Archive for the ‘inde authors’ Category

There is a question that gets tossed around quite often: “What makes a writer a professional?” Most people would think: “A writer who gets paid to write; a writer who sells stories.”

And as far as I’m concerned, that’s fine. In science fiction, you might stretch that definition to, “A writer who has earned enough to qualify for membership in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).” The same could go for mystery writers (MWA), or romance writers (RWA), and so on. In disclosure, I am an Active member of SFWA, which is the highest level of membership. That level of membership is based on sales, but I by no means making a living writing–which is entirely relevant to the point I’m going to try to make.

According to SFWA, I am a professional SF author. I saw a blog recently, however, that (in passing) strongly implied that SFWA’s standards were too lax, that only someone who makes his living selling fiction should be considered “professional.” So far as I’m concerned, this is just wrong.

First, very few people can make a living writing. It’s like acting; how many SAG members make a full-time living acting? Not many, but if you try to characterize all of those others as “not professional actors,” you’re going to have a real argument on your hands. Same with writers.

Merriam-Webster has a lengthy definition of “professional,” but the relevant sections reads thusly: “participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs.” Personally, I think Merriam-Webster is a pretty good source, and it says you don’t have to support yourself by a particular profession in order to be a professional.

And you know who else doesn’t think you have to support yourself completely by writing to be a professional writer? Me. And, well, Merriam-Webster. One of their other definitions is: “following a line of conduct as though it were a profession.” You see, professional is as professional does. Even if you’ve never sold a story, you’re acting like a professional, and while you may not qualify for the purposes of SFWA, or MWA, or whoever, you deserve that respect. (I have found mystery writers understand this better than many.)

And those of us who make some money on the side doing this job? We’re living our dream. And if we’re not living it at the same economic level as you think we should, then, well, I don’t think that’s very professional.



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From now until the end of 2018, all of the novels on my site will be available at reduced prices!

This is a great chance to get in on the ground floor of the exciting adventures of Nemesis, a mysterious avenger of the 1930s, delivering justice on behalf of those helpless to gain justice for themselves. Start with a voyage to the unexplored Amazon in The Choking Rain, then follow our heroes on a quest to find a missing diplomat that leads to an isolated Asian mountain kingdom in The Scent of Death, and finally track The Killing Scar to 1930s Berlin, where as nationalists and Communists battle for power in the streets, a secret weapon is being developed that could hasten the next war–and change its outcome completely!

Or if you want a laugh (or three), check out the gonzo goings-on in the Middle Ages as they did not exist–and shouldn’t have–in Once a Knight: A Tale of the Daze of Chivalry. Ride with Bruce Legume, the legendary White Samurai, and his brother Stephen, who is either Bruce’s closest ally or Worst Brother Ever, depending on the time of day, phase of the moon, and whether there’s a buck to be made. Heroes–you take them where you find them.

Remember that books make great holiday gifts. And for yourself–the nights are getting longer, Winter is coming…


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In a stunning bit of irony (as Spider Robinson said, “God is an Iron”), I recently wrote a post about “the phone call I was not waiting for,” a pitch from a book packager looking for my business in regard to one of my novels. Long story short, I decided their services were not for me. Even though every writer dreams of a call seeking to publish his book, this call was not the one I was waiting for. But as it happened, that “call” was on its way.

I’ve long believed that life can take a turn on you in an instant, not only for the worse, but for the better. It’s happened to me, and to friends to whom I have made that case, just often enough to be true. And it’s happened again.

As long-time readers are aware, my professional writing life has been in flux for several months, as I moved from short stories to self-published novels back to a sort of in-between state where things get done, but not at the pace they should. But no matter how confused I have been at times, I have always known that the best solution was to keep writing, and failing that, at least to keep submitting pieces. After all, nothing feels as good as having written a story–except selling it. So I try to submit stories as often as I can, as frequently as I have available stories and markets for which they might be suitable.

And sometimes it pays off.

I am thrilled to be able to announce that I have just signed with Digital Fiction Publishing (which previously reprinted “Dead Guy Walking”), to offer my entire “Stolen Future” trilogy under their imprint.

This is my first book deal (three at once!), and I am very confident that DFP will help me take my career to new heights. To say I am excited would be an understatement; had you been there when I read the acceptance email, you could have lifted my wallet and I never would have noticed.

Publication details are being worked out. Plan on seeing them here at the proper time.

A long time ago, I was told that every writer who kept at his craft long enough would succeed. It may have been the best advice I’ve ever received.


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To celebrate the end of summer (wait, does anyone ever celebrate the end of summer?), I’ve put all of my Stolen Future and Nemesis books on sale at $.99 each. That means The Invisible City, The Secret City, and The Cosmic City, as well as The Choking Rain, The Scent of Death, and The Killing Scar. Each one $.99! That’s three books for the price of one!

Whether you’re looking for classic science fiction adventure or two-fisted pulp action from the 1930s, this is your chance to pick up some great reading at a really great price! I mean, would you rather read this or that Shakespeare guy your English teacher assigned?


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Hello. I’ve been off-page for the past couple of weeks due to circumstances beyond my control, but they appear to have been resolved and now I’m back. Time will tell if this is a good thing. Moving on…

I’ve started a new novel. Not the new novel I was starting the last time I said I was starting a new novel, this is a new new novel. On the other hand, it’s going back to an old idea. So it’s kind of a hybrid, a new novel with old characters. In TV terms, it’s a spin-off.

I’m returning to the world of the Stolen Future trilogy, but this book takes place between the first and second volumes of that series, and the lead character there, Keryl Clee, doesn’t appear at all. (If you’ve read The Invisible City, you know why; otherwise, I don’t believe in spoilers.) This book is about Keryl’s best friend, Timash, who happens to be a gorilla, and therein lies the “new experiment” part of this endeavor.

You see, I’ve never written a book before with a non-human viewpoint character. Timash  is a gorilla from a time when at least some apes have been gifted with human-level intelligence, but he’s still a gorilla, and they’re not common. In fact, most are hidden. So people treat him differently. Those differences haven’t been explored much in the prior books because it wasn’t Timash’s story, but this is.

How is he going to be treated? How will he react to it? Am I going to be able to write a non-human hero who comes across as a non-human? I have no idea the answers to any of these questions. To be honest, I’m only starting to think about them. I do know that Timash has an arc; one of the advantages of working within a prescribed framework established by previous books is that I know where the character is headed.

It’s always a challenge to try to create something new, while preserving enough continuity that you carry your audience with you. And I doubt it will be easy.

But it should be fun, and that’s what counts!


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Starting today and running all weekend, the first book in the Nemesis series, The Choking Rain, is available for free on Amazon. This is your chance to live in the days of the Great Depression–but not as they were, as they should have been, with all of the excitement, danger, and suspense of the pulp era that featured greats like The Shadow and Doc Savage, and led directly to The Batman, Superman, James Bond, and all the rest.

The Choking Rain finds Los Angeles in terror after a mysterious epidemic of stranglings occurs on city streets in broad daylight and in front of witnesses–but no murderer can be seen. When an ex-fighter pilot breaks up an attempt to kill his own sister, he finds himself entangled in an international plot to sabotage the 1932 Olympic Games–a plot that is only preparation for a scheme that will leave the entire world cowering in fear of invisible assassins with their hands wrapped around every man’s throat…

The Choking Rain is the first book to feature Nemesis, a mysterious and relentless enemy of crime, a man who shows the world a thousand faces, none of them his own. In The Scent of Death, he must travel to the exotic East to find a missing diplomat, and in The Killing Scar, his past returns to haunt him in the form of a fanatical scientist bent on claiming victory in a war that has yet to begin.

Nemesis has vowed that he will fight against the strong on the part of the oppressed for so long as he draws breath…and he is not about to allow being dead to stand in his way.



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Once, I tried to write a book. How hard could it be? I thought. After all, there are thousands written every year… Oh, the lessons I was to learn. This was how it all went down (and by “down,” I mean careened downhill without brakes).

I started by setting up a writing schedule on my calendar, but I learned my days were numbered.

I tried to outline a plot, but I couldn’t get it write.

So I tried to finish the story in one go but I kept getting a draft.

When I finally finished, I contacted my editor by radio, but he couldn’t read me.

I put my idea to an agent, but she said the concept was too novel.

Then I tried to self-publish, but I wouldn’t make book on my chances.

Every time I tried to format them, the pages took a header.

I thought to publish a custom hard-bound copy so I started to learn bookbinding, but I didn’t have the spine.

And when it was time to hire an artist, I didn’t have enough to cover.

Maybe I should have gone into graphic novels. I could picture that.


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