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This Plague of Days: Writer’s Digest Ebook Awards and what’s next!

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This series presents a fascinating and original take on the zombie apocalypse story. I was drawn in from the opening scene…and I found myself instantly connecting with the fate of the Spencer family. The writer did an excellent job interspersing the family’s story with details about the broader world. Every time it seemed that something was understood or under control in that sphere, the story would shift to reveal a new wrinkle in the plot.

~ Judge, 2nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards

The TPOD Omnibus won honorable mention in Genre for these awards in 2014.

This Plague of Days OMNIBUS (Large)Next month, the second book in the Ghosts & Demons Series will launch. In the meantime, get in on the ground floor of this really cool series with The Haunting Lessons. It’s a little bit Buffy and a whole lot of fun.

NEW THL COVER JAN 2015 COMPLETE

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This Plague of Days Announcement, 11/22/63 and a little secret

I’m sick again and yes, I had my flu shot. Is it Sutr? I don’t feel like I’m about to drop, eat brains or sink my teeth into anyone’s neck. At least, not until they wash that neck. No, not Sutr. Yet.

Since I’m not feeling well, I’ll keep this short and to the point. I’m waiting for confirmation from CreateSpace, but within the next day or so…

Season Two of This Plague of Days will be available in print!

Some readers have asked, with an eye to Christmas shopping, about the print version. I think I made it just under the wire for those Christmas orders. I’ll update you here as soon as it’s confirmed by CreateSpace. In the meantime, witness the beauty of my graphic artist’s cover for Season Two below. If you got the whole autistic boy versus the zombies show by episodes, you’ll recognize the front cover as a little something from the Episode Five cover. (That’s the one I also submitted to the Ebook Cover Design Awards. Kit Foster’s a genius.)

This is what the print cover for This Plague of Days, Season Two looks like. Releasing? Any minute now.

This is what the print cover for This Plague of Days, Season Two looks like. Releasing? Any minute now.

The Man You Need

Kit does all my covers, that’s no secret. If you need a book cover or a new web banner for your website or an ad done right, go to KitFosterDesign.com to check out his portfolio and use his services. His prices are very reasonable and he’s not satisfied until you are. He’s helped me a lot and he can help you, too. Spruce up your website or something. Whatever your graphics needs, the nice Scottish guy is the man!

The Secret

Also, on his portfolio page, astute readers will find a book of mine that is (still? STILL!) not yet published. The cover will be the same although the title has changed. That unpublished book is the first cover Kit did for me but I won’t get to publish it until the summer of 2014. With a few minor alterations, that will be the cover for the book that comes after This Plague of Days, Season 3.

In the meantime, Stephen King’s 11/22/63, Lee Harvey Oswald and the Kennedy assassination…

I’m looking forward to feeling well enough to write more. Until then, I’m reading Stephen King’s 11/22/63 by the wood stove. The plot is taking a while to get where it’s going, but it’s about the journey, not merely the destination. That’s appropriate for a deep time travel story, too. I’m really enjoying it, sitting here by the fire with the wind blowing snow around out there in temperatures of -10. 

Mr King is demanding a lot of self-control from me. I really want to jump to the last page of this one to discover the time travel results. I’m about 75% through and I suspect I’ll be reading slower as I go, to make the deliciousness last.

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Q & A #3: Time Management and when will TPOD be available in paper?

Wow. That was timely.

Somebody asked when they can get a print copy of This Plague of Days

and someone else asked how I manage my schedule.

The short answer is, I hope to have Season One and Season Two ready by mid-November. It might take longer after what I went through tonight.

The long answer

I was just whining on Facebook that it took me four hours to reformat Season One for a 6 x 9″ paperback. (At 300+ pages, it’ll be thick.) I say reformat because I farmed out the job to someone and it looks like they didn’t look at it twice after they ran it through whatever ringer they put it through. (Disappointing because they did a great job on another book they formatted for me.) 

There are other variables with the print delivery, like finding a local printer for selling straight to readers. Amazon’s Createspace can be slow to get books to me (though this week they delivered faster than ever.) I also have to fit into my good friend Kit’s schedule. Kit Foster of KitFosterDesign.com does my covers and I’ll need to get a new  (back) cover for the print editions. 

Getting interior book design right in paper can be surprisingly tough, even with awesome tech. Tonight I stripped out the deep indents and extra tabs and deleted blank pages between chapters. Then I had to redo all the numbers in the Table of Contents. I would rather have used those four hours to work on two new books I’ve got planned.

Time management is a constant challenge.

To master my use of time, I track time and word counts with my calendar and I even use the  stopwatch on my computer. I drink smoothies because it’s healthier, but also faster, with less clean up. When I exercise, I go for fast and intense so I’m not losing time in the gym that could be productive otherwise.

I’m ruthless and committed so I get the time to do all the things I need to do to get stuff done. Some people like socializing and the great outdoors. I can sit at my desk for many hours without ever getting bored and I’m afraid to go outside. I frequently skip sleep so I can pound my head against the brick wall to get everything done. I did have a nap this afternoon, but I dreamt lucidly and came up with three battle scenes for Season Three. That’s good because skipped sleep isn’t a good idea. However, when the demon ideas bombard me as I suffer insomnia, it’s not really a choice but I may as well go with it and get something out of it.

This month I have to:

Launch another website and information materials for a new business;  prep for that launch while writing and revising two books; revamp another book and plan promotions. I must move into a new office, buy a printer, office furniture, supplies, surveillance cameras, new finance hardware, new software and put together a new mailing campaign for the new biz.

Sadly, I probably need to learn how to format the print books myself or find someone else to do it.

One of the big keys to turn the lock on getting stuff done is to do first what needs to be done most. Therefore, I try to get into writing as early in the day as possible. Also, choose to do things that have a solid ship date. I have a huge writing project and a much smaller, easier writing project. I’ll get the smaller one off the table first. 

This strategy not only maintains my will to live, it makes me look more productive because more stuff is flying out the the door faster. When I choose my project, I focus on the one I can complete within the shorter time frame first. Otherwise, I’d be juggling several projects but never bringing anything in for a landing.

Tonight’s unexpected reformatting fiasco sure didn’t fit with the plan I had for today. Sometimes, the time management thing just doesn’t work. Man plans. God giggles.


This Plague of Days: Explaining Serialization to Readers

Somebody thought I was trying to rip them off. That upsets me greatly, so, before we get into the heady release of Season 2, a post to clear things up. If anyone else wants to know about serialization, here it is:

There are all kinds of reasons to serialize which I’ve explained on my blog for writers. This post is for readers who don’t care about that behind-the-scenes stuff. Serialization is an old thing (i.e. Dickens et al) that’s new again. Some readers will inevitably become confused as to what’s going on. They’re used to buying one book, or books in a series, so serial’s look weird at first. (Too bad Amazon Serials didn’t go for This Plague of Days, though I’m told this same landmine pops up for them, too.)

Season One of This Plague of Days is the complete first book.

This is the beginning of a large story arc. It was sold weekly, as episodes, through the summer of 2013. There were five episodes in Season One. It’s a lot of fun to write this way. It’s much like writing for television (hence “seasons” and “episodes”.) People had the option of buying Season One at once, one episode each week and some even bought both.

I was surprised how many people preferred to read it episodically.

The episodes cost 99 cents and at that price people were getting a novella. I kept the price at $3.99 so readers could read a big chunk of the beginning (Episode One) and decide whether they wanted to give the next episode a chance, bail, or just go get the whole thing at a discount.

After Season One ended, I did a huge giveaway (close to 14,000 free copies) and then raised the price to $4.99. At 106,000 words and years in the making, I think that’s very fair for many hours of entertainment. You know…if you dig it. If you don’t dig it, no price is fair and I hope you didn’t pick it up. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. I know my flavor won’t be for everyone, but judging from the happy feedback, I’m very grateful that I’ve finally written something so many people enjoy. I’ve written nine other books I love, but this is the one that seems to have potential to be the biggest hit.

The criticism I received was based on a misapprehension. That’s okay. We’re all human here, right? No zombies in the room? Good.

As I write this on September 25, the episodes you see listed make up Season One. Season Two does not release until October 1, 2013.

We kept the same theme through the covers and labelled the covers Episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (versus Season One) to try to avoid any confusion with Season Two. My cover artist, Kit Foster of KitFosterDesign.com, created a Season Two cover that has a very different look to distinguish it from Season One. All the covers are labelled (we hope clearly) so no one clicks too quickly and gets something they don’t want (i.e. If you bought Season One, you’ve got all the available episodes already.)

Sorry if you missed it. If you’ve purchased any book in error, please return it to Amazon for an easy refund.  I never want anyone to feel ripped off. EV-ER. I’m in the brain tickle business to avoid anyone feeling ripped off.

Wait. It’s September 25!

I better get back to the final polishes of Season Two. There’s wood to pile, I’ve got to drive a kid to the orthodontist, we have a house guest tonight and SEASON TWO‘S RELEASE IS JUST DAYS AWAY! 

Oh, dear. I need interns. I need more coffee. I need somebody else to stack a cord of wood.

Crap.

Anyway, I hope that clears things up and no hard feelings.


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