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This is the worst possible year for me to do NaNoWriMo . . . which is exactly why I’m doing it

November means a lot of things.  It means we’re a month into my favorite season, that my birthday is just around the corner, and that my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, is coming up on us soon.  But it also means something far, far more ambitious: NaNoWriMo.

But, in all, honesty, this is a terrible year for me to be doing NaNoWriMo.  It’s my senior year in college, I’m taking 18 credit hours, I’m in 2 student organizations, and I have a part-time job, not to mention I got married earlier this year and I now have a house to keep up with.  Every previous year I’ve shied away from doing it because I’ve been too busy.  But this is without a doubt the busiest I’ve ever been, and I’m taking the plunge.  As a matter of fact, my draft is already started.  Why would I do this to myself?  Because only doing NaNoWriMo when you have a bunch of time really ruins the purpose of the event to begin with.

NaNoWriMo is about writing.  That’s obvious.  But it’s about more than just writing.  It’s about writing under pressure, which takes an all-elusive virtue: discipline.  If you don’t have anything else to do, then writing 50,000 words in a month may seem pretty feasible.  But when you have a job, classes, and other commitments to tend to, then it’s an enormous challenge.  And that’s exactly why I’m doing it.

I’ve been writing since I was 12 years old.  I published my first book in March of this year.  I can say without a shred of doubt in my mind that the most difficult part of writing for me has absolutely nothing to do with writer’s block, editing, or word choice.  It’s discipline.  I can daydream about a story all-day, but it’s difficult to sit down and take the necessary time to write a complete draft of a novel.  I love writing and it’s still difficult!  Like many writers, I’m a bit ADHD.  And, ironically, that’s why I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year.  To set a firm and difficult deadline.  To force me to be disciplined and dedicated.  To break me in the hard way.

So if you were considering doing NaNoWriMo, but think you’re too busy, that’s exactly the reason you should do it.


What’s a Writer’s Typical Day Like?

I remember asking that question a lot as a kid, wondering what my favorite authors did every day.  Did they write every day?  Or did they spend more time doing appearances?  Or was it spent doing marketing things?

From one perspective, I’m kind of a bad example of what the life of a writer is like because I still have a day job, and I’m still in college.  However, I’m currently in between day jobs (I’m starting another one next Monday) and classes don’t start for two weeks, so for this week I’m a full-time writer, and I have for a while been using my days off as “Full-Time Writer Days.”

One thing to realize is that when I say being a writer, I don’t only mean being an author.  In addition to writing books and stories, I also write for a few entertainment blogs, and one Christian apologetics blog, where I write about Christianity and pop culture/entertainment.  So this is what my day today looks like, and it’s very similar to my other writing days.


9:30 – Share blog post (which had been, ideally, written and scheduled the night before), post on social media pages, check blog stats and book sales, add any book sales data to Excel doc.

10 – Write any needed blog posts.  This will vary depending on what blogs I need to write for.  Today I’m allowing until 11.

11 – Short story writing.  I have a short story I’m expanding and will be publishing as a Kindle Single.

12 – Lunch

1 – Edit/Make changes based on suggestions from beta reader

2 – Drafting

3 – Watch/listen to/read for entertainment review on blog, comment on other blogs

4 – Drafting


This is a loose schedule, and I often break slightly from my plan, but this is a rough outline.  The drafting periods aren’t always set for a particular project.  I have two projects that I’m planning on drafting today.  I like to split up the heavy writing periods, and I recommend that unless you’re purposefully speed writing, which some people do, and I’ve done periods of myself.  If I’m hitting writer’s block, then I will usually plan my writing periods for later, because I get most of my ideas at night.  Some of the best writing I’ve done has been at around midnight.  But right now, I’m lacking more on writing diligence than ideas to flesh out.


Reading List for Fall 2014

All writers should read.  That’s just a simple fact.  If you don’t have time to read someone else’s work, then why in the name of the Infinity Gauntlet would you ask someone else to pay to read your work?  That wouldn’t make any sense.  Now, my reading list is always enormously long, and it accrues more titles faster than I cross them off, but here’s what I want to read in the remainder of this year.

Brave New World by Alduous Huxley

The Ilead

Dante’s Inferno

Wool by Hugh Howey

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Pentecost by Joanna Penn

Undivided by Neal Shusterman (not yet out, will be released this fall, October, I believe)


If I finish all of those I have a much longer list to get to.  I won’t try to list all of the books that I’ve read so far this year because quite frankly I have no idea what I read when, but there are a few notables that I recommend:

Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis – I just finished reading this a couple days ago.  It’s one of the most unique space travel books I’ve read, and is really different for C.S. Lewis.  I recommend that every Lewis fan read it if for no other reason than to appreciate just how truly diverse his writing talents were.  The man had an ability to jump between different genres and styles like no other.

The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel – Really solid apologetic work by a formerly skeptic journalist who studied his way into Christianity.  This is more or less just about the reliability of the gospel record and not as much about creationism vs. evolution (which he talks about in another book I’ve yet to read), but it was quite fascinating.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – I think of Bradbury is a kindred spirit to me in several ways, not just because I like dystopia (which is what F 451 is), but also because the way he describes his writing process is nigh a perfect description of my own.  Fahrenheit 451 is about a dystopian future wherein books have been outlawed and firemen don’t put out fires, but rather are charged with burning books.  The story revolves around Guy Montag, a fireman who begins doubting the integrity of his career.  Too much misuse of God’s name, but otherwise a phenomenal book, and very eye-opening.


I have loads of other books to get to, but that’s what my year as a reader has looked like and (hopefully) will look like.



Some Facts About Indie Publishing

I’m going to be doing a couple of presentations at local libraries in my area in November on Indie Publishing, and so I’ve been revisiting some information that is really quite incredible.  Some of it I already knew, but some of it is new.  The stigma typically associated with indie publishing is as follows:

  • It’s nothing more than vanity publishing
  • It’s lower quality work
  • They don’t sell their books except to their mom and college roommate
  • A viable career in writing isn’t possible without a publisher
  • Most of it is erotica anyway

The short answer to this is that it’s a load of bull.  Indie publishing is not only viable, but it’s considerably more viable than traditional publishing.  Before moving on to my longer answer to the typical stigma, let’s first revisit the common misconceptions about traditional publishing:

  • If I can get just get a publisher, I can quit my day job
  • If I get a publisher, they’ll do all of my marketing for me
  • Publishers are the only way to get to most readers

These are lies at worst, and misconceptions at best.  Here are the facts.  Unless you are Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, a big publisher will not do your marketing for you.  That’s almost never the case.  That’s a little bit different with smaller publishing houses, but big publishers (which is what most aspiring authors are hoping to eventually get) do little to none of your marketing for you unless you’re a big name author, which you can’t become without marketing, so they basically put you in a permanent catch-22.

The idea that you can suddenly quit your day job is also a bundle of self-contrived dreamy garbage.  The way most publishing contracts work is that the publisher pays you an advance of royalties, say $20,000, and once your book sells that many copies, then you get a set percentage of the royalties from there on out (which isn’t very much).  The good news is that if your book never meets that amount, you still get to keep the advance.  The bad news is that most books, especially from first-time authors, don’t meet that.  The idea that publishers are the only ways to get to readers is also a fallacy, but we’ll deal with that in a bit.

Looking comparatively at indie publishing, the first and most common negative thing attached with it is the accusation that these books are the dregs of literature, not good enough to be accepted by good editors, and shouldn’t be accepted by readers.  Let’s ignore the fact that these intelligent editors continually turned down the likes of Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, and numerous other brilliant writers before others picked them up, first of all.  Secondly, there’s an assumption inherent in this that indies don’t have any access to quality control of any kind, or that they can’t have professionals working with that to get proper editing, formatting, cover art, etc.

To be sure, this is probably the closest to well-deserved stigma on the indie community.  But it’s also not true.  There are some indies who bypass any editing process and are too cheap to pay for a good cover, but I wouldn’t even say that that’s the majority of us.  There’s a vast majority of editing services, cover artists, and other author services that not only serve indies, but that are marketed specifically to indie authors.  It’s expensive, but very doable.

In fact, I would say that the success (or lack thereof) itself would indicate the quality of the work.  And in that department, the indie community has more than enough to go around.  Which brings me to the Author Earnings Report.  If you want to read it yourself, the link is here.  This report follows more than 100,000 titles in the Amazon Kindle library (which, by the way, is the most vibrant book market.  Not only is it the heaviest market for indies, but it now makes up 40% of revenues for traditional publishers, too).  Here are some remarkable facts:

Indie authors earn more in royalties than all authors from all off the big five publishers combined.

The most popular genre on Kindle is romance.  In that category, indie authors make 2/3 of the earnings from the entire genre, as well as over half of the earnings in Science Fiction & Fantasy

In a previous report from the same source, it was revealed that more indie authors than traditionally published authors make a sustainable income from their writing.

Oh, and by the way, only 1.2% of gross Kindle sales are erotica.

Even as I’m writing, the number 2 best seller in the Kindle store is an indie book, which also happens to be a New York Time Best Seller.

Still think indie publishing isn’t viable?


Kindle Unlimited, and What it Means for Authors

Yes, the hermit has left the cave.  I know I haven’t updated in a while.  Sorry about that.  My day job has demanded increasingly close to full-time hours, and the summer classes in addition to the married life have sucked up a lot of my time to where it’s all I can do to write.  So sadly, this has gotten pushed back.  Hopefully it won’t in the future.

But I’m back.  Because there’s a new development in progress in the book industry, and I feel obliged to weigh in on it.  As a a typical Amazon worshiper, I noticed when they instituted a new program: Kindle Unlimited.  If you haven’t heard of it, it’s essentially Netflix for books.  You can read unlimited books and listen to unlimited audiobooks for only $9.99 per month.  Awesome, right?

Well, sort of.  It’s not quite all it appears to be, for both readers and writers.  Publishers have to agree to opt in to the program, and as of yet, some major players have not, with HarperCollins holding out on the program.  So the program has some big names in it, heavily advertising titles like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Life of Pi, and other popular works in their advertising, but are conveniently forgetting to mention that not every title is available.  Still, there’s a lot available, and that’s why I’ve spend the last half hour looking through the Fantasy and Science Fiction sections, not to mention getting books from some of my indie role models (namely Joanna Penn, J.A. Konrath, and Hugh Howey).  As a reader I love it. But what about as an author?

I’m an indie author because I’m a control freak.  I love Amazon because Amazon gives me control.  I can upload and edit my manuscripts whenever I want.  I can change the price of my books whenever I want.  I can edit the description whenever I want.  That’s what I love about independent publishing.  But Amazon’s taken some of that away.  If you’re in KDP Select (meaning you agree to only sell your e-books on Amazon, in return for some special features like free day promotions), which I am, then you don’t have a choice whether or not to be in this program.  Whereas Amazon has to ask traditional publishing houses if they want to opt in, KDP Select authors have no choice, nor were they given any notice whatsoever about the program or how it would work.

That’s strike number one.  That’s a really low blow, forcing their most dedicated authors to take part in something that may not be the best for them.  I don’t like that at all.  But is it really a bad thing?  Hugh Howey wrote a pretty interesting blog post on the subject, and he concluded by saying this:

“While I’ll be keeping a very close eye on what this does for author income, my main reaction to this is that reading is the best thing you can do with your free time, and it just got easier and more affordable. Will we be subsisting on crumbs in the future? Or will we see the entire pie just get bigger? Right now, I would bet on the latter.”

This is the first book subscription service on a massive scale, so it’s too early to know for sure, but I’m inclined to think that this is correct.  For Hugh Howey.  It’s going to allow readers to read a ton more for a fraction of what they would normally pay, which means as a whole that authors are going to get more exposure.  And more exposure is good.  But it doesn’t necessarily mean more sales, which means it doesn’t necessarily translate to a sustainable income, which is the ultimate goal of most every author, myself included.

Now the reason I say it’s good for Hugh Howey, but not necessarily for the rest of us who aren’t #1 bestsellers, is the way that the income is generated.  When someone downloads your book, you don’t get a set price the way you do when someone buys your book.  Instead of getting 35% or 70% of the royalties, you get a set percentage of the program’s funding, which according to the explanation in my Author Dashboard, could vary from month to month.  Your cut is based on how many times the book is downloaded, as well as the funding for that month.  Now, let’s say I do pretty well in a month’s time, and I sell 100 books.  That’s not too bad for an indie who still needs his day job.  Based on my current pricing of Finding Sage, I’d make roughly $300 from that, if we’re talking strictly e-books.  But under Kindle Unlimited, my income isn’t just based on the number of copies that are downloaded, but the percentage of all Kindle downloads that are my book.  So while 100 people download my book, millions are downloading other titles, and for every person that downloads Hugh Howey, J.K. Rowling, or Charles Dickens, my cut gets smaller and smaller.

Now, there’s a flipside to this, too.  Because that means that if you get more popular, your increases in income will come exponentially.  But only if you get more popular.  So what Kindle Unlimited has really done for authors is taken an already risky game and made a higher-risk, sweeter pot game for authors.  If you get more popular, and more people start downloading your stuff, then you’ve got the potential for even more income.  But if you stay about the same, your income is most likely going to drop.

But even as I whine and complain about what this means for authors, I’m still not willing as a reader to pass it up.  And I like having free promotion days too much to give up KDP Select.  So we’ll see what happens.  If it proves to be a bust for me, I might pull out of KDP Select, if for no other reason for the principle of the thing.  Or I might like the idea of contributing to something that’s, quite frankly, fantastic for readers.  Most of all, I’m just really irked that the reader in me and the writer in me are at odds.  I don’t like it when that happens, and I really don’t think it ever should.

Yes, I’m an idealist.  Why do you ask?


Finding Sage For Free


I’ve decided to do something that is, if I may say so myself, rather remarkable.  I’m offering Finding Sage for free.

It’s only today and tomorrow, so be sure to get your download while it still lasts.  The download link is here.


Praise for Finding Sage



I continue to be humbled by the things people are saying about Finding Sage.  This is from a review that was posted on a book blog yesterday:

One word. Brilliant!! 
This book was such an amazing read and an amazing adventure to go on.
You can read the whole review at this link.
There have also been some very positive Amazon reviews, such as this one:
Get ready for the ride of your life! This story pulls action from the beginning to the end. It is going to be one amazing series! There are lots of unexpected events, as the characters do things that surprise even themselves. It is very well written in several points of view. You will be guessing what is going to happen at every turn. If you love paranormal or dystopian books you will love this!
It’s really cool to see people see these kinds of things about my work.
In other news, I wrapped up a book tour last week, and now am starting another one!  Here’s the tour schedule:
June 2-9
June 2 Spotlight
Jacqueline Paige
June 2 Spotlight
Booklover Sue
June 2 Spotlight
CBY Book Club
June 3 Guest blog
D’eBook Sharing Book Reviews
June 3 Spotlight
Beverly @ The Wormhole
June 4 Interview
Mythical Books
June 4 Spotlight
The Reader’s Hollow
June 5 Interview and review
happy tails and tales
June 5 Spotlight
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
June 6 Spotlight
The Tome Gnome
June 6 Spotlight
Mom With A Kindle
June 9 Guest blog and review
Cabin Goddess
June 9 Spotlight
Cassandra M’s Place

This is me saying things

I’ve done a lot of blogging.  I started a personal blog for whatever random things I wanted to write about when I was in high school.  In college, I’ve mostly blogged about entertainment, but also about some other occasional topics I wanted to write about.  But when I started an author blog, I had no idea what I was supposed to write about.  Then I decided, what the heck, I’ll write what I want to.

So here’s what to expect from me.  I’ll be blogging about writing stuff.  Because I’m a writer and I like to talk about it (it’s worse if you catch me in person, believe me).  I also figure you might like to know a little about me beyond the stuff I write about, so I’ll try to give you some interesting tidbits of my life as well.  This is the first of those.

Speaking of writing, I should be doing more of it.  I was doing great about writing all of the time, but it gets hard when you’re a college student.

Oh wait, had I told you that before?  Maybe not.  Well, I am a college student.  I’ve been at Purdue University for a couple years now and I will be graduating in May.  In the meantime, however, I’m taking three summer classes.  I only have one right now, but it’s what they call “Maymester,” (which is weird, because only half of it is actually in May).  Basically it’s a 16-week course packed into 4 weeks.  That sounds like torture, I know, but I’m somewhat enjoying it.  It’s about technology and communication (my major is Public Relations, which is a major in the Com Department here), which is pretty fascinating.

It’s a cool class.  But it’s also very time consuming.  For example, next week in that one class I have an exam and two presentations to do, in addition to keeping up with the readings.  Oh, and by the way, I’m starting a new day job tomorrow.  I’m also married, in case I hadn’t told you that yet.  I also write on four different entertainment blogs.  Is your head spinning yet?  No?  Maybe it’s me.  My head’s always spinning . . .

Regardless, I still manage to find the time to write, even if it’s not always as consistent as I’d like it to be.  I am sad to say, however, that my progress on A Gray Crusade has been slowed by the many facets of my life.  I’m not going to venture to say how this will affect the release date because frankly, I haven’t a clue.  I will say, however, that I recently did some reworking in the plot that I believe will make it better and stronger.  I’m looking forward to it.

So until next time, keep in touch.  Be sure to follow my Facebook and Twitter accounts, and to sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t already.

Live Long and Prosper.



The Beginning of a Blog Tour & a Free Giveaway

First of all, I haven’t updated this blog in a while.  Sorry about that.  The beginning of summer classes and the need to revamp the website caused me to push updating back.  So now, I’m making a public announcement: this is going to be a once-a-week thing.  Believe it.  It’s happening.

Second, props to my good friend William Sipling for giving a killer new design to the website.  It looks beast.

Now for the real news.  Today starts a blog tour!  What’s a blog tour, you say?  Well, I’m glad you asked!

When most traditionally published authors release a book, they go on a tour to different book signings and interviews.  Indie authors, however, often don’t have the same resources.  One of the sacrifices of self-publishing is that you don’t have PR people to set these things up for you (although not all publishing houses even do that anymore).  A good way to get around this is by doing blog tours, and using the internet to get the word out about your book.  Today is the start of one of those, and I’m really excited.  It will have book reviews, interviews with me, the music I listen to while I write, my dream cast, and more for Finding Sage.

Here’s the schedule and links to the websites.  Be sure to stop in the websites and see what they have going on.

Tour Schedule – One Week Blog tour for Finding Sage by Logan Judy from May 26 to June 1, 2014.


May 26

The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl – Spotlight with Excerpt

The Idle Musings of a Writer’s Mind – Spotlight with Excerpt & Top Ten

Karen Swart – Spotlight with Excerpt, Author Interview, Dream Cast & Playlist

Eclipse Reviews – Spotlight with Excerpt, Dream Cast & Playlist


May 27

Deal Sharing Aunt – Spotlight with Excerpt & Author Interview

Our New Generation for Reading – Spotlight with Excerpt

Becca Anne’s Book Reviews – Spotlight with Excerpt & Dream Cast

Night Owl Reviews – Spotlight with Excerpt, Dream Cast, Top Ten & Playlist


May 28

Cofffee Books & Art – Spotlight with Excerpt, Guest Post, Top Ten & Playlist

MI Bookshelf – Spotlight with Excerpt

Bookworm for Kids – Spotlight with Excerpt

MHZ Book Reviews and Giveaways – Spotlight with Excerpt


May 29

Book Hostage – Spotlight with Excerpt & Author Interview

Bajgajka Loves Books And Giveaways – Spotlight with Excerpt, Dream Cast & Playlist

The Avid Reader – Spotlight with Excerpt, Author Interview, Dream Cast, & Playlist

Raven Reviews – Spotlight with Excerpt & Top Ten


May 30

Breny’s Book Obsession – Spotlight with Excerpt

Indy Book Fairy – Spotlight with Excerpt

A Cauldron of Books – Spotlight with Excerpt, Dream Cast, Top Ten & Playlist

Booky Ramblings of a Neurotic Mom – Spotlight with Excerpt


May 31

2 Girls & A Book – Spotlight with Excerpt

Bound 2 Escape          – Spotlight with Excerpt

Angels with Attitude Book Reviews – Spotlight with Excerpt, Author Interview, Guest Post & Playlist

Bookraptured – Spotlight with Excerpt & Playlist


June 1

Sweet Treat Reading Reviews – Spotlight with Excerpt

Step Into Fiction – Review

Author Christy Sloat – Spotlight with Excerpt  & Guest Post

Fiction Dreams- Spotlight with Excerpt


There will also be a free giveaway for an E-copy of Finding Sage, which you can enter by clicking on the link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


A Title Reveal and Back to the Writing Cave


At the beginning of this month, I was determined that I was going to have the first draft of my newest book done by the end of the month. I’m estimating it to be around 80,000 words. That’s right. I was going to write 80,000 words in a day. NaNoWriMo is only 50,000 words and a lot of people don’t make it, so I knew I was being ambitious. I was going strong, writing about 3,000 words a day, when something hit me.

My research paper.

Sometimes I forget that I’m still in college.  It really sucks remembering that, especially when you have a 3,500 word research paper to write.  Plus, there’s also your day job.  Because of these responsibilities, I had to push drafting the novel back.  It pained my heart to do so, but I’d really like to graduate with grades other than D’s, so it had to be done.  However, I’m now proud to say that the paper in question has been submitted, and my coursework for the semester is completed.  I do have summer classes, but those don’t start for another month, leaving me with quite a bit of time in between now and then to get some work done.

So it’s back to the writing cave.  I’d like to say that I can work overtime and still get the book done on time, but I’m not that stupid.  I’m only about a third of the way done, and there’s no way I’m writing 60,000 words in a week.  I’m not that stupid.  But all is not lost.  I still plan to release the novel in the summer, and if I’m lucky, July, but I realize that things often get pushed back.  It took me two years to write my first book, and with good reason.  I was still figuring it out.  Heck, I’m still figuring it out right now.  But it’s coming.

Before I go back into the cave, however, I do have some exciting information.  I have settled on a title for the second book of The Rogue.  I’m throwing it out on the internet so that I can’t change my mind, as I’ve already done half a dozen times.  I do really like this one, and I’m so confident in it that I’ve already ordered the book cover, which I hope to be able to show you sometime fairly soon.  The title is (drum roll, please) . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . .

. . . . .

. . . . .

. . . .

A Gray Crusade.

Like it?  I hope so.  Otherwise all of that drama will have been incredibly childish.

Maybe it was anyway.

Oh well.