Moving the Blog: “Yes, I have a truck. No, I won’t help you move.”

Quick update here.

Finally making good on my threats, I’m moving from increasingly creeper WordPress.com to WordPress.org on my own domain.

Also as of, uh, nowish, this new site is now an author blog, and The Survivalists is moving to Wattpad for the moment. Praise Capitalism.

The reason? It’s impossible to find a natural readership on WordPress.com. While it’s very easy to find struggling authors on WordPress.com, it’s pretty hard to find a good audience for this book. So, I guess we’ll see how this all works out. Feel free to leave some hate mail. I’ll eventually get to it.

Oh, and the Minutes Before Sunset review I promised? I’ll probably post it once the smoke clears. See all those noncommittal statements I just made? Thanks for waiting. -James Kresnik

P.S. Of course I will (may?) post it at James Kresnik – Author and Malcontent. Ciao.

Update 2014-03-29

A big thanks to fellow author/blogger Reid Kemper for spotting a double-post on Part 9 which I’ve now corrected. His series Vecto is available on Wattpad now. It’s a fast-paced comic-book-style action series with heart and it is definitely worth checking out.

A new Survivalists part will be up tomorrow and I will post the long-promised review for Shannon Thompson’s Minutes Before Sunset early next week. Thanks again for waiting and have a good weekend. -James Kresnik

Why I Hate Your Teenage Female Protagonist (Knite Writing #1)

jameskresnik:

Quoting my comment response: “Great rant. Now go read my YA series. (www.returnnovel.com). You’ll have little to worry about little there except dueling narratives, character overload, glossary-free jargon and endless rewrites, but I suppose all ya’ll have to tolerate *some* of my indulgences. . . . Sticking to an otherwise uncritical or conservative reader’s comfort zone is what audiences latch onto and what uncreative or conservative media companies want to produce. What you’re proposing is challenging for a lot of readers. Now, *You*[sic] may want to be challenged, *I* may want to be challenged and most of the readers of our respective blogs want to be challenged, but it’s a much tougher sell to challenge a reader with intricate, well-rounded literature.”

Originally posted on Knite Writes:

[I haven't written much on writing or reading lately, so I figured I'd start trying to churn out some new stuff. And since the easiest topics to write on are generally my gripes, I thought it couldn't hurt to pick on a few that have been simmering for a while. Anyway, here's the start of Knite Writing, my spur of the moment incredibly well-researched and academically-structured series of complaints critiques on the writing world.]

We all know YA; how could we not? It’s everywhere. It’s on our bookshelves. It’s on our TVs. It’s on the movie screen. It’s on every social network conceivable. It’s winning awards and dominating bestseller lists and has eaten a massive share of the fiction market in the past couple decades. We are all aware of what YA generally entails, which means we should all be aware that a dominant subset of YA revolves around the

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Return – Dreadknight Draft Progress 1/6/14

Even as I’m slogging through the second edition of Book 1, I’ve been plinking through the final act of Book 2, Dreadknight. All I can say at this point without spoiling too much is that it will involve a rather interesting air raid.

I’ve also decided on keeping the blog on WordPress.com for now, but I’m going to scape up the money to ditch the ads sometime this month. Rejoice.

Speaking of ads, I’ve set up an e-mail list, but I will only bug you with actual publishing updates, as well as discount promotions, when available because I hate spam as much as you do.

Finally, I turned Likes back on for some posts, so please like my stuff if you like, like it. -James Kresnik

RE: START 2014

I hope everyone has launched into the new year in good spirits and in good shape. My 2013 was–how shall we put it–an exciting and perilous year for myself, along with many other aspiring authors who are taking our first modest, shaky steps into self publishing. Continue reading

Why Do We Write? (Or Alternatively: Why Do You Live Like A Vampire?)

Originally posted on Official Blog Of Matthew Reeves:

Why do we write?

It’s a question that cuts to the core of our very soul and could possibly be considered one of the most important any author ever has to face.

What drives us to write? What is our ambition; perhaps even our sole ambition?

Many authors freely admit that their only goal is to be pleased with the work themselves. To be blunt: they write merely for the sake of writing. They may never have another person read their work, but as long as they like what they write, that is good enough.

This kind of writing mentality is very popular these days and it’s often repeated as supportive advice to aspiring authors who are worried that their work won’t be quite good enough for publication. On the outset, of course, it sounds very good.

After all, some people will probably hate what you wrote. Yes, I said…

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Return – The Survivalists – Prologue (Under the Obelisk)

She held the rifle steady for him. He was barely conscious, propped against the unforgiving stone, unable to feel his legs.

She was leaning back on his chest, and felt each of his shallow breaths giving way to a slump. He could feel her warmth rapidly fading.

The entire world seemed to be turning red—the burning palace, the sky, the stars, even the light in the sky sweeping the ground.

The light in the sky, approaching. Continue reading

The Survivalists 2nd Edition and Blog Changes

I’m about one-third the way through this re-edit of Return – The Survivalists, and while it is going smother then I expected I do not regret the decision pull the first book from publication. I’m taking advantage of this opportunity to make more changes–so many that the next release can be considered a second edition. I have already struck down the old preview chapters and the new material will be forthcoming. Any comments, criticism and participation is welcome.

And on that note, have any other authors with WordPress blogs notice that they receive a bunch of likes and follows on posts from people who aren’t actually bothering to visit the log or post comments? To nip that problem in the bud I’m turning off the Likes on posts for now. I see no point in receiving self-promoting drive-by likes from the WP Reader.

Thank you for your patience and I look forward to your comments and support. -JK

Novel Fail 2

I had a chance to pick through the manuscript and it’s not quite as bad as I thought. There’s a few typos and some pronoun deficiency but nothing completely hackish.

Still, it’s going to take several weeks to finish and republish in all the stores and even more time to make it free on Amazon.

I’m also using this as a chance to rearrange some deck chairs on the front and back matter. So, there are no more crazy rants in the back matter, for now.

I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for waiting. -JK

First Novel Fail

Three months after publishing, I took another read through the manuscript and I’m not at all happy with what I’m seeing. I also appeared to have completely flubbed the launch and store set-up.

I will relaunch the first book someday, but I can’t make any promise when that’s going to happen.

Once I re-publish, the first book will stay free as a favor to anyone who has already read it and hoped for better.

Finally, I may well take down this entire blog. No one seems to care about this one and I want to set up a new blog on my own server.

Please accept my most sincere apologizes and have a Happy New Year. -JK

Update: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, DRM and Book II Progress

I’ve taken down the mostly dead Facebook page, so if you need a social-networking feed please subscribe to my Twitter and Tumblr feeds. I also expect to have my Goodreads blog fleshed-out by the end of next week.

I’ve resumed progress on Book II, tentatively titled Dreadknight. I’m about three-quarters the way through the first draft and things are going smoothly. I may post up some chapters after the first couple revisions but that won’t happen until after the first of the year.

I’ve also been curating my recent book purchases in the hopes of writing up some reviews. I have three different reading devices using three different operating systems and concatenating my collection into a single directory using the reader I liked has been a nightmare. I expect to publish my first review in the next few weeks.

Finally, I’ve extended the free offer through November 15. If you’re interested in a free copy of The Survivalists then send an email to admin@returnnovel.com. Thanks again and have a good weekend.

Return – The Survivalists Launches Tomorrow

Es, as always, is driven to win. Copyright 2013 Decisive Origin and Return Publishing. Do not duplicate without permission.

Es, as always, is driven to win.
Copyright 2013 Decisive Origin and Return Publishing.
Do not duplicate without permission.

The final edits are done and the ebook for Return – The Survivalists launches on Smashwords tomorrow (9/30/13) at around midnight. The Kindle version will be up sometime after that.

Some free copies may be up for grabs, depending on how Tsundere I still feel when I’m done grinding meat.

EDIT: The Smashwords page is up. The book launches at midnight 9/30/13.

I now smell like meat and I have a couple of deep cuts on my hand from text butchering.

I’m in a totally Tsun mood now, and since you can grab a chunk of the book for free or all of it for 99 percent of an ever deflating dollar, you will just have to settle for them choices. Enjoy!

Best,

JK

Return – The Survivalists Cover and Update

The quality of the work speaks for itself, don’t you think?

cover-thumb

This cover is courtesy of Laurie Cetriya Thomas at Decisive Origin. She’s a sharp illustrator and fellow anime lover who sports a diverse portfolio and, in my humble opinion, is shockingly good at giving life to characters. You should totally check out her homepage (DecisiveOrigin.com) or DeviantArt page. You’ll have a good time, and then you’ll throw money at her to make art for you.

Now, on to the finished book business. It has taken so long to get this thing done-or in this case 99.5% done-that the September 30 launch for Return – The Survivalists will be as soft as a down pillow landing on a plush, Egyptian cotton rug. The Smashwords version will launch first and Amazon Store/Kindle version will release shortly after. Once the launch is complete, I’m pulling most of the chapter samples off the site because published version will be the “true” version and I want you to actually buy it.

After launch I will get some free copies in blog reviewers’ hands over the next few weeks. But seriously, what’s the point in aggressively promoting now? Who’s going to read a book set in the cold late spring on a flipping mountain just when it’s getting cold? But, if you don’t mind a bit of cold weather, then grab a copy for the completely not researched price of 99¢, along with a warm blanket and enjoy.

Yeah, the summer launch would have been so much better but all I can do at this point is shrug, wait and move on to the next part of the story which, at this time, is only 35.3% done.

Best,

JK

99% Done – The Perils of Self-Publishing and Editing

Even after announcing the publishing date for Return – The Survivalists my “final” manuscript is still roughly 99% done.

It seems forever “99% done.” After two rounds of professional edits, critiques, endless polishing and an untold number of head-to-desk moments, I’m still finding things I don’t like and things I want to change, tinker, improve and even fix. The script came back from my editor well enough, but as I was reading it aloud I found some things I wanted to add and needed to trim, which in turn,  introduced other things that wanted adding and needed trimming.

Now, I’m not saying that all my effort for the past three months is for naught. I am, after all, mostly reduced to making very minor changes that better reflect what the characters are saying and doing. And as for what characters are saying, I will, hopefully, never try to put words in the character’s mouths. At this point, it is really more their story than mine. I’m mostly a historian, trying to get the facts straight while creating a narrative that doesn’t put people to sleep. But I digress.

There are a litany of complaints about the quality of self-published novels clogging the shelves, none of which I am going to reiterate here. From what I’ve observed, and read, it is not because us relatively inexperienced authors refuse to edit or even that we somehow fail to take editing seriously. It is that editing a book well is a much more difficult effort than any neophyte can even begin to imagine.

I admit that going into this project I completely underestimated the amount of work and attention to detail it requires to produce a quality book. There’s a reason that reputable publishers perform at least three different edits: development, line-editing and proofreading. Now that makes me wonder, are those three separate people or three people who do the same exact job? I’ll have to ask my editor. But again, I digress. It’s far too easy to get small but pertinent details wrong, repeat a word too many times, make a consistency breaking change, or even insert a typo when making an edit.

Moreover, I don’t think there is a single book in existence that couldn’t somehow be tweaked. You have to know when to let go which should usually be somewhere between coherently laying out all the plot points and excising all typos and writing the next Pulitzer Prize novel.

Either way, I’ll keep banging at this until the wire, because somewhere in this manuscript will always be something I hate and something that will completely embarrass me and something I love and something I want someone to hear no matter what.

My hope for the next book is that I use my experience to properly formalize the revision and editing process. Needless to say, I no longer find formalizing my writing process as “stifling” as it surely beats the sheer terror of getting picked apart on an Amazon review for clumsy dialogue, typos and inconsistent subject-verb agreement.

Best,

JK

Fantasy’s “Othering” Fetish

jameskresnik:

Here’s an interesting take on orientalist leanings in fantasy literature. You may not agree with his take but it has some solid writing and scholarship. -JK

Originally posted on Phenderson Djèlí Clark:

300_immortalsA minor kerfuffle on race and representation was kicked up following last Sunday’s season finale of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Most noticeably, the barely restrained tilt towards Orientalism and the “great white emancipator” finally crossed the red line with the episode “Mhysa.” By week’s end, more than a few articles appeared in criticism, most noticeably comedian Aamer Rahman who pointed out why the Khaleesi’s entire storyline has been “messed up” from the jump. The reactions to this were typical: Denials. Charges of political correctness run amok. And of course, lots’ o’ geek-splainin’. But anyone barely acquainted with modern fantasy literature knows that from black-veiled Haradrim to the Ever Victorious Seanchan to the slavers of Yunkai, the genre has had a long love affair with exotic and dangerous “others.”

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