Title changes

Just a short note today.

The Space Courier is no more. So in the light that I have made no sales from the Space Courier Book, I have replaced the name of it.

It is now, “An O’Neal Spy Adventure.”

That is the new cover. I also tweaked the marketing copy, so maybe people will be more interested in it. We shall see.

Now I have to get back to the land of Agersolum. I am working on Felix Book 2.


Thoughts on this Indi-Publishing thing 1.0

As it goes from being January 2018 to February 2018, it is approaching 15 days since I published my first book.

You can find it here. Phantom Sorcerer.

It has not been any type of success. No movie deals offered, or entry onto the New York Times List.

It just hasn’t. It has sold a grand total of four copies. I managed to give away forty-five copies one weekend, but people horde free books and never read them. So I don’t expect any reviews from that bunch.

It happens.

So does that mean that I need to give up? Like all the pessimists out there that tell me all the time?


This is exactly as I expected it to happen.

I am a complete unknown with very little social media presence. I have an email list, but no one on it.

This indie-publishing thing. this experiment. Is not for the faint of heart. It is a long-term game.

Does that mean that after the first books that I should be able to make lots of money?


There is a strategy that is called, “20 books for 50k”. In it, the idea is that you write twenty books you should be able to get successful. If you write twenty books, then the total sales of each book will make enough to be successful.

The traditional model of being able to write a single book a year and being able to live off of the royalties and the advance from that is dead and gone. Traditional Publishing as we know it is an unwieldy, dying beast. The indie-community knows it. The traditional publishers know it. The traditional publishing world is thrashing around to save itself.

Indie-publishing is the way to go. But it is not perfect. In the indie-publishing world, a big argument is the elephant in the room.


There are many publishers that an indie author like myself can go to. There is Direct-to-Digital, Smashwords, Amazon to name a few.

Amazon has 70% of the US market for indie books. It is also the only one to demand exclusivity in being able to sell on Amazon.

But it is only some of its books. It is called, “KDP Select.” In it, you get a range of promotional benefits as well as the ability to put your book into the lending library of Kindle Unlimited.

One side will argue that it is best to go wide. To not leave out the 30% of the market that is not Amazon. That you can still get 70% royalties from any books sold on Amazon and be able to sell it everywhere else.

That Amazon is an evil beast, and you shouldn’t hitch your horse to that wagon. That by saddling yourself with Amazon, you are becoming a dependant author reliant on Amazon for your lively hood. That I am no better than going with traditional publishing.

I, however, have a different opinion.

Scary huh?

While I have sold a grand total of four units, which means that I have a total of approx. $15 Canadian so far. It is approx cause the differences in the values of the currencies.

So far, I have a total of approx. 2000 KENP Reads. That is the number of pages that someone that subscribe to Kindle Unlimited has read. That is, of course, new page reads.

I don’t have any idea on how many people started the book and went to something else, or how many people have actually read the entire thing. They don’t give me the number of users that have read it.

For authors, KENP works by Amazon setting up a fund from the subscribers to Kindle Unlimited. That pot is split up to be paid to all of the authors. It is currently based on the amount of KENP page reads that has been read by a subscriber. Based on the given approximations, it doubles my revenue from that single book.

Now, this is without using any of the promotional abilities that KDP Select allows me to use other than the free days. It does not show the other side of the equation. How much could my book have made by going ‘wide?’

For an entirely accurate number, I can’t tell you. I’d have to pull my book out of KDP Select and put it up on the other markets. I may do that when I can. I may not.

But if Amazon has 70% of the market and I have managed to receive 70% of the sales possible for that book, then I should be able to get another $4.50 from them. That means KDP select is $30 while going wide is $20.

That is only a guess at the moment, based on some rough numbers. It might have gone differently if I had done differently.

Now in regards to the notion that my going exclusive with select, that I am no better than going with traditional publishing. I disagree.

As an indie author, I still hold my rights. I have the audio-books rights, the paperback. The only right that I have given up is the digital rights to the books. And it is easily returnable. I’d only have to wait 90 days. With tradition publishing, you have to wait a pre-selected amount of time that the book is out of print, or spend a boatload of money to get it back.

Those are just my thoughts so far. I plan on posting more of these posts later, once I publish more books.

Nathan’s Amazon Author Page

Phantom Sorcerer

Until Next time.


Dealing with Procrastination

I hate that word. I hate it when I fall victim to that word.

So I have been too busy to post much. Phantom Sorcerer was launched I have been writing like mad in an attempt to keep the stories coming. On the weekend, my time to get a massive amount done, I did little.

And today I did little.

And now I feel bad about myself.

But it happens. It is a fact of being a creative that I have to deal with. Putting things off seems like a great idea at the time.

What is one Youtube video, or an hour of a video game?

Simple. It is like eating a single chip out of a bag. I can’t just eat one. It turns into the bag. With Youtube, I can’t just watch one video. It turns into many. And an hour is never just an hour. There is always one more turn.

Then afterward, I am kicking myself. Or at least I am.

But how do I deal with it?

My solution, don’t fight it that day that I had just wasted. If I procrastinated and lost that day, I don’t worry about that day. I pick it up the next and keep going.

That is all that I can do. The day is gone. It can’t come back. There is no point working into the night to try and salvage the day. No point if throwing good time in with the bad. Better to fortify my time for the future and hit it again once I regroup.

Me. I am going to bed. Early. I will not sleep in tomorrow. I will get my writing done.

Phantom Sorcerer

Phantom Sorcerer is ready on Amazon. It has been a long time coming, but it is finally for sale. If it seems interesting, please feel free to take a look. Give it a read.

Felix the Swift, an alias, lived in the land of Agersolum, in the Empire of Aurre. Felix was a thief and a good one at that. He was arguably the best thief in the city. A pimple on the Duke’s rear end.

When his last job, quite possibly his grandest, goes bad it costs his apprentice’s life and the freedom of everyone he has ever loved. His entire family and he are sold into slavery to pay for his crimes.

Felix gets dragged across the globe and thrown into a world of magic, and Gods. He must face High-Princes, assassins, traitorous brothers, Gods, and the scorching heat of the desert. Felix must overcome the obstacles that have been laid against him to become truly free.

Felix must find a way back to his homeland and a way to free his family. Or he fails and the hostile environment will overtake him as it has to so many others.

Site Updated

This is a very short update.

With the approaching soon-to-be publication of my debut novel, Phantom Sorcerer: Felix the Swift trilogy Book One, I have updated the site. I needed a better layout as I didn’t have enough room for all of the things that I wanted to do.

I have lots to do and not enough time to do it in. Please enjoy the site and wait for the announcement when the book has gone live.

Until Next time.


Plot Holes

I read a lot of books. Well, listen to audio tapes is a better description, but it is the same. I don’t have a lot of funds to spend on books though. So I listen to free audio dramas online.

Which is hard to find good audio dramas. I keep on getting a couple episodes in, and then I can’t listen to them anymore.

And it’s for silly things. I was listening to this one about an economic post-apocalypse. The concept was sound. I listened to it. At the three-quarter mark of the episode, they are in the middle of a gunfight, and one soldier yells to the other, “Throw me a clip.”

What they hell. A clip. They were modern soldiers. Modern soldiers don’t use clips. Clips are used inside rifles. Like they used for the M1 Garand or the Soviet SKS. Modern military rifles don’t use clips.

They use magazines. Magazines are a clip, but it is encased in metal or plastic, and it is attached to the outside of the firearm. Some are attached to the side, while most are attached underneath.

Another one had a lady running down the street with a shirt covered in blood. Not a single person asked her if she was alright. And they didn’t run from her either. Then there were the obvious historical problems when they went to an origin point of a long-lived character. They described the British Empire as it was during the 18th century. There was no British Empire in 1000’s AD.

But that is enough of me whinning.

Until next time.

Time. The enemy.

As a writer, I always meet people that will claim to have a desire to write a novel. They usually hold me in awe and say things like, “You’re an author, I wish  I could write a book.” Or “I used to write when I was younger when I had more time. I’ll write later…” Then they’ll give a vague time frame like, “When the kids are in school.” Or “When I retire.”

I say that’s a bunch of hornswaggle.

They act like writing a novel is something that’s hard. It isn’t all about learning something. Like learning how to ride a bike, play music or rocket science. It just takes time and commitment. If someone wants to write a novel, all it takes is being able to carve out a chunk of time each day, every day to be able to write. A half hour. An hour.

There is a time to start to write that book. That time is now. Not later. And if someone has a desire to write, then they need to do it. Don’t put it off till later. Pick up the pen and do it.

The reason to start now is that life is short. Time is the one precious commodity that we spend so much of that we can’t can’t get enough of. I, personally, don’t want to be old and gray and wishing that I had started to write when I was younger. I do wish that I had done things that I know  I will never get to do. Everyone has them. It happens, but doing something as simple as writing a novel isn’t one of them.

It’s like climbing Everest or fighting in the MMA. It’s something to do when you’re young and too stupid to know any better. But if you have a desire to do any of those things, the time is now, not when you are old and gray.

So how do I find the time to write? It is like climbing Everest. You don’t just wake up one day and hop on a plane to go to Mount Everest. It is something that you must commit to. You must train. Practice on smaller, easier peaks before you try Everest.

Writing is the same. You must spend a huge amount of time practicing, sucking before you get any better. You will write a large amount of ugly, gross words before they start to look golden. That is how you do it.

You need to spend the time to get good at it. NASCAR drivers do it. They practice hours on the track. Pilots do it, they must log hundreds of hours to learn how to fly before they can take a plane out by themselves.

It’s the same with writers. You must practice, practice, practice.

So to all those non-authors that wish or desire to sit down and write something. What are you waiting around for? Get that butt in that chair. Turn that computer on, open that notebook and write.

Stop desiring to write. Write.

In the immortal words of Yoda. “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try. ”

If you want to write. Do it. Take the dive down the rabbit hole. Follow the white rabbit. You may like what you find. You may want to stay in wonderland.

Until next time.

Differences between Hard and Soft Part 2

A few days ago I published a blog post about the differences between hard and soft science fiction stories. I talked about that the difference is the rules that are applied to the story and that in Hard Sci-Fi, the scientific community and the public make the rules. The author does not.

The reason for that is that science exists and is a real tangible thing, and therefore, the rules are already set and in place.

In the fantasy realm, there is a big difference between hard magic and soft magic. But the difference between hard and soft magic is the same as hard and soft sci-fi. It is about the rules that govern the story.

In storytelling, rules govern every aspect of the story. You create rules on what a character will and will not do based on that character themselves. Some won’t eat meat, some won’t take a human life to save there own. Some will always that oggle something pretty if it crossed there path.

Same with the world building. If the rule states that the time it takes to get from city A to city B is three days of traveling by foot, you can’t have it take 6 hours the next chapter over unless you give a good reason for it.

In the use of magic and magic systems, magic falls into one of two categories with a hybrid of each in the middle making a possible third.

Hard Magic is where the author gives distinct rules of it’s us. How it is performed, what it does and how. Hard magic systems turn that magic into a science. Science has distinct rules that it must follow.

Those rules limit its use. They give it tangible consequences for its use. Cause it is more interesting to see what a magic can’t do, then what it can. Better to have the character overcome the magic system in some interesting way. It can also be used to solve story questions. The limiting of the magic allows for that. It allows you to write a novel where the magic is a central part of the story. The main character can be a magic user. Think Brandon Sanderson’s Mystborn series.

The problem with this system is that having a limited system and the constant of writing the character into corners. Sometimes the magic system that you created will not dig your self out of the hole that you dug. The characters are screwed, and you know it.

Soft magic, however, is not explained. There are no written rules on what can and cannot be done using magic in that story. It gives the book a sense of wonder cause you have no idea what can be done and it is cool to see what the author can come up with.

The use of the soft magic should not be used to solve a major story problem. The main character should not be a magic user and magic should not be a central part of the story. Think Lord of the Rings. Gandalf doesn’t tell the hobbits how he uses magic. He just does. He also uses it at unexplained times and then a sword at others.

There are problems with using this system. A soft magic system comes off as too god-like if used too heavy-handedly. The solutions feel forced, and the ending will come off weak. Lackluster. Better to abandon magic at that point and have the characters use a non-magic means to solve the story problem.

Brandon Sanderson’s First Law

Brandon Sanderson’s Second Law

Brandon Sanderson’s Third Law

Those links are a direct path to Brandon Sanderson’s site which gives a better explanation of the ideas of hard and soft magic and the rules of using hard magic.

Any discussion on this blog post or the earlier one is most welcome. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Until next time.


Goodbye 2017 and Hello 2018

2017 has been quite a year. Lots of things have changed in such a short amount of time.

The first thing of note is that I sold my house and moved across the province to the warmest place in Canada. The only part of the country that gets little or no real winter. And it has been awesome. We moved primarily to get closer to a good university for my wife who is going to art school. You can see some of her work here.  Grace Pedde’s Instagram

The kids are in school, and they both love it. They are learning lots and excelling at it. Something that I could never do. I wanted to be outside playing in the mud. Not inside reading some dusty tomb about salmon eggs. My kids love reading about that. My son’s favorite subject is rocks and minerals. He has a hardcover book that he reads. He also wants to become a video game designer. But he is seven, and that may change.

The most significant thing that I have done this year is creating this site. The site has gone from an unused blog to a website. There are still places that it can go, and it is an evolving thing. I have pages to show some art from my worlds. I only have a couple, but more will come eventually. You can find it here. Concept art

I have also opened my graveyard. It is a place for those morbid peoples that want to see their name in print. No matter how. And I always need names of victims to slice open in my adult works. It’s a win-win. That can be found here. Graveyard

At the moment, I have no published works. Nothing exists out there. But I can tell you that I have made some real progress.

The first is that I have book one of my Felix the Swift trilogy getting edited. I also have four middle-grade works that I co-wrote with my kids to be edited as well. Three out of four Space Courier Books are done, as well as one out of four Evana Sweetland books. I am currently working on fixing Book 1 of my Culture Shock Trilogy. It is going through some significant changes. Once I get that one closer, I will talk about it soon.

And that was 2017 in a nutshell.

The big question of the day. What are my plans for 2018? I have mentioned some of them before, but here they are now.

The plan is to publish a title a month. I say title as if I say that I will publish a novel a month, people will think that I will publish 12 full-length adult books. But I don’t only write adult books.

I write a mix of adult books, middle grade, and young adult fiction. I say titles as a middle-grade book is generally smaller than an adult one. Fewer words mean that they are usually quicker to write.

I will be writing a blog post about the differences between the age groups later.

I also have a schedule. Most professional authors create some sort of plan on what they want to work on and when. Sometimes they have outside forces like a publisher that dictates what they write about. I don’t have a publisher. I AM the publisher. I create my own schedule. I am the eggman, I am the walrus…coo coo ca choo…

My schedule is:

January 2018- Phantom Sorcerer: Felix the Swift Book 1
February 2018- Missile Attack: Space Courier Book 1
March 2018- The Dragon Heart: The Adventures of Evana Sweetland Book 1
April 2018- Culture Shock: Land of Ash and Fire Book 1
May 2018- Saboteur Confronted: Space Courier Book 2
June 2018- Untitled: The Adventures of Evana Sweetland Book 2
July 2018- Under the Shadow of Giants: Felix the Swift Book 2
August 2018- Untitled: Space Courier Book 3
September 2018- Untitled: The Adventures of Evana Sweetland Book 3
October 2018- It Begins: Inescapable Game Book 1
November 2018- Untitled: Space Courier Book 4
December 2018- Untitled: The Adventures of Evana Sweetland Book 4

That is subject to change as life happens. Things change, and it may not be tenable. Only time will tell.

But, I will close things off with a couple sayings that I have adopted as my mantra. I will do blog posts on each later.

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”
“If you don’t risk failure, then you don’t deserve Success!”

Until next time. Happy 2018.


Differences between hard and soft

First, let’s get the elephant that is in the room, out. Happy New Year. There I said it.

Now to more important things.

A friend and I got into a discussion about a story. Well, that on its own is nothing new. We talk all the time about some story, whether it is his or it is mine. He doesn’t write novels, he works in film. He has many projects on the go, just like me.

We are planning to co-write a project in the next few months. At the moment, I can’t tell much about it. But in the course of discussing the project in question, we got into a discussion about hard and soft science fiction. He was leaning towards more hard sci-fi and I did not.

That got me thinking. A dangerous proposition, I know.

But I thought about the differences between hard and soft Science Fiction. You can take any sci-fi story, and you can place it into one of those two categories. It doesn’t matter what the sub-genre is. You can have hard space opera as well as soft space opera. You can have hard military sci-fi and as well as soft.

But what is the difference?

The difference is how you talk about one of the most important parts of a science fiction story. The science.

Hard Sci-fi has to use all known rules and laws of science. It must take them into account. That means no FTL travel. No Lasers. No handwavium artificial gravity. You can only use something if there is good science that explains it. This is a limiting factor.

A very limiting factor.

It means that you must have a Ph.D. in some field of space science to get the science correct and even then you will still get things wrong. And when an author gets things wrong, the reader will let you know.

Many times.

In angry emails and bad reviews.

There are a couple main reasons that an author gets the science wrong.

The first is obvious. Most people only think that they understand the science of space. Most have incorrect ideas that they haven’t been corrected on yet. High schools don’t always teach the correct science and it takes years in college to get to the real science. There is also the problem with the media showing incorrect science. Like a bullet throwing the victim backward. So you can get the science correct and people will still send you that angry email.

Another is that the science of space is changing at a rapid pace as new things are discovered. Most times the scientists only have theories on the reasons why. And there are usually conflicting theories. They just discovered the Higgs boson particle and that changed things. They are also discovering new planets and moons. As well as new anomalies. Like the colors of plutos surface. Who saw that coming? Most sci-fi that I have seen always showed Puto as a dark brown rock. Not as brightly colored as it is.

The third is that space science is very complicated. There are many different aspects to take into account in just a simple trip to the moon. Motion doesn’t work like it does on earth. Neither does navigation. You can’t just aim at your ship at the destination and hit the go button.

Well… you can, but you will burn up a large amount of fuel. You see, in space, there is no standing still. Even if you are are not using a single thruster, you are still moving. You are in some type of orbit. Either around a planet, or a moon, or the sun. And that means that you are moving. Sideways, but still moving.

The gravity of that planet will also pull you back towards it as you lose momentum. And you won’t follow the same path as you did before. You will curve in some fashion. And if there is another large object, like a moon, in your way, that will change your orbit more.

And speeding up doesn’t necessarily catch a target that you are chasing. Cause you are in an orbit, as you speed up, it changes the orbit in relation to your target. Meaning that you may miss them completely. Or catch up, but have a ten-second window to shoot at them.

See what I mean, complicated.

Soft Sci-fi is where you take the rules that you want to talk about and then ignore the rest. ‘Cause honestly, no one cares. Not really. They want to read about the space marines shooting things up or sex in zero-g or plethra of topics and plots. Not astro-navigation and orbital mechanics. And that is the best way to go.

The first rule of novel writing is that the story comes first. Do not put something in it unless it enhances the story in some way. If you want a story about an alien invasion or the first trip to another solar system, then don’t worry that FTL travel isn’t possible. Decide on a make-believe method and just write it.

But if it is better to write soft sci-fi over hard sci-fi, then what about hard and soft magic?

Well. That will have to wait until next time.

Until them.