Tuesday, November 12, 2019

What a Convention!


Not sure who let in that guy on the left!
Daniel Arthur Smith's table was awesome!
Does anyone remember Yakov Smirnoff? His catch-phrase, in mock Russian accent, was, “What a country!”

I feel the same way about the Book Fiend Reader’s Fest conventions: What a weekend!

First, it was SO FUN! This was the first convention I attended as an active author with published works. I did a reading, participated on a panel, and had SO MUCH FUN!

What a weekend!

I also learned a lot, which is a good thing if I’m every going to get accepted by another convention committee. I flew out of Southern California on Friday afternoon. My schedule was somewhat brutal to make the convention. I flew into Dallas-Ft. Worth airport, and we arrived late. In fact, my connecting flight was boarding when I finally got off the plane. No big deal, though. This is what we train for! The concourses were next to each other, although it was a good mile or two of actual leg work to get there, but I made it just as they called for final boarding!

Jessica Lucci, Elizabeth Chatworth, and Corrina Lawson
Steampunking it up!
Touching down in Hartford, Connecticut was exactly what I thought it would be like. There, it was nearly midnight, but that’s only 9 o’clock for a West Coaster, so I was more than up for the hour-long ride from the airport to Norwich and my awaiting AirBnB. The apartment I stayed in was SO CUTE that I wished I’d had more time to spend there. I’d thought it was just a bedroom, but it was actually and entire place, and WAY more affordable any a hotel.

What a weekend!

The Book Fiend Readers Fest was mostly supposed to be steampunk-based, so I made the mistake of ONLY carrying THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE with me. This is no fault of the convention, just an inexperienced author. There was a lot of fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction, etc. present, so TEARS OF HEAVEN, HELL BECOMES HER, and COMPANY OF THE DAMNED would have fit right in. I could have swapped out two volumes of each, and they would have been right at home.

Rookie mistakes were going to happen. I forget to bring any swag or business cards. It was a pretty basic oversight, and I won’t miss those opportunities again. I have all that stuff, but, as Tolkien wrote, “One thing drives out another.” That was certainly the case.

I did have a lovely steampunk-themed table cloth that I purchased specifically for these kinds of events. That goes into the gear for future efforts. Bookmarks have been made, and business cards have all gone into the box along with the unsold copies of the books. Stands and pricing sheets were ready to go, so those were never an issue. There are some sweet, sweet lighted pens/stylus combinations that I’ve been considering, and I just need to pull the trigger for the next convention.

Over-all, though: WHAT A WEEKEND!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Help Del WIN With Your Votes!

She's no angel—but she needs your vote!

COMPANY OF THE DAMNED has been accepted into AllAuthor’s cover of the month contest.  

Finalists win some nice promotional packages that can help authors propel their works and keep on writing.

There are several levels of voting, so I’ll be asking for additional support going forward.

If you’ve read, wanted to read, will be reading, or have even just heard of COMPANY OF THE DAMNED (as in right now) please go vote for the COVER!

Also, please forward, share, tweet, and spam anyone you think might be willing to throw a vote my way.

It will all be much appreciated!


Thursday, October 31, 2019

In Memoriam—Jeremy McIntosh

My friend—Jeremy McIntosh

The last time tragedy took someone I was fond of, and after the initial shock of their loss wore off, I wrote. That’s how I process my thoughts, open to the grieving, and share with others. Yesterday, I learned that an old friend from Battle Mountain—Jeremy McIntosh—passed away suddenly. Jeremy was that rare individual who seems to know everyone and be loved by everyone. His loss struck deep, not just at me, but all those around him.

This morning, as I was preparing to write up this memorial, I opened Facebook to gather a couple of pictures from his page to share. My feed was flooded with an outpouring of sorrow, grief, condolences, and warm memories. They weren’t directed at me of course, which is the point. The fact that Jeremy had touched and impacted so many lives was testified to by the overpowering will of those in his vast, vast circle.

Jeremy was easily one of the most unique individuals I’ve ever met. He befriended me—a scared, shy, “new kid”—when he recognized (according to him) a kindred creative soul. What I remember most about Jeremy was his ability to draw. He always, always, always had a sketchpad or a spiral notebook, filled with his doodles, drawing, portraits, and experiments.

Once, Jeremy shared with me the start of a comic book he was working on at the time, a kind of X-Men/Justice League group of super heroes. This being Jeremy, though, the group wasn’t going to have it easy. Their budget (for fighting crime and evil) was astoundingly small, and limited. They would have to become self-sufficient or the group would be disbanded.

That was Jeremy. A guy who could see the beauty of the world, but knew that it was finite, knew that it required work to maintain and grow.

Jeremy was a reader. A voracious consumer of books. When I knew him, through high school, he was reading mostly fantasy novels. His library of stacked paperbacks mixed with a few hardcovers, was enviable. We shared that love of reading, and talked about authors and stories, and exchanged books. We branched out into movies, and he recommended The Highlander to me—it was a good recommendation. My mother reminded me that she’d lent him one of Terry Brooks’ Shannara books. He devoured it in days and returned the borrowed copy in perfect, pristine condition.

There's that smile!
Always conscious of others, and how his actions might impact them.

Jeremy was one of the people I made an active and concerted effort to track down and friend on social media. Back in the day, Jeremy had believed in my writing. He was interested and encouraging and present. I wasn't sure if he'd read anything of mine, but I recently discovered that not only had he bought my books, he'd been encouraging others to buy them too. Reading through the memories and thoughts of others this morning, that was the epitome of who Jeremy was—he believed in and liked people for who they were. He saw what they were capable of and urged them to pursue it. If he could, he would help you accomplish great things.

I think he saw that in himself too. A relentless pursuit of who he was and what he could become, just like when he taught himself to backflip. He did this first by standing on a four-foot tall cinder block wall surrounded by concrete benches, concrete tables and more concrete. He leaped out, backwards into the air in an impossibly tight spin. The first time I watch him do it, it freaked me out. I had visions of him slamming his head into any one of the many concrete shapes that surrounded us. 

He didn’t.  He was always successful. He was very much like the speaker in the Shel Silverstein poem Hug O’ War:

I will not play at tug o' war.
I'd rather play at hug o' war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins

That’s how I will remember him. Friendly and a friend. Accomplishing things that scared me. Smiling his ever-present smile, one that said the world was very clever for remembering to include Jeremy McIntosh in it, because the world was a better place with him in it, and people were better for having known him.

I'm certainly glad that I knew him.

Jeremy, you are missed.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Achievement Unlocked - Fake a Photo

Yep. Just sitting there, officer.
Not brought in a all!

There are some fantastic people who have somehow decided that I’m worthy of association.  I received this picture today from London, England’s very own Waterstone’s Books in Picadilly!

It’s a completely staged photo. As far as I know, no brick-and-mortar bookstores carry my books, but it’s such a beautiful thought. I spent hours and hours at my local Sam Weller bookstore, sitting in the fantasy section, reading the back covers of pretty much every story on their shelf.

If you’ve read my first two books—TEARS OF HEAVEN and HELL BECOMES HER—and would like a FREE copy for review of COMPANY OF THE DAMNED, please let me know. You can drop me a message in the comments below, or reach out to me on any of my social media platforms:

Twitter: @RobRoyMcCandles

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Margaret and the Awesome Covers of Awesomeness

The model, the myth, the legend!

The first rule of cover art is: Don’t overcomplicate things.

I overcomplicate things out of reflex.

A couple of years ago, when I’d been freed from my evil contract with the evil publisher Evil Maya (cue the ominous lightning and thunder) I immediately set about recovering the disaster that she’d insisted was a work of art. My new publisher, Johnathon Clayborn at Clayborn Press was thrilled and very supportive.

I started sifting through models that never quite met what I was looking for. There’s a lot that a good artist can do to make a mediocre model work for a cover. Still, it’s better to start from a position of strength and reinforce it.

That’s when it hit me. I have a friend who models on the side. She’s even into science fiction and geekdom, and has done some geeky/nerdy model work.

What has made my writing fun has been the involvement of my friends and family. I have beta readers I’ve known since junior high school, and my genius brother has provided all kinds of assistance from a historical standpoint. Friends have served as the inspiration for characters, events, and entire plots.

What better way to celebrate the re-release of my first two books—TEARS OF HEAVEN and HELL BECOMES HER—and the release of my third book—COMPANY OF THE DAMNED—than to do so with a friend?

I reached out to Margaret and asked if she had any shots that might meet my needs. Margaret did me one better. She said she’d get with her photographer, Jess Middlebrook, and shoot the shots that I needed.

And she did.

Well . . . she's half-angel!
The artwork was great, just super-strong and covered in awesomeness. My cover artist, Julie, took off from there and returned outstanding artwork. Everything came together incredibly fast. We spent only a day or three on each cover, and BAM we were done. I had to wait longer for Amazon to actually populate the new covers than I did working with Julie to build them.

It couldn’t have worked out better. I have friends who have helped me, and continue to help me, at every aspect of my “writing career”. Champions and cheerleaders who promote my work, rush to congratulate my victories, and mourn my defeats.

Thank you John, Jess, Julie, and Margaret.

And of course, thank you to all my friends and family. I can’t thank everyone enough!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

S. Andrew Swann's "Teek: The Children of Prometheus"

Does she have psychic powers? Oh yeah!

Years ago, way back in 1993, I stumbled on the book “Forests of the Night” by S. Andrew Swann. The cover alone, which features an anthropomorphic tiger holding a rather large firearm, was enough to get me to shell out the $4.99.

Put simply, it was amazing. Riffing off the idea of genetically-engineered animal soldiers, Swann crafted a genius story where those animals—or rather their descendants—now found themselves not on the battlefield, but in a post-war society that had no idea what to do with them.

Swann was the first author that I actively sought out and tried to follow online. I loved his website, where he provided a couple of essays for wannabe-authors (just like me!) and when I sent him an email or two, asking questions, he actually responded.

Recently, he’s decided to go indie, and the small press/indie ranks couldn’t have asked for a better member. As an indie, I was very fortunate to join S. Andrew Swann’s street team, and received an advanced reader copy of his latest re-release “Teek: The Children of Prometheus”.  Here’s my review:

There is no point in S. Andrew Swann’s “Teek: The Children of Prometheus” that isn’t wholly believable.  Swann creates original, believable, and relatable characters that could walk through the doorway at any time. While the story itself is set in the 90s, Swann deftly avoids the classic tropes of stuffing his world with nostalgic items. Instead, the story he provides is practically timeless.

The world needs more
anthropomorphic tigers!
Swann’s urban fantasy story centers on Allison Boyle, a pretty average high school girl with pretty average teenage concerns—boyfriend, grades, social circles. There is one catch, of course. Over the last six months Allison has suffered debilitating migraines, often when creepy Chuck is around—and he seems to always be around. When push comes to shove between Chuck and Allison, she lashes out with a power she didn’t know she had—telekinesis, or “teek” for short.

Life for Allison suddenly becomes incredibly complex. Her ability is both wonderful and the root of most of her troubles. She goes from run-of-the-mill high schooler, to fugitive-on-the-run, tracked by men with guns who have “teeks” of their own. Only Allison’s best friend, Macy is able to help her as they start to run across country toward Allison’s father or may or may not be able to keep her out of the clutches of something far more sinister.

All of Swann’s books are extremely real and engaging, and “Teek: The Children of Prometheus” is a wonderful edition to that library. What sets Swann’s books apart from so many others in the urban fantasy/science fiction genre are the rules. He sets up the rules of the world, and then sticks rigidly to them, never giving his characters and easy out. The pacing and flow of the story are expertly crafted by a master as Swann breathes life into every scene. It’s less like reading a book, and much more like watching a real life drama unfold. Readers will love Swann’s attention to detail, the incredibly alive characters, and the overall scope and scale that he creates.

Have you ever engaged with a celebrity/public figure?
Tell me in the comments below!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Old Grudges - Excerpt from The Clockwork Detective

Beware the steampunk girl who carries a big cane!

A little excerpt from THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE. Here, Constable Sterben and Aubrey are being confronted by a “street tough” with a grudge. How he’s out of prison so early baffles Sterben and is part of the mystery Aubrey later untangles. For now, she and Sterben face a fight they may not be able to win:

“Anders,” Sterben said as he rolled his shoulders inside his coat, “you don’t have the stones to pound that little girl, much less me. But if you’re determined, tell your brothers to go home, and you and I can settle this like men.”

“Like men? Is that what you tell yourself? You needed five officers to help take me in, Constable.”

Sterben gave a quick laugh and smiled. “I needed three, and that’s because I didn’t want to hurt your pretty face and take away any chance you had in prison. I’m sure they gave you the same loving embrace as your brothers.”

Sterben was intentionally goading Anders and the other men – it was the only thing that made sense of his actions. He hadn’t looked in her direction once, and neither had anyone else. She was essentially forgotten in the confrontation, which was what Sterben wanted. He was giving her time to get away from the brothers. It was a good tactic, but with her bad leg, she would quickly be caught as soon as someone remembered her. No matter how well the boffins in Grazburg had designed the leg, it was only good for the daily use of walking. Running was beyond Aubrey’s physical abilities.

Anders growled at Sterben. Aubrey twisted the handle of her cane, and felt it rotate a quarter turn. She measured the distance between herself and Anders, and knew he was a pace and a half too far.

It’s never easy, she thought.

“Is that true, Anders?” Aubrey brought the full weight of all five men back to herself. “And here I could have used a good pounding too!”

Anders’ face flushed red with rage. Aubrey could see Sterben’s look of warning but ignored it.

“You’ll get yours,” Anders told her. “How about now?”

He moved forward, and Aubrey had to stifle her smile. She twisted the cane’s handle again and pulled. The soft scrape of metal on wood was completely lost to Anders as he came at her. The cane’s blade wasn’t as sturdy as her boarding saber, but it had a wicked sharp point, which she thrust under Anders’ chin and held against his throat. The skin broke and a small line of red ran down his neck. He tried to back away, but Aubrey moved with him.

“Don’t move. Not an inch.” Aubrey’s gaze fixed on Anders, but her voice was pitched to carry to his brothers. “You lot, either.”

Everyone froze.

What’s Your Favorite David and Goliath Scene?
Tell me in the comments below!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Bad Cover. No Dessert!

And there's no "Charlie" either!

If I could ever give one piece of advice to indie authors about to publish, it would be to go ahead and SPEND MONEY on your cover.

It's the first thing readers will see. It should be an open doorway, beckoning them to come inside and have a look at all the lovely awesomeness you've created in your world. They should be invited, with glowing signs, the smells of baking bread, and the promise of excellent libations.

“Please, sample the Turkish Delight, leaf through the books and the linens, be welcome and enjoy!”

A bad cover can be a barrier to entry. After all, if you can't be bothered to put something decent at the very entrance to your world, then what does the rest of the book look like? How bad is the editing? How bad is the storytelling?

WHERE DID ALL THESE TENTACLES COME FROM!?

It may not be true of your story, but there it is. You'd hesitate entering a deserted asylum, with the windows broken out, ghosts and demons leering through the dark panes. You’d dress appropriately for a job interview, get a haircut and shower before hand. That’s pretty much what a cover is: the first impression you get to make.

You certainly don’t want it to be the last impression.

I strongly recommend seeking out professional cover artists. Find one whose style aligns with your own desires, and pay whatever they ask. Yeah, it’s exciting to have a book finished, and ready to be thrust into the grasping hands of the masses eager for your golden words.

You never, ever, never want to get stuck with a bad cover.

Never!

What’s your “favorite” bad cover art?
Tell me in the comments below!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Eric Lahti Reviews Company of the Damned

This time evil has an ace up its sleeve!

It’s always good to get back a nice review. The first time I sent my work off to a professional at a magazine, I held my breath and assumed the worst. I assumed I’d get a middling review. I was hoping for it. I didn't expect to do better than that!


It still shocks me that people read, and like what I’ve written. It’s even more shocking when they give me high praise, just like Eric Lahti did in his recent review for COMPANY OF THE DAMNED:

This is McCandless at his finest, digging into the action and bringing the character’s to life on the page. Like all good writing, it started with “what if?” question. In this case, what if some of the Biblical elements were right? Maybe not all of them, and Del is certainly not given to quoting Bible verse. But what if demons were a real and constant threat? What if angels were the nigh-undefeatable soldiers of the Throne? What if, stuck in the middle of that, were the Nephilim, struggling to find a safe way for themselves in a world that would be perfectly content to see them dead?

That’s the world McCandless built in the first two books. In Company of the Damned, he takes full advantage of that world and doesn’t hesitate to tear the hell out of it. This is like reading a Hollywood blockbuster – it has battles, and magic, and Norse goddesses, and golems, and even Lucifer himself. With all that, it would seem like a complicated mess of a story. And perhaps it would be in the hands of a less story-teller, but McCandless weaves this stunning menagerie with a deft hand and gives us a rare gem in the world: A Hollywood blockbuster that has a heart. It’s not all style and no substance.


Thursday, September 19, 2019

Covers, Covers, and More Covers

Not sure who that guy is, but those covers
are awesome!

So, this happened last night. I wanted to get five copies of each book with the new covers, but the budget said, “No! No! No!” Apologies to all my completist readers out there! Still, each one is so beautiful that I spent time looking them over and just loving them. A special shout out to my good friend across the pond Margaret, who offered to model for the cover, and looped me in with her photographer. Another special shout out to Julie from Covers by Julie, the cover artist who pulled all this together for me. Finally, absolutely a wonderful shout out to my publisher and friend Jonathon Calyborn at Clayborn Press for pulling this altogether, fighting with Amazon to get the covers to populate, and believing in my books.

Here’s an excerpt from the latest, COMPANY OF THE DAMNED:

Del smashed her boot heel against the door with all her Nephilim strength. The frame buckled inwards, and the door tore free of the hinges. It flew into the room, striking sparks as it skidded across the floor and drove itself into a concrete column. A large chunk of masonry broke free and fell with a ka-thump on top of the door.

“Breach!” Del rushed through the open doorway. “Go, go, go!”

Del’s team followed right behind her. Misha, a half-angel Nephilim like Del, was only a half-step back. Del went left and cleared her corner, and Misha veered right to do the same. Ahadiel’s newest recruit was a quick learner. Del missed the certainty of Marrin at her back, but Misha was fast becoming a close second.

The rest of Del’s team—tall, stocky Dokkalfar and the equally tall but thin and wiry Ljosalfar—swept through the door after them. The dark elves and light elves moved fast and crossed the ‘fatal funnel’ in moments. Demons weren’t known for using firearms, but their human servants were quite partial, if generally untrained. Those servants could be as dangerous to themselves as anyone else. Del snugged her H&K assault rifle against her shoulder and scanned it down her side of the room. Misha was clearing the opposite half. For the first time in six months, Del didn’t feel the tickle of fear that her back was turned to a room of potential bad guys. She was tense, but not with the worry that someone would forget their job or fail a critical check.

Her team knew what to do.

She trusted them with their jobs.

Mostly.


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Just For Laughs - 2-Star Review


No explanations necessary. This one is just too funny. Maybe she thinks one-star is awesome so two-stars must be hella good! After all, Clooney and Pitt, amiright!?

“The first book in a new steampunk fantasy mystery series, though not one of my favorite titles of the year I enjoyed it as a story, and would consider reading another in the series.”
shelly m

Thanks Shelly!


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

9/11 Thoughts For Me - Not a Fun Post


This is the first 9/11 anniversary where I may not actually be able to do it.

I didn’t have any direct connection to New York or the events that transpired. I walked into my office without a clue. I was so clueless, that when I IM’d a buddy, asking what he was up to, and he mentioned watching the plane crash into the World Trade Center, I made a joke.

“Well, they are very big.”

Without context, I assume a small, private plane had clipped the tower somehow.

Yesterday, my oldest son let me know they were studying 9/11 in class. It’s weird to me because I lived through it. It’s weird for me to say that I lived through anything that significant.

My then girlfriend and I had a date scheduled that night. Dinner reservations and theater tickets. We were going to fly out the next day for an alumni game at our alma mater: Eastern New Mexico University.

Obviously, that didn’t happen.

When my son asked where I was, I tried to remember if I was supposed to fly into Albuquerque or Lubbock. I assume it was Lubbock, because that’s only a little over 90 minutes to Portales. Albuquerque is a nearly four hour drive.

I can’t remember anymore. The tickets were cancelled and refunded when all flights were grounded for the three days.

A week or so later, I was with my sister at a local football game. I can’t tell you if it was a college or high school game. My nephew, who was four or five at the time, had asked, “Who wants to go to a football game?” I heard “hot dogs and beer” so I was in. At one point in the game, a small passenger plane noisily flew over the stadium, and everyone stopped. We stopped and stared up at the plane.

Planes were no longer magical, technological wonders that had become mundane. They were no longer safe.

Usually, I ask a question and try to prompt some response or discussion below. That’s a marketing thing. I won’t ask anything this time, but you are welcome to post your thoughts below. Sometimes talking helps.

Friday, September 6, 2019

September SciFi and Fantasy Giveaway (Newsletter Signup)

Enter early, share often!

Summer is coming to an end! With the cooler weather on its way, what a better time to fill up your Kindle with new books? Ready to curl up with some fantastic SciFi and Fantasy books after a long day? We’ll help you get started!

These amazing authors are giving you a chance to win four fantastic books and a $20 Amazon Giftcard just for signing up for our Monthly Newsletters!


Participating Authors:

R.A. McCandless
Mack Little
Jenn Nixon
            S.A. Larsen

Get extra points for following us online and even more if you refer a reader friend to the giveaway!

By entering this giveaway you are signing up for the ALL FOUR AUTHORS NEWSLETTERS! We’ll never spam you, just update you on new releases, giveaways, contests, exclusive excerpts and more! Giveaway prize is US or UK Giftcard only.

If you’ve already signed up for the newsletter, please,
please, please, forward this on to someone who might be interested!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

A Nice Surprise Review—5 Stars

Looks like I won't have to kill anyone . . . today.

I was digging up a weird 2-star review that I received for THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE a few weeks back , and I stumbled on the following recent 5-star review, which really made my day. So I had to share it:

The last couple of years have brought a slew of wonderful steampunk adventures with resourceful, kick-ass heroines, and this one by McCandless is a worthy addition. Aubrey Hartmann is a veteran of recent war, having lost the lower part of one leg, and now works as a constable. Her prosthetic is a clockwork device that needs to be rewound regularly and isn’t a perfect fit but does keep her mobile, if in pain. As a result, she’s become addicted to laudanum (opium). Her current assignment involves investigating the murder of a druwyd (druid, local witch-doctor holy man) in a little town near the Fae-ruled Dark Wood. Here is where the world-building of The Clockwork Detective sharply deviates from the usual Victorian gears-and-whistles steampunk. Magic is not only real, it’s part of everyday life, and the human wars are overshadowed by the possibility of a terrible conflict with the Fae.

Aubrey’s research leads her into the Dark Wood to question the denizens there, those being centaurs, who are not only fierce fighters but wonderfully oblique and weird. The blending of Victorian mechanistic steampunk, mythology, and magic is seamless and believable. The story moves from murder mystery to international thriller to magical encounters of the terrifying kind. Aubrey herself is a wonderful combination of vulnerable addiction, resourcefulness, keen intelligence, and general all-around bloody-mindedness. I look forward to reading her further adventures!

The usual disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book, but no one bribed me to praise it. Although chocolates and fine imported tea are always welcome.

“Oblique and weird” is my favorite part of the entire review. That’s exactly what I was striving for with my fae-based centaurs. Totally made my day.  Thank you Deborah M!

What’s the weirdest compliment you’ve enjoyed?
Tell me in the comments below!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Death and Life of iPods

So friggin' sweet!

Based on trial and error, I’ve discovered that it’s an error to try washing your iPod.  As the helpful lady at Verizon once told me: electronics and water don’t mix.

There are no problems, only opportunities . . . at least, that’s what my wife told me as I mourned the loss of another electronic device to our evil, evil wash machine. What has that washer ever done for us, except get our clothes clean and smelling like a meadow of flowers in the spring!?

Too young. That iPod Nano 6th Generation was barely out of its teens!

Eventually, I had to stop crying. Mostly because my wife threatened that I’d get no more root beer floats if I “kept up this nonsense.”

The story becomes both more and less convoluted as we move forward.  A little of a year ago, in an attempt to rid myself of troublesome wires for my running headphones, I invited in a Kickstarter for what was claimed to be “The World’s First True Wireless Headphones” by EOZ Audio. The bragging went on from there, and being that sucker who was born many, many yesterdays ago, I shelled out for them.

Then, the problems-and-solutions started.
You bought what? For how much!?

The iPod Nano 6 lacks Bluetooth BUT There are no end of Bluetooth adapters designed specifically for this iPod BUT the fact that they’ll suck your battery dry faster than a legion of vampires in a blood bank is cleverly not stated in the literature BUT I solved this problem by purchasing a small, external battery BUT I now had a package roughly ten times the weight (I said roughly), required a cord, and added another thing that I had to haul around in my pocket while running.

Also, the EOZ Audio headphones didn’t work right. They kept dropping the signal, wouldn’t connect, became spotty, etc.

I assumed the Bluetooth adapter was the problem, so I figured I’d solve ALL those problems by upgrading to the iPod Nano 7. I found one CHEAP on eBay where the headphone jack didn’t work, but Bluetooth was fine.

Perfection!

Gently used.
Except, it wasn’t. The EOZ Audio headphones didn’t work right. They kept dropping the signal, wouldn’t connect, became spotty, etc. EOZ Audio sent me a new set of headphones, which also didn’t work right. Then, they stopped talking to me.

I reverted back to my trusty, loyal, iPod 6 and my old wired headphones. Surely, simplicity is best when it’s easiest—and doesn’t cost me more money. Which is how it ended up in my pants pocket, where it met an untimely demise during the best years of its life.

Also, thanks for staying with me this far.

With only the iPod Nano 7, and no headphones that would work, I did what I should have done in the first place: RESEARCH. A quick summary from a number of review sites and I’d found the truly wireless headphones that would work specifically for me as a runner: Anker Soundcore Liberty.

I LOVE THEM! They sit snugly in my ears, the sound is great, they have decent battery life and don’t suck the power from my iPod 7, and most of all, they don’t drop the signal, refuse to connect, or provide spotty playback.

I’ve only used them for a week, so I’m holding off on a ticker-tape parade . . . but I am saving up my ticker-tape!

What do you listen to and with?
Tell me in the comments below!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

September Giveaway (Newsletter Builder)

September is coming . . . and really should hurry up!

We’re doing another newsletter builder, giveaway in September.

This will include another $20 gift card and a four-volume eBook prize pack.

Of course, you can always just sign up for the newsletter, where giveaways happen every month, and you get the latest news on my various projects, appearances, and whatnots.

But if you want to wait for this particular newsletter sign up, it will start Sunday, September 1st and run through the end of the month.  There are some great writers being offered, including a little known steampunk novel.

If you’ve already signed up, or after you’ve signed up, please share with everyone you think might be interested!

2019 The Numbers - Revised


If this is wrong, I don't wanna be right!
This time it wasn’t me who was wrong.

Really, it wasn’t anyone.  It was just an oversight in the reporting.

A few days ago, I provided you an update on the sales for THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE. The numbers were good.  Very, very good.

Turns out, the numbers were even better than that. I’m still not in Stephen King/JK Rowling territory. I’m not even in S. Andrew Swann territory, but over the past six years I’ve seen some real improvement in the number of sales from quarter-to-quarter.

So, it’s sweeter than sweet to report the revised sales numbers for the first three months of release:

Quarter
Books Sold
Running Total
2 Quarter 2019
115
115

Eleven books isn’t that much more, but it will pay for some new D&D dice I’ve been eyeing recently! It is also as close to double the sales I saw in the first year for TEARS OF HEAVEN. I will always love my first book, just like any parent loves their children, but it's nice to see my steampunk novel doing so well.

If you’re still reading this, thank you. You’re very much the reason that all my books do any business whatsoever.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Company of the Damned by the Numbers

Wrong again, Hero!

As usual, I was wrong.

Also, thank you for proving me wrong.

The quarterly report for THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE arrived, and I was completely thrilled. The numbers were good. They’re never as good as an indie-author hopes. These aren’t Stephen King or even Hugh Howey numbers. You always hope that they report will show a couple of hundred sales. Really, any sales are reason enough for celebration.

That said, I’d thought I’d managed to sell at least 100 copies of TEARS OF HEAVEN the first year it released.  Nope.


A little better than half the goal I’d hoped for. Not bad for a brand new author writing in a niche of a sub-genre. HELL BECOMES HER performed well out of the gate, and sold 71 copies in its first quarter.

Things got a big murky after that release, and I’m too lazy to chase down the numbers for the first year of the sequel’s publication. That all said, I’ve seen some real success—as I would define it—from THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE.  The book released May 7th, 2019, and here are the results:

Quarter
Books Sold
Running Total
2 Quarter 2019
104
104

Yep!  The goal that I’d hoped to reach in the first year for my first book was achieved in the first quarter of release for my fourth book. Here's hoping I see some similar numbers of COMPANY OF THE DAMNED!

In the mean time, eat those edibles if you’ve got 'em!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Carol G. Gives COMPANY OF THE DAMNED Five Stars!

If you want something done right, get Del.

A beautifully written, and wonderfully on point review of COMPANY OF THE DAMNED:

If you like epic stories of good versus evil, with some innovative takes on the battle, this book is for you.

If you like complex characters with human flaws combined with imaginative powers, this book is for you.

If you like badass babes, this book is for you.

This is not a same-old, same-old story. Company of the Damned builds bridges between myths and fables, introducing the gods and creatures of old to the heavenly host in a unique take on what it might mean to fight for “good.” There is love and friendship, failure and victory, simple joy and beyond-human agony woven together in a fabulous story that was ALMOST worth the wait….OK, well worth the wait. I think the first two volumes help set the stage and bring the characters to life, but this book would also stand on its own, and honestly, I cannot rate it highly enough.

I WISH this was a paid testimonial, but nope. I just like the book.


Thursday, August 22, 2019

MidWest Book Review of The Clockwork Detective

If ever we needed Aubrey Hartmann!

Hahaha! I received the following email this morning from the Midwest Book Review:

Dear Robert McCandless:

I'm very pleased to announce that the August 2019 issue of our online book review magazine "Reviewer's Bookwatch" features a review of "TheClockwork Detective (Constable of Aqualinne Book 1)".

Reviewer's Bookwatch: August 2019
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575

Yeah, I don’t mind if MWB called me “Robert”. It’s a great name! Here’s the teaser for the review:

If ever we needed an Aubrey Hartmann, it's now. Because the sexually fluid, painkiller-addicted, clockwork-legged, fast-drinking, hard-talking (or maybe the other way round) constable who strides across McCandless' dizzying new world like a limping cross between Ripley and one of the later-model Terminators, is, quite simply, magnificent.

She takes shit from exactly NO men. Or women. Or weird supernatural beings, and is extremely unhealthy to be around. Fun, but lethal.

Did I mention steampunk? Not yet? Well, that's intentional.