Sunday, February 25, 2024

Voter registration drive and book sale

I know a lot of people are tired of being told that every election for the past decade WILL DETERMINE THE VERY SURVIVAL OF THE NATION!  But it’s true.  The fastest way for the anti-democratic forces to fully seize power is if We The People can’t be bothered to vote.  And the anti-democratic forces already have too much power as it is.  To keep our democracy, we need to vote, in this election and every election.

But in order to vote, you need to be registered.  If you’re an American citizen who will be eighteen by Election Day, November 5th of this year, and you are not registered, I ask you to register.  Your state’s website should have all the necessary details.  And if you are registered to vote, I ask you to check your registration, which you should also be able to do on your state’s website.  The reason to check your registration is that the list of voters needs constant updating as people register, move, and die.  And even without nefarious voter purges, it’s possible for mistakes to happen.  If a mistake is caught early, it can be fixed early, and things can go a lot smoother for everyone come Election Day. 

Democracy only works if the people participate and the first step of participation is to take a few minutes and register to vote.  To help sweeten the pot, starting Monday, February 26th, I’ll be having a book sale for four of my ebooks.  Register, or check your registration, then grab some free books.  Well, there’s no way for me to check if you register, so we’ll just go on the honor system.  And if you aren’t an American citizen, then I’ll just ask that you participate in your country’s political system however you can, because the anti-democratic forces are not limited to the US.


The following four ebooks will be free to download from Monday February 26th, through Friday March 1st.  I hope you enjoy, and I hope you’ll vote in the next election.


Political Pies

Everybody complains about politics, but does anyone do anything about it? My attempt to do something about it is to collect forty of my short stories with a political element into my Political Pies anthology. The stories are either politically neutral or equally condemning of the national parties. Instead of trying to sway you to one ideology or another, my goal is to just get people thinking about politics in the hopes a rose might grow out of all the political manure.

The Most Powerful Man in the World and other stories

The Most Powerful Man in the World and other stories is a collection of five, short, scifi stories to provide a sample of my writing.

A being from the distant future with almost unlimited powers comes back to help Ian Steele make the world a better place in “The Most Powerful Man in the World.” One bookstore customer has an entirely different reason for wanting books in “Black Market Books.” “Motherhood” tells the story of Thomas Gillespie, the surrogate mother for a baby AI. “Storyteller” is about an author thinking his book into existence. And “Deadworld” is about the alien world humans are reborn on – in alien bodies – after we die.

A Man of Few Words is a collection of fifty of my flash fiction stories. What would really happen if a “T-Rex on steroids” attacked a city? Why do science fiction writers make the best lovers? How does a company get to Second Base with VIPs? I explore these questions and more using less than 1,000 words and in various genres from humor to horror and general fiction to science fiction.

An Ounce of Prevention

Like most people, Jason Fisher wanted to make the world a better place, but he doubted he would ever have the chance to make much of a mark. Then a “woman” came to him, asking his help to save humanity by threatening it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Random Writing Tips – Prewrite your bio


I recently did something for the first time in a couple of years: I submitted a story.  As of the posting of this, I’m still waiting to hear back.  But the submission process brought back the scourge of many writers: the cover letter.  I don’t care for cover letters.  I prefer sites that just have a form you fill out with your name, story title, word count, etc. and they either take your story or they don’t, and that’s it.  For me, cover letters are like the About Me section on dating sites.  How do I make myself sound interesting without outright lying, and the feeling that no matter what I do, it’s wrong. 

Fortunately, the place I submitted to only wanted a brief bio, which, couldn’t that wait until after they buy a story?  Anyway, some years ago I wrote a couple brief bios so I could pick the best one for the situation.  Which is great, except I couldn’t remember which folder I put them in, so I had to rewrite a bio. 

So my tip is to prewrite a couple bios which you can just copy and paste into cover letters, maybe with some slight adjustments, and to keep them in a place you will remember.


Image from Pixabay.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Novels in a few sentences

I recently went through some posts on an old blog of mine, and I came across this little gem.  Years earlier, I had heard that a good exercise for creating pitches was to describe your novel in three sentences.  So I tried it with two of my ideas.  For my novel, Damocles, I came up with the following:

Most people go through their day-to-day lives worrying about “important” things: career, money, marriage.  But what if one morning everyone wakes up to learn that in four days there will be destruction on an unprecedented scale killing tens of millions and there is nothing we can do to stop it.  What becomes important then?

But for my novel None of Them Knew the Color of the Sky, I managed one sentence:

Will a treasure from the past be enough to unite the survivors of a nuclear war; or, are arrogance, mistrust, and hatred too akin to cockroaches?

That’s a great exercise, and all, but some ten years after I first posted these, I still only have notes for Damocles, and None of Them Knew the Color of the Sky is still just half-finished.  So I think I’ll try to finish some novels before coming up with pitches for them.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

To scheme, or to write?

I spent a decade or so sloooowly building up a miniscule following on Twitter.  Now, Twitter had issues before Musk bought it, but he didn’t fix the issues I had with it, and he made more.  So I left Twitter for Mastodon.  Is it better?  Well, probably everyone I’ve interacted with on Mastodon Musk would claim is “woke,” so yeah.

The main way I used Twitter, is I had two accounts, one for writing and one for everything else.  But I would post about my ebooks every day, alternating accounts.  The way I worked it, is in one month one account would post only about The Most Powerful Man in the World and other stories, while the other would only post about The Future is Coming, so I could see which account I got more sales from.  Of course, in all likelihood, the only sale I’d have that month would be for Duty, and I’d have no idea how that person found it.

Even with my “audience” on Twitter, my sales weren’t that great.  And then I started over from scratch on Mastodon.  But I didn’t want to just redo what I did on Twitter, where constantly trying to sell your books was … normal.  So on Mastodon I’m trying to just be an interesting person, who only occasionally mentions their books, so maybe someone will be curious enough to check them out.  But that’s a lot of goddamn work, especially for someone as introverted as me.

This has led to a bit of a conundrum: do I spend my time writing new books in the hope that people will somehow find out about them, or do I spend my time scheming ways to sell the books I already have?  Ideally, I’d do both, but as is, I already need an extra day or two a week just to catch up with all the other non-writing stuff I need to do.  Of course, this has led me to thinking of greater and greater schemes trying to come up with a simple act that would have a measurable impact on my book sales.  And while such thoughts did lead to this blog post and my short story “Scheming,” all the time spent on them is less time spent talking to readers or writing.

I know that’s not a very satisfactory way to end a blog, but I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place with no clear direction forward.  If I ever find an answer, I’ll do another blog post.  Don’t hold your breath.