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Monthly Archives: November 2015

The End of an Era

I was reading my email a few days back when I saw something from an old friend.  In the acknowledgement section of my book, I mentioned the San Diego Writers’ Group.  Before I met them, I was just some guy writing a bunch of words.  I had a lot of ideas and ambition, but I didn’t really know if I had the talent to be an author.  So I trolled the internet looking for a writers’ group and met Allen.  Saturday marked the last meeting of his group.  Allen chose to move on.

He was a man who was patient beyond believe, driven beyond measure and kind beyond words.  He and the members of that group were the first people who weren’t closely related to me or married to one of my relatives to show support for me.  They gave criticism when it was needed, praise when it was earned and, most of all, encouragement.

I really should get back with a writers’ group for so many reasons.  It’s just hard because I don’t know what would have to happen for a group of people to compare to those I still miss down in San Diego.  Even when my life was more than I could handle, they gathered around me and supported me. They kept me writing and let me ramble.

When I found out their group was closing up shop, it felt even more sad than I’d imagined.  This was home for me as an author.  A lot of people don’t understand what it means to be surrounded by like-minded people who are all motivated to be creative.  It didn’t matter to them if you just wanted to write or if you wanted to be a best seller.  They welcomed anyone.  That sort of openness is rare.

I couldn’t make it to San Diego to say by to Allen or wish him luck on the next phase of his life.  But I don’t know if I’d be here now if it weren’t for him and that group.  I asked him if I had what it took to be an author, and he answered, yes.  I think about them every time I’m writing and wonder if what I’m writing is any good.  I think about them and just wonder how they’re all doing.  I peek in on a few members of the gang now and then, but not as often as I’d like.

The simple fact is they’re a wonderful group of people, and I’m sad to see the group disband.  I wish Allen all the luck in the world, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart for all he did to encourage me and dozens of others to just write.

For those authors out there, I’ve heard writers’ groups are a big help to the goal of publishing.  I don’t personally have the data to support that, but what I do know is that I was never more productive than when I was a part of that group.  Find a writers’ group.  Start one.  Surround yourself with people who motivate you to chase your goals.  Allen and his group did that for me.

One last time.  Thank you Allen.  My best to you and all of the gang.


Holiday Half-Off Sale

In honor of the holiday season, I’m offering a deal on The Journals of Bob Drifter.  Buy one book (hardcover or softcover) and your order is half off for any remaining books you buy!  Just head over to my bookstore HERE and grab up a few copies as gifts for those readers in your life!  I’ll be more than happy to autograph them all with any personalizations you wish.

The sale isn’t limited to what version you buy.  You can buy a softcover version, and still get 50% off the total price regardless of how many hard or soft covers you order.

This is my first holiday season as an author, and I hope a buy-one-get-one-free sale like this is enough of a way to thank you for supporting my dream.

The sale runs from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15.  When you go to your shopping cart, enter the code “Holiday” to receive your discount.  The sale will run as long as supplies last.

I wish you all a wonderful Holiday season.

M.L.S Weech

Book Review: Magic Price, Book One of The Crown of Stones by C.L. Schneider

I bought this book because I saw its amazing cover while trolling on Twitter.  I’m very glad I purchased it.  What makes this book stand out is its blending of original ideas.  I’ve read books where magic is addictive.  I’ve read books where magic has a price.  Here, C.L. Schneider blends the two to create an interesting source of conflict that also helps make her main character more compelling.  There are other forms of blending that I like in this.  The originality of this book is in the juxtaposition of ideas to create something new.  As an author, that in itself was impressive.  The fact that some of these themes I recognize (whether by intent of happenstance I do not know) are from other stories that I love only amplify my appreciation for this book.

Most books that get four-star reviews from me (on Goodreads or Amazon) tend to have compelling, proactive characters, Troy has both.  His supporting cast is equally compelling.  It’s not common for me to like books with a scope like this told from the first-person narrative.  This is because I tend to want to get in the head of multiple characters when they interest me.  Even the antagonist has a point of view I would like to investigate in the future.  Still, the use of first-person narrative was skillful enough that I could look past my desire to know what other characters were thinking.

I’ve mentioned a few times how I have what I call “drop what you’re reading” authors.  Honestly, Sanderson and Wells top the list in print form.  Butcher and Brett top that list in audio form.  I mention this because I also have authors who I love being able to go back to.  Let’s call them “What can I count on if I want a good book” authors.  Schneider has placed herself in this category for me.  It’s important to have a solid stable of writers to turn to, writers that you know will provide books with solid, interesting plots; compelling characters; and just solid writing.  I’ll probably wait for a few books in the series to come out (or for it to finish).  This isn’t because the books aren’t good.  It’s actually the opposite.  One of the best things that happened to me as a reader was getting handed Book One of the Wheel of Time.  One of the worst things to happen was receiving Book One before Book 12 was finished (much less 13 and 14).  As a result, I tend to be very picky about what series I start and when.  So don’t take my waiting as an indication of quality.  Instead, see it as the truth that I can only handle anxiously waiting for so many different books at a time.

Anyone looking for an original magic system, intelligent blending of ideas into something original, compelling characters and seat-of-your pants action should give this book a chance.  I don’t think you’ll regret it.

M.L.S. Weech

I’m participating in an online book tour!

I’ve joined forces with Enchanted Book Promotions to generate a tour for The Journals of Bob Drifter.  They’ll be a few interviews, some reviews, book excerpts, and even a few giveaways.  I’ll be using social media to pass along individual events, but you can get a link to the whole schedule here.

M.L.S. Weech

Red City Review Finalist

I’m a finalist for the 2015 Red City Review Book Awards!

I mentioned earlier this year that I submitted The Journals of Bob Drifter under the Science Fiction Fantasy category of the Red City Review book awards.  I just found out I’m a finalist.  Each category has five, and Red City Review selected another five honorable mentions in addition to the other four finalists.  See the announcement here.

I want to start by offering my most heartfelt congratulations to:  Craig Giles, author of “The Darkness of Strangers;” Andrea Perno, author of “Remotely Unplugged;” Richard Perkins, author of “Bones of the Emperor;” and J.W. Lolite, author of “Circumstellar.”  They are the other finalists for the category.  This is my first book, and this was the first contest I’ve submitted my book for.  I express how excited I am, and I hope you are as well.  Congratulations for writing what Red City Review feels are the top five science fiction/fantasy books of the year.

The grand-prize winner and five, first-prize winners are scheduled to be announced Dec. 1.

I’m just so honored to receive this news.  I submitted the book hoping for a kind review, and got one of the most kind reviews I’ve read so far.  Now this.  I’m stunned and motivated to keep working on this silly little dream of mine.

M.L.S. Weech

The Journals of Bob Drifter is now available through Audible.

Click here to pick up a copy!

I’ve been talking about this through social media for some time now, but now that the project is complete, I felt it appropriate to talk about it a little more in depth.  The first is that this is a major dream-come-true for me.  I love audio books.  They bring the characters to life for me.  They help me finish more great stories because while I’m reading something on my e-reader, I can follow another story while driving around (something I do a lot of between my normal job and marketing my books).

I’ve learned a lot about the process of making an audio book.  The first was finding narrators.  I’m spoiled on Wheel of Time and The Stormlight Archive, listening to male and female narrators.  So I was able to find Angel Clark, who helped me find Gary Furlong.  The worked with me to create the audio version of the book, and I’m very pleased with the result.

One thing they helped me do was to locate and correct some issues that made it into the book.  I assure you, I didn’t change any content.  I only corrected errors, the biggest being a few typos with dates and another issue that didn’t actually work with the time line.  I felt it important to make this product the best it could be, and correcting those typos helped me to accomplish that.  These corrections took a bit of effort on Angel and Gary’s part, and they were very open to helping me to do that.

I’m still learning as I market my book and develop alternative formats.  I think one thing I’d like other hopeful authors out there to know is that you should never stop learning.  We work to create the best stories we can.  Whatever we do, we should strive to look at what we’ve done and grow.  It doesn’t take away from the wonderful feeling of accomplishing something I’ve wanted to do since I was eight.  It just motivates me to to use what I learn to make the next project better.

With that, here are a few notes on what I’m working on:

I’m done touring for Bob Drifter.  It was a fun, amazing experience.  I was thrilled to meet so many people and talk to them about my book.  Even more thrilling was running into people I’d sold the book to at later events and hearing them say how much they enjoyed the book.  I’m simultaneously humbled, honored, and amazed every time that happens.

The end of the tour means I can put the bulk of my energy into revisions for Caught.  The book is going nicely and I feel solid I’ll have it out somewhere in March, but I’ll take more time with the revision process than I did with Bob.  Everything moved so quickly with Bob, I felt like I had to keep pace.  Rushing led to some decisions I’d like to have back, and I won’t make that mistake with this book.  I have six chapters left to revise.  After that, I’ll start marketing.  I’ll self-publish if I don’t get picked up by Dec. 1.  That will keep the timeline the way it should be.

I’ll try something new for the audio version of that book.  I’ve already identified the narrator for that book, and, as this Narrator is a friend of mine, I’ll have a bit more editorial and managerial voice.  Working in the field of media, I have the luxury of knowing quite a few audio production professionals.  Working with Angel and Gary was great, but as a self-published author who is still working on building his brand, any opportunity to save without reducing quality must be investigated.

The Perception of War is still moving along, if slowly.  I realized that this is already the best written book I have.  I don’t really compare quality of stories very much.  In this case, I only mean that the process feels right to me.  The prose and structure seem stronger.  The book is at 26,000 words so far.  It’s going to be MUCH larger than I’d originally thought.  The world, characters and scope took off on me, but in a good way.  I feel like I’m making a lot of the right decisions with this project.  This means I lose time to look at other projects in need of revision.  I also lose time to research future books, but I tend to do best when I have one major project, and one alternative project to step away to when I need a break or feel stuck.

I’ve given it some thought, and I’ll try to fit in a lot of reviews when/if I have time.  For now, I’ll rate them on Amazon and Goodreads.  I’ve been on a great streak of reading lately, but when the tour wrapped up and the audio book started to draw my attention away, I realized I’d read six books and two audiobooks before I’d realized. (I blame Dan Wells, his books are fast paced and entertaining.  I didn’t want to stop reading his work in the time it took me to rave about it.)

It’s good to be back at a more realistic pace.  I sincerely hope you’ll check out the audiobook.

M.L.S. Weech