Thursday, March 31, 2011

Busy Like a Busy, Busy Bee


Been awhile!

How've you been?

I've been crazy busy (thanks for wondering!)

This last week has been insane. Ever feel like you've passed a month in a few days? That's what I feel like, on the short end. On the long end, I feel like I've aged ten years! It's just been busy, busy, busy!

Also, I've been sick. That slows down the entire process.

But, I'm working through it. So, what have I been doing? Well, I lost a third of one of my front teeth last week. Surprise to me! Luckily, no pain. Visited the dentist today and the cavity (the gaping maw of blackness that was unearthed from under said broken tooth) is not as bad as it LOOKS. No root canal (he thinks!) YAY :)

Also, made some serious progress on the timeline of Liar. It was giving me trouble until I broke down and made a timeline. Now all the days will match up! Hooray! That makes the story less confusing. HOWEVER, I've had to do some major editing and shifting because if I follow the actual timeline I wrote, then what I've written of the story doesn't match up...

But, I'm working on it.

And, you can see my progress on the side, there! Over 50%! Here is me exuding proud rainbows! *proud rainbows*

In other news, we should have K. Gorman here next Wednesday for the TrAuSt Tour. EXCITING! K has a story in the Twelve Worlds Anthology, as well. It's called The Star-Eater. I changed my story from Sleepeater to Insomnomancer right before submission. When I saw Star-Eater as one of the other titles, I knew my instinct was GOOD!

Quick Reminder: Twelve Worlds is slated for release in early April. The price will be $2.99 and it will contain 12 published-author stories as well as some bonus stories. Total length over 80k words! The proceeds will go to the charity Reading is Fundamental. We all took a vote and that got the majority!

And as a last thing, let me submit (for the approval, of the MIDNIGHT SOCIETY! Ahaha, that brings back memories...) this piece of truthful hilarity.

Also by the same author, THIS had me laughing so hard, I fell out of my computer chair and cried until I couldn't breathe. But, maybe you have to own a dog to understand. And one more piece of hilarity that made me laugh even after my broken tooth (of which I was really bummed)! (Also about dogs.)


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Calling in Dead

I've been pretty absentee this week, and I apologize!

I'm going to use my "Calling in Dead" card. I've been incredibly sick the past week, emotionally drained and physically ill. (Slept 12+ hours yesterday...) My guest post for the TrAuSt Tour canceled at the last second and I didn't see it until about 5 minutes ago...

Look for things to get back on schedule with that, next week!

As for me, just recuperation, rejuvenation, and hopefully staying out of the bathroom...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

TrAuSt Tour #1: Tony Lavely

I have been following Derek J. Canyon's blog for awhile now, and a few months ago he announced he would like to do a charity anthology, now named "Twelve Worlds". As a fledgling Indie myself, I quickly jumped on board where I met a delightful cast of characters.

It became quickly apparent that some authors were more reliable when it came to communication! Tony is one of those people I could always count on an answer from. It is my pleasure to introduce our guest interviewee today,Tony Lavely. He is the author of Weird and Wonderful. Please check out the anthology, "Twelve Worlds", when it drops (slated for April)!

A quick note on interview format:
5 Up High is the section where I ask the interviewee writing and author related questions.
Special Feature is the section specifically related to a certain project (for example, today's Twelve Worlds Special Feature).
5 Down Low is where I ask random questions, to help you get the nitty-gritty on today's target.
Author Comments give the guest a chance to redeem themselves ;)

Without further rambling, here is Tony's interview...

5 Up High:
JEM: Why did you get into writing/become a writer?

ATL: My very first effort writing fiction was to challenge my daughter to do the same for a class. That effort, some 25 years old, has been updated and forms the first part of Mercenaries; A Love Story, the book I plan to release this summer. Since being unemployed, I have a bit more time for it.

JEM: Why did you decide to go into Indie Publishing?

ATL: My belief is that while I want to write about the things I like, I am far from certain that anyone would want to read them. And then, being fit to a formula... I thought independent effort suited me better. Also, being a senior, it doesn't have to support me, although it'd be nice...

JEM: Can you give a synopsis of your current WIP (Work In Progress)?

ATL: A two book set entitled, as I said above, Mercenaries; A Love Story. The first book will be epublished in the summer, and the second concluding book in the fall. Both are written; I'm in final editing stages on the first book. The second book will be up next. I have written about three paragraphs of a sequel (at the behest of preliminary reviewers) involving some of the same cast.

The story of Mercenaries is not all that complex, I guess, though capturing it in a few sentences seems counter productive, since I have spent 200K words telling it. However: Beckie, her brother Mike, and their friend Melissa, are teens who get involved assisting Ian Jamse and his group of mercenaries in halting a child abuse ring that operates in Europe, the US and Far East. Part One is 13+ in my mind; Part Two is probably M for mature. You'll have to read it to understand the "love story" storyline.

A second series is fantasy/SF rather than thriller/adventure. The series so far runs to over 700K words. It follows Jani, nominated by a nameless entity to save the world by competing in a game with the fate of the world in the balance. The first book sets this conflict up, while the game itself is played out in the succeeding five stories. Settings in the five stories change, as Jani is teleported to different worlds. These worlds range from a theocracy founded by a space traveler to a world with dragons and were's (werekittens, weresheep, weregirl) to an advanced world used in books four and five where humans have developed fully sentient swarm computing entities in their own form (and others) to finally, what I think of as a classical fantasy realm, with mages and thus, magic. Some of Jani's magic runs throughout the series; characters come and go, though a few are more frequent visitors. The fifth novel in the series is as yet incomplete, so strange things might still happen.

JEM: What is your biggest inspiration as a writer?

ATL: Real life, as opposed to reality. Characters especially.

JEM: What is your writing process? (IE: outline, notecards, etc)

ATL: Ok, honestly. I come up with a concept I like, and begin. For example, the concept behind the six part series: About 20 years ago, I was at a family get together at my brother's house. Summer; the doors were open. I had a cold beer, and was just lazing about. A fly kept annoying me by (seemingly) disappearing and reappearing across the room. That concept, translated to an airplane, worked its way to 700K words.

So, I start the process and let the characters tell their own story. I help them by doing research where they need information (Google is your friend; Google Maps and Earth can be extremely helpful in trying to design settings). Not having the story planned out at the beginning causes me difficulty on occasion; I'm not sure I recommend it as a technique. It has left me with part five unfinished while part six is complete.

12 Worlds Special Feature:

JEM: Why did you decide to contribute to Twelve Worlds?

ATL: I am a member of (recommended to writers!), sharing critiques between writers. One of the 12 World authors, Edward Cote, is also, and I had the opportunity to critique his work Violet Sky. I liked it, and when he told me of Derek's idea, I thought I would like to be a part of the effort.

JEM: Can you tell us anything about the story you contributed to Twelve Worlds?

ATL: I wrote the first draft about 20 years ago, in opposition to something or other. Perhaps it was Splash, the Tom Hanks/Darryl Hannah movie from the 80's. It was a fun piece, trying to imply a sexual relationship blooming to full love over a matter of hours, before Mailira disappears forever. Nothing explicit. Her sister comes back - no, Marelsa is not Mailira and Jackson's daughter. In bringing it to 12 Worlds, a couple of plot lines had to be fleshed out, but the basic story remains: girl and boy meet, fall in love and are parted by her destiny. For the girl, we can hope she'll have Jackson's child; for the boy, he and Marelsa have a future together, but it's not certain what that will be. Read your Irish folk stories; I did, once a reader pointed out to me: She's a shapechanger (which I knew), a selkie (which I didn't). I hope everyone enjoys it. And for those intent on pointing out typographical errors: 'plash' is a perfectly good word that felt perfect where I used it in Weird and Wonderful.

JEM: Any other thoughts on Twelve Worlds?

ATL: I have read all the stories and I am ecstatic at being part of the collection. The stories are all wonderful, and cover speculative fiction in a way that I haven't seen done before. And it's all for charity, too. I am hopeful we'll be able to continue and make it a series.

5 Down Low

JEM: Who is your favorite animated character and why?

ATL: Is Doctor Teeth an animated character? Dobby? Gollum? If traditionally animated, does that leave out Pixar? Dory? Traditional: Belle, I think, although she's a toss-up with Chernabog.


I just really love Dr Teeth and the Electric Mayhem in the Muppet Movie, bringing music and refitting to the church and Kermit and Fozzie's car, too.

Dobby (Harry Potter series) saves the world!

Gollum (Lord of the Rings) is such a wonderful character, all the way from the beginning through till the scene in Mount Doom, where he saves Frodo. And Andy Serkis isn't half bad, either.

Dory (Finding Nemo) for the comic relief she brings to Nemo, and the important part she plays in getting Nemo and Marlin together.

Belle (Beauty and the Beast), because she's the brightest and strongest of the Disney female leads. NB:I haven't seen The Princess and the Frog; she's supposed to be strong, too, which makes sense, given the concept.

Chernabog (Fantasia), because he's so well done, and without him and Night on Bald Mountain, the Ave Maria would have no impact at all.

Sorry, too many top picks! I've not even mentioned Rocky and Bullwinkle, or Top Cat, or a double handful of comic book/web comic characters.

JEM: If you could permanently ban one flavor of soda, which would you choose?

ATL: All those with non-water ingredients. Seriously, I'm really happy with ice water, though Perrier is great as well.

JEM: Can you tell us the funniest thing you've heard recently?

ATL: I'm afraid not, depending on your audience. I tweeted about it about four days ago. It wasn't a comic piece. (JEM sez: I agree, it wasn't :P)

JEM: Which do you prefer: oatmeal, cream of wheat, malt-o-meal, coco wheats or grits?

ATL: Equal preference, which is to say I'd not touch any of these unless it was the end of the world. Then oatmeal, but I'd take a long time, loosing about 50 pounds before I partook.

JEM: What is your favorite type of food? (IE: Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Italian)

ATL: American, Italian, toss-up.

Author Freetime:
JEM: Any closing statements? :)

ATL: I'm listening to The Rose, and We Built This City, along with Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance followed by Bridge Over Troubled Waters. Julie Brown and The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun! So great!

I'm aggressively not watching basketball.

I hope all who see this support 12 Worlds and the authors who have come together to produce it.

If you would like to contact Mr. Lavely, please peruse his information:


writer's email:

Please feel free to leave any comments you may have for Tony! And, check out "Twelve Worlds" next month for Tony's piece, Weird and Wonderful as well as a piece of my own, Insomnomancer!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Up to the Date

So, very exciting stuff happening! The TrAuSt Tour kicks off THIS Wednesday, the 23rd, so please be sure to stop in and say hi to our guest, Tony Lavely.

The Twelve Worlds Anthology is slated to come out next month. I have a piece, Insomnomancer, that will (currently) appear FOURTH in the collection. But, as it's digital I suppose order doesn't matter TOO much. Though I hope for exposure by it, sure :) Quick plug! Here is the Twelve Worlds cover:

You CANNOT tell me that doesn't look exciting!

Also, a little sales update. Please look at my nifty chart I digitally slaved over.

If you count them all up, I've sold 8 copies of "Shackled" and 5 copies of "Cheat"! That is officially 13 more copies than I ever sold before indie pubbing ;) (For those not in the know, I made the decision to become an indie from yon get-go.)

If you look at my little pledge thingy on the right, you'll see I pledged to sell 1,000 copies of a novel this year. "Shackled" is currently my only novel for sale and I have sold 8. Only 992 to go! I know the more pieces I get out there, the more momentum my name will receive. If all goes as planned, I will have at least 10 pieces up before September (7 of them episodes from the IH series). I want to be ready for the big buying season during the holidays! Plus, September is my birth month, so there's that :)

Gotta jet for now. Be sure to come back Wednesday for the grand unveiling of the TrAuSt Tour!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Math(s) All Up In Yo' Grillz

Here is my formula for success.

Success = (12YIH) + X

Y = progressive year of YA series
IH = static representation of Icarus Helix or "1"
X = non-related works
Success = result in top 100

For example, 6 months into the IH series, assuming no other work:
Success = 12 (1/2 * 1) + 1 (Shackled)
Success = 12 (.5) + 1
Success = 6 + 1
Success = 7
Therefore: After 6 months, Success can be measured by 7 works in the top 100.

Example: 2 years IH and 5 other completed works:
Success = 12 (2 * 1) + (1 + 5)
Success = (12 * 2) + 6
Success = 24 + 6
Success = 30
Therefore: After 2 years and 5 other works, Success can be measured by 30 works in the top 100

Haha, yeah right :)

But I do have a dream one day that IH will be a popular series. I'd like to see the new one come out, then replace the one before it in the top 100 ranking. That would be truly fabulous.

If you're wondering where to begin with the IH series, begin with it's current offering, Season 1, Episode 1 "Cheat". It's only $.99 and worth a try. After all, I just did all that math(s) for you! (And for "Success" to become a reality, it has to start with some kind consumers!) :D


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Traveling Author Stomp (TrAuSt Tour)

In the interest of cross-pollination and Irish music (as it IS St. Patty's Day) I've decided to try and bring together a number of authors for guest posts/interviews.

However, I hate the word "blog" so I've left that out of the title :)

Also, since I'm setting this up, I get to make the rules. Woo!

1. Do not put "blog" in the title. (Check!)

2. Updates to the TrAuSt Tour shall be posted on Wednesdays, and Wednesdays shall be the day the TrAuSt Tour posts.

3. Authors may choose either an interview or a guest post for their appearance.

4. Authors may re-appear on the same blog no sooner than 5 posts after an appearance. (IE: Guest post, 5 weeks later - interview).

5. A Twitter account (shudder) shall be created and maintained by me (double shudder). The tag is: TrAuStTour. Follow accordingly!

6. At the very minimum, authors who appear on my site for the TrAuSt Tour must re-tweet and mention their appearance on their own site (blog, facebook).

7. Authors whom appear here on the TrAuSt Tour should host at least one (1) TrAuSt guest on their own site, with a link back to here for the rules :)

Sound fun? Anyone who would like to join, kindly submit a request to: JEMedrickBooks(at)

I intend for Tour Posts to begin March 23rd, 2011.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It Begins Anew

So I went ahead and started in on "Liar" today. I've gotten about 2k words (about 10%, as per my word-o-meter) as well as the initial document formatting set up. My set date to publicate (heehee, that's just fun to say, even if publicate isn't a word) is April 15th. No harm in getting ahead! Best case scenario, I finish up Episode 2 ("Liar") and am at least halfway done with Episode 3 by 2's publication :) Ideally, I'd like to get a few episodes ahead! This would give me a buffer if I want to write something else for awhile or have a vacation where I don't have to do my own brand of work!

I was mildly productive, by uploading the "fixed" version of "Shackled". Seems there was a left-justification error, but I'm still having some issues with spacing, apparently. Smashwords left me a little note on why it couldn't go into the premium catalog over on their site, so I adjusted that ALSO. (#848 in the queue... is Sunday night the posting time?!?)

My puppy is at my feet being entirely obnoxious. And - I kid you not - every time I look at him to tell him to stop, he goes perfectly still and looks at me with absolutely innocent eyes. Little bugger!

In my last bit of writing news, my final submission for the Twelve Worlds Anthology is due by tomorrow. Ugh, deadlines. I have to find some time between tonight and tomorrow night (work tomorrow morning/afternoon) to get it done! Time just slips away...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"Cheat" is Live

As you can see by my Release Blog, "Cheat" is live on Amazon and B&N!

It has already been an exciting release for me. Even though my status on KDP is still "Publishing" I've already sold 2 copies! That blows my mind. I hope it's not a fluke and the momentum continues!! (I must be a good writer, look at all those exclamation marks!!!!!)

I mean, of course it's not a fluke because I'm amazing and talented. Yes? ;)

I should get to work on "Liar" so it's ready and polished long before it's April 15th release date. If I finish early enough maybe I can start on Episode 3... (is the suspense for the name killing you, yet? :P)

In unrelated news, my dog keeps laying on the power strip across the room and I'm afraid he's going to catch on fire.

The End!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Cheat" Processing

I suppose the title says it all :)

That will increase my virtual shelf space to 2... let's see what happens!

I have until April 15th to finish "Liar".

Dare I name Episode 3?

I daren't.


But it is named.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


So, I blasted through the end of Cheat today. I am a writing machine. It occurs to me that since November, I've put in over 80k in words. With a schedule of 1 of the IH novellas a month, that means 20k more words every month... at least...

Well, build a backlist and they will come.

I'll be editing today and tomorrow, and (aside from the very end, which I just finished) my beta readers have had good feedback about the story. I've heard it's easy to read and the dialogue is natural. So, I think those are both important (especially the first) for YA. I think the second will be super important for my adult readers.

I told my fiance today, that every time I finish a work, I want to take one day where he and I just watch a movie or do whatever and hang out. I spend a lot of time writing, and I know he misses me when I'm lost in my own little worlds ;) With Cheat finished, I'll have some breathing room. I haven't scheduled Liar to debut until April. I plan on spending two weeks writing, same as Cheat, with a week for editing/whatever. That will leave me two weeks before it's due, so I can start #3 and get more ahead... or just laze ;P

I think novella-length YA is a good fit for me. At $.99 I don't think people can complain (about length). The story is still exciting, and interesting. (I think, which is saying something, considering how I rage against my own work.) Plus, if I stay on schedule, people will have something to look forward to each month, and come back for more! I think building regularity in a series is important. They don't have to wait too long for the next installment, and it's not going to break the bank when it does come around.

Considering I plan on making it a long series (perhaps what I become known for?) building a rabid fan base is essential...

Just remember, if I -do- end up big, you guys were here first, while I took my beginning steps. YOU commented on the first covers and got the first sneak peeks. My 10 followers... in a fun (and totally appropriate) echo of Mr. Nicholas...


Monday, March 7, 2011

Sneak Peek for Episode 2...

I know there is a lot of concern that the Icarus Helix series scream "Booooooooooy! Boy Boy Boy Boy!" So, here's a sneak peek at the cover for Episode 2... Any thoughts? :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Alternate Cover for "Cheat"

What do you think? Does this say "football" less and "everyone should read me" more? :) Do you believe it will appeal to a wider audience? What do you like/dislike about it? Let's hear some feedback! :D

Saturday, March 5, 2011


I sometimes regale my dear readers with tales of my puppy. Let me do so, again.

My dog has a habit of willfully putting some seriously disgusting things into his own mouth. Things that could not taste good by any stretch of the imagination. (I'm looking at you, cat box.) One thing that he has done, since the beginning of his little puppy history is carry our socks around in his mouth.

Not just our socks. Our sweaty, just-got-off-a-nine-hour-shift-where-I-delivered-pizza-in-the-rain-and-my-sneakers-are-old-and-leaky socks. Our I-had-to-peel-this-off-my-foot-then-wipe-my-hands-on-a-towel-because-they-are-so-sweaty socks. In short, the worst things that could ever come off a human foot. He snaps them up and trots around the house with them delicately poised in his jaws.

We usually give him the "Drop!" command, in exasperation. Invariably, they will end up in his mouth once more. So today, I took a different approach. When my gross post-work socks ended up in his mouth, I led him into the bedroom and to the laundry hamper. I gave him the "Come!" command until his head was over the basket, then I gave him the "Drop!" command.

Then I praised him.

My dog is smart. He responds best to food and second to attention. He scooped up another sock and we repeated the process. By that time, he was gallivanting around the room with his coptersniffer (my dog sniffs so hard he literally sounds like a helicopter) and searching for those tasty bits. I took him back into the other room and had him grab the last sock, then once again praised him when he dropped it in the hamper.

As there were no more socks on the floor, he did the next logical thing: he tried to dump over the hamper so we could play again. He received a stern "No!" and immediately went into the "Heel" position, to let me know he was behaving.

It's only the first step, but an important one - maybe we can turn this odd and negative (as we usually have to yell at him to drop the socks) situation into a positive one.

A praised dog can go a long way towards a clean house.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Cheat" Updates

Hey everyone, thanks for the feedback so far!

We're closing in on the final cover (if this isn't the final). Yes, I am equally worried it will appeal mostly to boys... HOWEVER, each novella is supposed to stand alone, and the second cover is not sports-related. I'm hoping the "new" name might at least get people to click, then when they read the description, maybe they'll get pulled in after all.

A series of lucky shots, but there you have it. Gotta rely on luck sometimes ;)

Below is also an edited version of the PD. If you'd be so kind, tell me your thoughts...

How far would you go for money? For Marcus Tiller, gambling debt was an overwhelming shadow on his life. As a neonatal attendant at St. Mercy Four Cities Hospital in need of cash, he became CGT-Inc's ideal pawn. The contract: secretly inject newborns with an experimental compound - for $1,000 a head. But, three years after he began, he disappeared.

Now, 14 years later, the effects of the compound are starting to show. 17-year old Ian Reynolds, an aspiring varsity football player, suddenly finds he can control things with the power of his thoughts. Footballs miraculously end up in his hands, girls' skirts catch sudden drafts and life is good. But the gift comes with a price, both physical and mental.

As Ian tries to understand his power, the big rivalry against the Waredo Firehawks looms. But when a stranger who may know his secret begins leaving him cryptic notes, will Ian decide his power is best left... undiscovered?

This novella is the first season, first episode of the Icarus Helix series. Each novella in the series is intended to stand alone. They may be read in any order. The approximate length is 20,000 words.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Feedback for "Cheater's Pass"

Time to ante up your opinions for me, again, dear readers! Up for your scrutiny is my current WIP, "Cheater's Pass". It is the first in a YA novella-length episodic series named Icarus Helix. Today I give you: the draft of the cover and (complete) product description. Please, be honest! Also, please consider the cover before you read the product description. I'd also like to know how well you think they tie together.

How far would you go for money? For Marcus Tiller, gambling debt was an overwhelming shadow on his life. As a neonatal attendant at St. Mercy Four Cities Hospital in need of cash, he became CGT-Inc's ideal pawn. The contract: secretly inject newborns with an experimental compound - for $1,000 a head. But, three years after he began, he disappeared.

Now, 14 years later, the effects of the compound are starting to show. 17-year old Ian Reynolds, an aspiring varsity football player, suddenly finds he can control things with the power of his thoughts. Footballs miraculously end up in his hands, girls' skirts catch sudden drafts and life is good. But the power comes with a price, both physical and mental. When a stranger suddenly comes into his life, leaving cryptic notes and the big rivalry with the Waredo Firehawks looming, will Ian decide his power is best left... undiscovered?

This novella is the first season, first episode of the Icarus Helix series. Each novella in the series is intended to stand alone. They may be read in any order. The approximate length is 20,000 words.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Music in My Fingertips

Today's title (Music in My Fingertips) is the only way I can describe the past few days, because my fingers are dancing across the keys...

I've popped out chapter after chapter, and now I'm up to 66% of my word goal. I've been working on this project for about 5 days, so that's pretty rapid progress. Though, I have to say, once an idea solidifies in my head, it's only a matter of getting it down, then editing up to a nice, clean polish.

I'm really excited about this part of my writing career. I'm trying something a little different than where I'd thought I'd be, and I feel like I am excelling at it. I've gotten positive feedback on my story, so far, a definite interest in the main character and some side characters. There's so much room for me to keep writing... it's really nice.

If everything falls into place, this story will be available on March 10th. That leaves me 9 days to finish up 7k words and edit... but as I'm a rolling editor, I'm not terribly concerned about it. I -am- worried about pushing my cover artist too hard. He's a great guy and I keep dumping cover concepts on his head, eh he he... But if things don't work out then I'll be aiming for March 17th.

Everyone writes at a different pace, I happen to write pretty concisely. (I've also had 22 years of practice, prior to actually finishing a story) So, I hope you won't let my pace deter you, and in a week or two, you'll pick up a copy of Cheater's Pass. (only $.99! You can afford that, to try out my YA episodic adventure!) Then, if it's really bad, you can come here and rant, or if it's good, you can come here and rant. Really, you get to rant either way, so why not give it a try? $.99 for a rant! Not bad!

Back to work tomorrow and I'm bound and determined to actually GO!