Jun 222017
 

I know it’s been a couple of weeks since I posted here, but the truth of the matter is, I haven’t had all that much to post about.  I’ve been writing my way through the novella Crazy Larry until recently, with the word count so far coming in at around 15K.  I still feel like it’s going to be a little shorter than The Road to Rejas, but I’ll just have to see where the story takes me.  Maybe I can combine the two and publish a printed version of both novellas in a single volume.  For that matter, maybe it will be time to do an omnibus of all the titles in the Half Past Midnight universe.  Something for me to ponder when I get some time.

In the meantime, I recently got back the first round of edits for Pangaea – Exiles from the publisher.  So far, it looks like the comma and I are not going to be close friends.  I seem to put them where they aren’t needed, and leave them out where they are.  And there are also a lot of minor (to me) formatting issues.  One that I see quite a bit of on this pass is an apostrophe that curls left rather than right.  I’m not sure what the difference is, and quite honestly, I didn’t even know there were two kinds, but evidently I used the wrong one A LOT!   :-?

There are also a few spots where the editor is asking questions that I thought I had already explained earlier in the manuscript.  The fact that she is asking the questions tells me that I may need to do some clarification.  So I’ve written extra bits that should do just that, with notes to the editor to see if the new parts are needed, or if she simply missed the earlier parts.  I guess that will all come out in the second round of edits.  At any rate, I hope to have this round done later today and will be back to Crazy Larry for a short time while the editor goes over the returned manuscript.  ITMT, I still have to see what they end up with for a cover design, so we’re not quite ready yet.  Soon though, I hope.   :)

WW85A RPotW – And here’s this week’s random pic.  It’s a simple “Harvest of the Day” picture.  It’s not much… a single tomato, two little asparagus spears, and a handful of strawberries. I haven’t posted very many of these pics this year, mainly because my garden is really doing poorly this time around.  I waited until much too late in the season to get things started.  On top of that, all of the pepper seedlings I tried to start were duds.  Not a single plant started.  If not for the two plants I bought at the store, we wouldn’t have any peppers at all this year.

I can only assume I used some bad soil.  This will be the second year in a row that bad potting soil has bitten me.  I’ll just have to accept that no matter how small the batch I’m going to be planting, I can’t skimp by using a no-name bag of potting soil.  I suppose it’s just like anything else in life… you have to start with quality if you want to get quality.

So here’s hoping you get great quality out of your life.  Stay safe, and I’ll talk to you next time.   :bye:

 

May 172017
 

WW82BShame on me.  Two weeks without a blog post.  But it’s been a busy two weeks.  We’ve had storm after storm here, one of which actually had me grabbing the dogs and ducking into a neighbor’s storm shelter.  You may have seen the news about the tornadoes in the Tulsa area.  This makes the second year that we’ve had to take shelter, although this year was admittedly much less dangerous.  We got plenty of rain, hail, and high winds, and I heard that a couple of small tornadoes touched down within a few miles of the house.  But it was nothing like the one last year, where we actually saw a tornado as it made its way past us.

Still, when those warning sirens started going off, I was considerably less inclined to wait until the last minute this time.  Even then, I got completely soaked going from the front door to the car… even more so going from the car to the storm shelter.  For the most part, the storm blew through pretty quickly, though. The picture here is of the mammatus cloud formation (see Suzanne? I remembered!) that was on the trailing edge of the system as it left our area to terrorize other parts of the country.

In other news…

EPPEnd Point Pangaea is pretty much done.  To be honest, I thought it was complete until I got these last few beta reads.  Some of the readers had some very cogent comments that I really have to address.  The biggest issue is going to require an additional scene that I hope to complete writing tomorrow.  I’ve spent the last few days clarifying other problems.  But the end is approaching rapidly.

Y12 – And I’m excited to announce that Corey Snow has tentatively agreed to put his voice talents back to work in the Half Past Midnight universe.  Corey is the voice actor who did the audiobooks for Half Past Midnight, and The Road to Rejas and his work was so fantastic that it was hard for me to imagine anyone else voicing Year 12.  So imagine how disappointed I was when I found that he no longer did royalty share jobs.  And after having taken so long between books, I was in no financial position to pay up front for him.  But after exchanging a few emails, he has agreed to make an exception.  If all goes according to plan, he will begin work on the audiobook version of Y12 next month, as well as Crazy Larry when it’s done.  Watch for future updates.   :)

That’s all for now.  Time to get back to writing. So stay safe everyone.  I’ll talk to you again soon.   :bye:

 

Oh!  RPotW – WW82C

For this week’s Random Pic of the Week, let’s go less random and more thematic.  Since I’ve already posted a picture from the back edge of the storm system from last week, let me post another from two days before that storm.  Details on the pic tell me it was 7:10 PM on May 9th.  MBH and I were walking the dogs, and we commented on how pretty the clouds were at the time.  Pretty, but also a bit unusual.  As you can see, the day was beautiful and I mentioned that the clouds ahead of us looked like a giant thunderbird.

Hmmm… in retrospect, maybe it was a giant thunderbird, and he was a warning of the storm to come.  Yep, there’s the old writer’s brain kicking in again.   :)

For a better look at the formation, click on the picture.

Take care.   :bye:

Jul 152015
 

Mailchimp signupYay!  I got the visual editor for my website working again (mostly).

Just in time for Wednesday, too.  And I’ve got a lot going on with my writing since the last blog post. First and foremost, you will notice a new signup field on my site. If you’re reading this on the actual site, you will see it over there on the right. The header presently reads “Sign up for new release notifications”. If you’re getting this in a feedburner email, the signup form looks like the picture accompanying this post. At the moment, it’s not much to look at. Maybe I’ll be able to pretty it up later on, but for now, I thought it was more important to get it up and active.

Now that last sentence will likely get a “huh?” out of a lot of you. In other words, why the push to get the mailing list going?

Like I said, I have a lot going on with my writing now. And ironically, a lot of this is due to an inspirational roadblock I hit on Year 12. Without going into a lot of detail, I hit a brick wall with the plot on Y12… lost the flavor. There was a day of panic, hair pulling, and chest beating before I decided my time would be better spent moving on to another project. Not wanting to actually start a whole different book, I instead began a project that I’ve had percolating for quite some time. It will be the story of how the antagonist from Half Past Midnight managed to roll into Rejas at the head of a small army. The story should be another novella, similar in length to The Road to Rejas – possibly a bit shorter. I’ve tentatively titled it Crazy Larry.

Additionally, I have another project that I’ve been slowly working on. It’s going to be a short story collection, and it came about because there are a few particular stories that some of you have asked me to publish, but I’ve not felt right about. Not that I don’t think they’re good, it’s just that I don’t feel right charging a reader 99¢ for a short story that will only keep them occupied for a few minutes. Yet 99¢ is the least amount that epublishers will allow you to charge. And let’s face it, after paying for editors, cover work, and formatting, I at least need to recoup my expenses on the work, right?

But if I put them all into a collection together, along with some that very few people have ever seen before, then I have a single edit, one cover, and can sell it in good conscience, knowing that I’ve given the reader their money’s worth.

And since the story collection is a bit shorter than most of my work, I’ve decided to throw in the beginning of something else a lot of you have been asking for. I’m adding the first chapter for the Streets of Payne sequel (working title Payne and Suffering).

So if you want to receive announcements about these, or any other writing I do as it nears release, please sign up for the mailing list. I’m not going to spam you, or bother you with the day to day miscellany. I figure, if you really want to torture yourself with that stuff, you can just read my blog, right?

And that’s it for now. Back to writing.

Stay safe, folks.  :bye:

Jun 152014
 

Yeah, I’ve been quiet for a while.  Ironically, it’s not because I haven’t been busy.  Quite the opposite.  Life has been pretty “interesting” for the last few months. As in “may you live in interesting times” interesting.   :struggle:

My wife & I sold our house about two months ago. The idea was that we would downsize to a smaller house with more property. But during the interim between selling the old house & buying a new one, we were going to stay with family members. We expected it to be a matter of a few weeks, possibly a month or two.

But right after we moved in with them, life jumped up and smacked us all. We had a few crises that have demonstrated to us that Murphy is alive and well, and apparently has taken a liking to our family. I won’t go into details, because those stories aren’t mine to tell.  But a minor side effect has been that I haven’t been paying much attention to marketing for my writing, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t know when this is going to change.  As a result, my numbers have slipped drastically, and I simply don’t have the time or setup to pursue the “traditional” marketing venues.

Streets of Payne 800 Cover reveal and PromotionalSo I’m going to try an experiment here. It may work, and it may not. I just figure this is the perfect opportunity to try something off the wall.

My book with the worst numbers right now is “Streets of Payne”. I don’t know if it’s because the book is cyberpunk, and there simply isn’t the following for the genre that there once was, or if it’s because that’s my newest book, or if I’ve made a mistake with the cover, or blurb, or categorization, or what… All I know for sure is that the thing isn’t selling.

So here’s my experiment. If you think you might be interested in a cyberpunk-ish techno-thriller, check out Streets of Payne. If it looks like something you might be interested in, buy it.  I recently lowered the e-book price to $2.99, so it’s not like it’s going to break the bank.  And for the first three people who purchase the novel in the next 24 hours, and can provide me with electronic proof of purchase, I will give you an Audible.com promo code for the free download of each of my three published works in audio format.

So, buy “Streets of Payne” in print or electronic format within the next 24 hours, email me (jlb DOT author AT gmail DOT com) with your proof of purchase, and I will send you promo codes for the free download of the Audible.com audio book versions of “Streets of Payne“, “Half Past Midnight“, and “The Road to Rejas“.

I will do this for the first three people who contact me with proof of purchase before 10PM central time, Monday night.

And then I’ll do it again for the NEXT 24 hours… and the next… until Friday night, or until I run out of codes, whichever comes first.  Like I said, I don’t know if this little experiment will help, but I figure it probably can’t hurt, either.  Right?   :-?

And that’s it for now.  As always, stay safe.   :bye:

Apr 042014
 

Zandy-02Yep. Lots of changes.  First and foremost, I’ve gained a new daughter.  Last month, my son got married to a wonderful young woman, whose only fault seems to be that she was insane enough to tie herself into this family.  So here’s to insanity and happiness.  May it last them for the rest of their lives. :heart:

And there are other changes in the Brackett household.  As a matter of fact, one of the biggest upcoming changes IS the Brackett household.  See, we’re in the process of getting ready to move.  When we first moved into our current home, our family unit was considerably larger.  There was me, my wife, my mother-in-law (whose back surgeries were beginning to get the better of her), a son, daughter, a dog, and a cat.  We also have other family that we wanted to be able to accommodate if they wanted to visit and needed a place to stay, so we found a nice house, big enough for our needs–six bedrooms, game room, lots of entertainment space–it’s been a great house.

Fast forward thirteen years… my mother-in-law has passed on, the kids have grown and moved out, and it’s just me, my better half, and two dogs in that big ole’ house, and we decided it’s time to downsize.  So we put the house on the market, and it sat for several weeks with a showing here and there, but no hard nibbles until a few weeks ago.  Then, suddenly, it went from “Hey, there’s someone who might be interested…” to “Hey, is April 17th a good day for closing?”  :shock:

That was just over a week ago, and needless to say, we’ve been scrambling ever since.  But here’s the real kicker… we don’t have a house to move into yet. We’re in one of those domino situations where we have to sell our existing house before we can afford to get another house.  Luckily, my sister and brother-in-law are in a similar living situation, their two sons having moved out a few years back, and they’ve offered to let us stay with them while we look for a new home.  In the meantime, there are all sorts of arrangements to be made on utilities, packing, storage, etc.  It’s going to be a frantic few weeks.

On the writing front, there are things a-brewin’.  ;)

HPM and R2R (audio books) – I’ve taken the plunge, and have contracted with the talented Corey Snow to do audio versions of Half Past Midnight, and The Road to Rejas.  This is something I actually started on almost two months ago, and the work on HPM is at this time just a few weeks away from completion.  Corey has an amazing voice (one of the female betas I sent a sample to, mentioned something about dampened undergarments)  :shock:  and he’s doing a great job with it.  I’ve been listening to the uploads on my commute to and from work, and I’ve noticed a few things.  One is how much work Corey puts in to his performances.  The guy is an amazing professional.

The other thing I noticed is of a more introspective nature.  I’m listening to my debut novel.  (My debut novel… it sounds like such a strange thing to say.)  It was something that began as a private exercise back in the 90’s – something that I never expected to actually publish.  Writing was just something that I liked to do.  It wasn’t like anyone was ever going to want to read it.  And that manuscript was picked up and put down so many times over the next several years that it’s amazing that it was ever completed.  Career changes… kids… just life changes in general, continually kept me from even considering doing anything more than writing as a hobby.

Not worthyAnd now, I’m listening to someone putting voice to my first novel.  It’s surreal in some ways.  It’s humbling in others.  Even as I listen to what Corey has sent me, I can recognize a younger me in the words–a less experience me.  I listen and think, “I could have done that so much better.”

I think that’s a good thing.  Now that I’m taking my writing seriously, I can see the growth in my work.  Like I said… a good thing.  And while HPM will always hold a very special place in my heart, I can’t help but wish I had done a better job with it.

Don’t get me wrong. I know better than to spend time worrying about what I might have done.  And I’m sure not going to go back and rewrite it.  HPM is the past.  But Y12?  I’m confident that Y12 is going to be much better.  I’ve learned so much from so many talented people, that I can’t help but think that with each piece of writing I produce, I will grow in this craft that I’ve come to love.  And someday, I’ll be able to point to a body of work with real pride.  Maybe I’ll feel more worthy when someone contacts me and tells me that they like my writing.  Because to be perfectly honest, I’m not there yet.  I’m thankful, yes.  But I still feel like Wayne and Garth, bowing and scraping before Alice Cooper.  I feel I’m “not worthy!”  :)

Ghost Story – I’ve already mentioned in previous posts that Ghost Story is completed.  You’ll note that the progress meter on that title (right hand widget bar) is now green and has been moved to the bottom of the list for now, pending input from the editor.  You’ll also note that there are a few more projects listed.

Chucklers face onlyChucklers – The apocalyptic horror collaboration with Edward Lorn has been moving pretty well… sort of.  Unfortunately, Ed has gotten very busy with other projects, and says it looks like he’s going to be tied up for quite some time.  Luckily, we decided to write the novel from the point of view of several dispersed characters and groups.  That means I can continue to move forward with my characters for a while, without much input from him.  And he’s such a freaking fast writer, that he should be able to catch up to me with very little effort once he gets a chance to jump back in.  So I’ll continue moving ahead with it for a while, as long as the story keeps my attention.

The only bad thing about this is that Ed and I found that working with one another seemed to speed up our output.  There was something about being able to bounce ideas and chapters off one another that kept the story hopping for us.  It became almost a game, each of us laughing as we came up with ways to help one another in the scenes we were working on, interacting in a way that somehow made the work better than just the sum of its parts.  I’ll miss that.

But the story is a good one, and I do want to see it through.  I’m having fun, finding new characters along the way, and new ways to torment them.  Yep, that’s me, the kid with the magnifying glass on the ant hill.  ;-)  Chucklers is still my highest priority project at the moment, but with Ed dropping out for a while, the urgency is considerably lessened.  So I’ve opened up a few other projects that I’ve been keeping on the back burner…

Y12 prelimYear 12 – Yes, the long promised sequel to Half Past Midnight is finally going to become a reality.  The story has been banging around in my head long enough, and it’s gotten pretty insistent on being released.  So I’ve finally opened a new folder on the computer, and am beginning the process of bringing Zach’s story to life.  I have a cast of characters, an overall story arc, some interesting side plotlines, and most of the story itself ready and waiting to be told.  This is going to be a new way of writing for me, since I have traditionally been a “pantser” in my writing.  This will be the first time that I’ll be working on a story that is already mostly formed in my head.

I suppose that’s to be expected, since I’ve continuously been kicking it to the back burner for about two years now.  Every time I started to work on it, something else came up and took priority.  But in each instance, I spent more time thinking about what was going to happen, until finally last summer I pretty much knew the whole story line.  Just a few weeks ago, I was discussing it with my wife.  There was a final plot element that I couldn’t figure out… an underlying motivation for a major plot sequence.  And in her typical fashion, my wife was able to break it down into a more basic question for me, pointing out that I had been unnecessarily complicating things.  Once I viewed it from her suggested POV, everything fell into place.

WC1 – This one is a new project.  It’s a more traditional science fiction tale that I had the idea for back in 2011.  I took a bunch of notes, and wrote a first chapter… and then promptly lost it.  :(   Recently, I found those notes, and part of that first chapter again.  There was still quite a bit of it missing, but the parts that I recovered really excited me.  When I read through the notes, the idea for the whole story really grabbed my attention.  Wow!  It was actually a good idea!  Who knew I could come up with something that could catch my attention not only as a writer, but as a reader?  It was good enough that after I re-read the chapter fragment, I was pissed that there wasn’t more to read.  And that tells me that I need to get it written.  ;)   So the code name for this new title is WC1, and it promises to be quite a ride.

All right.  That’s enough for now.  It’s time to get back to work.  So as always, stay safe people.  :bye:

PS – It was brought to my attention a few weeks ago, that the comment option on my blog wasn’t working, and that no one was able to leave comments.  I believe that has finally (hopefully) been fixed.  I would appreciate it if some of you would leave a short comment here to confirm.  Especially someone who has never commented on the blog before.  There are some settings that seem to affect people who have never posted more stringently than those who have.  And if you find that you CAN’T leave a post, please drop me an email at “jlbDOTauthorATgmailDOTcom”.

Thanks, everyone.