Monday, June 27, 2016

"Murder at the Veterans' Club" -Chrisopher Huang

Hey everyone, Ken here.  Starting today and carrying on for... well until it stops, I'll be inviting authors from Inkshares to come by the blog on Mondays and share a bit about themselves and the work they are promoting on the site.  Please take a look, leave a comment, and make sure to follow the links and find out more!

My name is Christopher Huang. I used to be an architectural technician--back in the days of hand-draughting, I'd be a "draughtsman"--until about October last year. Rather than look for other work in the same field, I decided to take a few years off to pursue the dream of full-time writing.
I enjoy mysteries, and I enjoy puzzle games. I think mysteries are the most gamelike of the literary genres, and the closest sort of game they come to is the puzzle game. It's all about following the clues as they drop in the text, and trying to reason out the solution before the detective lays it all out in the final chapter. Funnily enough, it's also a game where the player (or reader) never minds "losing", because the explication of the puzzle is often quite marvelous in its own right.
That's the sort of thing I was going for when I wrote "Murder at the Veterans' Club". Of course I wrote a mystery, and of course I went with the old-school "puzzle/game" concept envisioned by the mystery writers of the 1920s and 1930s ... and of course I set it in that same era. Not that I had to, but it seemed to make sense.
"Murder at the Veterans' Club" is set in 1924 England, at a gentlemen's club for war veterans. Quite aside from the puzzle aspect, one thing I did notice about the era was that it comes hard on the heels of the first World War and sits right in the middle of the aftermath. I don't know if very many mysteries really focus on the significance. PTSD--what they called "shell shock" or "war neuroses"--wasn't very well understood. And when most of your cast has been in the trenches, it's almost a given that they will be affected, some more severely than others.
I guess, in a sense, I'm gambling my life on this book. I know I can't expect to hit Rowling levels of success--that's sort of like winning the lottery with a ticket you found after being hit by lightning--but it would be a start towards building up a modest future. I intend to eventually produce a mystery novel series, and maybe I'll break even then; but for that to happen, I need to take a first step. That's this novel: "Murder at the Veterans' Club".

You can find out more about Christopher and "Murder at the Veteran's Club" by following This Link.  I hope you will, I promise it will be worth your time!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

WTF is Inkshares?!?

Wow.  Yeah.  I still suck at blogging with any kind of schedule.  Let's gloss over that and move on, shall we?

Yes, yes we shall.

If you clicked my blog link, you may just be here to find out, "Just exactly WTF is Inkshares?"  You've read about it online, or seen it mentioned on Twitter, or even heard about it on some podcast or another.  Or, maybe you've never heard about it, and you just happen to read my blog (if so, you are obviously intelligent, beautiful, suave, and I bet you smell fantastic).  Whatever the case, I'll do my best to shed some light on the Inkshares of it all.

It might be best if we start by thinking of Inkshares as a crowdfunding platform (i.e. things like Kickstarter and Go Fund Me) because there are certainly some of those same dynamics built-in (also, the logo... "Crowdfunded Publishing" might be a hint).  However, in joining the site and taking part in the community there, I've found out that it is a lot more than that.

Inkshares is a legitimate publishing company, with full editing and book formatting teams, traditional and online marketing, and distribution to both independent and major book-sellers all over the world.  However, Inkshares is not a traditional publishing company.  They don't force authors into eternally binding contracts or make them sign non-compete agreements.  They do offer fair royalty terms to their authors.

From the Inkshares website: "You'll make 50% of gross revenue for each printed book we sell, and 70% for each ebook."

And for some people, the biggest reason to check out Inkshares might just be this: Inkshares let's readers be the gatekeepers.  That means that people like you and I get to decide what becomes a published book.  If you find an idea or draft that you like, you can help to make sure it gets published.  And that's where the "crowdfunding" part comes in.  Inkshares gives authors a chunk of time (it seems to usually sit around ninety days, though I've seen some go for much longer, and others reach their publishing goals early) in which they can market and share their ideas and drafts to the world and make the case to get pre-orders on their book.

If they reach their pre-order goals, then... BAM! They can be published by Inkshares.

Can be.

If they so choose.

There's a lot of info out there, I'm not going to keep trying to explain it all in a single blog.  But I urge you to check it out for yourself, ask questions in the forums, reach out to Inkshares staff.  It's a pretty awesome place for authors and readers alike, and I am absolutely in love with the community there.  People support each other in their funding campaigns, offer editorial critiques, help spread the word about each other's projects... and generally it's just a bunch of people who love books, reaching out to other people who love books.

Here's a link so you can find out more about Inkshares. I highly recommend you click it.

And since I'm giving you links to click, I actually have a book up on Inkshares right now.  It's called Clockwork Charlie (if you've followed the blog for very long, you've certainly heard of it before) and I'd love if you'd check it out.  Clockwork Charlie Link  It's not in the pre-ordering stage yet, but you can read some excerpts and offer your thoughts or criticisms on my project page.

Once you join the site, find me and let me know you're there.  It's a pretty amazing place, filled with great people, and you won't be sorry you checked it out.

Monday, April 18, 2016


Mmmmm, coffee.

I've been a terrible blogger, in general, but also due to a house full of strep throat and a week-long trip to Reno in which it snowed for no damn reason.

But I do have coffee.

Over the next few months I'm going to be playing with Amazon's preorder function, not only on my own work, but also on some stuff I've been cooking up under a Pseudonym.  I've been thinking about it for quite some time because, honestly, giving myself a hard deadline for a crisp finished product can only help with my wandering brain.

Then, the other day, J.A. Konrath brought it up on his blog, "Do Ebook Preorders Work?", and his findings in using the system pretty much sealed the deal for me.

Also, if it doesn't work for me, I can always just stop using it.  That's really the beauty of this whole self-publishing deal, no one can force me to do anything I don't like.

This year is going to be pretty big for me.  I'll be releasing several Gavin English books (at least one more novella, possibly two, and at least two novels) and I'm hoping to put out a book a month, starting in May, under my brand new Pseudonym.  These are all going to be shorter works, and it's a genre I've never dipped my toe into before, but I have high hopes.

Also, I have three other novels I've started and been working on at various times for... hmmm, perhaps eternity?  But I'm excited and still in love with them all so I do plan to finish them and get them out there.  The largest and most Herculean of these is still tentatively titled "Clockwork Charlie" and has been mentioned on this blog many times over the last few years.  Then there is one that I am having a ton of fun with, it's an (as yet) untitled Horror novel about demons and serial killers and cute puppies.  The last is very out of my comfort zone and pouring onto the blank page like molasses.  It's... hmm, well I suppose in the same vein as John Green's "The Fault in Our Stars", so possibly Teen Fiction and filled with angst and an awkward and terribly doomed love story.

I'm reading "Wings of Sorrow" by Iain Rob Wright, and really digging it.  I've read a dozen or so stories by Iain over the years, and this might just be my favorite.

Ok, that's it for now.  I'm going back to my coffee and writing.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016



I am extremely ill today, and my angry political filter is turned off to conserve power for my ravaged immune system.

I may have slept three hours last night, I'm not sure.  If I did, it was only because of the Nyquil, and it was not the peaceful, feel better in the morning sleep I was promised.  However, I have coffee, and so I will press on with this Tuesday and resist the urge to drink a bottle of Jameson and close the blinds until Saturday.  But damn, that sounds like such a nice plan.

I have been waiting patiently for Ashton Kutcher to jump out from behind Donald Trump at one of these rallies or debates and laugh and shout about what idiots we've all been to believe that this could actually be happening.
"You just got Punk'd!"
And yet, here we are, nearly half-way through the primary season, and still I am haunted by this mean-hearted orange gremlin every time I open up my internet browser.  I don't get it... well, mostly.  I understand that the American people are tired of politics-as-usual and exhausted to the point of losing hope, but jumping behind some bigot with a history of financial blunder and a self-aggrandizing public persona just because he's different is a bad plan.
More hate is not the answer (judging by his words and actions, Trump seems to hate women, Hispanics, journalists, Muslims, etc, etc, etc...).
Less freedom is not the answer (Trump has advocated taking away the rights of American Muslims, taking away the protection promised by the Constitution for our freedom of speech, taking away health care from the needy and elderly, etc, etc, etc...).
I understand being disillusioned by the workings of the US government!
There are so many things that need to be fixed, it can seem insurmountable at times.  But it's not.  No matter your skin color, your religion, your political party, don't be fooled.  Donald Trump cares only about Donald Trump, and will do exactly nothing to make your life, or the lives of those you care for, any better.  As a matter of fact, if his hate speech and issue hopping show us anything, he is likely to make things much worse.

I haven't been writing much, and that hurts.  I'll get back to it, though.  I need to get myself free of whatever vile affliction my throat, lungs, and head have taken in.  Afterwords, the world will be much less filled with white pages.

I'm reading the Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks right now.  I actually read the first book way back, probably eight years or so ago, and loved it, but was never able to continue the series.  I don't know why.  It's amazing, I love going back to it.  It's been so long I feel like I'm reading something brand new, and after the first book, I really will be.

Monday, February 22, 2016


I haven't had any coffee yet and the terrible night monsters which tug at my hands and feet to make them slow and clumsy are still very strong because there is hardly any light at all filtering in at this godawful time of the morning.  Still, I will try and put some thoughts here.

Good morning, afternoon, evening!

The US political world is on fire right now, and I can't look away.  I hate rubberneckers on the roads and freeways because they put people's lives in danger, but if Donald Trump were a 2009 Honda Civic t-boning the 1986 Plymouth Reliant that is Ted Cruz, I would certainly slow almost to a stop to watch it happen.  (This is why I shouldn't be writing in public forms before I've had coffee. You were warned.  I think.)

I mean, wow.  I'm very curious to see if the caucus system remains viable now that the world can really watch as downtrodden housewives flip coins to decide who they and all of their party compatriots are choosing to stand behind.  It's kind of ugly, and not in some filtered, instagram-famous way.  It's ugly to watch as half of a packed high school gym cheers while the other half is left grief-stricken.  It's almost as bad as being in a high school gym because you're actually in high school.  Almost.

I've been writing quite a lot, but I suspect that much of it heavy-handed or lilty and will have to be cut or boiled down.  And that's alright because it is how this whole writing thing works, I try and kill as much as I can so when my lovely editors come by with their hatchets, they don't get their clothes too messy.

Right now I am reading several things, mostly erotica.  Why?  Because I'm learning, or at least trying to learn.  I been working on building romance and sexual tension in my writing, and although I don't think it's horrendous, I know I could be doing better.  For me, that means reading and learning.  Here's what I'm reading at the moment: Puss in Boots by Melinda DuChamp, Adult Video by Lexi Maxxwell, and Fuck Buddy by Scott Hildreth.  Yes, they are all erotica and all very dissimilar to one another.  I'll admit I picked up the last one because I was thrilled that the writer had the guts to give his book a title so obvious and crude.

That's it for now.  Thanks for reading.

Friday, January 29, 2016


Hello out there from the Pacific Northwest.  In an amazing turn of events, everything is rain.  Actually, the late Winter/Spring rainy season is one of the things I love best about the Spokane area.

I meant to have a blog posted yesterday, but arrrgh this week has been a hell of family emergencies and sleepless nights.  However, I am here now and fully intend to blog about... something.

This happened.  Actually, it happens a lot, but they do not like digital proof so they tend to scatter when the phone comes out.  If I meet an untimely end, it may be because I posted this image.

I have been trying to be a more active social networker lately.  Mostly it comes in the form of tweets, because I can totally eat up thirty seconds of your time with nonsense and not feel guilty.  Any longer than that and I feel like anything I put out into the public's eye needs to be cut and edited several times just to make sure that every moment a stranger gives me might be worth it.  So, if you're not following me on the Twitter, and you don't mind me trying to be funny or overly-cynical or even talking about books once in awhile, you can follow me here.  I will do my best to never waste more than thirty seconds of your time, per tweet, but I'm not making any promises.

If you like audiobooks, I am currently listening to The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (who is actually J.K. Rowling).  I like it so far, quite a lot actually.  It's a crime/thriller novel and I absolutely love the voice Rowling has found in this genre.  
In old-school paper form, I'm currently reading 20th Century Ghosts, a collection of short stories by Joe Hill.  The book is filled with ghost stories and non-ghost stories which are equally well-written, and the collection is beautifully dark, scary, and sometimes sad.  I urge you to read it if you haven't already.

Unfortunately, my daily writing faltered a bit this week with all the craziness around me, but it was a temporary bump in the road.  I am already back, with my ass at the desk, trying to catch a few decent scenes on the page.

I think I'll leave you now.  I need coffee and there is work to be done.  Also, I need to edit this a few times to make sure I'm using the precious time you're giving me in a wise manner.  Have a good week, thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


It is the morning of Thursday, January 21 as I write this, and the coffee is already gone.  I think I'll have to make more, or find a lamp with a genie in it.  I already know my three wishes, and although I'm not going to spoil them by telling you what they are, I can tell you that I will never have a caffeine deficit again.

On the second day of January, George R.R. Martin wrote in his LiveJournal that his schedule is off and he will not have The Winds of Winter published before season six of HBO's Game of Thrones comes out.  This means that there are likely to be spoilers that are going to piss off some of his long time readers.  I'm bummed that the book won't be out, because I want to read it, but I don't care if there are spoilers on the show.  They are very different animals, the show and the books, and I enjoy each in a very different way.  Also, as long as the books aren't finished, I have something to continually look forward to.

What do you think?

The day is rainy and cloudy here in the Pacific Northwest, and I love it.  Rain always puts me in the mood to write, always has for some reason.  And so, I am writing.  Although, I have also been writing on the not-rainy days, and the snowy days, and the weather-is-not-really-a-thing days.  Any day where I am able to get words down on the page is a good day, so I'm feeling swell.

I am not great at staying in contact with people.  It's a flaw, and one that I've had since I was a child.  My grandmother would write me letters which would go unanswered for months; friends send well-wishes and emails which I smile over and keep forever, but almost never reply to.  I don't know why I'm like this, I've looked for groups of sympathizers to hold meetings with, but no one ever gets back to me (insert rimshot here).

Anyhow, one of the people I do maintain some level of contact with is fellow author, Tracy Sharp.  She writes in several genres, including thrillers, horror, and even romance and I suggest you go find lots of her books and buy them up before they are all gone.  Tracy recently wrote a book with Paul Seiple, it's a sequel to her invasion/horror novel, Intruders.  These are two very fine writers, still early in what I am sure will be their long, successful, and prolific writing careers.  Go get the first two books in the series, and one day you can be the guy/girl who says "Yeah, but I was a fan before anyone even knew their name."

As of today, I am reading Stephen King's 'Desperation' in hardback (because I haven't read it since I was Sophomore in high school and I loved it and wanted to revisit a place that is super creepy and strongly reminds me of the town I grew up in) as well as listening to Gillian Flynn's 'Sharp Objects' on my Kindle via audiobook.  I love both of these books, and if you haven't read them, you should.  If you have read them, you should read them again.

I suppose I'll end here and get back to work on writing some fiction while I can still hear the rain pattering on my window.