As anyone who has read the short story Aftermath: A world Without Hope, they know of the special challenge I present at the end of the story. I ask the reader to leave a review only if they believe the story should go on and become a series of two, maybe three full-length novels. In the challenge I state that only 5 star reviews will count as a yes vote. Less than 5 star review will constitute a no vote.
I set the book price as low as Amazon allows in hopes that the book will circulate well, knowing that I can setup a free book promotion and hopefully gather some review votes. Now the question is: Should I count only the review votes on the Amazon site, or tally-up those that are on Goodreads as well? If the answer is yes, then the vote goes unanimously in favor of yes, a story continues. If I restrict the official vote count to the Amazon reviews only, then the answer as of this date is a tie. One 5 star vs one 2 star. The reason given by the 2 star review is confusing to me as far as what it is, or what it means, but it's a vote nonetheless.
I thought this review concept was one of the better of my ideas, with reader/author communication being what it is (zero,) I can get a bit of feedback on the direction of this story; if for what it is worth. Interested readers can circle-back to Amazon's product page and take a look at how the vote is shaping up. Will the first to reach five 5 star win? Or will it be the first five <5 star to win?
I've written the first few chapters of Aftermath book 2 with the intentions of moving forward with it. But as one knows, every author loves his own stories; otherwise it wouldn't be written. I've written several if not a dozen or more stories only to discover that it factors down to what the reader wants that is important. My aim is to find out if the story I want to write is mutually in the same interest of the reader, otherwise I have lost in terms of editing fees, and time.
There are other ways of getting feedback. Such would be to include a link to my website at the end of the story where the reader could cast a vote, but I'll try this method first as it seems more convenient for the reader.
I have set a time limit not to exceed this calendar year 2018, figuring that if a lack of interest factors into this challenge, I'll get busy with developing other writing projects.
I hope to broaden my daily writing time to make up for my 'hunt&peck' keyboard ways. I am committed to seeking typing classes. The way it was explained to me was God gave you more than just 2 fingers, so use them all the best way you can. Makes sense since writing usually means paper and pencil to me.
Trouble is, my train of thought is much faster than typing on a keyboard, so by the time I get part of my thought out of my head, I lose the rest of it before I can throw down a period.
Getting someone else to type it out for me into the computer has become a hardship at times since most people have a life and would rather be doing the 'life' thing. So starting now, I am throwing down the legal pad and using a keyboard exclusively and Windows Notepad to transcribe my stories directly into the computer.
It is amazing to note that typing classes are hard to find in my area, but I have been fortunate to find a tutor who claims she can have me typing 15-20 word per minute in a few weeks. If I hadn't spent most of my life fishing, I'd be better at doing things like this. Come to think of it, fishing was a way out for me. I played hooky 60% of the time from school and the other 40% of the time trying to catch up my studies, which got me nowhere. Luckily I have a lazy mind and found fishing and reading went together like tomato soup and oyster crackers. On the days I couldn't find anything to read ( which by the way, I was suspended from using the library,) because I never returned them on time or just forgot to return them. So on those 'off' days, I just let my mind wander down the road of the 'what if'. I got better at fishing and at attempting to pick up a pencil and write down my stories. I just wish I had them now, but I stashed them in a safe place away from the criticism they would get if someone read them. So safe they are, no one not even I can remember where I stashed them.
Funny as it may sound, but learning by 'doing,' has always been the way I accomplished what I know and what I do best in life so far. I don't think that I am that different from most when I say, find someone who is the best at what they do and latch on to them. Beg them to train you and with a little luck you will end up better than your teacher. I became a successful bricklayer that way and I didn't have to finish high school to do that!
Spend some time figuring out how things work and you too may become a magician at it. I consider writing my hobby right now, but I believe the one author I admire the most is too busy spending his money than to teach me what he knows, so I guess I'll do some more of that 'learn by doing,' thing.
These days when recreational reading, I combine a sense of study along with it. I literally take the story apart in my head and study dialogue, narratives, and so forth. I think this makes me a better writer. Later up the road, time will tell. If other readers like me have an understanding of human frailties, then I as a writer will be forgiven.
New release for July is out!
Story takes place a year after an EMP attack on America. The story focuses on a small Okeechobee town named Hartley where a small family tends to its own day to day needs. Of how it all began becomes lost in Winston Sawyer's mind as he wishes to put it all behind him; so the story actually starts off in Chapter 2. You see, Winston, a Seminole Indian descendant and former automobile dealership mechanic, works hard in a Post-Apocalypse world to support his family of two children. He hunts and fishes as well as tending to his 10 acre farm. He smokes meats, fish and harvests his crops. His wife Mary cans the rest.
The day he comes home from a 3 day trip gone bad, he discovers his wife Mary and his daughter Darby missing. His son Joseph is all of his family he has left, except for Rustler, his dog.
Joseph sets out with his father to get the family back, and of course, they bring their 70 pound 3 year old Rottweiler Rustler with them, whose favorite bone is in your leg!
The Aftermath debuts as a 46 page short story which, if well received, will begin in a sequel of novel length books to follow.
Seems a topic of taboo, reviews.
However, I cannot think of a better way to love or hate your author. Normally, I try to encourage readers who have finished reading my works to send out a review whenever possible. Reviews bolster my confidence, erasing my reluctance of continuing on with my writing hobby (notice I said Hobby,) because I get up every morning like the rest of you and head out to the daily grind. I don't mind my day job, in fact, I like the art of bricklaying. It gives me pleasure in a sense of accomplishment for something I can see and admire. Though is appears talking to bricks is what it is, idiotic. No one ever posts a review on my works when it comes to the art of bricklaying. Thankfully I belong to a union, and the paycheck is a great form of feedback for my services.
Now don't get me wrong, I ain't begging no more than I would from a brick. It's just that I can lay a brick and derive a bit of pleasure and satisfaction afterwards. It drives me forward and gets me out of the door each weekday morning.
I think the same applies to me when it comes to reviews/critics, it keeps me going. Something like, "Good job -T, how you coming along on your next one? Can't wait."
So instead of laying myself down on the cool linoleum floor in the kitchen in front of a large box fan and eating spaghetti with my hands after a hard and hot day in the sun, I am back at my kitchen table munching on 'Lucky Charms,' and scribbling down my next story.
I am pretty certain everyone can relate to this; but I figure, unlike the normal way of life, getting a review every now and then would be peachy.
And, by the way, I think everyone plays an important part in life, so keep up the good work ya'll.
I decided to drop the $2.99 cover price of Patriot Son to Free!
As Post Apocalyptic/Dystopian stories popular among readers isn't a formula crafted novel of it's genre, but rather different in a large way. It's a story of the human condition under the duress of war. Survival is the mainstay of most dystopian societies left behind after a sudden distortion in one's day to day life. No electricity, no mobility or means of transportation, and worse, little or no food. Add all that to the jackels rushing in for the spoils, namely those nations around the world that hate America, and you have a problem.
So why Free?
Simply because I believe it is a story that needs to be told. It's a story that allows me to experiment with developing a writing style apart from Faulkner and his single page sentences, or the short punchy sentences of Hemingway and the dark gritty human side as revealed by John Steinbeck. It's a story crafted and told my me using my reader skills and writing style. My deep admiration for the great writers of our time have kept me humble. Though I will never be like them, I will strive to be the one of the best out there. I have been writing stories for a long time, only recently have I had the honor of publishing a few. As far as formula fiction, I dare say not. A quick road to the top ten perhaps, but it ain't me. I'm still inspired by them in ways that feed my curiousity as such; but like to mix it up a bit when I sit down with my imagination and beging writing.
So, if you like where my story is going in the novel Patriot Son, you definately will love Patriot Son book 2 (Under construction), but available free to read as well.
About Patriot Son ...
Published on February 25th, Patriot Son is nearing it's one month roll-out, roll-off sort of speak. After one month, ebooks tend to become obscure. This, mainly because Amazon doesn't spend ad bucks promoting an ebook that hasn't generated interest. I am happy to say I have received many downloads, but downloads aren't what drives the business. It's reader interest in the form of reviews. Thirty days without a single review is the death of any ebook. Without reader feedback, I am sad to say there will be no sequel. It happens in the entertainment business, so I get it. Even when a television pilot is televised, it can quickly die without viewership feedback. It's a tough business. and so it goes.
I will scrap book 2 and go forward with a totally different story. Rest assured, I have many stories that need writing.
So I decided to pass a few hours fishing at a place I've been meaning to try out. A lonely little canal that flowed under a road overpass. It was Christmas eve and I had a little time to kill, so I gathered up my fishing gear and a small freezer bag of shrimp and set out to see what I could catch and release.
Once I arrived at the canal, I eagerly baited my hook with a generous portion of shrimp and cast it out over the water. Immediately I got a bite and the fish and I tested one another's strength. Finally, I landed the catfish on the bank. He was quite handsome at a little over a foot long. I quickly removed the hook and threw him back into the water.
I re-baited my hook as I had done before and cast it back out into the canal. Less than a minute later, I landed another catfish on the bank. I was beginning to feel like an expert angler when I noticed this poor fish like the other one had a small white scar about two inches long near his tail. I tossed him back into the canal and off he swam.
Re-baiting my hook with another shrimp, I cast out my line and like before, I got another bite. I had caught three fish in less than a half an hour. I could have been proud of that, except one thing. The suspicion that I had caught the same catfish all three times. Checking out his tail scar, I realized I did. I caught this little guy each time I cast out my line.
To prove my suspicion I tossed him up on the bank while I re-baited my hook and once again, cast out the line into the murky waters of the canal.
Thirty minutes passed without a single nibble on the hook. I looked over my shoulder to the catfish on the bank; his eyes seemed to follow me and his gills flaring out as he gasped for air it seemed. I found myself talking to the catfish as if he could understand me when I told him how dangerous his game was. "You could have been fillet and eaten!"
Lucky for him I hadn't had the time to fillet or eat him. After all, it was Christmas eve and I was just killing a few hours before packing everyone up in the car to go visit with grandma.
So as I was packing up my tackle I looked at him, as pathetic as he was, just laying there on the bank. As I began to walk for the car, I turned, set everything down sans the small bag of shrimp and knelt down beside him. I then did something I never thought I'd do. I gave him a Christmas gift. I packed his mouth full of shrimp until the shrimp began to emerge out his gills. I picked him up and carried him back to the canal and wished him a Merry Christmas as I gently returned him back into his home.
Sometimes we do things we regret and sometimes we do things we will never forget. Every now and then I think of that catfish and smile. I guess for us both we have no regrets just memories of a warm Christmas eve.
If you haven't noticed by now, the popularity of short stories in ebook form has increased. Or has it?
Browsing the Amazon Ebook pages, I see a significant trend of short stories that are serialized. These stories range from 99 cents to $2.99. These stories are mostly published by Indie Authors, and some are quite good reads. The problem is, they get you wrapped into the story and then it ends (interrupted) by the promise of the next book that is either available or being written while you pull your hair out.
After reading many reviews and bio's from Indie Authors, I have learned what seems to be the typical reason for sending out published novellas that are serialized. For the most part, the reason is that writing is their hobby, and thus the money they put into it is limited. This so-called hobby only pays for itself and nothing more. In other words, the cost of advertising and editing all go hand in hand on the short story/novella scene. To have a book cover designed can be costly enough for most to afford, so they do their own, and some are ok while other covers I've seen look terrible. Many new writers can't spare the $400-$1000 dollars to have their novels edited, but they will part with 150 dollars to have their novella published because editing charges are based on a per word basis. Usually anywhere from 2 cents a word to 8 cents a word, depending on the type and quality of editing the Author chooses.
I have noticed a few Indie Authors publish ebooks without a trace of editing or visible signs of beta-readings. Scathing reviews result, and it is seldom seen where readers ignore these mistakes and respond with favorable four and five-star reviews for story content. Some even offer to edit or beta-read stories for these Authors!