A peek behind the curtain.

Fresh off of the heels of Gunship finally landing a #1 listing(albeit shortly), I’ve decided to give fans a peek behind the curtain. There are a lot of very cool things about the Gunship franchise that can’t be found on the official Amazon page.

Dalton James almost didn’t exist. In fact, he wasn’t a character in my first draft at all. After some good advice, I decided to create a character that would play off of the straightforward thinking of Adam Michaels. I wrote the character based around one of my good friends, and yes, folks, he lives the Dalton James lifestyle. I had planned to drop him into the background and use him to set up the main characters. Who knew that everyone’s favorite drunken gunslinger would become such a cult favorite with readers?

Sky Tale was the original name for the story. Adam Michaels was in love with a general’s daughter and she was a brunette. I had the cover worked up and ready to go, when, low and behold, the couple split up in real life. It didn’t seem natural to put them on a cover at that point. Especially while locked into a romantic embrace. Upon changing the cover and finding someone to plaster their likeness upon it – I started to hate the series name. Dropping Gunship onto the series, officially, about a week before it published.

Sarah Blaine appears on cover #1 and again on cover #5. Amanda Elizabeth is a good friend of mine who also happens to be a real-life actress and model. After dropping the original cover and having no clue what to do, I ran into her by accident on a local shopping trip and the idea just clicked. I emailed her the same week, expecting to hear no, but instead found Amanda more than willing to help. She appeared on the cover of Gunship: Legendary as a Vampire after expressing her personal interest in them. She was completely OK with Sarah being turned to the dark side.

Speaking of Vampires, there almost were none. The original story included no civil war and no Hunter race. Just a pissed off general who’d found out that his daughter had fallen for a man who’d fought on the other side of things. Someone with deep ties in publishing suggested I add a bit more chaos, and so the Hunters were born. For the fans out there who’ve scooped up all of my work, the Hunters were originally sketched as the bad guys of the Guardian Angel series.

I love Firefly, but, I had actually never even seen Firefly when writing Gunship #1. A fan of the book, Rob, emailed me to let me know it had a Firefly feel. When others began saying the same thing, I rushed out to buy the series on DVD and actually added just a few pieces that were Firefly inspired and began marketing the series to fans of Firefly. After it began drawing criticism as a clone, I backed the series away from Firefly completely and went into a different direction. I still love Mal and his crew, but Adam was written with Joe Flanigan in mind.

Separate Ways is what I had intended for the original crew. Following book three, I had big plans for launching three separate series that would follow Adam, Roman and Dalton. And honestly, I still wonder what would have happened if I’d stuck with that plan. Instead, however, The Fleet was born and has landed me a #1 on the Amazon Kindle. I can’t complain, but I still wonder. If you remember the dream Dalton had about Adam pinned in a room with nasty foes in white suits, then you’ve read the preview of what was going to be Adam’s story. Dalton, of course, found himself in Geartown and Roman faced off against my absolute favorite of the series, Vladris.

For fans of the series, I hope this blog has been a breath of fresh air. I also hope that the launch of Vampire Hunters(Gunship VII) will find a home in your library of books. It’s shaping up to be awesome!

What it takes to be a writer.

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So, I have a book available that explains what it takes. But, it’s still one of the questions I get regularly and I like to try and answer it as best I can. What does it take to be a writer?

Now, we’re talking about writing as a profession. Lots of folks write by candlelight after a hard day of working somewhere else. And that is tough to do. But for the sake of this blog, I’m going to cover, very casually, what it takes to be a full-time writer. Ironically, I chose a photo of a knight preparing to go to war. Why? Because that’s what it feels like each and every day.

You have to war for it. You have to be willing to raise your ass out of the bed after only a few hours of sleep and get to it. Just like any other job. I love writing. I truly do. But it’s not what I want to be doing at 7 in the morning. Something clicks inside of my head and reminds me that thousands of brand new authors want a piece of the pie. They’re hungry to succeed, which means I have to work harder. It means late nights of writing, too, when all of my friends are out drinking somewhere or playing games online. It means giving Facebook the middle-finger while others flock to it with open arms, wasting precious time and life in the process. Writing full-time means reading in the car, when others are dabbling away on their smart phones.

There’s nothing glitzy or glamorous about the profession of writing. Nothing. If you’ve ever seen Stephen King speak to a group of college kids, you understand that he’s showing up in blue jeans and a bargain rack shirt. He’s also talking about staying in a cheap hotel the night before and how much he hated it. Even the most brilliant man in our profession realizes that we are not rock stars. Authors are people who work their asses off, live very modestly and humbly pour their souls into a keyboard at night when everyone else is sleeping tight. Does this sound like you?

I’ve often told people that writing for a living is like getting into the best shape of your life. You can’t halfway do it, and there’s absolutely no silver bullet pill or plan. Getting into pristine shape means completely changing your way of life. You reprogram the way you think, eat and live. It’s why most people desire to be in shape, but few actually get there. People are too lazy to do the work. And that’s also why so many authors are still aspiring, rather than finding success. You have to be willing to go to war. That means thinking like an author who’s depending on a paycheck in order to survive. Not going into it half-assed or half-committed. Mentally, you have to become something more. A beast. A monster that fights against the desire to become complacent. When the voice inside of you is telling you that you’ve done enough – you scream out a good curse word or two, and then you do more. Hard work gets you there. Period.

So yea, if you’re willing to trade in your social life for the art of writing – do it. Prepare to make very little money in your quest to make your genre a better place. That comes with the territory. Ready yourself for the negative reviews, because they will certainly come. But it boils down to one simple question.

Are you willing to do the work?

Most aren’t. The longer you’re around the profession, the more quitting you’ll see. Most will find reasons or excuses as to why they didn’t accomplish their goals. But that’s a quitter’s way of trying to save face. It always comes back to a willingness to do the hard work with no recognition. That’s writing. If you’re out there reading this right now, you already know which side of things you’re on. You already know if you’re willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of writing full-time. That’s the key, folks. You can stop buying how-to books on writing, now. I’ll leave you with a great quote from someone who knows a little bit about success.

“You just can’t beat the guy who won’t quit.” – Donald Trump

Here Comes Hammer

Hammer (The Final War) is in the pipes and coming within the next 48 hours! With our world’s resources running out, a lottery system is put into effect. Those lucky enough to be chosen, will pack up and board an exodus fleet in search of a new planet to call home. For everyone else, a war is looming. Two of the world’s superpowers have banded together to form the Fourth Reich, and their mission is simple. Global domination.

Hammer follows a cast of characters who’ve drawn different fates and reads much like The Colony, which is sure to please a lot my readers. Be sure to look for it!

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Number One

I’ve chased it since I began writing in 2011. A few times I’ve flirted with the #1 spot, only to reach #2 and begin falling back. This past Monday, thanks to the help of faithful readers who continue to spread the word of Gunship/The Fleet, one of my books finally hit the #1 spot!

Since then, it has fallen to #3, but I’m OK with that. You see, a lot of authors pay hundreds of dollars each month to advertise on websites that give their book away for free, in turn raising their ranking on Amazon. I’ve never paid to advertise. I’ve thought about it, but decided to just keep writing as hard as I could and let the readers decide if the stories are worthy. And my readers have spoken. I can’t describe how it felt to come home, log in, and see my book(The Fleet) had jumped from #17 to #1.

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I’m sure to most folks, this isn’t that big of a deal. But for me, the guy who’s been told(a lot) that I’d never make a mark in the publishing world – it’s a big deal. I have a short list of goals and hitting #1 was on that list. Now, because of the incredible passion of Gunship readers, I’ve achieved that goal.

This isn’t a blog about me beating my own chest, though. This is about anyone reading this who feels like they’re up against it. I’ve been told that I need to quit writing, I’ve had upset readers stalk me online and review each book negatively in an effort to stop me. I’ve lost friends because of writing and I’ve certainly felt like quitting more than once. Don’t quit. No matter what your situation looks like, writing or otherwise. Don’t ever quit.

My wife says that I’m no longer a starving author. Just a very hungry one. She’s right. I’m very hungry. And the folks who’ve had their stranglehold on the top of science fiction are about to find out just how hungry I am.

Vampire Hunters

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As a lot of you already know, the next Gunship has been dubbed Vampire Hunters. For those readers who’ve followed the crew since day one, it’s pretty obvious that the Hunters are the Vampires in question. I’ve been hard at it, and it’s approximately 1/3 of the way complete. Dalton James returns, which should make a lot of folks happy. VH takes place roughly five years after the finish of Gunship: Afterworlds, and takes us back to our favorite planet in the Skyla System. The one with the pretty green sun. A lot has changed, however, and it should provide the perfect medium between things of the past and a bright new future for the series. (Expected release: April 2015)

If you’re new to Gunship, now is the perfect time to check it out!

A Special Thank You

This morning I sat down to write and after putting in two solid pages, I shut the laptop. It just wasn’t there. Over the last three days, I’ve pushed out about 30 pages of (what I consider) good writing. It was time for a break. I’ll likely take the rest of today off and spend time playing with my kids. Maybe even tomorrow. Then I’ll get back to it and approach the story(Gunship: Vampire Hunters) with unlimited passion.

I decided to take a few minutes and say thank you. To the editor who turns my writing into much better writing, Daniél Lecoq. To the folks who take a moment and RT the book links to their own followers on Twitter. I need to run some type of giveaway on Twitter and reward some folks. I’ll get around to that soon enough! And thank you to those of you who read my work. Even the folks who don’t get Gunship for the comedy that it is – leaving terrible reviews in the process. In fact, without any of the above mentioned, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Writing for a living. That’s right, folks, my sole income(not my wife’s, thank God) rests on royalties from writing. I pen fiction, but when the bills come due it’s about as non-fiction as it gets. I’ve been placed on a pedestal when it comes to writing for a living, and I’ve been verbally beaten down – all by folks who know me personally. But I’m still here.

So, on days like today when the writing isn’t flowing, I remind myself of others. People working much tougher jobs to survive. I know, I’ve been there. It reminds me of how very fortunate and blessed I truly am to be getting paid for making things up in my head and slinging them into a computer. I hear all types of buzz about nanowrimo, self publishing, traditional publishing, etc. But for me, the only term that matters is happiness. And I’m finally there, thanks to folks just like you!

Series 2

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As Gunship approaches a total of approximately 50K downloads across multiple platforms, it was bound to happen. On May 1st of this year, the first book of the second series will launch! For those of you who’ve traveled with Adam, Dalton and the crew from their original introduction at Paulie’s bar to the conclusion of Gunship: The Afterworlds – thank you. I’m happy to say that plenty more is on the way.

In fact, I’ve been kicking around a lot of thoughts this past week. As I woke up this morning, I knew what had to be done. I’m hereby committing myself to working on the Gunship story exclusively…at least for the foreseeable future. As much as I’ve enjoyed writing other things, I feel like Gunship has suffered because of it. Each time I launch a new Gunship book, emails begin to come in. Fans ask for more Dalton James. More details on the Skyla System in general. Well, now they’re going to get them.

I have the Skyla System mapped out in my office and the storyboards for several books to come. And let me just say, I’m already in love with Gunship: Series 2. Thanks to my fantastic editor, the quality of this series looks to be a heck of a lot better than the original handful of Gunship books. I’ve already seen the cover of the next Gunship, and it’s unbelievably good. I’ve got a bit over four years under my belt as an author now. It’s time to bring everything I have to the table and deliver the next big thing in science fiction. So buckle up, because 2015 is just the beginning!

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If you’re new to Gunship, pick up your copy of the Omnibus Edition today! (Also available on Nook, Kobo and iTunes)

 

 

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Welcome to the official website of the Gunship series. Since 2011, readers have devoured the story of Adam and his crew, and now, the Skyla System just got a whole lot bigger. For those of you who are new to Gunship, it’s a series that has spawned three #2 rankings on the Amazon Kindle(science fiction) and continues to thrive. Gunship is not your grandfather’s science fiction, but rather a gritty tale about a fictitious solar system with a heap of problems. At the backbone of things is a very nasty civil war between the two most-powerful factions humanity has to offer. In the background, there are plenty of nasty clans having at it. Vampires who prefer sleek weaponry against a mafia-style family that lives for the tradition of battling with cold steel. There’s also a large race of menacing green beasts who have a distaste for both of the previously mentioned. Oh, and there’s a Zombie outbreak.

Sound like an overload of goodness? Don’t worry, it’s all spread out across several books(seven and counting) in this ongoing series. Dusty saloons and revolvers meet high-tech weaponry and the endless confines of space. The Skyla System is a sandbox where anything is possible. The only certainty is – you’ll be left wanting more.

If you’re not brand new to the series – welcome back! You already know about Adam’s speed with a pistol and Dalton’s knack for emptying a whiskey bottle. In fact, you’re a big part part of the reason that the Gunship series is now challenging some of the most elite science fiction stories out there. Thank you for that.

Either way, I’m glad you found the Gunship Portal. There are huge things coming in 2015 and beyond!

Get the Gunship: Omnibus Edition now:   Kindle   Nook   Paper

Disney Infinity 2.0

OK, so I had to drop the Friends’ look of my blog entries. The folks who handle my online stuff say that it’s killing each blog’s meta ranking? Anyway…

Disney Infinity, folks. That’s my latest addiction. I’m a grown man that now teams up with my two children when shopping in an effort to track down very hard to find figures and discs. I also play the game.

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Originally, my daughter asked for the starter kit and eventually got it(after her report card was nice). I honestly had no idea what Disney Infinity was, but, of course, I sat down to play with her as one of those daddy/daughter moments. This game truly reminds me of a Super Mario World meets Little Big Planet, which is awesome. But the draw here for me is the figures.

There’s something about seeing the Lone Ranger and Tonto sitting above my television. Great movie, BTW. I don’t care if it did score horribly…I loved it. Now I hear the Tron figures may make an appearance. I imagine Star Wars too, once the new movie launches. Some of the figures are solid crystal in design, but are very hard to track down. For a solid week now, I’ve been looking for Jack Skellington for my son. Or as he calls him – The Pumpkin King.

It’s safe to say that my wife likely thinks I’ve gone nuts. But I no longer dread shopping. What’s that? You need to swing into Wal-Mart and pick up a few things? Good, the kids and I are heading through electronics for the gold rush of Disney Infinity. I strongly recommend this game for your kids, or, if you’re the type of parent that loves to find common ground with your kids, I recommend it for you. Warning. Disney Infinity can be very habit-forming.


*BUY DISNEY INFINITY TODAY!

The One With Mystery

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OK, so here’s the deal. Those of you who’ve followed my writing since 2001, likely already know that I’m working on something big. It’s a project that I truly believe in and it will go head-to-head with some of the more prominent science fiction authors. Oops. It seems that I just slipped up and called my project a series.

I’ve been calling it “Fall of Man” via Twitter. The series has a completely different name, of course, and is being branded properly by the handful of folks on the inside. Normally I launch a book and just sling its cover out there without a hint of mystery, and that works pretty well. But this time I wanted to do things differently. I’m dumping money into advertising online, have a professional group working on a series of covers and I’m even in talks for a few other nifty things for this series.

The Fall of Man Project is not Gunship. It’s Gunship on steroids and then some. At launch, I’ll be mailing out a handful of signed copies and several signed flats of the cover art. My way of thanking everyone for their RTs on Twitter. If you’d like a chance at landing a signed copy(before it’s even available to purchase), simply retweet or re-blog. It can’t get any easier than that.

And to those select few who are at the top of the science fiction chain – prepare. Lace your shoes up tight and double-check the chinstrap. The hardest working self-published author on earth now has a team of folks behind him with a plan. And make no mistake about it, we’re coming for you.