Random Thoughts

On the transitory nature of things:  So I’ve mentioned Project Wonderful on here a couple of times.  Well, after over a decade of great adverts at low prices, they’re closing their doors.  It’s like going in to check on a great restaurant you used to frequent…only to find that they’ve been closed for several weeks.  Yes, feelings of guilt may be involved.  However, it sounds like the advertisement market is just going through some serious change.

On eternal arguments:  I work in a building with several other air enthusiasts.  This includes a gentleman who has been in the Commemorative Air Force almost as long as I’ve been alive.  Well, if there’s one discussion you can expect to have with a fellow flight fiend, it’s “What do you think is the best fighter of World War II?”

I think I threw him for a loop when I came back immediately with, “Where am I flying and what’s my mission?”

“That’s overcomplicating things, don’t you think?”

“Not really.  If I don’t have to go above 10,000 feet and ground fire isn’t that much of a problem…”

“Fine, what’s your favorite fighter of World War II.”

*without missing a beat*  “P-47, all day, every day.

“So you don’t think it’s the best fighter of World War II?”

“There I was over the Philippines when my only engine conked out.”

“Okay, good point.”

On nerves: No matter how many cons I do, I still have those moments where I’m afraid the whole thing is going to be like the scene from Carrie, i.e., “They’re all going to laugh at you!”  (Except, you know, hopefully I don’t get that homicidal surge to go with my previously largely nascent telekinesis.)  It’s silliness–I actually like going to cons and getting to meet new fans.  Plus the dealer room closes early at GENCON so vendors can game.

Speaking of gaming, I’ve been playing a lot of D&D 5th Edition.  While I grew up with 2nd Edition and played a bit of 3.5, I think 5e has hit the sweet spot between “Having a d20 system that keeps folks honest…” yet being simple enough that you can teach someone to play well in a matter of hours.  Even better:  The Better Half has started to apply her talents to preparing game sets:

Haunted House

Anyway, enough musing for the night.  Time to take Mama Shark her copy of Aries’ Red Sky in the AM.

A Quick Note

Greetings all, it’s been awhile.  Lots of good news, and there will be a longer newsletter (subscribe here).  But first, three items of major import:

As of 11 May 2018 I have received my doctorate in U.S. History from Kansas State University.  Here is one picture of me getting hooded by my committee chair, Dr. Don Mrozek:

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The next piece of news is that I will be at Smallville Comic Con in Hutchinson, KS on 23-24 June 2018.  We will be at Booth #44:

Smallville Map

Last but far from least, the next Vergassy Universe novel, Aries Red Sky, is available for pre-order from Amazon.  Feel free to pick up a copy so that it will download on its release date, 24 July.  Also, if you prefer audiobooks, a producer has been hired for the book with an expected completion date of 10 August on ACX.

Aries Red Sky Kindle Cover.jpg

That’s all for now!  Hope you are all doing and have a chance to pick the book up.

Star System Maps and a Shout Out

The next novel, Aries Red Sky, is nearing its completion now that the dissertation monster is finally slain.  It’s at 95,000 words or so, and will be headed to the editor (Lord willing and the creek don’t rise) at the end of the month.  My usual artist and better half is busy completing her senior projects (links go to her page), so I asked my talented fellow artist and author A.R. Crebs to put together the system maps that are pasted inside of the book.  I don’t know you guys, how do you think she did?

 

Me, I think she did awesome.  Quick work too–each of those took less than 4 hours.  So if you’re looking for a highly capable, easy to work with artist, feel free to send A.R. an email.

Blank cover art reveal of Aries Red Sky to follow shortly.

News on Reviews

Recent news about Amazon reviews here.

My quick thoughts:

Jeff Bezos and the gang are not playing around.  This is a strong action taken against click farms and other gimmicks that have had Amazon’s review / marketing features in the news for all the wrong reasons.  It was starting to appear to some indie authors as if Amazon did not care so much about review veracity as long as the money was flowing in for sales.  This would seem to indicate Amazon cares a great deal about protecting the integrity of its brand.

Getting reviews just got harder.  If you have books in Kindle Unlimited, this probably means that getting borrower reviews may be more difficult.  I know of at least one regular indie reviewer who is on a fixed income (hence why he does KU).  It sounds like this is $50 total lifetime, but still–it’s just another barrier to having, say, people who borrow a book from the library give an author good buzz.

Grudge Killers.  While I’ve yet to annoy someone enough that they thought it was worthwhile to create 20 different accounts to one star me, I know of several authors who have.  Amazon had previously had a “We have neither the time nor the energy to get involved…”-view of this.  However, I think in part this is due to several prominent figures getting just avalanched by fake accounts when they publish a memoir.  Regardless of the reasons for the beef, this should make it harder for crap like this to happen.

Overall I think it is a plus.  We’ll see how it turns out.