Thursday, October 19, 2023

Free Royce Short Story

 A number of people have asked for a pre-Hadrian story about Royce, and for the the most part, I've not "gone there" because Royce was a less than "happy camper" during those days.  But when Wraithmarked Creative wanted a short story for their "When Swords Fall Silent Anthology" I made an exception. It's called "May Luck Be with You" and the story explains the origin of Royce's name.

If you take the Royal Road route, please follow, favorite, and rate the story - or drop a review to let me know what you think.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Theft of Swords is a Daily Deal - get it for just $2.99

THEY KILLED THE KING. THEY PINNED IT ON TWO MEN. THEY CHOSE POORLY. Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles-until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere overthrow of a tiny kingdom.

From the New York Times, USA Today, and Washington Post  bestselling  author comes a tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.

Theft of Swords was originally published as: The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha.

Just $2.99 - Today Only

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Friday, October 6, 2023

Indie Author: a documentary for all who dare to dream

Okay, so here's something I never thought I'd be talking about.  I "might" be in a movie. Here's the deal.

One day we got an email from "some guy" who wanted to talk to us about a film project. Usually these requests are from companies shopping for "an option" on one or more of my books.  That's kinda like a reservation. Someone gives the author some money, and the producer gets a certain amount of time to try and put the project together.

This request was not that.

"This guy" — I'll call him Adam from now on because that's his name — had seen Robin and I on someone's YouTube channel being interviewed about something — I think it might have been about Kickstarters. Anyway, he found our publishing history, and our partnership, to be quite compelling. So what Adam was actually approaching us about was making a documentary about us and my publishing journey.

To say that both Robin and I had the same response would be an understatement. We had to suppress our laughs. We didn't want to make Adam feel foolish, even though what he said sounded (at least to us) as the dumbest idea ever.  "Who in their right mind would want to see that," we replied.  Adam tried to convince us there were people who would be interested. We had our doubts. But if he wanted to waste his time on this pipe dream, who were we to stop him.

BTW: For anyone not familiar with the term, a pipe dream is a hope or plan that you know will never happen. Its origins come from the hallucinations produced when smoking opium. Originally these hallucinations were called opium dreams, opium pipe dreams, or pipe dreams. In the 1870s, the term pipe dream became the dominate phrase used to describe the hallucinations a person experienced while under the influence of opium. But I digress . . .

Anyway, after that first call, we didn't think much more about it. We often get "crazy people" with "bit ideas" regarding all kinds of "unrealistic ventures." In almost all cases, it's a single phone call then we never hear from them again, which is fine by us.  

But Adam called back a little while later.

He talked about various ideas he had come up with which led to some other discussions where he learned about my mentoring work to help  a small group of aspiring authors develop their craft, and Robin's endeavors to help authors earn more by learning the ins and outs of publishing. After that, Adam got even more excited.  We still thought his idea was crazy, and again we didn't think anything else would come of it.

 But it didn't end there. 

To be honest, I'm not sure how many total calls there were, but the more Adam talked the more we liked him. In many ways we saw ourselves...a creative person with a story to tell and a dream of telling it. His medium was just a big different. And I liked his passion and tenacity. We still thought it wasn't going to work, but we wanted to make it work - not for ourselves but for Adam's sake.  

That's when lightning struck Robin. Now a bolt of lightning is generally considered to be one of two things:

  • a sudden illumination and the destruction of ignorance
  • or punishment of humans by the gods from the skies, most commonly attributed to Zeus
This bolt might be both. I don't know exactly what Robin said but it was something along the lines of, "Look, I really like your passion, but I can't see how this will succeed, but if you're really serious about it I can think of something that 'might' work."

That's when she went on to talk about all the various indie authors we know and how successful they have become. Each of us has had our own varied path to success, and we all learned a lot along the way. In general, the "indie publishing community" is quite cooperative (much more so than traditional published authors) and we're always sharing information and strategies. So Robin's idea was while "we" weren't enough to make such a project compelling, if we expanded it and included "others," then, there might be something that people would be interested in.

Adam LOVED the idea.

To be honest, we still weren't sure if Adam was goign to actually "do something" or just be a guy with a dream that never quite got it over the finish line.  But the next phone call was to setup a weekend where he and his cinematographer could come out to shoot some initial footage.  

Okay, so we finally understood Adam was serious.

Robin got on the computer and reached out to some authors who she thought would be a good fit for this. She even was able to convince a few of them to drop what they were doing and head to our house to join us for the weekend's shoot.

Since that original weekend, Robin (and our friend Bryce O'Conner - CEO of Wraithmarked Creative) convinced other authors to sign on to the project. Here's a list of some of them: Will Wight, Travis Baldree, Daniel B. Greene, Bryce O'Conner, M.L. Wang, delmach (author of House Witch series), A.C. Cobble, and Phil Tucker. 

There's just one small problem.

Money. Film production is MUCH more expensive than writing a book. Adam isn't rich, and he didn't have the funds, and while we could finance the project, neither Robin or I were convinced of making enough to earn back what we would have to pay out. If Adam and his crew took no income whatsoever, they would still need $40,000 for equipment rental, travel expenses, post production editing, blu-ray production, and paying for a venue to hold a premier.  That is a lot to risk when we still didn't know how to judge the interest in such a project. 

Luckily there's a solution for people in that predicament.

Kickstarter. It's the bastion for dreamers and people with crazy ideas. The concept is simple - tell people what you are going to make, and if they are interested, they pre-order it. If the project has legs, it funds and the thing is made. If it's a dud, then it dies on the vine, no money is transferred, and there's no harm and no foul. To be clear, if this project funds, Robin and I won't be taking any money. Our hope is that Adam won't have to volunteer his time and talents. 

So, since that filming weekend Adam has been working on setting up the Kickstarter and making an introductory video. The project will launch October 10th, and if you have any interest in backing it, you can sign up to be notified when it goes live.  While still a work in progress, here is what Adam has come up with so far.

I do hope (for Adam's sake) that some of you will be interested in this project. You'll hear A LOT about Robin and I - our background - how we do things - all stuff that people seem to be interested in based on feedback from our Author's Notes and Afterwords. Plus, you'll get the same from a bunch of other authors. And especially if you dream of writing your own book someday, you'll learn a ton about what it takes to go from a blank page to earning a full-time living. But even if you aren't a writer, we think you'll be entertained and inspired by these people who did the impossible and made their dreams a reality - and hopefully, if we all pull together, we can do the same for Adam.