Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Greetings all,

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All stock images are from Pixabay.

I sincerely hope you are all happy and healthy today. It’s an implausible hope, but isn’t the point of hope to believe in the unlikely? I wanted to spend a few moments to consider the things for which I am thankful.

The first thing for which I am thankful must be my relationship with God. I’ve spoken on Christianity a few times. I’m frankly not as close to God as I should be, not by a long shot. But I’m working in that direction, and that’s important to me. I honestly believe that everything is possible when he is by your side. I don’t speak about this a lot for a few reasons, but everything else I’m thankful for is possible because of him. This is my belief.

Next is my family. It’s an odd patchwork of my life, like a quilt comprised of my blood, friendship, and shipmates. I love them all, and if they know this, I’ve done the most important thing one can do in his life.

The rest are in no particular order. I’m equally grateful, and equally pleased by all of these things.

150922-N-PJ310-002I love my job. More importantly, I love my students. Seeing them graduate is satisfying, but seeing them become successful leaders in the Navy is a feeling that’s worth more than any amount of money. No job is perfect, but as long as I get to teach, it’s all it needs to be.

I have a home. This isn’t a place I stay. It’s not a place someone allows me to live it. It’s mine. I’ve had it for a year now. I don’t treat it the way I should, and I hope to improve on that somehow. Still, this place is mine. It’s where I imagine I’ll spend the rest of my life unless some unforeseen blessings or trials come my way.

20245535_1081963961948376_2724749083115162963_nIt’s easy in this line of work to get lost in aspiration, especially when one is as goal oriented as I am. However, if I take a step back, I see something quite amazing: people read my books and my blog. I’m grateful for each and every one of you. I’ve been writing since I was 8 years old. I’ve known I would pursue this dream since I was 17. I’m grateful for this particular gift. I’m grateful for the friends I’ve made over the year and those before it, but just knowing anyone has an even remote interest in my crazy ideas is something I’ll always be honored by.

So please, enjoy your turkey and football. Spend time with those you love. If it means anything, please know that I appreciate you for being in any way involved with my life. I hope you have a mountain of blessings for which to be thankful, but if you find yourself struggling, please try to remember that the very life you have is a blessing, even if it isn’t exactly how you want it to be.

I invite you to share what you’re thankful for in the comments below. I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

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Writing Update: The Alpha Draft of Repressed is finished!

Writing Update: The Alpha Draft of Repressed is finished!

Greetings all,

kaitlynAs the title indicates, I met my goal and finished this draft of Repressed. I’m happy with how it turned out. Before I go over some administrative notes, I want to make sure I thank my Alpha Readers.

First is Ben. He’s always first. He’s my best friend, and reads every first draft I throw his way, even while working a full-time job and helping my sister raise two wonderful, but active, children. Well…the Senior is all grown up, but I digress. Ben pointed out a few of the logistical conundrums this story had, and offered some advice I’ll account for when the book is completely finished.

Next is Grace, who I met at a convention. She liked Caught and wanted more. She was kind enough to not only send some general comments, but she also sent a document that highlighted some of the more egregious typos. She could have just sent an email, but she took time out of her life to give something I wrote a degree of detail I felt was above and beyond. I can’t thank her enough.

Whenever I write something, I try to stretch my abilities.  I knew that since this book featured Kaitlyn, who’s 16 at the time of this story, the novella would fall into the YA category, which I’m honestly not a huge fan of. But art and entertainment can do so many wonderful things. I’ve always believed that not liking a person or thing has more to do with understanding it than it being bad. So trying to write this story was a way of approach the genre. However, I’m not going to pretend I know everything about everything. I reached out to the Slush Brain, and Chess DeSalls answered the call. She was my “YA” expert, and I was very happy with her feedback. She’s a successful YA author, and I’ve even reviewed one of her books.

caught-front-coverPeggy has not only read every book I’ve published, she’s also helped me sell more books than anyone else. She read my call for alpha readers, and decided to get some advanced reading done. Peggy, Grace, and Ben were particularly helpful because they’ve all read Caught, which I’m honored to say spent a few days on the Top 100 for its category (psychics) for a few days this weekend, and I was very concerned about keeping these elements together.

The reality is anyone can write up a book and get it published. I don’t want to just throw crap on the digital wall. I want stories that inspire and entertain. I want to write stories people enjoy. These alpha and beta (two drafts away) readers are critical to making that happen. They provide honest, direct feedback that lets me make the stories better.  I can’t do this without them.  Thank you!

So what’s next? Well, I’m going to take the rest of this weekend to watch football and read Oathbringer (probably not the whole book, but a LOT).

Monday, I’ll begin the First Draft of The Worth of Words, my contribution to The Power of Words anthology (Happy to report I’ve received yet another submission by the way). I’ll update you all via Twitter and Facebook on my progress there. Sara and I have began talking about how long she’ll need for developmental edits. If I finish the First Draft of The Worth of Words, I’ll start world building and outlining Betrayed (Oneiros Book 2).

That’s what I’ll be up to through December. Again, I want you all to know what a blessing it is to have anyone even remotely interested in my ramblings. It’s amazing! I’ll keep working hard to believe blogs you enjoy and books you can’t put down. As always…

Thanks for reading,
Matt

A Quick Power of Words Update

A Quick Power of Words Update

Power of Words Cover_FRONTGreetings all,

I’m hard at work on the Alpha Draft of Repressed, which is a little more than halfway done. I’m going to make a huge effort to finish this draft and get it sent to Sara by the end of the weekend. That’s honestly an ambitious goal, but it is feasible.

Finishing that will mean I get to do another draft of Worth of Words, which means it’s time to just keep the word going about the Power of Words anthology.

I’m happy to say I’ve received a few submissions already. I honestly didn’t expect many to come in this early, but they have. I’m still hopeful to get a lot more. My intent is for the anthology to have seven stories. What I imagine is a lot of you are like me. You have the tendency to submit closer to the deadline.

I want you to know that’s completely fine. I’ve told those who’ve already submitted that I won’t start reading until the deadline. This is so I can give this project the attention it deserves. I’m a man of momentum, and I don’t do well when I have to shift gears that quickly. I like to have a project “in waiting” and a project “in progress.” For instance, right now Repressed is “in progress,” and Worth of Words is “in waiting.” This keeps me busy while I’m waiting for edits. I might have to deal with shifting gears, but if I’m reading submissions, I’m more likely to be able to do that than if I’m editing my own work. My hope is to read submissions while drafting Betrayed, Oneiros Book 2.

I hope you’re all having a proactive month of writing, and I truly hope to see your submissions during the end of the month.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Both My Books Are 99 Cents In Nov.

Greetings all,

Bob_Caught_99_SaleJust making the announcement that from now until Nov. 30, both ebooks of Caught and The Journals of Bob Drifter are only 99 cents. I figure this would make an easy digital stocking stuffer or holiday gift for the readers in your family.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Bob is back! The 2nd Edition of Bob Drifter is live!

Bob is back! The 2nd Edition of Bob Drifter is live!

Greetings all,

The Journals of Bob Drifter Front CoverI’m thrilled to announce the that second edition of The Journals of Bob Drifter is live! After two more editorial passes, two different design runs, a huge lesson in publishing a digital book (which I’ll blog about tomorrow), and a brief wait, my book is back on the digital shelf.  The buy page for the book on my website (linked above) has been updated for the second edition (the audio book won’t change (that was already solid). The paperback SHOULD be out today or tomorrow (I get to look at the printed proof today).  Here’s the link to the Amazon 99 cent buy page.

To celebrate, I have Bob at 99 cents during the month of November. Can you all help me get Bob’s story off to a great start?

A reminder: This is not a sequel! I did an editorial pass, and now I can set the price, which helped. I’ve explained this, but I don’t want anyone to feel ripped off because they bought a book they’ve already read.

For those interested in knowing, there are so many ways to help an indie author get more visibility. This is a perfect opportunity to mention those things. I hope those of you reading this take a few moments to do any of these things. It really helps a writer out.

  1. Buy the book. Sales always help. It’s a customer’s way of showing support so much more than it is an author’s way to make money.
  2. dragon-860683_960_720Read the book. I’ve had a lot of personal friends buy my books. They’re not readers. They love me, and want to support me, so they buy my books, which is great! The next step up is to read it. Now if you’re in the first few chapters and it doesn’t hook you, don’t force yourself to do anything you don’t enjoy, but I always tell people that the biggest thing anyone can do for an indie author is to buy, read, and enjoy the book.
  3. Leave a rating. This takes less than a second, and some people really rely on these ratings. Don’t be afraid of leaving a one-star rating, but I hope you feel Bob or Caught is worthy of a five-star rating.
  4. Leave a review. This is absolutely essential to indie authors, especially on Amazon. The book’s visibility on Amazon is directly related to the sales and number of reviews. This is why some, less ethical, authors by fake reviews (I don’t). The review doesn’t have to be as detailed as one of mine or long. It can be a simple sentence. As long as there’s a text review, you’re helping. Amazon has some strict rules on these. Goodreads is another great place to leave a rating and review. I’m a big fan of Goodreads as it’s the only social media I’m aware of that is just for reading. If you do both, that’s really some next-level support.
  5. Recommend this book to readers you know. Word of mouth is still the best marketing strategy. Most of my favorite books and authors were recommended to me. The only author I take credit for “discovering” is Peter V. Brett, who I discovered  while reading an anthology. If you know someone who reads, and you think they’ll like an authors (my) book, let them know about it.
  6. You can always like and share posts about sales and new books as well.
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All stock art from Pixabay.com.

So those are just some ways to support an author. Please don’t consider this a “direction.” I’ve had a few people ask what they can do, so I thought this post at this time was appropriate. At the end of the day, all any writer wants is for people to buy, read, and enjoy his stories. Many of you have already done that. I can’t thank you all enough for the support you’ve already given. I hope those who haven’t had a chance to read Bob choose today to give it a try.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Submissions open tomorrow! A Call for Stories to be in an Anthology!

Submissions open tomorrow! A Call for Stories to be in an Anthology!
Power of Words Cover_FRONT
Working cover for the anthology by M.L.S. Weech.

Greetings all,

I’ve been posting about it for a while now, but tomorrow’s the big day (hopefully)! Since it’s the first, and I do the Book Cover of the Month every first, I thought I’d make this post today.

This is the official opening of submissions for The Power of Words.

The Power of Words is a science fiction / fantasy anthology inspired either by the First Amendment or the prompt of the title.

Submissions must be absolutely no larger than 30,000 words. Any entries totaling more than that will be immediately discarded.

There is not limit on the number of your entries. You can submit as many stories as you like. They must be either science fiction or fantasy (anywhere in that range). Please submit the highest quality product you can deliver. While I will be making a content edit on all selected pieces and paying my editor for her proofreading services, I need you to deliver a product you’d stand behind.

Seven entries will be selected to join my contribution. Selected contributors will receive 10 percent of all online sales. They will be allowed to order physical editions through me (Order plus shipping and handling), and authors will be permitted 100 percent of any personal point of sales. Online royalty payments will be made quarterly, on the last day of the month. Please have a  Paypal account, as this is the simplest way to make a payment. I’ll try to work something out with each contributor, but life is just far easier if you have Paypal.

correcting-1870721__340All selected authors will be expected to market the book as well. This is important as I’ll openly admit I’m not a good marketer. I’ll do my end on my social media accounts and with book promotions, but every author should do his or her part.

Entries will be accepted from Nov. 1 until Nov. 30. Once submissions close, I’ll post an update on reviews and when people should be notified. Anyone submitting this does not submit their rights to the story.  Contracts detailing rights will be sent directly to the seven selected authors.

Entries should be emailed to mlsweech@gmail.com. Please type, “My Power of Words Submission” in the “Subject” line. Please include:

Your name and pen name if applicable.

A brief (50-100 word) summary of your story.

Your bio.

Your website.

Your email.

Also please include any titles you currently have published (if any).

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All stock images from Pixabay.

I’ll be selecting the contributors. Selected contributions will be determined on the quality of the story and only the quality of the story.  For those of you interested in what I find high quality stories, I’ll say I connect best with stories containing sympathetic, proactive characters. All stories will be considered, but I thought it fair to let you know what I find the most value in.

I’ve never done anything this ambitious before. As I’ve said, I’m honestly not sure what’s going to happen, but if one never tries something, one never achieves it. This could be huge; it could fizzle out before it gets started. I fell in love with the idea, so I felt the need to at least try. I’m happy to report I have had some interest, so we’ll see how this goes.

I can’t wait to update you all on how things are going with this effort.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

 

 

The Second Edition of The Journals of Bob Drifter is In Review!

The Second Edition of The Journals of Bob Drifter is In Review!

The Journals of Bob Drifter Front CoverGreetings all,

It feels like a huge weight has been lifted. After some careful editing, careful design, and some rather comedic fights with Pages and page-number formatting, I’ve just turned in the PDF of the 2nd Edition of The Journals of Bob Drifter.

I can’t make this more clear. This is not a sequel! One of my readers thought that, and I don’t want to mislead anyone. I had some editorial issues with Bob that I wanted to hash out. More importantly, I needed more control over pricing, sales, and distribution. When I realized I was going to re-release Bob, I made a few decisions.

  1. Get the price down: The original price for the soft-cover of Bob Drifter was $28. Which is almost more than a hard cover for some larger books. That’s never sat well with me. Doing this let me bring the cover price way down (12.99). There won’t be a hard cover for the book, but hard cover books just don’t sell, at least not for me.
  2. BobsGreatestMistakeMake each part available. I’ve already shown you the covers for each individual part of Bob Drifter. This lets readers try each part out with out the price commitment of the whole story. An Unusual Occupation (Part One of the story) should come out about three months after the full version. Yes, it also puts more books on my shelf, but the main reason is to let people pay for what they want and read what they want. Buying the full version up front will probably be more cost effective, but people like paying for only what they want.
  3. Change the category. There is a magic system for Bob. I promise! But people just don’t see it as an urban fantasy novel. Putting it in the Supernatural and Paranormal categories is simply a better fit from a marketing point of view. Here’s hoping that leads to more sales.

The other good news is this means I’ll have new copies of Bob available when my convention tour begins in 2018.

I don’t have a release date. I also need to contact Archway to cancel the contract with the first edition. I’m a little worried about how that might go, but it shouldn’t be a big deal. (What worries me is if it’s made into a big deal.)  Once I get a release date, I’ll update you all.  The Ebook will be relatively close behind the paperback edition, and I’ll keep you all updated on that when I have news to offer.

kaitlynIn other news, I’ve heard back from three Alpha readers. All thought the Repressed was good. I’ve identified a few things I want to emphasis before I send it to Sara for editing, but so far, it feels like this was a very solid first draft.

This was a big benchmark for me. It lets me focus my attention on the future, which means Betrayed (Oneiros Book Two) isn’t too far from getting started.  If you liked the psychic military action in Caught, you’ll love Betrayed. Dom has a much larger role in that novel, as does Kira and Kaitlyn. The team will have to face a lot of tension on a lot of different battlegrounds. I look forward to getting on that. I’ll finish Repressed and Worth of Words.  I’m still not remotely sure how many entries I’ll get for that anthology, but I have heard from at least three people who said they’re going to submit.  That’s encouraging.  Big things are on the horizon in my neck of the woods. I’ll always keep you posted. I still can’t thank you all enough for your interest and support. I hope to keep delivering you stories you enjoy.

Thanks for reading,

Matt