Yes, I read romance. For a lifetime consumer of science fiction and fantasy, this may seem unusual. But why not, I say.I watch romantic comedies at the movie theater. A lot, if not most, thrillers, space operas, epic fantasies have some romantic elements / sub plots… which we all enjoy. The other reason I read so broadly is that I just love stories. A good story is a good story, that’s all.What have I read or listened to lately?The Terran Strike Marines (Podium Publishers pack) (audiobook) which I wrote with Richard Fox. Hearing Luke Daniels narrate it has been a dream come true. So awesome.Running From a Rock Star (audiobook). Absolutely fun and hilarious. I will be reading and listening to more by Jami Albright.Wrath by Isabella Starling. I’m just starting this. It’s way outside my comfort zone. It’s BDSM erotica, I think, and a revenge plot. What is keeping me reading? I hate the villain in this story so much it makes me want to punch things. We’ll see how far I get. Starling is a good writer; I’m just not sure this is a genre I want to read.Thoughts?Tell me I’m an idiot. Or a geek. Or say something nice. It’s up to you. I regret nothing.
Keystroke Medium has started a book club. The show hosts are reading The Event by Nathan Hystad and encouraging viewers of the show and listeners of the podcast to participate. Please check out the live episode on April 2nd. We’re going to talk about this book! Come join us!
The Event (The Survivors Book One)
Nathan Hystad’s debut science fiction novel has become a best seller in several categories including Alien Invasion, Action / Adventure – Travel, and Science Fiction – Metaphysical & Visionary and earned over forty reviews within the first two weeks of publication.
Fans of these genres might know Nathan from the anthologies he produced and edited through Woodbridge Press:
Explorations: Through the Wormhole (Explorations Volume One)
Explorations: First Contact (Explorations Volume Two)
Explorations: War (Explorations Volume Three)
Explorations: Colony (Explorations Volume Four)
A lot of amazing things have happened recently.Writing collaborations, insane weather patterns, and new friends.This morning I had big plans for the day. Why? Because it is my day off from work, all the kids are at school, and my wife works. A few things went wrong with this plan but will get to that later.I have four kids across a wide spectrum of ages. One of my middle children is in college and on the rowing team. I remember this particular part of the training season fondly, or maybe an absolute horror, but yes fondly. I was in shaped back then.So my daughter is on her way to indoor training, translation let’s see how bad this can hurt until it’s time to get on the water again. She informs me, possibly in a slight panic, that an ice storm has completely encased her Jeep in frozen precipitation. I calmly explained to her that I’ve done this before and even though she thinks it is basically un-scrapable, that we can get it done.The Moon teamwork begins. I use all the skills I’ve learned in Kansas and abroad, notably how to cut grooves of the ice with the scraper and then break those down. I lean my two hundred pound frame into the work and begin to clear away the windows. Sleet and snow continued to pour down.Then, a flash of lightning.Keep in mind it is very dark this early in the morning… And snowing.Why is this so amazing? Probably because I’ve been writing a novel with Richard Fox called The Rage of Winter. It is set on a winter world and has some similarities with the Winter War of nineteen thirty-nine — except in a sci-fi environment with the fate of the entire galaxy at stake. Last week I did research on Google about thunder snow, because it sounded cool.Thunder snow is extremely rare. For reasons that are slightly beyond my scientific capacity to explain, but that I can basically understand if I read it from someone else, you get a thunderstorm in the winter with flashes of lightning. Very cool and scary.So that was different. I made a video and put it up on our Keystroke Medium Facebook group. The Rage of Winter is the second book in the Terran Strike Marines series I am writing with Richard Fox. The first book, The Dotari Salvation, is alive and well and never has too many reviews… Hint, hint. Please and thank you. (All the books mentioned in this article are available through Kindle Unlimited, a service I was on the fence about for a long time. Now I couldn’t live without it. I’m reading more than ever before!)My solo work is still coming along nicely, but I have had fantastic opportunities to collaborate lately. In addition to Richard Fox sharing his writing awesomeness with me, teaching me his very impressive plotting and pacing techniques, I’ve been working with Craig Martelle on the Darklanding series.Darklanding is something really special in the world of science fiction. We originally conceived it as something like Firefly meets Tombstone and other old westerns. The characters have taken on a life of their own since then and fans seem to really like it. Episode five, An Unglok Murder, is coming out very shortly and will be a little bit of a murder mystery. Despite my background in law enforcement, I’ve never written a murder mystery. So this is mostly space opera / Western, but there is a little bit of whodunit.I hope you will check it out. Each episode after number three is thirty thousand words, a decent sized novella. (And, spoiler alert, six and seven are complete…ready for launch every 18 days. What started off as a short tale at the end of the known galaxy is now pushing two hundred thousand words and will be three hundred thousand by the time it’s all said and done.)So back to what’s going on today. Turns out we had a snow day which has cut into my writing productivity, but hey the kids like it. Except for one who has a migraine kid, thanks to my genetic code. Life is always interesting. Sometimes it’s less easy than other times. I’m happy to be here and feel blessed. Once we get through today’s headache, there will be great celebration!I hope you have an aweome day.Scott
Hello there, my name is Scott Moon. You probably don’t know me, but if you do, you may have seen Keystroke Medium, an interview show where Josh Hayes, Ralph Kern, Chuck Manley and I talk about reading, writing, and everything in between. We’ve interviewed some of the best writers of speculative fiction in the business.I write military science fiction, as do many of my friends.What else do you need to know about me? Well, I love audiobooks. I’ve even had a few of my books made into audiobooks by professionals. But that is not what this blog article is about.Once upon a time, I woke at an absurd hour one Thanksgiving morning and thought nothing would be better than to read my books live on YouTube. So I gave it a try, but defaulted to the path of least resistance, which was “video by cell phone”. To get the best quality, and not to wake up the entire family, I went out to my car in the garage which was turned off for safety reasons obviously, and proceeded to read into the camera.There were problems to this approach, although it wasn’t too bad. The sound quality was pretty decent and it was a straightforward process to upload the video. But let’s be honest, I’ve always wanted to create my own audiobook. If you follow along with this project I’ve started, you’ll see that I’m reading pretty neutrally. Not a lot of voice acting going on here, but I plan to improve. (More on that later.)So even though I will never have time to become a full-time voice narrator, or the skill, I think I have the ability to become a pretty serious hobbyist in this regard.If you are an author who has considered audiobooks, which you should because they are the biggest growth industry we have available to us right now, then you may have gone to ACX and read the terms of publication. One thing will jump out at you right away. The ACX contract is for seven years. So if you are an enthusiast like myself, it might be best not to lock in a decent but not professional project for that period of time. Especially if you want to charge money for it. (Be patient, young Padawan!)My YouTube audiobook is a happy medium–my reasonable and totally unpretentious compromise (I hope). By the time I’m finished with this book, I should have mastered most of the technology needed to produce a basic audiobook and improve my skill as a voice narrator also. (I really love audiobooks and admire my favorite audiobook narrators like they are rock stars. I couldn’t tell you the name of the lead singer of my favorite bands like I could back in highschool, but I can list the best narrators out there right now. I listen to a lot of audiobooks…have I mentioned this?)What should an author do to start creating audiobooks? The title of this blog is “easy first steps”, so let’s get to that part right now.1) Listen to audiobooks. Listen to a lot of audiobooks. You may find that some voice narrators are so talented you would listen to the book regardless of what the book was about. Keep this in mind for later when you are hiring your own narrator.2) Check out ACX.com. This is the audiobook equivalent of Kindle direct publishing. It’s not as easy to navigate but it’s not impossible. There are two ways to hire a voice narrator through this system. You can pay someone or you can sign up for a royalty share. I’ve done both, and they each have their pros and cons. (Also, there are other audiobook alternatives to ACX that should be researched. I haven’t used them yet.)3) Read your books aloud. If you are serious writer, you should be doing this already to help catch typos and get a feel for the flow of the language.4) Try out a simple and inexpensive program such as audacity or GarageBand. Read your book and edit it. Keep it simple. At this stage in my audiobook journey, I am basically taking out obvious mistakes and places where I clear my throat or take a breath that the mic picks up. The most useful thing I’ve learned recently, is to delete the unwanted sound bite but keep the gap in the audio file. This will make more sense if you’re looking at your editing program (Audacity, GarageBand, Adobe, ect…). What this does, is maintain the rhythm of the speech without all the heavy breathing.That’s about all I have for today. I’ve included links to the first three chapters of Bayonet Dawn. If you could do me an awesome favor and give them a listen, that would be fantastic. You might even consider liking and subscribing to my YouTube channel.Thanks for checking out my blog. I hope you have a fantastic day.Thanks,Scott Moon
Bayonet Dawn – Chapter 1 – Contact (part 1) Bayonet Dawn – Chapter 1 – Contact (part 2) Bayonet Dawn – Chapter 2 – Gone Bayonet Dawn – Chapter 3 – Brother
Followers of Keystroke Medium (www.keystrokemedium.com) have the inside scoop. I have been writing with Richard Fox in his Ember War universe. Check out the exclusive YouTube interview here. Richard also announced the project on his Facebook page here. I absolutely loved the Ember War series. Writing this book with Richard Fox is a dream come true.The Dotari Salvation is complete and will be published in January.
Announcing a new Ember War Universe series! Terran Strike Marines launches in January!When The Terran Union has a mission it cannot fail, it calls up the Strike Marines. They are trained to improvise, adapt, overcome and win every fight.Earth’s allies, the Dotari, face extinction from a deadly disease. The cure lies in deep space, and Lieutenant Hoffman and his team will join the starship Breitenfeld for the journey into the void.Lurking in the abyss is a threat that’s waited with inhuman patience, and Hoffman must lead his Marines through a gauntlet and evade a foe designed to hunt and kill humans.The Dotari Salvation is an action-packed military science fiction adventure set in the best-selling Ember War universe.
Recently, I switched from twenty years of working nights to day shift. During my weekend that is not a weekend, I get some one on one time with our new puppy. Mavis had surgery yesterday and needs to be watched. Everything went well, but being a dog parent is serious business.Last night we had really awesome interview with Armand Rosamilia over at Keystroke Medium. My head is still hashing out all the stuff we talked about. So that’s good.In a couple of hours, I have to host an interview with Chris Fox and Ralph Kern. We are going to talk about Chris’s new recent release, Behind the Lines: Ganog Wars Book 1. Normally this would just be another day in the exciting life of the Keystroke Medium crew, but Josh can’t make this time slot, so the tech stuff falls to me.Gulp.Anyway, please take a look at the video. Like and subscribe. Share it around. Everyone likes, puppies, unless they are puppy eating aliens. So don’t be a puppy eating alien.FYI, I am not letting any monsters from Ganog or anywhere else anywhere near Mavis!
Book Three in the Grendel Uprising series, Heavy Weapons, is set for pre-order on June 17th. Why would I do that and what is Viking Sci-fi?Before I can explain, there are a few other things I needed to cover about the Keystroke Medium show I recently cohosted. Please check out this short video. Like, subscribe, and share for maximum effect.Thanks,Scott
On Friday morning, I created an off-the-cuff video about this unique event for writers. I was getting ready for a nine hour drive home. With energy and motivation practically oozing from the universe, I decided to write for an hour and make a video before hitting the road.
The video isn’t too long. I will do others once I have reviewed my notes and implemented some of the best practices and suggestions of the presenters and other attendees.
Click to set custom HTML
Few things are more obvious to a writer than the following statement. If I could write five thousand quality words a day, it would change my life.This idea isn’t new, but it has been with me all day. And it’s as magical as lightsabers, warp drive, chocolate, or an endless supply of coffee.So let me say it again.If I could write five thousand quality words a day, it would change my life.What are some barriers to this goal?
Like most writers, even professional writers, I have a regular job that pays the bills. It provides useful things like health insurance for my family and a sense of security. In the positive margin of the pro and con log of the writing life, having a regular career allows me to finance my writing “hobby.” Computers, writing and marketing courses, book covers, and editors aren’t free. In summary, it’s hard to find time to write around a full-time job or jobs, but the money helps.
I didn’t list family at the top of this discussion, because I wasn’t sure if I should include it at all. Many writers will tell you that family demands are cancelled out by family support, but when it comes down to it, the family is what it’s all about. A lot of writers talk about quitting their jobs to write full-time but they don’t generally say they’re going to quit their families to write full time. In any event, I write at least in part for my family. I don’t consider them a barrier to success. They are the reason for it.
Physical injury is next on the list. Generally, I don’t have writer’s elbow or tendonitis but it does happen from time to time. For example, last week I reached into my backseat to pick up a backpack and twisted my wrist at a strange angle. This was dumb and completely my fault. It caused me to develop the aforementioned tendonitis in my right wrist. I am not a doctor, so this may not be a completely accurate medical diagnosis, but I know it hurts and it slows my typing. I also understand it is not going to get better typing five thousand words a day.
Steven Pressfield wrote a book called The War of Art, and articulated something he calls Resistance. His book should probably be required reading for anybody pursuing a creative endeavor. Resistance is all the psychological junk that gets in your way and prevents you from realizing goals. Much of it is disguised as important or crucial activities. (For example, I am trying to complete a novel, but suddenly decided I really need to write a blog post…
First Steps Toward 5k a Day
Today I’m going to share three simple steps that can help increase writing productivity. There are a ton of books, blogs, and experts on this subject. You can spend hours or weeks or months researching it or you can just listen to me and get started.
Set a realistic goal and create an accountability system. While my goal and life-changing Epiphany is that I want to write five thousand words per day, and that the premise stated above is absolutely true, I did something and ask myself another question. If I wrote two thousand words a day — really wrote two thousand words every… single… day, would that also change my life? I think it would. So I will make two thousand my minimum and five thousand my ideal daily goal. I already have a spreadsheet, which is going to good to on the past create a sense of accountability. So in summary, set a goal and make a spreadsheet to track your daily word progress. Or find one online.
Do your most important writing first. I worked on my novel for an hour and a half before starting this blog post.
Try voice dictation. I like using Dragon dictation on my PC laptop, but I would really like it on my Mac. So I may buy Dragon Dictation for the Mac. I am also using speech to text on my Android phone right now. The downside of voice dictation is the editing and clean up that it usually requires. There are many good reasons to use voice dictation, one of them being to avoid repetitive stress injuries caused by typing too much. However, I originally tried voice dictation to make myself think differently during the writing process. So there is that.
The bulk of my new word count goal will be fiction, but I believe two thousand to five thousand words a day will also allow me for some room to blog. Please look forward to further discussion of this topic another’s and leave comments. I would love to know what other people are doing to achieve their goals.Thanks for spending some time here on my blog and if you enjoy listening to podcasts and YouTube interviews, please check out www.KeystrokeMedium.com (where Josh Hayes and I talk about reading, writing, and everything in between.)Have a great day!
(The links below, are if fact, affiliate links. Using these links earns me a small commission, but that isn’t why I wrote this blog article. Both of the books are excellent. I have the older version of Dragon Naturally Speaking, and assume the newer version is also good.)
Keith Michaelson is narrating Weapons of Earth, the third book in the Chronicles of Kin Roland. My job at this point is to review the audio files and mark any corrections on a spreadsheet. He recently sent me a video of chapter fifty.
So I have, of course, posted it with no editing because it shows a couple of things. First of all, Michaelson is such a pro. His character (and creature) voices are fantastic. Prepare to be freaked out! Seriously. It also shows how much work he puts into his craft and strives to realize the story (which I really appreciate).
There are stops and starts as he checks his work. My favorite part of the video is where the story catches him off-guard and makes him laugh.
At the end, he explains about how much time it actually takes to finish an audiobook. Writers interested in this medium should watch this all the way through.
Thanks, Keith Michaelson! Keith Michaelson Facebook Page
Who doesn’t love a deadline!Becuase I am crazy, and want to drive myself a little farther over the brink in 2017, I decided set three books for pre-order on Amazon.One (Dragon Land) is already published. No problem there. My February release is comfortably close to being ready; I should just have it back from the editor and formatted by launch day. A little stressful, but getting a bit “real.”In March, I will be releasing my first book under a pen name (which is my actual name with a slight change), and it needs to be written. From the begining. Oh my God.There are penalties for missing the pre-order date. Wish me luck, because I am going to need it.I discovered a thing called Patreon recently. For my very first ever Patreon exclusive, I started a video series chronicling the last month before launch. This will include some of my fears and insecurities that I don’t normally share outside a small group of friends.Check it out here: Scottmoonwriter Pateron Page
A friend of mine suggested the Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod. I listened to the audiobook, learning most of what I needed by the halfway mark but finished the short, nonfiction audiobook. Good stuff.Mr. Elrod has an mnemonic called SAVERS. For the purpose of today’s-lightning quick blog, I will only be talking abut the ‘R.’Which is for reading, of course. My current nonfiction selection is 20 Master Plots and How to Build Them, by Ronald B. Tobias. Each morning, after silence, affirmation, visualization, and exercise, I read nonfiction for twenty-five minutes. (Fiction is pretty much squeezed in during every free second for the rest of the day, via audiobook.)Thoughts from today’s selection: The Quest Plot.First off, I was glad to see elements I am using in my work-in-progress, Bayonet Dawn (available for pre-order), which is at least partly a quest by the definition in Mr. Tobias’s book. I enjoyed his clarification of how a quest should begin, the difference between Intent and Motivation. My biggest takeaway from the section on Act 1 was the discussion of supporting characters, the reason the exist, and when they should appear.Very nice, Mr. Ronald B. Tobias.I also liked the examples he used from Gilgamesh, Don Quixote, Jason and the Golden Fleece, and The Wizard of Oz. (Often this kind of analysis is a bit tedious, to be honest, but this time it worked well.)Mr. Tobias also gives Act 2, commonly known in many circles as “The Muddle” some respect. Basically the middle / muddle is there to make things interesting, and I am paraphrasing here, worth reading.Thanks for stopping by. Now it is time to write. My work-in-progress is the best part of my day right now; I’m really thankful I’m a writer!Peace.