Dark Jottercast – New Content Coming – Pajama People Podcast

We cover mysteries and true crime, writing and have guests, and even talk and research monsters and dark history, but even with all the podcast covers we still had one thing missing…horror movie reviews! With a wonderful co-host, JK Allen, twice a month we will do movie reviews.

If you caught her podcast episode, you know already that we needed an excuse to watch more horror, so why not watch and give our thoughts on them? Keeping with the funny conversation style of guest episodes, we will bring forward thoughts on horror and dig deeper.

These episodes will come with a spoiler tag in the title, so if you don’t want to have something we cover you may not have seen spoiled, keep your eyes peeled for this tag and skip.

These episodes will not replace any other episodes already going up three times a week, they’re a bonus! That means you get more content from Jottercast. They will also be available with the ever-growing content on the Patreon.

More Info on Dark Jottercast – Jottercast: A Path Forward

If you only ever do one thing for writers, do this. It can help.

I’ve been a professional writer for many years now. I have seen sales go up and down, some sales being from fully read books being returned, but this has become a big problem in the indie writing community. Finally, something is getting done, a petition that can be signed to address the policy asking for its change has been started.

As writers, we understand that our work may not be liked, it’s part of the business. We also understand if an ebook is read some then the reader wants to return, but this is for readers fully reading a work, asking for their money back. The policy needs to be changed so 100% read books cannot be returned.

This is already a policy for other companies, games, movies, etc., but not for digital books. Books are plagiarized and even stolen so often that many writers have given up writing entirely, leaving series unfinished, books never released, and leaving fans confused about where their favorite authors have gone.

I AM NOT saying that every book read to 100% and then is returned is stolen by the reader, but it is suspicious activity, especially on books that are new releases. I stopped doing raffles and giveaways of my work after seeing my work stolen after releases. I love what I do, write, and from the comments on the petition, I can see other writers love writing as well.

Authors pay out of pocket for a lot of services. From formatting to covers, marketing and ads, and so much just to get a book released and the word spread often dealing with long periods without ever seeing any actual take home after paying for everything that has cost them just to release the work. This is also a problem for small/indie publishers who back a book.

This is similar to something Audible, owned by Amazon, did by allowing listened to works be returned at the writer’s cost. It’s hard-earned money stolen from our pockets.

Sign here

I DID NOT start this petition, but it already has my support!

Traveling Writer Advice

At some point or another we, writers, will need to travel for work. Whether it’s a book tour, convention, or speaking engagement. It’s just par for the course when you’re writing professionally. Now that I see writers traveling again for work, I thought it was time to share my tips and advice for those that are traveling for work.

Research
How far are you traveling? Learn about the city/cities along your tour. This is beneficial when you look at hotels within a reasonable range to the location the event will be held. This will also help you pack appropriately. If you’re not leaving your city or not traveling very far from home, a lot of these tips may not work for you. You may not have to pack clothing for a few days, may not need to pack toiletries.


If you are going to a city family or friends are in, you may not even need many things like money for a hotel room if they’re willing to take you on for a day or however long you need to be in the area.


If you’re traveling abroad, make sure you know if you have vaccines to enter the country. Also, know if you need electrical adapters. For example, Europe has different electrical outlets than the United States.

Packing Appropriately
This seems self-explanatory, but sometimes we forget while in the prepping stage for a trip. What is appropriate for traveling as a writer? Laptop, cellphone, or anything relating to the event. Are you going to sign your books? You will need a pen. Are you going to also record the event? You will need a recording device. This could be your cellphone, a camera, or even the gear of a podcaster if you’re also doing that.
Bring an extension cord, extra-long power cord/surge protector. You may be provided space at a convention, but you will not always be provided cords and extensions for your devices.


Though you are packing for work, don’t forget to pack for yourself. Clothing and a few extras as a ‘just in case’ preparation. When you’re there finally, many things can still happen. A fan could accidentally spill something on you, you will need a backup outfit. Don’t forget your toiletries. I also recommend bringing your favorite coffee (thank me later).


You will also need a table and all that you want to decorate it with. For example, books, book racks, displays, tablecloths, author posters, book posters, serving platters for the merch you may bring, etc. I recommend creating a to-do list and marking off everything as you pack it in bags and pack it into your car. Don’t forget your padlocks! If you need padlocks, make a special keyring with these specific keys on it.
If you’ve done your research well, you will also know what else you will need to pack, like adapters, or where you can get your petty cash converted into local currency.

Books
When I started out, I did not know how many books or products to pack. The best advice I ever got and continue to listen to is the number of books. If you’re expecting a large crowd at your booth, which can happen with advertising of your location at an event, bring more. It is better to have more than too little. If you’re worried about running out or do, make sure you have a way for readers to pay through a device like Stripe.

The laptop that you bring can also be used if you’re willing to allow people to pay, say, via Amazon. Make sure you clear and log out all information after every guest uses your device to protect their privacy. They’re trusting you and you should respect that.


If you have a series of books, always bring double or triple the amount of the first novel of the series and a smaller amount of the rest. For example, Book one pack fifty. Book two – four pack twenty to thirty. You will always sell the first of a series, but not everyone wants the rest until after they’ve read that first book.


With the above tip about book series, take that also into account for one-off novels. Bring the amount you would for the first book of a series.
Think of every book as its own business. With that mindset, you will bring all the goodies for each book or each series. This is where all the merch comes into play and those insta-pleasers freebies (like candy with your brand on it also a big-time pleaser is totes and bags. People at conventions always need more ways to carry their haul. If it has your brand or book all over, it as they move around the convention, they’re also passively advertising for you.).

Security
Above I mentioned padlocks. Always have bins or luggage you can lock. Though conventions and big events can be fun, there is always the looming risk of theft. Some places will allow you to put your totes under your table to hide them, but it’s usually best to pack and unpack if your goods are in a small batch. This means if you aren’t erecting large racks for clothing or shelving for products, pack, haul with you, and unpack.

This can be extra to some, but it is better than investing x-amount of money into your goods, merch, products, and having them swiped on you. Sadly, it happens. Desperate people will do desperate things when wanting to make a quick buck.


Bring helpers if you can. Sometimes you just must do things for yourself, it can be hard, but all of us have done the lonesome walk of working without help. I recommend bringing someone or more to help. I have a bad back that has flare-ups from time to time, so I always bring someone with me just in case I cannot lift something on my own (totes of books are super heavy).


This is also helpful in that more eyes can see more things going on. If you’re occupied at one end of your table, you may not see someone waiting at the edge. More people can help with customer service.
Helpers can also bring the risk of theft lower. Someone will be less likely to steal from you if there are too many people in their way or could see them doing things.

Table Kits
I do not know if any other author does ‘table kits’, but I do. A table kit is basically everything I’m going to use on my table at an event. From the labels to the standing displays advertising my being there. I research one tote as a ‘table kit’, bag, or tote devoted to electrical and extras I may need, and however many I need for books. I also will have luggage for clothing, hotel must-haves, like my favorite coffee or toiletries.


Whether you’re using sticky labels or displays with prices, I recommend labeling all. It will help them, the guest, look if you’re busy. Small displays explaining things like a book genre are very helpful to a customer that may want a quick glance. Have thrillers? A guest may like comedy and seeing a thriller label will help them tell if you’re a writer that they may want to invest in. Also, good also to have something dedicated to your social media if it is not on bigger staples like standing author banners.

Petty Cash
For those paying in cash, it’s best to have a safe place to put your income and for any change to exchange. I suggest a minimum of twenty or thirty. Your lockbox should always remain on you or a helper.


If you want more advice, or have questions, just comment. I don’t know how to help you if you don’t ask!

Rest in Peace, Anne

Sunday morning, while finally logging onto my PC after a few days away from my office, I saw Christopher Rice’s post on Twitter and then Facebook became flooded by fellow writers talking about the passing of Anne Rice. I was devastated and thought about her, her work, and how much credit I’ve given to her and her work. It’s true, the credit I’ve given her.

The first book I ever read from her was Interview with the Vampire in my youth. I even took special care of that edition and still own it. I had read nothing like it before and it was a masterpiece to me. The way she laced her words together in a beautiful symphonic story blending modern time with historical reliving. I read it over and over until I could get the second book, The Vampire Lestat, and eventually Queen of the Damned. Over the years, my collection grew, and I favored certain ones over others, but that first book always held a special meaning to me as it was while reading it. I thought to myself maybe I could write too.

I never wanted to copy her work, but she inspired me to develop my style. It sparked the creative fire in me I didn’t know was there. She gave me a voice I felt I didn’t have at a time in my life. I knew I didn’t have. She gave me the ability to cope in a world I couldn’t control. Some have told me I always gave a perfect stranger too much credit without giving myself any, since it was me that started writing and developing characters, like Dante Angeloft from my series.

Perhaps they are right, but if I had never read that book, I don’t know if another writer’s work would’ve inspired me. As the internet came and eventually Youtube I found her interviews and her writing advice that further inspired me and guided me along the way. For example, I especially love her advice on writing what you love and an audience will come. It is true.

My heart goes out to her family. She touched so many lives, mine included.

Worlds Connected: The Gaze of Destruction & The Blasphemer Series

Originally published in a collection of short stories called As The World Will Burn, released July 19, 2016, I introduced the world to something very special. It was a foreshadowing for The Blasphemer Series. It gave readers their first glance at the series and where it was heading while leaving it as a stand-alone story.

The vampire in this short story is unnamed. He represents all creatures in the series that will wake to the world being different. This is significant in the series, as all creatures have their lives changed as the planet continues on with a new face.

In this story, you’re introduced to a nameless vampire waking up from a deep sleep to find the world has entered an apocalyptic world. He searches the area he had left behind, discovering many things ruined that were once places full of splendid memories. He also comes across newspapers and hints at what happened while he rested.

You can only read this story now in my short story collection Little Lunacies, as the original book, As The World Will Burn, is no longer in rotation.