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So, I've got a big book in front of me. One that I've been avoiding for years because, frankly, I'm afraid of it.

When I finished writing Free Will (soon to be The Vindicators), I was exhausted. Elated, happy, triumphant, yes, all of these. But exhausted, too. I'd never written anything so long, so complex, and so multifaceted. I needed a few days off, and I took them. And then I made my big mistake.
...continue reading Blogging Book 3 (Antithesis/Mannix)

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This is the final post in a series about how my recent search for the perfect pup perpetuted an intellectual penetration into the hidden and varied economics of the marketplace for dogs and puppies in the different regions of the west coast. If you're joining this series in progress, you may want to catch up by reading Dogonomics and SuperDogonomics first.

To Buy a Dog
When the market offerings are thin, and the prices of dependable supplies of the breed you want are super-expensive, you can do a few things. You can head to another state. You can try to get a dog through the friends-of-friends network. Or, you can become a Craigslist sniper.

I opened tabs for each and every humane society and animal shelter within day-trip distance. I opened tabs for the five Craigslist sub-sites for western Oregon. I stuck them all on my secondary screen, and I refreshed them every hour (okay, fine, every fifteen minutes or so). Every time I found a lab mix, I sent an email, made a phone call, or sent up smoke signals. I didn't get anywhere with any of them—even thirty minutes after a listing was too late. The dogs just kept disappearing as fast as they came on the market.

And then, I got lucky. Appropriately enough, it happened the day after I wrote the first Dogonomics post. I happened to refresh the local animal shelter's page a minute after their daily update, and there, starting me in the face, was a gorgeous, smiling, six-month-old shep/lab mix. All black, with little white patches on her chest, and all smiles.

I was on the phone in a flash, asking all the important questions. Was she cat-aggressive? No. Dog aggressive? no. Kid aggressive? No. But she was really hyper and excitable, still needed a good amount of training, and would be a handful till she made it out of her teenage years.

Excellent! Can you hold the animal for me? I have to put my car back together, and I'll be down in an hour. A fee, you say? Five bucks? I can deal with that. Here's my card number! Take my money! Hold that pooch!
...continue reading HyperDognomics

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Last time we learned that the price and availability of dog breeds varies a surprising amount between Oregon and San Francisco. A Labrador retriever (or mix thereof) can be had in the bay area for $400 from any animal shelter, on a few hours notice. In Oregon, even in the big cities, the going rate for a second-hand dog is $100-350, but your chances of actually finding a lab are somewhere between fat, slim, and none. If you want a lab (or any gun dog breed—or hound breed for that matter) in this state, you're gonna be shelling out $3,000 or more for a precision trained hunting dog.

And let's not mince words. $3,000 is a hell of a chunk of change, even for the world's most companionable, cuddly, well-mannered, obedient dog. Those things are all important, too. Especially if you're the kind of person who, upon hiring a mascot, proceeds to treat the mascot like family, gives the pup a nest at the side your bed, and adjusts your lifestyle so that you can accommodate the fact that you've basically acquired an extremely fuzzy, nose-centered, fang-bearing child who's going to be with you for the balance of a lifetime that can stretch to 15 years or more.
...continue reading SuperDogonomics

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Among the many things going on behind the scenes at AWP as I struggle valiantly to finish Antithesis 3 by the deadline, it has been decided (by those who know better than my inner philosophy geek) that The Antithesis Progression is a series that suffers from title sabotage.

Sure, they say, it respects the intelligence of your audience that you're letting them share in the series of elaborate philosophy jokes that you call titles, but in branding the series this way you're telling readers "I know it says 'science fiction', but it's really Hegelian fanfic," which basically turns of 90% of your potential audience.

This admonition, for some reason, is always followed by a half-spoken "duh!"

So, in the interest of not having the rest of my series bounced by a publishing house I helped found (because that would be WAY embarrassing), The Antithesis Progression is going to be getting a face lift to coincide with the release of book 3 late this year.

The New Titles
The series will be called The Mannix Initiative, and comprise the following volumes:

  1. The Recreants (formerly: Predestination and Other Games of Chance)
  2. The Vindicators (formerly: Free Will and Other Compulsions)
  3. The Statesmen (formerly: Avarice and Other Acts of Charity)
  4. The Escapists
  5. The Kabrakan

The Podcast
The podcast is still going on. I haven't decided whether to rebrand it or not--that decision is low on my priority list, and I don't know how to make it (though I'd love your input if you're a listener--please leave it in the comments below).

The podcast will probably not return till Labor Day. We've had some terminal cancer in the family and a set of client deadlines slam down on us at the same time, and that's left little time and mental energy for creative work, but the deadlines will be all behind us by the third week of August. If I can sneak in an episode before then, though, I will. (For the terminal cancer, "deadline" is the wrong term to use, but hopefully that one won't come around for quite some while yet. It does make life unpredictable, though).

Fear Not!
Don't worry, though. The philosophy jokes will remain IN the books themselves, as the titles for the "parts" of each book. They just won't be on the cover where they scare people away.

I mean, given the choice, it's better to scare people away AFTER they've already started reading, right?

Anyway, cover reveals for the rebranding will be coming out soon--and they are lookin' pretty sweet!

More news before too long...

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As will surprise nobody who read either He Ain't Heavy (the most recent Lantham mystery) or Free Will (soon to be retitled: The Vindicators--see tomorrow's blog post for details), I'm kind of a dog person. And, for the last several weeks, with all the weird shit going on in my world, I've started searching high and low for a dog.

(I like cats, too, but I tend to think of them as tribbles with pointy parts, and since the appeal of tribbles is their lack of sharp edges, I consider cats to be a sort of design-flaw-ridden beta-test tribble, and keep hoping for the bug fix release so I can upgrade. But I digress.)
...continue reading Dogonomics

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Many of you supported me in a kickstarter a while back to create a full-cast audiobook of Gail Carriger's excellent YA science fiction novel Crudrat and a quartet of her short stories. We got the usual crew on board--Danny Schade did the music, Tee Morris, Stephen H. Wilson, Philippa Ballantine, Nathan Lowell, Kitty NicIaian, and a host of local actors did the voices, and we wound up with some excellent productions.

These stories are now available for you to listen to, through the AWP Books storefront on Gumroad. They will be coming this fall to Audible, and also on CD to Amazon, but what those storefronts give you in terms of convenience they can cost you in terms of DRM and shipping. So, for those of you who, like me, prefer your entertainment DRM free, here's the place to get 'em.

Click here to get Crudrat in high bitrate MP3
Click here to get A Carriger Quartet in high bitrate MP3

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As a writer, I have a problem. It's the kind of problem I might need therapy for. I seem to have a terminal inability to keep short stories. They keep escaping.

The Antithesis books? That was supposed to be a short story. The Suave Rob books? That was supposed to be a short story too. Ditto for The Resurrection Junket and Ideas, Inc.

But five years ago this week, I had a short story escape, and it's turned into the granddaddy of them all. And Then She Was Gone, the first of The Clarke Lantham Mysteries. It started as a short story, which escaped into a novel. At the end of the novel I realized I had a series that would run perhaps four books. Now that initial arc is going to run eight novels, and I've got more arcs starting to develop as well. It also marked a huge turning point in my life as an author and as an entrepreneur.

Never before had I written in the mystery genre, much less written a book with a market in mind. I didn't actually "write it to market" (in the sense that I took a look at what was popular at the moment and tried to hit that moving target), but I did write it for a particular market. Self-publishing was just starting to get viable, and I wanted to test the waters.
If only I could have known what was in store!

Up to that point, AWP--a production company I'd founded and worked with for ten years--had settled firmly into its second lifetime. It started out doing radio dramas and indie films, then (after that proved wildly unprofitable) moved into media services, doing corporate videos, concerts, stage plays, and the like. With And Then She Was Gone, it became a publishing company.
Now, five years later, Lantham's getting his sixth and seventh installment this year, and coincident with that the folks at AWP have decided to shake the series up a bit.

When the books first came out, the company decided on a faux-dangerous aesthetic, to evoke the feeling of the golden-age pulp stories, complete with scratchy fonts, to evoke a sense of dark, dangerous fun. The result was something like what you see here.

As the team at AWP got a clearer understanding of the book business, and trained under design professionals in this very specific niche, the basic concept got refined into the look the series has carried for the last few years.

Now, five years in, with two new books coming out in the series, the powers that be have decreed that the series needs a new look. Something more modern, more in keeping with current tastes. Something that'll bring out the dark edge in the books, more than the humor--my publisher reasons that while the dark twistiness in the books might put off people who come to them for the humor, the humor will register as a bonus to people who come for the dark, twisty puzzles.

So, with that, I'm proud to present you with the new covers for The Clarke Lantham Mysteries. I hope you like 'em!

So, if you like the old covers, grab 'em while you can. The paperbacks are going to be changing over the next couple weeks, and the ebooks are already in transition.

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After a consult with some other authors this weekend, I've been able to wrap up a multi-year project here, designing a spreadsheet-based system for sales tracking for indie authors and other IP professionals. It has a high-level data granularity level, so you can see where each title is selling, per month, and how much revenue it's generating.

It occurs to me that this might be useful to other authors, perhaps as a companion piece for a short book explaining granularity and metrics.

Thoughts?

He's back, that double-X daredevil with the heart of adrenaline. Last time he surfed a supernova--this time he's up against deep web monsters, deep sea madmen, and a horde of preteens with bird wings.

When bastardly forces threaten, only Suave Rob can save the day!

Surfing Betelgeuse made him the galaxy's ultimate badass, but when Suave Rob gets thrown in the klink for brawling with his best bro, and forced to babysit a bevy of bratty delinquents to avoid the Bastille, he figures that even badasses get the bogus end of the stick sometimes.

But egregious evil never sleeps, and when his wards get hijacked by the world's most heinous underwater overlord, Suave Rob pulls out all the stops to jump bail and embark on history's most epic high-dive. With seventy-two hours to save their bacon, the double-X daredevil's gotta put it all on the line to rescue the rugrats, and bring 'em back to the stars!

This balls-out, adrenaline-soaked, laugh-filled Rugrat Rapture is now available for pre-order at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Apple, and a few others.

The first of two Suave Rob books this year, and the second in the trilogy that forms the origin story of the galaxy's most bodacious superhero, this Rugrat Rapture is one spectacular ride you don't want to miss--especially with what's coming next. Book your pre-order today!

Read the first three chapters here

And keep your eyes peeled for Suave Rob's Amazing Ass-Saving Association later this year, where you just might learn the real story between how the galaxy's most excellent adrenaline junkie became the galaxy's most bodacious superhero!

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Attention, fans of Clarke Lantham and his twisty adventures:

The first of two of this year's Clarke Lantham Mysteries is now available for preorder at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Apple, and a few others.

This book sees the debut of the first of the new Lantham covers--you'll get to see the rest in a few days here--and a huge turning point in the series.

An early morning phone call from law enforcement? Never a good sign in Clarke Lantham's world—but for a private detective desperate to make ends meet, a government paycheck for a measly three hour delivery job couldn't come at a better time. Playing postman might be a little beneath a PI's pay grade, but only an idiot says "no" to five hundred dollars for an early morning coffee-and-cake run.

But when a Jeep runs him off the road and gunmen descend upon the accident, Lantham finds himself the unintentional custodian of the other driver and his business partner: two hapless geeks with a doomed tech company.

With no phone, no car, no partner, and no hope of rescue, Lantham must survive a deadly game of hunter-prey through steep mountain terrain in a fog bank as dark and deadly as the secrets surrounding the package he was hired to deliver...
...before the gunmen's employer finds another target, closer to home.

You're not gonna want to miss this one--especially with what's coming next. Book your preorder today!

Read the first three chapters here