I need a favor from the Monster Hunter Nation

Today, I want to talk a little bit about why you guys are so awesome, and then once I’ve got you sufficiently buttered up with flattery, I’m going to ask you a favor.

For a relatively new writer, I’m doing pretty darn good. A couple of years ago I was a self-published nobody. I just wanted to write a book that was a salute to B movies told from the perspective of the heavily armed side of society. (i.e. My People)

I stuck Monster Hunter International out there on a few gun forums, and my advertising mainly consisted of blogger friends like Mad Ogre, Lawdog, Preacherman, Tamara, and others telling their readers to check it out.  And you guys did.

Apparently y’all liked it.

All of a sudden  MHI was a hit. A lot of things fell into place. Believe me, I was more surprised than anybody. It blew up huge. Baen picked me up, and from there MHI did even better.

Now here we are, just a few short years later, and I’ve got a slew of books coming out, I’m nominated for a Campbell, the 2nd MH novel was a NYT bestseller, and I’ve sold the rights to make an MH TV show.  (nothing new to report on that yet).

I get asked all the time how I pulled this off. Trust me, it wasn’t me. It is because my fans are just that friggin’ cool. Ever since the first book came out, you guys have taken pride of ownership in the MH universe.  I’ve got pictures of people sporting the patch all over the world, quite literally. There’s MH fan fiction! People are dressing as MH characters at parties and cons! When you get a picture of a guy running the door gun on a Blackhawk in Iraq or a Ranger riding in the turret of an uparmored humvee in Afghanistan, sporting the MH Patch, it hits you. Holy crap. These folks really like this stuff I made up.

That’s humbling for a writer, and I promise to try and not screw it up.

So that was the flattery part. Now for the favor.

The third Monster Hunter book comes out next month. Monster Hunter Alpha turned out excellent and I’m not just saying that because I’m biased. The eARC came out a little while back, and the feedback and reviews on it have been great.  It is an Earl Harbinger novel, and he is such a badass that writing him is really a lot of fun. Basically, in any situation, I ask myself “what would a tough Clint Eastwood character do here?” Then I take it up a notch. In MHA, I got to expand the history and scope of the MH universe, introduce new characters, new adversaries, and set up the next couple of books.  Monster Hunter Legion (Owen) and Monster Hunter Nemesis (Franks).  

So please tell your friends.

That’s the favor. Word of mouth is the best advertising ever. If you guys like MHI and MHV tell your friends to go get Monster Hunter Alpha. (preferably on preorder or the week it comes out) MHA comes out on July 26th.  If you’ve got a blog, and you want to plug me there, I will say nice things about you to your friends.  Facebook, Twitter, bathroom graffiti, I don’t care. Share the love!

If you want autographed copies, here is where you go to get them:  http://www.unclehugo.com/prod/ah-correia-larry.php  (I’m doing signed bookplate stickers this time, because I can’t afford to fly to Minnesota again, and it is too expensive to ship 10 cases of books to Utah, have me sign them, and then ship them again).  If you want personalization, put that in your instructions. I’m flexible like that. (however, keep in mind there is only so much space, okay? Last time I had a few people ask me to write small novellas, and there is only so much space on a book plate!)

If you don’t care about my lightning-like signature or a lovingly handcrafted MH smiley face with horns (or is it a penguin, you decide), you can get it at most bookstores, every B&N, or Amazon.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1439134588/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1T854VBN44ETA49JBWQT&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846

Now, on the preorder or release week thing, let me explain. Here is a little peek behind the curtain into the publishing industry.  This is a very competitive business. Making it onto a bestseller list spurs future sales and boosts your career. The biggest and toughest one to get on is the NYT. MHV made it to #27 when it came out.

Some of you may remember when I went around with an idiot about how this meant that I wasn’t a *real* bestseller. Let me break this down. The NYT is broken up into fiction, non-fiction, and young adult. We’re looking at fiction. The NYT only shows the top 35 fiction books in three categories. (hardcover, trade paperback, and mass market paperback).  So I’m competing against every paperback fiction book on sale in the country.   

This next part is important. It is based on books sold during that week.  So you can have a book that sells ten thousand copies in a week, and zero copies the rest of the year. That book will be a NYT bestseller. You can have another book that only sells a thousand copies that week, but sells a thousand every other week of the year. That book will sell way more copies than the first one, but it will not make the NYT.  That’s called velocity. 

The velocity part is why the release week (and the preorders that ship that week) are so very important.  A book will normally sell the most when it first comes out.  So, barring something that comes along later to cause a bunch of publicity (Movie adaptation, Oprah book club) you either make the list when you release or not at all. 

Okay, so how competitive is it?  Take a look at this list of urban fantasy releases in July:  http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/06/fiction-affliction-diagnosing-july-releases-in-urban-fantasy-and-paranormal-romance

There are 30 books in the same genre as MHA coming out in the same month. And that is just Urban Fantasy. (which I think is a silly place to put a novel that takes place entirely in rural upper Michigan, but they’ve got to shelve me somewhere).  That doesn’t count fantasy. That doesn’t count sci-fi.  And all of fantasy and sci-fi are tiny compared to the thriller market.  And thriller numbers are nothing compared to romance.

And we’re all competing to get on the same list.

So, for those 35 slots on the NYT that week, an author is up against literally hundreds of other new books.  The week Hard Magic came out, on Nielsen Bookscan (which is like the Nielsen TV ratings, but tracks most of the book sales in the country) I the 19th bestselling fantasy novel in the country, and that wasn’t enough to get onto the NYT. And that was with having something like 8 True Blood or Game of Thrones novels ahead of it.

And there is a lot of marketing/advertising money pushing some of these books too. I love my publisher, but we are not that big compared to some of the Manhattan giants. I’m pretty sure their monthly doughnut budget at a few of those places is bigger than our entire annual advertising budget.

The kicker of all this is that despite how dang hard it is, you guys still managed to put MHV on the bestseller lists. That is one hell of an accomplishment.  During MHV’s release week on the Nielsen Bookscan, it was the #4 fantasy novel in the country. That’s impressive.

Basically, I’d like to do it again.

So please spread the word, mighty Monster Hunter Nation. MHA is out on July 26th. Let’s kick some literati ass.

Contest to win a Monster Hunter Alpha galley proof copy

http://baen.com/contests-july.asp

EDIT:  For all the people asking questions, beats me. It isn’t my contest. :)

 

AEF Siberia, which got a mention in Grimnoir

Mike Thurman is one of my Facebook friends. (and if you’re on FB, send me a request).  He was reading Hard Magic and got to the mention of AEF Siberia – The Polar Bears, and it turns out that he works right next to a historical display about that relatively unknown military expedition.  So Mike has been kind enough to scan the pictures in and has been posting them to the Monster Hunter Nation group on FB. (yeah, and you can ask to join that too if you want) :)

Look at the guy on the right. Look at the cover of Hard Magic. Holy crap, it’s Sullivan!

GIs and Cossacks.

 

 

The Japanese in Vladivostok.

This was a fascinating chunk of history, and that’s why I stuck it in the book. (though my alternate-history version went down a lot different) This is the first time I’ve actually seen pictures of the real thing. Thanks, Mike.

Monster Hunter Alpha – Autographed copies

 

 

 

You can go here and read the free sample chapters. http://www.webscription.net/p-1444-monster-hunter-alpha-arc.aspx

Here is the preorder information for autographed copies of Monster Hunter Alpha from Uncle Hugo’s.

http://www.unclehugo.com/prod/search.php?authorsearch=correia&title=&isbn=&binding=&location=Both+Uncle+Hugo%27s+%2B+Uncle+Edgar%27s&status=Both+Already+Received+%2B+Not+Yet+Received&signed=Both+Signed+%2B+Unsigned&submit=SUBMIT

We are doing it a little bit differently this time. With Monster Hunter Vendetta, they shipped me several hundred pounds of books, I signed them all,and then shipped them to Minnesota. That was expensive. For Hard Magic, I flew out ot Minnesota and signed all the books. Also expensive. :)  So this time, I’m signing book-plate stickers. These have the MH logo, and I’m going to sign them, and then mail them to Uncle Hugo’s to stick inside the book. So you still get all my siggy goodness, (a squiggle and a doodle!), and I don’t have to fly anywhere. :)

We will be doing the same thing for Dead Six, because my co-author Mike Kupari is going to be in Afghanistan defusing roadside bombs on the release date. So Mike signed 300 D6 bookplates, and I’m going to sign them also and we’ll be sending those out to Uncle Hugos as well.

MHI sightings around the world

I love when fans send me pictures. Attached are a bunch that I’ve gotten recently. If I’ve missed yours, I apologize.

Nancy Randall spots one of our branch offices

Sinistral Rifleman representing at the MGM Ironman. http://sinistralrifleman.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/ironman-2011-after-action-report/

And several shots from Aggie Con in Texas where there was an entire contingent of MHI themed costumes, including MCB agents, Orcs, and trailer park elves!

 

 

 

BOOK BOMB! For all the Lovecraft and Pulp fans especially.

Okay everybody, I’ve found something fun. 

http://www.amazon.com/Arcane-Penny-Dreadfuls-21st-Century/dp/1461059607/

ARCANE: Penny Dreadfuls for the 21st Century.

I know that many of my fans are fond of Lovecraft, and some of you love the old horror/mystery/adventure pulps. I’m a big fan. (which anybody that has read pretty much everything I’ve published knows). Well, we’re not alone. 

Nathan Shumate is a friend of mine. I reviewed his last book on here, The Golden Age of Crap, which is the single best B-Movie review book ever made. Nathan is a huge fan of the old horror pulps, and has taken on a new project. He is trying to bring back that type of magazine, filled with those types of stories. Nathan is serving as editor, and has pulled together a good batch for this first issue.

I got a copy at CONduit. It is solid. I’m really rooting for Nathan, as there is definately a need for a modern penny dreadful.

Please, check it out, and support an editor that is trying to do something interesting.

Right now ARCANE is at Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #423,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)  and I know the Monster Hunter Nation loves it some pulps, so we should be able to boost that a bit for them.

While you are over on Amazon, check out this anthology edited by my friend Paul Genesse. http://www.amazon.com/The-Crimson-Pact-ebook/dp/B004SY6A76/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1308147875&sr=1-1 I had an excerpt from Hard Magic in there. (The Bull King). In the second edition, I will have an original story. (working on that now, since the rough draft of Spellbound just went out to Reader Force Alpha).

 

How to Save Money if You’re a Complete Idiot, Part II

You guys might remember the last time I addressed this topic:  http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/how-to-save-money-if-you-are-complete-and-total-idiot/    When Yahoo.news for Imbeciles shared such valuable financial savings tips for these tough economic times as Don’t paint your house exterior every year, and useful advice like Don’t serve Lobster Tails at every family gathering.  Basically, it was fiscal advice from really dumb people. I’m talking so astoundingly dumb that when they take medication that says to avoid operating complex machinery, they’re scared to tie their shoelaces.  I thought it was possibly the dumbest financial article ever published (not using crayon).

That was until this morning, when my wife had to show me this one… Oh. My. Hell. This one really ticked me off.

Allow me to present: FORECLOSURE LIMBO:  STAYING WITHOUT PAYING  http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Foreclosure-limbo-Staying-cnnm-989137852.html?x=0  

A theme that I’ve seen lately is that these articles always want to make the readers feel sorry for people who make stupid choices. This one absolutely takes the cake. As usual, the original article is in italics and my commentary is in bold.

Charles and Jill Segal have not made a mortgage payment in nearly five years — but they continue to live in their five-bedroom West Palm Beach, Fla. home. Sweet! 

Lynn, from St. Petersburg, Florida, has been living without paying for three years. Man, I wish! Did these people win a contest from HGTV or something?

In Thousand Oaks, California, an actor has missed 30 payments, and still, he has not lost his home. Huh? How do they accomplish this miraculous feat?

They’re not alone.

Some 4.2 million mortgage borrowers are either seriously delinquent or have had their cases referred to lawyers to pursue foreclosure auctions, according to LPS Applied Analytics. Of those, two-thirds have made no payments at all for at least a year, and nearly one-third have gone more than two years. Yep. Sad… But wait for it…

These cases can go on and on. Nationwide, it takes an average of 565 days to foreclose on borrowers in default from their first missed payments to the final auction. In New York, the average is 800 days and in Florida, where the “robo-signing” issue is particularly combative, it’s 807. Wait, you mean that I can be an irresponsible ass and live for free in somebody’s property for years? 

If they want to fight evictions hard, borrowers can remain in their homes even longer while their cases are being worked through. And now the article spins these sacks of crap as the HEROES.

The Segals have been doing that — in court. They bought their home in 2003 with an adjustable rate mortgage. Because that’s always a fine idea. After a few years, their monthly payments tripled to $3,000, Dur…  just as their home-inspection business was cratering.

The Segals want the bank to modify the mortgage so payments are affordable, and they think the court will agree that their lender put them into a toxic loan. Let’s see… Hey, I’m going to give you a loan, and it has itty bitty payments up front, but a few years from now, I’m going to anally violate you with a garden weasel and your payments are going to jump a thousand percent! SWEET! Where do I sign?

“The evidence will show that we were defrauded,” said Jill Segal. The evidence will show that you’re not very good at math and that’s about it.

If they lose, of course, they’ll finally have to leave. And, unfortunately, more than 50 months of missed mortgage payments hasn’t translated into big savings. How? How can 50 months without a house or rent payment not translate into savings? You basically got out of your biggest single expense for nearly five years.

“It’s very hard to save,” said Jill Segal. Who is an idiot. “Our company’s billing is 90% off and my husband is only working about four days a week.” Then he should go do something other than the crappy business he started. And that is coming from somebody who has been a small businessman that had to sell his company. I was unemployed after selling my business back in 2008, and I was a highly skilled and educated accountant applying for jobs driving bread trucks. Cry me a river.

Deal with it. That’s what most normal people do when life gets hard, Jill. Put on your big girl panties and get a different job. It didn’t matter what my skill sets were, or what lifestyle I was accustomed to. It didn’t matter that I’m talented, experienced, with all sorts of certs, had run a company, or that I should be making X number of dollars. I interviewed to drive a delivery truck, and I was thankful for the opportunity.

In the last 50 months, I sold a business, was out of work for half a year (never collected unemployment and lived off of savings and food storage, which I’m sure is an alien concept to the folks in this article), then found a job. That company grew from 50 employees to 200, and I went from the only accountant to the finance manager of a company that is now one of the top 100 most successful businesses in this state. Oh, and during those 50 months, I also wrote 5 more books, became a bestseller, got contracts to write 10 other books, sold the rights to a TV show, sold a house, moved, built a house, moved again, and have generally worked hard and gotten on with life.

All while you’ve been living for free… Crying about your circumstances.  SO SHUT UP.   

Lynn, who didn’t want her last name used, purchased a two-bedroom on Tampa Bay in 1998 for $135,000.

As the waterfront property’s value skyrocketed, eventually reaching $750,000, she refinanced twice (once to expand a business), and took out a second mortgage. She now owes more than $600,000 on the home, which is worth only $235,000. You know, people really should talk to somebody that works at a financial organization before making those kinds of decisions…

Living in this foreclosure limbo is “Hell,” Lynn said. “I feel like I’m locked in a box. I work for a FINANCIAL ORGANIZATION and if this came out, it could cost me my job.” AAAAAAHHHHH!!! You do what?  

For the record, I capitalized financial organization there… because, well, duh, Lynn. You work in a financial organization. Lift your lazy ass out of your cube, walk to the nearest accountant and say “Hey, Tom, just between you and me, do you think it is a good idea to refinance my house twice so that I owe three times its value and then just cross my fingers and hope that unicorns slide down a magic rainbow to give me sacks of money?” And then Tom would have stabbed you in the neck with his staple remover because you’re just too willfully ignorant to live, and thus saved us the trouble of reading this pity-fest article.  

She’s still hoping to negotiate the loan. In the meantime, small things bother her. “A couple years ago, I lost my dog and I can’t decide on getting a new one,” she said. If she has to move, she can’t be sure she’ll go somewhere that allows pets. I haven’t paid rent for five years, but I can’t have a puppy. I’m sooooooo sad.

Mr Snuggles ran away because of Lynn's poor budgeting choices

 

The actor from Thousand Oaks, Calif. began having problems during the screenwriters’ strike in late 2007, followed by a threat of a strike by the Screen Actors Guild.

He’s working with his lender toward a mortgage modification, submitting page after page of documents, which the bank has often misplaced or waited so long to examine them that they had grown too old to use. Page after page… It is just soooo hard for these people. Because the rest of us have never had to deal with things like paperwork or bureaucracy. Wait a second… I deal with paperwork and bureaucracy every single day in order to pay my mortgage too! I’m totally getting ripped off.

His ideal outcome is get the loan modified and get all his late fees waived. My ideal outcome involves world domination and all you can eat ice cream. He feels ENTITLED to that because the bank advised him to stopped paying in the first place to qualify for one of the government’s foreclosure programs. Before that, he had missed only one payment. I capitalized entitled, because I think that sums up the whole thing.

Meanwhile, he has cobbled together some income streams — small acting parts, teaching acting classes and even handyman work. Yes, because an aspiring actor has never had to go be a waiter before, ever. He’s just waiting for his Big Break, and then everything will be swell!

“In a way, I feel like I’m lucky because I haven’t had to pay any ‘rent’ for 30 months,” he said. In a way? IN A WAY? You no good, rotten, lazy sack of crap. You haven’t paid rent for two and half years, and you feel LUCKY IN A WAY?!

But he feels like he’s always under a cloud. “I haven’t slept in three years,” he said. “It’s terrifying. I have to have the ultimate poker face in front of my kids.” BREAD TRUCK MOTHER ****ER!

Ruben Martinez, a Staten Island, N.Y., man trapped in a particularly bad adjustable rate mortgage, stopped paying more than three years ago. His attorney, Robert K Brown, has managed to stave off one foreclosure. and overthrew a small 3rd world country. (sorry, gun nut inside joke)

Martinez, still struggling to find work, has little in savings despite the missed payments. He’s earning some income as a pastor and consulting for a non-profit family counseling organization. What exactly is he counseling them to do? Scam the banks? Live beyond their means?

“There’s pressure on me every day,” he said. “I have a wife, three daughters and two grandchildren. Where are we going to live?” In a van down by the river for all I care. I know, how about go live someplace you can actually afford. Oh, I’m sorry, is that small apartment not up to the high standards that you are accustomed to? Well too damn bad. The rest of us are sick of bailing you out.

And that is what it all comes down to. The above morons aren’t living for free. Somebody is paying for their free ride. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. All of us that have lived within our means, sacrificed, and worked hard, are paying taxes to idiot politicians that are going to bail out these idiotic financial institutions that were idiotic enough to make loans to these idiots. So how does the news spin it? We’re supposed to feel sad that poor dumb Lynn can’t have a dog. We’re supposed to feel sad that some aspiring actor has to put on a brave face for his kids.

Bull. Crap.

I just mailed a quarterly tax withholding check to the government today for my book royalties. Sure, it was enough to cover several of MY mortgage payments, but I sure hope that the government can use my money and put it toward something useful, like getting Lynn a new puppy.

Luckily most of the comments to the article get it. But then there are people like this:

To all of you with such mean things to say, all I have to say is…. it must be nice to be perfect!

And that one random internet comment sums up so much about what is wrong with our country. I never claimed to be perfect. I claimed to be a grown up.

An interview of me on Writing Action

I went on Farland’s Author Advisory last night and took calls about How To Write Action.  It was pretty fun, though we did have some technical difficulites part way through when the power went out. :) 

http://authorsadvisory.blogspot.com/2011/06/16-larry-correia-mechanics-of-writing.html

Interview with the man that did my Monster Hunter audio books

http://theguildedearlobe.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/narrative-undertones-my-interview-with-oliver-wyman/  Oliver Wyman, who has narrated more than 100 audio books, talks about his job.  And Mr. Trash Bags was a career high. Go Team Shoggoth!

Dead Six, Chapter Titles

The final edits of Dead Six are done and it has been sent off to Toni so that we can have an eARC before the paper release.  I’m really proud of this one. It is a thriller, but it is unlike any thriller I’ve ever read before.  Mike and I added chapter titles also, and I thought that I’d share them with you guys:

Prologue: Cold Open

Chapter 1: Job Security

Chapter 2: If You Die, They Don’t Have to Pay You

Chapter 3: The Zoob

Chapter 4: Secondary Target

Chapter 5: Grand Theft Auto

Chapter 6: From Sea to Shining Sea

Chapter 7: Black Helicopters

 Chapter 8: The Intern

Chapter 9: The To-Do List

Chapter 10: Hurt

Chapter 11: For the Good of the People

Chapter 12: Broken Arrow

Chapter 13: Hasa Market

Chapter 14: Anger Management

Chapter 15: Pancakes

Chapter 16: Surface Tension

Chapter 17: The Coup

Chapter 18: Civil War

Chapter 19: Best Laid Plans

Chapter 20: Rain

Chapter 21: Nefarious Master Plan

Chapter 22: Casualties

Chapter 23: The Heist

Chapter 24: Welcome Back, Mr. Nightcrawler

Chapter 25: Undocumented

Chapter 26: Quagmire

Chapter 27: Last of the Gunslingers

Chapter 28: The Calm

Chapter 29: Dropped Call

Chapter 30: What Happens in Vegas…

Epilogue: Requiem

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