Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A spring hodgepodge of stuff



Welcome one and all to Spring 2014!  Hope the holidays were fabulous to you and yours, and that your new year has started out with a bang — or at the very least, with little if any snow.  (What up, fellow east-coasters!)

As I’m sure will come as no surprise to those who know us; 2014 got off to a roaring start in the Malone house.  I’m happy to report that my first ever panel at this year’s illogicon in Raleigh went off rather well, despite a few pre-show jitters on my part.  We had a nice turnout, and I’d like to thank everyone who stopped by, as well as my partner on the panel — Lynn MacNamee of Red Adept Publishing.

Now it’s off to April when I’ll be part of a similar panel on indie publishing at this year’s ALT*Con in my hometown of Tallahassee.  Stay tuned here and on FB/Twitter for date/time specifics as they unfold.

RSD edits continue

The second draft of RED SKY DAWNING (Book Two n THE MAKO SAGA) continues to unfold.  Now that I’m back in the swing of things, I’ve had the chance to really dig into the content, and while there’s obviously loads to do, I’m happy to report that much of the story’s content from draft one remains intact.  As was certainly the case in book one, I find that the action scenes are always the toughest to write — a point usually reflected in my page count at the end of a given writing day.  Give me a setting, a conversation, and a pair of characters, and I’ll bang out 3,000 words in two hours.  But exposition, world-building, and tactical design?  

… Yep, put on a fresh pot of coffee and bunker in, cuz it’s gonna be a while.

I will say this, however, with regard to story differences: RSD is a more serious piece than MAKO in a lot of respects.  Believe me, you’ll pick that up in the prologue, and it’s a theme that carries straight through the entire story.  Don’t get me wrong, RSD still has all of the party humor, snarky dialogue, and pop culture references that most of you dug about book one… that’s the Renegades.  But this is a story set five years after the events of MAKO, and A LOT has changed in the lives of every member of the team.

MAKO hits actual bookshelves!

I’m also happy to report that MAKO may soon be available for purchase at your neighborhood brick and mortar bookstore!  As a lot of folks know (especially other indie authors), many independent shops won’t deal with CreateSpace as it’s owned by Amazon… you know, the 800-lb gorilla that’s presently trying to put them all out of business?

So, for that reason, I’ve expanded my distribution net by opening an account with Ingram Spark, and as such, bookstores can now go online to IS and order MAKO at wholesale by simply using its ISBN (978-0989032704).

FYI to anyone near Tally, I’ll be discussing a lot of this at the ALT*Con panel next month.  Trust me, this may seem like a fairly trivial thing at first glance, but it’s really not.  

R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Bucs fans… FINALLY!

As most of you are probably not Bucs fans, I won’t dwell on this.  But given the absolute nightmare surrounding my favorite NFL team for much of the last decade (most of which was self-inflected on account of piss-poor leadership from the front office), I can’t tell you just how stoked I am to see Lovie Smith in charge and making changes.  Greg Schiano, like Raheem Morris before him, was a joke of a hire — A., because he wasn’t remotely qualified for the head job, and B., because he had no clue how to manage an NFL locker room once he got it.

Smith, by contrast, is the antithesis of this.  He’s a great coach with fantastic credentials and strong ties to the Tampa community.  Moreover, he’s a man of impeccable character who commands the respect of all who know him.  To put it another way: he’s a leader, and a damn good one… something this team has sorely lacked since the Gruden days, and some even question whether we really had it then.

Great hire, Tampa Bay… finally.  Now let’s go play some football!

Okay guys, that’s gonna do it for Blog One of 2014.  Take care, keep in touch, and as always… Happy Reading!!!

RUAH!
 
IJM

Friday, December 20, 2013

Season's Greetings!!!

I love Christmas time, I really do.  I love the weather, the lights, the food, the time with friends and family… all of it.  Now couple everything I just said with the awesomeness that is New Year’s and college bowl season (which I’ll address shortly), and this really is “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Thus, much like last month’s Thanksgiving edition, we’re gonna keep this one fairly short with some minor house cleaning — then we’re out.

Red Sky Dawning (Draft 1) is done

Yep, it’s finally finished… the first round, anyway.  Mako: Book 2 is finally in the can, and while I plan to tinker with it a bit over the holidays, it’s my intention to burn full-steam ahead on it once I return in January.

I won’t spend much time on this, as I’ve already shared quite a bit about RSD’s plot and characters in previous blogs and during my interview with Self Publisher’s Showcase.  But, suffice it to say, I hope to have a solid manuscript ready for beta reading by the spring, then editing in the early summer.

Ruah!!!

Illogicon 2014 is right around the corner!

For those attending Raleigh’s illogicon science fiction convention Jan. 10, I’ll be partnering with Lynn MacNamee of Red Adept Publishing and others to present iAuthor: Indie Publishing 101, an in-depth panel discussion of all things indie books.  

Among the topics to be covered:

-        The pros and cons of indie vs. traditional publishing
-        Indie publishing platforms (KDP, Smashwords, etc.) and which to use
-        Book mediums: E-books vs. print vs. audio
-        Marketing through social media
-        Setting a budget/deadlines
-        The need for editing and cover design
 
Be sure to stick around after the panel and say hi, as I’ll be answering additional questions and giving away swag.  Truth be told, though, I just always enjoy meeting you guys.  J

IJM’s Bowl Game Predictions

Because I couldn’t resist, the following are my predictions for this year’s slate of BCS bowls, plus a handful of other matchups that struck me as potentially fun: (winners in bold)

-        National Title: Florida State vs. Auburn (Totally a homer pick, I know, but I love this matchup for FSU.)
-        Rose: Stanford vs. Michigan State (GO NERDS!)
-        Sugar: Alabama vs. Oklahoma (Saban won’t lose again, sorry OU.)
-        Fiesta: UCF vs. Baylor (Knights had a nice year, but they’re no match for the Bears’ offense.)
-        Orange: Clemson vs. Ohio State (As much as I abhor picking a Meyer-led team, I just don’t trust you in a game that matters, Clemson.)
-        Russell Athletic: Miami vs. Louisville (Without Duke Johnson, “The U” falls in Bridgewater’s finale.)
-        Chick-fil-A: Texas A&M vs. Duke (Johnny Football puts up stupid numbers in this game.  Aggies in a route.)
-        Gator: Georgia vs. Nebraska (Also a homer pick, as my sis went to UGA. GO DAWGS!)
-        Cotton: Missouri vs. Oklahoma State (SEC all the way.)
-        Alamo: Oregon vs. Texas (Mack Brown’s team rises up to send him out with a win.)

Okay, folks.  That officially puts the wraps on this, the inaugural year of the Mako Manifesto.  To everyone who follows this blog, you know I appreciate it, and I sincerely hope you’ve had as much fun reading it as I’ve had writing it.

In closing, and on behalf of the entire Malone household, I want to wish each and every one of you a very, Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.  As mentioned up front, we celebrate this time of year for a lot of reasons, the most important being the birth of Christ… which according to scholars, probably happened in April, but it’s whatever.

Don’t worry.  I’m not gonna beat you over the head with the “reason for the season” speech.  A., that’s not the purpose of this bog, and B., because the massive overuse of the phrase makes me want to punch my own nards.  Still, if you get a chance, take a moment to ponder why people like us believe in Christmas.  Then ask yourself two questions:

1.      Can I, at the very least, entertain the remote possibility that Jesus was who he said he was, and if not…
2.      Why?

Cheers, gang, and “see you on the other side” for 2014!

IJM

PS- For anyone scrambling to find last-minute, low-prep menu options for the holidays, check out this article in last week’s Raleigh News & Observer on Christmas meals and crock pots.  CRAZY helpful stuff!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Turkey Time!!!



Ah, Thanksgiving… How I’ve missed you and the gluttonous, calorie-rich glory you represent!  Smoked turkey breast, spiral-cut ham, deep-fried venison, sweet potato souffle, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, banana puddin’, chocolate cake… vegetables that I’m sure someone not named Ian will eat!  I mean, seriously people!  Throw in all of your favorite friends and family with some good, ole fashioned college football rivalry games, and what else to you need in life?

Alas, it’s with a mix of cheer and fear of indigestion that I must digress…

Okay, so in the interests of time management (and because this cold is totally kicking my butt), I’m gonna keep this one short with a few housekeeping notes: 

Red Sky Dawning is almost done… the first draft, anyway

Draft one of the Mako Saga’s next chapter is nearly in the books, and I think you guys are really gonna like it.  Naturally, there’s still loads of work to be done (as is always the case with opening drafts), but the framework for the story is in place along with most of the key elements that will comprise the next chapter of the saga.

A new editor = Mako 2.0

I’m proud to welcome Raleigh-based Red Adept Publishing (RAP) as my new editor moving forward.  I bring this to your attention because A., I know many of you are fellow indie authors in need of a good editor, and B., because I’ve hired Lynn McNamee and her staff for a fresh proof of Mako to buff out some of the final blemishes from the original manuscript which, at the time, had tapped out my budget.

I’m running through the Track Changes now, but hope to have the new files formatted and up for sale by Christmas.  FYI, this in no way alters the story you’ve already read.  It’s more or less just an extra pass for grammar typos and spelling.

Illogicon 2014 in Raleigh

Speaking of Lynn and RAP, I’ll be partnering with her to conduct a panel on indie publishing at this 
year’s illogicon, held Jan. 10-12 at the Embassy Suites in Raleigh.  At present, I still don’t have any date/time specifics, but once I do, I’ll bounce them out via social media.   

Alright gang, that’s it for this Turkey Day edition of the Manifesto.  All the best to you and yours this weekend, travel safe if you’re on the road, and see ya back next month for BCS picks and an in-depth discussion of why non-alcoholic eggnog is useless!  ;) 

RUAH!!!

IJM

PS- Wanna give a quick shout-out to all the seniors on this 10-0 FSU football team.  Regardless of all of the legal crap that’s swirling around you right now, you guys were the class that kick-started this program’s climb back to national prominence and you’re to be commended for all that you’ve achieved.  Now, how about we roll on down to The Swamp and carve us up some Gator, shall we?  Good luck, boys, and GO NOLES!!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Clash of the Titans



Hello again, everyone, and welcome to a brisk autumn edition of the Mako Manifesto.  

Many of you read this blog because you know I’m a writer, and whether it’s to learn more about my work or the craft in general, you come here looking for indie-related content.  As a regular reader, though, you’re also well aware that I’m a total mark for college athletics, particularly where my beloved Florida State University (FSU) Seminoles are concerned.  Therefore, given the magnitude of this weekend’s “Clash of the ACC Titans” between third-ranked Clemson and fifth-ranked FSU, I’ve elected to bump the literary stuff to the end of this blog in favor of a good old-fashioned, armchair-QB sports rant.

… Drum roll please!!!

THE matchup

For all the historical flack given the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) for its lack of legitimate football contenders (most times, rightfully so), the conference has rebounded nicely of late in the forms of FSU and Clemson, both having returned to national prominence with regular 10-win seasons and impressive victories over top-tier BCS opponents. 

This Saturday night, however, these two teams will meet in Death Valley, South Carolina for what will undoubtedly be the biggest game in the history of their budding rivalry.  At stake: a clear path to the ACC title, and quite possibly a berth in the BCS National Championship Game. 

Make no mistake about it, folks, both teams have a major point to prove with this game. 
For Clemson, it’s the chance to shed, once and for all, the “national pretender” status that’s haunted them for years, and avenge 2012’s loss to the Noles in Doak Campbell Stadium.

For FSU, meanwhile, a win here represents a major step toward reclaiming the “dynasty” mantle lost to them in the twilight years of the Bowden regime.

The individual storylines for this game are endless, though here are a few to consider:

-          Clemson senior QB, Tajh Boyd vs. FSU redshirt freshman, Jameis Winston
-          Clemson’s high-powered offense vs. a young, revamped FSU defense under first-year DC Jeremy Pruitt
-          FSU’s running game vs. Clemson’s at-times shaky defensive front

FSU fans, we used to balk at the term “Game of the Century” because we heard it nearly every other week from 1990-2000.  Then came the infamous Jeff Bowden experiment on offense, and well… you know the rest.  Granted, much has happened since Fisher’s installment to right FSU’s misfortunes (our renewed status as perennial Top-5 recruiters, for starters) but this game still represents our best shot yet to show the world we’re back on top of the mountain. 

In other words, win this game and people will begin to take you seriously again.

Clemson fans, the same point applies to your program.  As it stands, you deserve major kudos for your successes to-date.  You and you alone rose above the mediocrity of this conference to assemble a top-flight football program capable of beating anyone in the nation, and you’re amassed wins over LSU, Georgia, Florida State among others are a testament to that.

Nevertheless, nobody forgets a 70-33 drubbing like the one you took from West Virginia in the 2012 Orange Bowl, particularly when it happens on global TV.  Thus, a win Saturday night is every bit as vital to your legitimacy as FSU’s.

So… what’s my prediction, you ask?  

Listen, I firmly believe FSU has the talent and the coaching staff to win this game, to say nothing of their superstar QB in Winston, a kid on-pace to torch the record books before leaving Tallahassee.  Primetime top-five matchup or not, “Famous Jameis” will show no fear when he marches into that stadium — hostile crowd or not — and his team will do likewise for his leadership.  Couple that with FUS’s near-limitless pool of talent at the offensive skill positions, and yeah… this is definitely a winnable game for the Noles. 

On the other hand for Clemson, Boyd and Watkins are insanely good, as are most of the role-players around them, the vast majority of whom are seniors craving a national title in their final year of eligibility.   Factor in the clear home-field advantage of Death Valley plus FSU’s massive inexperience on defense, and — as much as my brothers and sisters in garnet may hate me for this — I’ve gotta take the Tigers in a barn burner.

So there you have it, Clemson fans.  I’m picking your team to beat mine.  Enjoy it, live it up, smoke it, do with it what you will.  Just know this… you had better beat us while you can.  Because starting next season… you won’t get that chance again for a very, VERY long time.

Red Sky Dawning update

Book two of the Mako Saga continues to unfold.  At present, I’m about 75% finished with the first draft, and I’m really excited about where the story has gone.  As I’ve said all along, RSD is, in many ways, a changing of the guard with regard to main characters.  True, everyone is back — Lee and Mac included — but this chapter of the saga really gave me the chance to flesh out some of the other characters and introduce some new ones (one of whom I’ve been dying to write since book one, but couldn’t fit into that part of the mythology). 

FYI, I also got to create my own form of MMA (Kachuro) which, as a dude, is just plain awesome!  J  

My hope is to have the piece ready to go to beta readers by the end of the year, with copyedits and proofing set for early spring followed by a summer 2014 release. 

Friends in indie places

As any author knows, one of the toughest aspects of the indie biz comes with balancing one’s time between writing books and promoting them.  Therefore, it’s always nice to find others who can help you with the latter, thus freeing you up for more time with the former.

Paul and the crew from Self Publisher’s Showcase (SPS) want to do just that.  

As implied by their name, SPS is a new service devoted to helping indie authors promote their work.  What sets them apart from their competitors, however, are their rates ($3 a month, respectively) and the expansiveness with which they do so (author profiles, interviews, book reviews, blogs, extensive social media coverage, easy-to-access sales links, etc.).

Ordinarily, I’m not a big fan of paying for grass-roots marketing services like these.  Even still, that’s a lot of bang for a little buck, and if you’re like me (full time job with a family at home) you need all of the writing time you can get.  

SPS can help you facilitate that.

Alright folks, that’s gonna do it for now.  I’m off for an afternoon walk with my pooches then it’s back to the apartment for another round of laundry and RSD edits.

Everyone take care, have a great week, and remember… GO NOLES!!!

Cheers,
IJM

PS- I’m totally in the market for a good potato soup and or corn chowder recipe for the game this weekend.  If you’ve got one handy (especially if it involves a crock pot) hit me up with an email, tweet, or Facebook post.  Thanks!!!  J