Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hip To Payhip

I’ve been using Payhip for a while now as a low cost direct sales tool. When people buy from me there, I get a bigger piece of the pie and the customer gets a DRM free format file of their choosing (and in some cases an audio version). It also allows me to sell bundles of e-books. That give you more bang for your buck and I as the author still see a higher percentage of the sale.

I can understand that there may be a hesitation. Part of that’s in getting the file to your device. Payhip has made that simpler by supporting sending the file directly to your Kindle.

So if you’re interested, go here and check out what I have available. If this service doesn’t appeal to you I’d be interested in knowing why. It helps me make this dream of being a full time author get a little closer to reality.


3568302731_3ec7aec9fa_z The internet is an amazing thing. On the one hand you have all of the bad things – viruses, trolls, movie blogs, and cat videos. On the other hand you have amazing content, new friendships, cool games, and cat videos. It’s that friendship thing I want to talk about today. The man I’m in the picture with is P.G. Holyfield. I met and got to know him through podcasting and social media. He and I also live fairly close together and we attend a convention in Baltimore every year. So that “online” friendship became something more.

Cut to this Saturday. P.G. and I hadn’t talked much over the last few months. We’ve both been busy and I suck at keeping in touch. When I got the call from my friend Chooch and he told me that P.G. was sick and beyond that, that it was a fast acting cancer, to say that I was shocked doesn’t do it justice. According to the doctors he’s got very little time left. I went to his house to say goodbye. I’m glad I did. Chooch and his wife Viv, better human beings than these two are rare, have arranged their lives to take care of him in the time he has left. To see the love and care they are taking with our friend is a thing of magnificent beauty. Viv has her own health problems, but she’s not letting that stop her.

I held P.G.’s hand and talked with him for a while. Death is still a fairly new thing to me, though these last few years I’ve gotten to know its face better and hate it more and more. That’s particularly the case with this family of diseases that is laying my friend low. I believe in miracles. I hold out some small hope that God will work one in this case, but neither the doctors nor my own eyes and ears want to bear that hope out. He’s dying. During this time he’s being loved and made comfortable. People are showering him with videos, visits, and audio to let him know how much of an impact he’s made on the Earth. There’s also been a Go Fund Me campaign set up to help with the costs involved and to help provide a trust fund for his children.

I know that money is tight for everyone these days. Still, people are being generous with both their time and money. As of this writing the campaign has eclipsed six thousand dollars. My hope is that this is but the first series of drops in an ocean. Cash can’t solve everything, but it can alleviate some of the wrongs that cancer has wrought on my friend’s life. If you have any extra, please share it with PG and his family. Thanks.

Sticky Business

This story was inspired by a photo taken from a collection of stock photos. Click here to see them.

enhanced-2407-1399922427-9 Jeff groaned as yet another termination request flashed up on his computer. He hated being the one responsible for closing down accounts and these days it was even worse given the state of the economy. When he saw the name and date it was even worse. It was his friend Robert Newman and the term date was effective tomorrow. That was Robert’s birthday. He struggled all say with whether or not to tell his friend. Stickeez-R-Us had a very strict policy about such things. It could cost him his own job, but he and Robert had been friends a long time. Maybe it would be better coming from him rather than an impersonal walk to his boss’s office.
RE: Beer Tonight?

Rob. Thought you might like to grab a beer after work at The Town Pump. Let me know.
RE: Beer Tonight?

Absotively. See you there.

Jeff smiled. The scientist had always been ready for a good time. He had a great attitude and his penchant for practical jokes was well known throughout the company. Hopefully that would carry him through the next day.

He walked through the door of the local watering hole and saw Rob sitting there. The man was still wearing his bright yellow Stickeez lab coat. The sleeves were rolled up showing the wide, thick band of leather that held his steampunk watch. Reddish gray hair stick out in every direction. He had a mug of beer in front of him already two thirds gone.

“Hey man!” Jeff hoped that his tone was chipper.

Rob turned on his stool and smiled. Big blue eyes made bigger by their thick glasses. “Hey dude! Thanks for inviting me. I’ve been working hard the last couple of weeks and haven’t had much down time.”

Jeff looked around and spotted a booth off to the back. He looked at his friend. “I figured you could use an early birthday present and I’ve got something I want to bend your ear about. Mind if we sit back there?” He pointed at the booth.

Rob shook his head. “Not at all.” He gestured to the bartender and pointed to his beer. “I’ll take another one of these for my friend.” He looked back at Jeff. “Go have a seat. I’ll bring your beer.”

Jeff walked back to the booth, trying to keep his head from hanging. This was the right thing to do. He took a seat and Rob wasn’t far behind him. He took the frosty mug and downed a third of it in long swallows.

“Thirsty?” Rob smiled.

“Hard day at work. Look, I don’t want to put this off any longer than I have to. I saw an email today and I know I’m not supposed to say anything, but you’re going to get your pink slip tomorrow.” The words came out in a rush and he looked up when he was finished.

Rob’s face hadn’t changed. He still had a smile on it.

“Didn’t you hear me? You’re gonna lose your job.”

Rob nodded. “I know. I mean I didn’t know it was coming tomorrow, but I knew it was coming. Hey, working R&D for a company that makes variations on sticky notes isn’t exactly a guaranteed gig. I’ve had a good run. Thank for thinking of me.”

Jeff looked from his friend to his beer and back again. “You still look… Happy? You’ve got something percolating in the back of your mind.”

Rob shrugged. “The company has had me working on a few things that were ultra hush hush. I’ve been stressing out about it and decided that I’d tinker with something on my own. I had a breakthrough and let’s just say that the second I don’t log on to my PC at my usual time that little breakthrough will hit the production line ahead of schedule.”

That made Jeff a little uneasy. “Revenge isn’t a good idea.”

“I wouldn’t call it revenge.” Rob sipped at his beer. “It’s an idea that they’ll love eventually. They just won’t much like how it comes out. Don’t worry, when’s the last time you saw me do anything malicious? I’m not out to hurt anyone, least of all the company that’s been so good to so many people lately.” There was a less than gentle sarcasm in his tone.

Jeff thought about that. If this “surprise” wouldn’t hurt anyone except the company then who was he to tattle. If it did go badly they’d know to pin it on Rob and what did Jeff know, really? Rob could be playing one of his jokes on his friend. “Well I’m glad you’re taking it so well.”

“No guarantees in life, friend.”
He raised his glass and they clinked them together. “When you get your own pink slip, look me up. By then I may have some things you can help me with. I’ll need a computer geek one of these days.”


Jeff enjoyed the rest of their evening and didn’t think too much more about it. Breaking the news had gone better than he could have hoped and he didn’t see how anyone could get hurt.”

Days went past and in the drudgery of work and excitement of family life he had actually forgotten about the whole thing. His family was sitting around the table two weeks later when he heard the name of his company from the television in the other room. He excused himself and went to see what it was all about.

“-recall on all of their products manufactured in the previous week.” The camera pulled back from the pretty anchor and showed a young woman with a beatific smile on her face, what he could see of her face under a layer of sticky notes. “It seems a manufacturing error has led to some unintended effects. Stickeez-R-Us has said that their adhesive, when applied directly to the skin, can cause minor changes in mood. The effect is mostly positive and even the young woman pictured showed no ill effects.”

Jeff chuckled and reminded himself to send Rob a reminder about that job offer.

Editor For Hire

My wife has decided that she would love to help some of my writer friends with their stories while she’s on summer break! That’s right, she’s a language arts teacher. Her red pen is ready and she wants her skills to be as sharp when she returns for the school year as your prose will be when she’s done.

She’s edited some of my works, and I can vouch for her skills. Her rates are as follows:

Proof reading – A quick but thorough look at your story for any glaring mistakes. $5/1,000 words (includes one pass through the text)

Copy editing – A closer read, looking for any grammatical or spelling issues. $8/1,000 words (includes a second pass after author’s sign off on the first)

Content editing –  This will include reading for continuity, construction, plot elements, and theme. $12/1,000 words (includes a second pass after author’s sign off on the first)

The total package – This is a combination of copy and content editing. $15/1,000 words. (includes a second pass after author’s sign off on the first)

She will edit any genre except erotica. The minimum manuscript size she will edit is 2,000 words. Query for a quote on any manuscript over 60,000 words.

E-mail Leigh Roche at Tell her I sent you and get 30% off.

Lousy Book Covers

Old Friends There’s a site that I’ve talked about before on Facebook called Their stated goal is to prevent bad book covers and to prove that just because you can do your own cover doesn’t mean that you should. They have a sister site to “help prevent bad book covers BEFORE they become an embarrassment” – In regards to the first, I got some interesting news from one of my Twitter followers yesterday. Not just one, but two of my covers were chosen for appearance on their site. (If you want to find the covers you’ll have to go digging.)

I’m of two minds about this. First of all, I think that they provide a useful service. The idea of a place you can go to as a small/independent publisher before you publish and have your cover critiqued (gently for the most part) is interesting. Crowdsourcing anything comes with its own problems, but even if you just paid attention to some of the comments/suggestions made by the original poster, I think there’s good advice to be had. The idea of having a site you can go to that displays covers who haven’t paid heed to the basics of cover design so that you can learn what not to do is also a good idea. I’m not even surprised or disappointed that they picked some of my covers. I have made some doozies. The one in the upper left hand corner likely breaks all kinds of rules. Then there’s this one. Flash Fiction

The second mind I have is this. The covers that they did choose were done by very capable artists, and I signed off on both of them. I stand by their quality and the design choices made by the people involved. So it’s not just a matter of “not doing it yourself” or even a matter of being careful about the artists you choose to work with. I would choose both of these people again in a heartbeat. My gut reaction yesterday was to get defensive. That’s the last thing I want to do. I’ve grown a thick skin (I hope) over the last couple of years, and I recognize that not everything that I’m involved with is going to be deep fried gold. I expect that some of my books will get a one or two star review. The challenge here is, the work that’s getting reviewed wasn’t done by me. As the publisher it’s still my responsibility, but there’s a remove there. It’s made more more complicated by the fact that both artists are friends of mine.

Ultimately, some of this comes down to a matter of taste and perspective. I’m not going to go back and change either cover they picked. One of them is for a short story/serial episode and I envision releasing the other stories with very similar covers. When I release the paperback/omnibus version then I’ll make some thing that looks a bit more “traditional” perhaps while retaining the feel of the individual entries. The other I’m simply happy enough with as it is. Having said that, I do take a lot of the advice they offer on that site, both when it comes to my works and other’s. When it comes to a critique of any work, no matter how “lousy”, as long as it is offered and accepted in terms that include a desire to continue to improve or cause others to improve I think there’s value.

God Loves, Man Kills (Guest Post)

I hope you enjoy Winston Crutchfield’s guest post and will check out his Kickstarter!

The “X-Men” franchise has a long history of social commentary, using mutants as a blanket stand-in for groups historically or presently suffering persecution. Perhaps the strongest and most consistent social commentary addressed the Holocaust perpetrated upon the Jewish population of Nazi Germany and Nazi occupied nations, a theme that has persisted throughout the life of the title. In the 1960s, Stan Lee included stories about prejudice and racism as a response to the equal rights movement of the time. The popularity of the franchise flagged, waiting until Chris Claremont and John Byrne took the reins in the 1970s to really take off. Claremont and Byrne routinely addressed issues of intolerance and hypocrisy, eventually culminating in a story I consider to be the magnum opus of the series: “God Loves, Man Kills.”

Resisting the urge to delve into a literary breakdown of the story, I’ll say only that my reading of the story and the characters reveals the ultimate motivation of the antagonists to spring not from hatred or fear but from selfishness and pride. That in fact hatred and fear are themselves the products of both selfishness and pride. Claremont uses the speculative fiction format to address in a poignant way the results of these cardinal sins and the contrast between selfish and selfless actions. In Claremont’s story, it is not the origin of the people that determine their status as hero or villain, but the actions which they undertake.

I am a mutant. I was born different. The Bible tells me so. “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” (Ephesians 1:4-5) Paul’s instruction in the letters to the Thessalonian church explains that we are not privileged to know the roster of salvation but must identify people based on their actions, that actions both determine and reveal one’s character.

In Claremont’s story, the lines between human and mutant are seldom clear. The leader of the anti-mutant agenda has a mutant son. A prominent anti-mutant senator is himself a mutant. Some people who are possibly not mutants are certainly innocent victims. Some of the mutants act in ways that cast them as the villains. Some of the humans are clearly in the right to hate and fear mutants. Actions on both sides are divisive and extreme; no one seems to be clearly in the right without ambiguity. If this story used existing racial or other subdivisions, it would swiftly result in heated opinions and accusations of intolerance, hatred, and self-superiority. But these are mutants, so everything’s okay. Right?

Stories like this are important because they give us an emotional buffer between our own situation and a clear assessment of the same. My status as a mutant does not automatically entitle me to special consideration or treatment. If I am shunned because I am a mutant, I have no right to insist that others accept me over their own objections. I must choose between peaceably coexisting with my neighbors and demanding that they accommodate my mutant status. I must remember that sometimes hate and fear are based on an entirely understandable reaction to the harmful actions of other mutants. And I must remember that in the end, they only way people will know I am a mutant is through my actions.

What kind of mutant do my actions reveal me to be? What do yours? Are we to be hated and feared? If so, our mutations will reveal themselves in a character given to abuse, hatred, deceit, greed, dissipation, selfishness, and hubris. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) If these are the marks of my mutation, I have good cause to question my character. What then is my recourse? Do these things reveal my character? Can I change my character by changing my actions? Scripture emphatically affirms that this is so, and gives clear instruction on behavioral principles.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galations 5:22-23)

Winston Crutchfield’s blog and podcast may be found at Critical Press Media, where he attempts to maintain a balance between geekery and scholarship. His project “Opposing Forces: a tactical manual and bestiary of foes for Fate Core” is currently funding on Kickstarter.

Help Wanted

I love podcasting. It has helped me get my words in front of more people than I thought possible. Unfortunately, due to my increased writing and responsibilities with Flying Island Press, I don’t think I’ll be able to put out Ginnie Dare and projects like that on my own as quickly as I would like to. So, I’m looking for a co-producer. This would sadly not be a paid gig, since my writing is barely paying me at this point. All I have to offer is my appreciation and whatever promotion working with me has to offer.

I’m looking for someone who’s comfortable with taking my actors’ raw audio, cutting out the flubs and creating a multi-track audio file ensuring that everything is level. It’s a fairly big job. I know how much work is involved and if you can only help with a piece of the process (cleaning audio or taking cleaned audio and arranging/leveling it) that may work too. It’s what Paulette Jaxton and I did for Chris Lester and we had a good flow there for a while.

If you can help, send me an e-mail at Scott at scottroche dot com.