers. This is sick. Violence begets more violence in a never-ending chain and leads to destruction for all.

As a writer, I hate this character not only because he’s extremely unrealistic and deplorable, he’s usually a rather boring character, devoid of any real depth or emotion.  So he snaps and kicks the bad guy’s ass, *yawn*. A more interesting character is the one who has something to lose,  the one who has to restrain themselves, to keep themselves centered and focused. They have to put the bad guys away, without losing the things closest to them. Killing randomly and shooting first will cause them to lose. How do they get the job done without killing randomly?

Video games over use the man with nothing to lose.

My readers should already know this issues is all  over K23 Detectives, from Alfonso being married, to Quintanelle’s non-violent stance except in self-defense, to Mordridakon having to balance his hunger for hominids with his job, to the villains being the ones who ramp up the body count and the heroes often varied response to those body counts.  As usual, I’m not going to go in-depth here as not to spoil my work, but needless to say, exploring the man(or woman) with nothing to lose, and how one reacts to violence, is a common theme in my work, and has to be, given the stories I write.

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The Impending Darkness is almost here

Preliminary cover and book blub

The Cromag Underground is in chaos.  The Krung, a gang of violent goblins from New Delta have taken over a valuable ore mine, and stabbed its owner, Mitch Harkin.  The monarchs of the twin cities of Brocenback and Alkhan are facing constant death threats from various angry factions over their plan to unite the cities under one throne.

Worst of all, the Armagdan Acolytes, the followers of the forbidden deity of destruction and disorder, have resurfaced after a thousand years.  The mind controlled legion now led by a twisted shaman named Qub, they seek nothing less than the destruction of the entire world.

Standing in their way are the K23 Detectives. Called to the Underground to deal with the Krung and the death threats, they quickly find the Acolytes can become more powerful the worse situation deteriorates. Forming an uneasy alliance with Mitch Harkin, they must work quickly to find Qub and stop him before the Acolytes can launch a devastating attack on the cities.

But among the giant steam machines, clockwork automatons and cramped twisting tunnels of the dwarves and gnomes, the detectives find themselves crippled by an enemy unlike any other they’ve faced before…

Now that I’ll have a trilogy on my hands, I can open the promotional floodgates. For one thing, The Impending Darkness is steampunk, which has a bigger, more defined fanbase than say cyberpunk does. Plus, I’ve written it so that you can show up in book 3 and not be lost,  sort of like how movies made from currently airing tv shows write themselves so having a familiarly helps, but is not critical to enjoyment.   Part of this is because the novel takes place almost entirely outside of New Delta, in a completely new setting that was only referred to in previous works, therefore even existing readers need to be brought into the setting.

Also, there’s  two ways you can enjoy my series now, either separately, or together for 2.99.  Note that while it seems you won’t be saving any money in the trilogy edition,  I’m going to tack on both Cybermagic novels, The Cybernetic Dragon and The Hidden Chasm, the original incarnations of the world and characters you can read about in my about page. Yes, they’re bizarre, but hey, they’re still complete reads with the first clocking in at 47K and the second at 42k, that can still be fun to read. They’ll only be in this edition and nowhere else. So,  You’ll getting three good novellas and two bizarre novels for three dollars.

They should both be out sometime in the next week or two.

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What Lies Within Chapter 1

The crowd at the taping of the return episode of ‘Revelations With Ebb’ was harsh; the packed audience filled the studio with booing the second he walked out on stage.

“You’re a fraud!”

“I divorced because of you!”

“Go back to your degenerate kind!”

“Tell us the truth!”

Ebb was chastened by the response, because he deserved it. For years, being the only goblin shaman in town, he could get away with being a self-help guru, selling insights especially formulated for mass consumption. This boiled down to absolving people of personal responsibility for their problems and telling his guests that everything would be alright. This, of course, was not what a shaman’s insights actually did. It usually scared people into changing, otherwise, everything wouldn’t be alright.

He never once used his divination powers. He never once asked Ulax, the All-Seeing, for true insight. Only his downtrodden goblin breathren got true insight, because keeping the status quo was not a good thing for the poorest, most abused and suffering hominid race.

Ebb could get away with this as long as the general population didn’t know better. Then Eluna showed up and showed the world a shaman’s true power. The power to change history. In this case, it was helping the Avian Syndicate bring New Delta to its knees.

Now the city knew that a shaman could see beyond themselves, to anything in the present, concrete or abstract, except other shamen, and those covered with a special enchanted cream.

Ebb stood in front of the comforting, pastel-toned set taking his licks for a moment before raising his hand. The audience quieted down, slightly.

“The liar wants to speak!”

“Let’s hear the filth!”

“Ye say me lie, me conceal shaman true power. This is true, me lie, me not tell ye reality. So me tell ye truth. Ye sir,” he pointed to a middle aged human in the second row. “What ye here for?”

“If you say you’re a shaman prove it, you tell me.”

Ebb shut his eyes. He saw the man’s problem and its true cause. “Ye here because ye have problem in bedroom with mate. Ye want me to say it her fault. That she no try. It ye fault, ye lazy. Ye no try new thing.” The man squirmed in his seat. “Ye,” He pointed to a human woman in the front row, ”tell me.”

“I can’t find a boyfriend.”

“Stop being clingy so much.”Ebb pointed to a Deltan elf male in the fourth row. “Nobody like ye because ye asshole!”

He pointed to human woman in the fifth. “Ye spend too much money on useless stuff.” He pointed to the man next to her. “Ye son can’t no be gay, grow up!” One by one, Ebb went through audience member after member, cutting them down, until the audience was silent, each lost in their own shame. “Now ye want the raw, uncensored truth?”

The audience said nothing, until a young goblin female in the front row raised her hand. “What about me? What me problem?”

“Ye problem be that ye only one in audience that problem no ye own doing.” He took her hand and walked her up on stage. “This girl be special. This girl like me.” A man in the audience was about to stand and heckle, but Ebb lifted up Eluna’s shirt, revealing a nasty scar running through her grey skin from her groin to lower abdomen. “This be Eluna problem. This be symptom of city who no care about reality.”

“But it was your people who threw her out!”

“Yeah, we had nothing to do with her!”

“That be true, that be very true. But why did goblin-kind banish her? Me tell you. Average goblin male age expectancy is thirty. Female, forty. Females will have at least three mates in lifetime, because the other two die. Average goblin male land in Penitentiary at least twice. Unemployment rate for average goblin male thirty-three percent. One in seventy goblin mothers die in childbirth.  Goblins die so fast, all females can do is pump out babies all time and hope no die before she do.”

“So what? That’s not our problem!”

“Yes it be your problem!” Ebb screamed. The hecklers slammed down in their seats. “Ye all sit in ye nice apartments, eat ye nice food, sleep in nice warm bed. Yet ye ignore the starving in shadows, the sick in gutters, the dead just beyond ye doors! Ye pretend everything be great, when reality comes, ye blame the downtrodden for their action. Avians killers but avian rage legitimate. Eluna justifiable accomplice, but her pain real. Me wrong for lying? Yes. Me wrong for believing ye spoiled brats who no deserve truth? No. If ye can’t handle truth, but hate for me telling ye what ye want, then ye get nothing from me! Me quit!”

Ebb grabbed Eluna’s hand and stormed out of the studio.

“How ye help suffering now?”

“There be a way. There always be a way.”

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When Do You Become an Author?

I’ve had about a half-dozen people tell me, “but you’re not an author,” which pisses me of , because I am an author. Professional full-time? No. I actually have a pet-sitting business I’m also working on, so this is just a side thing, as it is with most authors. Don’t quit your day job still applies here. But the second A Clear and Feathered  went for sale, I became an author.

Welcome to new world of publishing, where self-published authors are now authors. John Locke has a great section in his book “How I Sold a Million Ebooks in  Five Months” that talks about how big publishers created a stigma were self-publishers were looked down upon by calling self-publishing vanity publishing. No where else on Earth does this occur. He uses his own businesses as an example, I’ll use mine. I’m using my money to initially fund my pet sitting business, but nobody calls it vanity pet sitting. Why should selling my book be called a vanity investment, I’m doing the same exact thing as with my pet sitting business? Here I’m creating a product(as opposed to a service) and marketing it to potential customers. Same exact idea.

So yes, I’m an author and I don’t care what anyone else says; and if you’re a self-published author reading this, neither should you.

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Editing with Text to Speech

I humble myself by saying A Clear and Feathered Danger was chock full of errors, errors which would take numerous revisions to fix. Then I discovered my new Kindle’s text to speech function and errors got fixed in record time. Now the book is at a state where I can be proud of it. Is everything fixed? No. In long text there always are errors that slip through the cracks, even in really polished ones. But, I’d say the vast majority of the horrible, blatant errors are gone from my book.

Here’s why: Text to speech reads the text exactly how it is, not how we think it is. So if there are sentences like “We ate in cafeteria” it reads it exactly like that, not automatically placing a “the” in front of “cafeteria,” as people are likely to do in their own texts. Therefore, the sentence just doesn’t sound right, bringing it to your attention immediatly. Even if you’re just listening while typing, the errors will snap to your attention because your ears are still taking it in.

Now, text to speech won’t help you correct capitalization errors, missing quotation marks or errors of the their/there/they’re and its/it’s variety, but most everything else will be heard, even many punctuation errors, due the computerized voices stopping at commas and periods, as well as changing pronunciation based on hyphens and such.

To edit this way, it’s best to have the text to speech on a separate device while having the text open on your computer. Start the text to speech and then read along with text, pausing to make changes, then starting up again and continuing on. Now, people with, say, 100,000 words won’t be going anywhere for awhile, but the level of precision is worth the time investment.

You should have someone else proof read as this method is far from foolproof, of course, but text to speech is a great tool for self editing.

 

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What Lies Within Cover

It’s a different style cover than the last one.

As for what it shows,  the computer plays a critical role in the novel. As the little sticker bottom center, it’s a faded Biogenomics(the novel’s villain) logo.  The badge has a replaced the “A K23 Detectives Novel and my goal is for people to see that logo, and think K23 Detectives brand.

What Lies Within will be released July 15th.

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To the future!

34 books sold from 6/16 to 7/1. Not a while lot of money at 99 cents. But no reviews have gone up yet, I have yet to use fFacebook really, and there’s only one book out at the moment.  The one book thing will change in two weeks, when What Lies Within goes on sale, also for  99 cents.  Two books to market, twice the sales potential. By that point, I should have at least one A Clear and Feathered Danger review out with more on the way. Then by at September at the latest, the third book, The Impending Darkness will be out. Price TBD.

So yeah, only 34 books to start, but it’s only to start.

Watch out, because when I’m done,  I’ll be selling a lot of books.

“But wait, Noah, most books sell like garbage!”

That they do, but if I set out thinking I was going to fail, then I might well quit right now.   Am I going to be John Locke? No. But do I think my stuff is of such quality I can carve out a niche? Absolutely.

Besides, I set out thinking I’d sell ten copies and that would be it. It’s already exceed my expectations.

Hopefully I’ll only go up from here.

 

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A Clear and Feathered Danger- Chapter 1

Quintanelle Fillion quickly scanned over the job listings at a work station at the New Delta Unemployment Office, like she had been doing every day for the past few weeks.

The office was empty in the late afternoon. The only other job seeker there was some round thing with tentacles called a Brac’tai searching for some kind of work. Quintanelle wasn’t about to look over and see, but she could hear it slowly coo as its tentacles flashed over the keyboard.

Quintanelle yawned and continued on. She had moved from Teolos, the crystalline home of the Teolian elves, much to her family’s disapproval. Spending her life in civil servitude, like her father, or military service, like her sister, didn’t seem at all appealing. Her choice, her only real choice, was to move to New Delta, the technological dystopia made up of nearly sixteen-hundred mile-high towers. Residing within were every abomination and lesser creature that she had been indoctrinated to hate.

She was a newly minted mage, graduated at the top of her class, mentored by a high mage of the Mage Council of Teolos, a very prestigious honor, but nobody wanted her skills. There was no way she was qualified for summoned-item cost accounting, super-computer programming or DNA writing, despite her superior training and pedigree.

Granted, lighting your hands on fire and summoning things out of thin air weren’t directly applicable to many vocations. There had to be something, but she didn’t see anything. Well… there were jobs, but they were all for stripping, pornography, or legal prostitution, professions she wouldn’t enter even if she had a laser pistol pointed at her head. Not only that, being a Teolian Mage meant she was shut out of any New Deltan Government jobs, for which there were many, in order to prevent spying.

She felt a nudge, she looked to over to see the brac’tai looking at her, then the screen and then back at her. It whirred while it gave her a toothless grin, drool dripping down onto the floor.  Quintanelle wanted to kick it away, it was slimy and ugly, but that wouldn’t be nice. It hadn’t actually done anything to her.

“You want me to look,” she asked, taking pity on the creature and giving it a break.

Its eye tentacles raised and lowered.

She leaned over and read out loud from the screen.

“Dear brac’tai designated Dave 237: Ashram-Uriah is pleased to offer you a data-entry position… Compensation is the use of a sleeping tank in our Brac’tai dormitory and an unlimited supply of nutrient solution. In addition, you will be allowed a stipend of twenty thousand credits a year for discretionary spending. Congratulations!”

Dave 237 let out a celebratory chirp, logged off, jumped off the chair and slid out the door, leaving a jubilant trail of slime as it left.

How dare that tentacle thing snag a job while she couldn’t find anything. Then again, the Brac’tai were famous for working twenty hours straight without a break as long as they were supplied with nutritional fluid.

Quintanelle put her head down on the desk. Time was running out. She had rented a small apartment, but her savings wouldn’t last much longer, and once they ran out, she would have to scurry back to Teolos and beg her mentor for a job, her dreams of freedom defeated.

Quintanelle sat up, wiped her tears and starting searching one last time.

Then she saw it, an older listing she might be perfect for. She never bothered to interview because she didn’t think she would get it, but now it was time to try; there was nothing else.

Next to the picture of a scruffy looking human male, it said, “Private detective Alfonso Deegan looking for one assistant to help with cases on a full-time basis. Interview between the hours of 09:00 and 17:00, 3/3/10021 through 3/8/10021. Tower K-23, Height 4100, Suite B. First come, first served.”

Quintanelle checked the date and time, 3/8 at 16:39. Just enough time to get over there and interview. She summoned on her purple mage robes with blue and green trim, and dashed out the office looking for the nearest tram station to take her there.

It was either that job, or back to Teolos for a life wasted as a boring civil servant.

Buy it at Amazon or Smashwords for 99 cents!

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