On this page I will provide information about the progress of the physical book and anything else of interest to readers.
1/10/09: The first entry of the new year:
I'm up to 61 copies sold. There was a (very) brief flurry of sales during Hanukkah (i.e., two sold online, and one sold at a craft fair).
I'm slowly chugging away on Keys. I've had some big problems with chapter 12, including a huge rethink because George objected to one of the plot points (always listen when your character does this), and as I thought about it I realized a whole lot more was wrong with what I was doing. The Domino Effect was in full sway! I think it's better now... but we'll see once I finish it. (It's getting awfully damned lengthy.) At least I've more or less plotted out chapters 13 and 14, and they shouldn't be anywhere near as difficult.
Kristin Turberville Haffey (she got married) is chugging away on the cover illustration for the second half of the split version of Strings. I still haven't quite decided about the picture for the first half.
And, best news of all: the very first review of Strings is now up!
Thank You Kit O'Toole!!!
12/05/09: Here is the latest update about Strings and Keys:
First, I am up to 56 copies sold. I'll hit that million yet!
Second, I believe Lulu.com has lowered its shipping rates, so now is a great time to buy a hard copy of Strings for yourself! Or you can still order a signed copy (whoopee!) directly from me. I'm not entirely sure how much that costs; if you're interested, contact me and I'll calculate it.
Third, I plan to be splitting Strings in two and publishing each half separately, because that way I can get a free ISBN for each volume, and the price for each will be manageable. I'm commissioning two more covers from Kristin Turberville. I haven't decided what book #1 cover will be, but book #2 cover will depict the scene in chapter 26 where Ringo has to face the enormous warrior Mung in single combat. (Yes, this is a one-sided fight. If you haven't read the book, doesn't that make you wonder what's going on?) The original "big pink brick" edition will still be available through Lulu, but the two halves will be available through places like Amazon, which might boost sales a bit. Anyway, I'll post the images when they become available.
Fourth, I've now got 11 chapters of The Keys Stand Alone totalling well over 300 double-spaced pages. As yet, I have no plans to post any of it.
Fifth, I'm toying with changing the title or the subtitle of the as-yet unwritten third book to Bang the Jigsaw Puzzle. An original Marvel No-Prize to anyone who knows the origin of that phrase!
10/11/09: Not much to report after all this time. I'm stalled at 43 copies--sigh. In better news, today I just finished chapter 9 of Keys. There are now 258pp. of the main story and well over 60pp. of material that will be inserted later. When I finish chapter 10, I'll have finished Part 1 of Keys (which covers 3 or 4 very busy days for our heroes) and will swing into what I think will be the much longer Part 2. From here, it looks as though there will be three parts to the book, but I could be wrong.
Also, on average I'm getting about 2,000 page views per day on my entire website, of which the Strings pages comprise about 7% of that total. (The section that gets by far the most hits is The Comics Get Serious, followed by Bursting with Song and the old story archive of Rational Magic.) So people are reading Strings, but they're not letting me know what they think.
Please--if you have any opinions at all about the story, let me know!
9/20/09: I'm sorry I haven't updated this in a while, because I've had news:
First, as of today I'm up to 43 copies sold. I sold 12 in Chicago and have since sold several by hand here in Colorado and a few through Lulu. I'll hit that million yet!
Second, I had an issue with DeviantArt. Some yutzy kid posted 8 of my chapters on her DeviantArt site, and in a terribly ugly way to boot--all the formatting vanished, leaving one big mass of words. I politely informed her why I didn't want her version up and asked her to please take it down. Of course she didn't, so I sent a "deviation" complaint to the website, pointing out I was the author and giving them the URL for the main Strings page. I did this 8 times, once for each chapter. Well, what do I get back but eight auto-statements saying "More information needed" and "Case closed." I was stunned; what more did they need from me, a photo of me holding my book? I asked as much in a reply to the statement but got no answer. So I had some friends complain separately. Well, that worked--sort of. The idiots removed chapter 1 but left 2-8 up. HOW STUPID ARE THESE PEOPLE? I tried to recomplain, but because I had already complained as the wronged artist, that sort of complaint was now unavailable to me; I could NOT recomplain, or provide the "more information needed," whatever that was. SO WHY SAY MORE INFO NEEDED IF YOU DON'T GIVE ME A CHANCE TO PROVIDE IT? MORONS! Anyway, I guessed that they needed EXACT URLs to the chapters rather than just the URL to the main page, because they were obviously too stupid to click on the links with the same titles as the chapters illegally posted. So what I ended up doing was creating a new DeviantArt identity and complaining about the chapters as "art violations" rather than "ripped off author" violations, making sure to give the exact URLs this time. Finally the people in Stupidville figured it out and removed the chapters. Moral of the story: Don't patronize DeviantArt.
Third, I posted a description of Strings at TVTropes.org. It's a terrific website, so you should check it out anyway, but go there and search for With Strings Attached and see what you think!
Fourth, I now have some T-shirts for sale at Cafe Press! http://www.cafepress.com/BigPinkJob
8/5/09: I have added a page of happy reader comments! I hope to add to this as more comments come in.
Also, I will be at the Fest for Beatle Fans in Chicago starting 8/13 (the Fest runs from the 14th through the 16th). If you're going to be there, I'd love to see you! I'm not an official guest, but I'll be selling copies of Strings at Susan Ryan's table. I'll have the hard copies for $18 (that's cheaper than buying them online and paying for shipping) and electronic copies on CD-ROM for $3. If you tell me that you saw this announcement or are on my Strings mailing list, I'll sell you the book at cost ($15)!
Finally, I'm currently stalled at 22 copies... sigh.
7/29/09: I'm up to 22 sold!
Also--oops, forgot to provide a link earlier... I was interviewed by my friend Sandra Ulbrich at her blog Dual Citizenship in SpecFic and Mundania. It's a two-parter; the first part covers my experiences writing Strings and the second part my experiences with Lulu.com.
6/22/09: I've posted a variety of essays about Strings: the history of my writing it, the genesis of the idea, and the meanings of the title and subtitle. I also updated the FAQ. Finally, there's a sketchy description of The Keys Stand Alone.
Also, the total sale count is now up to 13. I'll hit that million mark yet!
6/17/09: I've posted the last two chapters of the Second Movement. And I've now sold six copies of the paperback and four copies of the electronic edition.
6/09/09: The paperback is beautiful and ready to be purchased! Yay! Also, I've now sold three copies of the electronic one.
If you have trouble ordering through Lulu.com, LET ME KNOW ASAP. I've now had two people have trouble with the ordering process.
6/4/09: Sold my first copy of the electronic version! Yay!
6/3/09: The paperback is now ready! However, don't buy it just yet--I'm waiting on some check copies to make sure all is formatted correctly. I should know by Monday.
The foreword wasn't ready in time, so when I get that I'll post it on the website. Subsequent editions of the book will include it.
5/30/09: The book is now ready to be downloaded in PDF format at scribd.com. Yippee! It's a mere $3.
The hard copy version should be available by the first week in June. I'm waiting on the foreword from Susan Ryan, and I also have to spend time (sigh) formatting the book for Lulu.com. I expect it to cost between $15 and $18, but I could be wrong.
I will be posting the last two chapters of the Second Movement so that half the book is available for a free read. Hopefully you'll be intrigued enough to at least shell out the $3 for the entire electronic manuscript, which (double-spaced) is 746 pages. (About 730 of that is actual book; the rest is front matter, glossary, afterword, etc.) The foreword is not included in the electronic version but will be posted on the website.
5/25/09: I've posted chapters 18 and 19; there are two more to go to complete the Second Movement, and then I'm definitely not going to be posting any more, because Strings is this close to being published. It's about as edited as it's going to get, and while I'm still waiting on the Foreword, I want to get it uploaded as a buyable PDF via scribd.com ASAP. I'll definitely put the Foreword on the website; if it comes in time to include in the hard copy, I'll put it there too. I'm also toying with adding an Afterword and an author bio.
I haven't started fixing up the cover yet; I'll be getting to that this week. I also have to reformat the pages for lulu.com
BTW, I think I now have 128 pages of The Keys Stand Alone. I'm letting that sit for the nonce while I finish up Strings. After Strings has been available for a while, I may start posting Keys.
Oh, and I have a tentative title for the series: FabMagic. Like it?
5/18/09: The cover art is done! (The cover itself isn't quite finished, as I have to add the title and so forth, but still!)
Also some more chapters up.
5/5/09: Okay, my thinking on posting stuff has changed again. I have decided to post at least the entire Second Movement, and probably more than that. So I've posted the Interim between the First and Second Movement, and chapters 12 and 13. For those of you who read the earlier version, chapter 13 is considerably different than it used to be. (There are also some minor differences in chapter 12.) It's longer and, I hope, more interesting.
Also, I had hoped to have a physical copy of the book uploaded by the middle of the month, but again there has been an unavoidable delay. On the other hand, Kristin is busily working on the cover! I'll post it when it's ready.
4/20/09: I have now posted the entire First Movement, "Fabulosity" (the prologue and chapters 1-11). At present I have no plans to post any more chapters.
Still no ETA on the published book, sad to say.
Keys is progressing. Although I have a few gaps to fill in, I am now working on chapter 4. I think I have 60-70 pages of material so far.
4/13/09: I have now posted chapters 1-9. I consider Chapter 9 to be the greatest single thing I ever wrote. That chapter marks a paradigm shift both in the book and in my writing style, and I wrote most of it when I was 19. It's been tweaked since then, but it's basically the same.
The chapter came about in my junior year of college at DU. I was in one of their stupid writing classes and needed to come up with a short story. I wanted to write this scene (even though it wasn't, strictly speaking, a "short story") but was getting nowhere with it. In some desperation I left my apartment and went over to a friend's house, hoping a change of venue would spark some creativity. My friend was out, but her roommate let me in. I sat in their main room, and out poured the chapter. It was a disaster in class because it was out of context (and the professor was an utter dick anyway), but the whole tone and feel of the book was permanently altered from then on.
4/2/09: Two issues of import. First, Kristin unfortunately has run into some health and time issues and will not be illustrating Strings after all. She thinks she can provide a cover, though.
Second, I have decided to post the entire First Movement (11 chapters) online. I decided that three chapters aren't really enough to give you a sense of what's coming, especially since things change drastically in chapter 8. Tonight I have posted chapters 4 and 5. I expect I'll have a few more chapters up in a few days.
3/21/09: I have posted the updated Prologue, the first three chapters, and a "so you want to read more" page.
3/20/09: The book itself is essentially done, but I am waiting on two crucial steps. First, Susan Ryan, of Rooftop Sessions fame, will be editing it for me after she finishes with her taxes and other personal stuff. It's pretty clean, but of course no one except my father and I has seen the new material yet, and it needs an experienced set of eyeballs. Second, Kristin Turberville will provide illustrations; we're not sure how many yet. But they should be very exciting!
Meanwhile, I have been working on the sequel, The Keys Stand Alone, or Games Without Frontiers. I have one finished chapter and have kind of stalled on chapter 2, but I've been making tons of notes. I have also come up with a possible title for the third volume: The Teeth of Their Skins, or Four to the Third Power. I'm still working on an overall title for the trilogy.