Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 - The Year I Write 4 Novels

 

Now that 2011 has come and gone, I can look back and smile at what I have accomplished. Go ahead, smile with me.

During the course of the year, I went from planning on finishing the first book for Miscorrection to doing so much more. I also wrote five short stories and a novel under a pen name. In total, I wrote about 185,000 words this year and learned more than I ever thought I would.

I've also met some great online writer friends like Jeff Ambrose and Steve Umstead. Jeff's been integral in helping me learn more about writing, offering tips and tricks and books to read to help my craft. Steve, through writing his Gabriel Trilogy, has shown me that you can write three novels in a year. Plus, I've watched his marketing and see that it has paid off for him.

As I look to 2012, I need to top what I did this year. So here is my goal. I plan to write and self-publish four novels in 2012. Two of the novels will finish up the Miscorrection trilogy. The other two novels will be in the Fram Gage series under my pen name Desmond Shepherd.

Can I do it? I think so. It will require that I write in the neighborhood of 300,000 words. A couple of years ago, that sounded like a lot. Now? It definitely sounds doable.

So 2012 ... it's an important year. It's going to be the year in which I write four novels.

Smile! :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Got a new Kindle? Get a free book, too!

I'm guessing there are one or two people out there who recently were given a Kindle. Maybe even three. There's really no way for me to know an exact number.

Regardless, there are new Kindle owners out there. Basically, they've got their cake. But what's cake without some icing?

That's why I've decided to make Fram Gage and The Infinite Ability available for free from December 25, 2011 to December 27, 2011. Consider it the icing on the cake!

Click here to get Fram Gage and The Infinite Ability free for your Amazon Kindle!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Guest Blog Post "My Reading History"

Hey all! Just a quick note to let you know you should head over to Jeff Ambrose's blog and read a guest post I wrote. It's all about my reading history, which could be boring. So I made sure to add a little surprise at the end ... one that will benefit your reading history!

So check it out! "My Reading History" by B.C. Young

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kindle Owner's Lending Library

***UPDATE: Due to the terms of exclusivity for KDP Select, I had to remove Miscorrection: Preludes and Don't Blink from the service. However, you can still purchase those books from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and other eBook retailers.***


Hey all! I got some great news. A few months back I made  a post called "eBook Subscription Service". Basically it talked about a potential "Netflix" style service that Amazon might be offering for the Kindle.

Well that service was announced and is called the Kindle Owner's Lending Library. It allows all Amazon Prime members to "check out" one book a month for free. The downside of the service was that it did not allow self-published authors like myself to be a part of the program.

Well that has all changed. Effective today, Amazon has started offering self-published authors the option to put books into the Kindle Owner's Lending Library. Of course, since I was giddy to do this in the first place, I have committed several of my books to the service.  The following three books are currently available:



Click the book cover to be taken to the Amazon product page for the book.

In the future, I expect to make more books available, so check back often.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Future of Miscorrection

I'm back. After a brief hiatus from the Miscorrection series for the past four months, I'm feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. I'm ready to get back into writing the series.


Last week, I started writing the story after outlining it roughly the week before. The Book 2 story has been in my head for years, so getting it outlined was not an issue. But  I did have an issue with my approach.


As you may know, I wrote Book 1 of Miscorrection as a series of six novelettes/novellas. I did this for a number of reasons, but the main one was my inexperience in writing. Writing Book 1 as a novel felt overwhelming, so I broke it down into six smaller stories that I could manage.


Great idea at the time, but as I thought about writing Book 2, I felt that approach might be wrong. After debating it in my head for a few weeks, I decided to write Book 2 as a novel. It will work out better and allow me to develop the plot in fuller detail.


This has left me with a minor problem. If Book 1 is six shorter stories and Book 2  is a novel, do the two compliment each other? Or do they make the series confusing? I think it is the latter. So, I am overhauling the series a little. No, I'm not rewriting Book 1 as a novel. Rather, I will take the "Book 1" completely off the title and rename it to Miscorrection: Preludes. The book I'm writing now will be titled in a similar fashion.



Instead of publishing a new book for this change, I will update Miscorrection: Book 1 (Sunrise to Sundown) with a new title, cover, and some inside changes. Currently, all sales of the book are on the Amazon Kindle, so I will make Amazon aware of the update so they can contact the customers who bought it already, if they want the new copy. This only applies to the eBook version as the print version will remain as it is. Who knows, maybe that one and the standalone eBooks of each story will be collector's items in a few years!


It was a tough decision to do this, but I think ultimately a very important one. As I continue to write Miscorrection 2, I'll reveal more information about it.


What do you think about my choice? Feel free to tell me in the comments below.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November 2011 Sales Numbers

Well, another month has passed. That means it is time for me to report my eBook sales. Let's just say that compared to the past three months, these sales are not as good. I'm not worried though. I'll just keep writing and putting out more books. It will get better with time.


I released two books during November. The first is Don't Blink. This is a collection of 40 flash fiction stories I wrote. Unfortunately, I didn't see any sales of the book.


On a high note, Fram Gage and The Infinite Ability released before December. While it was technically available starting November 23, 2011, I didn't promote it until November 25, 2011. From that point until now the book has sold faster than anything previously published by me (me being B.C. Young and Desmond Shepherd). So I'm happy about that. Don't forget, between now and December 7, 2011 you can pick up the book for only $0.99. That's 75% off the regular price of $3.99!


Without further delay, here are my November 2011 sales numbers.


November 2011 Paid Sales Numbers:

Total Paid November Sales: 18

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Book Deal!!!

Great news!!! Fram Gage and The Infinite Ability is now for sale on the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and through Smashwords! That's nearly a week before I anticipated releasing it. I'm waiting on B&N for it to be available there. When it is, I'll be sure to let you know!


The news gets better! You can get the novel right now for only $0.99. While I'm labeling this as a Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal, it actually starts today and ends December 7, 2011. After that, the cost goes back up to its regular price of $3.99. This is my way of saying thank you to everyone who has followed my posts the past few months leading up to the book's release. I hope you take advantage of this offer, and if you do, I hope you enjoy reading Fram Gage and The Infinite Ability.


You can get Fram Gage and The Infinite Ability during this Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal for $0.99 for your Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, or through Smashwords from the following locations:


Click To Buy    Click To Buy    

 About the book: Fram Gage has lived at Biality Orphanage for six months, remembering nothing about his past before arriving there. While the orphanage has provided for his needs, such as food, shelter, and even a couple of good friends, what Fram looks forward to the most is a chance to go inside The Ability Chamber: a room used for physical competitions that gives the competitors unique abilities.


Fram enjoys going into The Ability Chamber because it gives him the chance to try out Super Strength, Wall Climbing, and other abilities. Whether winning or losing the competition, being in The Ability Chamber gives him the chance to feel like he is in control of his life and his present situation.


Competitions in The Ability Chamber are usually safe. But when Fram, his close friends, and an outsider are called upon to race, rules within The Ability Chamber change. As the four children compete, Fram finds their situation has become dangerous, and only he has the ability to help them reach the end safely. Will he be able to protect them?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fram Gage and The Infinite Ability


Fram Gage lives in Biality Orphanage. It's an okay place, except for The Ability Chamber, which is a fantastic arena within the orphanage where the children compete and race using superhuman abilities such as Super Strength and Wall Climbing. Fram especially likes it, until he and his friends are in a competition where the rules have changed. Their lives are in danger, and they don't know what to do. But a special ability--one they never imagined--gives them hope to make it through the competition safely.

Available at the following locations:

Click To Buy   Click To Buy            

Print edition available at Amazon and CreateSpace.

Fram Gage and The Infinite Ability


Copyright © 2011 by Desmond Shepherd

Chapter 1

“Come on, Fram. Quit being such a wimp. We can’t get hurt,” Bagger Carson yelled. He gripped a brick window sill with his left arm, which kept him from falling four stories to the sidewalk below. A breeze caused his loose fitting green t-shirt to ripple, and the cuffs of his baggy tan shorts slapped his knees. The veins traveling down to his biceps bulged outward. He swung his other arm onto the sill, grabbed it, and hoisted his body up and into the opened window.


Fram Gage watched as Bagger’s short, stocky legs slid from view and into the building. Four stories was high. Too high. He’d have to scale the wall like a spider to get there. Even though he’d been assured of his safety, it was difficult to put himself in harm’s danger. He wasn’t a thrill seeker; he didn’t care about looking death in the face.


“Fram!” Bagger yelled down. His head stuck out the window just missing the top because of his purple Mohawk. Most days, he kept it hair sprayed hard like a rock, with five different points reaching up into the air eight inches. “We got to make it over to finish. Whoever loses is toast. Why don’t you just play along? Don’t let your massy pants keep you from moving.” He grabbed at a brick on the sill, ripped it from the building with his strength, and threw it down to the sidewalk below. Fram jumped to the side two feet, even though the brick landed 10 feet away from him.


Fine, Fram thought. He had to do it anyway; it was a part of class. Of all the things they taught, the physical training was the hardest; but Fram enjoyed it the most. He knew it would come to this; it always did. Go through the motion, run a race, get sweaty, and get a loss rubbed in his nose. But he couldn’t lose this time. He dressed right for the occasion—a skin tight, black t-shirt and black spandex pants with a green stripe down the leg; “massy” pants. With the clothes wrapped around his thin frame, he knew it wasn’t the most masculine outfit, but it was the best one for a chance at a win. Don’t ruin it this time. You always find a way to fail.


Fram reached his hand toward the redbrick building. The climb to the top would be six stories. Bagger might think he had a head start and even gave Fram a fighting chance by slowing up and urging him to compete. When his hand contacted the brick, they suctioned to it like a leech looking for blood. It freaked him out. It was like his body had a mind of its own, but he knew it was all an illusion. Just an illusion. Albeit a very real one. He reached his other hand high, and it too clung to the wall. Next his feet. He kept them bare, because if he didn’t, they’d just cling to the inside of his socks and shoes. Why’d they assign him an ability like this. Sure, he couldn’t get hurt, but he still felt the scrapes and bumps on his feet as they happened. His feet clung to the wall, and he crawled up the side of the building.


“Oh, it’s on,” Bagger said when Fram reached the second story. “Don’t worry, Fram. You’ll be toast just like every other time.” Bagger’s head disappeared into the building.


“Not if I can help it,” Fram whispered.


He alternated right hand up, left hand up, right leg up, left leg up. Within 30 seconds he went from the ground below to the fourth story window where Bagger taunted him. He peeked his head into the window. Not much there. There never was. All the details were left on the outside. The insides were included if they would be used extensively. Barren, cream colored walls and an open door were in the room. Fram could almost see Bagger running out that door and up the stairways to the roof. That was his only way up. The fifth story window was too high for him to jump to the ledge. It gave Fram an advantage, because he just had to move upward. While Bagger managed the maze inside the building, Fram would scale the wall and be on the roof in seconds.


As he thought about this, it reminded him he was four stories high. He turned his eyes toward the street, and instantly became dizzy. Fear made him realize what he did. If he fell from that height, it would hurt. It would kill him. No … wait. It wouldn’t. He’d be fine. He can’t get hurt like that. But as he looked down to an empty street with perfectly painted yellow lines going down the middle, he wondered what the impact would be like if he fell. What would stop him from getting hurt?


No. He couldn’t think about that. It’s what he always did. Didn’t matter if it was accepting defeat, not taking a risk, or just making a stupid move, he wouldn’t lose this time. He snapped his view away from the street and gazed up at the sky. White, puffy clouds stood still above him, and in them he swore he recognized the face of a woman. But he brushed it off. The rooftop was two more stories up, and his muscles were starting to burn. He had to move quick and without thought. He alternated his hands on the brick, climbing further skyward and then reached the ledge of the rooftop. He pulled himself over and dropped a foot onto the roof. Dust sprayed up at his feet where he landed, and a cool breeze caressed his face, evaporating the sweat dripping down his forehead.


To Fram’s right, 20 feet away, the rooftop door was closed, which meant Bagger hadn’t made it up. Straight ahead was the finish line. In the distance, the other students waited to see who would make it there first. They were 400 feet away, which isn’t far, but traversing the next two obstacles was the hard part.


Fram ran toward the next building. This one was made from metal. Sunlight reflected off the building, causing a glare. He raised his left hand above his eyes and examined his next obstacle. The space between the buildings was 40 feet. Too long for Fram to jump. He could try, but he’d fall short of the other rooftop and land on the wall about halfway down. Then he would have to crawl up again, slower than before because the other climb exhausted his arms. On the south side of the roof, a wooden plank connected the two buildings, making a bridge to the next building. Fram hated that option. It meant he’d have to look at the empty street below as he crossed.


Slam!


The rooftop door flew open, and Bagger ran out. Sweat dripped down his face, and he clearly had a rough time with the inner maze. That didn’t matter now. He approached the edge of the building where Fram stood. He stopped when he got next to him.


“You may have gotten ahead, but we’re even now.” Bagger looked at the building, then over to the plank.


“Shut up, Bags. It ain’t over yet,” Fram said. He spoke with a confidence he knew he didn’t have internally. Until recently, he always fought his battles alone, and this one was the same.


“Looks like we got two options. I know which one I’m taking.”


Bagger ran back 20 feet, stopped, and ran again toward Fram. His legs pushed hard, moving faster with each step until he reached the edge of the roof. He squatted down, while maintaining his momentum, pushed into the ground, then leapt into the air. He soared 30 feet in a perfect arc that landed him easily onto the metallic roof of the other building. He turned around and faced Fram, waved his hand and said, “Bye-bye, Toast.”


Fram knew he would never be able to do what Bagger just did. He had to walk the plank. He ran over to the wooden platform. His right foot softly touched down, then his left foot. At this pace, he knew he would never reach Bagger. He moved his feet faster, maintaining his balance by putting his arms out to each side. Then he made the mistake of looking down instead of forward. At that height, nearly 100 feet, he couldn’t help but get dizzy. He tried to ignore the feeling, but as his feet moved faster, his dizziness got worse. He lost his balance and tipped toward the right edge of the plank.


But he didn’t fall. Only his body tipped, while his feet gripped onto the plank just like when he climbed the wall. Looking down into the pit, he realized he couldn’t fall. With the plank secure and his feet clinging to it, it was like he walked on solid ground. His pace quickened, and he ran across the plank and made it safely to the other building.


Bagger was on the other side, standing at the last obstacle of the course. Fram ran to him and caught up without much effort. He stopped when he reached Bagger, rested his hands on his knees, and breathed heavily.


“What you waiting for?” Fram asked. “You could of won this easily.”


“Don’t know how I’m going to grip it.”


Before them, a large propeller, 60 feet in diameter, spun at a revolution every two seconds. The propellers weren’t meant for flying, and as such, they were just long, 10-foot high steel beams. Each one had a lip a half-inch long on the bottom.


Fram smiled, because he knew he won.


“Well, while you figure it out, I’m going to win. See ya, Toast,” Fram said. He focused on the propellers and counted them. 1 - 2 - 3 - 4, 1 - 2 - 3 - 4, 1 - 2—he jumped and grabbed the propeller. The small lip for gripping didn’t matter to him because his hands suctioned to the metal without a problem. He spun with the propeller for four revolutions, kept his eyes focused on the next rooftop, and released the suction. The speed of the revolutions flung him in the air, causing him to land near the middle of the last rooftop. Another 100 feet and he would cross the finish line.


“Remember,” Fram yelled over to Bagger, “you can’t get hurt! But you sure can lose!”


Bagger scrunched up his nose and pumped his fist at Fram. Without a second’s hesitation, he jumped up and grabbed the propeller.


“Not today,” Fram said. He turned around and ran toward the finish line.


A good size crowd waited for him. All the other students, ranging in age from 10 to 13, including Tia Umber, 12, who twirled her long fire-red hair with her index finger, cheered Fram on. Bagger always won these things, and Fram always lost. They were hungry for an upset. Dr. Traisal and his assistant, Dr. Samor, waited too, though they didn’t cheer with the students. They held clipboards in their hands and wrote furiously onto their notepads as they documented what happened during the race. Beside them were two monitors, each sitting on a three-foot high cart, used to watch the aspects of the competition out of their view.


“Come on, Fram!” Tia yelled. She jumped up and down and clapped her hands. “You got this!”


“Frammy’s got it. Bet your butt!” Lanker Mason, 10, said. He was a short little kid, with small round glasses, and he always managed to make Fram laugh.


Fram liked having all the support. He liked having everyone on his side. Maybe this would change him a little. Make him a little less fearful, more sociable, more liked. At the moment he ran to the finish, he felt freer than he ever had.


Meanwhile, Bagger hung onto the propeller and got ready to dismount. During the spinning, he swung his body back and forth, trying to gain momentum on top of what the propeller already gave him. Then he released the propeller and flew through the air at a greater speed than Fram did.


That’s when Fram noticed the look on Tia’s face. She had been cheering and smiling but then her mouth formed into a big ‘O’. Her eyes grew wider. Lanker had a similar expression; he pointed his hand in the air. Fram, while still running, looked behind and saw Bagger falling toward him, feet first. He was unable to react. Bagger’s right foot hit Fram’s upper back first, knocking him over. He kept moving his feet, but they tangled up with Bagger’s arms as Bagger fell onto his back. The boys slid along the roof’s pebbly top, blowing past the finish line. The group of students split apart to avoid a collision as Fram and Bagger slid toward a three-foot high wall of brick. Their momentum pushed them hard enough that it caused them to crash into the brick, break it into pieces, and fall six stories to the sidewalk below. As they fell, Fram ended up on the bottom, and they descended quickly until they slammed into the sidewalk.


Fram was pushed into the concrete, fully under Bagger. He remembered hitting the concrete; it didn’t hurt, but became soft like a pillow. But he had a pain in his back where Bagger kicked him. Then everything went black because he passed out.


Available at the following locations:

Click To Buy   Click To Buy            

Print edition available at Amazon and CreateSpace.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fram Gage & The Final Synopsis

My last post asked that you help me pick out a synopsis for Fram Gage and The Infinite Ability. Of the three choices I gave you, numbers two and three received the most votes, but they were tied.


I obviously couldn't use both synopses. So I decided to look at the strong points from both of those and comments left by you. I  received some great suggestions to improve the synopsis for the book. Combing all that help, I wrote a fourth and final synopsis. This on, in my opinion, is the best of all of them. It is focused, to the point, but doesn't reveal too much about the story.


It's perfect!


I owe it all to you who participated. If not for your votes and suggestions, I could not of have written this killer synopsis. Thank you so much!


Now, here is the final synopsis for Fram Gage and The Infinite Ability. This will be used in the book listings on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and more.


What do you think? Feel free to tell me in the comments below.


Also, look for a post in the next week with the first chapter from the book.


Fram Gage has lived at Biality Orphanage for six months, remembering nothing about his past before arriving there. While the orphanage has provided for his needs, such as food, shelter, and even a couple of good friends, what Fram looks forward to the most is a chance to go inside The Ability Chamber: a room used for physical competitions that gives the competitors unique abilities.


Fram enjoys going into The Ability Chamber because it gives him the chance to try out Super Strength, Wall Climbing, and other abilities. Whether winning or losing the competition, being in The Ability Chamber gives him the chance to feel like he is in control of his life and his present situation.


Competitions in The Ability Chamber are usually safe. But when Fram, his close friends, and an outsider are called upon to race, rules within The Ability Chamber change. As the four children compete, Fram finds their situation has become dangerous, and only he has the ability to help them reach the end safely. Will he be able to protect them?


Fram Gage & The Infinite Ability releases December 1, 2011 for Kindle, Nook, iPad, and other eReader devices.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Kindle Fire Let's You Sit In Your Recliner

[caption id="attachment_2131" align="alignleft" width="180" caption="Laptop and recliner? Soon a thing of the past...."][/caption]

Well, if all goes well today, the Kindle Fire I bought for my wife should arrive from UPS. She really wanted a tablet. What was the main reason? She wanted to easily sit in her recliner and browse the Internet. She won't have to worry about "lugging" her laptop over to do that anymore. It seemed like a small problem to me, but who am I to argue? Besides if it makes her life happier, I'm all for it.


As a way to celebrate the release of the Kindle Fire and my wife being able to easily browse the internet in her recliner, I thought I would run a small promotion on Miscorrection: Book 1 (Sunrise to Sundown). From now until November 30, 2011 the eBook will be only $2.99. That's a 40% savings off the regular price. You can't beat that.


For everyone getting a Kindle Fire today or in the near future, I hope you enjoy it. And if you decide to buy Miscorrection: Book 1, I hope you enjoy that, too!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Help Me Choose A Synopsis

Two weeks ago, I revealed the cover for Fram Gage & The Inifinte Ability. I got some good positive feedback on the cover, and I appreciate the encouragement you have all given.


It's getting down to crunch time with the book. I finished the first draft this past week, and I am now in the proofreading and editing stages. If all goes well, the book should release in the beginning of December.


Here's where it gets fun! If there is one thing I hate, it is writing the synopsis for the book listing. They are difficult to write because I want to capture your interest, but at the same time, I don’t want to reveal too much of the story.


So if I hate it, why am I saying this is where it gets fun?


Well, I thought I would get you involved with this process. No, I’m not going to have you write the blurb. But I am giving you the option to help me pick it out.


Below are three listings I’ve considered using for the book. Since I know what the book is about and I am obviously biased toward it, I can’t objectively pick a blurb that stands out as interesting. But, since you have no clue as to the story, you can tell me if it is interesting.


Read the three listings below and think about which one makes you want to read the book the most. When you have made your decision, vote for the one you like in the poll below. The blurb with the most votes will be used for the book’s product listing.


Thanks for participating. Look for Fram Gage & The Infinite Ability in December 2011!


1. Every day is the same for the children of Biality Orphanage. They have a place to eat, sleep, and learn. What sets the orphanage apart from others though is The Ability Chamber—a room used for physical competitions that all the children enjoy.


Fram Gage and his friends always look forward to competing or watching a competition in The Ability Chamber.  But when Fram and his closest companions Tia Umber and Lanker Mason, along with an outsider named Bagger Carson compete together, the competition becomes more than they ever experienced, and they have to rely on each other to make it to the finish safely.

2. Every day is the same for the children of Biality Orphanage. They are fed, have clothes to wear, and overall they are treated well. What they enjoy most is the chance to compete in The Ability Chamber—a room used for physical competitions that gives them the chance to test out a superpower.

One day, Dr. Traisal and Dr. Samor, two doctors that operate Biality Orphanage and The Ability Chamber, call on Fram Gage to compete. But this competition is different than the others and many dangers await. Joined by Tia Umber, Lanker Mason, and Bagger Carson, the four go on a dangerous journey where they will need to rely on each other to make it to the finish safely.


3. Fram Gage has lived at Biality Orphanage for six months, remembering very little about his life before arriving there. During that time, he has made friends with only two other children, Tia Umber and Lanker Mason.


Life can be lonely at times at the orphanage, but a major highlight for all the resident children is the chance to compete in The Ability Chamber. The room allows them to do things that are impossible in the real world like being super strong, invisible, and more.


When Fram is asked to compete, along with Tia, Lanker, and an outsider named Bagger Carson, the four of them find that things in The Ability Chamber have changed and many dangers await. Will they be able to make it to the finish safely?



[polldaddy poll=5631969]

October 2011 Sales Numbers

October was a steady month for books sales at Forever Young Publishing. Below are the numbers, and I couldn't be happier. While I would have liked to see an increase in sales as I have the previous months, remaining steady was good.


There is a positive sign to this months numbers. Last month, Copy Bird made up most of my 37 sales. This month, while it did have the largest amount of sales at 13, the numbers are a lot more diverse. I think I know why, too.


In September I released Miscorrection: Book 1 (Sunrise to Sundown). It's the complete collection of all the stories that make up Book 1 in the series. If you were to download the sample of the eBook for your Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook, you could actually read the first story in the series, Sunrise, free. Since that was the case, I thought it would only be fair that I offer the standalone of Sunrise for free, too! This has resulted in sales of the other stories, which is great to see. I'm hoping it continues to move in that positive direction.


For November and December, you can expect two more eBook releases. In November, I plan to release a flash fiction collection. This will contain 40 stories for $0.99. This eBook will also be added into All My Fiction for those who own it. In December, and under the pen name Desmond Shepherd, I will be releasing my first novel, Fram Gage & The Infinite Ability. Since this is not written under B.C. Young, I will not included it in All My Fiction. However, I do plan to put the first two to three chapters in the book.


Speaking of Desmond Shepherd, you can now follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Tomorrow, there will be a new post that will give you the chance to help in the release of Fram Gage & The Infinite Ability. The post will contain three potential synopses for the book. You'll get to vote on which one you like best, and I'll use it for the eBooks listing on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other locations. Don't miss out on it!


Until next month, happy reading!


October 2011 Paid Sales Numbers:

Total Paid Sales: 35

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

4 Step eBook Cover Design

A past post revealed the title of the novel I plan to release in December 2011. In case you missed it, the title is Fram Gage & The Infinite Ability. Now that I've let that out of the bag, it's time to show you the cover for the eBook. (Note: This cover will also be used for the print edition.)


The philosophy Forever Young Publishing has is always "Less is more". The challenge with writing, cover design, or anything in general is conveying the most amount of information with as little as possible. For cover design, FYP breaks this down into four simple steps:


Step 1: Background


The background is important because it will help set the tone for the book. In some cases, a color might be used for the background, in other cases it might be an image. For Fram Gage & The Infinite Ability I chose an abstract background that I thought fit the story well. This image was created by Diego Barucco and you can find more of his work by going to his Dreamstime.com Artist's Page. I took the image and cropped it to work with the piece.  The outer edges had some bright blue colors, and these caused a problem going into Step 2 of the design because it made it harder to read the Author Name and Book Title.




[caption id="attachment_2056" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="Image © Diego Barucco"][/caption]

Step 2: Title & Author Byline


The next step gets the name of the book and the author's name in place. I chose the font Franchise Bold. This font worked perfect for the book. It gives it a strong look and feel. I also colored the type in a shade of yellow. This contrasts nicely with the background and serves another purpose. It's important to remember with eBooks that many times the cover is first viewed as a thumbnail image as people browse for books to read. This means the text needs to be clearly read at a small size. So I made the title and author name large, bold, and bright. Also, if someone browses for a book on their Kindle or Nook, it needs to look good in black and white, too. This leads into Step 3.



Step 3: Enhancing the Type


Looking at the above image, the Title and Author Name definitely stand out, but in my opinion they look rather flat. On printed books, you're probably used to seeing the title embossed. This helps it pop out a little as the potential buyer is looking for a book. Obviously, you can't literally make the text pop off the screen with an eBook. So a different approach is needed. In this case, I actually did a debossing effect by adding a shadow, not to the outside of the letters, but inside them. This gives some depth to the words. When viewing at a larger size, it is like they sink into the cover. At the same time, the effect does not negatively impact the thumbnail view of the cover.



Step 4: Story Image


The final step involves adding an image to the cover that ties in to the title and/or the story itself. In this case, I'm focusing on the Inifinite in Fram Gage & The Inifinite Ability. The choice was obvious: an infinity symbol. Instead of placing the symbol in white, I tried to make it a little more subtle. The image is there, but it is translucent. This allows you to see the background coming through the symbol. Pure white would have been too glaring, causing the eyes to fixate on the symbol. My goal is to make your eyes take in the cover as a whole and look at it as one piece with a center, the infinity symbol. I actually wanted the symbol to be more subtle, but at the thumbnail size this posed a problem because it made it very hard to see it. So I settled on what you see below.




[caption id="attachment_2055" align="aligncenter" width="100" caption="Thumbnail Version"][/caption]


That's it! Above is the final cover for Fram Gage & The Infinite Ability. This cover fits the book well, and I couldn't be happier with it. Of course, that's only my opinion because I'm the writer of the book and designer of the cover. What are your thoughts? Do you like it?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Problem With Superman

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo From http://dc.wikia.com"][/caption]

Superheroes have been quite the rage over the past 10 years. This mostly is because of movies. The entertainment industry has been able to adapt these comics  that go back 40, 50, 60, or more years, and turn them into fun entertainment. I enjoy them, and I'm sure you do, too.


I like pretty much every superhero, including Spider-Man and Batman. I even like Superman, despite some issues I have with him as a superhero.


You see, there's a problem with Superman. He is ... well ... Super. Nothing defines the superhero category better than a Super Man. In fact, he's so super that he's indestructible. Guess what? He can see through things, too.


But wait, there's more!


Superman can fly! He can run super fast! He can shoot hot laser beams through his eyes and blow bone-chilling, freezing air from his mouth! He's strong , too! He can lift whole airplanes, and probably bigger stuff!


But wait, there's even more!


Superman can jump a whole stinkin' building in one leap! It's not good enough that he could just fly over it, he has to bring himself down to the more common man level and jump high, too! What a show off. Did I mention that even his superhero outfit is super? I never saw it get completely burned off in a fire, and apparently he has a never ending wardrobe of the outfit.


But he does get weak. Only one thing makes him weak. In fact, if you are a villain or even a supervillain, just turn around and go back if you don't have the thing that makes him weak. Why? Because if you can't weaken Superman, he's super. He cannot be stopped. Nothing beats absolute super. So you better have some kryptonite or your opportunity to take over the world will be foiled by Superman.


Don't you think it would be better if Superman had limited control of his powers? Let's say he needed to stop a plane in the sky. Instead of flying up, grabbing it, and bringing it down for a safe landing, don't you think it would be a lot more interesting if he got into the air but had troubling controlling which way he moved? Maybe the plane is front heavy, and he accidentally tips it while bringing it in for a landing, causing all the people inside to roll up to the cockpit. I can see them now, tumbling over and over, rolling their eyes and saying, "Must be Superman is here again to save the day!"


I think you get my point. Superman is nearly a pointless superhero, because he's impervious to any attack but kryptonite. Granted, I've been out of the comic book loop for a while, so maybe there's more I don't know. At the end of the day, a superhero is super, but I also think he needs to be balanced out with weakness. Even if the hero has a lot of powers, keep him from using them constantly.


Think about it: Do you ever really feel like Superman is in danger? I don't. He'll always get out of the situation. Batman? Oh yeah. He could die with one false move. Spider-Man? Definitely. He's so busy worrying about his personal life, you know a slip-up is coming at some point that will get him hurt or worse.


But Superman? He's great and all, but I can't help and think that his plethora of powers lends itself to the least interesting stories.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book Review: Gabriel's Return by Steve Umstead

If you recall, I reviewed the book Gabriel's Redemption by Steve Umstead back in the Spring. The author contacted me and asked if I would like to review the next book in the series, Gabriel's Return, and I have to say that I'm very glad that I did!


As with all of my reviews, I'm not going to talk about the plot here. That's for you to enjoy when you curl up with your Kindle (or other eReader) and a cup of tea or coffee. But I will bring out a number of things about the book I enjoyed.


Gabriel's Return starts off fast, forcing you to dive into the story. I really appreciated this. As you might recall, my major complaint with Gabriel's Redemption was that it took a long time, nearly half the book, before I felt like the pace of the story was moving at full steam. Gabriel's Return is nothing like that.


Hats off to the author, too, for making the planet of Eden so believable. As the characters traverse the planet, it feels alive and real. It's definitely the most enjoyable part of the entire book, and in some ways, I wish the author would have expanded on the planet. I mean that in a positive way. That's a sign of a believable story and world: When the reader can't get enough and wants to know more. Umstead does a fantastic job of this.


Overall, I really liked Gabriel's Return and I have to say I'm looking forward to the next story (which this book sets up nicely). If you haven't read the first book, don't fret. I think you can get along just fine with this one. But don't let that statement stop you. Both books are good and worthy of your time for recreation.


Pros +




  • Story picks up in the first pages, getting you right into the action

  • Very believable planet of Eden

  • Fantastic twist near the end of the story (I didn't see it coming!)


Cons -



  • The second quarter of the story is a little slow, but picks up again halfway through

  • It might be me, but the politics stuff was a little confusing. Without telling you why (don't want to ruin the story), I 'll just say I had trouble making sense of it

  • Evan Gabriel, the main character. I feel distant from him. Knowing more about him through the narrative would be nice


You can pick up your copy of Gabriel's Return on Amazon Kindle or Smashwords if you have another eReader device.

Don't forget about Gabriel's Redemption! That's also available on Amazon Kindle or Smashwords.


Be sure to check out Steve Umstead's web site to get the latest on the Evan Gabriel Trilogy and anything else he has going on! www.steveumstead.com

The author has graciously given me copy of Gabriel's Return and Gabriel's Redemption to give away to my readers. All you have to do is comment below to win!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

You Can Because You're Able

[caption id="attachment_2015" align="aligncenter" width="294" caption="Photo © Ahmet Ihsan Ariturk"][/caption]

In life, we all strive for something. When we're young, we can't wait to graduate from high school. Next, we look forward to a career. After that, we want to get married, have children, and the list goes on.


Sometimes, our goal is big. It's grand. Other times, it's small. It's nothing. It could be writing a novel, or it could be mowing your lawn.


One thing is certain, no matter how big or small the goal is, you will meet with opposition. It could be an excuse you make up to not do something, it could be others holding you back. Whatever it is, if you don't fight the resistance, you lose. It will come up and bite you in the hind like a lion chasing down a zebra. You'll never finish that book and you'll never mow your lawn.


This means you need to find an inner strength. An ability you failed to realized you possessed. You have to let it come to the fore and fight the opposition. This ability has to help you reach your goal. It has to move you forward. In every case, your ability is stronger than the opposition. Your ability can win. It is only when you start believing your ability is weaker than the resistance that you fail. This is because you believe a lie. You believe the resistance is more powerful.


Never give in to this line of thinking. There's a saying from the movie Back To The Future,  and it has stayed with me my entire life since I heard it as a child.


"If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything."


That statement is so true, and perhaps you have experienced it yourself. Maybe you haven't though. Maybe you've only seen what you strived for has failed. Ask yourself, "Did it fail because I didn't try? Because I gave into the resistance? Or did it fail because, despite my hardest efforts, it simply failed?"


The way to know is to try. Everything in life has its ups and downs. Whatever comes at you, remember the above. It will help you greatly! Even when you fail, your ability will help you bounce back to try again and move forward. That's how you win.


On that note, the final word in the title of my novel needs to be revealed, and it is below. My next post will reveal the cover for the book. So stay tuned for that. Currently, this is what I have revealed in regards to the title:


Fram Gage and The Infinite A.


Now, I'm guessing you read everything above. You probably figured out what the 'A' stands for. If not, here it is. The 'A' stands for Ability.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

September 2011 Sales Numbers

Another month of sales passes. While September, in some respects appeared slow, it was steady. I can attribute part of this to finally getting sales reports in from Apple, Diesel, and Kobo. While Apple & Diesel contributed one sale each for The Present, Kobo accounted for eight free sales of Copy Bird.

Speaking of Copy Bird, all is not as bad as it seems. On September 19th, Amazon bumped the price of the eBook back up to $0.99 US. I thought that was the end of watching the fun, as in one and a half months Copy Bird sold 4,800 copies. But I was wrong. Now that it got into Amazon's system and filtered through their algorithms, Copy Bird has consistently sold around two copies every day. This is good news because they are paying consumers, which means, if they like my work, they might search out more. Let's hope so!

I also released a new book, although the content isn't new besides its introduction. In eBook and print format you can now get all the stories that make up Book 1 of Miscorrection. It is entitled Miscorrection: Book 1 (Sunrise to Sundown). While there aren't any sales of it yet, I expect I'll see them over time.

Overall, this month expands on August, which had 22 sales. The growth comes in at around 50%, which is great! I doubt I can keep that pace, but if I do that would be awesome.

A special thanks to all the paying readers of my books. I greatly appreciate your support!

Here are my paid book sales for September 2011:

Total Paid Sales: 37

This month, I'm trying something different. I want to see what no marketing does. I'll still post things on my blog, but I will not advertise links to buy my books on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. It might be a mistake, but it will be an interesting experiment. Until next month... What a dumb idea! What was I thinking?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Are Free Books Worth The Cost?

In the beginning of July, I had an idea to help promote my books. I decided to make Copy Bird free on Amazon. It's quite a process to get Amazon to offer your book for free, because they require a price of $0.99 US or higher to sell eBooks with them. I got around this by putting the story up for free on Smashwords, which in turn makes it free to the retailers that Smashwords distributes to, such as Apple, Sony, and Kobo. When Amazon's bots find the book cheaper on other sites and/or you tell them that another site is selling the book cheaper on the book's Amazon product page, they will match it.


Copy Bird went free on Amazon in the beginning of August. I thought it was a resounding success! So much so that I made this face:



Note: Photo not taken at actual time of free offer.

During the time that it was free, about a month and a half, around 4,800 eBooks sold. Of course, the money I made on those sales was a big, fat zero. But, I reasoned this would give me good exposure, and hopefully lead to people buying my other books.


Did this happen? I'm not sure. I can say that August was my highest selling month for paid books ever. But, between 4,800 free sales and 22 paid sales, if it did have an effect it was extremely small. Also, if you look at the Copy Bird product page on Amazon, check the "People Who Purchased This Also Purchased..." section. As you can see, all the eBooks, save a few, are free.


Which means this: People looking for free books are only looking for a handout! I do not believe that these people intend to buy other works by the author if they like the free book. Most likely, these people only want what is free, and that's where they go. Not a problem, I understand that, but I do not think offering your book for free on Amazon will help your long-term sales.


I also wonder how many of the 4,800 people who bought Copy Bird actually read it. I received four fresh reviews from the sales. One was 2-Stars and the others were in the 4 to 5-star range. Those who reviewed it appeared to like it. Did they buy more from me? I doubt it. Because again, I believe they will find what they want for free because there are a lot of authors willing to throw their books up for reading at no cost because they think it will gain an audience. I was in this same camp. But not anymore. Part of me feels like I've been taken advantage of by the readers I long to gain. I devalued my work for their benefit, and they don't care. They just wanted what was free. That caused me to make this face:



Note: Again this represents emotions from the past.

To put it simply: I want to get paid. From this point forward, if I do work, I expect to receive payment. Because when a reader parts with their money to be entertained by me, it shows that they care. They invested in what I write. Readers who pay for their books care about the writer and value their efforts. That's the audience I want to gain; one that understands the hard work. (Don't even get me started on Pixel Of Ink and their "hard work" to find whatever free eBooks they can and broadcast it to the world. Great job there! I'm sure that system's going to keep people writing and self-publishing. Please note my sarcasm.)


I'm urging every reader to consider what it means when you get something free from an author, and you never intend to show them you're appreciative. If you aren't going to buy anything else from them, fine. At least write a review to help them out. But don't take advantage of them.


I'm urging every author out there to not sell yourself short. You might think it's a good idea to release a free book, and maybe it's worked out well for others. At the end of the day, what are you saying about your writing? You might gain an audience that you don't want. That audience is looking for a free handout, and they won't come back if you charge them at any point.


If there is a silver lining in any of this, it's that Copy Bird got boosted in Amazon's system. Because so many people "bought" it, once it went back up to $0.99, it started getting recommended to people browsing for books. Copy Bird is finding an audience, and there is some benefit to offering the book for free, despite my complaints above. In the nine days it has been "revalued", I've sold a good number of copies (Look for my September sales numbers posts this Saturday for specific numbers). That's the audience I want. The people who see a short story, think it looks interesting, and they buy it. Really buy it, too. To those people, I say thank you. Thank you for taking a chance on my hard work and showing that you're willing to join me on a journey with my fictional tale. Those are the real readers that care. Those are the people I want reading my books. Those readers cause me to make this face:




[caption id="attachment_1992" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="Note: This is how I currently feel!"][/caption]

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Miscorrection: Preludes

It is a time of great change for the solar system. A group of rebels called the Karhath plot to take control of the planets.


A man named Daniel threatens to make the Karhath mission a failure by means of his wise, yet risky political moves.


Even if Daniel should succeed, the Karhath will stop at nothing to attain the power they strive to attain.


Available at the following locations:

Click To Buy   Click To Buy            

Print edition available at Amazon and CreateSpace.
Miscorrection: Preludes

Introduction

Over the course of three to four years, I came up with a story during my commute to work. As I thought about this story, I came up with the major plot points, cliffhangers, characters, and so on. But there was one problem: I never wrote the story!


Then, in early 2010, I noticed that Amazon offered the ability for any writer to self-publish their works on the Kindle. This excited me as I realized this would be a great avenue (along with all the others I have discovered) for me to write my story. I didn’t want to write a novel though. I wanted to do something different. I came up with something I really liked: I would tell the story in an episodic type format, much like a television series. Each story would take around an hour or so to read, would stand on its own, but when combined they would tell a bigger story.


That’s exactly what I did. In May 2010 I published the first story in the series. Based on events that would take place, I entitled the series Miscorrection and the first story was called Sunrise.


As I think back to that first story, I had some great dreams for the series’ direction and where it would go. But I never considered that over the course of writing the series, and other stories that I have self-published, that I would learn so much. It’s for this reason that I think that Miscorrection: Preludes is a testimony to the progress I’ve made as a writer. As you start with Sunrise and make it to the last story, Sundown, you’ll no doubt see improvement in the storytelling.


Which leads me to a challenge for you as the reader. This book goes from story one to story six, the order that they were released. But I always felt that they could be read in any order the reader wants. So if you want to start with story six and go backwards, do it. If you want to skip around, maybe go two, five, four, three, one, and six, do it. While the stories stand on their own, they refer to each other in different ways. In this way, you as the reader have an opportunity to make Miscorrection unique. You can experience the story differently based on the order you read it.


Whatever you decide to do, I hope you enjoy reading the stories. I hope they capture your imagination, make you think, and keep you talking.


Have fun!


Available at the following locations:

Click To Buy   Click To Buy            

Print edition available at Amazon and CreateSpace.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Forever Process

There's something that has happened as I continue to write my long story. Each day I chip away at finishing it, averaging around 1,000 words per day. It's amazing to think I have crossed the 30,000 word threshold now. Looking back at the past month of writing, it feels like forever ago that I started. How much closer am I to the finish? I'm not quite sure because I don't know what the final word count will be.  I could be halfway done or a third done. Who knows? I'm writing the story to its natural length and not setting a specific word count for completion. If I do this, I may add or subtract from the story, which in my opinion would be detrimental.

Here's a case in point. My last post mentioned that I have found I'm deviating from my original outline for the story. This is not a problem, because the story has become better because of it. This past week another similar breakthrough happened. As the story took shape in the writing, I realized some of the plot points I intended to use in the story were unnatural. If I put them in there, they would ruin the flow of the story. So about 20,000 words in, the story transformed once again into something better.

Does this mean my plot points are dust? No. Fram Gage will be a series. That was always my intent. So those plot points I've thrown out for this story, will come at the correct point, because they are crucial to the story of the characters development.

It's possible that you are wondering what the story is about. Don't worry, I'll get to that eventually. Right now, I'm still revealing parts of the title for the story, so don't expect anything until after that. Until then, here's what I have given you so far:

Fram Gage & The Infinite A.

Ready for the word that the 'I' stands for? I hope you are, because here it is: Infinite.