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The A.I. Chronicles have arrived!

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. Even today, machines that mimic human thinking surround us. As the intellectual feats of computing machines grow more and more astounding, will there be a day when their apparent intelligence approaches, or even surpasses, that of human beings? And what if these machines then become conscious, self-aware?

Get this latest title in the acclaimed Future Chronicles series of speculative fiction anthologies.

AI Chronicles

Thirteen authors confront the question of the Singularity: at and beyond that point of time when A.I. becomes more than simply a human construct. From first awareness to omniscience, these original short stories explore that territory where human intelligence comes face-to-face with what is either its greatest hope, or its greatest threat.

How can you join the party?

Join us TODAY, March 13th, in celebrating the launch on Facebook from 5 to Midnight EST.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1535855083368828/

Get your copy of The A.I. Chronicles here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TUIBHL4/

Enter the Giveaway!

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The Alien Chronicles is coming!

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I’m in another awesome anthology, The Alien Chronicles. The ebook is available for preordering right now, and will be live and available digitally and in print by January 9th! Don’t miss these excellent stories by blockbuster sci-fi authors including Hugh Howey, B. V. Larson, Jennifer Foehner Wells, Daniel Arenson, Blair Babylon, Annie Bellet, and Samuel Peralta. Some of these are traditionally published authors, and some indies.

From scary first contact tales to funny-looking alien stories, this has it all. This anthology is the third in the series of “Future Chronicles,” and to date, each one has reached best-seller status.

Also be on the lookout for “The A.I. Chronicles,” for which I’m writing another story, to be released in early 2015.

I’m having a blast concocting these fun shorts and putting them out into the world so quickly. You’ll see what I mean when you read them!

Thanks, as usual, for reading the blog, and if you want to hear FIRST about news on my books, please sign up to be notified here.

Win a copy of my best-selling political thriller in the Great Online Scavenger Hunt!

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Welcome to the Great Online Scavenger Hunt! Each day, for 22 days, you’ll have a chance to hunt for clues in the form of a line or quote from Annie Kelleher’s paranormal romance The Ghost and Katie Coyle.

The Grand Prize is a Kindle Paperwhite eReader, which will be won only by correctly identifying and reporting all 22 clues first. See Annie’s site for all the details. The clues will be hiding on various websites which will be listed on Annie’s site one day at a time. You can join any time within those 22 days and will also be entered to win either a digital or print copy of RUNNING in the Great Online Scavenger Hunt giveaway hosted by Annie Kelleher, along with the other wonderful prizes she is offering.

Final Ghost Katie Coyle cover

There are now TWO clues on my website… one from Day #4 and one from Day #17. My clues won’t be too hard to find, since some of my website is still in progress… so go forth and find them!

When you find those quotes, copy and email them to KatieCoyleScavengerHunt@gmail.com and you’ll be entered in the drawing to win one of the many prizes. And… if you’re diligent in your hunt and manage to collect every single day’s hunt clue, you’ll be eligible for the final drawing to win a Kindle Paperwhite eReader!

Visit Anne Kelleher’s website every day to see which website holds the next clue to hunt down and submit your entry for that day’s prize.

Enjoy!

The Robot Chronicles are released!

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The Robot Chronicles

Tremendous and varied short stories about robots and AI are included in this great collection. There’s a Foreword by David Simpson of the Post-Human series, and shorts by fabulous authors Hugh Howey, Matthew Mather, Samuel Peralta, David Adams, Ann Christy, Nina Croft, WJ Davies, Jason Gurley, Deirdre Gould, A.K. Meek, Edward W. Robertson, Endi Webb… and me! The editor was the wonderful David Gatewood.

It’s holding down the #3 spot on three best-seller lists on Amazon right now. Available as an ebook and in print.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

P.S. My short story, I Dream of PIA, has sex in it. You are forewarned!

The Latest

Thanks for your patience while the new website gets populated!  You’ll notice my Progress bars over to the right showing where I am on writing new stories.  I have a lot in the pipeline, and much of it is coming out soon.  It’s going to be a very productive summer! 

And don’t forget to pick up the FREE first episode in the Karma series, The Sky Used to be Blue.  It’s available on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo.

In the meantime, fans of cozy mysteries will have fun with eFitzgerald Publishing author Jerilyn Dufresne’s new series.  The first book can be found by clicking here

Here’s the blurb:

A few minutes after he hires Samantha Darling as a therapist, Dr. Burns is murdered. Stunned by his sudden death and desperate to keep the job she just got, Sam vows to find the killer.

She has two things going for her. The first is that her brother Rob is a cop, and she figures the crime-solving thing has to be genetic. The second is that Sam is a little bit psychic—a trait she’s come to accept, though it can be inconvenient at times.

With the help of her landlord and her dog, Sam sets out to solve the murder. Along the way, she spends time with the hot new guy in town and tries NOT to spend time with her old beau.

Using her “psychic vibes,” her wit, and her charm, Sam bumbles along and finally solves the mystery, but not before going in the wrong direction more than once.

Thanks for coming by, and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to hear the latest first, and to get free stories as they come out…!  Click here to sign up. 

 

Hugh Howey… I’ve got his back. How about you?

ImageI think somebody picked on the wrong author when they decided to target Hugh Howey.  Not because he’s rich and powerful… but because his success is totally legit, his books are tremendous, and his fans are legion.

He’s going to come out all right after this, and I hope the other deserving authors do as well.  The speed at which this has turned into a witch hunt has been mind blowing.  What might have been a reasonable discussion about what’s appropriate in Amazon reviews is now a sh*tstorm of accusations and counter-accusations.

We could, in fact, have talked about how Kirkus reviews can be bought, and are.  Or how traditional publishers pay for placement of books on the front tables and on the endcaps in bookstores.  And how the famous book review pages (I’m looking at you, New York Times) do a little “you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours” by assigning friendly colleagues to write the definitive reviews about another author’s books.

Further… blurbs are swapped as a matter of courtesy between well-known traditionally published writers for posting on the backs and jackets of new books.  ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) editions of manuscripts are provided (for free, of course!) so that professional reviewers can have their pieces ready before publication.  Interviews on radio, TV, online and in print are set up by P.R. mavens, and the publishers pay generously for all that.  How is that okay, but it’s an outrage if Mom mentions your self-published book to a neighbor because she’s proud, and the neighbor reads and reviews it?

The accusers (I’m not helping them by linking them here) have such a broad definition of “fake review,” I’m surprised any review passes muster with them.  Here’s their first bullet point on a list of how to identify a fake review:

  • Any review written by an author’s friends, relatives or acquaintances, especially reviews requested by the authors themselves to push up their ratings.

Of course authors request reviews!  What nonsense.  Do they think that traditionally published authors don’t ask their fans for reviews?  The difference is that they have armies of marketing people to do the selling for them, whereas an indie author has only herself.  And even if her book is brilliant, if it doesn’t get that first review, or ten, it will never get seen and bought.

Everybody knows that I’m a fan of Hugh Howey.  I read his books, I review his books, for goodness sakes, I write books set in the WOOLiverse.  All of which has come to pass because… I LOVE his books!  I love his books like I love Pride and Prejudice, which I’ve read about twenty times through my life.  I love his books like I love Bel Canto, which was so extraordinary it led me to my soulmate.  I love his books so much I dreamed up a story about one of the characters he referenced, and I’m fleshing out the details of her life.  And yes, Karma fans, I am going back to writing the fifth and final book as soon as I finish this post!

Here’s the 5-star review I wrote about WOOL back in May of 2012, waaaay before I imagined meeting Hugh in person or writing books about his characters.  It’s pretty cool to read it and see how quickly knew that he was the real deal:

Awesome. Simply, incredibly, awesome.

May 25, 2012

 

This review is from: Wool – Part One (Kindle Edition)

I heard about WOOL last week, and got around to downloading this first book a couple of nights ago. Immediately upon finishing the first one, I sprung for the omnibus edition with all the books.

Hugh Howey brings us an extraordinary tale of an imagined world peopled with characters who tell, layer upon layer, the story of the silo they live in. This is a book that makes writers like me say, “Wish I had written that!” His ability to sustain suspense, use different viewpoints, and compel the reader to keep reading is masterful.

In fact, WOOL and the ensuing books constitute a mystery as much as anything else. What really happened? What is outside? And who is in control?

No spoilers here… because I want you to have the fun of discovering the answers for yourself. I just finished the third book and I’m about to dive into the fourth. I just had to take a break for a moment to come here and tell you how awesome WOOL is!

Read this book and thank the folks at KDP who have made it possible for writers like Hugh Howey to share their gifts of imagination with the rest of us. He deserves every bit of success he has found.

P.S. I hope Ridley Scott does make the movie…

So.  That’s what I thought when I was brand new to this author and he had done nothing but write a good book to surprise and delight me into jumping on my laptop and sharing the thrill in discovering WOOL with other readers.  I received no compensation for the review, or any review, then or now.

I feel sorry for the anger and vitriol in the hearts of those who started this witch hunt.  I don’t know who they are or why they thought this was a good use of their time.  Oh… I do notice that they claim to have a “preliminary publishing agreement” for a book deal now.  A profit motive?  How surprising.  I also noticed they are shameless enough to link to Hugh Howey’s very popular blog in order to troll for more readers.

Here’s a tip for those folks who are publishing private business communications on a blog: Get a lawyer.  I note the statement, “Our posts are not meant to defame, harass or personally attack any individual or company.”  Methinks they protest… not only too much but without effect.  Saying you’re not liable doesn’t make it so.

My name is Patrice Fitzgerald.  What’s your name?  If you haven’t got the cojones to use it, perhaps you shouldn’t be naming others.

My name is Patrice Fitzgerald and I am a fan and a friend of Hugh Howey.  I’ve got his back, along with literally a million other readers, all over the world.  And I think you picked on the wrong author.

 

Hugh Howey talks about DUST, WOOL, and Spectacular Self-Publishing Success

Hugh-Howey1I asked Hugh Howey, self-publishing pioneer and author of the bestselling dystopian trilogy that starts with WOOL, to join me for an interview.  The final book in his Silo Saga, DUST, was released just two weeks ago…completing the adventure for fans of this instant classic.  He spoke to me just before that release.

Patrice:  So you’ve gotten a million questions around the topic “how does it feel to be a big name author?”  But, practically speaking, how has it changed you as a writer… or has it… to know that your next book, DUST, has been preordered in the thousands–I’m guessing–and is being highly anticipated by fans?  Does that spur you on or keep you up at night?  And do you get better tables at restaurants?  Recognized on the street?  Hounded by book groupies?  Tell the truth!

Hugh:  Ha! Recognized on the street! I’m not one of those authors like Harlan Coben whose face takes up the entire back jacket of his hardbacks. Which is a good thing. For all of us.

I don’t think about the pressure of a vast audience. I write the stories I care about. If I was going to succumb to pressure, I would have written WOOL 6 and 7 and 8. Instead, I left my bestselling novel on an island and wrote something way off in left field. And then I did very little to promote this new work. I don’t put links at the end of my books to urge people to purchase the next one. I just convince myself that I’m still writing for an audience of none, enjoy what I’m doing, and publish as quietly as possible.

Patrice:  You’re a little bit controversial for your outspoken views about self-publishing.  Clearly, 99.9% of writers of any stripe will not reach the level of success you’ve had with WOOL.  Yet, you maintain that there is little downside to jumping in and publishing one’s own book.  Do you believe that everyone is better off doing that first?

Hugh:  Yes, and I’ve been very careful to distance my anecdotal and outlying success with the reasons I give for self-publishing. I made a conscious decision to self-publish my second novel, despite having a contract and offer from a small press. Before WOOL took off, I was posting on writing forums that we are better off owning our material for all of time, that these works will never go out of print, and that going directly to the reader is better than applying to editors and their slush pile shovelers. I was mocked for this philosophy. When I suggested that agents would one day approach self-published authors, I was told I was crazy. Maybe this is why I look up to Joe so much. He shows us every day that logic trumps experience. The people who tell you that they have twenty years of experience in this industry? Back away from them slowly. This business is changing too fast for any of us to pretend to be experts.

As for the 99.9% who won’t see my level of success, I would point out that 99.9% of those who submit material to the traditional machine will never see a similar level of success. It isn’t like our option is to self-publish OR see how well our novel does fronted out on an endcap in a bookstore. Our options are to self-publish OR spend a few years landing an agent, another year selling the book to a publisher, a year waiting for that book to come out, and then three months spine-out on dwindling bookshelves before you are out of print and nobody cares about you anymore. If you’re lucky. Most likely, you’ll never even get an agent. Because you aren’t Snooki.

Patrice:  You have a traditional print publishing deal with Simon & Schuster in the U.S. and Random House in the U.K., as well as publishing arrangements in twenty-something other countries for translated versions.  Yet you still publish your own ebooks and sell print copies to fans out of your house, at least for the U.S. editions.  Did that take some fancy contract drafting?  Or did you just say, “I want to keep doing what I’m already doing successfully” and they rolled over and said, “Okay, Hugh Howey, but only for you…” ?   

Hugh:  It takes a whole lot of not caring to get away with what I do. It takes that, and it takes an incredible and tolerant agent like Kristin Nelson. We’ve been in contract negotiations, and someone will put forward a clause that runs counter to my publishing philosophy, and we’ll both just say that it’s a deal-breaker. We’ve walked away from multiple seven-figure deals without breaking a sweat. It helps when you’re totally fine doing things your own way. I still self-publish everything I write from the get-go. If anyone wants to make an offer afterward, I’m always open. I love having those discussions. But as soon as the deal doesn’t make sense for the reader (like higher e-book prices, windowing, limiting the number of works I can publish), the deal is off. My attitude is that publishers need writers far more than writers need publishers. If we can work together, awesome. But the days of dictating unfair deals to us are dwindling, and fast.

My success has largely come from putting the reader first, and that’s what I demand from any publisher I work with. Simon & Schuster and Random House UK have both demonstrated to me over and over again that they care about the reader. S&S agreed to a simultaneous paperback and hardback release. Who does that? Random House UK did a paper-on-board hardback for under ten pounds. They’ve done some incredible giveaways, and they allowed readers in on the process with some awesome contests, all the sorts of things I think publishers should do more of. It’s why I love working with both of these houses. And I love that they tolerate me doing the things I enjoy doing.

Patrice:  You’ve taken the unusual step of allowing others to write and charge for books set in your world, otherwise known as the “WOOLiverse.”  [Full disclosure:  I’m one of them.  I’ve published the four books in the Karma series, including The Sky Used to be Blue, Cleaning Up, Deep Justice, and Rising Up, as well as my newest Kindle Worlds short story, SILO SECRETS:  Daniel.]  Why are you doing this?  Aren’t there risks?   

Hugh:  It doesn’t occur to me not to allow this. Someone asked if they could write in my world. Who would I be to tell them no? I value freedom above all else. I value creativity, art, and artists. I can’t imagine telling someone that they aren’t allowed to write about my characters. All I feel is flattered and honored by the suggestion. And I can’t imagine asking someone to give away their hard work. I believe artists should get paid if at all possible. As foreign as my stance is to others, any other stance would be foreign to me.

Are there risks? I don’t see any. I have one more work coming out in this universe, and then I leave it to others. The greatest thing that has happened to me in the past few years has been the opportunity to connect directly with so many readers. The second-greatest thing has been seeing talented writers such as yourself connect with those same readers! Contrary to what many writers seem to think, we aren’t in competition with one another. We need each other. If someone can write in my world and entice readers away to their own works, I’ll cheer them on until I’m hoarse.

Patrice:  Amazon’s newly-launched Kindle Worlds programs makes formal the arrangement you’ve already had with some other writers to allow them to jump into the WOOLiverse and write “Silo stories.”  How do you see this as different from what is already happening, and what new opportunities do you think this program will bring to writers and fans?  

Hugh:  My hope is that Kindle Worlds will give these stories greater exposure. There is so much room for exploration in the Silo Saga. I can’t possibly cover it all. And fans have shown an incredible thirst for more adventures.

The most exciting prospect is that dabbling in a beloved world will turn readers into writers. There’s a misconception out there that fan fiction is lazy. The truth is that the world building is the easiest aspect of writing. The challenging bit is the plot, the dialog, the believable characters, the twists and turns and satisfying conclusion. If coming up with the world was the difficult part, it would be easy for anyone to write a story in the world we live in and know, or a story set in historical times. Fan fiction provides an opportunity for aspiring writers to discover their own talents and hopefully graduate to their own works. And the more people we have writing, the larger the pool of talent, the better this industry is for everyone.

Patrice:  Okay… advice to writers time.  What would you tell someone reading this who has an idea, or a book, and wants to get eyeballs on his or her words as quickly as possible.

Start with the first sentence. Make it so incredibly compelling that readers have to read the next sentence to see what happens next. Repeat until you reach the end of the story.

Possible first sentences:

Losing my virginity to a ninja was not what I had in mind on my eighteenth birthday.

I’ve always wanted to know what it felt like to kill a man, and now I know.

If you are reading this, you have exactly three days left to live, and I am already dead.

Maybe those aren’t the best examples, but I put all of two minutes into coming up with them. I’m already thinking of the books I would write to go along with these openings. I think I could entice readers to stick with me for a page or two. If I can do that, I can give these lines away in a Tweet or a Facebook status and gain a reader. I could give the first pages or even an entire book away and trust that they’ll tell others or come back for more.

The misconception out there is that writing requires a mastery of language, but nothing could be further from the truth. We don’t need perfect prose to launch a writing career; we need entertaining storytelling. Story is king and prose is pawn. Knock readers’ socks off. Shock them. Wow them. Give away your work and wow them some more. Basically: Ninjas + Sex, and you can’t go wrong.

Patrice:  And what about that movie deal… are you and Ridley Scott buds now?  

Hugh:  I wish! Ridley enjoyed my work and is pretty sure that he can make a mediocre book into an amazing film. And I hope he’s right. I get asked all the time how much involvement I would have in the film, and the answer is that I don’t want any part of the project. I would just hamper the development. The producers were kind enough to fly me out to Hollywood to meet the screenwriter and go over some ideas, and that was more than I asked for. Nothing will change the book I wrote. That’s the part I can control. I’d rather stay out of the way and be surprised by what they come up with.

Patrice:  Now that all your wildest writing dreams have come true, what do you still wish for, Hugh?  

Hugh:  For Ridley Scott to be my bud, obviously. 

Also, to be able to come up with something to write tomorrow. And the next day. Because it still feels like magic and something I’m not capable of. I feel like I’m bumbling along and faking it most of the time. I hope I can keep faking it. Because it’s fun to look back at the things I write that feel a whole lot smarter than I know myself to be.

Patrice:  Many thanks to Hugh for answering my questions, and to Joe Konrath, whose invitation to guest bloggers inspired this post, which originally appeared on his website.  I’m watching the phenomenon that is WOOL continue to spread around the world, and I’m thrilled that I was invited to play in Hugh Howey’s universe. 

If you haven’t read them, grab WOOL and SHIFT and DUST and enjoy! And then if you crave more, check out my Karma series, set in the same entertainingly chilling future.

Thanks, as usual, for reading, and if you want to hear FIRST about news on my books, please sign up to be notified here.  No spamming and no selling of your email!  And of course you can unsubscribe from the list at any time.

 

 

Summer Splash Blog Hop happening now!

2013 Blog Hop Logo

Join us for a very cool Blog Hop featuring indie writers of all genres.  You can win serious prizes… including a brand new Kindle Fire 8.9 HD… and find some great new books by fabulous writers.  Here’s how it works:

First, post a comment here to get entered for my individual contest.  I’ll put all the names of those who comment in a hat and draw two out.  The best part is that you get to choose your prize!  Here are the possibilities:

1. A $15 Amazon gift certificate.

2. A signed print copy of RUNNING, my bestselling political thriller.

3. Electronic copies of all the bestselling Karma books based in Hugh Howey’s world of WOOL (there are four out so far, and I’ll gift you the fifth and final one when it’s released).

4. A kind but honest critique of the first fifteen pages of your work in progress.

Or… drumroll please

5. My personal custom help and advice in terms of getting your own indie ebook ready for publication.  I’ve got 18 ebooks out now, written by me and by others, so I’ve got a lot of experience!

You choose.  Two people will win.

But there are even bigger prizes to be won by clicking here for Summer Splash Blog Hop central.  (Detailed list of prizes at the end of this post.) And if you go to all the blogs listed, you have a pretty serious chance of winning something.

Jump in!  The water’s fine!

Don’t forget to leave a comment here to be entered in my contest.

While you’re here, consider picking up a copy of RUNNING, which was just named a “Best Book of the Month” by Amazon.

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Action, suspense, romance, laughs, and just enough sex… a campaign you’ll never forget. The political thriller with heart.

THE NEXT PRESIDENT IS GOING TO BE A WOMAN…

Catherine Young, Vice President and newly-anointed Democratic nominee, is surging in the polls. The race is on against opposition candidate Jerusha Hutchins, former stewardess and blonde beauty, who is the darling of the far-right Liberty Party. But with political wunderkind Zane Zarillo running her campaign, Catherine is bound to hold her lead.

Suddenly a medical emergency puts the President in the hospital and forces Catherine to act in his place… a perfect opportunity for her to show her Oval Office stuff. Just when her election looks like a sure thing, Catherine’s romantic fling from decades ago comes to light. Will the American public accept a woman with a past?

“Rating: 5.5 out of 5 Stars – Top Pick.”
Underground Book Reviews

60,000+ copies downloaded so far.
71 Amazon reviews, 4.3 star rating.

And if that’s not enough, check out my four ebook shorts that make up the Karma series!  Just look at the post below this to find links.

Thanks, as usual, for reading, and if you want to hear FIRST about news on my books, please sign up to be notified here.  No spamming and no selling of your email!  And of course you can unsubscribe from the list at any time.

 

 

 

  Here are the details on the 2013 Summer Splash Blog Hop, brought to you by the writers of Indie Writers Unite.  Find all kinds of swag to be won as well as some amazing grand prizes (see below for grand prize information)

Each writer will be hosting his or her own giveaway on the individual blogs and offering unique prizes in addition to the grand prizes.  Click HERE to start hopping the author pages.

 

Want a teaser of some of the items up for grabs on the author pages? Click HERE

 

 As the for the grand prizes, there are 6.  What are they?

 

#1 Kindle Fire 8.9 HD

 

 

 

#2 $100 Amazon Gift Card

#3 $50 Amazon Gift Card

#4 15 paperbacks personally signed by our authors

#5 38 Ebooks gifted to you from our authors

#6 38 eBooks (yep, we’re doing this not once, but twice)!

HOW TO ENTER FOR GRAND PRIZES 1-3

TWEET USING THE HASHTAG  #splashwithus

It’s that simple. We’ll keep track of all the tweets and then draw for the grand-prize winners at the end of the hop. Winners will be announced on or before July 31st on this site. 

RULES: 
 
Tweets MUST include:

1. The hashtag #splashwithus (This is how we track them)
2. A link to the blog hop.

You may tweet as much as you like throughout the hop. 

More Tweets = More Chances to WIN!!!

***As a side note, our authors will be tweeting about the hop as well, but they are not eligible for any of the grand prizes.***

Here are some sample tweets you can cut/paste:

WIN a $300 Kindle Fire, Amazon gift cards & more at the #bloghophttp://ow.ly/nfebP #giveaway #win #freekindle #splashwithus #amreading

WIN FREE SWAG at the author #bloghop http://ow.ly/nfeChprizes include a kindle fire! #freekindle #free #giveaway #win #splashwithus 

ENTER TO WIN A KINDLE FIRE at the author blog hophttp://ow.ly/nfeRZ #kindlefree #free #lovebooks #win #giveaway #splashwithus #win

WIN BIG at the author blog hop. More than 50 prizes including a kindle fire HD! http://ow.ly/nffyV #kindlefire #amwriting #splashwithus

HOW TO ENTER FOR GRAND PRIZES 4-6

To enter to win the free signed paperback books and the free books for your kindle, you MUST visit every single author blog hop page and enter whatever contest/giveaway they are running.  Once you’ve visited them all, send an email HERE, with the subject line: FREE BOOKS. 

***NOW GET HOPPING 
AMAZING AUTHOR GIVEAWAYS AWAIT YOU!!!***

Self-Publishing? Step on the GAASS!

If you want to write, you should write the stories that are in your heart. Follow your bliss, tell your truths… yadda yadda. But if you want to make a living at writing, there are some techniques that will increase your chances of making an early profit, thus putting you in a position to follow your bliss and write the stories that are in your heart.

Herewith, Patrice’s advice on how to make money–as of the indie ebook world in the spring of 2013:

The writer, getting ready to step on the GAASS.

The writer, getting ready to step on the GAASS.

Write GENRE
Write AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
Write AS FAST AS POSSIBLE
Write SHORT
Write SERIES

Personally, I have many different interests, and I’m currently concocting ebooks in lots of different genres, including science fiction/fantasy, political thrillers, chick lit, cozy mysteries, and funky short stories. So I don’t mind concentrating on what works best, i.e., gets me more readers, first.

GENRE – Romance, chick lit, sci-fi, fantasy, mysteries, thrillers, are the easiest sells. I think that’s the current order of popularity. Not that you can’t write the great American literary novel. But perhaps try something hotter first.

AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE – This means that if you have a book out that hits big, and you have nothing to sell other than that, you waste a golden opportunity to convert readers to fans. They read the one, think it’s great, and have nothing else to buy… and nothing else to hook them in to you as an author. When you get the next book out a year later, they have moved on to other authors, and have bought their entire oeuvres. That could have been you! (Trad publishers, take note–one book every year or two is not making it any more for readers.) Of course you have to start with your first book. Just keep writing. Don’t wait to see if self-publishing is for you. It won’t be for you if you only write one book. I made that mistake. I had a phenomenal selling streak with my political thriller RUNNING in the hot days around Christmas of 2011 (eons ago in self-pub time). For about a minute I made $6,000 a week. Which slowly simmered down into the summer of 2012, when I made FAR less. I still don’t have a book to follow that one up in the political thriller genre. Which brings me to my next point:

AS FAST AS POSSIBLE – You have a busy life, I know. A day job, a spouse, a house, kids, the dog, friends, TV shows (you’re still watching TV?? You’re a writer. Writing is the new TV. Get away from the screen… unless you’re typing on it.) But write anyway. You may have heard of Hugh Howey, of WOOL fame. He wrote during his lunch breaks while working as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble. He scribbled in longhand part of one of his books while sitting in the audience at a book awards presentation… while they were up there congratulating last year’s bestsellers, he was at a table writing the next one. P.S. He made more than a million dollars last year on self-published ebooks alone. And then sold print rights for mid-six figures, and sold the book in 24 countries, and sold film rights and comic book rights and… yeah, don’t get jealous, just write your own book. Books!

SHORT – I have my newest short story out now, 8,500 words, and it’s selling for 99¢. That one short story is going to make me $700 this month. That’s at the 35% royalty rate. Multiply that by several shorts, and you get… more money. Short is fast, short is easy, and readers LOVE short. They can read it on their lunch hour. It’s ideal for iPhones and iPads. Now that the price point for indie ebooks is rising to $2.99 or $4.99, not as many full-length novels are selling for 99¢. Plus, even full-length is dropping in length from 80,000- 100,000 being typical for a print novel (and longer for fantasy and sci-fi titles) to 50,000 – 80,000 being considered a reasonable length. Joe Konrath calls anything over 30,000 a novel now, and anything over 15,000 a short novel. Barry Eisler sells 35,000 words as a novel…. You can now write THREE books with the words that it used to take to make ONE. Faster, shorter, more money for you. They still have to have a satisfying story arc, a beginning, middle and end. Just make the bits move faster.

SERIES – This is pretty obvious from all the millions of Book 1, Book 2, Book 37 titles you see out there. One set of co-writers is publishing “Around the World in 80 Men,” and they’re up to Books 21-25 (Puerto Rico, Nevada, Tahiti, Spain, Holland, FYI). They sell each ebook for 99¢ and collections of of five for $3.99. They’re going for, obviously, 80 of these. This sweet young waitress becomes a high-priced international hooker. (I suspect there is sex involved.) They’ve simplified the process for themselves–no not the sex process!–of preparing the books by using the same cover in different colors. I think these writers are going to make a mint. You don’t need that many fans if they all buy 80 of your books, or 16 compilations of 5 books each. And these writers are putting them out there FAST! I just read the first chapter of the first one, which is currently free, which is another wise move when you have a lot of books out… we could add FREE to the GAASS acronym, but then it would be GAASSF, and what does that mean? The first chapter showed this to be a fun, light read. About a sweet young thing who decides to travel the world and have sex for money. How much you want to bet she pulls a Pretty Woman and falls in love with Mr. #80?

So there you have it. The latest best advice on how to maximize your earning potential as an indie ebook writer. All so that you can make a few bucks and then write that esoteric masterpiece on ancient phlebotomy techniques among the Incans. Which, who knows, could turn out to be your biggest seller!

Because I believe in giving back, I am going to start critiquing (for free) your work. I’m a good writer–I’ve been writing novels for 20 years. I have an English degree (and a law degree and a grad degree in vocal performance, but I’m not sure they will help you much) and I’ve worked as a freelance writer as well as an editor. I’m the CEO of my own publishing company, and my ebooks are on the charts.

After each post I’ll pick one commenter and critique up to 10 pages or 2,500 words.

I don’t have many commenters yet, so your odds are excellent! A comment gets you one chance, a tweet of this post another. Linking to it on your site or FB page gets you another. Subscribing, friending me on FB or following me on Twitter gets you another. Increase your odds by doing as much as you can. And if you become a regular around here I’ll probably just pick you eventually anyway. If I read your pages I plan to be honest, so be ready for that.

So let me know in the comments what you are doing to promote this worthy, pithy, and free advice for fellow authors, and I will put your name in the hat for a personal critique by ME.

Thanks for reading!

Now go out there, fellow writer, and step on the GAASS. Or, GAASSF. Or maybe GAFASS… which sounds really bad.

My Grandfather, the Naked Lady, and that Scandalous Book


You don’t think books are powerful?

My grandfather, at age 25, wrote a novel. It was published in 1906. I have a copy.

For decades — nearly a century — this book was not talked about in my family. It was shocking! It’s still shocking to some of my relatives. So much so that the copy I first uncovered 20 years ago was tucked away in someone’s drawer, and I never saw it again. I had to go to a rare book service to get another one of the few still surviving.

Apparently this book was at least partially autobiographical. Grandpa subtitled it, “Being the Little Story of a Young Railway-Office Clerk,” which is just what he was. He used his real name, with a fanciful and romantic faux middle name. Clever disguise!

In his little book, my grandfather wrote about a young man having an unrequited crush on some beautiful girl that he admired from afar as she walked to and from church every Sunday. He longed to marry her. He fell in love, knowing nothing but her name.

So sweet!

And yet… scandalous to his future wife and eventual children.

There’s the shocking scene where he finds a girl in the bushes smoking a cigarette. The wild night when he gets drunk and has to walk all the way home. The desperate pledge he makes to marry another young lady, a pious and beautiful blonde, who goes to the “Italian church.”

And finally — spoiler alert, in case you want to read the book yourself — he gets very ill, and at death’s door sends his best friend to tell the winsome girl who is the object of his affection that he would die happy if she would only visit him once before he shuffles off this mortal coil.

Reader, visit him she does, but when he professes his interest (in a very restrained way), she tells him that she is going away to join a nunnery. Alas… all his hopes are dashed.

To me, it was entirely fascinating to read the young thoughts of a forebear I never met, and to have a little glimpse into his world. Very cool and very tame. I like to think that we would have enjoyed each other, if we had ever met.

But here is the MOST shocking part. I’m not sure if the fuss was about more about the illustrations than the words. Because my grandfather was also an artist, he drew a sketch of (ready for it… gird your loins!) a naked woman.

Clearly, there were no naked women in those days. It’s a wonder my father ever got born.

And thus the lesson, dear writers — behold the power of the book. Here we are more than one hundred years later, and my grandfather’s little story remains a rather scandalous, barely-discussed subject to his family.

Now, imagine what trouble you can stir up when you write something for your descendants to read and devour!

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Works in Progress

“I Dream of PIA” (for The Robot Chronicles anthology, available July 25, 2014)

3149/ 3000 words. 100% done!

"Sand Song” (a novella set in Hugh Howey’s SANDbox)

8,627 / 10000 words. 87% done!

"The Terminal” (a dark futuristic short)

2383 / 2000 words. 100% done!

“ROCKS 1” (the first episode in a dystopian series)

5675 / 10000 words. 57% done!

“Salt & Pepper Mystery #1” (Book one of a cozy mystery series)

22379 / 40000 words. 56% done!

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My Books

Karma of the Silo: the Collection (Karma Omnibus)
Karma lives in the Silo, deep underground. She lives with a man whom she barely knows and with a name she doesn’t remember choosing. When visions come to her about another husband, another way of life, and another world, Karma struggles to discover what came before.

Cleaning Up: a Silo story (Karma)
Five years have passed since the airlock slammed shut on the 4,000 souls condemned to live in the Silo. Karma can remember now that there was a time before--before she was locked into this cylindrical tomb under the earth. But all she can see of the outside are dead hills and the dark clouds swirling through what remains of a toxic world.

The Sky Used to be Blue: a Silo story (Karma)
Karma lives in a Silo deep beneath the earth. She isn't sure of much else… only that the wallscreen shows an outside view that is barren and swirling with toxic clouds. Most of the other residents seem content. Except for the ones who jump to their deaths from the hundred-level spiral staircase. And the ones who are pushed.

Last Walk: a Silo story
The kids are fighting in the Silo—gangs engage in battles between the Up Top and the Down Deep, with the Mids caught in between. There are too many young people without work. They ink themselves with primitive face tats and guard their territory against incursions from below or above.

Deep Justice: a Silo story (Karma)
Karma has endured twenty-five years underneath the earth. Her path in life—a path she never bargained for—has included marriage to a man she never chose, whose powerful position forces her to hide her memories of the time before.


Rising Up: a Silo story (Karma)
After a hellish three months locked in the private inner sanctum of IT, Karma and her family emerge, bloodied and forever changed. Rick is a man who is no longer in control. Mars has become the power in the Silo.



Silo Saga: SILO SECRETS: Daniel
Daniel is sixteen now, and he can count up to one hundred. He can go all by himself up and down the two levels of the Silo between his home and his job. Daniel knows he's not as smart as some people. But his mother told him he was smart enough to help her, so it must be true. He always believes his mother. His mother is a doctor.

Running
THE NEXT PRESIDENT IS GOING TO BE A WOMAN... Catherine Young, Vice President and newly-anointed Democratic nominee, is surging in the polls. The race is on against GOP candidate Jerusha Hutchins, folksy charmer and blonde beauty, who is the darling of the far-right Liberty Party.

Till Death Do Us Part: a short story
Join Harold and Rosemary as they bring together their family and friends for a night of celebration before a long-planned trip... and see just how this journey ends. Mix a little Dorothy Parker and a little Shirley Jackson, add a twist of David Sedaris and a pinch of O.Henry, and out comes a satirical romp. "Till Death Do Us Part" is a 3,000 word short story. This is a sophisticated take on the way people fool themselves. More New Yorker magazine than Asimov.

The Terminal
To be published next week!





Looking for Lance
A pinch of Dorothy Parker and a twist of O.Henry go into the mix to make this Fitzgerald short a bracing sip of satire. There is a free sample of RUNNING, her best-selling Kindle political thriller, at the end of this story.

Jungle Moon
Another quirky short story from Patrice Fitzgerald about love and the ways people connect. When Felicia gets a special birthday request from her husband Herman, she can't believe what he's asking her to do. Will she say yes? This 3,000 word short story explores the nature of a happy marriage, compromise, and passion. A four-chapter sample of Fitzgerald's best-selling political thriller, RUNNING, is also included.

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