BEHOLD! Michael Bay schooled by a 14 year old…

This summer I asked my son to make a book trailer for me. He’s always been into creating slideshows and short videos. He’s edited a zombie movie his scout troop filmed, a few photo collages and several gaming related shorts. At one point, he was so into creating videos, I sprang for some mid-range editing software.

Of course, then he stopped doing it as much.

But I figured I’d try to entice him back into the hobby. Luckily, he agreed and this is what we came up with.

BEHOLD! WITNESS! ENJOY!

And buy my book if you haven’t already. What’s wrong with you?

Musical score: Reign Supreme by Kevin MacCleod, Creative Commons license.

Wherein Doof Warrior Tells You to Shut Your Whatever-Gendered Facehole

Doof Warrior says shut your whatever-gendered facehole.

Doof Warrior says shut your whatever-gendered facehole.

I’m a highly critical person. I think many writers are, especially when it comes to their own work. It takes a certain obsessive mindset to pick apart a 90,000 word document over and over and over and over again. (I even counted the “overs” and decided there weren’t enough, but I’ll leave it as is.)

When I watch movies or read books, I usually stumble across one flaw or another. Like all critical observations, the flaw is based on my own personal perceptions. Hell, what I see as a flaw might be a shining moment for others. But I always feel like I have a decent justification for my judgment. I try to be thoughtful.

Often, I get stuck on issues of craft. Story structure, plot or characterization. It’s a hazard of the trade. Every so often, a social issue will rear its head as well – whether the story intends it or not. Those can be fascinating discussions and can really open people up to new ideas.

Lately though, as I look at my social media feeds, as I watch the death spiral of the Hugos, see the ridiculous flap over Mad Max and Avengers: Age of Ultron, I’m starting to wonder if people haven’t completely lost their fucking minds.

Sometimes, a movie or a story is just a movie or a story.

I write what I like to think are thoughtful works. My books and stories are specifically made to be commentaries on deeper subjects. If anyone wants to discuss those or even call me out on problems portraying those issues, I’m game. I welcome healthy criticism.

However, a few of my fellow netizens seem intent on proving that sort of healthy debate can’t happen.

In fact, they seem set on completely skipping rational thought and flying right into assigning blame. They’re becoming the prejudging jackasses they all claim to be fighting against.

For those crusading netizens, let me spell it out: not everything is a fight. Unless you’re in a war rig barrelling across a post-apocalyptic wasteland, there’s no need to start lobbing incendiary devices and trying to BURN EVERY MOTHERFUCKER TO THE GROUND with your Fender flamethrower.

Reality is you’re most likely a Guitar Hero “medium” player with a bic lighter. About the only thing you’ll burn is your own thumb.

When people stop being thoughtful and just blunder into a story specifically looking for evidence of whatever internet-ized agenda they’ve got eating at their brain, that’s when their critiques stop being even remotely useful. Sure, like I said, we all flavor our critical thinking with personal biases. But when those biases overrun your logic, you’re drifting into spray paint huffing territory.

I have a quick and easy cure for this: Shut up and watch the damn film. And get off the internet – it has poisoned you. Made you delusional. Still have burning, righteous issues you want to discuss? Find a member of the “enemy” group and chat them up face to face. You just might learn something aside from hearing your own echo in the digital void.

Proper Care and Feeding of an Eleven Month Old

Crimson-BabyI know, I know, I missed my normal posting schedule this week. I’ve been a Monday / Wednesday (with the occasional Friday) poster for months now. But I have a good reason.

My baby is eleven months old and he’s a real handful. A bouncing baby boy who will, before the end of the year, have siblings (we’ve seen the ultrasounds and OMG are they frightening.) He’s been quite the handful.

Loud, obnoxious, and extremely outspoken for his age, I can only attribute this to the nearly two year gestation time wherein something most certainly went wrong. He’s top of the class in trouble-making, demands constant attention, and though I thought he was maybe a touch behind on his motor skills, he just finished a marathon and placed reasonably well for his age category.

At daycare, he’s the kid you tell your kid not to hang out with. He eats paste. But not like the other kids. He has a pallette for the stuff, preferring certain vintages of Craftbond glue sticks for their woody notes.

June 14th, my boy will be a year old.  His proper nurturing has consisted of a series of spreadsheets, shameless and highly public doting, along with loaning him out to the highest bidder.

Nearly a year on and I’ve been going back over the numbers for Crimson Son. I have a fairly detailed spreadsheet where I track sales, social media, and advertising efforts. I ran that through some tests and complex formulae (actually, I eyeballed some shit – changed a diaper or two). It was full of lots of very useful information and nuggets of truth (Wow this analogy got seriously disgusting). But the useful information was mostly this: You’re doing it wrong.

I can sell books. I can now safely say I’ve sold thousands of books (barely thousands…) What I haven’t done though is sell them efficiently.

If you noticed, I’ve been doing some experimentation. Giving away books. Trying to build a list of people that want to read my books so I stop annoying those that don’t. And cross-promoting with other authors like with the amazingly successful Storybundle.

I’m also taking a really close look at how I spend my time as a self-published author. Time is any writer’s greatest enemy. If you’re self-pub, you simply need more hours in the day to write and market and publish. Most try to balance all this and a full time job. I’ve been that route and desperately don’t want to go back. So I need to make this work and work well.

The reason I’m telling you all this? Things might change around here on the blog. I might fade away from social media platforms and explode on to new ones. I simply don’t know.

But if you enjoy my fiction, if you like character-driven stories told for the young at heart and old souls alike, keep an eye on this space. Sign-up for the mailing list so you can pass the time reading a free copy of my latest, Empty Quiver, on me.

My boy’s down for a nap at the moment, but he just learned to run so look out.

Support Two Mighty Writing Charities

GWN_square_orange_logo4Heads up: You have just over 24 hours left to grab the Immerse or Die Bundle at Storybundle. And when you click this link and buy the bundle, I want you to MAKE SURE to select the dropdown box and pick a charity.

10% of your total will be donated to either Mighty Writers or Girls Write Now.

Girls Write Now pairs inner city girls in New York with women professional writers. These are young women whose stories aren’t being told in popular literature. Women who have a unique experience and voice to share with the world.

Not only are these students mentored in the craft, they’re given opportunities they might not have had otherwise. One hundred percent of the program’s participants go on to college – some on full scholarships which their participation in Girls Write has enabled them to secure.

Mighty57b597e4-4b4a-46db-8ef8-c967192d2ae1 Writers was established to combat a literacy crisis in Philadelphia. Forty percent of the city’s students drop out of high school and over half of working age adults have basic literacy issues. Mighty Writers offers free programs to kids ages 7 to 17 to assist in their academic success. Their classes include essay writing, SAT prep, and workshops taught by local journalists and writers on a wide variety of subjects and genres.

These are both amazing programs and I hope you can support them with your purchase. Writing is not only a crucial skill but an inspirational one. A gift we can give to others. Both of these programs empower disadvantaged youth that our broken systems have forgotten. Please help add their voices to the literature we all love!

And get some award-winning books to read while you’re at it.

Immerse_Or_Die_Bundle_Covers

Don’t want the books but these organizations sound GREAT? Donate directly to them at their websites:

Girls Write Now Donations

Mighty Writers Donations

When Card Games can Script Your Superhero Movie

91joc03kHuL._SL1500_First thing: THE BUNDLE SALE ENDS THIS WEEK!

Okay, got that out of my system. Now on to other things like gaming and probably the shortest most mixed review of Avengers you’ll see on the ‘Net.

I finally got to break away from the keyboard and do geeky things. A few friends and I met up at our local game shop and played a new game, Kingsburg  followed by Once Upon a TimeI’ll get to the Avengers in a bit…

From one play through, I found Kingsburg to be a very well balanced game. Each player would construct buildings for their kingdom, working their way down tracks that included a religious track (golden idols, churches and cathedrals), a defensive track (guard towers, city walls, fortresses) and several others.

61h7Vh38iXLBut winter was coming (five times…it had an amazing refactory period) and with winter, a mystery invader arrived.

The central mechanic was an action die pool where each player rolled three d6s and assigned one or more die to an action (which cost anywhere from 1 to 18.) Since only one player could select an action, and turn order was determined by lowest to highest cumulative roll, you had to plan your actions around other players’ dice rolls and strategies.

Collect resources, victory points, buy troops or even extra boosts for your roll – the actions presented allowed for any possible strategy. In the end, even with three new players, it was a tight game that came down to a single die roll to defeat an invading dragon.

Since we hadn’t closed down the game shop yet, we broke out a light storytelling card game, Once Upon a Time. The basic premise here is you are given a hand of storytelling cards which include places, characters, events, and things, along with one ending card. The point is to tell a story with your cards and work toward the ending you’re given. The catch? Everyone else is trying to do the same thing.

As a writer and practiced impromptu storyteller (through RPGs and such), I was amazed at exactly how utterly horrible I was at this game.

We went from a husband and wife to an adulteress and on to a talking platypus really quickly. Maybe too quickly. When the flaming sword of Talking Platypus Slaying came out, I was relieved, but somehow a giant, a cook, and dragon liver pâté got involved… I’m not even sure. Mostly, I was staring at my cards trying to figure out how to get in on the action. In fact, that seemed to be what happened much of the time – one person rambling on while everyone else was unsure how and when to jump in.

I tried to chase down online reviews and found the best to be a review played while intoxicated. So I have decided I will try this game again, but under the influence.

Finally, this weekend I saw Avengers, Age of Ultron, (sober) but everybody and their talking platypus is reviewing the movie, so I won’t say much other than it was pretty much what I expected – a fun superhero movie with some great CGI and some killer lines.

Storytelling wise, well, it also went as expected.

The movie plot started to resemble a round of Once Upon a Time beginning at about the halfway mark: a string of single story elements loosely connected by a chaotic banter-filled fight scene. Joss simply had way too many ends to tie, future movies to promote, and characters to introduce than anyone should ever try tackle in one flick.

There is only so much creative editing and sound swells can do to tell a story. At some point, you need to stop and expand on elements, but there were way too many to allow that to happen and someone was in a rush to get to their “end” card.

Even so, I enjoyed the movie for it’s Marvel fandom geek-out level, visual bad-assery, and flashes of Whedon genius. However it seemed to signal not the glorious beginning of a new and exciting story arc for the Marvel Universe, but the dense montages associated with the end of an era. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

FEAR MY LUKE-WARM STARDOM

You asked for it. 69 pages of HomeBrew RPG goodness...

Click the pic. You asked for it. 69 pages of HomeBrew RPG goodness…

Last month I posted about getting hits to my website from search terms related to an old DnD campaign. Back in the day, I had an entire campaign website (I still park the domain eyrurpg.com) and even maintained a mailing list. They were a quiet, non-rabid fandom and when I finally pulled the plug on the site, I figured the campaign had run its course. Nobody seemed to mind.

Years later, and suddenly, people are stumbling across my luke-warm stardom and saying “Hey, didn’t that guy used to run a bizarre Irish Celtic RPG site?”

Yep. I did.

Today, I got an email request to post the documents. It was all Open Source using the SRD guidelines for 3.5e DnD so I figured, what the hell.

This is rough. Messy. I don’t even want to read it now because with all the writing I’m doing lately, I know this is a hot mess. But somebody actually wants to see it so, why the hell not?

If anyone plays a campaign with this I WANT TO KNOW.

Famous Last Words from the Ass-End of the Universe

Light or sphincter? You decide...

Light or sphincter? You decide…

There is a light at the end of this tunnel. I think.

It could be the place where the singularity collapses and I get playdoh-extruded out of the universe’s sphincter. Not sure. I just gotta get there first.

My publishing schedule for this year is nigh insanity. Empty Quiver is back from the editor and since this is a sort of experimental anthology, I want to try my hand at formatting.  I used to layout magazines and newspapers, so how hard can it be? (#FLW…)

And then I’ll just follow that up with two more books. No problem. They’re mostly written…

Mostly.

It has become clear in the editing stages of First Song, that this may indeed be a trilogy. Based on some insightful developmental crits from the North Branch Writers, I decided I needed an entirely new starting point for the novel. Turns out, starting a fantasy novel medias res may lead to confusion, disorientation, and severe stomach cramps.

About 8000 words later, the setup for this world is more clear, my protagonist’s motivations better spelled out, and overall I have a stronger setup. Strong enough it even suggests a better stopping point for the first book. Which rearranges book two. And might imply a book three…

This is quite possibly Sam’s fault.

With ambitious plans come necessary sacrifices. You may have noticed (or you will if the sidebar calendar will ever update) that I had to cancel my Comicpalooza appearance at the end of May. I enjoy geeking out with others and attending or even sitting on panels, and I was stoked to be invited. But right now, I need to be putting words on the page.

Conventions are amazing opportunities to network and meet new fans, but I have to run my fledgling publishing empire on a tight budget. With three books coming and wanting to maintain the professional standards I set with Crimson Son, I need every spare penny invested in their production. Once all this is over, I might head back to the con circuit.

Or maybe not.

I’ve got another book buzzing around in my brain which I HAVE TO IGNORE… LA LA LA LA LA LA – I CAN’T HEAR YOU…or risked being derailed on my current projects. And after that, I’m positive that on my trip through the ass-end of the universe, I’ll see something cool that sparks a new idea or three.

We’ll see. I may become a digital hermit sooner rather than later. Though…I suppose that’s not possible. Everyone knows where to find me.

Hang on. Let me adjust this plug on my router…

Borrowing Time from an Alternate Dimension

Schism 333x500It’s taken me too long to write this. Last Friday, I loaned some digital real estate to Laura Maisano. Many weeks ago, I read her new book, Schism.

Then life happened. I got pulled away by bundles and Boy Scouts and the passing of loved ones, all while my amazing wife continues to juggle a more than full time job and a grueling MBA program. Somewhere in there, I was finding time to write, revise, edit – my ambitious publishing schedule this year has yet to defeat me, but its another point of precarious balance.

I’ve had to make some cuts. This review is not one of them.

After so long, so many interruptions, and so much word count, I lost a sense of what I wanted to say about Larua’s book. But I carved out a moment today, last minute and on the eve of her launch party, and things came flooding back.

To start, and I hate it when people start reviews this way, Schism doesn’t sound like a book I would normally read. The blurb gives a solid sense of a star-crossed romance. Romance, as it is often depicted in genre stories, isn’t my thing. Sappy, sticky sweet, or cloyingly carnal – most often it comes off as fake to me.

Look, I’m a guy and I like guy things, even if it isn’t particularly popular to do so. Cut to the chase and tell me a story without getting derailed by the love interests and mimicking whatever NA bestsellers are “supposed” to offer. And that’s precisely what Schism does.

Laura does a great job of not having her protagonists fret, or pine, or gush about each other. There aren’t pages and pages of getting lost in either’s headspace as they try to cope with feelings or plan out their next secret rendezvous. When they are apart and thinking of each other or together and trying not to let their emotions get the best of them, it feels real.

Under this believable connection between Gabe and Lea lies an interesting world – or two. A parallel dimension in fact. Here live beings who are monstrous in form, but it is their all too human ambition and tribalism which makes them truly deadly.

But they aren’t all monsters. (Gabe’s shadowy past can be traced there – not a spoiler, this is in the blurb!) However, this dimension does cross paths with earth in a dangerous way which could spell disaster for both of their worlds. Gabe and Lea are naturally key to making sure this doesn’t happen.

While the parallel nature of the “fourth dimension”, as Lea calls it, makes for some interesting conflict and commentary on our own world, where it doesn’t quite work for me is a matter of personal taste. To partly quote the book’s author: I like weird shit.

To me an alternate dimension could be even weirder than the one depicted in Schism. But the familiarity of things in the Fourth Dimension does keep the flow of the narrative going. Still, I couldn’t help but feel there were a few missed opportunities for giving the place more personality. (I’m sure most people will disagree – why muddy a perfectly good story?)

Schism is a fun read and worth your time to explore. I’m particularly stoked that it’s yet another novel about characters who have recently made the transition into adulthood and are struggling with the fallout. Lea and Gabe both wrestle with grown-up issues without an overdose of angst but with plenty of conflict driving uncertainty. Wrestle with everyday problems and save a dimension or two along the way – I’m down with that and interested to see how their future unfolds in the next book.

Behind the Black Wall – Guest Post with Laura Maisano

Thanks to everyone for their wonderful response and participation in the Immerse or Die Bundle Giveaway. The lucky winner has been notified! Now, on to my special guest for the day, Laura Maisano – a super talented editor and writer I met at a local writing group and then convinced to join yet another group so she could pick apart my stuff there too. It’s like I have a personal traveling editor! Woot! (shhhh, she doesn’t know):

Laura has her own giveaway going on over at – Rafflecopter for a $10 Amazon Gift Card! Check it out!

BlogTourBannerGuest Post: Behind the Black Wall – Gabe’s struggle with identity

Thank you for hosting me on your blog today! I’m so thrilled SCHISM is coming to life for everyone to read, and so I thought I’d share a little about my main character, Gabe Jones, and his struggles with identity in the book.

The story begins where Gabe has had amnesia for roughly nine months. He’s a little angsty about it, because he feels he doesn’t know “who he is.” Without his past experiences, how can he know how he feels about things or people, whether he likes certain foods, or what he believes? So, he’s motivated to recover his memory to reclaim his identity.

However, nothing is that simple. The other main character, Lea, helps Gabe to see that he’s still a person even without his memory. He makes choices, feels, has opinions on things. He can choose to be who he wants, regardless of who he was in the past. And Gabe takes her advice. He moves on from wandering around wishing to be someone, to living in his new life.

One would think Gabe’s struggle with identity ends here, because it should. Though eventually Gabe does recover his memory, and he’s changed from the person he remembers. But he’s still that other person, too, right? How much of our true selves is something ingrained (nature) and how much is formed from what we learn and experience (nurture)? Gabe discovers it’s a mix, and though he chooses to change, there are parts of him that never will.

I hope this exploration of some of Gabe’s motivations helps you enjoy SCHISM on a different level. Thanks again for allowing me to share more about my characters. You can find me on the internet in the following places:

Author page: www.lauramaisano.blogspot.com
Twitter: @MaisanoLaura
Facebook: www.facebook.com/LauraMaisanoWriter
Google + http://plus.google.com/+LauraMaisano

Schism 333x500SCHISM (Illirin Book One)
By Laura Maisano

Art therapy hasn’t done squat for Gabe Jones. A thousand sketches of his fiancée can’t bring his memory, or her, back to him. Nothing on Earth can. His past lies in another dimension, a world just out of sight.

Another student on campus, Lea Huckley, unknowingly shares Gabe’s obsession with the fourth dimension. The monsters from the other side attacked her parents and fled, getting her folks locked up in the loony bin. Proving this other world exists is the only way to free them. Lea and Gabe strike a deal to help each other, and together they manage to open a door to the world of Gabe’s true origin. She’d use him for proof—if she didn’t already care too much.

While Gabe tries to reconcile his feelings for Lea and his rediscovered memories of his fiancée, a much more sinister plot unravels. He uncovers his history just in time to become the unwilling lynchpin in a conspiracy to start a war. His memory holds the secret to the final riddle the would-be conqueror needs to get the upper hand. Gabe must protect the riddle at all costs, even if that means leaving Earth, and Lea, behind forever.

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Goodreads
MuseItUp Publishing

Excerpt
Lea packed light. Other than her phone’s GPS and a flashlight, she kept a small notepad, her lucky pencil, and the thermometer in her cargo pocket. She didn’t need to find data, now she needed proof.

She led the way down the alley where skyscrapers blocked the glowing moon and the lamps from the highway. Yellowed fixtures above each back entrance threw faint cones of light onto the cement, like holes in Swiss cheese.

Lea checked the coordinates on her phone while she walked, and the little red arrow crept closer to the flag icon she placed to mark the interaction point.

Gabe spent his time surveying the area for anything that might be a danger. He kept fidgeting behind her and turning around every few seconds, a twitchy meerkat on patrol.

“We’re only between buildings. It’s not the end of the world.” Lea checked her phone again to make sure they were headed in the right direction.

He glanced over his shoulder. “I still don’t like it. It’s night, people do get mugged, you know.”

“The statistics of that are so low. We’re really not in any danger, considering the population and how many times that sorta thing happens.”

He shifted uneasily behind her. “Whatever, we’re raising the chances by being out here at night.”

Lea rolled her eyes. “I’m not missing this opportunity.”

“I know that. Neither am I.”

“Good.”

They came to a cross section behind two major offices where the loading docks and dumpsters sat for both of them. A stream of water trickled down the concave cement into the large sewer grate. Old garbage left a fume hanging around, and the humidity only made it worse.

Lea double- and triple-checked her coordinates, cross-checking with her notes. “This is it. Within I’d say, a fifteen foot diameter, low to the ground.” She shoved the phone in her cargo pocket. “Perfect.”

“How long?”

“Roughly ten minutes.”

Ten minutes may as well have been six hours. She paced back and forth, her sneakers scuffing the gritty pavement.

Gabe continued to keep a watchful eye out for muggers or vagrants. What a dork.

She snickered quietly. For someone who didn’t know his own experiences, he sure seemed paranoid. She watched him standing straight, darting his eyes to the entrance and even up to the windows above them. Watch out bad guys, Gabe’s on to you. She smiled and turned to see what looked like heat waves rising from the cold cement. Crap. The interaction had already started.

“Gabe…” She waved him over next to the loading dock.

This interaction provided no shining lights or obvious movement. Not much stood out visually, except maybe the air glistening like summer heat waves if she squinted hard enough, but her digital thermometer found the coldest point.

“Here,” she whispered, not wanting anyone or anything on the other side to hear. She stretched her arms forward, and Gabe did likewise.

“On the count of three.” She waited for him to nod. “One…two…three.”

They both reached through the interaction point and grabbed at the thicker air. Nothing. They tried again, pulling, grasping, and making any sort of motion to trigger a rip. Finally, Gabe leaned in and pulled out at just the right angle, because the light tore across like a jagged line. Lea grabbed the edge of it and tugged, opening the tear wider until they both fell through.

Maisano_Author_webAbout the author

Laura has an MA in Technical writing and is a Senior Editor at Anaiah Press for their YA/NA Christian Fiction. She’s excited to release her debut YA Urban Fantasy SCHISM, and she’s finishing up the sequel UNITY.

Her gamer husband and amazing daughter give support and inspiration every day. Their cats, Talyn and Moya, provide entertainment through living room battles and phantom-dust-mote hunting. Somehow, they all manage to survive living in Texas where it is hotter than any human being should have to endure. Check out her blog at LauraMaisano.blogspot.com.

Name Your Price for Award Winning Books? How About FREE!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR FREE BOOKS

Details below:
Empty_Quiver_Cover

Let me cut to the chase. Above is the cover reveal for my upcoming anthology, Empty Quiver: Tales from the Crimson Son Universe. More Augments, more top secret history, and most importantly: more Hurricane.

Below is a collection of fiction so badass it survived the Immerse or Die Report and includes my book, Crimson Son. Superheroes, space opera, sci-fi, fantasy, and a dose of steampunk – we have all of your speculative fiction needs covered with these award winning novels. So far, this popular bundle has sold over a thousand copies at StoryBundle in the first week alone!

Immerse_Or_Die_Bundle_Covers

I want to give you a chance to get all ten of these books for FREE.

Empty Quiver is a guaranteed giveaway. No catch. If you sign up below, it will be in your inbox on release day, June 1st.

For the bundle: As if naming your own price for this award winning collection wasn’t good enough, I actually scored a few to giveaway.

Sign up below for a chance to win, that simple.

You’ll be put on my mailing list to receive Empty Quiver, free, in your inbox on June 1st. You’ll also receive future notices about my other new releases (with more free titles to come!) and you’ll be entered to win the entire Immerse or Die Bundle.

DO IT QUICK! Quicker than good ‘ol Hurricane if you can, because you don’t have much time. I’ll be announcing a winner on Friday. Already on my list? You’re already entered! You have until midnight Thursday to qualify.

(This list will never be sold or given away. I don’t spam. You only receive notices when I have new fiction available and this will include future FREE titles.)

SIGN UP FOR FREE BOOKS

How to Sell 9,000 Books over the Weekend

Edit: Eat your heart out, Vegeta.

Step One: Write an awesome book. This may sound like a given, but it’s a very difficult thing to do. It takes blood, sweat, tears. Maybe a bit of plasma, depending on your financial situation.

Step Two: Amplify your voice. Connect with readers. Connect with authors. Let their awesomeness rub off on your awesomeness (abstinence in marketing, much like other aspects of life, doesn’t work.)

Step Three: Topple a treadmill at an infamous review site.

Will this miraculous plan work for everyone? Probably not. I mean, getting tossed in a bundle with award-winning, incredible indie talent won’t hurt your chances of pulling off this feat.

As of Sunday morning, over 1000 copies of the Immerse or Die StoryBundle have been sold. (That’s 9000 books in shameless marketing math between the nine amazing books in the bundle.) What started for me as a submission to a reviewer’s website, has turned into by far the best weekend of sales I’ve ever had.

I’ve got a list somewhere, but off the top of my head, Crimson Son has been submitted to over fifty review sites. I’ve paid to enter it in a handful of prestigious contests. I’ve shipped books across the US, South America, Canada and even to Eastern Europe for giveaways and more reviews. I’ve toured blogs, attended conventions, signings, carted my books back and forth to local stores to sell on the shelf, bought swag, made posters, done interviews, chatted in social media – I’ve tried all the things.

My point is, the only way to figure out how to sell books is to get out there and try. There is no shortcut and no single formula is a one-size fits all. Be on the lookout every day for the best way to get your book into reader’s hands. That’s what matters: people enjoying your books.

And those people? They are key to your success in this crazy world of information overload and digital anonymity. So screw all the get-rich-quick seminars, let me do what’s really important:

Friends, family, readers; all of you who put up with my shameless promotion and shenanigans. Who read my early crap and gently (or with a boot to my ass) steered me in the right direction. Who sacrificed your own time, humbly in the shadows or while sharing your own spotlight with little ‘ol me. To all of you, a sincere thank you, and to all the new readers brought in by the Immerse or Die Bundle – I hope you enjoy the book, with your support, there’s a lot more great fiction ahead.

This week:

Guest appearance on Kulture Shocked’s Kulturekast – Where we discuss the finer points of one of the absolute best bad movies ever made, Samurai Cop.

Cover Reveal and contest announcement on Wednesday – The completed cover for my upcoming short story collection, Empty Quiver, and a contest for any of you straddling the fence on this whole bundle-of-badassery from Immerse or Die.

Badass Fiction Alert on Friday – Talking about Laura Maisano’s exciting new release, Schism.