Tuesday, August 31, 2010

E-reader prices and why I'm aiming for Christmas

Here's an interesting post from John Fitch on the prices of e-readers and how we reached a turning point in pricing today.

Reading that explains one of the reasons that I am shooting to have my book ready to go before Christmas. I think this year and next will be the Christmas of the e-reader. There will be many, many, many of them given as gifts this year and next, and those gift-getters will need to books to put on their new toys. I think if my cover is sharp, my sample is good, and my price is right I think I can get them to give me a chance. Buy my book. Make me some money and we can get this ball rolling. The possibilities of success excite me. Can you tell?

What's next?

I'm getting very, very close to having the first draft of Chasing Filthy Lucre done. Very close. Like we are probably only a few days away. That's not say I am done with it. Far from it. There are a couple of scenes I need to add in previous sections that will beef up a storyline that's underwritten so far. I also need to go back and add some conflict to my climax. Right now it's just too easy for them to get done what they need to get done. I like my characters and they have been through a lot so far, but this needs to be harder for them. Sorry, guys and girl.

Even though there is still work left to do on the first book, I am already thinking about the second one. Have given it a little thought today and think I may know the climax already. So that's exciting. Now I just need to figure out everything that happens up to that. And that's not as exciting.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Chasing Filthy Lucre: Part Two on Scribd

I've uploaded the second part of Chasing Filthy Lucre to Scribd. You can read it here. It's the ramp up of the story. There's a big action scene and the tension rises. At least I hope it does. Read it and let me know.

An update on other numbers from Scribd. I am nearing 400 total reads. I am hoping that Part Two will get me past that number by the weekend. It should. Part One is nearing 250 reads. The super short Make it a Double is nearing 150 reads. I am happy with those numbers.

Please read Part Two. Give me feedback. I want this thing to be the best it can be.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The confusing world of writing and money

Ever wonder how much money a writer makes? Here's a great post explaining it. And, to me, it's pretty depressing. It's one of the reasons I chose to publish myself.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Another unedited excerpt

Here's a bit of what I've been working on. It's from the beginning of Part Four. I don't think it gives anything away. No specifics, anyway. But some might consider what's included here as a spoiler, so I'll warn you in advance. This may be a bit of a spoiler. And this is unedited writing that's about ten minutes old so be nice if there are typos or grammar mistakes.

The steps to my apartment seemed longer and taller that night. It felt like I was on the top of Everest by the time I made it to my door. I fished in my pocket for keys and, once inside, I collapsed into the chair in the middle of the room and rubbed my arm. It had been a few days since I’d been on the wire. I told myself that I wouldn’t plug in until we’d finished all of our business.

Out the window I could still see the flames coming over the tops of buildings and I could hear the crowds of people gathered down at the docks, either to help or just to watch the destruction.

I plugged the feed into my port and felt the warmth over take me. From my elbow up to my shoulder. From my shoulder down my back and up my neck. Then down to my toes. Everything went fuzzy and the red from the flames became and orange mess as I slowly faded away.

I woke the next morning with a pool of drool on my chest and the sun beating on my face. I tried to pull my left arm up to my face to check my watch, but I couldn’t lift it. I’d over done it and my arm was dead. Not literally, but for a few hours it was useless.

I stumbled out of the chair and went through my morning routine one-handed. Toothpaste on the toothbrush. Shampoo in my hair. Making toast. All of it just a little more difficult. But that was OK because we’d taken care of our business. We’d made what happened to Carroll right. Made it all square.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A warm reaction

Got the first feedback from some in my writers group and it was good. Got a nice reception and people want to know what's next in the story. That's always nice. Also got told that my story and writing was better than someone who is a professional, NY-accepted author who has a bit of buzz right now. That was nice to hear. Nope, not going to say who it is since people can Google themselves. I'd hate for that to happen and have that author see that I was told they were better than them. Not like that would matter to this person, but just don't want to make any enemies or anything like that.

Have started Part Four and like where it's gone. As I was wrapping up Part Three I decided to expand a subplot. I'll have to go back to add to the previous sections, but in Part Four I've written it in. It's going to make the main protag -- Weber Rexall, in case you've forgotten -- a little more of an unsympathetic character, and that's what I wanted. The reader is supposed to root for the guy but easily see his flaws. He's not the virtuous leading man. But he doesn't live in a very virtuous world.

That's it for now. Wanted to check in since it's been a few days.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Part Three done

Today I put the finishing touches on Part Three of Chasing Filthy Lucre, my four part novella destined for Kindle and other e book retailers. One more section to go. Four more rungs on the ladder. I am happy with it. The story climaxes in this section and it closes out at the story's peak. Coming up next is the come down. The denouement. Yes, I just dropped a French literary term on you. Essentially, we wrap up the story next. We have to resolve what's just happened then put a bow on the whole thing and we are done. Done with the writing at least. Next comes the editing and the critiques and the revisions. Should be fun, though, polishing this thing up. I am afraid that unless I buckle down, we will miss our self-imposed September deadline.

I sent out a couple of copies of the first section of the story out to interested members of my writers group. They are already giving me feedback, some of it I was expecting. I am too familiar with my workd and I have a tendency to gloss over some details that I am familiar with, not wanting to slow the story down. One of the critiques was that the reader didn't have enough info to understand how something worked. I'll have to go in and add that.

There is also a subplot that I had been playing with expanding, and now I think that if I do it could really open the story up and give a little more depth to the main character.

So, that's where we're at. Making progress. Getting things accomplished slowly but surely.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I'm a big winner

No, not a winner at the casinos. In our house, at least this weekend, that was Gina. She cleaned up at the casinos. Thank you, Oklahoma. If you follow me on Facebook you already know this, but she put $5 into a slot machine on Friday night and quickly turned it into $100. She had similar luck on Saturday at another casino. Overall she was up about $150 for the weekend. Me, not so much. I lost and lost and lost. But I had fun, and that's what was important.

So licking my wounds, at least a little bit, last night, I checked my email and saw this message.

Congratulations Jarrett!

You've won an autographed copy of Travis Thrasher's Solitary. If you enjoy the book please leave a review on Amazon to help spread the word. Your copy should arrive in the next few weeks. Thanks for visiting FictionAddict.com!

No, FictionAddict.com, thank you.

I'll be honest, I don't know much about Travis Thrasher. I've checked his web site and read an interview with him at FictionAddict. I know he's a Christian author.

The books sounded good, though, and that's why I entered the contest for the free book. Here's a description.

When Chris Buckley moves to Solitary, North Carolina, he faces the reality of his parents’ divorce, a school full of nameless faces—and Jocelyn Evans. Jocelyn is beautiful and mysterious enough to leave Chris speechless. But the more Jocelyn resists him, the more the two are drawn together.

Chris soon learns that Jocelyn has secrets as deep as the town itself. Secrets more terrifying than the bullies he faces in the locker room or his mother’s unexplained nightmares. He slowly begins to understand the horrific answers. The question is whether he can save Jocelyn in time.

This first book in the Solitary Tales series will take you from the cold halls of high school to the dark rooms of an abandoned cabin—and remind you what it means to believe in what you cannot see.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Our summer on the road

Gina and I drove up to Oklahoma yesterday to play a bit at one of the casinos that's just across the border. We're hitting the other one today. She's a teacher and this is the last weekend of her summer break. We are trying to make the best of it but also stay at home since we don't want to have to find a place to stash our dog for the second weekend in a row. What? I haven't mentioned a dog? Or that we went out of town last weekend? Well we do have a dog and we did go out of town. I'll have to tell you about those things later.

Anyway, we were talking about our summer travels on the way to Oklahoma yesterday. Here is the list we put together. Pretty impressive, I think.

Oregon (Gina only)
New Jersey
New York
Washington D.C. (I know it's not a state but this is the best place to put it)

Pacific (Gina only)

Comal (not technically in the river, but the untreated water of the Comal is used to power the slides and rides at the Schlitterbahn water park in New Braunfels, TX)

roughly 1,000


Atlantic City

Caesar's Palace
Trump Taj Mahal
Trump Plaza

Winstar World Casino
Choctaw Casino

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A milestone passed and starting an edit

Not sure if you noticed the little gadget on the side, but I passed the 15k word marker this morning on Chasing Filthy Lucre. We are getting closer to the halfway mark of Part 3. Our team that will move the story forward is assembled now. All that's left is the climax of this section. Not sure how many words that will take, but I'm ready to write it. Should be fun.

I introduced a character named Simmer Jones. She's what I am calling a Serve-O. She is essentially an android. I have a good reason for introducing her and it makes total sense why she is part of the team. But she is the most obvious sci-fi element of the story. And she is why I have a hard time putting this book into a genre. If I could make up my own genre I would call it sci-fi noir. And maybe there is a genre like that, who knows. But that's something I am still thinking about.

I also printed out the second section of the book last night so I can start making some edits and revisions. I know everyone says not to do that. Finish the piece first then worry about editing after that. But I can't. My inner editor is bored. Besides, my process is my process and if it works for me then it works for me. I'll do it however I need to to get it done.

An excerpt

I have been making steady progress on Chasing Filthy Lucre. We are about 3,500 words into the third section of the story. This won't make any sense, but Rexall and Berger are building their team and getting things in place to carry out the plan that they are about to develop. I have a couple more steps to write and Rung 10 will be done. I've already started setting up Rung 11.

Since I haven't done this in a while, here's an excerpt of something I just wrote. Literally wrote it today so it hasn't been edited or polished. If you like it let me know. If not, let me know that too.

The crowd that gathered on Fortson could only be described, if we’re being charitable, as rough. If we weren’t being charitable it was a bunch of liars and thieves. But they were smart liars and thieves. What had begun along Fortson Street as a place for people to trade services for goods had turned into something else. It evolved into a black market that was populated by the under class of New Eden, the desperate and the crooked.

Berger and I arrived just before the sun went down. I had the description of an explosives guy an Army buddy told me he knew. Said that our guy was also a former soldier, trained by the government in how to make big things into bunches of small things. He had dark hair, unshaven face with a medium build and average height. If I hadn’t known better I’d have thought he was describing me.

I was told that he’d be waiting near the shutdown drugstore two shops from the corner of Fortson and Fifth. When Berger and I arrived the only person there was an old man trying to bum a few dollars for a hit from the hothouse that was only a few blocks from our location. It was a small hothouse. The air here was still and there was no crowd gathered, no people coming or going.

Berger fished a dollar from his pocket and put it in the man’s eager hands. We waited in front of the drugstore for a few minutes and our guy never showed, but someone else did.

She put her hand on her hip and said everyone called her Simmer. Simmer Jones, full name. She twirled her gun on an index finger like some gunfighter from a western movie and smiled.

I shook my head. This one was good. Couldn’t see a seam or anything on the skin. Her eyes blinked slow, but not unnatural. And she had more curves than a typical Serve-O. Put crudely, this one was built with birthing hips. She had short chopped hair and olive skin. They had dressed her in green cargo pants and a white tank top.

“Keep moving, Simmer,” I said. “Not interested.”

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Scrib'd and some WIP progress

We are at 69 percent completed on Chasing Filthy Lucre. I am in an in-between stage right now. We've passed Rung Nine on the outline but aren't quite to Rung Ten. We are in a bit of a transition phase. I think the next time I write I will definitely be writing what is supposed to take place in Rung Ten, but it's taken longer to get there than I thought it would. I had an idea on how to bring an earlier character back into the story and have him play a crucial role. That somewhat extended Rung Nine and added about 1000 words to the story. Not going to complain about that. Still making progress, so that's good. And the longer I can make this the better.

I still check my Scrib'd numbers every day. Sorry to report that they've stalled a bit. Haven't seen any movement for a couple of days. I know I should promote the story in other places, but I have some self-confidence issues when it comes to my writing. I have a hard time sharing it with people I know. Strangers, no problem. But I always worry about what people I know will think. That's why I haven't linked to the Scrib'd stuff from my Facebook page. Gina has and that's the day I got the highest number of reads. I also saw a spike when my sister-in-law linked to Make it a Double. I know that pointing people to it would help get people interested in my work, but I'm just not ready yet to put it out there like that. And I wish I was.