Monthly Archives: April 2017

Minor Details and Whatnot

I noticed today that a bunch of book cover images on the site were broken. I’ve fixed everything from my past six months or so of posting, plus the My Books page. If you notice a missing image…I don’t really have time to fix *all* my posts. Also, my seasonal allergies are in full swing, making this stuff even more fun than ever.

If you’re waiting for The Greatest Sin book 5, it’s coming. Erik and I are hoping for a late June release so I can take it to GEARCon and shows thereafter. At worst, it’ll be mid-July, in time for Gencon. With luck, book 6 will be out in the spring next year instead of the summer.

Another Darkside Seattle is also coming, also slated for late June. Whoops. Maybe I can get this one out early in the month instead of late? We’ll see. The third installment will hopefully be a September release, but I’m not holding my breath. I suspect these will be a one-per-year thing that wriggles around between longer books.

Spirit Knights book 5 is in early stages. Which means I’ve got a partial outline and just need to clear other stuff (see the previous two notes) before I can get into it. Unlike the previous 3 books, this one will take a bit longer. Sorry! No three releases for the series in a year again. I’m hoping for an October release, but it may slide to December or January depending upon how other things go.

I’m editing a not-quite-open-submissions-pool anthology, which is pretty cool. It’s in copyediting and will be released at Orycon in Portland this November. No stories from me in it, so this is real, professional stuff.

This year’s Writerpunk anthology is coming next month, which is exciting, and not just because I have a story in it! What We’ve Unlearned: English Class Goes Punk includes my cyberpunk take on Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Links and art coming soon! I’m excited! Really!

After working on a short story for something else, I’m now super-excited to dive into the next Ilauris novel. I have no idea when I’ll have time for that, but I’m ready to rawr on it.

And, because this all isn’t ambitious enough, I’ve returned to fussing with that super-secret project I mentioned some time ago. It’ll happen. It will. I don’t want to talk about Chowndie, but this other one is really going to happen.

Happy late April!

The Casual Cyclist’s Guide to @RAGBRAI_IOWA Training Terms

Are you training for Ragbrai? I am! Taking time out from writing every day is something of a hardship for my publication schedule, but I’m doing it anyway. And hey, we all need a little more exercise in the spring. Or maybe that’s just me. Regardless, these are some important terms relating to cycling that you may not have heard before in this context.

Rain (n.): The thing that happens every time I get on my bike between September and July; What causes copious spots on my glasses, thus making cycling more exciting.

Gear Denial (n.): That moment when you could shift to a lower gear, but really just don’t wanna; laziness.

Iowa Flat (adj.): Any cycling route that’s 20-25% flat. Compare to Texas Flat (90-95%) or Cascadia Flat (0.5%).

Hill (n.): Any segment of road that requires you to shift to an easier gear; uphill.

Mountain (n.): Any segment of road that requires you to step off your bike and walk; A section of road for which your training goal is total domination and/or subjugation.

Downhill rest (n.): The precious few moments for breathing you hope will come after the hill.

Water bottle (n.): The thing you forgot to slip into the cage on your bike frame, thus necessitating you cut your ride short to avoid dehydration; the thing you dropped in the middle of the hill which turns said hill into a mountain.

Helmet (n.): The thing you damned well better turn around and go put on as soon as you notice you forgot it, dumbass.

Car (n.): Artillery round; The enemy.

Tired (adj.): How you feel when you could go five more miles, but you’d rather stop and check your email on your phone until you stop panting and/or sweating so much.

Exhausted (adj.): How you feel when five more miles will probably kill you, but you do it anyway because that’s how far you are from home; A sign you’re not ready for Ragbrai yet.

Happy cycling!

Ebook Bundles

A good post on ebook bundling that happens to discuss a bundle including Al-Kabar.

D J Mills Writer

Have you thought about participating in eBook Bundles?

BundleRabbit.com sells eBook bundles at all eBook distributors as well as on their own web site.

I have heard good things about BundleRabbit, so uploaded Rider, the first in my Tracker Series, to see how the process worked. And have been selected for an upcoming bundle.

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The Agonizing Process of Titling Stories #amwriting #writingtips

For most books, I have little trouble with titles. By the time it’s gone through revisions, I have a solid enough grounding to spitball some ideas and mush words together. Sometimes, I start writing with a title already in mind, as with the Spirit Knight series after book 1.

For short stories, that’s a whole different ball of wax. I hate coming up with short story titles. There’s no functional difference between titling a novel and something shorter, but I still view it in a similar fashion as this:

Nope. Nopity nope nope with a side of nope and some nopesauce on top.

Ah, the stuff of nightmares. Here’s what I do to come up with titles when they don’t spring forth.

  1. Look for words or phrases that pop up often, aside from common words. This is where Girls Can’t Be Knights came from.
  2. Use the main character’s name, title, or job as either the whole title or part of it. This is the source of Al-Kabar and Street Doc.
  3. Make a list of words similar to the one I use for writing the blurb. Smoosh them together until you find something cool. This is where the titles from The Greatest Sin come from.
  4. Get frustrated when none of the above work and spitball stupid titles with friends until something accidentally fits or is close. This is how I wound up with Dragons In Pieces and the rest of that trilogy.

The title is important for a book because it’s one of the elements on the cover. As such, it needs to contribute to the ability of the cover to sell the story.

See? It kinda helps. You want to read this, at least partly because of the title. Really, you do. Trust me. I’m super trustworthy.

With a short story or other piece not intended to stand on its own–because it’ll appear in an anthology, ezine, or similar venue–the title isn’t as important. In that case, the title is more about differentiating stories by the same author and giving some context to the story. The title isn’t going to appear on a cover, and it’s not going to sell anything on its own. In reality, we could probably all just number our short stories and achieve the same effect.

Sadly, no one seems to think that’s acceptable. “Story A4.3” Probably wouldn’t work for a fantasy or romance title anyway, so this may be for the best.

To find some exemplar short story titles, I mined a few award nomination lists and ezines, trying not to select famous ones on purpose.

Selkie Stories Are for Losers
If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love
A Green Silk Dress and a Wedding-Death
Today, I am Paul
Ten Half-Pennies
The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family
Jackalope Wives

As you can see, there’s a lot of variance, which means you can do whatever you want. Ideally, a story title will offer some insight into the story by providing a piece of context the reader might not otherwise grasp in a nod to the theme. If that’s too daunting a task, smoosh words that fit the theme together until something makes you happy. That’s kind of what writing is like anyway.