Tag Archives: zippywings 2015

Friday Update #8: Quiet, yet Still Here, and Still Making Strides toward a Better Future

I’m looking at my update history, and I see that it’s been a couple of months since my last post. If you’re following my blog, I have likely given you enough time to forget that Drinking Café Latte at 1pm is a thing, so let me step back into the light for a moment to ensure you that it is still a thing.

But where have I been?

I’ll give you a quick summation of things, and then I’ll get to the stuff you’re probably on here to find out more about.

Hurricane Matthew

So, I live in South Florida, and one of the big issues that South Floridians had to face in early October was a little thing that could’ve been utterly disastrous called Hurricane Matthew. Even though the hurricane did some damage along the eastern seaboard, it didn’t do anything close to what meteorologists were promising us back on October 6th, which was essentially total devastation. A Cat 4 rolling in with a 15-foot storm surge in a place that rarely gets hit so hard is only manageable when the ground is higher than sea level. Where I live, we are pretty even with the sea, so a storm surge of 15 feet would bring the ocean into many of our neighborhoods, and even though I don’t live in a flood zone, a surge that high would possibly turn my neighborhood into a flood zone. So, I was understandably living on pins and needles that day.

Fortunately, the storm did not quite reach our coast—an act of God perhaps, as all the models were telling us that we were screwed, and even the weather reporters on the local stations were visibly nervous, and justifiably relieved when the storm took a new track in those final moments. The storm turned so early, in fact, that I didn’t even lose power.

But because it was forecast to bring doom to our town, I had to spend some time preparing for it, and writing and researching wasn’t really top on my mind.

A New Course

The following Monday, October 11, my manager pulled me into her office and handed me a sheet of paper, saying, “Here, I think you’d be good at this.” I looked at the flier and saw an invitation to sign up for a CPT certification course in manufacturing at the college I work at (different campus, though) for just $300, thanks to the school winning a science grant (normally a course like that would run for $1800). The benefit to signing up was that I could earn 15 credits toward an AS degree in engineering, should I ever elect to work toward one, and earn an extra $5000 a year in a related field. Because I make very little doing what I do for a living already, and because I make far less doing what I love on the side, I thought it was worth looking into. Of course, because I make so little doing what I do, and far less doing what I love on the side, spending $300 on anything these days is a luxury I often cannot afford.

However, this program was set to begin on October 15th, payments would’ve had to been submitted by the 14th (remember, I found out about this on the 11th), and if I were to sign up, I wouldn’t have had much time, if any, to really debate the pros and cons of changing my direction on the fly, to rededicating my time to something I didn’t even know if I wanted to do, or even to figure out if I could afford the cost. Whatever I’d decide would’ve been a snap decision that could ultimately change the course of my professional future, and making a choice for or against would’ve affected me for years to come, most likely.

Then I considered that the 14th was payday, and that I would’ve had just enough to cover the bill if I were to skim on a few others, and that I’d been praying for opportunities to embark on a more profitable life for a long time now, and I saw this as an answer to that prayer, so I took the chance on it.

November 5th was the day of our first exam—on OSHA standards and safety—and I passed. I’ve got three tests to go before I earn that certification. The class will continue off and on until April.

What that means for my writing and other projects is simple: I have to actually study something for school again—something I haven’t had to do in 12 years—so I’m relearning how to be a student, and doing so is cutting into much of the time that I had originally put into my other projects. So, I haven’t been doing much work outside of studying and game designing (one of my secondary hobbies) since my last Friday Update.

The Computer Nerd

But, I did make time to update the ending to The Computer Nerd. I still have a few changes to make before I can call myself satisfied with the story enough to push out a final revision (or at least final until I learn yet another important lesson about mysteries and thrillers), but I’m getting close to updating Amazon and Smashwords with the newest version. I won’t give an ETA because I haven’t made it priority since October 15th, but I do have a few holiday breaks coming up, so I foresee the possibility of an update happening in December sometime.

Zippywings 2016

Finally, because the end of the year is fast approaching, I feel it’s time to discuss the likelihood of a new collection of short stories appearing at various e-book retailers come the last days of 2016.

My original plan (as of last year) was to produce an annual collection of short stories (called Zippywings, which is based on my online presence) for the years 2015, 2016, and 2017, to supplement the forgotten volumes I had produced between 2004 – 2006 called The Collection of Junk. I had developed this plan based on the assumption that I would be producing revised editions of my existing short stories throughout these three years, with novelized versions of select stories appearing beside them.

However, this plan has been significantly altered thanks to the lack of sales I’ve made on Zippywings 2015, or anything really. Pretty much my entire e-book success has been based on the free short stories I released in a yearlong burst of productivity, and not one paid book has generated more than four or five sales. This greatly reduces my desire to even produce Zippywings 2016.

However, I am a perfectionist at heart, and I still like the idea of having the book exist, even if it exists only in my personal library. So, I will be putting it together. But I don’t think it will include much more than what I had already produced at the beginning of the year.

The stories that will be included in the volume:

  • Gutter Child (novella version)
  • The Fallen Footwear
  • Waterfall Junction
  • The Narrow Bridge
  • Teenage American Dream (short story version)

The stories I hope to revise in time for inclusion:

  • Sweat of the Nomad (novella version)
  • Zipwood Studios (novella version)
  • Snow in Miami (the Christmas special)

Of these stories, “Snow in Miami” is the only one I plan to also release as a freebie on Smashwords, if I finish it in time. Like I said, writing hasn’t been a priority with everything else coming at me this season.

The other three, which you’ll probably recognize as the titles of the next three novels I had planned, exist as short stories, and have for years, but I had wanted to rewrite them as longer form stories. Because that plan is on hold for now, I figure there’s no harm in releasing the original versions (with better writing) as part of Zippywings 2016, and then address their novel versions, which will likely endure different titles, later.

The Next Friday Update

Because I’m not writing as often as I’ve been in the recent past, I don’t expect to deliver a new Friday update each week like I had planned this past summer, but I will stay in touch as important developments arise, so do subscribe to my blog, or check back here often for new news. I expect to post at least one more by Christmas, maybe a couple, so don’t forget about Drinking Café Latte at 1pm. Updates will continue, even if they’re slow.

Post Script

Oh, and we elected a new president last week. That’s new, if you haven’t been keeping up. To quote a line from the 1996 film, My Fellow Americans: Hail to the chief, for he’s the chief and he needs hailing.

A Recap of Important Events: Amazon Edition!

January 2, 2016:

So, if you’ve been paying attention to this blog in the last week, you may have noticed some subtle updates or mentions about the work I’ve been doing over my Christmas vacation. If you haven’t been paying attention, then let me catch you up on some things:

1) The day after Christmas, I finally released my long-in-production series starter for A Modern-day Fantasy, called Cannonball City. Or, to put it more realistically, I released the introductory version of the story, which takes the core elements of the first three books and combines them into a single yearlong tale. It’s about a tennis star who must undergo an identity shift to keep one step ahead of the murderous stalker who’s hunting him and people like him down like dogs. It’s a free e-book at Smashwords and its distribution channels (Barnes & Noble, et al.) and clocks in at a whopping 270,000+ words. It’ll take a while to finish it, but it’s a fun journey I’ve been told. Click on its store page to check it out. The trilogy of books it’s based on will be released at a later date.

cannonball city cover art version 1p
Cover Image for “Cannonball City: AMDF, Year One”

2) After seven months of e-book publishing, I’ve finally ported all of my existing titles to Amazon. Each book has its respective link already listed on its page. Click your book of preference to check it out. Note: Amazon does not allow authors to set their prices at “free,” so each free book on Smashwords costs $.99 at Amazon.

3) Not only have I ported all of my e-books to Amazon, but I’ve also made paperback editions of them. More specifically, I’ve made a paperback edition of The Computer Nerd (354 pages), retailing at $14.99, and a paperback collection of the shorter stories in a single volume called Zippywings 2015: A Short Story Collection (644 pages), retailing at $21,99. Why should you buy these instead of the cheaper e-book versions? Well, because they’re actual books you can hold and flip pages and smell and stuff. I’m still waiting for my copies, so I can’t yet vouch for the print quality, but I know they’re the best we’ll have until I gain the interest of a traditional publisher. As of now, each book can be bought at Amazon or CreateSpace. I’ve selected “Expanded Distribution” as an option, so other online retailers should have them in the next six to eight weeks. It’s why I can’t price either book any cheaper, otherwise I would. Both books can be purchased through the links provided at their respective store pages.

zippywings 2015 title 2
Cover Image for “Cannonball City: AMDF, Year One”

If you purchase any of my books, please leave a review. The more feedback I hear, the more I learn, and the better I can make my next book(s).

If you’re not sure whether to buy from Amazon or CreateSpace, let me give you a couple of facts:

Buying from Amazon will better improve my market sales rating, and will allow you to review directly on the site (something of which I need a lot of, whether positive or negative–because a comprehensive review is better than one man’s opinion). Buying from CreateSpace will give me a higher royalty. So, before you buy, decide which bonus you’d rather bestow on me (the author), publicity or royalty.

Option #3, of course, is to save your money for something you actually need.

4) I made the announcement for it yesterday, but in case you missed it, I now have a header page for “Promotions,” which will keep you informed of any specials I’m running on my books, including coupon codes. Check it out if you want to pick up my books and save money doing it.

5) I finally released the cover for my upcoming novel, Teenage American Dream. Actually, I’ve attached covers to all of the books listed in the “Future Stories” category, but the other two have already gotten covers attached to their store pages at Smashwords. As of now, Teenage American Dream is the only one that will release with its existing cover. The other two have temporary covers. They will become permanent only if my actual plans for their covers fall through.

So, that’s the summation of my busy holiday break. If I have time tomorrow, I’ll talk about my goals for 2016. Hope your New Year is off to a good start.