June 2022: Month in Review

Another look back at the past 30-ish days.

Gotta Have Pride
June was Pride Month, and while I’m loathe to use Pride to sell stuff — if a queer writer can’t hawk books containing queer characters in the 30 days we even pretend to like queer stuff, then when can I hawk my books?

Why I’m a queer author worth supporting (before and after June, too!).

Book Birthday — Times Two
June 1 marked the anniversary of two of my books: my debut Bounty published on June 1, 2015, and one year later, I published Behind the Badge, book three in the series. This month is pivotal in my being an indie author, and I’d appreciate some help in the celebration (even though, yes, June is over).

Pretty…Pretty Good
This month, I reviewed two must-reads: The Heartbeat of a Million Dreams by Halo Scot and Dreadknot, book eight in S.E. Anderson’s hilarious Starstruck series. They’re both five-star books, and you should have them on your shelf. Or e-reader.

Or both. Support those indie authors.

I Made a Funny
You should read it.

I Also Got Real
Because sometimes, I need to just vent my feelings. Because I’m not just a writer, I’m also a full-fledged person (or so I’m told).

New Music That Kicks Ass
Spiritbox has again graced us with their presence, and my Garbage-loving ass is here for it:

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Writers are People, and Sometimes, People Suck
I’ve been as guilty of this as anyone, but maybe in light of everything we now know about people like Joss Whedon and J.K. Rowling, maybe it’s time we stop putting creative people up on pedestals.

Like, buy my books, read my books, enjoy my books. But don’t make me out to be anything more than a good writer.

Help?

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May 2022: Month in Review

Another look back at the past 30-ish days.

Another short post, because apparently, my day job can’t just chill. I need to get back in the swing of things. Perhaps June? Maybe July?

Actual News!
May might’ve been light on posts, but I did take an important step this month; I revealed the cover for Bitter End (Jill Andersen #6), courtesy of the awesomesauce Sarah Anderson!

Click here for the original post.

The Defense Rests
Fan fiction gets a lot of shit, and none of it’s deserved. Yes, I’m a fanfic defender.

It’s a Dirty Job, But Someone’s Gotta Do It
Most writers I know despise editing. But what if I told you I have four tips that will not only make the process easier, but maybe even more fun?

I won’t even charge you four installments of $19.99 for it.

Just Finished
Dreadknot by S.E. Anderson, The Heartbeat of a Million Dreams by Halo Scot. Both tremendous reads; look for reviews in the next week or so (or look me up on Goodreads and see them now).

Currently Reading
Eye of the Brave by Halo Scot.

First Person vs. Third Person
When I started writing Summertime, Assassins, and Other Skullduggeries, it was in third person, because that’s how I write just about everything and it’s automatic at this point. But on a whim, I tried the first couple chapters in first person, and I liked them so much that now I don’t know what I’m gonna do.

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March 2022: Month in Review

An end-of-the-month look back at the last 30 days.

This might be a short post, because March is, by far, my day job’s busiest month. And I always overestimate my ability to do book stuff while also juggling the madness.

The only dance I know how to do.

Where’s the Beef?
No book reviews this month, because with the aforementioned March Being A Thing, I didn’t finish any of the books I’m reading. But I am in the process of reading Echoes of Blood by Halo Scot, Dreadknot by S.E. Anderson, and A Dangerous Game by Madeline Dyer. All are potential five-star reads.

End of an Era?
Don’t tell 20-year-old me, but I am giving serious thought to giving up video games and selling off my collection. I barely play anymore, and the industry has devolved to the point where none of the new machines or games interest me (even games like Gran Turismo 7, and I’m a lifelong GT junkie!). Spare time is precious to me anymore, and I find myself devoting less and less of it to gaming (and when I do game, it’s almost always the older stuff).

Ad Time
I tried another Facebook ad for Notna in March, since Facebook gifted me a $50 credit for a boosted post. I tried the same post I did back in January, but this time, I changed the Buffy comparison to Supernatural (to test my theory) and ran the ad for nearly two weeks (March 6-21), targeted a strictly US audience, and added target filters to include fans of adventure fiction, fantasy books, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Supernatural.

In all, I reached 4,135 people and got 60 clicks (both increases over the first Facebook ad). The mobile app news feed and suggested videos feed gave me the bulk of my clicks, and almost 70% of my reach was men (…why, I have no idea). Texas and California were the states where I had the most reach, and the effect on sales was…negligible.

So, it’s looking like, while Facebook ads are great for getting eyeballs on my FB page, it doesn’t really do much sales-wise.

Your Mileage May Vary
Are books on writing worth the paper on which they’re printed? For the most part, I say no. Feel free to agree. Or disagree. But don’t use any adverbs, or Stephen King will come after you.

Where Are the Haters?
I was convinced this article would lose me followers, but it seems to have just been…largely ignored. On Medium, I wrote about why I write about the police in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Yes, There’s a Difference
I recently wrote about the difference between inspiration and motivation. Yes, those are two completely different things, and they are often mutually exclusive from one another. It’s one of the more maddening aspects of being an author.

Is This Thing On?
I had written another essay for Medium, one where I examine creativity in a theoretical sense, and submitted it to the Writers’ Blokke publication. But…it’s still there. I know they’ve said they’re swamped with content over there, but this is by far the longest it’s taken one of my essays to get posted. Shame, too, because I was really proud of this one.

From the ‘Out of Your Comfort Zone’ Department:
I’ve written a children’s book. You can’t buy it, but you can read about what I learned through the experience.

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February 2022: Month in Review

An end-of-the-month look back at the last…however many days it’s been.

What? Math’s not my strength.

I Review Books Because Throwing Them at People is Frowned Upon
My second batch of book reviews for 2022 highlights a fantastic yet disturbing entry from Halo Scot, an entertaining, if forgettable, read from V.E. Schwab, and a re-read of one of the new Stephen King books I’ve read.

Progress! I’m Making Actual Progress!
Hey! I’m doing the writing thing again! No, really. I sent one of my manuscripts to an editor and hired a cover artist and everything. Plus, the other stuff I’m working on. Read about them here (warning: lesbians and assassins and lesbian assassins await).

Nikki Heat? That’s a Stripper Name!
From the “never underestimate the motivational power of spite” files, I detail how the television show Castle gave me the final push I needed to become a published author. And it’s not the way you might think.

There’s a Country Song in Here Somewhere
Last week, I re-posted an older essay I had written for Medium, in which I detailed the five things I wish I had known when I started this indie author journey. I’m glad I know these things now, but they would’ve saved me a lot of grief back then.

Remembering Kobe
Yes, I know this was posted in January. It still counts, and the message still resonates. Even for this decidedly unathletic author who has all the basketball skills of a sea urchin.

To Apologize or Not to Apologize?

Wares for Sale
I didn’t do any real heavy promotional work in February. Partly to study what I did in January and partly because the main focus was getting the manuscript for Bitter End (Jill Andersen #6) ready to be sent off. I’ll pick things up again in March.

Come On, Don’t You Guys Read? Redux
I pledged to read 35 books in 2022, and while I haven’t finished any books yet in February (how can a month with only 28 days be so freaking long?!), I am currently invested in two books:

Echoes of Blood by Halo Scot
A Dangerous Game by Madeline Dyer

Fresh Off the Press!
Congratulations to two of my author friends who had new releases in February: Halo Scot with the sci-fi/superhero novella The Heartbeat of a Million Dreams and S.E. Anderson with Dreadknot, the eighth entry in her hilarious Starstruck sci-fi series. I highly recommend picking up these new releases.

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January 2022: Month in Review

An end-of-the-month look back at the last 30/31 days.

(Ish.)

Let’s Do the Time Warp Again

First up…cheating a little bit to December 31, 2021. Because that’s when we looked back at the five best books I read in 2021. One author makes two appearances on this list.

You have to click the link to find out who.

I Love the Smell of Book Reviews in the Morning

And let’s not forget the first book reviews of the new year, in which I extoll the virtues of works by the likes of Lee Hall, Tom Lin, and Chuck Wendig.

Why Did You Say That Name?!

So, who the hell am I, and why should you care about all this yammering? I make my case here.

If the Apocalypse Comes, Text Me

I tried two different ad campaigns for Notna in January — one on BookBub and one on Facebook. The text for both ads compared Notna to both Indiana Jones and Buffy the Vampire Slayer — much like reviews of the book have done. For the sake of transparency, here’s how each one did.

With a budget of $200, I ran the BookBub ad from Jan. 8-24. Final numbers: 28,675 total impressions and 34 clicks.

Sales? Negligible.

For Facebook, the ad ran from Jan. 9-16 and had a budget of $14. I reached a total of 4,155 people and got 18 clicks. I reached nearly 2,800 people in England, and most of the time, the ad showed up on Facebook’s mobile app.

Sales? Also negligible.

Two things to note here: I did not lower the price of Notna prior to the start of each campaign. I’d be interested to see if that would change anything.

Also, I wonder if linking Notna to Buffy wound up doing more harm than good, considering all the (justifiable) anger toward series creator Joss Whedon of late. Maybe Buffy doesn’t have the cache in genre circles it once did. Maybe next time, I’ll swap out Buffy for Supernatural (another comparison readers have made).

Project Updates!

Bitter End (Jill Andersen #6) is in revisions, and I’m almost ready to send it to another editor. I’ve also solicited the cover, which will once again come courtesy of the fantastical Sarah Anderson.

Look for a cover reveal and release date in the coming months.

Also, I’m inching closer to completing the first draft of both Prelude to Hellion and Summertime, Assassins, and Other Skullduggeries. Words are being birthed!

Damn, that feels good to write.

Coming Soon…Ish

My favorite snippet from the past month:

It wasn’t long before the hotel in question came into view. The Hilton Midtown, a hotel that stretched for the sky and had undoubtedly hosted many a high-class affair over the years. There was no telling how many companies and organizations around the world had booked this hotel for their meetings and conferences and black-tie dinners—whatever excuse to visit New York City, get dressed up for a night, and pretend they were more important than they really were.

That was another thing this city was good at: making people think they were better, smarter, more consequential than they actually were. How else could a failed real estate tycoon with multiple bankruptcies on his resume end up in the White House?

Check out more of my writing snippets.

Marching Forward, Hypocritic and Hypnotic Computers

Metal isn’t just a headbanging good time. For me, it helps the creative process.

Toss a Coin to Your Witcher…After Rolling for Initiative

I may have put away the dice for good, but tabletop roleplaying still plays an important role in my life as a creator and author. Specifically, White Wolf’s World of Darkness imprint has long held a prominent spot on my bookshelf — even today.

Good thing, too. Those books weren’t cheap. Read the full piece on Medium’s ILLUMINATION page.

Come On, Don’t You Guys Read?

I pledged to read 35 books in 2022, and so far, I’m right on track. So far, I’ve finished:

Edge of the Breach by Halo Scot
Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Right now, I’m reading: On Writing by Stephen King (re-read), Echoes of Blood by Halo Scot, and A Dangerous Game by Madeline Dyer.

To Readers, With Love

February’s gonna be a good month for two of my favorite authors.

On Feb. 2, Halo Scot will release the sci-fi/superhero novella The Heartbeat of a Million Dreams.

Then, on Feb. 22, S.E. Anderson’s Dreadknot, the eighth book in her hilarious Starstruck series, drops.

Get on these!

You Like [My Book]! You Really, Really Like [My Book]!

And finally…thanks to the aforementioned Hall, who wrote this generous review of The Art of Reading.

I Am Such a Tease

Have you subscribed to my newsletter? If you have, you’d have been reading Higher Education, one of the short stories that will be in the forthcoming Prelude to Hellion. If not, what better time than now?

By the way, all newsletter subscribers get the novella Boundless for free.

Yes, free!