Freehold Friday: Happy Halloween!

It snowed here at Organized Chaos, Inc. this morning, muchachos, making this the first Halloween with snow I’ve ever seen.

Yeah.  Snow.

The half inch we got dusted with is now long gone and evaporated, but there’s a good, stiff 35mph wind out of the north.  Feels like 20° out there.

Yeah.  Ned Stark had it wrong.  Winter ain’t coming…that is already here.

Anyway, while this weather is certainly conducive to sitting by the fireplace and reading—uh, I mean writing —it’s also trick or treat time.

So here’s to a happy and safe Halloween everyone.  And if you don’t have kids, have fun scaring the ones that come to your door begging candy!

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Freehold Friday: There be Dragons here…

This is going to be a short one, muchachos–there’s been an awful lot going on here at the Freehold.  Getting some all of our windows replaced and finished to match the rest of the house is a noisy, messy (need I say expensive?) affair.  But we’re looking at the light at the end of the tunnel…everything’s been installed and they’ve all been stained. Now they need a few coats of poly and we’re done. And all before winter! Woohoo! Last winter sucked. The busted seals and warped frames around the old windows made the house just leak heat like it was made of mesh. No longer!

Other than keeping the kids out of the installers’ way and making sure our new dog (a rescued lab/Shepard mix) didn’t eat anyone, I didn’t get a wholeot of time to write.  Late nights cleaning and painting and early morning potty calls (the four-legged kind) make for one tired writer.

But enough of that… Let not your heart be troubled, gentle reader, for I have discovered voice dictation.  At my absolute top, finger-cramping, keyboard-scorching typing speed I can manage about 2,500 words an hour. Now this is pretty dang good as far as I’m concerned, but my lack of available time lately has really put a crimp on my creative flow, man.

So I started screwing around with Microsoft’s rudimentary speech recognition software embedded in Win 8…and I pulled about 1,000 words…in 10 minutes!!!!  Mind you, there were a good number of spelling mistakes and punctuation problems.  But still.  I mean, daaaamn.

This week’s experimentation has opened my eyes to the possibilities of using dictation to write.  I’ll be looking into Nuance’s Dragon Naturally Speaking software, now.  If the claims I read are true, this could be a game changer folks.  Stay tuned!

Freehold Friday: Book sale!

I’m excited to spread the word that I’m going to be offering Alea Jacta Est on a Kindle Countdown Deal starting this Sunday the 19th at 7am (CST)!!!  For two and a half days, you’ll be able to purchase AJE for only 99¢!  How’s that for a bargain?  Yep, all 484 pages of kick-ass, post-apocalyptic, in-yer-face thriller for less than a buck.  I call that a heaping pile of fresh awesome.

Starting around noon on the 21st, the price will increase to $1.99 and stay that way (still about 50% off) until the wee hours of the morning of October 23rd.  At which time the price will roll back up to $2.99 until the countdown deal ends at 3am (CST) on Sunday the 26th.

I’m still pretty new to the whole promoting your book thing we indie authors have to accomplish ourselves (while writing the next book), so bear with me folks…I still need to figure out advertising and all that jazz.  In the meantime, tell your friends, tell your enemies–hell, tell your parents and even your dog.  Spread the word about the upcoming sale this weekend!  Nothing works better than word of mouth, and I know for a fact my fans are top shelf, as Ted might say.

Those fans who are already signed up on my email list– The Freeholder Update –already knew this, of course.  And, as a reward for their courage in joining this fledgling author on his publishing journey, my subscribers will get a free digital copy of the Wildfire novella currently in the works, to be released in November.

So if you want promotion/book release news and exclusive content, all neatly wrapped up in one–maybe two–emails a month, join The Freeholder Update today!  It’s free and it’s not spam.  Ever.

Okay, now that the shamelss self-promotion is over with, I’m going to get back to writing (and figureing out advertising, and designing the cover for the novella–and AJE2, and while I’m at it, coming up with a name for AJE2…)…

Freehold Friday: Ranking Records and computer snafus

Okay, so I realize that today is Sunday, not Friday…but what can I say ?  Sometimes Windows 8 just flat out sucks and there’s nothing you can do about it but try to recover your work and reload back-up files.  Thank goodness for weekly backups.  I swear, I don’t know what I did without external hard drives in the past.  Oh, wait, I do know what I did…I didn’t worry about it because Windows 7 was so flipping stable.

</rant off>

Anyway….

What a week this was.  I tell you what, I never expected to see my books climb the Amazon bestsellers list like they did.  Apache Dawn and Alea Jacta Est have flirted with and often embraced the Top 100 lists in a couple categories before…but this week?

Apache Dawn hit a new high: #28 on the Medical Thrillers list for paperback books, #32 on the Medical Thrillers list for ebooks, and #42 on the Military Thrillers list for ebooks…

AD #28 med #42 mil 8 Oct 2014

To say that I am blown away is an understatement!  I am so amazed, humbled, and surprised I don’t know what else to do but be inspired!  My fingers are itching to get back to the keyboard.

As a little “thank you” to my loyal fans, I’ve decided to give y’all a little sneak behind the curtain—behind the scenes so to speak.  Think of this next segment like that “extras” disc in that DVD box set you just got.

One of the tools in my writer’s kit for creating realistic worlds is a good map.  For a fantasy novel (think Game of Thrones), it’s damn near indispensable.

It’s easy to do so in a novel like Apache Dawn (for that matter AJE).  I picked a city, pulled up Google Maps, and started describing what my character “sees”.  With Google’s little man-on-the-street view, I can really get some good details for the story.

I put this into practice in the early chapters that revolved around Chad Huntley in Apache Dawn.  The location for those chapters was in Glacier National Park, near Mt. Vaught and Lake MacDonald.  As seen below on Google Maps:

Little Matterhorn region zoom out

All the major locales in the chapters are pinned by me as part of my planning, then I import the file into Scrivener (like I described here) and use the split screen editor feature to be able to write and glance at the map at the same time in orderbto make sure the action that takes place is not only believable, but accurate.  I started out doing this just to make things easier for me to keep track of stuff…then realized it could be a big help for readers too, if I didn’t do a good enough job of describing things.

As a bonus, here’s my cheat-sheet map for Los Angeles, where Cooper Braaten and the SEALs were struggling to…well, I won’t give away the whole story, but if you’ve read Apache Dawn, you should recognize the arrow-shaped building as the ill-fated All Saints Memorial Hospital:

All Saints Hospital area

 

 

And now for the weekly update—I’m about 2/3 of the way through the as-yet untitled Wildfire novella (I have been saying it’s set in the world of Apache Dawn, but I really mean to say is it’s set in the world of Wildfire, of which Apache Dawn is the first book…) that depicts a more civilian perspective on the flu crisis faced by the characters in Apache Dawn.  I think it’s an interesting aside that fills in a little detail about the event swirling around outside the scope of Apache Dawn and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I am writing it.  As a bonus, I’m going to make it available to my email list subscribers for free before it’s released on Amazon, so if you haven’t yet signed up, now’s the time to join the ranks and subscribe to the Freeholder Update!

As far as the sequel to Alea Jacta Est, I’m also making decent progress on this front and I’m just about 1/3 of the way through that story.  It’s shaping up to be better than when I planned it out all out so I’m really getting excited here.  I’m trying to get this one done by the Holidays but it may be more realistic to say very early 2015.  Don’t quote me on that…if you want to know the mintue I settle on an official release date, join the mailing list!

All right, muchachos, I hope you enjoyed the maps and—barring any further computer problems—I’ll see y’all again next Friday!

Freehold Friday: Apache Dawn now available in paperback!

Finally, Apache Dawn is available in the old school version, so’s you can hold it in your grubby hands and squeal about “your precious”.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, its impressive looking, and I’m not just saying that as a proud poppa.

You can grab yerself a copy at Amazon now, it’s linked up with the digital version.  Which, thanks to Amazon’s Matchbook program, if you buy the paperback you get the digital for only .99 cents!  Here’s the deal, cut right out of Apache Dawn’s page on Amazon:

matchbook

This update will be a little short this week—been putting in lots of hours working on the AJE sequel and the novella (set in the world of Apache Dawn) I’ve got planned.

Until next week!