Publishing Schedule for 2016 and Q1 2017

Reliquary: An SF AnthologyIt looks like 2016 is the year that I’m really going to embark on indie publishing. I’ve been working on stories for a while now, mostly at the novelette to novella length. I’ve finally reached the point where a number of them have successfully emerged from my production pipeline, gone through their respective review processes and are ready to face the wide, wide world.

It’s a little daunting, actually. This is indie publishing, so it’s all on me: the quality of the story, the third-party editing, the cover, the product design, the interior layout, the marketing, etc.

Nevertheless, it’s time to push the little birdies out of the nest. So, without further ado, here’s my publishing schedule for the rest of 2016 and Q1 of 2017. All stories will be published as both print editions and Kindle ebooks. The first story, “Road Trip,” will be published in an anthology called Reliquary, together with twelve stories by other authors, on September 30, 2016.

Date Story Type WC Pages
Sept, 2016 Road Trip
Rocco Fitch, a wounded veteran of the war in Afghanistan, doesn’t have much left to live for. He’s disabled, unemployed and his wife has left him, taking their daughter with her. Then a beggar, a war veteran like himself, offers to sell him a road.

    — A Story of the Changed World
    — Roadwerks Limited #1
    — Published in the anthology, Reliquary

Urban Fantasy / Military / Crime 13.8K 56
Oct, 2016 The Good Book
Malcolm Jameson is planning to throw himself off a bridge when a passing bicyclist stops and hands him a magic book. Unsurprisingly, the book has a considerably different plan for Malcolm. And a bad attitude.
 
Magic Realism 10.4K 42
Nov, 2016 Bitter Days
Pageeda is a young, homeless orphan girl in the gritty port city of Mozanya. When she loses the older sister who raised her to some ruthless kidnappers, she’ll do anything to get her sister back — even become a hero.

    — A Story of the Thousand Kingdoms
    — Pageeda #1

Fantasy 18.5K 74
Dec, 2016 Last Day on the Job
Lydio Malik is accustomed to danger. He’s been the royal bodyguard for eight-year-old Princess Analisa, the sole heir to the throne of Salasia, for almost her entire life. But now he’s leaving for a new and less stressful life outside the royal palace. It’s his last day on the job. What could possibly go wrong?

    — A Story of the Thousand Kingdoms
    — A Royal Bodyguard Story

Fantasy 8K 32
Jan, 2017 The Dragon Problem
Lady Wendilla, the young daughter of the Baron of Moravia, is unhappy. What she wants is True Love. What she’s getting, thanks to her father, is a Contest to find a husband for her. All the contestants have to do is rid Moravia of its pesky little dragon problem. And face down a very upset noble lady with a mind of her own.

    — A Slightly Bent Fairy Tale

Fantasy 10K 40
Feb, 2017 The Threefold Revenge
Piker’s a City Guardsman in the fantastical port city of Mozanya with a bad attitude and a deep-seated prejudice against Neferian refugees. Pageeda’s a young, homeless Neferian refugee who doesn’t take abuse from anyone. They’re like oil and water, except oil burns.

    — A Story of the Thousand Kingdoms
    — Pageeda #2

Fantasy 35K 140
Mar, 2016 Road Trip
Rocco Fitch, a wounded veteran of the war in Afghanistan, doesn’t have much left to live for. He’s disabled, unemployed and his wife has left him, taking their daughter with her. Then a beggar, a war veteran like himself, offers to sell him a road. Published as a standalone novelette.

    — A Story of the Changed World
    — Roadwerks Limited #1

Urban Fantasy / Military / Crime 13.8K 56
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So Clueless It Hurts

I was recently at a…well, let’s call it a networking event…for writers and science fiction fans. I ended up seeing a man there that I knew from other events, a writer in perhaps his late fifties. Now, I probably hadn’t seen this fellow, who I’ll refer to as Bob for the sake of anonymity, in probably six months. When we’d last talked, he’d mentioned that he had a novel that was in the process of being published by a small press.

“Hi Bob,” I said, walking up to him. “Nice to see you again. It’s been ages.”

We exchanged some pleasantries, and then I asked, “Hey, how’s that book coming along? Has it been published yet?”

“No,” Bob said. “It’s still in process. It’s a small press, you know, and the owner, well, they guy had some health issues.”

“Oh, sorry to hear that. I hope he’s doing OK.”

“Yeah, he’s on the mend, but he’s way behind,” Bob said. He took a sip of his drink. “He’s hired some staff to help him get caught up.”

“Do they have a publication date for you yet?”

“No, but they’re working on it. The guy offered me my rights back if I wanted them, but I told him no.” Bob shrugged. “I can wait. I mean, he produces really nice looking books.”

I was a bit incredulous. His publisher is at least six months late on publication, and he’s acting like this is no big deal. Casually, I probed further. “So, he can’t tell you when it’s coming out?”

“No, but I’m not worried. I’m not losing any money. Besides, I only get paid when copies get sold.”

So now he’d basically told me that he didn’t get an advance for the novel. I’m not too worried about that because, frankly, advances are more of a “big trad publisher” thing than a “small press” thing.

But he’s apparently never heard of “opportunity cost.” If you have a story that’s done, and it’s not out there where folks can potentially spend money on it, then the time that passes erases any money that you could have been earning if only it had been available. In business, time really is money.

Let’s say that his novel had the potential to earn a $1000 a year (assuming some reasonable marketing). Bob was clueless that he’d just lost perhaps $500 of potential earnings.

Even worse, if the small press owner was unable to get the book out on time because of illness, what were the odds that he’d be able to market it effectively? That’s a business consideration, as well, and one that almost certainly would warrant terminating the contract.

This is basic business stuff and Bob was totally clueless about it all. He was so focused on getting his book published, that he didn’t think about opportunity cost, marketing or even income. In my humble opinion, this cluelessness towards the business aspects of a writing career is why writers like Bob have been taken advantage of so badly by publishers, agents and other folks over the years. And it’s why so many otherwise talented writers are unable to make a living at writing.

It’s great to be creative. It’s great to be a writer. But if you really want to have a career, take the time to learn the business side of the writing life. Please, pretty please.

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Severus Snape and the Marauders

This is a very cool fan film featuring Severus Snape in an altercation with Harry Potter’s father, James. To say more would be to spoil the fun. Just watch the video. You won’t regret it.

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Head Shot, or “Hey, He Looks Like an Author”…

David Keener, Author at Large I thought I’d share the head shot that’s going to accompany my bio in the upcoming anthology, “Reliquary.” The portrait photo is by Asher Roth, a friend and fellow author, and was taken at one of our weekly writing group sessions.

And, yes, it’s going to be a little smaller when it’s included in the anthology.

Anyway, the anthology should be coming out around the end of May.

Editorial Note: (July 2, 2016) The anthology is still in progress. All of the stories have been submitted, including my story: “Road Trip,” which is an urban fantasy mash-up with military and police procedural overtones. Personally, I’m betting on the end of August as an actual release date.

Editorial Note: (August 20, 2016) Well, nope, not gonna be the end of August. On the other hand, all of the stories have been copyedited and turned over to the production crew, so the target publication date is now September 30, 2016. Marty Wilsey will be doing print book production, while I’ll be doing the Kindle ebook production.

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Sometimes the Best Reviews…

I just finished the first draft of my novelette, “Road Trip,” and I’m now working on my second draft edits. The is the story that’s going to be published in May in the anthology, Reliquary, so I’m well on track to have it fully polished and ready by the April 30th deadline.

Since I’m working on my second draft edits, I’m looking at the comments I’ve received on each part of the story from the members of my writing group. The best thing about going over all the comments with a fine-toothed comb is that I found this little nugget from Lou Lamoureux, the author of Recalled to Duty:

Good story. Reminds me of Neil Gaiman w/ more flavor.

Not sure it’s true, but still… Gotta love it.

The official blurb for “Road Trip” is:

Rocco Fitch, a wounded veteran of the war in Afghanistan, doesn’t have much left to live for. He’s disabled, unemployed and his wife has left him, taking their daughter with her. Then a beggar, a war veteran like himself, offers to sell him a road.

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Winter Roses

Winter Roses by David Keener My short story, Winter Roses, is now available on this web site for free. The story first appeared in 2015 in the anthology, Uncommon Threads. It really is a short story…it’s only five pages long.

Here’s the official blurb for the story:

The young heir to the mountainous Cragenrath Kingdom thought he’d met the love of his life. Instead, he got a lesson in crime, betrayal, magic and revenge.

A short story from the Thousand Kingdoms setting.

The story is actually a speech that I did for The Entertaining Speaker, i.e. – it was one of the speech projects for an advanced Toastmasters manual.

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2016 AMC Best Picture Showcase, Day 2

2016 AMC Best Picture Showcase, Day 2

This year is the 10th anniversary of AMC’s annual event, the AMC Best Picture Showcase. On two successive Saturdays, the theater chain runs all of the nominees for the Best Picture Oscar (at selected locations). With eight nominees this year, they’re running four movies on February 20th and the remaining four on the next Saturday, February 27th. The Oscars, of course, are on Sunday, February 28th.

So, what did I think of the movies that played on Day 2?

Brooklyn: Saoirse Ronan plays Eilis Lacey, an Irish girl who immigrates to America in the 1950’s and ends up in Brooklyn. Finding romance in America, she soon has to decide which world she really belongs to: her new life in Brooklyn or back in Ireland. A beautifully filmed character study of both a woman and an era.

Spotlight: A driving film about the journalist team that broke the Catholic molestation scandal as not just a couple of bad priests here and there, but rather as a systemic problem within the Church. A powerful film with a strong ensemble cast.

The Martian: When an accident occurs on the first manned Mars mission, the crew is forced to abandon their base and leave the planet. What they don’t know is that astronaut Mark Watney, presumed dead in the accident, is actually still alive and stranded on Mars. What ensues is a harrowing tale of survival on a hostile planet. An excellent, riveting movie with a good dose of humor. The screenwriters did an excellent job taking a scientifically dense novel and turning it into a terrific movie.

The Revenant:Leonardo Dicaprio plays Hugh Glass, a fur trapper in 1823. When he is mauled by a bear and left for dead by other members of his hunting party, he expends every effort to survive and gain revenge on those who wronged him. A little long, but very moving. Features some of the best outdoor cinematography ever seen in a film.

I liked all of these films. Each one is highly worthwhile in diverse ways. My pick for the day was The Martian, an uplifting film backed by real science.

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2016 AMC Best Picture Showcase, Day 1

2016 AMC Best Picture Showcase Day 1

This year is the 10th anniversary of AMC’s annual event, the AMC Best Picture Showcase. On two successive Saturdays, the theater chain runs all of the nominees for the Best Picture Oscar (at selected locations). With eight nominees this year, they’re running four movies on February 20th and the remaining four next Saturday, February 27th. The Oscars, of course, are on Sunday, February 28th.

So, what did I think of the movies that played on Day 1?

Bridge of Spies: A beautifully filmed Cold War story about spies from director Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks (in his fourth movie for the director). It’s a little slow-paced, with excellent cinematography and some nice touches of humor to leaven the seriousness of the topic. It’s a good film, but not really in the same class as such Spielberg films as Schindler’s List or even Saving Private Ryan.

Room: A young mother tries to build the best possible life for her five-year-old son, even though they’re trapped in a single, small room with no access to the outside world. Interestingly, the film is told from the viewpoint of Jack, the five-year-old. It’s a devastatingly powerful film, with riveting performances by Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay (playing 5-year-old Jack in the film).

Mad Max: Fury Road: Action. Action. Action. With just enough plot to keep the action in a meaningful context. And with real stunts, not that CGI stuff. It’s an adrenaline rush, but not really an Oscar contender in my mind, despite the feminist thread that surprisingly runs through the film.

The Big Short: News flash. There are greedy people on Wall Street who will do anything to make money. It’s a good story about complex money matters, and the creators pull out every stop to make it as interesting as possible. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it. It made me mad at Wall Street, of course, but I’m already cynical enough to realize that the Wall Street money chase is a rigged game.

My pick for top movie of the day was Room.

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Our New Writer’s Group T-Shirt

I’m a member of Loudoun SF & Fantasy Writers, a writing group that meets here in Loudoun County, VA, just south of Washington DC. And now, we have our own T-shirt, the back of which features the cover of our group’s first anthology, Uncommon Threads.

In fact, that anthology commemorated the group’s one-year anniversary (which is why we’re in the process of putting together a second anthology).

Loudoun County SF & Fantasy Writers Group T-Shirt

Note that the ebook of Uncommon Threads will be available soon (the print edition came out last June). I know this, because I’m the one working on it.

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Deadpool! Your Valentine’s Day Rom-Com

I’d heard a lot of good things about the new X-Men movie, “Deadpool.” I’d also been impressed with the savvy, in-your-face marketing campaign for it. So I decided to go see it today.

Before I tell you what I thought about the movie, let’s look at some more of that marketing…

Deadpool on Valentine's Day

The first thing you need to know about “Deadpool” is that it’s R-rated. Very. And very violent. And it deliberately tries to break every rule going, from the crazy initial credits to breaking the fourth wall, to making fun of everything under the sun (including other X-Men movies, the poor performance of Ryan Reynold’s ill-fated movie, “The Green Lantern,” and its own budget limitations).

It’s crazy, with extreme attitude. It’s raunchy. It’s fun. It redefines what the Chinese Year of the Dog means (you’ll know what I mean when you see the appropriate scene in the film). But it’s also clever, which makes all of the difference. In short, it’s a surprisingly good movie…and it doesn’t even come close to having the sort of plot where the heroes are saving the world.

There’s something refreshing in seeing the filmmakers embrace the character, Deadpool, and all of the things that make him a favorite with fans. And rather than toning it down, or filing the edges off, they just go for it. Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes. You have to respect the chances they took with the film, and the way they made it pay off.

We may be looking at the top-grossing film in the overall X-Men franchise, despite the fact that, as an R-rated film, its audience is more limited than most other PG-13 superhero films.

If you like superheroes, daring filmmaking, raunchy humor, over-the-top violence and an intelligent script…go see this film. Oh, at heart, it’s also a romantic comedy. Go figure.

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