Monday, July 15, 2019

Still No Day Spa at Camp

There are still no pictures of me.

On the homestretch of last week's camping trip, the Scoutmaster turned to me and noted, “I gotta say, Rob, I’m really impressed with your camping ability.”

I don’t camp.  I made this clear to him when he asked me to come on the trip six months ago.

I know how to camp, but I don’t.

One of my first camping experiences was “gold mining” with my father in the Toiyobe National Forest. Gold mining, in the McCandless dictionary, roughly translates as “fixing equipment that may or may not be used in the process of actual mining.” We didn’t use a tent. Instead, we had a sheet of Visqueen that we laid over a rope tied between two trees. It was open on either end, and I remember no end of bugs that came into the shelter. The first night, we slept in a down pour, in the dark, in what was apparently a creek bed that flooded.

So . . . yeah.

Since then, I’ve camped as a scout with Troop 220. We were a non-LDS troop in Bountiful. Including summers at Camp Steiner, we had a “woodcutting” camp, where we literally cut eight-foot logs, loaded them into the back of a tractor-trailer and brought them back to be cut into firewood. We sold the firewood as a fundraiser for our “snowmobile camp”.

Snowmobile camp was in West Yellowstone Montana and we stayed in a hotel.

If there were merit badges for either of these camps, I never got mine.

I’ve also camped with some excellent friends, hiking into the High Unitas and East Fork of the Bear. I didn't hate the camping, but what I learned is that I was there for the friendship. Camping is not a thing I actually enjoy. It's course, and rough, and irritating.  I also learned that pop-up tents are best for car camping, and that a blow-up mattress is your friend. 

I will patently refuse to do any camping where these two items are impractical.

Size matters.
Thus, this past week was rendered only mostly inconvenient by the requisite camping. I forgot my iPad, where I’d downloaded several hours of movies and television to watch, but I did have my Kindle with three or four novels. I’m still not certain what to make of the lady who commented, “All this beautiful nature surrounding us, and you’re reading a digital book?”

I'm not clear why reading was ok, but doing so on a modern convenience that didn't cost any trees to sacrifice their lives was not.

Perhaps she forgot her blow up mattress.

Food was served in a mess hall type commissary, and while it was hit or miss, the saving grace was that I didn’t have to cook it AND I didn’t have to watch the boys attempt to cook it. Each morning, I went on a run, looping around the camp twice, for a nice 3.5 miler. I’d grab a shower—so-called by the camp staff—then sit in my chair, read, and chase the shade to try to stay cool. During this time, my son was off at his climbing merit badge class, which took up the whole morning. After lunch, he and I would figure out an extra merit badge to work on before his Chess class.

Yep, he has his Chess merit badge now.  That’s a thing!

I ended up with a lot of stories, most of them of the “shaking my head” variety, but that didn’t make the trip any less enjoyable. I adopted the attitude that this was not my monkeys and not my circus. So long as there weren’t bugs in my tent, and the air mattress stayed reasonably full, I was in good shape.

They're weren't.  It did. I was.

Camping trip successful.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Updates and a Brief Hiatus

Stay angry, my friends!

A quick rundown of a lot of things that are going on in the coming months.

First, I’m taking a vacation. Not a real vacation. My oldest son is going to Scout camp, and I’ve been asked to be a parent volunteer. I’ve camped before, and I’m not bad at it, but I definitely don’t like it.

My idea of roughing it is no day spa.

This means I’m out for a week. Starting Thursday, July 4th, you’ll likely still see tweets from me if you follow my twitter but they’re mostly auto-tweets I set up ahead of time for this vacation.

Yes, even the funny ones.

Next up is the release of COMPANY OF THE DAMNED. The final version is with the copy editor now, and we have a tentative completion date for this month. That means if all goes well, I can hand it to my publisher and have a tentative release date either late August or early September. That means you should probably buy TEARS OF HEAVEN and HELL BECOMES HER now so you can be all caught up!

Company of the Damned? Yes, I'm interested.
Once I have a tentative release date, all the fun stuff starts for that book. Stay tuned for the cover release—it is SPECTACULAR.

If you run out of things to read, there's always THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE.

Speaking of which, I'm working with a wonderful artist on a piece of art that we will also be turning into some sweet, sweet swag available in August. So fans of Aubrey, Kerrigan or Nessus, you'll have a chance to own a picture of them!

The Riverside library reading was a smashing success, so I’m definitely going to do more of that stuff. Right now, I’ve lined up to attend the Book Fiend Readers Fest in Connecticut. This will happen November 9th, and YEP, I'm flying out to the east coast thingy . . . provided I'm not detained by ICE agents.

As soon as Facebook sorts out all their issues, I’ll create an event with details on my author page which will give you updates and reminders and such.

So that leaves September pretty open, but I’m working with some marketing people to make things happen. Hopefully, by the time I’m back from my little vacation, I’ll have more things lined up to share with people.

I’m also taking requests for conventions, places to do readings, etc. I’m not picky and I’m not proud.

If you’re people who know people, tell me in the comments and we’ll make something happen!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Library Reading Wins and Lessons

Surrounded by books and readers!

Author readings are a fun thing. I’ve attended a few in my time, and they’re generally enjoyable. Some deviation is always bound to creep into the system, so I thought I’d share my recent experience in the hopes that if you attend one, or are invited to read at one, you can be a bit better prepared. This isn’t a comprehensive list, by all means, but these are the major learning points for me:

People Will Buy the Book(s)
Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who attended whether in person or online! I really appreciated the support and the comments were fantastic. I was floored by how many books we sold. Not just THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE, but for those at the library we offered a deal on TEARS OF HEAVEN and HELL BECOMES HER and sold copies of those too. Definitely bring your current release, but also have other releases that you’d like to share.

Lockdown the Library Early
There are a couple of points on this one. The where and when of the thing are important, and the earlier you know, the better, so you can announce and advertise. Also, some libraries are willing to manage the sales so that the author can focus on the reading. Originally, that was the case for me, but at the last minute, the library decided they couldn’t handle it. We had to scramble to get cash and electronic payment in place.

Have Your Streaming Services Ready
It's like he hears us, but doesn't.
A lot of support came in for attending the event from folk who would gladly have been in the audience. Distance prevented that. It wasn’t until a couple of days before that I realized Facebook is set up to stream quite easily. You can stream for up to 4 hours on a single event, which should easily cover the entire reading and Q&A. You can also stream on YouTube, but I wasn’t set up for that, so we missed an opportunity to tap another potential audience.

Have an external power source for your camera, phone, pad for the streaming. They’re not expensive. We used an old Anker external battery that I picked up about six years ago.

Also, a tripod is necessary. My wife’s arm gave out about half-way through, and when she tried to switch, the stream was cut. We got it back up and running, but a steady tripod would have solved all those issues.

Be Prepared to Take Questions
While I was certainly fired up to talk to those in attendance, the thing we overlooked was allowing online viewers to ask question and make comments. If we’d thought about it at all, we could have had a computer running, where the online folk could interact directly with me. This would have been a really great thing to offer, and we’ll definitely make it available next time.

Thank you again, so much, to everyone who attended, both in-person and online. Your support was felt throughout the entire event, and we had such a great time. We’ll definitely do this again as soon as possible and keep you posted on the details!

What suggestions do you have for future readings? Tell me in the comments below!

Friday, June 28, 2019

The Day Before and Yesterday

I'll take pretty much any excuse to get my shirt off!

Crohn’s is kinna a crappy disease to have. It causes inflammation/swelling in the digestive system, which causes bloating, cramping, and pain. At the point where the pain is a real problem you can’t take a narcotic, because they slow down your digestive system, which is your problem to begin with!

While I’m always in some level of pain, it’s usually minor enough that I’m used to it. I don’t really notice it unless someone—like my doctor or nurse—asks about it. It’s just part of the daily grind.

Then, there are days like yesterday.

To be more specific, Wednesday evening through Thursday morning.

When I finally had some relief, my stomach felt like a used punching bag. Not the kind that you can pick up on Cragistlist either.

Broken, bruised inside and out, and in no condition to be of use to anyone.

It’s not the worst pain event I’ve suffered through, but it certainly wasn’t something I couldn’t shrug off. It was one of the times I had to seriously consider going to the E.R.

I’m never wholly sure what the trigger might be. Stress, to be certain. Sometimes foods don’t agree with me.

Either way, it’s not a fun time.

But I’m still here. Yep, I’m still here.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Help Me! - Dragon Awards

Sure, it's pretty enough. But can it fight!?

While awards are both an ego-stroke and ultimately meaningless, they’re still a thing. For smaller writers and publishers, they are an invaluable way to get the word out to potential readers and reviewers. There’s nothing like winning an award to make folk sit up and take notice in an otherwise obscure book.

One of the major awards out there, the Dragon Awards, is completely reader-nominated. It's also a really groovy-looking awards!

This means it requires quite a groundswell of votes just to get onto the ballot, but that's wholly doable with YOUR HELP!

Here’s where you come in. If you liked THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE and would like to see more of this kind of writing, please go to the DragonCon Awards nomination form, and nominate me.  It’s so simple, a caveman could do it, but since there aren’t any cavemen or women anymore (at least that the government wants you to know about) it’s up to modern humans to do this work.

It will only take you a few seconds and some key clicks, but it will mean the world to me:

The Clockwork Detective by R.A. McCandless

That’s all the more information that’s needs.

Thank you!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A Short, Short Time Ago

It's like all they do is argue!

Perhaps the world is becoming a better place after all. I mean, not immediately an order of magnitude better, but baby-steps toward no longer pulling the overly-patient dog’s ear and gnawing.

Two recent events have given me a new hope.

The First
Yesterday morning at the gas station, half the pumps were wrapped with yellow “Caution” tape and “Out of Service” boots were on the pump handles. This forced me to have to pull forward and then back into the stall to reach a pump. As I was doing so, another truck pulled into the station, and not immediately aware of the situation began to pull in behind me, blocking me from my pump.

I’ll admit, I said a swear.

Several, in fact.

Imagine all the people . . . 
Then, miracle of miracles, the driver realized what he’d done, and started to back out. Even more startling was that the truck was pulling a trailer. This made backing out a bit more problematic, but the driver did it.

He did the right thing.

I walked over and shook his hand.

The Second
Today, while I was running on my lunch, I saw an older couple, perhaps late 80s or early 90s. They’d clearly gone for a walk. The woman was sitting on the ground and her husband was standing over her, holding her cane. As I ran toward them, another couple, perhaps in their 60s, pulled over, got out and went to the woman. I was close enough now, I slowed to a walk, and it was clear that the elderly couple didn’t speak very good English. The husband was nodding and smiling, but he was clearly distressed. The wife seemed confused and didn’t want to put anyone out. The second couple who had arrived before me asked if she needed help getting up, and the husband nodded vigorously, while his wife tried to wave us away.

I felt like a third wheel until the “younger” couple struggled to lift the wife up off the ground. She was unsteady at best and causing them some trouble. I reached down and offered my arms. The woman looked up at me, confused for a moment, but I smiled—which is a thing I do a lot more now since I’ve had my teeth straightened—and she warmed right up.

“Thank you,” she said. “Thank you.”

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Cover Reveal for Daniel Peyton's REMNANT

Pretty groovy cover reveal from Daniel Peyton:

The year is 2522. Anna is a Remnant—a secret Christian in a world that has banned any form of religion.

She is also an astro-geologist working with her Robot, named Z, for the Planetary Science Commission.

The PSC has worked for 200 years to find alien life on another planet, and finally, after two centuries, a primitive lifeform has been discovered. Faced with the reality of evolved primitives on a forested moon, Anna begins to question all she has ever believed.

Anna and Z travel to the newly-discovered moon in search of answers, but a terrible accident leaves them stranded. Faced with dangerous natives and unfamiliar surroundings, Anna and Z stumble upon a conspiracy that has universal implications.

Will Anna discover the truth about the moon and its inhabitants?

About the Author

Daniel enjoys writers' conventions as well as genre conventions. Connecting with avid readers is a
joy that he never passes up. He has been invited multiple times to speak at local schools about writing and his work. He has been a featured author for several radio and blogtalk programs, and is a returning guest and sometime substitute co-host for the Brian and Sherri radio program, where he helps interview other authors. Outside of writing and promoting his work, Daniel enjoys reading, dancing, music, drawing, cooking, and embroidery. He is a long time member of the Embroiderers Guild of America where he has taught classes in stitching. He plays four different instruments and has sung with the Oklahoma State Universities Presidents Masterworks. He has years of stage work behind him in tap, jazz, and ballet as well as Okinawan traditional and modern dance and music. Each week you can find him teaching classes at his church in Sunday school as well as the Life Development Institute of First Baptist Church of Morristown, Tennessee.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Five Honest Stars

But if my author is a hot mess, why aren't I?

This review of THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE made me laugh and made my morning.  I love the honesty of it all, and she gave me five stars. So I’ve got that going for me.  Which is nice.

The usual caveat applies - Netgalley, free copy, blah blah.

I must admit I was a little surprised by this book. It really sounds like the author has chucked everything but the kitchen sink in, given it a stir, and hoped for the best. There's obvious steampunk (clockwork leg, airships, all the usual suspects), mythical beings in the form of centaurs of the Fae, druids, and a whodunnit!

It really should be a hot mess.

But, somehow, against all odds, it's really quite engaging. It clips along at a good pace, the secondary characters are as well-drawn as the main ones, and it was altogether an enjoyable read.

It's unashamedly 'first in a series', but still holds up well. I look forward to reading the next one.

She isn’t too far off either. I transfer all “hot messes” into my life, in exchange for a piece of my soul.  Thanks Joanne!

On a scale of 1 to 10, how hot of a mess am I?

Friday, June 7, 2019

My First Fan Art

It doesn't get better than this!
Fan art is totally a thing. The documentary The People vs. George Lucas is about 80% art by the fans who love, hate, or love-to-hate Star Wars. Authors also get fan art from time to time, and I’ve always been stunned/jealous of any writer whose readers who were so moved by their experience that they had to express it and share it.

Until today.

Abby, age 11, drew this image of Aubrey Hartmann from THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE, and I haven’t touched the floor since I saw it. It’s just about the best thing I’ve ever seen. The dear steampunk constable has never looked better!

This has everything, right down to Aubrey’s cane!

My first fan art is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

Thank you Abby Prewitt, age 11. Thank you so much! You’ve made my entire month!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Author Reading and Book Signing Event - Riverside Library

Mark Your Calendars!

So, here’s the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT:

On Saturday, June 29th at 1pm, I’ll be doing a reading and book signing at the Riverside Main Library. The even will include a ten-minute reading from THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE followed by a 50-minute question and answer period, and then a book signing for all attendees.

If you buy the book at the library, you’ll get $5 off THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE (regular price $20) plus you can get an additional $5 off any of my other books: TEARS OF HEAVEN and HELL BECOMES HER (regular price $10). 

You’ll also be helping out the Riverside Library, as they’ll receive a percentage of every sale.

The important details:

Where:         Riverside Main Library
                     3581 Mission Inn Ave.
                     Riverside, CA 92501
When:          Saturday, June 29th 1:00PM
What:           Author Read and Book Signing

What passage from THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE do you think I should read? Tell me in the comments!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Sick Today - Big News Tomorrow

Dying, but not dead.

Either I can’t shake this cold that I’ve had for three weeks, or I’m rocking back-to-back colds. Either way, I’m not up to properly making the “BIG ANNOUNCEMENT” today. It will keep until tomorrow.

Stay tuned, and give me your home cold remedy in the comments!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Nancy Christie Interviewed Me

Is that your final answer, Mr. McCandless?
Maybe this will remove some of the mystique from being a published author, but here we go.
Interviews are interesting things. Most interviews you read aren’t conducted face-to-face, but rather email-to-email. A series of questions are sent by the interviewer, and then the interviewee has a certain deadline to send their responses. The closest I’ve come to the interviews shown on TV and movies are online podcasts, like this excellent one with Hank Garner.

So if you’re reading an interview with a writer, chances are neither participant heard the other’s voice.

For novelists, this is both wonderful and horrifying. On the one hand, we’re writers, so writing answers should be a cake walk. On the other, we’re long form, and packaging ideas in short, witty, and interesting ways isn’t generally our bag.

I’ve done a good number of written interviews over the past five years since I was published. One of my favorites was with Nathan Hall, because that was more of an Ask Me Anything where we chatted through Facebook’s messenger. It was still a written responses, but it seemed a lot more spontaneous, and I felt I found my interviewing voice.

Nancy Christie offered to interview me, and I have to say it was one of the most interesting experiences of my life. She provided one of the most comprehensive set of questions I’ve ever responded to. We delved into so many aspects of genre, writing, and background. This is the first of a four part series of interviews that we did.

Tell me a little about yourself. What type of writing do you do? If you do more than one kind or prefer one genre over another, what type is your favorite or most satisfying?

I was born at a very young age, but grew rapidly from there. I’ve always been interested in writing. In grade school, when we were assigned vocabulary words to write into sentences, I used the opportunity to tell a full story.

I’ve been writing in multiple sub-genres, starting with fantasy, but also urban fantasy and steampunk. I’ve dabbled in a few others, writing some science fiction and horror shorts, but mostly I find that I prefer my main genres.

I find it most satisfying to create a world that is at once fantastic and believable. I appreciate any reader who is willing to suspend their disbelief long enough for me to tell the whole story.

The remaining three parts will release on June 10th, 17th, and 24th respectively.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Old Blue Eyes

Brownest eyes I ever did see!

My youngest is now seven. He’s a solid seven, although he’s known he knows everything since he was about four or five.  He’s not afraid to tell you either, and, like certain politicians, he doesn’t back down when he’s wrong.

A few days ago, when I was feeling less ill, he was telling me how he was born with brown eyes and they changed to blue.  This isn’t true.  He’s always had blue eyes.

He was adamant on this point.

Even offering my eye-witness account of his birth, and seeing his blue eyes for the first time didn’t sway him.  He knew he’d had brown eyes that had changed.

He finally forced me to dig out some baby pictures and, sure enough, he had blue eyes in all of them.

I can’t even tell you how satisfying it is to win an argument with a seven-year-old.

What’s the oddest argument you’ve ever been in?  Tell me in the comments!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Five Star Review from Eric Lahti

This book. So much awesome!

I really can’t say enough good things about Eric Lahti’s work. His HENCHMEN series is so fun! GREETINGS FROM SUNNY ALUNA is such a brilliant mix of hard-boiled detective noir and urban fantasy and Chinese wuxia that I want to steal it and try to pass it off as my own.

Plagiarism is wrong, kids, and I would never do that. Still, this book . . . so awesome!

It’s even better when you manage to impress someone like Lahti with your own writing. Even though I was sick over Memorial weekend, and remain sick this morning, I’m a little more floaty from reading his review. I assure you, it’s not all the drugs:

Steampunk was never really my bag. It’s far too easy to fall into the trap of detailed explanations of how clockwork and steam power and mold the world. At some point in some Steampunk stories, the tech gets advanced enough that you find yourself reading about how tiny switches bring intelligence to artificial creations. When that happens, I often wonder why the hell the author didn’t just write a cyberpunk story and call it good. Maybe it’s the lusty allure of pocketwatches and good old-fashioned steam-powered cars. You know, all the stuff we see every day, only run by analog water vapor.

Those are the stories where it’s obvious the author was just trying to cash in on the steampunk genre rather than adding something unique to it.

I’m pleased to say The Clockwork Detective doesn’t fall into that trap. There are a few descriptions of a steam-powered world – Aubrey’s leg, the dirgibles that plow the skies like iron ships across an ocean of air – but mostly R.A. McCandless just lets the story be the story. As a result, it’s not the tedious read that some Steampunk falls into.

You haven’t even gotten to the best line, yet!

Let me know what your favorite part of the story is in the comments below!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Forging the Blade of Black Vengeance

Oh Ethan.

This isn’t something I’ve ever considered, and usually the phrase is “quenched in the blood of my enemies” but I enjoy a good jaunt down the theoretical forging of blades, so let’s do some math.

There is about 5 grams of iron in an average male body. The average sword is between 1-2kg of iron (average being very loosely defined here) and so we can use 1.5kg as our mean for discussion. Thus, we need 1500 grams of iron.  So, the numbers would totally work if that were the only figure we were looking at:

5 grams (per enemy) x 300 (enemies) = 1500 grams

However, that’s not how biology works. Some of that 5 grams of iron is distributed in bone marrow, tissues, etc. This means that because extracting from other area than blood is tricky at best, and doesn’t meet the phrasing’s criteria, we need to work from some different numbers. We have to go by how much iron there is in blood—about .5 grams per liter. The average male has 4.7 liters of blood.

Now, based on this, we can really get to the number of “enemies” we need in order to forge a sword made from their blood.

We still need our 1500 grams of iron, which means we'll require 3000 liters of blood. If we allow for full exsanguination of a body:

4.7 liters of blood x .5 grams = 2.35 grams per enemy (GPE)
1500 / 2.35 GPE = 638.29 (enemies)

Hey Bob, I'm gonna need some more blood over here!
We'll need the blood of 639 men in order to forge our blade.

Full exsanguination isn’t actually going to be possible, and we haven’t accounted for any loss of material in the forge process either. To be safe, we're looking more like 1,000 enemies to get the blood we need.

Although, by the time we get half-way, unless our last name is Targaryan, we should be pretty well revenged.

I don't know how "neat" this is . . . in fact it sounds quite messy.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Company of the Damned Cover is Finished!

My ax-sword should convince you!

Eleven out of Ten Stars! Professional, Fast, and Easy to Work with.

I’ve worked with a number of cover artists over the past couple of years—some were good, some were mediocre, one or two were horrible. Julie Nicholls of JMN ART is one of the best. I had been looking for a competent fantasy cover artist for COMPANY OF THE DAMNED when someone shared one of their covers by Julie, and when I did my research, I was impressed. She captured the tone and feel so well, and her covers were very professional. I had to wait almost a year, but it was worth it. We had a number of conversations over that time period, and I watched with eager jealousy as others received their covers. When it was finally my turn, Julie was laser-focused on me, my needs, and making certain I was happy with ever aspect. In mere hours, she turned around a draft for approval, and in days I had a beautiful cover that actively conveys the story I’m trying to tell.

I’m eager to work with Julie again, and can’t wait to share my new cover with readers!

Monday, May 13, 2019

More Chances to Win!

Enter early, enter often!

Don’t forget the May Giveaway newsletter sign up! 100% NO SPAM GUARANTEE! 

You can win a $25 gift card from Amazon, plus a five pack of ebooks, including THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE:

Books participating include:

The Clockwork Detective—R.A. McCandless
The Lucky Collection—Jenn Nixon
Being Mrs. Dracula—Faith Marlow
Bad Religion—Jim Winter
Starblood—Carmilla Voiez

You get extra points for following us online, and more for referring other readers to the giveaway!

A Five Star Clockwork!

Baroness Mathilda Ruggenall-Squirell approves.

What a lovely review!

“Oh wow.

I didn't know what to expect, and what I received is a whirlwind of characters and events.

I bought this book as it combines fantasy with steam-punk and some amazing detective work. We have a powerful war hero as the main character - and whilst she is looking forward to a comfortable anonymous job in the big city, fate - and the empire - intervene.

Humans, Fae, Hybrids, Royalty, blunderbuss's - this has something for everyone!”

Thanks Ross Johnson!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Review - Louann Carroll

Rockin' the Constabulary!

What a lovely surprise, and the words are so kind.  Thank you so much Louann Carroll for reviewing THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE:

You have to love the jacket, right? The book is as good as the cover and is as intricately designed. Imagine worlds where clockwork runs society without missing a beat. I can only imagine the plotlines where the author thought up the gadgets and gizmos that run his amazing world.

The Clockwork Detective
Strong and courageous, Detective Aubrey Hartmann rocks the constabulary with her dedication, intelligence, and determination. She carries a boatload of medals, thinks like a genius, and solves the impossible crimes. Her missing leg, attained in the Imperial battlefield is made of clockwork, and other than a few twinges our detective sets the world of crime on its ear with her, and I quote, 'fearsome reputation'. I will add well deserved too.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Morning Surprise - Five Stars!

Capital. Just capital!

Opening my inbox this morning revealed a lovely five-star review from Laura Fuller:

I jumped at the chance to preview a steampunk mystery and R.A. McCandless did not disappoint! McCandless writes an engaging, strong, LGBTQ+ heroine who is fearless, intelligent, and sassy. I look forward to reading more of Aubrey's adventures.

Equal parts mystery and steampunk, this book will satisfy a wide audience of readers. The cast was interesting and well-developed, and the well-paced action made this one difficult to put down.

Thanks Laura!  This made my day.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Help an Indie Author

I'm doing my part!

There's only FIVE MORE DAYS until release day!  What can you do today to help an indie author out?

“A wonderful, fully realized, utterly plausible steampunk world!”
— James P. Blaylock

The May Giveaway newsletter signup (100% NO SPAM GUARANTEE). You can win an ebook versions of this and three other books, and a $20 Amazon gift card!

You can join NetGalley and get an Advanced Reader Copy so you can leave an early review:

R.A. McCandless has succeeded in creating a new world with believable characters in an intriguing mystery with the potential to become classic.
— Keri B. Media

You can also leave a review on GoodReads, and, on May 7th, on Amazon, and on Barnes & Noble.

From the first page it's clear that world-building is McCandless's superpower. Between the Haenlein, the developing city of Aqualinne, and the backwoods town of Sankt Andra, I felt immersed in a surreal fantasy world where old meets new.
—Jodi Perkins

Then, you can tell others.  Tweet, share, like, gift. There are so many ways to help an indie author succeed, and keep them generating the kind of stories that you enjoy reading.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

It's Always Something

This might be an exaggeration.

As a project manager, life is all about milestones and deadlines. If you build a little sway in your scope, everything tends to go off without a hitch. There’s always something, but for the most part, schedules, reminders, and consistent updates mitigate the risk.

That’s what my world is all about.

Enter my oldest son.

Normally, this kid is an angel. Sometimes, he’s an annoying pre-teen. Once in a while, he’s a complete disaster.

We were on-time-toward-running-late yesterday, when suddenly . . .

“Dad?” he called from upstairs.

I could hear the concern in his voice and the project manager inside me cringed. Mental calculations told me that we had a window of about five minutes for any delays.

“Ok,” he said, “I was flushing some toilet paper and—”

“And it overflowed,” I finished for him. “Ok, no problem. Thank you for telling me.”

I ran to my bathroom to retrieve the plunger (forgetting that we had one in the upstairs bathroom too) and that’s when I heard it.  The sound of my carefully laid plan breaking to the tune of a veritable waterfall flowing from my bathroom ceiling from the lake that had been the floor above me.

“How many times did you try to flush the toilet?” I asked him as I ran up the stairs, plunger in hand.

“Five or six.”

Did you cringe?  I cringed.  It wasn’t as bad as you might think, but it was still bad. The toilet was still overflowing, water running down the sides with every step I took. Like a video game ninja throwing shuriken, I tossed down every towel within reach, pushed the plunger into the toilet, and got to work. Three seconds later, the toilet drained and then it was just a matter of cleaning up not just one, but two bathroom floors.

Here’s hoping my space heater isn’t fried!

So yeah, it’s always something.

Monday, April 29, 2019

May Day Give Away!

Enter early, enter often!

Summer is almost here, and it’s a great time to stock up on new books.

Starting May 1st, Aubrey Hartmann and The Clockwork Detective are participating in the May Giveaway newsletter signup (100% NO SPAM GUARENTEE). You can win an ebook versions of this and three other books, and a $20 Amazon gift card!

Books participating include:

The Clockwork Detective—R.A. McCandless
The Lucky Collection—Jenn Nixon
Bad Religion—Jim Winter
Starblood—Carmilla Voiez

You get extra points for following us online, and more for referring other readers to the giveaway!

Entries will start Wednesday, May 1st, so watch this site for more details!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Ten Days Left - Pre-Order Sales

Steampunk Cats Agree!

Ten more days, folks!

THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE has already generated some interesting buzz. A couple of good reviews, one or two odd ones. Plus, the Godfather of Steampunk gave his blessing:

“This is my kind of book: a wonderful, fully realized, utterly plausible steampunk world with a dynamite plot, great characters, and the best dirigibles this side of anywhere. I hope there’s more to come.”

—James P. Blaylock
World Fantasy Award-Winning Author

Pre-order sales—from my perspective—have been strong. Encouragingly strong. We’ll have to wait to see what the actual numbers end up being, but as of now, I’ve “sold” more copies of this book than what I did in the first two quarters for Tears of Heaven.

It will be interesting to see how well it does against Hell Becomes Her. Which outpaced Tears in its first quarter alone.

Either I’m getting better as a writer, or I’m getting better at marketing.

Either way, I’m one step closer to being a starving writer, suffering for my art!


Feel free to get in on the fun, while the pre-order savings is still in effect!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Monarch Mission Files: Conspiracy by @JennNixon

#SciFi #Mystery #RomanticElements

On Sale April 23rd 2019

Mari Yosoto has been keeping a dark and dangerous secret from everyone for the past three years. No one would believe her anyway, her ex-fiancĂ© had seen to that. Instead of wallowing in misery, she stays busy, shuttling cargo to the Moon and back, enjoying the easy work and time alone. An old EarthCorps acquaintance asks for her help, and Mari can’t say no, even if it means working with the ex’s former best friend.

Although Trevor Nash took the missing person’s job to help his former commanding officer, deep down he needed to see Mari again. After trying and failing to find out what happened to her, Trevor makes the best of an odd situation, hoping he can remind Mari of their budding friendship and finally get some answers. When the mission goes sideways and they find the not-so-missing girl, a centuries-old conspiracy theory comes to light and the only thing more unfathomable is learning Mari’s secret.

Together with their newly formed ragtag team, Mari and Trevor team up and undertake a mission unlike anything either of them has faced before with life-altering and possibly deadly consequences.

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Nash was already saying ‘we’, a team building exercise everyone had taken in EarthCorps training. He lifted off the hover car's bumper, moving to the driver’s side and jutting his chin toward the passenger’s door. He was always a good, fair guy, much more so than his best frecking friend. “Happy to give you a lift home, get clothes and whatnot?”
“Nope, everything new. I have ten thousand K plus to spend. Take me to Walzon, they have what I need.” Mari shrugged, slipping into the other side of the very rounded off hover car, hating the trippy translucent paint. The aluminum they used made the vehicles less sturdy. She liked hard steel, which is why she enjoyed flying. Even the Personal Flying Vehicles were still made of metal, it was hard to trust anything less.
“Buckle’s auto, just lift—” Nash smirked, lifting his arm.
Mari gasped when the belt secured her against the seat, strapping down both her arms.
She shut her eyes.
Beep, beep, beep.
The seatbelt moved into place, freeing her right arm, which reached out and clamped onto the door handle.
“Mari?” Nash’s voice was soft, concerned. She knew why. She had three years to replay those moments in her head, listening to the voices in the surgical suite when she woke. He was there too, in the background with the ex, she remembered what they both had said.
After a deep breath, her grip went lax and she tucked her left arm over the belt before glancing over. “Ready when you are.”
Nash’s head tilted. “Mari. We’re gonna be in tight quarters for a week, regardless how fast this ship is. Can you do this?”
“It’s not claustrophobia.” Deep inside, Mari didn’t actually know if she still had the guts to do something like this again and when his gaze softened, she remembered something else Nash had said after she woke in the surgery suite. I hope she leaves your ass. It was the last thing she heard him say to the ex before she passed out from the pain. Her chuckle came out more tersely than she meant, so she shrugged. “We should probably find a Do-All-Stop and get a drink after we shop…if we’re working together, you need to know what you getting into. Well, most of it.”

Find Jenn Online