New FROGS OF DOOM Review: “Tim Byrd is one heckuva author!”

A wonderful new reader review of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom is up on Amazon:

Kudos Are well deserved!, February 11, 2014 *****For the uninitiated, the book is a fast-paced, cliffhanger-packed, pulp-style adventure story suitable for all ages. It’s also on sale in honor of Valentine’s Day through Sunday for only $3.99 (usual price: $6.99).

Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom

Reading the Detectives (Song of the Week, 2/7/14)

PI

I’ve been reading to Nydia since last year (we began with Robert Devereaux’s excellent Santa Steps Out, which has been mentioned a few times before on this blog), and lately I’ve focused on introducing her to one of my favorite writers, the late great Robert B. Parker (whose strong impact on my life I wrote about here). The trend began with a viewing of Appaloosa, Ed Harris’s awesome film of one of Parker’s Hitch & Cole westerns (both of which I reviewed here), a nearly perfect movie but for a painful, hideous, off-key performance by Renee Zellweger, though everyone else is wonderful and I think the flick has Viggo Mortensen’s best performance. Then I read the sequel, Resolution, out loud to Nyd (it benefitted from exactly no Zellweger).

This naturally led to discussions of Parker’s most famous character, Spenser, who was, of course, a lot better on the page than he was on TV (Robert Urich did a pretty good job with him, but GOOD GOD Joe Mantegna was miscast like a Zellweger in the last telefilms made of Parker’s books). So I read to her the Edgar Award winning Promised Land, the fourth book but the novel in which the key elements that people tend to associate with Spenser (especially his relationship with Susan Silverman and the presence of the menacing-yet-honorable mob enforcer Hawk) really clicked into place. (This was also the book originally adapted for the Spenser: For Hire pilot, I’m sure for the same reasons). She loved it, and I really enjoyed rereading the book many years after I originally read it.

So, in celebration of our Parkerish season, today’s Song of the Week is an unusual choice: the cool sax intro of the show Spenser: For Hire. If you were also a fan of Spenser, Jesse Stone, Hitch & Cole, or any other Parker creations, feel free to comment below.

Valentine’s Sale: DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM $3.99! (Three Bucks Off!)

DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOMI love readers. I particularly love my readers, and I love getting more of them. So, in celebration of the upcoming Valentine’s holiday, a day dedicated to love, I am putting the digital version of my novel Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom on sale through Valentine’s weekend, ending February 16 at midnight Eastern Time.

The sale price is just $3.99. Usual price is $6.99.

The book is an old-fashioned pulp adventure told through a modern lens, written for all ages; I hear from kids as young as eight, and grown-ups up into their eighties. It is fully illustrated by Australian comics whiz Gary Chaloner, and when I say fully illustrated, I mean it. There are a lot of cool pictures in this book. It is a labor of love, a celebration of pulp fiction, families, literature, and battles against armies of man-frogs out to destroy the world.

A Frog of Doom

The sale price is in effect at Amazon (Kindle) and at DriveThru Fiction (epub, mobi, and PDF).

Please share this post as widely as you are willing to your friends on Facebook and Google+ and Twitter and Pinterest etc. And if you enjoy Frogs of Doom and really want to help out this dashing author who’s desperately trying to make ends meet, please consider writing up an honest review. It can be just a few lines, but all reviews are helpful, even the not-so-great ones. On your blog or Goodreads or B&N or anywhere is good, but the most helpful in reaching a lot of people is, at this point, Amazon.

Thanks for reading, and stay Wilde!

10(ish) Books

It’s one of those memes spreading across Facebook, but one that actually has some merit (to my mind) in that it is designed to engage folks in conversations about books they love:

Rules: In your status line, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and don’t think too hard – they don’t have to be the “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you.

I like that. I like that it specifies “books that have stayed with you in some way” rather than your all-time favorites. “Ones that have touched you.” I wouldn’t even start trying to list my favorite ten books of all time, but I’m happy to list a few favorites that moved me and now come to mind.

I also like the exercise well enough to share it here, for posterity, rather than as just a mote of data washing by in the social media stream. And I won’t simply list the books, I’ll tell you something about them, and about what they mean to me. (This also fits in with my recent pledge to get back to regularly reviewing books I read).

And I’ll do it now. Here they are, in no particular order:

Something_wicked_this_way_comes

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury This one would be on my list of all-time favorites if I ever made it. A tale of two small town boys, friends, born on opposite sides of midnight Halloween night, facing the surreal and terrifying threats of a dark circus that comes to town one chill night. This is a book about childhood and magic and dreams and libraries and laughter and books. Ray Bradbury was the writer who inspired me to officially decide I was going to be a writer, and this is his very best. It also makes me think of my best friend of many years, Rusty, the Will Halloway to my Jim Nightshade in the dyad of our youth.

WintersTale

Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin Another wonderful book, an epic tale of fantasy and magic realism which explores New York City and life from all sorts of whimsical and tragic directions. I don’t know much about Mark Helprin as a person (I do know he supported and wrote speeches for Bob Dole, which deeply disappointed me at the time but seems a nearly insignificant fault in light of the monstrous Republicans who replaced Dole on the national scene), but he’s a brilliant writer. This book made me laugh out loud (there’s a brilliantly cartoonish gang of ne’er-do-wells in its pages), fall in love, and cry. It’s an overflowing treasure chest of literary wonder. (Apparently it’s now a movie, but I guarantee you should read the book before, or instead of, seeing it.)

LookingForRachelWallace

Looking For Rachel Wallace by Robert B. Parker Many of you will know the private detective Spenser from the old Robert Urich TV show Spenser: For Hire, which, as such adaptations go, was pretty good; Urich was personable, growing into the character over time, and his costar Avery Brooks was the definitive Hawk. I wanted to have a Spenser book here because Spenser — and his creator — have been great personal and professional influences on me for years. But there are a lot of Spenser novels, so the question was, which to feature? I decided to go with the very first I read, in which Spenser, manly man with a poet’s soul, is hired to bodyguard a rabidly feminist lesbian writer who most definitely doesn’t like having a seeming brute like him around. The interplay between the two as they intelligently argue sexual politics, along with Spenser’s relationship with his beloved Susan Silverman and the easy action of the tale, hooked me for life. Spenser is the thinking man’s gumshoe, big and brawny but just as quick with a Yeats quote as he is with his fists, and Parker rarely fails to deliver the goods. Continue reading

I’m Batman (ABC Wednesday, 1/22/14)

I'm Batman

I’m Batman.

That may seem a cocky statement. I am not the world’s greatest detective. I am not the most accomplished hand-to-hand combatant on the planet. I am not a scientist/inventor with an unending inventory of cool gadgetry to rival that of Doc Savage. I don’t battle the forces of evil night after night wearing an incredibly cool batsuit.

But there’s a deeper truth here. It’s not that I’m projecting some Mary Sue wish onto this comic book character, or that I’m patterning my life in any way after the life of Bruce Wayne (though his money would certainly be welcome). Rather, there are a set of resonances in the character of Batman which, you might say, send me a signal. This has been so since I was a little kid, watching Adam West on television, even though I despised that show, just because nothing else was on. I wanted Batman like he was in the comics. Dark, agile, clever. Drawn by Neal Adams with no laugh track. Not cheesy as hell. And haunted…as I was haunted.

I didn’t consciously realize that last bit then, and not for many years. But Batman and I share something besides blue eyes and square jaws: loss. Terrible, heart-rupturing loss.

Everyone knows about Bruce Wayne’s loss: the gunshots in the alley, the clatter of falling pearls, the bodies on the ground. Fewer know the less operatic tale of my loss: a teenaged mother, riding home from her restaurant job to see her baby, her life crushed out in a high velocity encounter with a careless driver.

Loss drives us like a poisonous fuel.

For years, I thought I’d recovered from whatever trauma I’d suffered when my mother died. I had been so young, I couldn’t remember her. She was just an ancestor, if a recent one, no more a part of my life, of me, than a great grandmother I’d never known. But that was naive. Over the years, as depression kept me from the life I wanted, I realized that many of the traumas I brought into my life were refractions of the loss. Somewhere deep inside me was that small child, screaming over my mother’s body. Is it any wonder I found it easy to identify with Batman?

I had no Alfred in my life to raise me, to look after me. My father was a half-step away from cotton mill white trash, and a mean ass drunk. Over the years, he brought in two stepmothers, both cruel. He and they weren’t my family, they were my rogues gallery, the sideshow villains who plotted my destruction in nefariously neurotic ways. Batman’s villains are archetypal, each reflecting something within. The Joker is his mania, his enjoyment of the pain he brings to bear. The Riddler is his compulsion for mental challenge, Bane and Killer Croc his drive for physical dominance. The Scarecrow is his fear and despair. And Catwoman is his playfulness and his libido, trying to break into (or, rather, out of) the adamantine safe that is his heart.

Batman — Bruce Wayne — is the sort of man I strive to be: a successful man, a productive man, a noble man. A man who helps. A man who uses his anger and pain and loss not to hide or lash out at the world, but to fight the darkness (within and without) and keep it at bay. You may really love the Dark Knight, and thrill to his adventures, as millions do. But I’ve lived his dark night, I’ve fought its overwhelming darkness.

Because I’m Batman.

Mourning

B

I’ll return next Wednesday with the letter C. I hope you’ll stop by. I’m a writer and I post about a wide variety of non-alphabet-specific topics. Feel free to comment under my posts. If you want to subscribe to the blog, there’s a button in the sidebar.

For another fun ABC Wednesday post, visit the Carioca Witch here: Bringing Up Salamanders.

Find many more posts by others, and more info on ABC Wednesday, here: ABC Wednesday

I Love Bookstores. But Do They Love Me?

Your book, here? HAHAHAHAHA

We hear a lot about how authors, and everyone else, should favor local, indie bookstores over Amazon and big chains. I love bookstores, especially cool little ones, and I even link to IndieBound on my site above Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, and other larger vendors.

Well, I recently tested the waters at the two most prominent indies in my town to see if they’d sell my book, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom. (I should have done this months ago, but what with the crushing depression and electroshock therapy I just didn’t get around to it.)

The first I won’t name because I’m not looking to be personally contentious with them as they are very nice folks who run a great shop. It happens to be the very store where I debuted the novel in 2009, when I was with Putnam. I had a very successful signing with them, came in to sign books when they needed me to, and had what seemed to be a friendly relationship with the main folks there. I love this store. I showed it off to Nydia when she was visiting in the summer. I recommend it to folks all the time. I even used to link to their website from the Doc Wilde site, until I left Putnam and my book was temporarily out of print.

I walked in their door, an author who already ran the gantlet of traditional publishing, landing a multi-book contract with one of the largest publishers in the world, now carrying an improved, new, beautifully illustrated edition of my first book. A book with three pages of raves in the front from sources like Daniel Pinkwater, Kirkus Reviews, Publisher’s Weekly, and the screenwriter of Thor and X-Men First Class. A book, incidentally, with a 4.5 star rating from readers on Amazon. While I was waiting to speak to someone, I even helped a customer, selling her Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men (which is awesome and hilarious). Continue reading

Action! Horror! Kung Fu! Intrigue! Gunslingers! Fantasy! -14 Books By Noted Writers, Choose Your Price, Support Charities

Choose your price! Support charities!

Choose your price! Support charities!

Allen Varney is a really smart man who has put together a cool system in which he sells “bundles” of books and games to folks at the price they choose to pay (with a small minimum price established for a smaller set of the books offered)), the proceeds going not only to the authors involved but to specified charities. You may have seen other such bundles, and they’re a great idea.  Last summer, I participated in one of his earlier fiction-oriented bundles and it was a great experience. Allen has since honed his system by running many more bundles, and more folks have gotten interested in them, so he is temporarily resurrecting some of the earlier ones to satisfy the requests of those who missed them. The one I was part of is one of them, but will only be available for a very short time (just 48 hours, and the countdown has already begun!).

The charities to benefit from this bundle are fighting for literacy and freedom of expression all over the planet:

PEN International and The Electronic Frontier Foundation

Just think, you can get my own very well-reviewed, fully-illustrated adventure for all ages, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, along with a bunch of other high quality genre tales for just $4.95 or a bit more (Frogs of Doom is retail price $6.99 all by itself), and you’ll be contributing to the literary well-being of all of human kind.

Wilde Adventure!

Below are the details from the Bundle of Holding site; grab this adventurous deal while you can (as I type this line, the countdown is at 1 DAY, 22 HOURS, 49 MINUTES, 56 SECONDS!) Continue reading

Counting The Clock That Tells The Time

Clockwise

When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night…

As far as I’m concerned, that’s William Shakespeare describing my 2013. For me, the year was a dark shawl of despair, laced with tiny threads of joy.

On the bright side of the equation, Gary Chaloner and I finally managed to release our deluxe, expanded, fully-illustrated edition of my adventure novel Doc Wilde and The Frogs of DoomIf you’re new to our tale, I was originally contracted for three Doc Wilde books by Penguin/Putnam, with plans for the series to continue after those. They published Frogs in hardback in 2009, but I was disappointed  in various ways with the book and the publication process which produced it. During that time, I was watching the developments in self publishing with great interest, and I decided to regain the rights to my books and go indie. With the much appreciated help of a company of Kickstarter heroes, Gary and I started a process that was tougher and took more time than anticipated, but finally paid off with a gorgeous new book (written for all ages, available in both trade paperback and ebook; the hardback edition is still out there, mostly in used copies, but remember it’s nowhere near as nice a book as the new version).

Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom

Finally holding the deluxe Frogs of Doom was a relief and a delight. But dark times were coming for Doc Wilde, much more harrowing than any fight with world-threatening amphibians could ever be.

First, Gary Chaloner made the tough decision to resign as artist for the series. Working on Frogs had proved a hardship for him schedule-wise and he recognized that things were only going to get worse as he tried to balance his workload of other projects. To his incredible credit, and my even greater appreciation as both a fellow professional and a friend, he had finished the first book as he’d promised and, you might say, sort of spoiled me. As I hired a new artist for the second book, I expected a similar level of professionalism, and I paid what is for me some big bucks in advance to get it. Alas, I did not.

Hiring artist Tess Fowler was an enormous mistake. (The full craptastic tale can be read at this blog post).

Waiting for art that was just delayed and delayed and delayed only contributed to the weight of the depression I suffer, which was already rolling in like a tsunami on a night without stars, and the ultimate conflict with Tess Fowler when she produced nothing for the money she’d taken as a professional artist deepened my despair. I made repeated attempts to allow Tess to get back to work and live up to her promises, and she ignored every one of them. Continue reading

TESS FOWLER: Why She Is No Longer The Artist For Doc Wilde

I’d hoped this post would be very different.

I’d hoped to tell all of you that Tess Fowler had returned to work on Doc Wilde and The Mad Skull. That she and I had revisited the conflict between us and, like thoughtful, reasonable adults, had reconciled and gotten back to work.

Toward that end, I emailed and called her several times, with humility, ready to eat more than my fair share of crow in order to make peace, in order to allow her to make good on her promises. I did this not only because I’d paid her a great deal of money which was as good as flushed if she didn’t complete the job, but even more because I love her work and still think she might have produced a beautiful book. And that’s still my goal.

She simply ignored me.

Now, I already wrote a post about all this, a post full of anger and bile, and I’m sure some of you saw it. But I took it down soon after because that wasn’t how I wanted to be. I didn’t want to present myself that way.  I didn’t want to talk about Tess that way. She’s a fellow creator, and I don’t want to tear her down or hurt her.

But, because I wrote that post, I sort of feel the need to re-address the matter in a calmer, more objective way. I also feel a certain accountability to all the Kickstarter supporters who put their money toward the dream of these books, a lump of which I just lost. I’m deeply sorry this happened; it has set progress way back, but you will still get the books you were promised.

Below is a full account of Tess’s time on this job, and the unpleasantness that followed. It’s long, but I think it’s only fair to show our work relationship in detail to fully and accurately represent what happened. It is, at least, a good case study in how choosing the wrong person to work on a project can go very badly. For those unwilling to read the whole thing, here’s the short version:

I hired Tess Fowler in mid-May to do the cover, 20 pieces of interior art, and layout for a Doc Wilde book to be released by Christmas. She took a $1,000 advance from me.

I patiently worked around her scheduling needs, including an enforced break due to carpal tunnel syndrome. I repeatedly tried to get her to read the text and engage personally with the material, to find the things in it that excited her and contribute creatively rather than just drawing what I told her to. She refused. She did say, several times, she enjoyed working with me and liked that I gave her detailed notes on her work.

Tess did not devote much of her time to the project, working on it just a day or two per week, even after losing the weeks to her carpal tunnel injury. Most of her time went to other personal projects.

By late October, less than two months before the book’s release had been planned, Tess had produced just a handful of rough character sketches. She had also done a layout sketch for the cover that I liked a great deal, and had been trying to paint it, but it was turning out so badly that in a fit of frustration she literally ripped it to shreds without ever showing it to me.

She then accused me of being hard to please and denied the very terms she’d agreed to months earlier. She also insisted she was only supposed to do five illustrations, rather than twenty, and that she had never agreed to do layout “since that’s not even in my list of skills.” But the terms of the agreement are in the email I sent her, as very clear bullet points, and her agreement to those terms is just as clear (and enthusiastic) in her immediate reply.

While we were debating this, and our relationship was collapsing, she started trying to use my depression (which I’m very open about and have written of quite a bit on this blog) as a weapon against me, trying to portray me as irrational in order to make it appear our problems were all my fault.

Now, Tess Fowler has cut off all contact, despite my repeated efforts at reconciliation and to give her another chance, and refused to refund the advance, even though it is now past Christmas, the book is not out, and I have received not a single thing she’d agreed to provide for that money.

Now, the full story… Continue reading

Buy DOC WILDE In Paperback, Get The Ebook For 72% Off!!!

DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOMFor intrepid adventure readers who straddle literary realms both past and present, traditional and technological, I am pleased to announce that I am participating in Amazon’s new MatchBook program (and will happily do the same with other vendors if and when they initiate similar programs; I’m not an Amazon partisan).

What this means is that folks who buy (or have bought) the paper version of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom from Amazon can now also buy a digital copy for only $1.99 (that’s 72% off!).

So if you’d like a copy for your bookshelf but would also like to read on your tablet or phone or other gadget, you’re golden. Likewise, if you want to read it on your device and get a hard copy as a gift for someone, you’re all set.

The deal even applies for those of you who bought the book in hardback when it was first published by Putnam. The new version is a lot better, with my “Author’s Cut” expanded text as well as dozens of gorgeous interior illustrations by comics wizard Gary Chaloner. If you bought the original from Amazon, but would like to see the story in its full glory, you can check out the new version for only $1.99.

Also, and this is important, you don’t need a Kindle to read the digital copy (or any Kindle book, for that matter). There are free apps available for PCs, Macs, smartphones, and tablets, so if you have a device on which you can read at all, you can likely read this book. The apps can be found here.

I’m thrilled that Amazon has made this possible. As a reader myself, I jump back and forth between page and screen, and I’ve wanted to be able to do something like this since I was first published.

Celebrate All Hallow’s Read! Get “Dead Folks” for FREE!

Dead Folks

Back in 2010, Neil Gaiman, who doesn’t really need me to introduce him, but whose past glory includes the work-of-dark-genius Sandman for DC Comics, had a great idea. As he recounted on his blog, “I was on a flight home last night, and I thought, You know, there aren’t enough traditions that involve giving books…And then I thought, Hallowe’en’s next weekend…”

From that inspiration grew a wonderful new tradition Neil called “All Hallow’s Read.” As explained on its official website, the idea is simple: “All Hallow’s Read is a Hallowe’en tradition. It’s simply that in the week of Hallowe’en, or on the night itself, you give someone a scary book.” As a lifelong reader, and writer, of tales dark and fantastical (such as my novel Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, now in a marvelous new expanded edition fully illustrated by ace comic book creator Gary Chaloner), I embraced this tradition immediately. In previous years, I gifted classics from folks like the brilliant Fritz Leiber, my late, great friend Karl Edward Wagner, and George R.R. Martin (who also doesn’t need much introduction these days, but whose short story “Sandkings” is one of the scariest things I’ve ever read). Last year, I treated my girlfriend in Brazil to a video of me reading Ray Bradbury’s “The Foghorn,” the story that made me decide to be a writer.

This year, I realized I was in the position to share the tradition with even more people. Now through Halloween, I am offering my semi-spooky tale “Dead Folks” as a free download on Amazon. The story is in Kindle format, but a Kindle is not required to read it; free Kindle reading apps for gadgets ranging from smartphones and tablets to PCs and Macs can be downloaded here.

This story is near and dear to my heart, as it was my first professional fiction sale years ago. In it, a small Appalachian town is mysteriously inundated with pesky corpses from various historical eras and a young man finds he must make some hard choices. One reviewer wrote, “‘Dead Folks’ ultimately reveals itself to be a clever genre admixture that is nodding toward Mark Twain, perhaps the most American of writers. Byrd puts it all at the service of a winning narrator, a well-delineated supporting cast of characters, and a transcendent love story. If Stephen King were given to whimsy, he might have produced ‘Dead Folks.'”

I hope you’ll accept my gift of this bit of weirdness in the spirit of the holiday, and that you enjoy it. Please spread the word, the more the merrier. If you like it, please consider leaving a short review of it on Amazon, as that sort of thing raises a story’s profile in searches and is incredibly helpful to starving authors like me. I also really enjoy reading what people think. And don’t forget to give someone else a story or a book, and tell everyone you know about All Hallow’s Read. Neil is absolutely right, we need more traditions based on gifting tales. What better time than Halloween, the season of scampering nightmare and sultry mystery?

GET “DEAD FOLKS” HERE

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

What Elmore Leonard Taught Us

Dutch

Elmore Leonard was one of those great pulp writers who helped create modern fiction and along the way taught many writers how to write. Like the best in any “genre,” he proved that genre doesn’t matter, only quality. Whether you’re writing about cowboys or bank robbers or astronauts or superheroes or ennui-laden academics fucking around on their wives and feeling really really uncertain and depressed while they wash the dishes, the content isn’t what’s important, it’s the skill and insight and art that the writer brings to the tale.

Rest easy, Dutch.

BARYON REVIEW: The Doc Wilde Series Cries For A Place On The Shelf Between Doc Savage And Tarzan!

DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM

The new edition of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom has its first review at a professional site, and it’s from an old friend of the Wildes.

Author Barry Hunter originally reviewed the book at The Baryon Review when it was published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons back in 2009, and the review was so positive that a quote from it now features prominently on the cover of the Outlaw Moon edition:

A true delight…Tim Byrd has taken Doc Savage, added in a pinch of Robert E. Howard, a liberal dose of H. P. Lovecraft, and mixed it all together in a well done, enchanting pastiche of the pulps that will appeal to the adult audience as well as young adult readers.

He likes the new version even more:

[I] have even more enthusiasm for this new volume featuring the writer’s preferred version as well as magnificent illustrations by Gary Chaloner. Tim was able to obtain his rights back from Putnam, put together a Kickstarter project, and fulfill his dream of putting out his vision of his creation.

He has succeeded extremely well and together with Chaloner has created a volume that cries for a place on the shelf between Doc Savage and Tarzan…

There are a lot of folk doing the self-publishing routine, but Tim Byrd has found the right formula to do it in a magnificent way.

The full review can be found here.

News of the Wilde (An Update On The Doc Wilde Series)

Doc Wilde

There are several things for me to talk about today, including some very big news that affects the future of the Doc Wilde books…

First, we’re still in the process of fulfilling Kickstarter promises for Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom. Everyone has their ebooks who should have gotten them, and folks are starting to receive their printed copies. For those due autographs, we’re making bookplates that will print in Tasmania so that artist Gary Chaloner can sign them, then he’s sending them to me so that I can sign them and ship them out to the people who need them. The same goes for the posters of the book’s cover art and the handful of character sketches high level supporters are getting. This will take a bit more time, but rest assured we are on task.

The response to the book has been very gratifying. I’ve heard directly from quite a few people who love it, and there has been a great review posted at Goodreads and one at Amazon since the launch, and hopefully more to come. As a freelance writer and independent publisher, I don’t think I can overstate how important such word-of-mouth is: without it, the books will fail and I won’t be able to keep doing them. Or eat. So if you like the books please consider helping them gain visibility through such reviews.

As noted previously, the Kindle and EPUB versions of the book are on sale for $4.99 (reg. $6.99) at Amazon and Barnes & Noble through July 1st. The book is also available in trade paperback and is gradually making its way into distribution channels; it will ultimately be available for order by bookstores, it just takes a while.

Through Monday, the “Frogs of Doom Typo Challenge” is running. The full details are at that link, but the gist of it is that everyone who submits a valid typo or misspelling in the book before the deadline has a chance to win autographed copies of both the hardback first edition of Frogs originally published by Putnam and the new expanded and fully illustrated Outlaw Moon edition. So far, I’ve had a few entries that pointed out what the submitters thought were misspellings but weren’t (thinking that “gloam” was supposed to be “gloom” for instance), but there is only one entry from someone who has actually found an error. So not only is there at least one error to be found, if you find it and enter there’s a very good chance you might win.

And now, the big news…

Gary Chaloner has stepped down as artist for the Wildes.

In true pulp fashion, I’m going to leave that cliffhanger with you for the moment. More news soon, but rest assured that work continues on the books and the news isn’t as catastrophic as it might seem (though it did take me a bit of time to get my feet back under me after I found out).

Get DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM For $2 Off!

DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM

ON SALE UNTIL JULY 1, 2013!!!

“Really. Totally. Awesome.” ­‑‑Book Nut

“Doc Wilde swings in on a jungle vine to raise the flag high for adventure. Infused with pace, fun, and all the two-fisted action a reader could ask for…” –Zack Stentz, screenwriter, Thor, X-Men: First Class

To the world at large, Doc Wilde and his family are an amazing team of golden-skinned adventurers, born to daring escapades and globetrotting excitement. Join them as they crisscross the earth on a constant quest for new knowledge, incredible 21st-century thrills, and good old-fashioned adventure!

Now, with adventurous Grandpa Wilde missing, the Wildes confront the deepest mysteries of Dark Matter, penetrate the tangled depths of uncharted jungles, and come face to face with the likely end of the world in the clammy clutches of an ancient amphibian threat…THE FROGS OF DOOM!

“Written in fast-paced, intelligent prose laced with humor and literary allusions ranging from Dante to Dr. Seuss, the story has all of the fun of old-fashioned pulp adventures.” —Kirkus Reviews

The Astonishing Adventures of Doc Wilde are written by Tim Byrd, lavishly illustrated by Gary Chaloner, and published by Outlaw Moon Books.

Now in deluxe new editions, these novels recapture the magic of pulp cliffhangers for readers of all ages. Lost worlds, ancient ruins, cool gadgets, and evil villains and daring heroes, all brought into the 21st-century with contemporary themes, modern science fantasy, the wonders of family, and a deep appreciation of literature and of the thinking life itself.

 In the tradition of classic adventure stories, and modern tales like The Incredibles and Raiders of the Lost Ark, they’re great for kids and grown-ups alike.

To celebrate the return of Doc Wilde, Outlaw Moon Books is offering the ebook edition of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom at a special low price of $4.99 (regular $6.99) until July 1, 2013. To get the book, visit the links below at Amazon (Kindle format) or Barnes & Noble (for EPUB format):

DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM AT AMAZON

DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM AT B&N

ALSO AVAILABLE IN TRADE PAPERBACK!

For more info, visit Doc Wilde Adventure Headquarters at www.DocWilde.com!

Announcing: The Frogs of Doom Typo Challenge!!! [UPDATED! AGAIN!]

DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM
When I left a multi-book contract at Putnam and decided to publish my Doc Wilde adventure series independently, it was for various reasons including getting the lion’s share of the profits from my work and full creative control. Part of the latter was a desire to produce books that were at least as professionally wrought as those coming out of a publishing house, and of which I could be proud.

We see a lot of insult hurled at the indie publishing community. The fact that it has become so easy to publish has undeniably opened the gates to a lot of lazy, shoddy, unedited books. Some people refuse to see the other side of the equation, that a great many very talented writers who have either not been fortunate enough to break in with a traditional publisher yet, or who have opted to leave the old system as I have, now have the chance to share their work and possibly even make a living from it.

I’m not the first to set out to do things right, by any stretch. But I wanted to be one of the writers who prove that indie publishing can result in wonderful books, a group that gets larger all the time.

One of the most common complaints I see about self-publishing is that the books are terribly edited, full of typos and bad spelling. As a writer who slaves over his prose with a goal of not needing to be edited, I was determined that no one be able to sling that particular brickbat my way. Which brings me to:

The Frogs of Doom Typo Challenge

From Monday, June 17, 2013 through Monday, June 24, 2013, everyone who emails  me (at docwildekickstarter@gmail.com) identifying a typo or misspelling in  Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom will be entered into a random drawing to win an autographed first edition hardback of the book, an autographed copy of the new deluxe second edition, and my thanks for pointing out something I can correct to make my book even better.

This applies only to the new edition from Outlaw Moon Books, and doesn’t include the excerpt from the next book in the back (that book is still being developed, so the text of the excerpt is essentially still in first draft form).

Any submissions which arrive prior to noon on Monday will be deleted. Likewise, any typos pointed out beforehand (in comments here or elsewhere) will disqualify you; I want people to have a fair shot at getting their entry in when the time is right.

If anyone wins the challenge, I will update this post with the news as well as writing a new post to announce it.

Good luck, intrepid readers!

UPDATE: It was pointed out to me that I really wasn’t allowing much time for the contest, so I’m adding a week and a few hours to the starting time. It will now begin Monday, June 17, 2013 at 5:00 pm EDT. I had also originally said the first person to identify a typo would win; now everyone who enters between 6/17/2013 and 6/24/2013 will have a chance to win.

Does A GAME OF THRONES Hate Women?

The Women of Game of Thrones

I’m a fan of George R.R. Martin, and I’m a fan of A Game of Thrones, both in its original literary and its more recent filmic iterations. And not only do I consider Martin’s epic work to be some of the best fiction I’ve ever read, I’ve been on board longer than most because, through unlikely fortune, I got an early copy of the first book in hardback, signed, well before it went on sale…

signed copy

And yeah, I’m showing off my library…forgive me.

Of course, I’m not alone in my love for this series. But such love is far from universal, and some folks downright hate it. Some hate it because it’s brutal and dark and filled with not-happy endings. Some hate it because it’s loaded with sex and nakedness, and if you’re uncomfortable with the human body and the things people choose to do with it, that can be a turnoff. (If I seem dismissive of people’s discomfort with nudity and sex, that’s only because I am; there is plenty of entertainment available for more chaste tastes, and not everything needs to be appropriate for eleven year olds.) I will say this: the series should show more naked men, both because it would be more fair and because it would head off some of the arguments of misogyny.

Some people’s hatred of this series, though, is starkly political, pardon the pun. Continue reading

On Unrealistic Expectations In Self-Publishing

Books, Books, Books

On his blog, author Tobias Buckell has posted an interesting counterpoint to some of the HUZZAH! of self-publishing out there:

I love this quote from the recent marketing guide that Smashwords published:

“we cannot promise you your book will sell well, even if you follow all the tips in this guide. In fact, most books, both traditionally published and self-published, don’t sell well. Whether your book is intended to inspire, inform or entertain, millions of other books and media forms are competing against you for your prospective reader’s ever-shrinking pie of attention.”

(From Smashwords — Smashwords Book Marketing Guide – A book by Mark Coker – page 7.)

This just does not get emphasized nearly enough. And it’s something I’ve been thinking about a great deal since I published The Apocalypse Ocean. One, because so many rah rah eBook advocates have been indicating to me that if I’d only just publish digitally first I’d keep 70% of the profits and *obviously* make more than I would with ‘traditional publishing.’

Since 2001, I’d been involved in selling eBooks…I lay down my bonafides, because usually the first thing I get is a lot of ‘booksplainin,’ by which I mean people lecturing me about what to do as if it’s self evident, obvious, and usually based entirely on their own anecdotal experience.

In fact, the self assured expertise of anecdotes drives me nuts…

I recommend reading the piece. Buckell makes some solid points, and his larger point — that big success in self publishing is rare, and we tend to hear only about the outliers who win big — is true. Of course, that’s also the case with traditional publishing. Even for those who score a publishing deal with a big New York corporation, most make relatively little when compared to “real” jobs that grown ups have. And the average result for them is skewed just as much by the big successes in traditional publishing.

His figures, provided by Smashwords, are interesting, but are themselves only anecdotal evidence because the numbers all come only from Smashwords, not from the far more successful ebook venues like Amazon, B&N, iTunes, and Kobo (all of whom are stingy with such data). And every self-published author I’ve talked to, or who I’ve seen write on the matter, has said that the number of books they sell on Smashwords, as compared to the other venues, is so small as to be nearly insignificant. Some of them say it’s barely worth publishing to Smashwords (I’ve only just begun this journey, so I have no opinion on that; I want my books up everywhere they can be).

Also, when looking at publishing figures like this, and comparing results between traditional and indie publishing, the comparison is meaningless unless the figures you run for traditional include all the authors who are attempting to publish traditionally and failing to do so. There are many traditionally focused authors who are making ZERO dollars, but they will never be counted. Their counterparts in self-publishing, however, *are* getting published, because they’re doing it themselves, so they get counted, and the vast majority of people who don’t actually make anything off their self-published book, for quality or whatever reasons, skew these figures just as much as the highly successful folk at the other end of the charts.  The extreme low-performers in traditional publishing don’t get counted in statistics like this, whereas the extreme low-performers in self-publishing do.

And if you have a thousand authors on the traditional path who make zilch, and a thousand authors on the indie path who publish their own book and make just a dollar, you know what? The indies are doing better. Something is better than nothing.

CRY “HAVOC!” AND LET SLIP THE FROGS OF DOOM!!! [UPDATED]

Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom is DONE, the epic battle raging across the world in both digital and print form. Read the news in the latest post of the official Doc Wilde blog:

CRY “HAVOC!” AND LET SLIP THE FROGS OF DOOM!!! 

UPDATE: Just to be clear, the book is not quite out yet, as we’re still jumping through the hoops to place it on sale through the various major venues. The actual details on this, and other stuff, is in the post at the link.

DOC WILDE AND THE MAD SKULL Cover Reveal!!!

Doc Wilde

Okay, the work is done and Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom is on the verge of its rebirth as a much improved, fully illustrated edition. We even have the bar code.

One of the final delays was that we wanted to include an excerpt and the cover from the second book, Doc Wilde and The Mad Skull, in the back of Frogs, so Gary Chaloner actually had to paint the thing. Seems like that takes time. Who knew?

Anyway, though it will get some tweaking between now and its actual  publication, it is effectively done, ready for your eyes…

UPDATE: Getting this book out took longer than expected, and we opted to go with another cover design. You can see it here.

Doc Wilde and The Mad Skull Cover Art