Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sales Stats Update Through 1st Quarter of 2014


Occasionally I like to share some general statistics on sales trends with respect to my books. This time I am going to give basic information on sales percentages based upon the format, giving the overall percentage each format has sold:

Print: 21.4% of sales
Ebook: 73.5% of sales
Audiobook: 5.1% of sales

With those percentages keep in mind that the print and ebook formats of my books have been available far longer than audiobook formats. In fact, Genre Shotgun hasn't been released in audiobook yet (it's still in production).

If I go by 'total months available' (for all works), as each has been released simultaneously in ebook/print, each of those two formats have had 104 months of availability, whereas audiobooks have had only 27 months of availability.

That demonstrates that the impact or share of audiobook sales is under represented by the straight percentage breakdown of overall sales.

Even so, sales vary from title to title. Possibly next time, after Genre Shotgun has been available in audio for a short while, I'll post the updated sale trends by title as I did on February 3 of 2014.

Monday, April 28, 2014

An Excellent Short Video: Exit Log

I came across this video. It's pretty short and interesting. Not great depth but makes you think of risks and consequences. I'd categorize it as: SF/Disaster Avoidance/Time Travel

Link:   Exit Log (from the imagination of Chris Cornwell)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Featured and Participating Authors Announced for the 2014 Ohioana Book Festival

Ohioana has announced the Featured and the Participating Authors for the festival.

Me? I'll me one of the main pack (participating author). I've glanced through the listing and there's quite a variety from all over Ohio--including a good number of SF/Fantasy authors.

Here's a link to the author listing with bios (if you're interested): Book Festival Authors

A reminder:

Saturday, May 10, 2014
10 am - 4:30 pm
Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center
600 Jack Gibbs Blvd.
Columbus, OH 43215

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A 2nd Interview with Author Justin Macumber

Welcome back to Up Around the Corner, Justin. Please, please remind the readers a little about yourself and your writing.

Well my name is Justin R. Macumber, and I like to think of myself as a genre-blind writer. I love science fiction, I love fantasy, and I love horror, so those are the sorts of stories I’m going to tell. I wish I could be the sort of author who was known for one specific niche, because I think that gives your “brand” more focus, but I can’t. I want to write it all!

Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve been up to since your interview back in Decemberof 2012?

Writing, writing, and more writing, as well as moving into a new house, and then helping my wife kick cancer in the butt. It’s been…yeah, kinda busy. But that’s what life’s about, right? My latest book, STILL WATER from Gryphonwood Press, marks my third published novel, and this year two anthologies will be coming out that I have stories in. I also have another novel with a different publisher being edited as we speak.

What do you find to be the most frustrating aspect of being an author, and what is one of the most positive aspects of being an author?

Definitely the solitude while working on the first draft or two of a novel can be difficult. I start off confident, but it doesn’t take long before self-doubt creeps in and starts ruining all the fun. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to where that doesn’t happen anymore. But as for positive, it’s meeting all the great readers and fellow writers out there. Their love and kindness never cease to humble me.

What are several of your favorite movies and why did you enjoy them?

Star Wars, because it took a four-year-old boy and made him into a sci-fi geek. The Matrix, because it was just so damn cool. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, because it dared to tell the truth about pain, and about how pain is okay, perhaps even precious. And Casablanca, because love is timeless, as is loss.

What sort of things influence what you write?

Mostly movies and video games. I’m a big movie lover, but I might be an even bigger game player, and both of those mediums constantly feed my subconscious. I know for a fact that none of my novels would have been written had it not been for those influences.

Can you tell us about STILL WATER, your most recently published novel?

STILL WATER is about a secluded coal mining town in West Virginia that accidentally awakens an ancient evil buried in the mountains for millions of years. As that evil awakens it affects the town and its people. But, into the story come two people – Kyle and Maya – each from different backgrounds yet brought together to try and stop the ending of the world. Reviewers have been comparing it to Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft, which delights me no end.

What writing project are you planning next and what would you hope to accomplish within the next five years?

Up next is TITANS RISE, a prequel to my first Gryphonwood Press novel, HAYWIRE. It is going to tell the story of the original Hezrin invasion into our solar system and the creation of the Titan super soldier program. After that I’m going to write the final novel in my YA urban fantasy trilogy, A KILLING MAGIC. I have a list of books I want to write beyond that, but which one I decide to go with I’m not sure right now.

Is there anything else you’d like to add or say to the readers of Up Around the Corner?

I’d just like to say thank you so much for your time and interest. I’m incredibly proud of STILL WATER, and I hope everyone will give it a read. And if you do, please reach out and let me know what you thought of it.

Thank you, Justin, for taking the time to answer another set of questions here at Up Around the Corner.

For those interested, here are several links where you can learn more about Justin Macumber and his works:

Amazon Author Page:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

An Interview with Author Debra L. Martin

Welcome to Up Around the Corner, Debra. Please, tell us a little about yourself and your writing.

Thanks, Terry for inviting me. Like most authors, I still have a day job which means that I have to be more focused and organized with my time. Most of my writing is done on the weekend although I try to schedule in a few early morning sessions as well. There are times though that a scene or an idea just won’t leave me until I write it down.

Can you tell us how you came to co-author with David W. Small, how the writing partnership works, and any suggestions you might have for authors considering co-authoring with other writers.

Anyone who has visited my blog, Two Ends of the Pen, knows that Dave is my brother. Growing up, we always shared the books we read with each other. In 2006, Dave was complaining that he couldn’t find a decent fantasy to read and I quipped, “Well, we should write our own.” That was the beginning of our partnership.

Writing with a co-author means leaving your ego at the door. Now saying you’re going to write a book and actually writing one is at opposite ends of the spectrum. As any author will tell you, they’ve heard that exact same statement from lots of people, but actually following through on it and putting words to paper takes a tremendous amount of time, energy and self-determination.

Our first book was Quest for Nobility, a fantasy based on the distant planet Otharia. Our main characters were royal twins (brother and sister). Surprising, right? Anyway, it made perfect sense for us. We’ve had a loving relationship all our lives and it wasn’t hard to write these characters and how they would react to the conflicts we would throw at them. We had a general outline of the book and initially assigned each other a chapter to write. Now that sounds reasonable, however, it turned out to be a disaster.

We turned out to be pretty similar in our writing styles and that meant we included pretty much all the same information in both chapters. Out came the delete button and thousands of words went into the trash bin. So then we figured that we would write one chapter at a time before we sent it to the other one for edits. That way we both knew what was already in the chapter and could move forward with the next chapter without repeating the same information. Still, it wasn’t all smooth sailing, especially when something was added in that we both didn’t agree on. Our mutual test was “If you can’t justify why something is included, then out it goes.” Yes, you definitely need to leave your ego at the door and keep the big picture in mind. You want to write the best book you can and sometimes that means things got left on the cutting room floor.

So that should have worked, right? Wrong! Do you know what happens when two people are writing a story without a specific outline? It’s not pretty and ¾ into the book, we thought of a fantastic tangent that we had to include. That meant we needed to go back to the beginning chapters again and rework them so that our new tangent made sense. When we finally finished the book, we felt like we’d run a marathon, but we weren’t done yet. After letting it sit for a few weeks, it was back for another round of edits. It’s amazing how much you see that needs to be changed if you step away for a bit. All in all, our first book was probably edited from cover to cover at least 6 or 7 times before it went to our editor for the final edit. That’s a lot of editing, but the book is now something we both are proud to put our names on. This was also the book that nearly landed us an agent in 2008, but in the end, it didn’t work out. The one positive thing we came away with though is that we didn’t suck at writing! We could write an exciting action-packed adventure and that was a huge boost for us.

Because of our experience in writing Quest, we knew that we needed more than a 10,000 foot (high level) outline. In the second book in the "Otharia" series, The Crystal Façade, the writing went much more smoothly. We were getting into our groove and we had a much more extensive outline to work from. That’s not to say that we don’t think of “cool” things to add in along the way, we absolutely do, but at least now when we add in an unexpected twist or another tangent we don’t have to backtrack to the beginning and fix the plot. Even though we both know what the outline says, it’s still exciting to see how it actually turns out especially when we both add in little tidbits as surprises for the other.

Dave and I love writing together. It is a fantastic creative outlet for us, but it may not be for everyone. If you plan to write with a co-author, make sure you have compatible writing styles. When Dave and I look back at our books, we can’t remember who wrote what and that’s a very good thing!

Who are several of your favorite authors and why do you enjoy their works?

My favorite authors run the gamut from George RR Martin and Robert Jordan to Orson Scott Card to Jane Austen. I read a wide variety of books and I believe this helps me in my own writing career.

Can you tell us about some of your published works?

To date, we’ve written 5 novels, QUEST FOR NOBILITY and THE CRYSTAL FAÇADE in the “Rule of Otharia” series; THE SILVER CROSS in the “Vampire Nightlife” series; ASSASSIN’S CURSE and the soon to-be-released WITCH’S CURSE in the “Witch Stone Prophecy” series as well as a number of short stories and novellas in the “Dark Future” series.

If you could invite three individuals to dinner (living or deceased), who would they be, where would you prefer to dine, and what would you hope to discuss?

Queen Elizabeth I
Jane Austen

Each of these women showed remarkable resolve in getting what they wanted from Cleopatra’s wooing of Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony, to Elizabeth’s brilliant strategy as she moved heads of state and country in her own game of chess to keep herself safe, to the quiet Miss Jane Austen who wanted to write stories and stopped at nothing until she was published even though she had to publish her works anonymously. I would very much like to hear in their own words how they viewed the world especially the bias against strong intelligent women.

What writing project are you working on now and what would you hope to accomplish within the next five years?

As I said in a previous question, WITCH’S CURSE, the exciting conclusion in the “Witch Stone Prophecy,” is nearing completion. We hope to have this book published by early Summer. It’s a complicated story though and it has already surpassed 130,000 words. There are many threads to tie up and we don’t want any loose ends in this book. Both Dave and I are working diligently on our writing with the hopes of it being our next career although we realize that writing full-time might be a little ways off for now.

Is there anything else you’d like to add or say to the readers of Up Around the Corner?

Yes, here’s another fun fact. In addition to writing fantasy and science fiction with my brother, I also write romance under the pen name, Debra Elizabeth. It’s a great way for me to pour my romantic side into the stories. Currently, I’m working on DARE TO LOVE A SPY which is the third book in the “Age of Innocence” series.

Thank you, Debra, for taking the time to answer my questions for visitors here at Up Around the Corner.

Thanks so much for having me, Terry. I appreciate the opportunity to connect with your readers.

For those interested, here are several links where you can learn more about Debra L. Martin and here works:

Facebook Author/Fan Page:
Amazon Author Page:

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Local Kids TV from my Formative Years

I stumbled across this video which I actually recall watching that exact episode of Patches and Pockets as maybe a seven year old.

Times have changed in what kids would view as 'acceptable' and interesting, that's for sure. The two rag dolls 'playing in the street' which is nothing more just another part of the set. The power of imagination which I think is being lost.

And the bugs...I remembered the episode from imaginary bugs discussed. See, as I little kid, I would go outside and watch the insects in our backyard, when not playing with my plastic dinosaurs and army men.

Sometimes I'd sneak a quarter teaspoon of sugar from the kitchen and place it on the ground to watch the ants come out of their nest and work to recover the 'sweet' find. Once I'd found the holes to the underground nest, I'd experiment over a week or so to see how far away the scout ants would venture to find the sugar treasure...and where the crossover might be for another ant colony to discover the food...and would the two colonies go to war over it? If I recall, the ant scouts would venture up to five steps.

And to find a stag beetle and pick it up without getting pinched? That was the really cool in my young eyes. And to find a praying mantis in the garden, and watch it, hoping to see it catch another insect. Only once I saw one catch a white-winged moth. The mantis wasn't as lightning fast as I thought it would be, but it was fast enough, obviously.

Anyway, I stumbled across a clip of classical music, and it drummed up the memory of the Patches and Pockets show. It wasn't my favorite show, but my sisters liked it, and we had one TV, and, of course, a limited selection of channels (24, 11, 13 and 30--PBS). Even so, I recall thinking it was cool to see places like the Toledo Zoo, where I'd visited on TV--Patches and Pockets.

Times have changed--and interesting stuff you can find on Youtube.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Potential Consequences of Anti-Social AI Software

I came across this article and found it very interesting.

It looks at the world from the very basic, straightforward programming goals of software, including the emerging AI that is being strived for.

It made me think back to my days in college when they were discussing AI, and reminded me of a few things I hadn't really thought about in current and future context.

What is the goal of a software package, what are the parameters, and what resources and efforts will it undertake to achieve it to achieve its goals?

Here's the article...I highly recommend giving it a read. It's not long, nor is it filled with technical jargon. Pretty straight forward and potentially eye-opening.

Article Link: Why There Will Be A Robot Uprising by Patrick Tucker of Defense One 

It's given me additional ideas for one of the novels in the Crax War Chronicles I have roughly planned out. And I hope what Mr. Tucker discusses at a potential problem--a serious one, remains SF.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

(Update) Ohioana Book Festival Panel for 2014

I've been informed that I will be participating on the From Another Realm: Paranormal, Science Fiction & Fantasy panel, which is scheduled to run from 10:15 am until 11:00 am, in room 112.

The other authors on the panel will be: Anne Marie Lutz, Terri-Lynne Smiles, and Tara Tyler.

The full listing of participating authors hasn't been announced yet. Even so, I'm looking forward to catching up with some authors from last year while meeting new ones.

I'll keep you up to date as more information becomes available.

A quick reminder:
Saturday, May 10, 2014 10 am - 4:30 pm
Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center
600 Jack Gibbs Blvd. Columbus, OH 43215

Here's the link: 2014 Ohioana Book Festival

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Interviewed by the International Writers Association Podcast

I participated in a phone interview with the International Writers Association Podcast. Phone interviews aren't exactly my best participatory format, but I'm getting better with practice.

If you have an interest to hear me talk about writing, contracts and a few other areas, here's the link:

Link: International Writers Association Podcast - Episode 51

Monday, April 7, 2014

To Be Interviewed by the International Writers Association Podcast

On Wednesday evening I'll be interviewed by the International Writers Association Podcast. Or that's the plan.

When the interview will go live/be available, I'm not sure, but I will update readers of Up Around the Corner when that information learned.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

AM Radio Throwback


My 1970s Vintage Radio
This radio was a Christmas gift to me in the late 1970s. Yes, it's that old.

I can remember clicking it on to listen to a five minute sports show "Mitch in the Morning" while getting dressed for school.

Over the years I've listened to it while working outside on the porch or in the yard. No, its volume isn't great, so I have to be close, with no major noises like lawn mowers or hedge trimmers nearby.

I can still recall lying on the top bunk in my bedroom, with the radio on my dresser, listening to the Detroit Tigers playing the NY Yankees...with Ron Guidry on the mound or Thurman Munson up to bat.

The old red radio still has a main use. When the power goes out, it goes on.

My wife laughs, as do my daughters. But it still serves a function, and it isn't broken, so why throw it away or 'upgrade' to something more modern? (I'll post more on this topic soon).

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Blood Sword Review: What I was Shooting For

A review posted by a reader over at Amazon commented on several aspects of the First Civilization's Legacy Series that I'd been hoping to portray:

"Well written with a gritty realism not usually seen in fantasy. Characters have depth and the impacts of battle are not glossed over."-- Amazon Customer,* (Papillion, NE United States)

*That is the reviewer's screen name.