Making An Appearance

I know it has been a while since my last post but when you have a crisis of faith, it becomes necessary to stop and take stock. Yes, I started doubting my ability to write entertaining stories because I got hung up on where I was on the Amazon Ranking System and the slowing of my sales to date. I took on a second job and scaled back my writing activities accordingly in the hope that the additional income would carry me through my perceived drought.

However, over the past few months, I became more and restless as my lack of creative pursuits began to gnaw on me. Do I leave my characters, both actual and conceptual, languish in limbo? Do the stories that beg to be put on paper stay locked away for a future date?

The answer that I came to was a resounding NO. Stories that need to be written should be written. Characters deserve to be given lives for everyone to enjoy, hate, sympathize, whatever. I write because I love it and to be honest, that’s the only legitimate reason in my mind to put my energies into it at all.

I fell into a kind of production rut and nothing beats the fun out of a pleasant activity than forcing yourself to perform it on a scheduled day in and day out. Maybe other people can do that but not me. I need to feel good about what I am doing and punching a time clock (real or virtual) isn’t something that appeals to me when I am on my own time. I’m not saying that creating writing habits aren’t a good thing. They are. They only turn sideways when one starts to feel forced to operate under them. We are not machines and Life has a way of throwing monkey wrenches into the gears from time to time.

My hiatus had a negative effect on my writing because it’s been going on two years since I started writing the sequel to Parallax and I’m playing catch up to recover lost ground on Parallax: Genesis if there is lost ground at all.

Well, that’s it for now but hopefully, it won’t take me months before I check in again. Have a good one.

Parallax: Genesis (The Planning Begins)

I’ve been getting a number of messages from people asking me when I’m going to start work on Parallax’s Sequels and though I am loathe to work on multiple projects at once, I’ve decided to dust off the files and get to it.

A little background on where I am at this moment:

Parallax: Genesis takes place immediately after the last battlefield scene in Parallax. Pratt and his crew find themselves trapped in Hyperspace after the ship’s Hyperspace Regulator module overloads and burns out. This poses a dilemma because while the ship’s fusion reactors provide a large amount of power, it is not infinite and when the fuel runs out (exacerbated by unique Time-Space conditions inherent to Hyperspace) everything including their Life Support Systems will shut down. In other words, if they don’t fix the problem, they will eventually drop into Normal Space feet first. Therefore, the first story event in P:G will be a race against time with plenty of opportunities for character development and drama. While I could probably put together a fairly good tale using this by itself, I plan for Pratt and Co to solve their problem and make their way to Earth, where the remainder of the plot will unfold.

This particular sequel is an expansion to the original outline I wrote for Parallax but decided to break into three parts because I felt that it was too extensive for one standalone book.

Kindle Scout

I’ve been exploring my options lately and realized that I’ve overlooked Amazon’s Kindle Scout. I’m considering submitting Lights and Shadows for nominations when I get it finished in the near future. I can’t use my other books since they’re published through Createspace and KDP but that’s okay.

The more I dig, the more potential options I find. Got to love that Trial and Error process, eh?

Anyway, more to come as I work out the particulars.

Going All In

I’ve never been one to shy away from a calculated risk. Granted, some of those calculated risks have blown up in my face in the past (not seriously) but that’s the price we pay for playing the games of Life.

What I am talking about is the new advertising campaigns that I created on Amazon for my books. I wanted to start out slow but in true “me” fashion, once I started the first one I just HAD to shoot the works and set them up for everything I had out there. After all, the point is to get the word out, right?

Will they work? Well, anything is an improvement over doing nothing and I abhor doing nothing.

Will it cost me? Of course. Everything has some cost attached to it, either in money or time. The trick is to minimize as much of each as you can.

Will Mary Jane come out of the coma and stop her evil twin from marrying Brad? You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out on the next episode of As The Stomach Turns…

Considering Amazon Marketing Services

Note: Remember that you read it here first…hehe.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that while I consider myself a good writer and storyteller, I don’t have a lot of enthusiasm for promoting my books. I suppose it’s the last of my naivety to think that merely putting out a story with a snazzy cover would be enough.

Apparently, I’ve learned that the reality of putting out my stuff with little to no support isn’t a good idea. We live and learn by doing.

I publish through Amazon and Createspace and lately Amazon Marketing Services has been sending me advertisement emails talking up their ad campaign opportunities. I’ve known about then for a while but have been resistant to invest the necessary funds for fairly obvious reasons. However, I’ve been reconsidering that option because even as stubborn as I am known to be, I can’t deny the logic that even though I personally don’t like to promote my stuff, paying someone else to do it for me isn’t a bad way to go.

Amazon Marketing Services generally charges around $100 for a 30-day ad cycle, which wouldn’t break my finances, but as I consider this option as a test case, I’m stymied by one simple yet thorny question:

WHICH BOOK DO I USE?

Currently, I have three novelettes and one full-length novel out there. Each would be well served to be the first but I’m having trouble deciding which to choose for my experiment. I won’t say that I have much to lose here (maybe $100) but the potential for growth makes any risk acceptable.

Pro-Conning this is becoming a pain in the backside but I want to choose my next steps very carefully. Once committed, there’s not much point in turning back.

Thoughts?

Lights and Shadows Update #13

Note: Not much of an update, I admit, but it’s progress. Enjoy.

Vague whispers carried through the air tormented him as he tried to sleep. After a few hours, they stopped and Matson opened his eyes. The building was in Night Mode and the quiet darkness punctuated by tiny red lights embedded along the wall base did little to ease his mind as he put his uniform back on. The reinforced fabric fared well despite recent punishment but the wear and tear made its presence known in several Irish pennants that hung from the seams. This wouldn’t have happened if I were wearing my leather, he mused, as he splashed some water from the sink onto his face. He shook off his thoughts and went to the Control Room.

Finch cursed under her breath as she adjusted the emerald samples in the scanner. Small amounts of the stone worked out fine but as she added larger quantities, problems soon developed. What little she could glean from the readings indicated that while the radiation the emeralds emitted wasn’t harmful to humans, higher levels crashed the equipment, frustrating her efforts to learn more. She didn’t look up as Matson entered the room.

“The scanner’s detecting some unusual properties in these emeralds,” she slapped the scanner’s side. “When I can keep it working, that is.”

“Beating on the thing isn’t going to help,” he said, squeezing in beside her and noting to himself that the space between the mini-laboratory and the control console didn’t appear to be as open as when they first arrived, “Did you do something to the equipment?”

“I moved the consoles closer together so I could work on each more efficiently.”

“Efficient, but cramped.”