Busy Real Life

Posted by TechyDad on April 21, 2017 under Life, Writing

I recently realized that I haven’t been blogging as much as I’d like. Real Life seemed to keep throwing curve ball after curve ball – derailing any blog ideas that I might have.

First up was B’s mother’s open heart surgery. We had known this was coming for some time, but a recent checkup turned it from “some time in the future” to “in the next three weeks.” The surgery itself went smoothly, but B’s mother was very weak and in a lot of pain afterwards. This was normal – the nurses described the procedure as if you were pummeled by a professional boxer inside and out. Still, B’s parents needed as much help as they could get. Understandably, B wanted to be with her mother every second she could. It fell to me to juggle working my day job with taking care of the day-to-day parenting tasks that B normally does. Of course, I had no problem with this, but I was exhausted at the end of the day.

Of course, during this time was when I blogged last about my computer being fried. I got a new computer (a nice touchscreen model from Dell) and took some time to set it up. Luckily, my old hard drive wasn’t fried. A quick USB enclosure purchase from Amazon and I have an external hard drive with all of my old data. Of course setting up this new computer took days and contributed to not-blogging.

After B’s mother improved, things slowed down a bit, but by now Passover was on the horizon. Passover is the Jewish holiday that requires the most work. I need to clean the kitchen entirely from top to bottom, put all non-Passover utensils/pots/appliances/food away, and take our Passover supplies down from the attic. Complicating matters was a visit by some of B’s family the weekend before Passover. Though it was busy, Passover went by relatively uneventfully – except for the last day.

I was sleeping late as I was off of work when I was woken up by screaming. My kids were yelling at me that B needed me. As I became aware of what was happening, I first figured out that B was in the basement and feared she had fallen and hurt herself. Then, I heard her mentioning a flood in the basement. We have a utility sink down there that floods if it’s not cleaned out. My first thought, as I put on clothes and shoes, was that the sink overflowed and I’d need to stick my arm into that disgusting water to clear it out.

Oh, how I would soon wish it was that.

Turns out that our pipes had backed up and sewage was running in from a drain we have in the center of our basement. Specifically, a combination of sludge, toilet paper scraps, and feces. There was a lot in there and the smell was awful. B called a plumber and I opened the basement windows – at least the two that I could open without crossing the nasty pond. The plumber came by and figured out immediately what was wrong. Within a half hour, he cleared a U bend pipe of build-up and all of the water flowed back down.

Notice, I just said “water” and not “everything.” When the water went down, a lot of other stuff remained. His portion of the job done, the plumber left this for us to clean up with the wet-dry vacuum. Now, having handled diapers for two kids, I thought I had been toughened up in handling this type of stuff, but nothing could have prepared me for this. I used our wet dry vacuum to suck it up, but the combination of the smell and sight of what I was vacuuming threatened to make me hurl. I put on headphones, cranked the Hamilton soundtrack as loud as it could go, tried not to look (as much as was possible) as I waved the vacuum around the ground, and held my breath. This helped and I soon cleaned up as much as I could.

Then, I had to take the wet dry vacuum outside, empty it into a garbage bag, clean it off, and spray the basement floor like crazy with a bleach-water mixture. I also went to Home Depot and got a few big tubs filled with crystals that absorb water from the air. This helped to dry the basement up more. That night, despite being exhausted, I had trouble sleeping. Any time I closed my eyes, I was back in the basement looking at – and smelling – everything that was down there.

In between all of these events, I’ve been working on my Ghost Thief sequel – tentatively titled “Outcasts and Artifacts.” I’m up to 41,000 words now and the story is just getting started. I’m juggling a lot more plot threads than in the first book and a lot more characters. It’s slow going, but I’m making continual progress.

NOTE: The “Busy desk” image above comes from Wikimedia Commons` and is in the Public Domain.

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Novel-aversary

Posted by TechyDad on February 21, 2017 under Writing

A year ago on Friday, I decided to get back into writing. I was trying to decide between writing a long tale or just a short story.

The next day (a year ago Saturday), I began writing a short story.

Of course, even from the outset I could tell that this wasn’t going to be a very short tale. I only intended for the story to be a few pages long, but it quickly took on a life of its own. Every time I wanted it to zig so I could close it out, it zagged instead. New characters that I didn’t intend to introduce waltzed onto the page. It was almost as though the characters were acting of their own volition. I was a mere scribe, recording what they were doing without having any influence over the events themselves. Eventually, my story became long enough that a novel was a serious possibility. Now, it’s looking like a trilogy is in the cards. (I’ve already written almost 28,000 words for the second book.)

To celebrate, I’m going to have a sale on the Kindle version of Ghost Thief. Starting tomorrow, February 22nd, at 7am Eastern (4am Pacific), Defenders of Shadow and Light: Ghost Thief will cost only $0.99 for the Kindle version. This sale will run until March 1st at 3am Eastern (12am Pacific). This is a savings of 81%.

Happy Novel-aversary to Murray, Ruth, and all of my characters from Ghost Thief. I can’t wait to show off their future adventures as well as the other friends and enemies that they meet along the way!

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Announcing My Big Ghost Thief Black Friday Sale

Posted by TechyDad on November 23, 2016 under Books, Stories, Writing

I’ll admit it. I’m not a big Black Friday fan. I don’t like getting up early and fighting crowds even if the deals seem good. Years ago, when stores first started “Cyber Monday”, that was more my speed. Recently, it seems that Cyber Monday has simply been rolled into an online version of Black Friday. Honestly, this makes more sense and I’ll happily visit my favorite sites to get a good deal.

This got me to thinking. I have something that I’m selling now. Why don’t I have my own Black Friday sale? Of course, I want to give people as much chance as possible to buy my book at the sale price so my “Black Friday” sale will go for eight days instead of lasting for just one.

From Friday, November 25th to Friday, December 2nd, the Kindle version of Defenders of Shadow and Light: Ghost Thief will cost only $1.99. This is a 60% savings off the normal price of $4.99. If you’ve been unsure whether you want to read this book, now’s your chance to get it for under two dollars.

Of course, I can’t sign Kindle copies, but if you want a signed paperback copy of Ghost Thief, you can enter either my Great Ghost Thief Giveaway or GayNYCDad’s giveaway to try to win a copy.

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The Great Ghost Thief Giveaway

Posted by TechyDad on November 14, 2016 under Books, Giveaway, Stories, Writing

defenders-of-shadow-light_fc_thumbnailYou might have heard that I’ve published a book – Defenders of Shadow and Light: Ghost Thief. It’s a tale about a thief named Murray Gastev. Murray’s just going about his day to day life “liberating” items in exchange for cash – as thieves often do – when he winds up getting fantastic abilities.

Murray finds that he can pass through walls and float about. There’s only one problem, though. He can’t really control his abilities. Alright two problems. He also can’t breathe while “ghosting.” Oh, and there’s the little issue of a “Dark One” who hunts and kills people with powers.
The story is the tale of how Murray meets up with other people who can help him use his powers and the great threat he encounters along the way.
Of course, this book is just the beginning. This is the start of a likely trilogy and I’ve already written one of many short stories based in the same universe. (The character in my short story is likely to appear in Book 2, so the short story can be her introduction.)

With as much enjoyment that I got from writing this book, it would be a shame if it sat on the virtual shelves of Amazon.com and nobody read it. So I’m trying to get the word out with a giveaway. I want to make this fun, so imagine that you inhabited the world of Ghost Thief and were granted special abilities. Given that people in this world don’t tend to put on colorful costumes and act like superheroes, what ability would you like to acquire and how would you use it? Perhaps you’d get super-speed so you could run into work – avoiding traffic and cutting your commute time down. Or maybe you’d like super-strength so you could vacuum behind the sofa with ease. Perhaps you’re a parent who would choose the ability to heal a person’s injuries and illnesses with a touch so that you could make your child feel better when they are ill.

Giveaway

One of my readers will win a signed copy of Defenders of Shadow and Light: Ghost Thief. To enter, follow the steps in the Rafflecopter widget below.

The contest starts today, November 14th and ends at midnight on December 19th. You must leave a valid e-mail address to enter so that I can contact you for your mailing address once the giveaway is over. Your e-mail address won’t be used for anything else – unless you sign up for my newsletter in which case it will be used to send you periodic updates. It will not be shared with anyone else. I will select the winner using Rafflecopter and contact you via e-mail. You will have 48 hours to claim the prize. If there is no response, another winner will be selected. Open to Continental U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Tough Task of Book Publicity – How Do You Sell Your Work?

Posted by TechyDad on November 7, 2016 under Books, Writing

Now that we’re back from our trip to Disney World (more on that in another blog post) and life is getting back to normal, it’s time to get serious about a little thing called book publicity.

Writing a book isn’t easy. It’s a lot of time and effort to plan it, write it, and edit it so that it’s ready for print. Many people might think that the hard work ends once the book is published. This could be true. I could easily just say “It’s published and done” and then move on to the next project. Unfortunately, if I do that, then few will know about my book and fewer will buy it. It’s not like I’m expecting my book to appear on the New York Times bestseller list. As nice as that would be, it’s not realistic at this point.

For people taking the standard book publishing route, there are various ways of promoting your work. You can go on a book signing tour across book stores throughout the country. You can appear on television programs to peddle your novel. You can even have your publishing house’s publicist pushing your book using all of their marketing experience.

On the other hand, when you’re self published, like I am, you don’t have a big publishing company’s resources to back you up. Instead, you need to put effort into getting the word out yourself. One big method of publicity I’m going to rely on is social media. That essentially means that I’ll be relying on people on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media networks to help get the word out. There are also other methods such as giving away signed copies (hint, hint… check back here soon). I’ve also sent review copies to some bloggers so they can post their own reviews and giveaways. (If you’d like a review copy, just let me know.) Finally, I’m in the process of contacting local newspapers.

Hopefully, all of this will help spread the word. Of course, I’m open to suggestions. If you’ve published a book before, how have you publicized it? If you’ve never published a book before, what would you recommend to let everyone know about it?

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