Researching for a Story I May Never Write…

I like the silly\amusing posts I’ve made over the last few blogs, but I still want to keep up some of my older style posts as well. With that in mind…

I’m currently working on two books (In Division Imperiled, which still needs editing and a cover, and Shieldclads, which is still in the (re-)outlining stage), and when the weather stabilizes enough that driving down to the library is safe (well, the library that has the free-to-use recording studio in it; that library requires driving down a few back roads I don’t trust to be regularly plowed), I intend to try my hand at recording A Gun for Shalla as an author-read audiobook. So, I’ve got plenty of writing projects going on at the moment.

But I have this goal of trying to get yet another short project out this year in addition to all of that. After not releasing a new book last year (well, unless you count This Book Cannot Make Any Money), I need to make up for lost time. But if I want to finish something like that, I need to make sure I have some necessary research lined up, first.

I’m thinking that what I’ll do, if I can find the time, is complete the story I started on this blog for that aforementioned This Book Cannot Make Any Money which featured a malfunctioning, burger-flipping robot named with the deliberately bad French accent named Hummer, who turns detective when someone is murdered in his restaurant.  I like the set-up I’ve already written, and I’d like to explore a conclusion to it.

Now, I may never write this story; it all depends on whether I can find time to squeeze it in.  But if I do write it, there are things I need to know.  I need to figure out what forensics tools would be in Hummer’s tool-kit (I have some ideas for things, but I’d like to ask an actual forensics expert how realistic they are), I need to know EXACTLY how the poison I used in that story works (and if it doesn’t work the way I need it to, I need to find one that does work the way I need it to), and I need to research some of the things I intend to use as clues and evidence for Hummer to find (which will remain unspecified as they could be spoilers).

That would take time (which, with only slight difficulties, I could carve out in my schedule, even if I’m still working on those three other projects), but must be done before I write one more word on that story.  Which means I need to get started on that research before I even know if I will actually write the story.  But I think it needs to be done.

So… I guess I’ve got some work to do.

Just to Keep the Blog Active…

As I mentioned several weeks ago, I figured I could post videos I found interesting and similar things to keep this blog active when I didn’t have anything to talk about for the week. I then promptly forgot to do that for the next month or so, but I still think it’s a good idea.

With that in mind, here’s an… interesting video.

Plans for 2019…

Well, my plan to keep this blog going with fun pics and videos didn’t work out, pretty much from the moment after I made said plan. Well, plans don’t always work out.  I had a lot of plans for 2018, accomplished a few of them, but some of them are bridging over into next year.

Keep that in mind as I list the following Plans for Fennec Fox Press in 2019:

1. Early in the year, I expect to publish In Division Imperiled, the third book of my Law of Swords series. Then again, I was expecting to have it done back in August. I’ve only gotten back partial edits, so far, and I’m looking for a new cover artist. It’ll be a project, but I hope — at the very latest — to have it out in time for Ravencon this year.  Hopefully earlier, but that will depend on how the cover search goes.

2. I intend to make use of my local library’s maker-spaces, which include soundproof recording studios I can use for free, to try and record an audiobook of “A Gun for Shalla,” my story in the Worlds Enough: Fantastic Defenders anthology. If this works out, I may try the same thing for some of my other books, but we’ll see.

3. Work on the next Shieldclads book has begun… sort of, though I have yet to start actual writing. Mostly I’m just re-familiarizing myself with the universe, going through 14-year-old notes from when I first started writing The Merrimack Event, and doing some occasional research. I’m too busy with other things involving In Division Imperiled to start actually writing it, right now, but I hope to get started early in the year… maybe even in January.  How long it will take me to actually write it is another question, but with luck I’ll get it out in 2019, too.

4. IF I am fortunate enough to get both In Division Imperiled and the 2nd Shieldclads book out this year, I’m thinking I will try and get something done in one of my non-tentpole series books; in other words, maybe I’ll actually go ahead and do that expansion of “The Rink of War” into a full-length novel, which has a lot of pre-written material from when I was intending for that short to be part of a series of shorts. Or maybe I’ll even finish that untitled short story about the malfunctioning robot chef with a deliberately bad french accent who turns detective (which you can find either in this blog’s archives, or in my collection of unfinished tales, This Book Cannot Make Any Money); I don’t expect that to become anything more than a short, anyway.
I probably will NOT start By Claw and Arrow (planned as the second book in the Inari’s Children series), because that will be a much more involved process. I hate having to set aside what I’ve long viewed as my best book\series for so long, but the sales just haven’t been good enough for me to justify taking the time to write it. As things stand it will have to wait until I’m free of one of my tentpole series (likely the Law of Swords, as that’s planned to be a shorter series and is further along) before I can get to it. Of course, if there was a sudden boost in sales of that book that allowed me to justify it, maybe I’ll be able to bump it ahead in the queue….

Happy New Year, folks! Full of hope that these plans work out… (we’ll see how things go)

It’s been a while…

Okay, so I’ve missed a few weeks (and I’ve gotten more comments than normal. Huh. So, to get comments on this blog, it seems I have to disappear without explanation for a while. Hm…). I don’t really have an excuse other than “Oops, I forgot, and I had no idea what to write about anyway.”

I got a bit of news this week, though:  I’ll once again be returning to Ravencon 2019 as a ‘Programming Guest.’  I almost certainly will NOT be at Ravencon in 2020 (with the 2019 guest slot, I’ll have been a guest 3 times in a row.  As I understand how things work at that convention, it wouldn’t matter if I was J.K. Rowling, I wouldn’t get four guest invites in a row), so I’ll have to think of a replacement event to attend that year, but I have plenty of time before then.

Honestly, I still don’t have any idea what to write about in this blog, any more, but as I have a book coming out soon (In Division Imperiled), it’s a bad idea to let it sit idle for too long.

With that in mind, I’m going to try something of an experiment. If I DON’T have anything to write about for the week, I’ll toss up an interesting\funny\etc. video or picture I’ve found somewhere around the web (usually via shamelessly stealing the link from someone on Facebook) for you to enjoy.

I’ll start it off with an old favorite of mine…

 

Link Shares:

It’s been a while, so there are several of them.  Another reason for bringing this blog back even though I don’t have anything to talk about:  The long delay between posts has made some of the reason for these shares irrelevant (for example, several of these were intended for Halloween), but I figured I should go ahead and post them anyway.
Rapunzel by Laura Montgomery (free for a few days)
The Utter Truth by Cyn Bagley (oops, missed a free promotion. Sorry, guys!)
If You Should Choose This Mission by Cyn Bagley (see above)
Luna City Lucky Seven by Celia Hayes and Jeane Hayden (New release!)
Lab Gremlins by Cedar Sanderson (New release! Uh… for Halloween)
Mercenary Calling by Laura Montgomery (missed a free sale)
Death Comes to Merry Gardens by Elizabeth Bruner (Halloween-themed)
Like a Continental Soldier, by Laura Montgomery (Final book of a set that has been pushed here, before).

Word Counts…

I put out a call last week, asking for suggestions on what to do with this blog. I got one reply — in e-mail (WHY DOES NO-ONE EVER USE THE COMMENT FEATURE?!) — that suggested I treat the blog as a diary, and talk about what happens in my life. I pretty much do that, already… it’s just that there isn’t enough new material each week to make up a new blog every week, and I’d really like to TRY and keep this blog a weekly thing. So I’m still taking suggestions, if anyone has any.

It’s a good thing I don’t give people weekly (or worse, daily) word count updates. People would get really confused. For the first few weeks, I’d post about having written roughly 1k-2k words per day, which by the end of the third week would accelerate to 6-8k per day. My record is about 12k words in one day, though that was long before I went pro.

I’d top a hundred thousand words about the end of the sixth week… and still be going, since most of my books run about 150k words. Usually at 100k, I’d start slowing down, sometimes to a few mere hundreds of words per day.

For In Division Imperiled, however, it got even worse than that. I got to about 130k-140k, which I’d estimate is about 90% of the way done, about three months after I started. Which is what I told anyone who asked — the book was “90% done,” so hopefully it would be finished shortly. And I STILL HADN’T SLOWED DOWN. I was thinking I’d finish the book in a personal record time.

And then I started trying to knit all the parts of the story together for the conclusion, resolving all the sub-plots (at least, all of those which weren’t setting up something for the next book) for the end.

The story wasn’t stalled in the least. I seemed to be adding newer, better subplots in as I was deleting others, and I was making great progress on them. I was still going about 3-4k words per day… but I was pulling about 5-6k per day at the same time.

In other words, I was going backwards.

By the end of the sixth month, I was down to 110k words. That was the shortest it was cut to after hitting that 140k word plateau, but it wasn’t the last time it shrank. I was back to 140k a month later (this was back around August or so, when I was hoping to be finished in a week or two) when I finally gave up on one fairly massive sub-plot that was threaded throughout the book. One whole chapter, and several large partials, wound up being gutted from the book. I was back down to 115k words. That’s a fine length, if the story is complete, but the tear-out left a lot of gaping “holes” in the story that needed to be filled back in. My editor was expecting the book the same week I’d ripped out that subplot, and my writing speed had dropped back down to about 1k-2k. I was fortunate he allowed me to send him a partial manuscript he could work on while I finished. I’ve had a few other cuts since then, but nothing so drastic.

Earlier this week, I topped over the 140k plateau for the fourth time with this book… and I don’t think there are any subplots left that are likely to be ripped out, this time. I still figure about 150k will be the ultimate length. If I’m able to keep going at 1k-2k per day, I should FINALLY be done in a week or two… only three months late. *sigh*

LINKSHARES!

This week, we have a Halloween-themed linkshare!  Memories of the Abyss, by Cedar Sanderson, is a mystery thriller of novella length the author says is perfect for the season.

Also this week, Stephanie Osborn has released the eighth book of her space opera series, Division One, with Phantoms.

That’s it for this week. Happy reading!

Yet Another Status Report

Well, I’ve got nothing big to talk about this week, so it’s time for Yet Another Potpourri of stuff\Status Report! Woo. *yawn* Hoo.

To start with, I finally got my first report from Tantor about The Merrimack Event‘s audiobook this week. I won’t give out the particulars, but I’ve earned out the advance and am into profit, there, and sales are well into the four figures. Now, there, I’ll give a genuine “woohoo!”

I completed the transition, mentioned a few weeks ago, from having my books transferred from the soon-to-be-discontinued Createspace service into its replacement, KDP Print. The transition went smoother than I feared. If anyone even noticed, though, I’ll be surprised.

The third Law of Swords book is ALMOST complete. I know I’ve been saying that for a while, but this time I really mean it! (heh; I meant it every time I’ve said it, but I feel a bit more definitive about it). I still need a few solid days of writing, most likely, and those have been hard to come by these past couple of weeks, but I’m REALLY close.

I’m trying to think of ways to make this blog more interesting. A common piece of advice for writers is not to try and market your books to other writers, because writers never have any money; this blog is focused a lot on writing and the business of writing, so… yeah. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.  (Yes, for most of you, this means you’ll have to actually LEAVE A COMMENT in the comment section.  I know it’s hard, but if you want something more out of this blog that’s pretty much the only way you’ll get it.

Link Shares:

Between October 5th and 9th (so, uh, by the time you read this the promotion is half-way done), Cedar Sanderson is giving away her Halloween-themed short story, Sugar Skull.

I’ve mentioned Chris Kennedy and his small press outfit here a few times before.  He’s just released a new anthology in his popular Four Horseman universe, and some of the authors want that link shared as well, so enjoy Tales from the Lyon’s Den.

J.M. Anjewierden (boy, I hope I spelled that right) needs some cash for emergency car repairs, and is hoping to get it by putting all of his books on sale (for a short time only!).  His Science Fiction\Coming of Age story, The Long Black, was highlighted in the link share request.

Cyn Bagley has asked for link shares for three Halloween-themed stories:  Perchance to Dream, Ghostly Glimmers, and Smoke and Mirrors.

And that’s it for this weekend!  Maybe I’ll have something a bit more next week.

Afterthoughts from Eat Local, Read Local

Well, my first dedicated book sale event was yesterday. It left me exhausted (or, well, perhaps a little dehydrated), but it was a good time. Weird internet issues today (wifi’s been spotty, Facebook has been acting up, and when I tried to go to Wikipedia earlier, I was somehow redirected to the Polish version of Wikipedia. I’ve never been to Polish Wikipedia, before, and have no idea how that happened) has made typing an extensive write-up… difficult, but here is a BRIEF summary of my thoughts in the aftermath:

  1.  It was an outdoor event, and advertised as “rain or shine.”  Rain and books don’t mix well, so I was happy to see that it wasn’t raining.  In fact, I dare to say it was the nicest day of the year, so far.
  2. Despite the good weather, the tent I was in had clearly been rained on over the past several days… and it was leaking.  I was a little hesitant about putting my books out for display on a table where dripping water had pooled.  I got the table moved so that it wouldn’t get dripped on as much, and dried it off, but the water was still dripping on my head any time the wind blew.  In order to minimize the risk of getting my books wet, I wasn’t quite able to set up my table the way I wanted.  I’m not sure what could be done to prepare for this sort of thing in future events, but I need to figure out something if I’m ever part of another outdoor book sale.  If anyone has any suggestions, I’d be glad to hear them.
  3. I went to this event last year, though as a customer and not as an author.  It was raining off and on that day, and foot traffic was moderate to light (I did not notice any wet author tables last year, but the whole thing was set up differently; tables were arranged differently, it was in a different part of the library grounds (their front parking lot instead of their rear parking lot), it was larger, etc.).  I was hoping that the better weather would result in better attendance, but foot traffic was about what I remember from last year.
  4. The Loudoun County Library’s Eat Local Read Local event took place simultaneously with the Fredricksburg Independent Book Festival, an almost identical event focused more on indie authors that was taking place about an hour’s drive away from my house (which means it was about an hour and a half’s drive, in the other direction, from the Eat Local Read Local).  I asked an author who was there what foot traffic was like, and was told it was “surprisingly light” there, as well.  At least in terms of total bodies coming to either event, the Eat Local Read Local was about on par.
  5. I did, in fact, sell a few books (not as many as my most optimistic hopes, but not as few as my more pessimistic imaginings), despite the light foot traffic.  I went through a lot of effort to ensure I could take credit cards (using Square), and got stickers and signs broadcasting that fact, but to my surprise everyone paid cash.  I’ll have to remember that if I do it again; I thought I was well prepared, but I almost ran out of spare change.
  6. We (authors) were all assigned to one of three tents, and provided with half of a table each (in other words, we were asked to share a table with someone else).  Our table-partners, with a few exceptions, were assigned alphabetically within each tent.  Just what criteria was used for tent assignment, however, was not clear to me — though I do know we weren’t grouped by alphabet, genre, publishing house, bestselling rank, or in order of when we applied to be part of the event.  Maybe it was random draw out of a hat?
  7. My table partner was an affable character who wrote literary works on school life.  He said he had been to events like this before and had never sold anything at them, but he thought he would give it ‘one more try.’  He then proceeded to spend about five minutes at the table before standing up and wandering off, checking out the other authors’ offerings, then came back for a bit before again wandering off to have a conversation with someone, then came back briefly, fussed with how his books were arranged on the table, and then left for a bit again.  He came back for one last time… to pack everything up and go home with the event half-way over.  I have to wonder if this was typical of his past attempts to sell books at these events, and if that is why he’s never sold anything at them before.
  8. Most authors only brought one or two different titles to sell to readers; I brought multiple copies of all six books that I have in print.  This might have been a mistake, considering I only had half of a table, and my books were a bit crowded together.  Combined with the need to arrange things so that my books were kept dry, I wasn’t able to display them all to their best effect.  My table partner leaving allowed me to spread out a bit, but if I do this event again I’ll have to be a bit more selective in what I bring.
  9. I made arrangements for my sister-in-law to show up half-way through the event (well, actually I’d arranged for my brother to do so, but he accidentally double-booked himself for that day, so she came instead) to take over my table so I would be able to get lunch.  My table-partner had already left by that point, so after buying lunch from one of the food trucks at the event, I took his seat and the two of us worked the table while I ate.  Having someone else there was a great help (though it would have been impossible to have someone with me from the start of the event, as there was normally only room for one person), even if we didn’t have any sales during the brief time she was there.
  10. I got lots of compliments on my book covers.  As an odd phenomenon, I had people taking pictures of my book covers, as well.  I thought maybe they were showrooming, but so far I haven’t seen any sales bumps among the books that were most commonly photographed.  I did see a slight bump in sales of The Merrimack Event in the immediate aftermath of the event, but I don’t remember anyone taking pictures of that book’s cover, so I don’t know if that’s connected at all.
  11. Everyone loved my little Fennec Fox Press stuffed fox-keychains, but no-one wanted to buy one.  I do give some of them away, but I can’t afford to give ALL of them away; I’m only charging the break-even price for them.  Ah, well… I’ve got them for next time, at least.

And… well, that’s all I can think to say at the moment.  No link-shares this week.  So, until next week, that’s it…

Plans for the Immediate Future…

As I’m getting ready for the Eat Local, Read Local event, I’m also finishing off the third Law of Swords book, In Division Imperiled (as I mentioned in the epilog of my last post). (Oh, and my birthday is this Thursday, but that’s unrelated to this post).  Trying to make everything happen at once hasn’t given me all that much time to think about my business plans beyond those few things, but in search of a topic for this week’s blog I spent some time thinking about it, anyway, and made a few decisions. I know this looks like another of my boring old status reports, but you will probably want to pay attention to this blog — I’ve made some important decisions,

To begin with, recapping what I mentioned last week, I’m going to need to find another cover artist soon as the cover for In Division Imperiled flunked with my test audience. I haven’t sent out any queries to any artists, yet, but I have identified a short list of people from varying levels of professional experience to try. Hopefully at least one of them will respond to my query and be willing to work within my budget (which, uh, I need to decide on, as I’ve already used my book cover budget on the flunked-out cover).  Will this delay In Division Imperiled’s release?  Probably not (though it depends how the cover art search goes).  But it may delay my marketing plan.  And to think — for once, I thought I was getting ahead of things by arranging for the cover art even before the book was over, and would be able to do a lot more pre-release marketing than I have in the past.  It’s a shame, but an unsatisfactory cover is… well, unsatisfactory.

Second, once the Eat Local, Read Local event is taken care of, I intend to see if I can’t get an actual store going on the Fennec Fox Press website to sell signed copies of my print editions. Given past print sales, I’m not expecting to do much business through said store, but since I’ve had the website for a while, I’ve got enough books to justify it, and now I’ve got the Square account to take credit cards, and soon (if I can just get the paperwork completed!) I’ll be able to take sales tax, there’s no reason NOT to open such a store.

I’m not sure whether I’ll have anything to offer other than my few books (and possibly some of the little plushie Fennec Fox keychains I was giving away at Ravencon, but I’m still undecided on that), but I might decide to do things like sell some used books, or help my mother sell some of her quilts (haven’t yet discussed this with her; I know she tries to sell some of her quilts off her own page, and I’m not sure how it would work), or maybe I would look into a deal with some of my author-friends to sell their books through my store (the big problem with trying to sell someone else’s work is the legal liabilities; I’d have to turn my little sole proprietorship into an LLC first, so I probably won’t be doing this to start with).  I’ll still have to work out the technical details, but I’m fairly certain I can manage a small web-based storefront, and at the very least all of my signed books will be made available on it.

Third, once BOTH the Eat Local, Read Local event AND the In Division Imperiled manuscripts are completed, I’ll use the library’s new sound recording studio that I surveyed a few weeks ago to begin turning A Gun For Shalla, my story in the Worlds Enough: Fantastic Defenders anthology, into an audiobook with myself as the narrator.  I don’t want this to prevent me from starting work on the next Shieldclads book, however, so I’ll be restricting myself to trying this experimental project just one day a week.

If it works out, then maybe I’ll also try the same thing with The Kitsune Stratagem (the book that I think Tantor, who produced the Merrimack Event audiobook, is the least likely to buy the rights to).  If THAT works out, and I can’t convince Tantor to do the audiobook for the Law of Swords books, maybe I’ll do those, too.  But, at one day a week (at most), that would put those books pretty far in the future, and this post is more for my immediate plans.

Finally… most of the previous things you might have caught in my previous blog posts, but this one I decided just as I was working on this blog:  If you are interesting in buying either of the Law of Swords books in ebook form somewhere OTHER than Amazon (such as through Kobo, Smashwords, or the Nook), you might want to buy them now.  When the rest of In Division Imperiled is off to the editor and I’m ready to start really marketing it, I am going to (experimentally) withdraw my previous books in the series from wide distribution, and see if I can’t put the whole series into the KDP select program for at least one enrollment period (90 days).

I’ve not done this in the past because I’ve found most of the technical issues reported with KDP Select (at least, most of the ones that don’t ultimately turn out to be the result of bad practices on the author’s part, or an author’s advertiser’s part) happen because the author took a book that is already in wide distribution out of wide distribution in order to meet the exclusivity requirement of KDP Select.  I haven’t heard about one of those particular issues in a while, though, so maybe they’ve been fixed?  And, in conjunction with the release of the third book, I think it might make a huge difference sales-wise.

I plan to return to wide distribution before too long, but I thought the same about The Merrimack Event, and the number of page reads I get in a month is STILL too high for me to pull it out of the program and try wider distribution.  Crossing my fingers that nothing goes wrong when I do it, though.

Link Shares!

Well, I’m still going to push for the Starflight 3 crowdfunding campaign.  It’s falling behind the pace it needs to set, but I’m hopeful some investors will come in at the end to save the campaign (which has been hinted, if they can get close), and in the meantime it could use your support.

But I do have actual books, this week.  First there is Billy the Kid, by Link Share regular Cyn Bagley, and is related to some of the EJ Hunter werewolf stories I’ve shared links to in earlier link-share entries.

Second, there is Fire and Forge by Holly Chism, another link-share regular; the third book in her Modern Gods series.

That’s all for now!  I may or may not be taking off next week (depending on how my birthday celebration plays out), but I’ll see you all soon!

Getting Ready for an Event…

Earlier this week, I had a moment of panic when the official webpage for the Eat Local, Read Local library event — an event that I’ve been telling you for months, on this blog, that I would be a part of — went live and, well, my name wasn’t on the list of participants.

An e-mail to the library took care of that quickly enough. There was a miscommunication, but we got it all straightened out, and so yes I’m still going to be there… (and by the time this blog goes out, my name should have been added to the list on that link, as it should have been from the start).  So, if you’re interested, I’ll be selling and signing any of my print-edition books, as well as any swag I have on hand, at the event.  I won’t be alone; there will be many other authors at the event, including (of particular note for fans of the sci-fi\fantasy genre) the bestselling and multiple-award-winning, multi-talented author, teacher, scientist, ballet dancer, and musician Catherine Asaro.

But the issue prompted me to think about everything I’ve gone through so far for what will be my first sales event:

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I took inventory of my books a couple weeks ago. I ordered some copies of the one book that I didn’t have any copies of, but I already had enough of the others to be okay. I also bought a few display stands at the same time — I already had a few for conventions, but I figured I would need more for this event.  They shipped just this morning, but they’re supposed to arrive well before the event.

I also took inventory of my swag. I still have plenty of my keychain-sized stuffed fennec foxes, but not enough of them have the bow ties that include the Fennec Fox Press branding. We have the ribbon on hand, but my mother needs to get her embroidery machine up and running to put the branding on it. I’ll have a few on hand, though, at a minimum, and they’ll be for sale as long as I have a surplus.  I also have some postcards and a few other little things of that nature.

I want to get some additional swag made, though — something cheap enough to give away, but useful enough people won’t toss it in the trash the moment they get home.  Most commonly, when other authors try for this type of swag, it includes things such as pens and refrigerator magnets.  I was hoping the people who did my postcards would be able to make these, but they say that their particular franchise won’t do magnets (though some other franchises in their company will).

There are two alternatives I’ve considered that might be able to do those magnets.  The first, and the more expensive option, is Vistaprint, a business that a number of other authors I know recommend for business cards and the like.  The other is a local option, both on the front-end and in the manufacturing capacities, and it has the advantage of allowing me to REAL PEOPLE about my needs… and it’s cheaper, as well.  I still need to go and talk to the local option before making my decision final; I’ll have to do that soon, though, because there isn’t much time before the event.

There’s also legal stuff. I’ve been running Fennec Fox Press as a sole proprietor with a DBA (Doing Business As, a legal business\fictitious name) from the beginning of my writing career, and will continue to do so (for now, though if I ever bring in other authors for anthologies or the like I’ll be switching to a LLC), but I’ve never needed to bother with the aspects of the business that would put me in a position to have to collect sales tax.  I’ve actively avoided doing certain things because I didn’t want to deal with that, and I didn’t see much short-term return on them.  I’ve been thinking about setting this up for some time, thinking I would maybe try selling some of my books at Marscon or Ravencon earlier this year, but things didn’t quite come together in time and so I never bothered.

For an event like this, however, I’ll almost certainly have to collect sales tax. I have yet to complete all of the paperwork, but it’s in process and I SHOULD have it ready in time. (From a legal perspective, according to the research I’ve done on the local regulations, I won’t be getting in any significant trouble if the paperwork is a little late; I just need to make sure I collect the appropriate tax when I do the sales, and file the paperwork as soon as possible)

And this means I’ll need to set things up to take credit card payments.  I’ve set up a Square account, and I’m waiting on a card reader now.  The card reader is very basic (it’s the one that only works with magnetic strips, not chips), but it should see me through this event just fine.  Long term, once I learn my way around this system, I’ll be able to set up a store for directly selling my books from my website, and maybe replace that card reader with a more modern one that’ll also work with chip-based cards and the like.

So… I’m not ready yet.  I’ve got a lot of things in progress, though, so hopefully, by September 29th (the date of the Eat Local, Read Local event), I’ll have everything done.

And if Loudoun County is just slightly outside of your driving range but you still want to go to a book sales event, you’re in luck.  Turns out on the same day, at the same time, in Fredricksburg Virginia, there’s the Fredricksburg Independent Book Festival, where Martin Wilsey, one of the other authors of the Worlds Enough: Fantastic Defenders anthology, will be selling his wares.

Meanwhile, a PARTIAL manuscript for the next Law of Swords book is with the editor.  I had to rip out an entire subplot right before deadline, in order to make things work in the conclusion, and that’s going to involve re-writing two complete chapters and portions of several others.  That has delayed completion a little, but if I can win the race of finishing those rewrites before he reaches the end of the portion of the manuscript I’ve already sent him, I ultimately won’t lose any time.

The book will certainly be out before the end of the year, regardless… (though, sadly, it doesn’t look like it will be out before the Eat Local, Read Local event.  Ah, well).  It may not have the cover that I showed off earlier this year, though — my test-audience doesn’t like that cover for a variety of reasons.

I hired a skilled and experienced artist, and liked the artwork myself, but I did have a few reservations.  I thought the problems I had with all had to do with the change of style — no-one is going to match the style of the original artwork perfectly — but the test audience I’ve shown it to has several objections, some of which I share.  None of them, surprisingly, are about the subject of the cover; mostly it’s about the coloring, the proportional size of the dragon, Euleilla’s hairstyle, and the texture of the stonework on the castle wall), so I may need to replace that artwork.  Which probably will mean a new artist search.  I’ve still got that cover as a fall-back, though.

As far as the next Shieldclads book is concerned (something I know many visitors to my blog are interested in), I’ll be starting that as soon as I’m done with the Law of Swords manuscript and can get the rest of it off to the editor… though, by now, I’ve learned better than to try and predict a completion date.

Link Shares

I don’t think there are any link-shares this week (something may have come in this morning, but I can’t check right now), so instead I’ll use this space to plug the crowdfunding campaign for Starflight 3.  The fondness I have for the original games has me pushing for this to succeed, though the fundraising target they’ve set has me worried for it.  If you’re willing to help me support a sequel to one of the very best PC computer games of the 1980s, please look into it.