Needles to say, my summer vacation was NOT productive. With the kids home from school everyday, there was little to any time to really settle in and write.
On top of this, the first thing my lovely children did was spread all their school sicknesses around the household for a week. I was out of commission for a solid two weeks. After which is was homework and heading to the pool for summer fun.
With the summer several weeks behind us, I was looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. But my other business (of running my own private English school here in Japan) took off. I got 8 new students. Which is a lot for a small private school of just two (my wife and I). So we got bogged down with the business and had to do some major rescheduling.
But the first week of September I kicked off with a successful lecture on self-publishing to some Japanese folks. I kept it simple as I wasn't lecturing to native speakers or fellow authors. But it went over well. Even though Kindle has been in Japan for about eight years now, most people don't own one or know about Amazon's self-publishing enterprise. So, it was fun to relay the stuff I do to publish an e-book.
Everyone really seemed to enjoy it and I got lots of great questions and compliments afterwards. If I could do this more often I would!
Now that school has started back up here in Japan, I'm kid free and ready to get back into it. And there's a lot to report.
By the end of this month I'll release my book Dark Forces of Nature collecting 8 sci-fi short stories with a horrific twist--think along the lines of Black Mirror or The Twilight Zone.
Around the 15th of October I'll be releasing a Valandra short story which fills in some of the gaps of the big war with Ashram and how Queen Sabine came to get a magically power metal arm. It will be called Valandra: The Black Knight & The Golden Arm.
Immediately after that, I will write Valandra books 4, 5, and 6.
This should allow for a December, January, and February release of the second trilogy in my fantasy series.
Following these I will release my long awaited (often delayed) Robotica cyberpunk novel and my Bitten 4 novel. These should hit March and May of 2018 respectively.
Then, from May through July, I'll be working on my sci-fi space opera series The Daughter of Sol. I have several years worth of stories plotted and the first major arc roughly outlined. How long it will run is anyone's guess. But like Valandra I plan on writing the arc in 3-arc trilogies so that the stories half a bit of self-contained continuity as I send the characters on many adventures. I prefer mini-arc (seasons) to large, endless, sprawling yarns that don't go anywhere.
Along with these major works I have several short stories in mind, and I plan to join some boxed anthologies later this year too. I'll keep everyone posted as updates are available.
Peace and chicken grease!
--Author Tristan Vick
Because I rushed to get Valandra out in a month, and did the same with books two and three as well, I never quite had the ending I wanted. Now that my writing schedule has slowed down, I've had time to go back and revise the areas that I didn't like. Including the first books ending.
Now the ending is extended through two new chapters which bring everything up the the climactic showdown with Ashram, the wraith knight. Here is a excerpt from the new ending:
Excerpt from Valandra: The Winds of Time Cycle (Book 1)
Revised edition: New ending / Chapter 40.
“Now!” Queen Sabine shouts. The front-line advances, and racing forward, eclipses Gromelin in no time. Soon enough, the dwarf, who had a decent head start, is trailing behind the first wave of soldiers—desperately trying to keep up. His bulging eyes and determination as he looks side to side at the soldiers swiftly running past is almost comical.
Leif catches up to Gromelin, who’s holding his axe and running as fast as his stubby legs can carry him. As he runs alongside the dwarf, he draws out his Kukri blades as they approach one of the first of the decrepit warriors of the undead.
“I’ve got it,” Gromelin says.
“Not if I get it first,” Leif yells over his shoulder as he overtakes the dwarf.
“What?!” Gromelin barks, irritated by Leif stealing his kill. He purses his lips disgruntledly and picks up his pace to try catch up.
Leif quickly slices and dices the creature, sending it to the ground, and keeps on moving. As he leaves its crumbled form behind the undead monster starts to get back up.
“It doesn’t count as a kill unless it’s stopped moving!” Gromelin shouts out at Leif. Without even slowing down, he swipes his axe as he runs past the creature, cutting its skull in half like a melon. Then, upon seeing Leif engage more of the army of the dead a short way ahead, he scrunches up his face and lets out a determined huff as he rushes off to join Leif's side in battle.
Amazon will send out the updated files sometime later this week. Stay tuned!
I do something which other authors sometimes consider taboo. I respond to reviewer comments. Although I'm always cordial, and polite, and thank them for their review...if they say the book has something that doesn't, or doesn't when it does, I merely quote the book and the page number that addresses their claim.
Consider this recent review:
"[T]here were a number of things that the author just didn't seem to think through (e.g. a venomous "python" that was incredibly deadly but that bit a secondary character, who promptly shrugged it off). The whole thing just felt silly."
I merely responded with: I think you missed paragraph two in chapter 22.
"Just a single bite from a Sylek python is lethal to a human. Its venom is fast-acting and there is no known cure. Not even a mage’s magic can heal one who has been bitten. Elves, on the other hand, seem to have a natural immunity to the snake’s effects. Which means, if bitten, Alegra will survive. But if I am bitten, then I’m pretty much done for."
I often wonder, if they think--in their minds--the book is bad, or 'silly', or whatever, because they can't read well and whether or not pointing out their mistake will embolden them to adjust their review accordingly? As in, *oops*, I guess I didn't see that. It makes sense now. I should have read it more closely.
Nope. Most often the review gets lowered by an angry reader being called out on their lies. I don't mind that though. They can lowball me all they want. Other reviewers will see that their review is meaningless because they didn't read the full book or else blatantly made shit up. And my quoted text from the book is right there for others to compare the claim against.
Which is why I reply. Some say it's unprofessional. I think if I left the review as is people would think...oh, this book must be silly and illogical because this guy gave a clear example of it not making sense. But then I quote the book to show the reviewer got it wrong--putting into question how much of the book he actually read.
Now, I don't reply to every single critique. That would be a bit obsessive compulsive. I just reply when there is something totally bonkers about the review. As in, where you asleep while reading this?
I also thank reviewers who go out of the way to leave very specific remarks about the book.
Another guy left a one-star review, but it was so well reviewed I thanked him, saying:
"I'm sorry it wasn't your cup of tea. But I appreciate the detailed review. I've taken a lot of what you said to heart and went back and revised many areas of the book. Thanks for your detailed review! I really appreciate that."
He replied with:
"Sorry I may have been overly harsh...If the updated copy is online and Kindle will DL the update I may give it another go."
Then you sometimes find someone leaves a critical review on the first book but sticks around long enough to find they actually thoroughly enjoyed the second. Such as this reviewer:
"After reading book 1 in this series, I was a little disappointed. I decided to try book 2 and can say it was better."
And I replied with a thank you to him as well for sticking around.
I find that fans enjoy engaging with the author, even just Indy authors. I always get excited replies when I respond as the author. It's always a pleasure.
Just a quick heads up. Valandra book 1 will be free from July 28th to August 1st on the Zon.
*FREE* The E-book of my fantasy novel Valandra (book 1) will be FREE from July 28 to August 1st. On Amazon.com only! *FREE*
#free books#fantasy#romance#kindle#epic fantasy#mecha
Castlevania on Netflix is an entertaining start to a solid vampire series. If you're a fan of the video games series or of vampire mythos in general, I highly recommend it.
Also, I'm a huge fan of Warren Ellis. I was pleasantly surprised to see his name on the writing credits. Knowing how he likes to tell longer, involved stories with big reveals, I'm thinking things will get really surprising later on.
The first part of the series is a short four episodes, but I'll take quality over quantity any day! The animation is gorgeous and the voice acting is subdued. It reminded me a lot of the tone of the Vampire Hunter D movies. And there's nothing wrong with that! If it works, no need to fix it. And it most certainly works here as well.
(P.S. The IMDB reviews by whining Christians is too hilarious. Check those out if you want a good laugh of people bellyaching because of all the anti-Christian themes in a gothic vampire story taking place in the "Dark Ages." LOL)
It's true. I use a lot of run-on sentences and comma splices to make extremely long sentences in my novels.
Some people recoil in shock at the appearance of bad grammar. Don't worry, I don't take it personally. I have credentials to prove I know what I'm doing, i.e. English Theory, English Lit, and Japanese History degrees. I've been writing technical English essays for quite some time. I learned all the formal technicalities of "good" written English . Breaking the rules is half the fun though!
In an Open Culture article, discussing the use of run-on sentences and the linking of abstract phrases in famous works of literature by the likes of Samuel Beckett, Virginia Woolf, F. Scott Fitzgerald and more, I like how the reviewer puts it when he says:
"Sentences like these, writes Barnes & Noble blogger Hanna McGrath, 'demand something from the reader: patience.' That may be so, but they reward that patience with delight for those who love language too rich for the pinched limitations of workaday grammar and syntax."
It's true, long literary sentences aren't for everybody. Most people find the above works challenging to read and would rather consume the easy to read, white bread, of mundane literature. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Many great writers stick to the beaten path of what works. Many entertaining stories have been told within the rigid confines of a regiment grammar and ordinary syntax. But anyone who has read my work knows that's not me. I write with flourish. My syntax is robust. My writing edges on being perhaps more purple than it needs to be. And my style is to use long, winding, linked phrases.
And as long as I'm in such good company as the above literary giants who dared to break the rules and who paved the way for writers like me, I won't take it all that personally if somebody doesn't like my work because of a few run-on sentences, because, as we all know, there's nothing wrong with writing long sentences--not one little bit--and if you think there is, well, what can I say, it's just not true; long sentences are wonderful and if you can't see that, then, I'm sorry--but I can't help you.
Dominion Rising Box SetHey guys, I want to give a shout out to the Dominion Rising Boxed Set. It contains 22 all-new novels from NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors. Some of them are folks I know personally and I'd really like to help them get the word out. And better yet, all of these books are sci-fi and fantasy. If you're a fan of my work, then I'm certain that you'll find something to love in this set.
Besides, 22 books at $0.99 is a total bargain!
In one 99¢ boxed set you'll find the talented works of…
NY Times bestselling authors:
Gwynn Roberts White, Erin St Pierre, Margo Bond Collins, DK Holmberg, Felix R Savage, Tom Shutt, Melanie Karsak, and Erin Hayes.
USA Today bestselling authors:
P.K. Tyler, Anthea Sharp, S. M. Schmitz, KJ Colt, Lisa Blackwood, and D.S. Murphy
Award-winning and Amazon bestselling authors:
S.M. Blooding, Timothy C. Ward, Daniel Arthur Smith, Tony Bertauski, Rebecca Rode, Cheri Lasota, Ann Christy, Becca Andrew Wallace, Logan Thomas Snyder, Dean Wilson and Samuel Peralta(named a Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy notable).
What's not to love about this amazing sci-fi and fantasy collection?
Pre-order yours now!
The pre-order for The 12 Swords of Sabolin is up! This companion book contains pictures, histories, and all the world building to my fantasy series Valandra.
Here's a look at the details on the inside. It's sort of an experiment to see if fans of my fantasy series want more in-depth world building, histories, mythological tales, as well as detailed explanations of the 12 swords and their powers.
A REAL WORLD RANT...ON SEXY INNUENDO & BAD REVIEWS
All my books have sexy innuendo (sometimes sexual but hardly ever sexist--unless one of the characters is deliberately written to be sexist). It never ceases to amaze me though as to how many people are still bothered by even the most basic sexual innuendo. Not even out of place or in poor taste. Far less than, say, George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones, for example. And I make sure it always serves the plot or character arcs (if not plot then certainly the character's arc). That is, I don't think I've ever relied on the enticement of sex to drive any of my storytelling. It's always there, in the background, as in the real world.
Whenever I get a *negative review* complaining about the above average sexual content in my books (I'm not talking smut here--just people having real world relationships--kissing, hugging, squeezing, the occasional petting), I always like to check the geography where that copy of the book was sold. After all, I don't know of any geographic in the real world where people live entirely without sex in their lives. Even the most cloistered, overtly religious, anti-sexual communes usually have sex related scandals. And report after report comes out showing that conservative demographics, the one's that rant the most against sex are, coincidentally enough, also the highest consumer of pornography. Go figure. All you have to do is scratch the surface of people's lives, and you'll find it. It's there waiting for you to either cringe at or watch in dumbfounded amazement. That's the real world, folks.
I suppose if I wrote your typical mundane, non-sexy, material my books would appeal to a much broader demographic (mainly religious prudes and those put off by the idea of sex, which I've always found peculiar in light of how well violence sells in terms of entertainment--but pick your smut, I guess), but at the same time I know that writing "clean," as they call it in the literary world, would make my novels the same old boring oatmeal--or as my grandparents always called it..."mush."
I mean, that would be like watching the original Star Trek without Captain Kirk seducing every cute alien woman he found. It wouldn't make the series any less bad, per se. But it wouldn't make the character stand out as the alien seducing, womanizing, star captain we've all come to grow and love. Personally, I like to have a bit of spice in my stories. At least this way, I stand out with a unique voice. Just as Captain Kirk stood out. Whether that's good or bad, I'll leave it up to you to decide. I agree it's not absolutely necessary, but it's a preference.
It's also interesting to me that if you take away all the "prudish" reviews of my work, there's very little in the way of actual complaints about the story matter.
Sometimes I get dinged for having a grammar or spelling error (or two), but that comes with modern Indie publishing.
I'm going to fill you all in on a little secret. I've been at this writing thing for five years now. Five years as a professional author. And still, mistakes get past me. Heck, when I was still being published by a major publisher, they even got past my editors at that publisher. That's the nature of the beast, I'm afraid. The odd mistake will slip by even after a professional edit and 11 beta readers, such as every one of my books goes through.
And, admittedly, sometimes a silly mistake occurs that probably shouldn't, and a beta copy of the manuscript gets uploaded instead of the finalized manuscript, and sometimes Amazon publishes your pre-order two days earlier than it should (without any notice) thus sending out the wrong book early.
Such as what happened with Valandra 2. I contacted Amazon with screen-caps of the dates to show the error was theirs and they corrected it ASAP offering an *update* for all those who pre-ordered Valandra 2.
So, be sure to check your email and if it didn't come, or got filtered out somehow, be sure to go to your "manage kindle" tab on Amazon, scroll down to Valandra 2 and click on the "update" tab.
This is just the nature of Indie publishing. When you're a one-man band, instead of a 6 person editorial team, things don't always run as smoothly as you'd like. Oh, well. Lesson learned. And that's really all a person can do. I just keeping learning and keep on getting better each time I hit that *publish* button.
Anyway, sorry for the rant. It's just that when I see people dinging me for something that's a trademark of my material it sort of annoys me. If you don't like sexiness and romance, best to steer clear of my novels. They all have it to one degree or another. And I'm sorry if anyone feels I've wasted their time with this rant. Honestly, I wasn't going to send this out, but then I figured, if you don't like a bit of spice in your storytelling, then I should at least do the right thing and give you a heads up--you may want to steer clear of my books--you goddamn Jean-Luc Picard lovers (I kid, I kid!).
Thanks for your time!
In a nutshell, the answer is yes.
The gatekeepers of trade publishing and traditional publishing practices are, by and large, obsolete.
WHY ARE THE GATEKEEPERS OF TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING OBSOLETE?
Please keep in mind that this isn't a criticism of trade publishing. Merely an objective observation of what gatekeepers promise to offer and how this relates to being published.
Now, it is the tradition of the publishing industry to set up middle-men to help make this job easier if not more expedient. This is where agents come into the grand scheme of things.
Of course, the question arises, to what purpose do these middle-men serve?
To help you get published, naturally. But also to make sure that, as their client, that the publishing houses aren't taking advantage of you and to ensure that the publisher is abiding by fair hiring practices and copyright laws, and etc.
So, agents do serve a purpose. But their purpose and function can be easily co-opted into the duties and responsibilities of a self-published author. So, again, they are largely unnecessary. Helpful, sure. Beneficial even. But not a necessity.
They are a nice perk. A luxury. But one can still be published without an agent. Even by a traditional publisher. I know, because sure I did. Get published by a trade publisher without an agent, that is. But it's not recommended to go this way. But it is possible.
(*Note: I say it's not recommended to go this way because the legal rules and regulations of publishing houses is unnecessarily complex and merely makes it that much more difficult for the author to navigate. The reason for this complexity is that traditional publishing has grown from a practice into a business model and, along with it, all the baggage that entails. But this is a discussion for another time).
So, basically, we can all agree that the goal of the agent is to help see that you get published. And the publisher is there to publish you.
The question we find ourselves pressed with is, are these things currently necessary to be a published author? The answer is no. So, the follow up question is why not?
At present, one can forego the middle-man and bypass their preference regarding what they deem as worthy of publication that determines who and what gets published. Frankly speaking, you don't need this arbitrary assessment to be published. If you don't need it, then their purpose of helping you get published and publishing your novel are by definition: obsolete.
In the post-self-publishing world, the fact of the matter is, that the gatekeepers of traditional publishing no longer necessarily serve the function of helping one get published. I mean, they do serve that function, but because of modern technology and the digital format of print on demand publishing (POD for short) they aren't necessary. Not being necessary is the same thing as being obsolete.
So it's not meant as a criticism or a slight when I say the gatekeepers of traditional publishing are obsolete. It's not a value judgement. It's simply a brute fact.
By day I am an educator and a cultural ambassador. By night I entertain notions of being a literary master. In reality I am just a family man and ordinary guy who works hard and loves writing just about as much as I love my family. Just about.