Archive for the Books Books Books Category

And Then the Work Paid Off! A Novel Sold!

Posted in Books, Books Books Books, My Opinion, love it or leave it, Novel Process, The Novel Itself, The Novel Process, Writing with tags , , , , , , , on November 23, 2014 by tgmreynolds

It is with great pleasure that I announce the acquisition of my somewhat romantic paranormal novel, “Waking Anastasia”, by Tyche Books of Calgary, for release in 2016.

For me this is a monumentous event, as it confirms that what I think of as a delightful story about life, death, and dying is shared by someone who isn’t a family member.

So what is “Waking Anastasia” about? Well, here’s the pitch that got the manuscript read in the first place:

Why should being murdered keep Anastasia Romanova from living it up a little? She’s just a ghost, floating in front of a boy, wanting to be loved.

When Jerry Powell inherits a torn, bloodstained book of poetry he has no idea that it contains the soul of Anastasia Romanova. But when he accidentally awakens the royal ghost, he discovers that death hasn’t dulled her sense of mischief and joy for life whatsoever. Now he just has to keep up with her while dealing with a new job, a new city, and the possibility of a brain tumour.

“Waking Anastsia” is a humour-filled, paranormal, love story pitting a dying radio station manager soured on love and women against the ever-optimistic, century-dead teenaged Grand Duchess.

romanov-women-anastasia-romanov-18577625-692-401

Alexandra Romanova and her four daughters, including Anastasia, second from the right.

I will be blogging much more later on about how the story started as a dream, became a screenplay, and then morphed into a novel. There will be all sorts of stuff about the research to bring Anastasia to life “as never before” as one critiquer has said, as well as where the history and the fiction blend.

Film rights are still available, so hurry. 2018 is the 100th anniversary of Anastasia’s murder. 🙂

That’s it, that’s all. Watch this page for further details in the months to come.

Thank you for all of your support. For a complete list of my currently available stories, check out my Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003KCV338.

Ciao for now,

Tim.

www.tgmreynolds.com

Free for Kindle?

Posted in Books, Books Books Books, My Opinion, love it or leave it, Novel Process, The Novel Process, Writing with tags , , on September 16, 2014 by tgmreynolds

I know I’m going about this in the wrong order but I finally self-pubished my novel “The Broken Shield” as an eBook exclusively on Amazon for 90 days.

The Broken Shield by Timothy Reynolds

The Broken Shield by Timothy Reynolds

Very quickly, the reason for an Amazon exclusive was to have access to the Kindle Select features, which includes the ability to do a free giveaway for one to five days. This past weekend (September 13 & 14) I had a two-days-for-free giveaway of “The Broken Shield”. The book launched on July 21 for $2.99 and between then and August 23rd, a grand total of 22 eBooks sold. Then, for the next 20 days, not a single damned copy was downloaded. That’s right, not a one. But that’s okay, because 21 friends and family had already supported me. I bought the 22nd copy, back when it was the first copy. I knew the steam would run out on the book eventually, and it did.

So, zero sales for the 20 days leading up to this past weekend. The Kindle Select program requires a Kindle-exclusive for 90 days, but offers up, amongst other things, 5 days total of free giveaway. Not having done this before, I decided not to use up all 5 days at once, but rather go for the entire weekend. Two day of free. Another goal was to keep costs to zero, because there’s no point in spending a fortune in order to give something away. In order to promote this, I decided to only use social media. Facebook and Twitter are my go-to social medias, and even Twitter is seldom used, by me, at least.

This was my first post on Facebook:

Okay, Kindle-owners (and app-users)… My urban fantasy eNovel is now free! Go get it! If you read it and don’t like it, I will give you your money back, but only if you get it this weekend!

Where else will you find a history-bending adventure in which the hero has MS, hangs out with a whistling pixie, and can compare Jesus Christ and Adolf Hitler and make sense? This is NOT satire. It’s a story of the battle for our souls, with plenty of fighting, some humour, and warning about all those security cameras you see around you.

From Lake Louise to Tasmania to Tokyo to London to Chile to Holland to Central Park and even Mecca… can you handle the adventure, the danger, the broken hearts, and the sacrifices made for us by complete strangers?

The response took a few hours, but then the downloads started. Throughout the course of two days I made 9 posts on Facebook and 4 tweets. I also kept FB friends, apprised of progress, and made sure to express all the gratitude I was feeling.

On Saturday, downloads kept climbing, andI kept posting. On Sunday, I cut way back on posting to see the difference between heavy whoring and mild petting when the price is zero.

So, what happened once the freebee ball got rolling? Saturday saw 79 copies downloaded. On Sunday, 29 kind souls went for the download thing. That’s 108 copies! But it didn’t end there, because wherever Amazon is based out of, there were a few hours of Monday which were still Sunday for everyone else. Three more copies were uploaded. 111 total. Wow.

That’s 111 new readers. One cool thing about Amazon is that it lets me get a breakdown of which Amazon online stores saw which numbers. It doesn’t tell if if two Amazon.com buyers were from the USA and one from Mexico, but it does tell me that two used amazon.com and one used Amazon.com.mx.

That said, here is how 111 downloads break down, by Amazon websites:

  • Amazon.com: 57 Saturday + 19 Sunday = 76 Total
  • Amazon.ca (Canada): 11 + 4 = 15
  • Amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom): 9 + 3 = 12
  • Amazon.de (Germany): 2 + 3 + 1 Monday = 6
  • Amazon.com.au (Australia): 0 + 0 + 1 = 1
  • Amazon.com.br (Brazil): 0 + 0 + 1 = 1

 

And the next step is… Well, if this was just about selling/downloading, I’d move on to the next marketing tool, through Google or some such. But this is an experiment, a learning process. It’s sloppy experiment with no control group or true scientific method, but it’s still an experiment. The next step is to see if word-of-mouth can make any sales. Will anyone actually read it? Will they tell anyone else about it, and will any of those people buy the book now that the price has gone back up to the crippling $2.99USD?

“The Broken Shield” is a 101,000-word novel, so few people will read it in the next few days. When people do get around to reading it, not everyone will tell anyone or write a review. If they’re anything like me, they’ll take awhile to read it, and then they’ll forget to review it either on Amazon or on Goodreads, so I will remind them on a week or so.

My hope is that 20% will actually read it and maybe 25% of them will review it. That’s five or six reviews, and in the review world five favourable Goodreads reviews can start the ball rolling.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

In closing, here are the rest of the posts I put up on my Facebook wall and Twitter:

2: (Repeated on FB Author Page, too)  Money is just money, but a reader is someone you have touched with your words. My free-for-this-weekend promotion has just added 17 readers this morning. That’s as many as the total from July 21 to yesterday. I will make about $20 less in royalties, but 17 more people will now have a chance to join me in a story world where pixies are disguised as dogs, a Sasquatch is named Beauty, and the Shields of Light don’t just sacrifice their lives for us, they EACH do it over and over, for more than the last two thousand years.The Aussie link: (part of it is set in Tasmania!) US link (part is set in Central Park)
Canadian link (part is set in Lake Louise!)The UK link (part is set in London! 
3: It’s only available in English, but if your account is in Japan, here’s the link:  Part of it is set in Tokyo and one of the heroes is a Japanese woman living in South Africa.
4: Yes, my wall is full of my book today. It’s only a two-day promotion and I’m only using free social media to promote it. This is all part of my experiment, to see what can be done with a great story for little $$ outlay in marketing.
5: One last post before I leave you all alone and get some work done around the house…One of the favourite characters in The Broken Shield (free for Kindle today & tomorrow!!) with readers so far is Arvinder… a sassy, stylish, 2000-year-old gay East Indian living in London. You can call him any name you want, but don’t try to keep Arvinder from doing his duty for mankind—he’s a two-sword master and one of the deadliest people on the planet. Oh, and he has a wicked sense both of humour and style.
 
Phoenix

Phoenix

 6: I lied. A final book-whoring post for the morning, because people love dogs.This is Phoenix. She’s one of the heroines in The Broken Shield, and she’s not all she appears to be. Her story is free for Kindle today and tomorrow.
TWITTER:
1: Free eBook! 2 days only! Check it out! An urban fantasy novel with a hero with MS, and a smartphone app from Hell. (Amazon Link)
2: 1 Japanese heroine & brief scene in Tokyo, my (free 4 Kindle 2 days) eBook should be avail. in Japan (in English) (Amazon Japan Link)

3: And for Australians (and everyone else) today, my eBook for Kindle is FREE! (Amazon Australia)

Ciao for now,

Tim.

Way Down the Bucket List

Posted in Books Books Books, Short Fiction, Writing with tags , , , , , , , on June 12, 2013 by tgmreynolds

Howdy howdy howdy.

As a Canadian writer of stories of a speculative nature, including science fiction, fantasy, and horror, it has been one of my goals/dreams to have a story appear in Tesseracts, the annual Canadian Spec Fic collection.

Over the years, the list of contributing authors to Tesseracts appears like a Who’s Who of Canadian speculative writing, including Margaret Atwood and Robert J. Sawyer. Come this fall, I will be counted as one of the lesser Whos in this literary Whoville with my science fiction story “Why Pete?”.

Of course, there are many other dreams for Canadian SF writers, including (but not restricted to) winning an Aurora Award, being published in On Spec Magazine, and, more recently, having a piece selected for ChiZine/Tightrope’s IMAGINARIUM, the new annual collection of Canada’s Best Speculative Writing. IMAGINARIUM’s innaugural issue was in 2012 and included one of my first published stories, so although it wasn’t yet on my Bucket List, it was checked off retroactively. Of course now my list includes making it into IMAGINARIUM 2013, especially since I had so many fun, eligible stories published last year.

Here now is the Official Table of Contents for TESSERACTS 17, being edited by Colleen Anderson and Steve Vernon and published by EDGE Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing:

TESSERACTS 17: SPECULATING CANADA FROM COAST TO COAST TO COAST

  • Introduction: What is a Tesseract? Colleen Anderson
  • Vermilion Wine: Claude Lalumiere
  • Night Journey: West Coast: Eileen Kernaghan
  • The Wall: Rhea Rose
  • 2020 Vision: Lisa Smedman
  • Why Pete?: Timothy Reynolds (the harrowing tale of a space ark captain who awakens from hypersleep to find herself locked in her sleep pod and the only survivor of a freak catastrophe. It wouldn’t be so bad if the computer wasn’t programmed with her ex-husband’s voice).
  • Bird Bones: Megan Fennell
  • Bedtime Story: Rhonda Parrish
  • Graveyard Shift: Holly Schofield
  • Path of Souls: Edward Willett
  • Sin A Squay: David Jón Fuller
  • Hereinafter Referred to as the Ghost: Mark Leslie
  • Anywhere: Alyxandra Harvey
  • Secret Recipes: Costi Gurgu
  • Star Severer: Ben Godby
  • The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife: Dave Beynon
  • Graffiti Borealis: Lisa Poh
  • My Child Has Winter in His Bones: Dominik Parisien
  • Team Leader 2040: Catherine Austen
  • Sand Hill: Elise Moser
  • The Ripping: Vincent Grant Perkins
  • Unwilling to Turn Around: J.J. Steinfield
  • Pique Assiette: Catherine MacLeod
  • Leaving Cape Roseway: John Bell
  • Everybody Wins: Rachel Cooper
  • In the Bubble: William Meikle
  • Hermione and Me: Dwain Campbell
  • Blizzard Warning: Jason Barrett
  • M.E.L.: Dianne Homan
  • The Calligrapher’s Daughter: Patricia Robertson
  • Afterword: Editing Anthologies Made Easy: Steve Vernon

So, that’s it, that’s all. Yah, yah, I know… I don’t write a damned thing for months and then I treat you to a fricking table of contents. Sorry. Just be thankful I wrote anything at all. I’ve been languishing in the doldrums now for a month or two. This latest news, though, might just snap me out of it. Keep your fingers crossed.

Ciao for now.

T-Bone.

Why, eh?

Posted in Books Books Books, Novel Process, Writing on October 7, 2012 by tgmreynolds

Or YA. Young Adult. It’s not a genre, but rather a market.

Many authors have said to me that we should write the stories which need to be told and not write to a market or for money. Well, that’s good and all, but really, we’re in this to be professional writers and professionals know their markets and either create ‘products’ for existing markets (the smart way to spend resources) or try to find markets for products they created (a long, tedious process). Personally, over the years I have seen much more success when a business person has seen a need and created a product or service to meet that need. For example, Marriott Hotels & Resorts was started as a food service business when Mr. Marriott saw a need for inflight food in the rapidly growing airline industry. He made bag lunches and sold them on the tarmac as people approached and boarded the planes, up the steps. He saw a need, he addressed the need, he grew his business from there.

For writers, what that means to me is that we can’t simply write any damned story we please and hope that someone somewhere will want to pay for it. A good writer should be able to take the kernel of a good idea and try it out with different markets in mind. I have an idea for a novel involving six female protagonists in a fantasy setting. Before I put pen to paper or finger to keyboard writing the story, I had to understand who I was writing this for. Of course I’m writing it for myself, because if I don’t love a story I can’t do it justice, but who ELSE was I writing it for? In general. Adults? Children? Tweens? Young adults/teens? Because of the nature of the characters who were sprouting in my head, children and tweens were out of the question, but Young Adults would be a good fit. Young Adults? Yes. The same readers who absorbed the Twilight books. And Harry Potter. Some children did read both and many adults as well, but in my mind, they are both YA series, so that’s the direction I decided to go.

I was asked recently who the market was for one of my projects and I couldn’t give a clear answer. Oops! Foggy, indistinct answers to either “Who is your audience?” or “What is the genre?” can spell disaster when an author is trying to find a home for a story. I now decide — before I dig too deeply into a project — the answer to both of those questions. Of course once I start writing the story it might take me in a different direction, but I still hold the reins and I’m still in the saddle, so I should be able to maintain at least a modicum of control over the ungainly beast.

So, now I’m writing a novel that I am giddily excited about. Me, a 52-year-old grandfather is writing a fantasy novel for teenaged girls, because I think they are the ones who will best appreciate the characters and their tale of life and excitement. Wish me luck. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Ciao for now.

T-Bone.

A Short Summary of Tim Reynolds’ Published Short Fiction Since 9-2011

Posted in Books, Books Books Books, My Opinion, love it or leave it, Short Fiction, Writing with tags , , , , , , on September 14, 2012 by tgmreynolds

Howdy.

It has been a busy 12 months for my suddenly-alive short story writing and I thought I’d quickly toss up the covers of the projects done and the ones scheduled before the end of 2012. Let’s start with the Photoshopped writer’s shelf.

My Writer's Shelf

Writer’s Tears with writer’s cheers (covers).

Imaginarium 2012

Imaginarium 2012: Containing “Hawkwood’s Folly” by Tim Reynolds.

In Places Between 2012

In Places Between 2012: Contains “Lyoshka & the Steam Butterfly” by Tim Reynolds.

Mytherium: Tales of Mythical and Magical Creatures

Mytherium: Tales of Mythical and Magical Creatures. Contains “Dragons in Suburbia” by Tim Reynolds.

Cavalcade Of Terror

Cavalcade Of Terror: Contains “Of Monsters and Men” by Tim Reynolds.

Danse Macabre: Encounters with the Reaper

Danse Macabre: Encounters with the Reaper. Contains “Blue-Black Night” by Tim Reynolds.

Shanghai Steam

Shanghai Steam: Contains “The Ability of Lightness” by Tim Reynolds

I'll Never Go Away 2

I’ll Never Go Away 2: Contains “Danny in the Dark” by Tim Reynolds.

20001: A Steampunk Odyssey

20001: A Steampunk Odyssey: Contains “Hawkwood’s Folly” by Tim Reynolds.

That’s it, so far. There are a couple web-based publications without cover art and there are some pending projects, but these are the anthologies from the last year, up to the end of October 2012.

More information can be found at www.tgmreynolds.com or on Amazon.com at my Author Central Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003KCV338.

It’s Friday night and I needs food, so

Ciao for now.

T-Bone.

PornStar Cleaning?! Where this writer gets his ideas…

Posted in Books Books Books, My Opinion, love it or leave it, Short Fiction, The Novel Process with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2012 by tgmreynolds

“Where do you get your ideas?”

“What’s going on inside that head of yours?”

“Have you considered getting therapy?”

Time to answer at least the first question, which in turn might give up some insights into the second. No comment on the third.

“Where do you get your ideas?” is a question every published writer hears at least once. The more we get published, the more we hear it. The question can be asked, but can it actually be answered?

Of course. I can answer it for me, quite easily. But that’s not the question that’s really being asked. What’s really being asked is “Where can I get ideas like yours?”. Read that, too, as “Teach me to find ideas the way you do. Please and thank you.”

I can’t. Sorry. I can only tell you what I do, how I go about it all, and then you have to extrapolate the tidbits that fit your personality, your way of thinking and doing.I know for a fact that sometimes the way I think totally escapes the understanding of some people, and by ‘some people’, I mean my wife, Sue. 🙂

So, what do I do?

Well, I’m a big fan of “What If?” I see something: an object, a scene, a person, a word… and I ask myself, “what if…?” I once saw a Schnauser (dog) having its way with a Siamese (cat). I asked myself what their offspring be? (The answer became a short-lived, very off-colour joke in my comedy routine. Someday it may make it into one of my stories, but not yet.

Next: a man with MS moved slowly along the sidewalk, every step taking effort and concentration. My father had MS but his symptoms never manifested themselves like this stranger’s did so I asked myself “What if… I inherited MS from my father and it didn’t show up until now, when I’m in my fifties?” Then I asked “What if I wrote about a hero with late-onset MS who not only had to deal with this new illness but still save the world?”

Working cover for unpublished novel.

Then I asked “What if, when this hero died, when he failed at the task he was given, thousands of others died, too?” And I finally asked myself “What is the task that this MS-dealing, fifty-year-old hero is given that is so damned important to mankind?” The answer became my as-yet-unpublished novel, The Broken Shield.

“What if…?” should also lead you to opposites, and just so we’re clear, “What if…?” can also be “Who would…?” “Where would…?” “When would…?” “Why would…?” or “How could…?”. Write the answer to your first ‘What if…?” in the middle of a piece of paper. Let’s start with “Who would drive a vehicle off a bridge?” Write some possible answers: a parent, a police officer, a motorcyclist, a cab driver, a bus driver. Ooo… a bus driver.

Now I ask “What if it was a bus driver and everyone on the bus dies?” Answers might include “he burns in Hell”, “he becomes a ghost”, “he’s a hero”, “he’s brought back to life and suffers hauntings at the ghostly hands of his victims”. Hmmm… interesting choices. Let’s pick the oddest one, the hardest one to imagine… he kills everyone and he’s seen as a hero.

A hero? A bus driver kills all his passengers and he’s a hero? Bullsh*t. Can’t make it work. No? “What if the passengers were all pedophiles?” Nope, it’s still murder even if it’s what they deserve, and rest assured that not everyone will agree that this is the meaning of justice. Some say that justice belongs only in the hands of the courts or God, and many say not even the courts have the right to judge.

“What if they were aliens?” Nope. Even ET has rights. Okay, but we’re on to something here. “What if they’re not human?” Aliens are out, at least without rewriting “Alien” and it’s many sequels. Veloceraptors might work, but it’s just a re-imagining of a Jurassic Park-type tale. “What if they were…. demons!” Of course! No one sympathizes with demons. Well, almost no one. But reviewers are highly unlikely to vilify you for destroying demons, are they?

Okay, so far we’ve got a bus driver who drives his bus off a bridge and kills all his demonic passengers. Interesting idea. Now, “Why are they on the bus?” “What about the rest of the passengers?” “Where are they?” “Where are they going?” “Are they disguised?” “How does he know they’re demons?”

Answering these questions leads us to things like: “they’re on the way to a convention”, “they’re the only passengers” Why? “Because they hired the bus and the driver.” “They’re going to feed on souls.” Souls? “The souls of children.” Where? “In a school.” (Boring!) “In an orphanage” (A bit better). Wait… orphans? That’s an interesting direction. Let’s explore it a bit more. No one will miss orphans so they’re perfect targets for demons. But won’t an empty orphanage raise questions? Not if the orphans are outside the system. Maybe they’re… victims of a disaster.

And that’s where my short story Shut Up & Drive came from. I asked “What if…?” and “How could…?” and I ended up with a story of Juan, a bus driver who is hired to drive a load of disguised demons into earthquake-ravaged Chile so they can feed on the souls of children orphaned by the disaster. Juan can see them because he once died in a plane crash that killed his own family, but he was revived and can now see and hear things the rest of us can’t. You might be able to guess how the story ends, but when you started reading this article did you think a bus driver who kills his passengers could be seen as a hero? Read “Shut Up & Drive” when it comes out in the disaster-relief fundraising horror disaster anthology from HorrorAddicts.net this fall.

“What if…?” Hard to ask, harder to answer, but well worth the pain.

Don’t be afraid to ask yourself the tough questions. “What if my hero was not just a crime scene investigator, but a serial killer as well?” His name would be Dexter and he’d have a TV show.

“I’m a man but what if my hero was a woman?” Or vice versa, obviously.

“What if my hero was a gay woman?” “A transgender person?” “A trans-species person?” (formerly a chimp or an alligator?)

“What if my hero travels in time but gets stuck? Stuck in other peoples’ bodies and times?” Sounds like Quantum Leap to me.

Don’t forget the little questions, too. “What if my hero is a slob?” “What if he never washes dishes and just uses paper plates?” “What if he only gets take-out?” “What if he is a crime scene cleaner who gets paid an obscene amount of money but can’t stand the smell of PineSol so he never cleans at home?” The little questions can lead to big ones or just small, character-defining ones.

Sometimes an idea pops into the head fully-formed and ready to write. I have a novel that came to me in a dream, but it was only 80% formed. The other 20% came from asking questions like “Who is this famous ghost?” “Where would my hero run away to?” “Who would he run away from?” “How did they fall in love?” “How can I make this story different from the movie Ghost?”, and then sifting through the long list of answers.

For this whole process to work, you must overcome fear. Fear? Fear of an idea sounding stupid. (No one wants to read about a photographer who snaps pictures of covered bridges in Madison County!)  Fear of facing your fears. Fear that you’re a bad person if you come up with a strange, dark, twisted idea that makes readers scream and run for cover. (I can’t write about a killer clown/demon/thingy… people will think I’m strange and broken and need help!)

So, look at the world around you and ask “What if…?” What if my Yorkshire Terrier was the size of a black bear? What if my cat could speak fluent French but I only spoke a little? What if the clock I got from my mother-in-law only ran backwards when she was visiting? What if I really want to be a writer but I don’t know where to get ideas?

That’s how I do it. I look and see and ask. I drive around the city and let things seep into my brain. Sometimes the fun even comes from misinterpretation. My eyes saw a sign for ProStar Cleaners. The first time past my brain read “Prostate Cleaners”. Oooh! Gross! The second time it read “PornStar Cleaners”. Now THAT has some story potential.

Have fun, let your imagination off its leash and see where it runs to. If it runs too far, don’t worry, it’ll always run home again, eventually, and you’ll get a kick out of the stuff that it’s dragged home when it barks at your door. Is that a dinosaur bone Titan is chewing on? Cool…

That’s it, that’s all. Go imagine something cool. You have it in you to do it, I know you do.

Ciao for now.

T-Bone.

New Author Photo for Tim Reynolds

Posted in Books, Books Books Books, Cynical Poetry, My Opinion, love it or leave it, Podthology, Short Fiction, Stand-Up Comedy & Life, The Novel Process with tags , , , , on January 24, 2012 by tgmreynolds

ImageCovers included here are Podthology: The Pod Complex, Stand Up &  Succeed, the Cynglish Beat, Canadian Rockies (a photo book), and 20001: A Steampunk Odyssey.

The background image was taken at FUK Comedy in Calgary during my days of stand-up comedy.