Updates! Yes, Including Ragnarok

Hello Everyone!

I realize it’s been a while since I wrote an update about where I am in life. And especially on the progress of The Bleeding Worlds Book Four, Ragnarok.

So let’s get to the things, shall we?

Ragnarok

Progress has been painfully slow. I will confess, I’m not in the league of professional writers who can push through depression, personal BS, day-job crap, and all that other stuff to keep writing. There are days where I can’t write a word. But, there are many others where I produce some good work!

I’m on track for a late June release. That is my goal. I’m hoping to have preorders listed by April. I’ll reveal the cover at that time too.

The other day I actually sat and read a few of the chapters I’ve finished. I’m happy. It’s turning out well. At least I think so! I hope all of you will enjoy it too.

Light Novel Reviews

My YouTube channel continues to grow. I’m really enjoying reading light novels and talking about them.

In fact, I had an opportunity to participate in an article about light novels in the English market over on an anime/manga/light novel website called The OASG. The article was called The Great Light Novel Experience and involved a number of people who have used their blogs etc. to shine the spotlight on Light Novels. I really enjoyed the experience and was very pleased with the result and to be included with the others on the list whose websites and articles I’ve visited in the past.

Anime Fandom Radio

OK, this one is purely for my own enjoyment, but I invite any of you fans of Anime OPs & EDs to check it out.

I’ve been wanting to do something like start a little radio channel for a long time. So I decided to take advantage of Radionomy and post all the music from my collection. It’s fun to listen in and see others are doing the same.

So check it out! You can visit the website Anime Fandom Radio or listen directly from Radionomy.

There’s even mobile apps for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry!

The Website

It’s not a big thing, but I freshened up the website the other day. I wanted something a little different as I feel like I’m approaching some big events in the next few months!

So that’s where the new book is, and what I’ve been doing with myself.

Thanks so much for reading!

All the best,

JR

Happy New Year! Looking Ahead to 2016

Well everyone, it is 2016. Happy New Year!

To those of you who have been around for a while, thanks very much for sticking with me. To those who are newer, welcome!

When the year changes, people feel compelled to make resolutions, personal promises to themselves they feel will improve their life.

I’ve never been one for resolutions. Perhaps because I’ve only ever kept one (the year Harbinger was published, I resolved to release a book that year). I fear the weight of expectation and the sting of failure.

So instead of resolutions, I prefer to make vague “Blueprints” for the year ahead. After all, blueprints can be altered–or tossed altogether if need be–so there’s little pressure of a “resolution.” I suppose that sounds wishy-washy, but having a loose plan is better than nothing.

So where is 2016 taking me? Here’s Three Rough Goals…

Publish Two Books

You read that correctly, TWO books. Naturally, one will be the final book of The Bleeding Worlds. The other is an idea that’s been germinating in my head for a while. I’ve been pushing it away, trying to stay focused on TBW, but I’ve jotted a few notes. My goal is Ragnarok releasing before Summer and the second book just before Christmas.

Grow my YouTube Channel

My YouTube channel has enjoyed more life this year than it has at any other time in its existence. My light novel reviews have been well received. My goal this year is to add Visual Novel gameplays as well as trying to incorporate my writing into the channel in some sort of regular feature.

Get My Collective Sh!t Together

The year 2015 was chaos. I never felt settled or in control. I spent most of the year tired, depressed, pessimistic, and overwhelmed. The new year needs to bring balance and order, especially if I intend to publish two books. This needs to be the year of routines–physically and emotionally. I need to purge the crap from my home, my life, and my mind. It won’t be easy, but it must happen. I have this sense that if it isn’t repaired soon, it will crush me.

Feng Shui says this will be a tough year for me. It’s the year of the monkey, and I’m a tiger. Monkeys and Tigers don’t get along. But typing this, I feel a sense of possibility and purpose. I have high hopes for 2016.

How about you? Any goals for the year? Feeling hopeful? Let me know in the comments.

All the best, and again, Happy New Year.

JR

Still Here, Thanks to You!

Years back, when I started my writing journey in ernest, Twitter was a huge source of support and learning. I had numerous conversations with others who were in the same place I was, and it helped me feel less alone and clueless.

Yesterday, I got it in my head to clean up my Twitter account. One thing I did was sorted out the accounts which seemed inactive.

Looking at those abandoned accounts, with anywhere from six months to four years of inactivity, I recognized many of the names and faces of those same people I connected with. I don’t know if they’re truly gone, but it strikes me that if they had writing they wished to share and discuss, their Twitter accounts would still be alive.

I can only surmise they gave up on their journey.

Which is sad.

But I also realized that after five or more years, I’m still here. I’m still writing. The Bleeding Worlds continues to find new homes. My Twitter account still breathes (though mostly by posting stuff I love, as opposed to conversations).

And the reason is one simple thing. You.

Yes, all you wonderful people who buy my books, who visit this meandering blog, who watch/subscribe to my YouTube channel, and who follow my Twitter account, you have helped keep those things alive.

I’m so very thankful.

As much as writing book four is proving to be a challenge, I stick with it because all of you have given me the drive to see it exist. I can’t just give up, because I not only owe it to myself, but more importantly, I owe it to all of you.

So thank you. Thank you all for supporting my dream, for giving me a reason to still be here.

Thank you for making the work feel worth doing.

Not much to update on Book Four, Ragnarok, other than to say it continues to grow. Every day I find new things that excite and/or frustrate me. I hope to have a concrete release date soon.

But until then, much Love and Appreciation,

JR

Today Gave My Faith in Humanity a Boost

When you spend your working hours listening to misery, being sworn at, and hearing tales of abuse, domestic assault, etc, it becomes very easy to be cynical about humanity.

Thankfully, today has given a gentle nudge to my opinion of my fellow world inhabitants.

It started this morning with the realization someone had cut our front lawn. Now, it wasn’t a neighborhood eyesore or anything, but it was in need of a trim. I hate yard work but had prepared myself to doing it. Well, I didn’t have to, because a very nice person did it for me (I’m guessing my neighbor, as we share a lawn).

Then, my eldest son was supposed to be going to a sports day. He’s autistic and in a developmental skills class. Once a year, all the DS classes in the region come to a local high school and participate in sports which have been tailored for their athletic abilities. Apparently, something happened at the host high school and they had to cancel.

Now, a disappointed autistic child, especially the type who can have sudden and violent outbursts, is frightening. But, there was a silver lining.

My son participates in the recycling club at school. He loves feeling like he contributes. There was a big workshop today at the school board offices that he was going to miss because of the sports day. Well, since it was canceled, a number of teachers and educational assistants worked together to see that he could go. This made him very happy.

Finally, I went through a drive thru to get some lunch for my wife and I. As I pulled up to the window to pay, I realized I’d left my wallet at home. I was very embarrassed and apologetic and told the staff at the window to cancel the order as I couldn’t pay.

A very friendly older lady was working at the window and she told me to “just stay there.” She came back with my food and said to consider it an early Father’s Day gift.

Right now I’m practically glowing. It really is the little bits of kindness people show that make this world wonderful.

Thank you to all. Those involved will probably never read this, but let the universe know I appreciated your actions and it made a difference.

All the best to you,

JR

Ignorant GOP Candidate blames Autism on God!?

1155587_69316675I try to steer clear of political discussions on the internet. But this, I couldn’t leave alone.

Some GOP candidate in Chicago has said in an interview that, among other things, Autism is a punishment from God because of abortions and allowing same-sex marriages. Read the article here.

As a father of two boys with Autism, this makes me furious.

First, we had all the anti-vaccine people saying our children’s autism was all our fault because we listened to the Doctors and had them vaccinated.

Then, we had the “Autism is due to diet” folks make us feel like dirt because of what we fed our kids.

And this doesn’t address the daily brow beating you get in public by people who don’t know your situation and just assume your child is acting out because you’re a lousy parent.

Now, we have some self-righteous politician telling us our children’s plight is due to us living in a society that believes in people’s right to control their bodies and choose who they love.

The funny thing is, it seems it’s never entered her mind that Autism could be due to gene mutation from all the chemicals that politicians have allowed to be put in our food and air. Perhaps it isn’t rights that are the problem, other than those granted to corporations to poison us for a profit.

And yes, there’s no definitive proof that even those things are the root cause of autism.

Truth be told, scientists and medical professionals are still considerable lengths away from finding a cause of autism. Though numerous recent studies are increasingly finding genetic links.

And guess what, every kid with autism is different. And every child with autism reacts differently to whatever treatments are tried. Some do show improvement with diet. Others with medication. Heck, I’ve heard of some showing considerable improvement through the use of marijuana.

This woman, and there’s others like her, is a disgusting example of some person being given a microphone and spouting entirely unfounded and uneducated crap. And worse, she might be put into government. What will she do when she’s there? How many rights and/or lives might be lost in her crusade to appease her god?

Look, I don’t want to keep ranting. I just want to say this; Autism is still largely an unknown and complex state of being. There are many who believe it a gift. But I know this, it isn’t a punishment from any God I have ever known or prayed to.

Keep this woman, and anyone like her, out of government. Don’t allow her to make decisions for you or your loved ones.

And full disclosure, I’m Canadian. Whether this lady gets elected or not means little to me outside of my considerable moral outrage.

I now return you to the regularly scheduled content of Lego videos, action figures, and wonderful books.

Help an Indie Author Out

Let’s get something out of the way right now, I suck at marketing.

Sure, I read all the websites that promise their easy steps will tremendously boost my book sales. Tips like “find your audience” and “get involved with social media” do nothing for me.

The main reason I suck at marketing is because I don’t like it.

I see authors creating Facebook events for their book releases, blog tours, pimping their book every other tweet, they’re on message boards talking up their books, and offering all sorts of promos and freebies.

I go on those same social networks and post the cool article I found on little known facts about Return of the Jedi (this is the link BTW).

Sure, I post things on my website, and when a new book is coming out, or like the recent free promo for Revelation Game, I’ll do the odd post on Facebook or Twitter. But anything more than one or two makes me feel…Dirty.

Now, what I’m about to ask, it applies to all the indie authors you enjoy. Because all of us can use this exact same help. It’s only two simple things.

  1. Leave comments on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, wherever books are sold/discussed.
  2. Recommend the book to your friends who you think would like it.

Leaving Comments

I don’t need to explain this one to you. I mean, I buy books too. We hear about a book, or click on those “someone else looking at this purchased that” links, and almost immediately check out the comments.

When a book has lots of comments, I assume

  • It sells well
  • People are passionate about it.

And that’s not even counting what the comments say, or what the rating is.

Now I’m not saying you need to gush about the book. The best reviews are the ones that are balanced and honest. When I look at a book, I only look at the 2-4 star reviews. Because 1 star reviews generally hated the book so much I never get a sense of whether I might like it, and 5 star reviews love it so much, well, it’s the same thing.

Not that I would EVER turn down a 5 star review. Heck no. I’m super pleased when that happens. I’m just saying your views are valid, even if you didn’t totally hate, or love, the book.

To give you an idea of how few people comment; right now, on Amazon, Harbinger has 14 reviews. It’s not bad, and there are some great reviews. But this represents only about 0.5% of the people who have purchased Harbinger. Where are the others? What did all those other people think? Based on the number of copies of book two, Suture, that have sold, I’d say far more than only 0.5% enjoyed Harbinger.

So, knowing the importance of reviews, and how few people leave them, trust me, you are doing any author a huge favour by leaving a comment on their work. Not just for sales, but even to let them know how you felt about the work. I know I like hearing about it.

Tell Your Friends

I dream of being a “word of mouth” author. The thought that people would pass my book around, let friends check it out, is huge to me. That’s part of the reason I disabled DRM on my books.

When polls are done on how people found new authors, every single one I’ve seen puts “A friend recommended it to me” at the top. In the book industry, word of mouth has always been the most powerful selling tool. Hence why comments are so important. But hearing words of praise from a trusted friend, not just some random internet stranger, carries more weight.

If every review on Amazon hated a book, but my wife said she loved it and I would too, I would read the book. Because I trust her tastes and her knowledge of mine.

Shameless Begging

So hey, if you liked any of my works, go leave a comment somewhere, blog about it, tell some friends, and/or send me an email. Any and all of those are awesome.

If you want my participation in anything, send me an email or direct message on Twitter.

A Huge Thank You

To those who have taken the time to write comments, thank you. It’s because of you first, brave souls that my books have sold. And yeah, that includes even those who didn’t like the books, or found some faults with them.

Like I said, balanced comments are great.

So now that I’ve written this, I feel like I should be ashamed. I guess it’s because you’ve already done something great for me just by reading my book, or visiting this blog. You took time for my words, and in our time driven society, that’s pretty amazing. But I’m going to be strong and let this post live. And remember, all authors, especially lesser known ones, could use this help.

You might not realize how a few kind words about our books makes our day. Trust me, it’s powerful.

Thanks so much for checking this post out and giving it some consideration.

Talk to you again soon,

JR

Two Commercials That Evoke More Emotion Than Hollywood Films

I love movies. That said, most fail to make a considerable emotional impact outside of “That was cool!”

So imagine my surprise when I see two ads from Thailand that make me feel all welly-in-the-eyes.

The first has seen some considerable sharing on Facebook. The second I saw because someone posted it in the comments of the first. Both are inspirational, both deliver messages about how we should live and what truly matters in life. And sadly, they’re both trying to sell us something. But ignore that. Just watch the actual content and stop it before the real commercially bit at the end. I love these. And it shows you don’t need a long time to impact your audience emotionally, you just need to be honest and speak from your heart.