Create Your Own Minifigure

I was one of those kids that loved playing with action figures. To be honest, sitting here in my office, I just have to look at two shelves to see a Figma Black Rock Shooter and a Soul of Chogokin Evangelion-01. Some habits die hard.

I recall my frustration as a child buying a die-cast vehicle and being angry because the figures inside were glued in, with no hope of removing them. It made no sense to me why figures would be included without being playable.

Fast forward to now, and I’ve come across an amazing Kickstarter campaign for a company called Hero Forge.

This company is currently aimed at the tabletop RPG gamers. They have created a web based system where a person can select from a variety of pre-programmed races, poses, armor sets, and weapons, to create a custom minifigure. This figure is then printed using a 3D printer and shipped to the customer who can leave it plain, or go about painting it.

I’m not a tabletop gamer, but the idea that a custom figure could be produced for a relatively low cost (they figure $12-$15) is very exciting. Imagine the possibilities for an indie author. Writing a story with a striking character, you could  hire someone to do the 3D model then have it printed. The printer allows for more detail and less cost than the traditional mode of injection mold and sculpting. They also say since it’s all based on a 3D render, the size of the figure can be changed without issue.

This could lead to exciting possibilities for promotions, or just to fill my shelf with my own original characters 😉

As of this morning the campaign is fully funded (but there’s still 32 days to go if you want to contribute). Watch this company, I think they’re going to do some very exciting things!

Lego Stop Motion Video – Thor vs. Loki

In the name of sharing all that is cool I discover on the internet, I present this Lego video.

It’s a short stop motion video created using Lego pieces that features a battle between Thor and Loki. Add some impressive camera work, a dash of special effects, and some choice sound bites, and you have an amazing video. Enjoy!

 

Books I Read in 2013

The Books I Read in 2013The one piece of writing advice you hear universally is, “if you intend to write, you must read.”

This seems pretty obvious. Thankfully, I love to read, so it rarely feels like work. When I enjoy a book, I like to talk it up over on my YouTube channel.

This year I had a bit of a reading slump. I only finished twelve books. In previous years, my average is usually double that number.

So without further ado, here are the books I read in 2013 in order of when I finished reading.

  • The Twelve by Justin Cronin
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  • Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
  • Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  • Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
  • You by Austin Grossman
  • All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  • Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  • Yukikaze by Chohei Kambayashi

So of the twelve books, nine belong to series. Of those nine, five were book one in the series, one was book two, and three were book three (and the final in the series).

I have three reading goals for 2014;

  1. Read more books.
  2. Specifically, read more science fiction.
  3. Read fewer series and focus on one off books.

What was my favourite? Well, it’s unfair to ask in a year where Neil Gaiman publishes a book. I didn’t even bother to do a video for it because I knew I’d just be gushing the whole time.

Aside from that, All You Need Is Kill really entertained me and inspired me to search out more Japanese authors who have had their work translated.

So what did you read in 2013? Which entertained you the most? Which made the biggest impression on you (if different from the one that entertained)?

 

Writing Descriptions

Writer's Digest Magazine Sometime ago, I swore off providing writing advice on my blog- my own learning as a writer feels too incomplete.

But that shouldn’t prevent me from sharing great writing advice when I hear (or in this case, read) it.

This little tidbit comes from the January 2014 edition of Writer’s Digest.

In an article entitled, Miscalculations & Missteps, Elizabeth Sims provides some of the best, and simplest, advice when it comes to writing descriptions in fiction.

Here’s the trick: Get going on a description with the attitude of discovering, not informing. In this zone, you’re not writing to tell the readers stuff you already know-rather, you are writing to discover and experience the scene right alongside them.

That paragraph opened a door for me. I hope it does the same for you.

 

A Little TLC for the Website

As 2013 comes to a close, it seems as good a time as any to give the website a facelift.

It’s been a long time coming.

I recall a time when I couldn’t let a website design live longer than a month or two. Thankfully, I’ve calmed down a little from those days, but this feels like the right time for this particular change.

The coming year will see the end of The Bleeding Worlds and hopefully the start of something new. As we approach the new year, I can’t help but feel 2013 needs to be left behind and 2014 needs a truly clean start.

So this is the new look. Any thoughts? Opinions?

I’ll probably write something more official about the end of the year, but I thought I’d leave a little note marking the passing of one layout and the birth of another.

Hope you are all doing well.

Talk soon

JR

A Breakthrough

Hey.

I know, I suck at the blogging thing. I’ve been away for months, and all I’m going to deliver is something short and sweet. But I suppose if I did more of those on a regular basis, I’d actually have a living blog instead of this stale, past its expiry date by a week, one.

Anyhow, last night I had a revelation about book three. There was a big issue I was trying to tackle and I didn’t know how to resolve it in a way that made sense and remained true to the series. Well, it came to me last night. Thank the Lord.

There’s about 13,000 words committed to Scrivener at this point. Unlike everything else I’ve ever written, it’s not in a chronological order. I have the first chapter, the ending, and a scene that occurs late in the book. I understand some people write like this all the time, but it’s just weirding me out.

I’ll try to write more often (both the blog and the book). Just thought someone might like to know book three is underway.

All the best,

JR

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