Writing Bundles Kickstarter – enriching and (possibly) career-changing writing book bundles!

Indie Publishing Friends, Recommended Reading, Writing

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Writing Bundles

A Kickstarter Campaign Creating Five Writing and Publishing Bundles that Include 17 Writing Books.

Normally I’m not one to signal boost Kickstarters, but this one’s well worth a look. Veteran writers Dean Wesley Smith and his wife Kris Rusch have a Kickstarter going now where if you pledge $10, you can pick from one of five bundles of books on different writing topics. Pay a little more, you can get them in paper…get lectures…etc.

Here’s why this is exciting to me: Smith’s Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing blog posts (two sets of which are compiled in two of the books in the “Industry” bundle) literally changed the course of my writing career. At the end of 2016, I’d just finished the manuscript for Steel City, Veiled Kingdom (SCVK) and was feeling pretty down. It was a ginormous novel and I knew novels that big rarely do well with literary agents. It’d take years to shop around, and after that, they’d probably want me to change it, if anybody accepted it at all (which was a long shot).

Then I stumbled upon those posts and realized…yeah, I had ALL the skills to self-publish it. And no need for an agent at all. Three-ish years later, SCVK is out in ebook, soon to be in paperback, and in the meantime, I’ve got, like, a dozen shorts and a few other novels available on Amazon, BN, and libraries (among other digital storefronts) and more fiction on the way.

NONE of that would have happened without Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing–and in this Kickstarter, you can get it plus three other ebooks in the “Industry” bundle for just $10. And there’s, like I said, five total bundles on different topics.

It’s good stuff, folks.

If they make it to $9,000 before April 30th, 2020, everyone who pledged $5 or more will get access to SIX workshops on topics like Writing Sci/Fi, Writing Thrillers, Writing Time Travel, etc. I’ve done some of their free courses and have LOVED them so this is a great goal to aim for. Even if that doesn’t come true, the info in these bundles is invaluable–it was career-changing for me!

So please, check out this Writing Bundles Kickstarter. They’re covering topics I bet you never even thought about. 🙂

New Dark Fantasy Short Story Release: HELLO, WIZARD

Art, New from Pixelvania Publishing, Writing

Hello, wizard.

You know what I need to hear.

I’m listening.

Cover for HELLO, WIZARD. Eerie glowing text pops off a wrinkled piece of paper against a stone background.

Deep in a sunless dungeon, a father struggles to hold onto hope.

Then the glowing notes arrive. They offer freedom—for a very simple price.

But some things should never be for sale, even in the darkest places…

HELLO, WIZARD is a tense dark fantasy of integrity and temptation.

Read an excerpt over at Pixelvania Publishing.


This story may be short, but it packs quite a punch!

eBook Sale – LOVE POTION COMMOTION!

News from Pixelvania Publishing, Writing

Winking French BulldogDid you know I wrote a feel-good Valentine’s Day book? Don’t worry, it’s not too mushy. It’s called LOVE POTION COMMOTION and it’s got talking French Bulldogs. If you’re still jonesin’ for Hallmark movies, you’ll probably get a kick out of this. It’s normally $4.99 but it’s on discount for $1.99 ’til the 19th. Get it at: http://books2read.com/frenchies1

Sale price is active at Amazon right now, but the other stores are soon to follow!

New Scifi Short Story: DAY OF SILENCE, DAY OF SOUND

News from Pixelvania Publishing, Writing

Cover for DAY OF SILENCE, DAY OF SOUND: An old-fashioned radio sits alone on a vintage chair in a blurry field of tall grasses, in hues of white and icy blue.

Johanna Reinhardt is alone at the outpost when it happens. The Machines have shut down, her husband is gone, and—imperceptibly, but surely—sound is disappearing from the world.

What might disappear next?

A dreamlike tale from the post-apocalypse.


An oldie-but-goodie short story to celebrate the new year.

Read an excerpt here at this book’s Pixelvania Publishing page.

Buy the eBook from your favorite retailer here (includes Amazon).

Happy reading!

Creative Lessons from 2018: Quit Wasting So Much Time. Get an App Blocker

Art, everyday, Thoughts on Entertainment, Writing

I didn’t come to this conclusion instantly.

First, I watched this great video about quitting the internet for a month.

Two ideas hit me hard from this video: 1) you never run out of content on the internet. Compare this to reading a newspaper. That  activity  has a definite endpoint. The internet…just keeps going. There is always something there to consume. 2) A lot of what we consume as “news” isn’t news but peoples’ opinions of the news.

Some of the sites I was on were like that–it’d take me 3 minutes to read the article, then 20 minutes to read the comments for that article. And I’d want to read a dozen articles from a site.

That added up.

But one day, just being sick and tired of feeling sore and stiff after too much tablet reading, I decided to get an app blocker for my Android tablet.

I chose StayFocused, for Android.

WOW it opened my eyes. Even though I didn’t have a lot of apps (like Facebook, Instagram, etc.) on some days, I spent hours on one or two of my little games. And many, MANY hours were spent just reading sites on my browser. Pointless! And here I am wondering why I can’t get my art and scanning done!

So I used the app to restrict the amount of time I spend on certain apps on certain days. And like the Firefox/PaleMoon add-on Leechblock, it can also ban an app during certain hours of the day. Pretty flexible!

The free version of StayFocused only lets you block 4 or 5 apps, but since only 4 or 5 apps plague me, it works just perfect for me.

PS using an app like Habitica or TaskHero can help you start building systems that will help you use your time doing things YOU value. Leechblock is great for desktop to block time-sucker sites during certain hours, and Neil Cicierega’s WORK! program keeps you accountable in the programs you need to be working in!

And here are two highly relevant Mormonads to use for your lock screen:

A clock with different silhouetted items - like a girl kneeling in prayer, a man running, a globe, a temple, a book - is featured against a bright yellow background. Black text reads: Spend Time Wisely. "Choose to do many good things of your own free will" (For the Strengh of Youth [2011], 3)

A girl trying to hold on to the edges of a cellphone while apps around her blur like a vortex. Text reads: Don't get sucked in. Pay attention to your family and friends. Your status update can wait.

Author Dean Wesley Smith was talking about Heinlein’s Rules on his blog last year. I can’t recall the exact post, but the more I read this quote, the more I realize it’s not just great creativity advice, but great LIFE advice:

“You won’t be able to stay on [Heinlein’s  Rules] for too long, but just keep climbing back on when you realize you have fallen off and you will make it.”

Of course, you can substitute “Heinlein’s Rules” with any practice you’re trying to grow in. The Gospel of Christ, healthy eating, exercise…the list is endless! I love this quote.

Never give up!

Creativity Lessons from 2018: Falling off, but getting back on again

Art, everyday, Writing

Creativity Lessons from 2018: Learning from Your Betters

Art, Writing

Writer Dean Wesley Smith wrote a post in late 2018 called Critical Voice Kills Everything. Apparently some people get so critical that they read to pick a book apart, even if it’s from an author who’s mega successful in their writing.

He recommended the following practice instead:

“Second, on a book you LOVED, ask yourself how an author did something in the book that you admire. A craft bit, a pacing, a dialogue scene, whatever. […]
If you liked the plot, outline the book to take that in more. […] You never tear apart someone else’s work, you study it for what they did right. A HUGE DIFFERENCE.”

I chewed on this for a while and later formed this reply:

Thinking back on [the above] part of your post this morning I realized this part fits in really well with how I try to improve as a visual artist. Find work/artists you love, study what they did and how they did it, and adopt the things you like into your own work through practice. You’d ***never*** study a master artist to nitpick him/her!
(And if artist X does feature Y really well or often, but not Z…then you find another artist who does Z well and adopt them, too! Choose from the whole buffet of artists!)


In related news, a fellow Mastodonner posted this great quote from the legendary Phil Tippet (pardon the language at the end)

 

Phil Tippet explains how special effects were done in his day--without so much nitpicking!

My increased writing output of the last couple of years is the result of by heeding advice like the above: don’t noodle something to death! Better to do the best you can at the time, get it out there, and start on the next fun project.

Super artist Noah Bradley once posted this on his Mastodon feed:

Sketches are a really important part of my process. Until you’ve done an actual sketch, there’s almost no way to tell if an idea is worth pursuing.

So sketches are a low-investment way to trial an idea. If one turns out particularly well, I can spend the 20-30 hours to finish it up.

I’m glad he posted this, because my reply helped me articulate a lesson I’d learned earlier in the year:

I’m finally waking up to this idea (esp in thumbnailing towards a specific end). Often I have a great idea in my head. While it’s up there, the ideal image is too amazing for me to even try and tackle. But if I start thumbnailing and playing, suddenly the abstract is concrete, and when it’s concrete, I can see what needs to be done to get the piece going where I want it. Thanks for your terrific reminder.

Noah’s reply:

Absolutely. It’s so easy to stay stuck in your own head and get so wrapped up in thinking an idea is perfect without actually making it.

Creativity Lessons from 2018: A Thumbnail a Day Keeps the Perfectionism Away

Art, Writing

Here’s why:

“The Mona Lisa has a huge social media presence. Her picture is everywhere. But she doesn’t tweet. She’s big on social media because she’s an icon, but she’s not an icon because she’s big on social media.”

(from this entry from Seth Godin’s blog)

I keep coming back to a piece of advice I saw for selling markets ages ago: make cool stuff and tell everyone about it! the end.

Creativity Lessons from 2018: Quit Worrying About Your Social Media Presence

Art, Writing