Log in

In the giving mood...

I've been in a relatively happy mood this holiday season.

On December 1, I gave away 10 Kindle copies of A Galaxy At War over on Facebook. I'll probably do that again in January, maybe with Amber Twilight.

Earlier this week, I made my thriller novella The Mastermind a free eBook on Smashwords. Click here to get your copy.

And until January 3, 2011, I'm giving a dollar off A Galaxy At War at Smashwords. Use coupon code LX77Y at check out, and Galaxy is yours for $1.99.

Hope your Christmas shopping is almost done.


A plea for tagging help

I'm asking for help as I open this blog post.

Not many people understand the tagging process on Amazon.com. The tags' intention is to show items of relevance when a customer does a search on Amazon, and hopefully prompting impulse buys. Sometimes, tags of irrelevance pop up.

Unfortunately for this author, many irrelevant tags have popped up on my books, which I believe have hampered sales. For example, Turning Back The Clock, my baseball time travel novel, is supposedly an alien invasion story with vampires. Sorry, but no.

I have a good idea how this has happened; I won't go into it in depth, but I believe it's because some people consider authors who pimp their own work to be spammers, and they think by putting irrelevant tags on my books, they'll curb my sales. Bully for them, childish as they are. They'll get theirs.

Simply put, I'm looking for help in fixing the tags on my books. The tags I have put on them are the proper tags, and I'd appreciate it greatly if you would tag the books on Amazon. It is my hope that if enough people tag the books properly, sales will go up.

Here are my books and the proper tags that should be attributed with them.

Turning Back The Clock: baseball history, boston red sox, black sox scandal, kindle, science fiction, time travel, the babe, back to the future, kindleboards authors, kindle book, babe ruth, kindle authors, red sox

A Galaxy At War: The tags are proper

The Obloeron Trilogy: kindle, fantasy series, fantasy adventure, swords, orcs, dwarves, wizards, forgotten realms, tolkien

One Hero, A Savior: All of the tags are proper, except tragedy. Add Christianity.

Sidetracked: Horror, short stories

Amber Twilight: All of the tags are proper

Vuvuzombie: All of the tags are correct, but you can add england national team, us men's national soccer team, nfl, new england revolution, philadelphia union

John's Amazon Author Central US page
John's Amazon Author Central UK page
John's Smashwords page -- check out the free novella The Mastermind


The Buy It If You Like It Challenge

If you didn't know, I blogged  my sci-fi novel A GALAXY AT WAR this year. Yep, I did: two chapters a week for the past six months. I broke it up and presented it like a weekly serial, much akin to old TV shows. I had fun with it, and I think I attracted a couple of new readers.

If you haven't read it yet, I'm giving you the opportunity to read it from start to finish. And you can do it for free.

(Looks at the title of the blog)

Well, there is a catch. If you read A GALAXY AT WAR and you are entertained and you feel I deserve remuneration for writing it, then you, if you feel like it, can buy the book for your eReader or a copy in ink and paper. Pass the link I'm about to post on to your friends, and give them the same challenge.

The point is to gain readers, and sometimes one has to give something away to do that.

I hope you enjoy A GALAXY AT WAR. Click the link to get started!

John's Amazon Author Central store

What's been happening???

Wow, it's been way too long since I've blogged last. Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and a Happy New Year, and that 2009 has started out the way you all wanted.

Last year ended up on a crazy note for yours truly. After finishing the first draft, a massive ice storm swept my area, knocking quite a bit of power out in New England; if my memory serves me correctly, it was about 1.25 million people or thereabouts affected by this storm. I had taken a nap around 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 11 and had planned on waking up in time to watch the Bears and the Saints on NFL Network. But when I woke up at about 8:45 p.m., I found the storm had already knocked out my cable. I still had power for the time being.

Getting on my laptop, I was able to track the game online, and friends of mine were kind enough to give me a play-by-play in Instant Messages. That game, of course, went into OT. It was only a little over an hour later that the power, which had been flickering several times, went out right at 1 a.m.

It was at this point that I shut my laptop down. I then began to read the novel for The Forced Unleashed, reading it by flashlight; actually, I had two flashlights, one on each shoulder. I was able to finish that book, then read Coruscant Nights II. At times I was chasing Caramel the Wonder Cat around the house with the flashlights, anything to keep myself entertained.

I was able to sleep comfortably with a few blankets -- Caramel also did her part, the snuggly little beast that she is -- and when I woke up on Saturday, Dec. 13, I had electricity in my house.

Well, part of it, at any rate.

Half of the house was out -- including my bedroom -- but I was able to get online and let everyone know I was OK. I was only out of power for 29 1/2 hours and I was able to keep myself entertained, but I can tell you that today's youth were going crazy. No video games? UGH! No cable?!? UGH!! What was there to do?

Simple. Read a book.

It boggles my mind that kids today do not like reading. Take my cousin's son, for example. Love him to death. But he doesn't like to read. He and I get into debates all the time -- soccer v. football, reading v. video games -- and our debate over the course of the ice storm was, "Oh, no power Chris, what are you going to do? You can't play your precious video games." He said, "I have my PSP." I said,. "Yeah, until your batteries die. Then what?"

He didn't have an answer for that.

It is why parents should be buying more books for kids. Books never go out of style or outdated, unlike a video game, which is pretty much considered obsolete the week after it comes out. And personally, I would rather parents not spend all that money on video games when they are just going to end up spending another gazillion on the newest game device. It is why my kids -- if I ever have any -- will never see a video game in my home. Ever. They will be taught to use their brains, to imagine worlds an author has created, and not let their brains rot by sitting in front of an idiot box.

OK, off my tangent.

We were able to get the first read-through done around Christmas, then finished the first round of edits on Thursday morning. I've sent the manuscript to one of my two Beta testers, and hopefully will have it back from him on Feb. 1. Then, when his corrections are in place, I'll send it to the second one, then have everything done by Feb. 14. I'm hoping to get it out to a publisher by March 1, then start on the third Obloeron prequel soon after.

Sci-fi first draft completed

After a 3-hour nap late Sunday night, I was able to rip off two of the final three chapters of the sci-fi manuscript, before sleeping for 5 hours this morning. Then, I wrote the majority of the final chapter before running around with some errands. Once I got home, though, it was back to work on the rest of the final chapter, then the epilogue.

All told, the first draft of the novel is completed, and it checked in at 227 pages in Microsoft Word, 46 chapters plus a prologue and epilogue, and a total of 89,410 words. I already know this novel can be improved: I have plans for a funny character that I will fit in someplace, and I will be coming up with names for Rebel officers and galactic senators and the like. All told, I'm hoping to get maybe another 10,000 words into this story before I wrap it up. If I do, then go me! If I don't, oh well!

What is next? A little respite from the novel in the form of rest and catching up on my reading. I'm also covering a game tomorrow, so I'll be able to get out of the house for a couple of hours.

After that, I'll begin the first read-through next Monday, making notes on areas to tweak, or I may tweak as I go. I may make a note on something that is questionable, then look up another fact when I get to it. I'm thinking the first read-through will take a few days at the very least; maybe the entire week, depending on how many pages I read in a day. I can recall giving Quest For The Chalice its first read-through while I was writing it: it was taking an hour to read and revise 30 pages, so we'll get done what we get done. I don't do that kind of revising as I go anymore: I get the first draft done, then I go back and revise. It makes it so much easier that way, and I don't lose my train of thought.

This one took me two months to write the first draft -- I began on Oct. 2 -- and I'm hoping that I can have the next draft done by Christmas. Then there will be another read-through, and then possibly sent out to publishers then.

Then I begin work on the third and final Obloeron prequel; believe it or not, I have ideas for continuing Grumpet's tale already! Just need to get those down on paper.

Christmas is around the corner: grab my compilation before you forget!


Seeing a light at the end of the tunnel!

I hope you all had a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving. I certainly did.

Since we last met a couple of weeks ago, I've brought the sci-fi novel up to 81,529 words. Over the past month or so, I'm averaging about 10,000 words a week, which isn't bad. Remember, it is the fall: my weekends are generally tied up with sports viewing. I'm usually so burned out on Sunday that I don't want to even think about writing until Monday.
As I look at my outline, I'm down to 1 1/3 pages remaining. The past few pages of the outline were redundant and vague to the point where I asked myself, "Did I really write this? This is rubbish!" I chose to skim over those vague points in the outline and wrote through that difficult stretch.

It has also cost me words for the first draft. With the novel being where it is right now, I think I can tie it up all in another 10,000-14,000 words; I had been saying somewhere in the range of 100,000-115,000 for this project. If I keep up my pacing of about 2,500 words a day for the days where I'm not fully involved with Arsenal or the Patriots, I should have the first draft completed within the next 10 days.

After that, I'll take a week or so off, start getting some night games again for the paper, and during the day work on the first read-through and then begin revisions. I do have an idea for a few comical characters -- a Threepio/Artoo type sidekick for my protagonist, for instance, which could add a few thousand words to the text -- and I want to come up with names for a few characters that, as of right now, do not have names in the story, only titles. I want to be able to give those characters some semblance of deph, instead of just "captain" or "commander" or "lieutenant" or "senator." I want to give them something that works with their personality. So in essence, I'm going to have a second round of brainstorming on my hands, which I can do while I'm taking notes on improving the novel itself. Who says I can't multi-task?

Remember that a novel from John Fitch V -- like my new compilation -- is a great Christmas gift to give! Head on over to the Web site and pick one up today!

We interrupt nearly three weeks of blogless banter with this breaking news bulletin from JohnFitchV.com:

The wait is over.

Fantasy author John Fitch V has announced that The Obloeron Trilogy, which consists of the first three novels released, has now been released in one complete edition!

The hardcover book contains a completely re-scaled version of text -- from point 12 to point 10 -- as well as author corrections that were not picked up upon during the initial rounds of editing. This black, casewrap hardcover edition is a 593-page compilation which would, in the long run, save approximately $8 to the customer!

A hardcover copy is $34.95, while the download eBook version is available for $10.

Click the bookstore link today!

To say that I am happy that this project has now been put to bed is an understatement. I was going to have a friend do up some possible covers, but as it turned out, to do that for a hardcover would be incredibly expensive, especially with the amount of pages I had. At first it was 532, then after additional add-ons -- a note from the author, an extra title page, the dedication, the copyright page, blank pages between -- it came up to 540. But when I had first formatted the PDF, I noticed something was wrong: I didn't add half an inch of gutter. I had to go back and re-format everything with the gutter, which brought it up to the total of 593 pages.

*Wipes sweat away*

Now, about the pricing. Sure, it sounds steep. Of course, it's self-publishing, and right now I do not have the choice of anything else.

But take a look: it will be money saved in the long run.

Each of the first three paperback editions run the consumer $13.92 each. Buying all three at once comes out to $41.76, then there is the shipping. So in all, buying the hardcover is about an $8 savings before the shipping. How often can you say that about a hardcover?

In addition, I debated about making it available as a download. The original versions are available at $3.75 each, making the cost $11.25. The download for The Obloeron Trilogy is $10. A savings of $1.25.

In essence, I saved you a cup of coffee. You should thank me by going to my Web site and buying one of these great gifts, especially with the Christmas holiday rapidly approaching -- books make GREAT gifts, especially a John Fitch V novel!


In other news, we took about a week off from writing the sci-fi novel to recharge our batteries. In the two weeks since, we have written about 25,000 words to bring us well over the 60,000-word plateau.

Since we last met, I've taken the protagonist and his wife into enemy territory and (entry deleted). Oops. Sorry. Not giving that away.

However, today was a toughie. While reading the outline earlier this morning, I encountered a portion that I wrote that now, after X amount of words that I was at, didn't really make sense. I was able, though, to make it work, and in the next couple of days will have the ability to close out that portion of outline, then move on.

I'm amazed, though, at how much outline I still have to work with: I still have, after this page is done, some 4 1/3 pages remaining. Without a doubt I have the opportunity to exceed 100,000 words with this story, and that is before revisions!

I have to say that the writing is going well; there are days where I struggle, but I think that is more of a combination of distractions and the fact that I got a ton of sleep the night before. I've found that when I do not sleep longer than six hours, I am a beast when it comes to writing, generally performing better on those days than on a day where I received upward of 9-10 hours of sleep.

I'm trying desperately not to lose any sleep on this project. I am hoping that the sleep continues to come, but not an amount that causes me to become unproductive.


My good buddy Jim C. Hines will once again be holding his Christmas book drive for a domestic violence shelter in his native Michigan. Yours truly will be donating a few signed copies of the new The Obloeron Trilogy hardcover, as well as a couple of signed copies of One Hero, A Savior.

Join with me in wishing Jim success in this noble endeavor.


A long day remembered and rehashed

Well, I think I made up for Monday's lack of effort.

Following a day where I only wrote about 500 words or so on the sci-fi manuscript, I set out on Tuesday with an incredible goal: break 35,000 words.

Suffice to say, I broke it. I only needed to write some 7,700-plus words in order to do it.

Overall, we're sitting at 35,076 as I write this little diatribe. We began the day at 8 a.m. with a couple cups of coffee, beginning our writing just before 9 a.m. Two hours later, we had a little over 2,000 words written. It was break time. We took a two-and-a-half hour nap, woke up at 1:30 and resumed writing at 2. We wrote until about 6, getting another 3,500 or so words written, before eating and taking yet another nap from 7:30 until 10. Resumed writing at 11ish, and did so until 2 a.m. We're coming up on 2:30 a.m., and I'm sure it'll take me a while to unwind.

The numbers:

19 pages of text
3 1/2 chapters written
6 or 7 cups of coffee (I think I lost count around 5)
7,837 words for the day
35,076 words total

I'm tired. And to think I'll be writing more when I wake up! You all can buy my books to congratulate me.


We're through Ch. 11!

Last night, after being in a panic for about a day, I was able to complete Chapter 11. With the words I'm about to reveal to you here, well, I'll tell you in a moment:

Ryann thanked Vasilla before taking the cube and followed Joslyne into the anteroom. He shut the sliding door behind him, then activated the cube.

A ghostly, three-dimensional image of Admiral Zephyr sprang from the cube to stand in front of them. He was dressed in his formal officials, white without a crease anywhere.

“Ryann, Joslyne. I’m sure that if I’m speaking to you, Captain Vasilla has given you the cube and you’re watching it. Ryann, we have additional orders for you and your team on Orion Prime…”

That last sequence in Chapter 11, if I have everything mapped out properly, sets up the rest of the novel: everything hinges on those three paragraphs. The plot twists, the fate of my protagonists, the ending, all depends on those words. Right now, we're at 21,189 words following 1,210 today. Early Tuesday morning, I was able to rip off 2,110, and Tuesday during the day I wrote 4,303.

If you're scoring at home, 21,189 words = 11 chapters... and I have barely scratched the surface of my outline yet! I'm only on the second page, and that doesn't include any comic relief characters that I could put in the story as part of the second draft. Who knows what I can do with this?

I've said before that one of the perks of being a writer is that you can do it at any time. I like writing late at night: the phone is quiet, no one bugs you, the TV is off (read: there isn't a game on TV) and if you want a little soft music in the background to help you, why not? No one is awake to complain.

I finished up Chapter 8 tonight and then got about 1,500 words of Chapter 9 started; this session was a 2,110-word slugfest. My protagonist and his comrades have arrived at the capital planet and are now meeting with the admiral to give their report; Ryann has spoken ill of Intelligence re: Chapter 7. And as I finished up for the night, a trio of generals have entered the admiral's office, which means Ryann and Co. have to repeat every word they said. Ha! Not really, but they have to rehash some of it for the brass, I guess. I'll work on that when I wake up, since I do not have a game today.

Right now we're sitting pretty at 15,699 words, about 36 pages into the manuscript. We could hit 20,000 at some point today. Keep your fingers crossed.

What I'm trying not to do with this one is not to rush or lose a ton of sleep over it; over the summer, I lost quite a bit of sleep while writing the middle Obloeron prequel. We can't have that during this one. Time to shave, shower, maybe get the sink empty, and go to bed!




Latest Month

July 2011