Updates. In NYC next week. Tour stops. Next book cover changes.

I will be at Book Expo in New York City next week. This is an industry show, I don’t think there is anything open to the public, and I’m booked up with business stuff the whole time. So I won’t be doing any regular events or even playing tourist while I’m there.

I’ll have the full calender of my tour stops and cons for the rest of the year posted as soon as I get back. I just needed to figure a few things out schedule wise before posting. People have been asking, yes, I will be at DragonCon. I’m going to ALA too, but that is causing me to miss LibertyCon. I’ve got about a month of tour around the release of Son of the Black Sword, and I’ll post all those soon.

Speaking of which, Jim Butcher read it and loved it. He wrote a blurb for the cover. Jim is a very talented author, I’ve been a fan of his for a long time, so that was pretty neat. Beyond the blurb he gave me a bunch of feedback on the plot. Jim got what I was trying to do and what I’m working towards. He’s a perceptive guy. :)

Some of you have noticed that on the eARC for Son of the Black Sword the cover has changed.

The basic black cover is now the cover for the hard back. The Larry Elmore painting is now a full color art page in the front with the maps. This was one of those marketing decisions that the author didn’t have much to do with. There was a bunch of discussion. I trust my marketing people, so if that’s what they say to do, that’s what we’ll do.

People ask me how much say an author has over their cover. At first? Zip. And by the time you are successful enough that your opinion actually does count, that means you’ve sold enough books that you trust the people who sell them for you.

That said, this picture is still totally bad ass, and I’m glad it is in there as a glossy art page. (I’m also putting it on my wall in a nice frame).

cover by Larry Elmore

cover by Larry Elmore

Hugo Voter Packet now available for download

The packet of samples is now available for download.


It should go without saying, but apparently I need to plainly state the blatantly obvious, everyone should read the nominations and vote honestly.

New Kickstarter, Champions of Aetaltis. I wrote for it.

Check this out.



Marc Tassin put this fiction anthology together. It features a bunch of really good authors with all new stories.

I first met Marc at GenCon, where he is one of the organizers of the writing track. He told me about his RPG project, and the world he’d created for it. He wanted to know if I’d write a story for it. I get a lot of writing requests and have to turn most of them down, but after I read through the world guide, I had to do it. They’ve created something unique and fun here.

In the world of Aetaltis there is an order of mystical warrior monks called the Kinjatsi. There is also a stoic, tough race called the Drothmal, who worship the god of suffering. Once I got done reading the world guide, I contacted Marc and asked if anybody had claimed Kinjatsi. No? Score. :)

My story is already done and turned in, and I think it came out pretty darned good if I do say so myself.  So please, check it out.

My first novel is free right now on Amazon

The eBook for my first novel, Monster Hunter International, is available for free right now. We just added MHI to the Baen Free Library.

My publisher follows the same basic marketing philosophy as crack dealers. The first hit is free! If you like it, there is a whole lot more where that came from.

Kurt Miller is working on the cover for the 3rd Dead Six novel

I don’t know if this is the final or not, but it is pretty freaking awesome. :)  (yes, this is the book that I am working on with Mike Kupari right now)  We’ve been calling it Project Blue for years, but that won’t be the name of the book.

At the link you can see the evolution of drafts. It is pretty interesting stuff. http://www.kmistudio.com/blog/index.php/gallery/image_full/322/

ProjectBlue (1)

Charity stuff! Medical fund for Mason Hall

I met Mason Hall years ago at my first ever science fiction convention (the last MountainCon), where he was volunteering to help. Mason is a good dude who has been through some really hard times, and has faced some severe medical challenges.  A few months ago he had his leg amputated and is struggling with the medical costs.

His sister started this link for donations: http://www.gofundme.com/f7i0jc

I was sent an email about this months ago, asking if I would signal boost, but I get so many messages that it got lost in the shuffle. So please, check it out now. Mason is still going through procedures and physical therapy.

Taught my first creative writing class last night

Last night I taught my first creative writing class. I think it went pretty good. I talked for two hours straight, only taking breaks when people asked questions, and every single topic was something we could have talked about more. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

There are 84 people enrolled. We filled the biggest classroom they had at this location, and they still had to turn people away. Right now we’re doing it in the same building as the police academy (I requested that because it was closest to the freeway, so I thought it would be the easiest for people coming from Salt Lake City) but if I end up doing this again we’ll have to move it to the Ogden campus where they’ve got bigger classrooms available.

With this class I’m trying to focus on the professional, making a living aspect, rather than the artsy literati side of creative writing. I’m trying to keep it nuts and bolts, practical, pragmatic, get it done and get paid.

This is from the handout. It is more of a checklist of things I want to talk about, than an official schedule. Like last night we spent the first hour on how to write better, and the second half on how to sell your stuff.  I think I touched briefly on everything in the business section, but only scratched the surface on a few things. Now I’ve got a list of comments and questions from the online streaming students to incorporate into next week’s lesson.

Creative Writing Class Outline

The two steps to becoming a successful professional author.

  1. Get good enough people will give you money for your stuff.
  2. Find the people who will give you money for your stuff.

Part 1: Getting good enough.

On the “rules” of writing.

  1. Does your audience like it? Leave it in.
  2. Does your audience hate it? Take it out.

The spark and where ideas come from/contagious enthusiasm

Outlining vs. Discovery Writing


1st vs. 3rd Person

Creating characters

Pacing and intensity

Dialog, and why it is different than talking

The pros and cons of “writing what you know”

Accuracy and research

Time management for writers and the evil myth of Writer’s Block

Message/the author works for the reader, not the other way around

Editing, if it sucks, fix it

Alpha Readers, or your mom might not be your target audience

Pros and cons of Writing Groups

Finished? Now write the next one.

Part 2: Getting Paid

Ugly Fact Time: Author pay scale and failure rate

How traditional publishing works

  • Small press vs. Large press
  • What are literary agents and do you need one?

How self-publishing works

Novels vs. short fiction markets

Contracts and what to watch out for

Advances and earning out

Structuring your business and paying taxes

Other rights (foreign translations, audiobook, movie options)

Networking, marketing, and finding your target audience

When to quit your day job

A Long Time Until Now by Michael Z. Williamson, on sale now!

Michael Z. Williamson’s new book, A Long Time Until Now is now available. Today a bunch of us are helping spread the word.


I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I really enjoy Mad Mike’s stuff. Normally when a Book Bomb is coming up I try to notify people in advance to mark their calender, but I messed up and forgot. I know I just did a BB last week and I only try to push one of these a month, but Mike is a talented author, and a friend, and I’d really encourage everyone to check this out.

Charity to check out, EOD Warrior Foundation

My best friend is EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal). It is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. He sent me the following charity information. Please check them out.

The annual EOD Memorial is tomorrow, May 2nd. Every year, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians from all branches gather to honor the fallen. There’s a memorial wall at Eglin AFB, Florida (colocated with NAVSCOLEOD).

The EOD Warrior Foundation raises money for the families of the fallen and maintains the memorial wall. I’m a cake-eating civilian now, but I haven’t forgotten where I came from, and this is pretty important to me.

Four years ago this month, Chris Solesbee from the Hill AFB EOD flight was killed in Afghanistan. Also killed was his teammate, Joseph Hamski, from the Spangdahlem Air Base flight. I spent some time at Spang and they were like family to me. 

Both men were assigned to what we called Bravo Flight in Afghanistan. It was the unit I served with there, and my flight was the one to replace the one that lost those two. My rotation was very fortunate; we had no KIA. Three friends of mine were blown up and injured, though. Several Army techs died while I was there, and a Navy tech was severely wounded. 

Before I left Afghanistan, in January 2012, the Air Force lost an entire team in Helmand Province. 

So, if you would be kind enough to post a link to the EODWF on your blog, with an explanation, I would very much appreciate it. It might raise some awareness and possibly raise a little bit of money. 


Arthur Chu sucks at everything but Jeopardy

Many regulars may remember Social Justice Warrior and Salon author Arthur Chu as the dipshit who declared Brad Torgersen’s 20 year interracial marriage and his biracial children as “shields” to hide Brad’s racism. He is one of the morons who blamed the Sad Puppies’ success on GamerGate.

Well, after a day of futile harassment, his team of idiots couldn’t even call in a bomb threat correctly.

Here is a detailed report: http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/05/03/dc-gamergate-meetup-disrupted-by-feminist-bomb-threat/

And here is Nero’s version, which is hilarious, because when SJWs try to destroy something it turns into a giant party.  http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/05/04/how-gamergate-hater-and-social-justice-clown-arthur-chu-got-me-laid/