This one time at Writer's Camp…
So I’m finally caught up at work and have some free time so I can update the dang site. Not that there is a lot too update, other than being forced to buy a new car. Yeah, I bought a new car because the old one got totaled.
No worries, no serious injuries, but damn it I wanted to save money right now!
Got wind that the Freehold anthology coming out from Baen Books has been placed in the queue, which means anywhere from 12-18 months until release. Even though I’ve been published many times before, this is my official second “professional” sale. Doesn’t matter how much money the Kaiju books have made me because those evidently aren’t pro sales.
Who knew, right?
Still writing, but the pace has been increasing. The sacrifice I made to increase my production rate, though has been this site. So I have a legitimate excuse for not updating the site.
But I was told that if I needed more money that I should just write faster. I countered with the argument that I could get my supporters to pay me through a Patreon, like a monthly thing.
I was then reminded that I’m not that popular yet, so the amount from that might fuel my caffeine addiction. Might.
So LC29 is in the books and I for one had a blast. I got to meet more people (always fun) and talk with some of the biggest names in the field (always productive). I got to work out the details of a new project with coauthor Christopher L. Smith and watch an old friend and gaming buddy ink a book deal with Baen Books (he’s collaborating with John Ringo on a Black Tide Rising novel).
So to start…
The drive down to Chattanooga was intense for all the wrong reasons. There was a deluge of rain for most of the drive, and then there was one hell of a detour to get around a wreck that would have delayed me by about 4 hours. But in the end it was worth it because I was finally at LIBERTYCON!
I didn’t need to check in to the hotel because I was rooming with Gerry and Jasmine this year and they had beaten me down there by about 15 minutes. So I was able to throw my stuff into the train car, give both of them huge hugs (and scaring Gerry by hoisting him off the ground) and then running out to explore and see if I could run into any old friends.
I found Matt at registration with his head down and finalizing last-minute details (I heard registration ran well, as always, and now we know why — Matt gets there days early to prepare) and ran into Rich Groller, who is the Programming Director at LC as well as a writer who has been in a few of the same anthologies as me. He was able to get me my registration and swag bag early (perks of knowing Important People). From there I wandered around and bumped into more people I sorta remembered, and then got into contact with Doug Dandridge and Larry Southard for our annual Thursday pizza run. If you are ever in Chattanooga, go try Lupi’s Pizza Pies. They are amazing.
Dinner managed, we made it back to the hotel and ran into a few authors I kinda-sorta knew. Again, names escape me at the moment, but they were really nice people. I missed the Hoyt room party (partly because I thought I wasn’t invited for some reason) and found my way over to the Grill Sergeant’s room, where there was whiskey and drinks to be had.
Note: I typically dislike whiskey. Not my preferred drink. Bad incident when I was much younger and more foolish.
After bidding the Grill Sergeant adieu, we ran into John Ringo. We hung out with him for a bit out on his room balcony before calling it a night. We all were pooped and there was no reason whatsoever to kill ourselves before the con had even started.
Friday was a bit of a blur in the morning. We had breakfast in the hotel and I decided I wasn’t going to Range Day, since it was over an hour away. Instead I wandered around and found more people. Vonnage and Subdude got hugs, and there were plenty of “Crap, I forgot to email you!” going around but all in all, it was nice to catch up before the con officially started. Though opening ceremonies weren’t until 5 p.m., I had a panel at 3 p.m. More appropriately, I had a reading.
I hate readings. I don’t like the way my voice sounds. Plus, I was doing a “Four Horsemen of the Baen-ocalypse” reading with fellow newbie Baen authors Kacey Ezell, Christopher L. Smith, and Michael Massa. They all sound eloquent and have good readings voices while I always sound like I have sinus congestion and have snorted two lines of coke while playing with a helium tank.
I’m not kidding.
It went rather well and we even had John Ringo show up to the reading (more to steal Massa away; more on that later) and the people who attended had a lot of fun. I got to read one of my favorite verses from Kraken Mare, which was a scene that was mostly written by my co-author Chris. He, in turn, actually read from a short story coming out later this year in an anthology.
Once the reading was done I made my way over to the Consuite and began my usual food hunt. Unfortunately for me, most of what they had contained onions, and I hate being stuffy and congested, so dinner plans were made. Then it occurred to all of us that I had a 2 hour signing starting at 7 p.m. in the Author’s Alley and I wouldn’t be able to go and make it back in time. I had jerky for dinner with some gatorade (healthy, right?) and then grabbed my books and headed over to the Author’s Alley.
I’ll be absolutely honest here. I expected to sell maybe 5 to 7 books, which looked about what everyone else was selling. What I did not expect was to sell every single copy I had. It seemed that I always had someone in line wanting to buy a copy of Kraken Mare. I even managed to sell all of my copies of Murder World: Kaiju Dawn, and signed a few copies of Corruptor that people had purchased from inside the dealer’s room. I was completely cleaned out in a short order and walked out of there happy and shocked.
After that I was floating on Cloud 9 the rest of the night. I don’t even remember what room parties I hit that night except that I knew I was babbling like an idiot. In all the years I’ve been at Libertycon I have never sold out of all my books. It was an amazing feeling.
Saturday started off with a 10 a.m. panel (seriously, who the hell schedules me for panels before noon?) and Chris and I did our usual “drive the moderator nuts” shtick. Fortunately our publisher was the Moderator (or perhaps that should be “unfortunately”?) and she took it in stride. Alas, I didn’t have time to eat much (see also, 10 a.m. is too goram early for panels) and I had to rush over to the Bloodmobile to donate my blood again to the friendly neighborhood
vampires blood bank.This year I did this thing called the ALYX donation which doubles the red cell donation while using less actual blood. Takes about 25 minutes instead of the usual 10 but hey, why not? Donated, got a t-shirt (woot!) and a cookie before heading back out to attend the Baen Traveling Road Show.
If you’ve ever wanted to score free Baen loot at a con, the Traveling Road Show is the best way to do it. They were handing out books galore there and it was neat to hear the authors talk about their covers for upcoming releases. I left early (nobody told me to stay) and found out later that they had all the Black Tide Rising authors come up and be recognized.
Later that night I attended the Baen Author dinner, which is always a tremendous honor. I had a panic attack while there though, since it was too crowded in a tiny little space. Thanks to Toni and the others who recognized what I was going through and gave me some space. I also have to thank Larry Correia for shifting the topic over to videogames, which allowed me to re-engage and not feel like a complete and utter reject. We geeked out on World of Tanks for over an hour and I casually mentioned to him that people would pay to watch him livestream his World of Tanks addiction. He didn’t really believe me until I told him that people paid me to stream my gaming. I told him that if I could make money, he could make a ton more.
Evil capitalism at its absolute best.
Hit up some room parties when I got back to the hotel, including the MoonDream Press release party for the latest anthology. Ended up over at John Ringo’s room again (seriously, it’s like I’m looking for someone and end up there, then I can never leave). Hung out for a bit before I decided to walk around some more before going to bed.
Sunday I found out that I had won two auction pieces. One was from Paul Bielaczyc and was an official Wheel of Time piece (The Prince of Ravens), and the other was a simple Oriental-style art piece (A Study in Shading) by a young new artist named Neko San (I know her real name but Neko San is her professional name, so I’ll go by that). I really enjoyed both pieces and now both are proudly mounted in the office. I also got to attend my final panel of the con: the Black Tide Rising roundtable.
Funny story: John Ringo pulled me aside and mentioned that he had not even read my story before the book was in print, so he had been a bit surprised when people were telling him how much that they enjoyed the Louvre story and the heist. He conferred with Gary Poole (the collaborator with John on this project) and was told that yes, Gary had indeed sent my story to John for approval.
I know John didn’t read it because the look on his face when I mentioned that Folsom Duncan was a character in the story was absolutely priceless…
Con wrapped up after this, though I did sign (what felt like) a few hundred copies of Black Tide Rising. A few times I signed on Chris Smith’s name just to screw with my buddy (you’re welcome!) but at the end my hand was cramping. Then it was on to Closing Ceremonies and then the Dead Dog Party.
However, before I went to the Dead Dog Party I was invited to go out to eat with Tedd “Speaker to Lab Animals” Roberts at a Brazilian steakhouse. I had never been before so I agreed.
Holy. Mother. Of. God. I don’t think I’ve had that much meat stuffed into me in my life. Doc and I were absolutely murder-facing the meat they were bringing by and shouting out our battle cries for more food once we tore apart the fleshy goodness. More than once did we get disgusted looks from people around the restaurant, who were appalled at out meat intake. PROTEIN, DAMN IT!
(BTW… meat sweats is a thing, and you should ask Larry just how pleasant they can be)
Monday morning we all woke up late and checked out of the hotel. I’m already missing my con family and can only feel that Heaven must be an eternal convention. Made it home late last night after picking up Odin from the dog sitter (the cats don’t need a cat sitter, just ask them) and lounged for a bit before going to bed. Received an invite to be a guest at two cons but I’m already committed for one on the same weekend so I declined, while the other is a local con here in town that is within walking distance of my house. I’m going to that one.
I miss you already, Libertycon. Best thing of all? Next year will be Libertycon XXX: The Dirty Thirty Edition. They have “Oh, John Ringo, No!” as their special 30th anniversary Literary guest and Kevin Hearne (Iron Druid!!!!) as their Literary Guest of Honor.
Black Tide Rising is chugging along well from what I hear, with almost resoundingly positive reviews across the board. I’m pleased by this, because this means there could be a second story about my merry little band of intrepid thieves in the future. I still have two stories left in their little arc that I’d like to tell but we shall see.
I have copies of Kraken Mare for sale, assuming I don’t sell out of them at Libertycon in two weeks. I think they’re going to be $13 each, and Chris and I both will be available to sign them. I only have 8 copies left at this time however, so it’ll be a “first come, first serve” sort of thing.
I’m still writing. Working on the two sequels to Wraithkin (Darkling and Deathlord) as well as other stuff (including the sooper sekrit prahjekt).
I also survived the flood. My house and work were in the midst of the massive flooding that hit West Virginia and Virginia last week, but fortunately my house was barely touched by it. My work, on the other hand, got hammered by the storm. Multiple trees, some upwards of 80 to 100 feet tall, were uprooted and our road got washed out a little bit. We were fortunate that nobody was hurt and the only thing that we had to worry about was losing power.
So yes, still alive. Yay Team Cordova!
Weird. I’ve been going to this con now for 10 years now and I still feel as though it were just yesterday I was getting the email from Uncle Timmy of Libertycon saying “So do I need to add a ‘Doctor’ to your name as well?”
Good times, and still my favorite con to attend. Anyway, here’s my schedule and some thoughts on them:
3:00PM Friday: Four Horsepersons of the Anthology – Come out and have a seat as our author guests reads passages of their works
Reading – Victorian Lounge
–Note: This one is gonna be a blast. We have t-shirts prepared and all of us contributed to the Black Tide Rising anthology that just came out this past week. Plus, we’re slowly collaborating on a massive four person project involving… well, stuff.
5:00PM Friday: Opening Ceremonies – Opportunity to meet the LibertyCon Guests and Staff
Event – Centennial Theater
–Note: The usual introductions and make fun of Jason time. It’s a thing, I swear.
7:00PM–9:00PM Friday: Author’s Alley – Come by the Author’s Alley to chat, buy a book or get an autograph!
Autograph – Author’s Alley
–Note: Now, this is something new for me. Libertycon just started this last year where an author can rent a table on the cheap for an hour to sell his or her books. It was pretty successful last year from what I could tell, so I snagged two hours worth of time. Unfortunately, I’ve seen the panels I’m up against, and I have a feeling that I might lost a little money here. On the other hand, sell two books and I made it back. So… it’s a good gamble.
10:00AM Saturday – What’s new from Iron Clad Press – Publisher De Anna McHarge Manning moderates this roundtable where Iron Clad Press authors discuss new and upcoming releases.
Roundtable – Centennial Theater
Michael H. Hanson
De Anna McHarge Manning
–Note: Sweet mother of merciful meteors of death, who the f*&k keeps scheduling me for butt-early panels at a convention? What’s worse is that I don’t have anything new coming out from this publisher, so I’m there to… I don’t know, make fun of Chris? (edit: which I will do, naturally)
4:00PM Saturday – What’s New from Copper Dog Publishing / Moondream Press?
Publisher Michael Hanson and his authors talk about what’s new this year from Moondream Press.
Roundtable – Gallery A
Michael H. Hanson
–Note: Another one of those “huh?” panels, since I have nothing new coming from these guys either. My last short story put out was last May, so I think they are continuing the theme of “Jason picks on Chris all the time and the crowd eats it up.” Hey, whatever works.
10:00AM Sunday – Kaffeeklatsch
Have coffee / continental breakfast and chat with the pros
Event – Roosevelt Room
–Note: This one should be fun. Coffee and pros just talking in an informal setting with each other and fans. I’ll probably get a lot of “when’s the sequel to Corruptor coming out?”
12:00PM Sunday – Black Tide Rising Roundtable
Come join John Ringo and his motley crew of authors for their roundtable on the Black Tide Rising anthology. Will be followed by a mass autograph session. Gary Poole, Mod.
Roundtable – Centennial Theater
Sarah A. Hoyt
Jody Lynn Nye
Michael Z. Williamson
–Note: Finally something new to talk about. I’ll be talking a little about my story in this anthology, including the hilarious “how Jason wrote this” tale which is, in my opinion, a better story than what made it into the book.
I really need to focus more on, uh, everything I have going on. Talk about a lot of projects! Between work and writing I almost have zero free time, so things like this and SBR get shuffled off to the side.
I wrote an article explaining why I broke my age-old rule about not writing a Zombie Apocalypse story over at Ragnarok Publications. The website is a little slow loading, so have some patience. I delve a little into explaining why I refused to write a zombie story for so long, and how I have now fully embraced the path of the rotted (right after finishing “Best Laid Plans” I wrote “The Dead of Babylon”, so there’s precedence). I enjoyed it, and now also have another publisher I want to work with on my radar.
I’m back involved with Boy Scouts again, which is fun. Helping the kids at work continue their paths to Eagle Scout reminds me of how hard it was, and how rewarding it can be if one takes the lessons to heart. Of course, the writer in me is vastly amused that I am in Troop 66…
Building a basketball schedule for a high school team is a lot harder than I anticipated. Lots of schools don’t want to deal with us (last season we were 21-8, and we’re returning 7 players from that team, including 3 starters, so I don’t blame them) and the teams that do want to play us are a bit overmatched by our size and speed. Still, it should be a lot of fun.
Working on the Sooper Sekrit Prahjekt still. It’s coming along, albeit at a speed that I’m not particularly pleased with. Part of it is my work schedule, which is a grueling one. The other part is that I want to be lazy when I get home from work. My lawn can testify to this, though my front garden is blooming nicely. I need to get some pics up next week.
I was informed yesterday that Captain America was really a Hydra agent all along, which means that Captain American was an undercover Nazi agent for 70+ years, proving once again that it only takes one publisher to destroy a series and tarnish the legacy of the hundreds before them. I don’t think I’ve been this irritated at an editor since 2009. Worst part is, Captain America: Civil War was a pretty damn good movie (not as good as Winter Soldier, alas) and they just nuked any and all goodwill they had from it on making Cap a double agent. LAZY STORYTELLING, PEOPLE. That’s all it is… lazy storytelling.
Picked up the e-Arc of Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge by Larry Correia and John Ringo last week. Fantastic book overall, with some minor issues that comes with all e-Arcs in general. Looking forward to MHM: Sinners, which will be out sometime this winter.
Don’t forget! Preorder your copy of Black Tide Rising over on Amazon. It’s on sale right now, and I would love to see this puppy hit the NYT bestseller list. C’mon, it has a little story for everyone in it. Humor, horror, actions, explosions, action, romance, sacrifice….. did I mention action?
I’ve been very, very bad about updating lately. I blame it on my awesome new job.
There’s a lot to cover, and not that much time, so I’ll try to give you the condensed “Jason’s Recent Life!!!” version of things.
Writing: Kraken Mare has done exceptionally well these past few months, hanging out in numbers that are high enough to make me rub my hands with glee (can’t help it, I’m greedy and like money for stuff I write). Working on another collab project right now (sooper sekrit prahjekt!). It is not a kaiju book. At least, not in the traditional sense. Best Laid Plans is coming out as part of the Black Tide Rising anthology on June 7, and then my other short story (for another Baen anthology) should be out next year. That story is titled Magnum Opus. Not sure what the title of the anthology is yet, though.Then I can get cracking on two books at once: Darkling, the sequel to Wraithkin, and the first Guderian novel with Christopher Smith, which takes place in the Kraken Mare universe (but isn’t a direct sequel).
Then I need to get back with Eric Brown and focus on the second book of the Murder World duology… *sigh* It’s nice being able to complain about being a busy author.
Life: My job at the Boys Home of Virginia is awesome. I absolutely love what we do up there. It’s very fulfilling and, at the end of each shift, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. It’s a feeling I didn’t even get when I was teaching in Denver.
I also got a new puppy. No, I didn’t replace Sophie. But someone at church had a lab who was having puppies and needed them gone since she couldn’t afford them. I went over and looked at them, and was torn. They had a boy and a girl puppy. Both were adorable lab puppies with markings like a cow )I kid you not). So after some deliberation I decided to get the boy puppy. He is named Odin and he is fitting in fairly well in the house. He’s being crate trained, which he is taking to. He’s also almost housebroken already. I’ll start training him on basic commands in the coming weeks.
Not going to lie, that was extremely difficult. I only had Sophie for a little over two years before she died, but she was my first dog and I had the distinctly guilty feeling that I was betraying her by getting another dog so soon. It’s only been 6 months but, you know? It was rough. However, Odin is nothing like her, so I’ve only called him by her name like five or six times. That’s pretty good.
Conventions: Still attending Liberytcon this July. Extremely excited about the reading that I’m doing with my fellow Four Authors of the Baenocalypse. Long story, don’t ask. But I think I’m War. I wanted Famine. I thought it would be hilarious. Nobody else agreed with me. Oh well.
While one would think that the lack of reviews for Kraken Mare (currently with two reviews only, even though both are good) I would be a sad camper. Except, as I said the other day, one cannot eat reviews.
The upside to the lack of reviews is that they don’t seem to be affecting sales in any way. Kraken Mare continues a slow, steady climb upwards, doing extremely well and actually taking the place of Kaiju Apocalypse as my highest ranking yet on Amazon. I can’t believe the positive comments I’ve received from people about the book. Chris and I thought it would be a crass and humorous book with lots of pop culture references and that was it. But people read books differently than you often intend, and see a deeper meaning or have an understanding of the book that you (the author) didn’t think of.
I hated The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter because, well, badly thought out sequel. But there was one comment in the movie that rang true with me then, and still does now. The bookstore owner (Mr. Koreander) says the following:
Ahh, but have you ever read a book twice? Books change each time you read them.
Surprisingly, they do change, because your understanding of the characters and the knowledge of the book within changes as well. You notice details that slipped by you the first time, and little changes can alter your perception of the novel on whole.
That’s why I always read a book three or four times. I always miss stuff.
Dream job? AWESOME!!!
Lone downside? Lack of writing time. But still, this is the job that I have been searching for since I quit teaching 11 years ago (holy crap… 11 years? Really??).
It’s great that I have the opportunity to help young boys become men and teach them how to go about it. I mean, one of the things society tends to do for kids in the system is be placeholders until they either go home or are emancipated. This is not conducive to child rearing. So my new job takes it one step further. We act not only as role models but also as quasi-parents, living in the cottage with 4-8 boys and just being there for them as they go on through school and towards adulthood. I really wish I’d had a place like this when I was 7-8 and bouncing around various group homes.
A lot of my friends have said recently that they’ve never seen me this excited before, not even for a book release. I remind them that while I enjoy writing, my first love is helping others. And this is the best way to not only help others but shape the future while doing so.
In other news, Kraken Mare is absolutely killing it over on Kindle. As of 5:45PM EST it’s looking like this:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,503 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #87 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Colonization
- #97 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Galactic Empire
- #109 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Military > Space Marine
This is AWESOME but there’s only one review. However, my buddy Leo reminded me that you can’t eat reviews.
(side note: I told him I was going to invent a dish and call it a review, just to spite him)
One of the things I hate to sound like is a broken record.
One of the things I hate to…
You get the point.
Sarcasm aside, I really would like to implore readers to review the books they read over on Amazon. It helps spread the word and get the author noticed in the midst of the thousands of authors trying to gain an audience. Whether it’s a 5 star or a 1 star (or those pesky in-between stars), reviews help.
Of course, we authors prefer the “above 3 stars” reviews more than the 1 or 2 stars, but all reviews can be helpful if they’re actually pertaining to the novel. Complaining about the price of an ebook (which the author has no control over, usually) is akin to complaining to Peyton Manning about beer prices at Arrowhead Stadium (football analogy, woot!).
Right now, Kraken Mare is sitting pretty at #26,839 in overall rankings for ebooks. This is awesome! Except… there’s only one review. Granted, it’s a 5 star review (yay!) but it’s all by its lonesome (sad face here).
So get out there and vo– er, I mean, review.