Thursday, March 20, 2014

It's Here!

“For a loser, Vegas is the meanest town on earth”
~Hunter S. Thompson

Peter Perkins was born and raised in Las Vegas. He’s jaded local through and through. So nobody’s more surprised than him when a sleazy street magician cons him out of a priceless family heirloom. So Peter Perkins does the only thing he can think of:

He gets help.

From Alex Cheradon.

Wait a minute.

Alex Cheradon? What’s he doing in Vegas?

It’s a whole new town.
It’s a whole new story.
It’s the same old Alex.

So this is it, Alex Cheradon Volume 3! I'm so excited to finally be able to share this with you guys. This is a story that I've been itching to tell for about a year now. So, you know, no pressure for you to like it or anything.

(Please like it.)

Okay, well, what are you still doing reading this? Go download the book already. Seriously. I'm not even joking. There's nothing else here to see.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Alex Cheradon Volume 3

It's coming. Volume 3 kicks off March 2014. Get ready.

And if you haven't already, make sure you've subscribed to my newsletter so that you'll be the first to know when it's released!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Big Finale

Well. Here it is. The story I've been building to since One Time Only.

There’s a fresh grave dug at the Fairfield Funeral Home and all it’s missing is a tombstone. 

For months Alex Cheradon has been on the receiving end of a helping hand from Jonathon Bragan. But Bragan’s help has been nothing more than a careful manipulation of Alex. Bragan’s reaching the part of his plan where it’s time to make his true intentions known to Alex. Of course, when that happens, the price of Bragan’s help is going to come due as well. 

Devon Christian is on the edge of sanity. The voices in his head get louder every day. At some point, he’s not going to be able to ignore those voices forever. And when he stops, there’s only one person at the top of his hit list. 

And to top it off, there’s a Probability Engine loose in Clayton City. So the odds of everything going to Hell just increased dramatically. 

This is it. 

The big finale. 

Everything’s coming to a head.

Okay. If, at this point, you're still reading this post and you haven't gone over to Amazon yet, a few extra things:

First, it's because of you guys this book is being published now and not late February. You guys are the greatest. I asked if you wanted the book early, you said yes. So here it is. Thank you for being the best fans ever.

Second, if you like it, or any of the Alex Cheradon books, please consider leaving a review, even if it's only a sentence or two. Reviews can be vital in courting new readers and every positive review helps.

Third, please, if you have a friend or two who might like Alex, please share it with them. I love Alex Cheradon. I could probably spend the rest of my life just writing books about him and his team. I've got the omnibus of Volume 1 that makes it super easy to get caught up on Alex's longer adventures. Plus, more readers will inevitability lead to more Alex books. It's a win-win for everybody!

Fourth, there's actually another reason that you're getting this book early: I'm already at work on Volume 3. There was originally going to be a longer break between Volumes 2 and 3. But I ran into some mental roadblocks on another project and I find myself mentally wandering back to Alex. Thus, a lot of the pieces for Volume 3 fell into place very quickly. So, as of this posting, I'm almost a third of the way through Alex Cheradon #6. I figured that if I was that far along, there was no real reason to hold back One Tomb Short of a Graveyard any longer.

Fifth, save yourself some time and energy and subscribe to my newsletter. This way you'll have Alex Cheradon new book announcements delivered right to your inbox.

Alright that's everything. What are you still doing around here? Go get reading already.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Birthday Sale

Hey Guys,

Tomorrow I turn 31. Yep. That's right. Tomorrow is my birthday. And to celebrate, I'm throwing a sale.

Fruitbasket from Hell was the first novel I wrote. Consequently, Alex Cheradon has been with me longer than any other character. And, of course, he remains my favorite, because he's totally awesome.

So, here's what I'm doing for this weekend only, January 25-26, 2014: Each Alex Cheradon book is only $1.31. Amazon won't let me go as low as 31 cents and somebody told me that charging $31.00 was a bit much. I figured $1.31 was a nice middle ground.

So, that's:

Fruitbasket from Hell
A is for Amnesia, B is for Bullet
Little People, Big Crimes
One Time Only
Welcome to Crazytown
Odd Man Out
Full Moon, Half Wits

Each one only $1.31. It's my way of sharing my birthday celebration with you guys. If you've haven't caught up yet, or there's friend or two or twenty that you think would love Alex Cheradon, this would the perfect time to get them hooked!

Also, it's that time of year again, where I want to get to know my readers a little better! If you read my books and have a minute or two, would you mind filling out this survey? Thanks!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Behind the Scenes

We're coming up on the finale of the second volume of Alex Cheradon. Which has prompted me to design this:

Unfortunately, this has left me with a whole new problem. Because now the last two AC books look like this:

And, of course, they look pretty good. But books 1-3 look like this:

So I've been working out some possible alterations to see if I can give this volume of Alex a more uniformed, or at least a more connected appearence.

The biggest problem, of course, is Welcome to Crazytown. It's kind of perfect just the way it is and adding any yellow or tweaking it, kind of just ruins it. But adding white to the other books doesn't have the same kick as adding the yellow.

I like my series to have specific looks. I like the idea that you can glance at a group of a books and immediately know that they're in the same series.

Reapers in Heels turned out perfectly:

Of course, there's the first volume of Alex Cheradon, which looked like this:

And I liked the way these 3 turned out, too.

But this new volume of Alex. I don't know. I want a specific look for Alex. I just can't figure out what it is yet.

I've been thinking a lot about what genre Alex Cheradon would be in and I've settled on something like, science fiction/fantasy. That sounds about right, if a little broad. I'd like to drill down a little more, but I don't know if there's anything more specific than that. Alex is such a hodgepodge of genre elements. A little bit of everything I like.

I've also been thinking about my elevator pitch for Alex and, boy, that is that a tough one.

"It's a series about a private investigator who has a partner who's immortal and they investigator some supernatural cases, some science fiction cases. There's a bit of a time travel, clones and..."

As a opposed to the elevator pitch for RiH:

"Bounty hunters for the dead."

I feel like I learned a lot of stuff working on RiH and I just want to apply some of that to Alex. I want shape the Alex Cheradon series into the same kind of focused, streamlined model that RiH was/is.

Feel to chime in with your thoughts about the covers.

If you had to describe Alex Cheradon to your friends in one sentence, what would it be?

Friday, October 4, 2013

A New Alex Cheradon Book

In case you haven't heard, the new Alex Cheradon book is out!

The Messr Building is located in the heart of downtown Callahan. It’s a building of architectural wonder. It’s visible from almost anywhere in the downtown area. And its home to the Darketo Sanction, a top-secret organization that’s housing the largest collection of mad scientists anywhere in the country.

Two weeks ago, the security system in the Messr Building tried to kill every single human onsite and nobody knows why.

That’s why Alex Cheradon is on the case.

(Although, to be fair, it’s a building filled with a bunch of mad scientists. This one shouldn’t be too hard to figure out, right? Right?)

Also out is a digital omnibus collecting the first 3 Alex Cheradon novels, Fruitbasket from Hell, A is for Amnesia, B is for Bullet and Little People, Big Crimes. It's 3 complete novels, for the price of one, $2.99. Which means it's the perfect way to introduce a friend to your favorite private investigator.

And, if you'll permit me, one last little plug. This one's just in time for the holidays! My sister-in-law has launched a Kickstarter for her line of Christmas-themed aprons. Her name is Danee Mason and she runs an online store, Summer's Closet, where she specializes in high quality handmade clothes, dolls and accessories. This year she's trying something new and using Kickstarter to launch an awesome line of Christmas aprons. You can read all about here. So, after you're done reading, take a break, order a Christmas apron and maybe start baking some cookies for Santa?

Make sure you sign up to my email list to be the among the first that hear about all my new releases. Click here to sign up.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What's Going On

So, here's what's going on right now. An update, if you will, of the various projects here at One Stray Word.

The Good News

Alex Cheradon Volume 2 is trucking along. We're on track for probably 5 total installments in this volume. There was going to be 6, but I'm making cuts so things don't seem padded out. I'm probably either just at or now approaching the halfway mark of Book 3, which still has the unfortunate title of "?????" At some point in the near future, I'll probably have to come up with a real title...

The only deadlines I have are self imposed ones and I kind of blew those. The original plan was to have the 3rd AC book out by the end of June. I was supposed to have finished writing it before my wife and I took off for our anniversary (6 years!) vacation and then do edits on it when we came back. That did not happen. So, I'm working on get back on schedule and, with any luck, I'll get it set up so that you get the last 3 AC books on a monthly-ish basis.

I had a beta reader (Thanks, Mary!) go through two of my older books, Just Dial 911 for Assistance and Explorers of the Unknown. Both books are grammatically cleaned up now. Explorers has been reissued, but I'm holding Just Dial 911 back because my wife and I really think this book could be something a lot better. So, after I'm done with the current volume of Alex Cheradon, I'm hoping to do a rewrite/expansion of Just Dial 911 into it's own volume/season. Basically, the idea would be to expand the book from a first person narrative into an ensemble cast, focusing on two or three other people from the 911 call center. I want this book to really fulfill it's original premise, which was "West Wing, but for 911 Call Centers."

My niece and I outlined the first three books of the Castle Sisters Volume 2. The plan was to start writing them in time for her birthday in November. I'm gonna try really hard to hold to that plan.

The Bad News

A couple of these you might have already guessed.

No Outlawed Love follow-up. Sorry guys, my heart's just not into it. It's probably never going to happen. Sorry.

There probably won't be anymore Cupid's Daughter, either. This book is about the closest thing to an actual bomb that I have. We had a quota, a sales threshold if you will, that we wanted to CD to reach before continuing with the series and it didn't even come close. It didn't even come into the vincity of close. We sold, like, 15 copies in 2012. And last time I checked for 2013, we'd only sold 5. Maybe it would have sold better if I had released the entire series all at once? I don't know. But it's been a horrible failure. I won't say that we'll never get anymore Cupid's Daughter books, but it's not looking good.

Reapers in Heels. Okay, this is the tough one. Again, I'm not going to say Never. I mean, I've got notes and outlines for Volumes 3 & 4 sitting on my hard drive here. I've got plans for these characters. But the series just hasn't been selling. In December 2011 when we launched RiH, One Stiletto in the Grave sold 206 copies. But then for the entirety of 2012, One Stiletto only sold 213 copies. And the numbers just went downhill from here.

Reapers in Heels 2012 Sales Numbers

And for 2013, the entire series has been in the mid to low single digits.

The point of RiH was to reach out to a larger audience. But it ain't working. I don't know what happened, but the larger audience is not picking up on it. Again, I'm not gonna say Never, but there would have to be dramatic increase in sales before we see any future volumes. This series needs to be profitable for it to continue. 

That said, if you've been following me on Facebook, though, you'll know that I've tried pitching RiH to a couple of different of comic book publishers. No luck yet, but my wife and I are definitely looking into the possibility of the series continuing in another format.

Overall, though, our book sales have taken a real dive this year. Everything's dropped into the single digits. I don't know why this is. I don't know how to fix it. It's not great. It certainly bums me out. But it is what it is.

Jon Acuff had a great post today about God's calendar vs ours, which was timely considering our frustrations over the declining book sales. Because it is very frustrating. We both work very hard on these books. But at the end of the day, you just have to leave things in God's hands. It's lesson that we need to be reminded often. My wife and I continue to pray about the books everyday and, really, that's all we can do. Which is also timely, considering our current devotional we've been studying is about praying more often. It's almost as though somebody's trying to tell me something....

So, for now, we're focusing on projects that are near and dear to me like Alex Cheradon, the Castle Sisters and Just Dial 911. Although, I do have this older sci-fi trilogy sitting on my hard drive that I've been trying to find a way to release for almost a year now. It's written, but it needs some editing and maybe the ending needs to be tweaked just ever so slightly. But otherwise, it's a complete package. I kick myself every day that goes by without it getting released. So, that's probably gonna get on the schedule somewhere.

I think that's everything. Kind of feels like I'm ending this on a downer, so, uh, here's a picture of some kittens: