Monday, December 31, 2012

Author's Resolutions, 2013

Ahh, it's that time of year again. The time where everyone tries to better themselves with a list of things they hope to accomplish in the upcoming new year. I did this last year, and I believe I stuck with them throughout 2012.

Here's my list of resolutions for 2013, in no particular order:

I will continue to take better care of myself in 2013.

I lost a few pounds this year, about 20. I had stepped on a scale around Christmas 2011, and it had said 232 pounds. I cried. I stomped my feet in anger. I even threw the scale. I managed to eat better, exercised, do some walking (that lasted a few months), and drink less soda and coffee (up until the last few weeks or so). I got down to 209. I'm now at 211. I'd like to get down to 190 within a year. Yep, another 20 pounds and I'll be a happy, healthy author.

I didn't consult with a physician this year, though. I have to do that, or else Jen will hurt me. She has promised this.

I will publish three books in 2013.

I've set my writing goals for the upcoming year: Publish three books, and write 200,000 words. One of the books is already finished and just needs cover art. I'm waiting to see if I can get a better picture of it before I slip it through the uploader. I'm currently writing REDEEMED, which is halfway done, story-wise, at 83,550 words. I figure it'll take me at least another 70K-85K to finish the story. I also need to plot, write, and publish the fifth AGENT novel. I'm actually jotting notes down about it now. I'd like to write about 130,000 words in that one. Anything outside of those two books will be gravy for me.

I wrote somewhere between 260K-275K words for fiction this year. A fourth book would be difficult, but I probably could do it.

I will not rush my writing in 2013.

This one goes alongside the last resolution. I don't want to rush my story. I want the story to come out at its own pace. I want the details to come out. I don't want to rush and miss anything. It'll make my stories that much more readable.

I hope.

I will spend less time promoting and let my work speak for itself in 2013.

Tough one. I'm always on Facebook and Twitter trying to drum up sales when I'm supposed to be writing. I have 15 novels out, plus short stories and novellas. I hope to have 18 out within a year's time. My work has improved, as far as I know, so that I shouldn't have to do excessive amounts of promotion. At least that's what I hope. That could be my ego talking. Check back with me and see if we get into a fistfight.

I will blog more in 2013.

Kind of tied into the one above. In 2009, I wrote 19 blogs. In 2010, I wrote 69. In 2011, I wrote 15 blogs on Blogger, 24 on LiveJournal. In 2012, I wrote 33 blogs (this is No. 34). My peak, as you can easily tell, was 2010. But most of my blogs were about me and my writing. Sometimes they were about my observations in the publishing world, talking up Kindle and all that. I hope to do more blogs about people in the industry -- in other words, more author interviews. I want to sell books, yes... but I also want to introduce you to authors you may not have heard of before, authors whose books you should read.

Happy New Year, everyone. Keep reading.

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 in Review, 2013 in advance

So here we are, 2012 is almost kaput, and yours truly had an absolutely fantastic year. Not only did I meet someone beyond fantastic in my personal life--the woman who completes me in every way, shape and form--my professional life has been just as fantastic.

Professionally, I published three novels, a novella, and three children's stories in 2013. Starting with and introducing Furball and Feathers: The Cat Food Caper!, I brought several stories to the fore, and continued the Jaclyn Johnson AGENT series with the release of FEDERAL AGENT.

In order:

Furball and Feathers: The Cat Food Caper
Eminent Souls
Cold Altar
Furball and Feathers: The Birdseed Bugaboo
My Sister Is An Alien (I Think)
Federal Agent
Voir Dire

In 2013, I plan on releasing the second Obloeron fantasy prequel within the first quarter, plus the project I'm currently working on, REDEEMED, in the summer. The fifth Jaclyn Johnson novel will be written over the summer, and there may even be a third Furball and Feathers.

As of this morning, I was 91 books away from 4,000 sold for the year, and 81 away from selling 7,000 lifetime. I know I'll be at 7,000 soon, possibly right after the ball drops.

Happy New Year to my readers.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Next Big Thing: REDEEMED

THE NEXT BIG THING is a chain of book and author recommendations. One author tags five others, who then each tag five others. The idea is that we all help people out there learn about all the good stuff that’s just out or coming soon. David Wood tagged me on his blog and now it’s my turn.

(Sean’s note: I’ve been tagged twice, but I failed to do it the first time. I’m a naughty, naughty boy.)

1. What is the working title of your next book?

My current work in progress is entitled REDEEMED. As I'm still writing it, it's difficult to go into further detail

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Truthfully? I don’t really remember, but one of the chapters I thought up while on vacation in August.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

This is a dystopian fiction novel set over a period of about 50 years. There’s action and thriller aspects, and later on, romance. So it’s an eclectic mix. Not really one genre to pin down.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Difficult to say: I don’t know a lot of actors that are in play right now. I’m thinking that fresh faces would be best.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A man with a questionable past is saved, and in turn his deeds help others.  

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I'll be self-publishing this, unless someone wants to take it on

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Currently working on the first draft. Right now, I'm in chapter 21, a little over 60,000 words. I’m thinking that this book is going to be a doorstop

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Not too sure, to be honest. 

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

It’s a story I wanted to write. Nothing really inspired me to write it.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

When I finish it, I’ll tell you.
Now, my portion is finished and I now tag the following authors:

Next week, on Wednesday, December 12th, they will be posting their own answers to these questions. I'd really appreciate you guys supporting my friends by clicking on their names and visiting their blogs to see how they answered it! I'd really appreciate it if you would click on David Wood's link at the start of this post (if you haven't already seen it). This post is all about making you guys aware of some awesome new books that are coming out soon and it only works if you participate by clicking on their links!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A guided tour of my mind

Greetings friends, neighbors, and inmates. Sean here with another blog post. Please, hold your applause until the end.

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been quiet on the blogging front lately. I’ve been deep in the first draft of REDEEMED, a dystopian novel set mainly in Boston. I haven’t done much in the way of promoting FEDERAL AGENT, especially over the last couple of weeks. There’s been Thanksgiving meals and mainly concentrating on REDEEMED, which may be the most vast undertaking that I’ll ever write.

Of course, I say that and I’ll come back with something bigger in a couple of years.

I was keenly ready to promote FA, my fourth Jaclyn Johnson thriller set in Atlanta—but then I got stuck in traffic. Seriously, buy the book and read it. You’ll understand. I had barely done anything to promote it.

But something happened on the way to writing this post: I published another book. In fact, earlier this morning (Sunday, December 2), I uploaded my next mystery, entitled Voir Dire (for those of you who don’t speak Latin, Voir Dire means To seek the truth). As I sat in my writer’s room, I thought to myself, “Self, you just can’t do that.”

And then I answered myself—shit, I’m sounding a lot like Voldemort, aren’t I?—“That’s two books. Seriously, you can’t blog about one and not the other. Whatever will you do?”

The answer came to me: take the readers on a tour of your mind, where everything is created, processed, and eventually churned out into a pile of prose. It is the source of everything that I’ve written, spreading across multiple genres and multiple years.

Mind your step: It’s squishy in some spots.

Follow along as I show you the vast world of Obloeron, where everything started: A fantasy world with humans, elves, dwarves, evil (and good) wizards, orcs, trolls, and assorted beasts conjured some three feet above my ass. Behold the sword of Flad-rul, and the men who have possessed it. Follow me to Arida, a world of gentle things—except the evil dwarves. Preston travels through it to engage Urcin in battle.

Follow me to 1919 Boston, where a pair of baseball fans become time travelers in order to stop not one, but two of the most heinous events in baseball history from occurring.

Follow me into space, where Ryann Germayne must make a decision to save the galaxy.

Follow me through Jaclyn Johnson’s world of espionage and danger as she saves countless lives from terrorism. Boston, London, Las Vegas, Atlanta.  And many places in between.

Follow me to my hometown, where private investigator Alex Bourque dodges criminals and finds his way into his girlfriend’s arms and undies—not that it’s too hard to do that second one, but anyway...

Follow me to Tombstone, where four teens must stay true to themselves in order to save themselves from zombies, while two of them reveal a family secret.

Follow me to Oklahoma City, where a baseball writer finds things aren’t so copacetic in the big league club’s locker room.

And soon, follow me into the future of Boston, where one man eludes the authorities and leads the people into rebellion.

A tour of my mind… what a dangerous place it is.

#SampleSunday -- Voir Dire

I just loaded this book to Kindle, Nook and Kobo, so give it a day or two before purchasing it. Hope you enjoy this sample!

Chapter 1

I was mere seconds away from leaving my office for the weekend—well, for what remained of the weekend: it was nearly 4 p.m. on a Saturday, and after a long week of cases I was primed for an evening of New England Revolution soccer with my lovely girlfriend Lauryn Kennedy. I had on my lilywhite Revs home jersey with Fagundez 14 stitched into the back, and a red, white and blue Revs scarf wrapped around the back of my neck. The keys to my new-to-me Ford Escort were in my hand, we had tickets for The Fort at Gillette Stadium, and I was just about to walk out the door when I heard those rapid footsteps on the way up to my office.
“Oh, hell,” I muttered, knowing that within five seconds, someone would walk in and have me take on their case. The timing was beyond impeccable. I took off my scarf and tossed it onto my desk, then turned and awaited their arrival.
I saw the silhouette of whoever had walked up the stairs through the frosted glass, but it didn’t seem like the silhouette’s owner was coming in any time soon. It’s when I saw the shadow turn that I noticed something bulky on the person’s hip. It could have been a nasty growth or a deformity of some kind, but when the person bent over and slipped several thin envelopes through the slot, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was only the mailman. It was anticlimactic, but still.
I walked over and scooped up the day’s delivery. I flipped through them, the pads of my fingertips running over the heavy paper. I beamed at the sight of a check from the little old lady who had cornered me at Espresso Pizza a week ago and asked me to get a group of foreigners off her tail. Apparently they were trying to scam her out of money, and she recognized me from my picture in the paper after the James Sullivan matter back in June. There was a bill from the gas and light company, which I knew would immediately erase the contents of the check.
And there was the summons for jury duty, the name Alex Bourque typed across the top. I grimaced upon sight of the white and blue postcard.
“Oh hell,” I said again, tossing the rest of the mail on my desk and parking my butt in my captain’s chair. I kept the summons in my hand and I rubbed my chin. The remnants of my shaving from yesterday lingered.
I had registered to vote right on my 18th birthday, one of the few in my class who took care of that so early. I’ve voted in every election over the past four years, and I had planned to vote this November. And I had heard that the Commonwealth, in its infinite wisdom, likes to call freshly-registered voters to jury duty within a year of their 18th birthday. For some reason, the Commonwealth forgot about me—until now.
I’ve received summonses before now, although it was usually a Worcester County deputy sheriff or a constable who served me for this case or another. It was alright, because that was a part of the whole private investigator thing and part of the game. I had my witness fee to collect. I wouldn’t get paid for jury duty.
I opened the folded postcard and looked at the information. I groaned when I found out where I had to fulfill my service to the Commonwealth.
My office is located on the corner of Wallace Avenue and Main Street in my hometown of Fitchburg, Massachusetts. The Fitchburg District Court—which, in a bit of irony, started life well over a century ago as a post office—is located only a block to the north. It would have been easy for me: head to the office at 8 a.m., have a cup of coffee as I read the paper, then walk two minutes to the courthouse. I’ve made that trek pretty much every day.
Where did they send me? Not Leominster, and not Gardner, either.
They had sent me to Clinton.
I don’t have anything against Clinton, Massachusetts. Clinton is famed for The Strand movie theater, The Old Timer restaurant, as well as more bars than street corners in any town in north central Mass. Fitchburg High only plays the Clinton High Gaels during the basketball season, so there wasn’t much a rivalry there—and we usually kick their ass, but that’s not really the point. Here’s what really sucked about this assignment: The fact I would have to wake up at like 6 to get ready for that instead of 7, then battle my way onto Route 2 East, 190 South and Route 117 East before meandering through Clinton on Route 70 to get to the Wachusett Reservoir… it just didn’t make sense to me. Nothing big ever happened in the towns under the Clinton District Court’s jurisdiction to begin with, so to say I was left scratching my head was something of an understatement. I grimaced as I looked out the window toward Monument Park.
Summer was on its last legs here in Massachusetts, Labor Day only a few weeks past. The trees had already started their annual morph toward the skeleton phase. The temperature had already made its abrupt change, and soon we’d be exchanging summer shorts for long pants and jackets. There was still modest sunshine, even though the days had grown shorter.
I looked at the summons again: the Commonwealth wanted me to serve just before Columbus Day weekend, which according to them would give me three weeks to alert my employer of my civic obligation.
I snorted. Consider my employer notified.
I stood up and brought my summons with me. I locked my office, walked down the stairs and hopped into my Escort. With the jury duty summons on my passenger seat, I drove off toward Lauryn’s apartment at good ol’ State U.
I tried not to think about my pending date with the Massachusetts criminal court system and instead thought about my date with Lauryn. This would be our second Revs match this season: the last time we were at Gillette, New England had knocked off Colorado, 2-1. Since then, the Revs had slumped and hadn’t won a match in nearly two months. Lauryn and I hoped to break the skid with our attendance tonight, though I doubted it would be that way. We were playing New York, and the Red Bulls weren’t the perennial doormats in Major League Soccer any longer. I was looking forward to the match.
A few minutes later, I forgot about the game as Lauryn stepped out of her apartment. She glided to the car, as if hovering several inches off the sidewalk. Lauryn wore a navy blue Revs hoodie that hugged her upper body just right, her strawberry blonde hair splayed over her shoulders. Her jeans fit just right, too.
Within seconds, my jeans, loose as they were, started fitting a little snug.
She slid into my ride and leaned over with a wide smile. She kissed me with those soft lips of hers, sliding her hand up to caress my cheek. Her fingertips felt soft too. I could smell a hint of raspberries wafting to my nostrils.
“Hey baby,” she said, breaking away. “How was your day?”
I smiled.
“It just got better.” I leaned in for another kiss. She leaned my way and pressed her lips against mine.
Lauryn sniffed a laugh.
“I bet it did.”
“Check under your ass,” I said. “My day has been topsy-turvy, and that kind of brought it to a low level. Your kisses and presence here lifted it.”
Lauryn reached under her pert rear end and pulled out the jury notification just as I pulled away, making a three-point turn before heading to Pearl Street. I turned left and followed it to John Fitch Highway, which would lead me, after a few turns onto Bemis Road, Wanoosnoc Road and Walton Street, to Route 2 East, 495 South and Route 1 North, to Foxboro.
She frowned.
“Oh boy,” she said. “When do you have to go to court?”
“Read it.”
She did. Her eyes widened almost immediately. She had already served on a jury, so I knew she could find the location of my service easily enough.
“Clinton?” she said with a bit of wondering in her tone.
I nodded again.
“Who did you piss off to get sent there?”
I couldn’t help but grin. Off we drove, intent on putting jury duty out of my mind for the foreseeable future, and hoping for a solid win in the football.