Hi There!

Thanks for visiting Welcome to Bridgetown!  And if you’re here because you followed the link posted in the back pages of A Division of Souls, a huge THANK YOU for purchasing the book as well!  I hope you enjoyed it!  The next book in the trilogy, The Persistence of Memories, will be available as e-book on April 15th.  Please check out the ‘Buy Stuff!’ link up near the header there for links!

If you’re new here, again, welcome!  Have some tea and a scone and we can have a nice chat.  I blog mostly about the writing process — the ups, the downs, the frustrations and the wackiness.  It’s at times fascinating, frustrating, eye-opening, and head-shaking, but it’s never dull.  I also talk about the Mendaihu Universe:  the creation of it, the goings-on within it, the theories behind it, and everything in between.

If you’d like to know more about the MU, are curious about the writing process, or just want to say hi, feel free to comment here, and I’ll respond in kind.  I may even use your question as the basis for a future blog post!

I do have a mailing list!  Just click this link and the boffins over at Mail Chimp will do the rest.  I promise I won’t spam you…if anything, you’ll most likely see a newsletter only once a month, if that.

Thank you for visiting!

Who Are You

One of the many preparatory steps I’m taking for the upcoming New Project (Nothing to Do with the Trilogy, Honest) is thinking about new characters.  Of the two projects I have on deck, I’ve decided that I’d like to know more about the characters ahead of time, before I get any actual writing done.

I’ve done this before with the trilogy, but for the most part they were in my head.  Considering I pretty much knew a lot about them by the time I wrote the three books, I could get away with that.  However, these new projects are different.  I’d rather not wing it this time.  [I mean, I can if I have to…but I’d rather not.]

In this instance I’ll be creating character sheets.  Nothing too detailed or intensive, just enough for me to use as reference.  I’ve seen many webcomic artists do this; they’ll have an image folder or scrapbook that will have the basic character designs, but will also include fashion photograhy and color palettes (personal styles), celebrity casting (what they look like, facial expressions, different angles, etc), unique physical attributes (hair, piercings, etc), and so on.  I did something similar to this for some of my trilogy characters, adding things like their birthdays, current addresses, and so on.  I rarely had to pull them out for reference, but they were good to have on hand just in case I’d erred in description somewhere.

I also usually add a map or two as well.  I drew a basic layout of Bridgetown early on for reference and it came in quite handy multiple times.  I will most likely do the same for one of the two upcoming projects.

It does sound like I’m purposely limiting the amount of pre-work I do.  It’s true, I don’t like to give my outlines all that much detail, at least not on a long-term basis.  Just enough so I know what to write within the next three or four chapters and a vague idea of the direction of the novel as a whole.  The same goes with the characters; the most I’ll do is create a character sheet that will remind me of the basics so I can remain consistent.  Essentially, something I can anchor the character to.

There are numerous books and articles out there suggesting how to create characters with depth, and I’ve read many of them.  They all have great ideas that will help you create a better novel.  I’ve always tended to uses these suggestions as a baseline rather than concrete directions, and that’s worked just fine.  There’s no right way to do it other than whatever works for you.

STFU

not writing

I came up with a mantra in the spring of 1995 when I realized that if I was going to get any serious writing done, I was going to have to stop making excuses not to.  Or more to the point, I was going to have to stop procrastinating.  I had a lot on my mind that summer…a stagnating long-distance relationship; lots of overdue bills; a really horrible diet of cereal, ice cream, concession stand food, soda, and smokes; jobs that weren’t paying enough for me to actually live on.  It’s quite true that life stress is not conducive to the creative mind. At. All.

But I had the use of my girlfriend’s PC that summer, and a hell of a lot of time on my hands when I wasn’t at my theater job.  I had a few projects milling about in the back of my head.  And I had my radio and my music collection to keep me entertained.  All I needed to do was get myself into the groove somehow.  If I was going to finally jumpstart this writing gig with any seriousness, I was going to have to go all in.  I couldn’t do it half-assed.

Which meant that I had to come up with a daily reminder.  And this reminder was written on two index cards in very large letters — one was posted right above my desk, and the other was next to my bed.  That way I’d see them every single day, whether I wanted to or not.

This is what they said:

Just DO it.  Shut the f*** up and START WRITING ALREADY.

Terse?  Maybe.  But it did the trick.  The only reason for not writing at that time was so I could feel sorry for myself and my pathetic social life and post-college career.  I hated feeling that way, and I hated that I knew I was wasting time feeling that way.  I had to break the cycle somehow.

Even if that meant working on the small, inconsequential stuff like transcribing my writing from the past ten years.  Even if that meant making small notes on scrap pieces of paper while at my job.  The main aim here was to create a daily habit out of it.  I’d worry about results at a later time.  As long as I was doing it and not wishing I was.

*

I’ll be honest, that’s still my writing mantra, twenty-one years later in 2016.  It’s for different reasons, of course.  I say that to myself when I’m having a mean case of the Don’t Wannas, or severely distracting myself online, or whatever.  I still have my moments of self-doubt (what writer doesn’t?) and wonder if the current project I’m on is worth finishing.

Procrastination and self-doubt are still two of my bitterest enemies, and the only way I know how to defeat them is via the same mantra:  just shut the f*** up and DO it.

And you know what?  It still works.

Creating Covers

So tonight I decided to play around a bit with the cover for The Balance of Light, even though it’s still quite some time before it’s going to see ebook or print.  This one was tough, because I had an idea of what I wanted, but looking for the right picture was going to be a tough one.  I wanted something to balance out the blue/yellow night view of A Division of Souls, so I knew it would have to be yellow/blue and morning.  I had the color scheme down, but the picture was the tough part.

I’ve said before that I really love this part of the self-publishing process; I mean, really love it.  Like, to the point that I may possibly do this as a side-job in the future.  I love looking for that perfect shot.  Trying to get the perfect crop balance.  Figuring out whether to adjust the color or give it a bit of an effect.  Playing around with fonts and text placement.

I’ll be honest, it’s like I’m making fake album covers.  It’s something I used to do as a teenager with my mixtapes and the Flying Bohemians tapes.

Let’s take a quick look at the three covers I’ve made so far:

ados 100615 nt cover

The cover for A Division of Souls was meant to invoke a few things:  the setting (a metropolis, teeming with people), the time (at night), and mood (tense and mysterious).  It’s also to serve as a tie-in to the very first scene.  In short, my aim was to say: this is what the book’s going to make you feel.

The cover was also supposed to tie in with the other two books, which means that I also had to think ahead:  what were the other two going to look like?  I knew I’d have to keep a few visual motifs going…a city would have to be involved in all three, somehow; the images would need to evolve, just like the story itself.  In this case, I created multiple ‘lightboxes’ in my Shutterstock account and started looking for pictures that would do exactly what I needed them to do.

The time it took to throw this one together was surprisingly quick, to be honest.  Looking at it now, I can see a few things I should fix, but for the most part it went smoothly, once I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

tpom 032316 take 2

The cover for The Persistence of Memories was a bit trickier, and I think it looks better as an e-book cover than it does as a trade paperback cover, but I do like how it came out.  The same rules applied here…in this case the setting was twofold: it takes place both on Earth and on Trisanda, so I chose to do a ‘satellite’ point of view that shows both the city below and the stars above.  Time seems to be fluid in this shot.  It seems to be late night in the city below, blanketed by the similar blue (not exactly the same but close) of the first book, but in the heavens, time is irrelevant; it’s all light and dark at the same time.  It also creates a dreamlike mood, where you’re not entirely sure what’s reality and what isn’t.

The placement of the title was purely serendipity, to be honest; I did not expect the top two words to be in space and the bottom two to be in the planet’s atmosphere.  It just turned out that way and worked out quite nicely.  Funnily enough, once I’d noticed that, I was torn on exactly where I should place it…the other outtake had the title dropped a tiny bit lower, so the “of” is resting right on top of the gray cloud line instead of hovering over it like it is.

 

I haven’t made a solid decision yet on what the Book 3 cover will look like but this is what I came up with tonight:

tbol outtake 3b

 

I’m still playing around with the font color for the title, as well as the placement of the text.  The picture hints at the metropolis of ADoS, but the mood and the time is different: we’ve gotten through the late night of Book 1 and the witching hours of Book 2, and now we’ve come to the morning after of Book 3.  The yellow of the sunlight is supposed to hint at the yellow font of Book 1, and I’m still trying to figure out which bluish hue would be good for the title (to hint at the blue cityscape of ADoS).

True, it does kind of hint at new-agey books, but that’s kind of the point…the characters and the planet itself has gone through a spiritual awakening of sorts.  And like Book 2, it serves a dual purpose: the physical awakening from that dreamlike state, and the spiritual awakening.

*

One thing I learned early during this process was that I shouldn’t merely look for something that ‘looks cool’, no matter how tempting it may be.  The last thing I needed was to look for something shiny, because I didn’t want the casual viewer to say ‘wow, what a flashy cover’ but not completely connect with it or remember it.  I wanted something unique.  Something that stood out from other covers, not because it was the flashiest, but because it was different. Something to catch their attention because it stood out just enough.

These first three are my first attempts at doing book covers, and as you’ve probably noticed, there are no actual people on the cover.  This was a conscious choice; not only is it because of the large cast, but because I also wanted to invoke the idea that it wasn’t just my characters being affected by the story, but planet itself.

My next couple of projects do involve a much smaller cast, so there’s a very good chance I may use people (or silhouettes) on their covers.  I did a brief Shutterstock search for those and found a few ideas to work with, and I’m looking forward to these when I get to that point.  The main drafts of these stories haven’t even been written yet, or at least not completely, so again this was a bit like creating fake album covers!  In the process it’s giving me something fun to look forward to.

 

 

Juggling My Writing with the Day Job

juggling2

This is about the extent of my actual juggling proficiency, tbh.

Juggling between Day Job and Writing Career can be a tricky thing.  I’m lucky in that I work from home, which affords me time to listen to music as long and as loud as I like, plus my commute is about twenty feet from my bed and into the next room.  But there’s not a lot of time to do much writing work, even during slow times.  We both wake up around 6am and start our days at 7:30am.  I have a half-hour for lunch at noon, and two fifteen-minute breaks (one in the morning, one in the afternoon).  Then there’s the time right after work, where we’ll occasionally head over to the local YMCA for some exercise and getting off our duffs.  We’ll have dinner soon after that, when we return.

That gives me about two hours in the evening during the weekdays to work on whatever project I happen to be on.  We’ll get into bed around 8:3oish and read for an hour or two before passing out for the night.  Like any other writer, I really wish I had more time to work with.  But somehow I pull it off.

How do I do it?  Well, a few things, really.

Assigned time.  My midmorning break (around 9:30am) is when I do my longhand writing.  Specifically, I write a daily entry in my moleskine journal.  I don’t give myself a subject to write about; it’s just a personal entry of things on my mind at time.  It may or may not have anything to do with writing, but as long as I’m writing something, that’s all that matters.  The afternoon break (around 2:30pm) is less structured, but it’s there for me to use if need be.

Being conscious of the use of my time.  Not gonna lie, I get sucked down the Wikipedia rabbit hole and the cat gif vortex and the Twitter noise just as often as everyone else does.  I’m okay with a bit of goofing off now and again; it gives my brain a rest, especially if the Day Job has been stressful.  But I’ve also trained myself to shut down the browser as soon as I realize I’m just wasting time.  [An unexpected plus is that my reaction time has gotten faster; I’ll waste five minutes instead of fifteen now.]

Being on a roll.  Sometimes I’ll get into a groove and not want to stop.  Why stop when I can still go?  I used to do this all the time with my old Belfry writing habits, and I still do it with the housework, so why not?  I’ll get one blog post done, and if I have enough time, I’ll write another one.  And if I’m still on that roll, maybe I’ll work on something else.  At least until i get tired or get diverted by something more important.  The downside is that I might exhaust myself now and again, but it’s a small price to pay.  This works out especially well if I’m having a slow day at the Day Job.

Planning out my day.  This is where the whiteboard comes in.  I’ve made it a point that I want to write two blog posts a week for each site.  For the most part I’ve been keeping that, even though some of the entries have ended up going live in the afternoon (like this one) rather than first thing in the morning.  [That’s been my own fault lately.  Still working on the planning part.]

And of course, deadlines.  I haven’t given myself a strict deadline for when I finish editing The Balance of Light, given that this one’s getting a severe surgery as compared to the other two, but I’ve at least told myself that I want it done by the end of the year.  This worked out well for the other two books: I’d chosen a specific date at least a month and a half in the future as the drop date and made sure the book was finished at least a week beforehand.  This meant that I’d focus on nothing except for the editing, formatting and publishing of the books for that amount of time — this meant that things like the 750 Words would fall by the wayside, that the blog posts might end up a bit scant, and that I’d conveniently forget to work on any other projects.  But the payoff was perfect: once the project was considered done, I gave myself a week off to relax and play catch-up with everything I’d put aside.  By the time I’m back to normal, I’m ready to go on the next project.

But what about the Writing/Day Job juggling?  That’s a good question.  What I’m trying to say here is that looking at it in terms of Day Job versus Must Do All The Things isn’t exactly the right way to do it.  The trick is to already know that you only have a finite amount of time.  I only have about two hours of free time in the evening which I can fully dedicate to whatever writing project I’m on.  In those two hours, I’m going to do my damnedest to keep myself focused on it.  And during my Day Job hours, if the pace is slow enough that I can get away with it, I’ll work on something quick and easy like Daily Words, or write part of a blog post.  Otherwise I’ll stick with the scheduled assignments during my free time.  In turn, that lightens up my end-of-day load of work that still needs doing.

 

It’s tricky, but it can be done!

Names

I’ve heard all kinds of advice about names in fiction.  Some say you should really think it over before you chose a character’s name; others just suggest that you make the name believable and pronounceable.  I think most of us have grown out of needing a Dickensian hit-you-over-the-head name like jilted sweetheart Rosa Bud from The Mystery of Edwin Drood, of course.

What makes a good character name, though?

I’ll admit that I don’t think too much about it.  Just enough to make sure the name fits the character I have in mind.  I go with the sound of the name and the mood of the character.  Alec Poe’s name came to me when I wanted someone whose family was part of the collegiate crowd, and yet doesn’t quite fit his personality due to him being adopted.  Caren Johnson’s name was chosen because I wanted her to have a simple name despite her very important fate, to the point that I spelled her name with a C instead of an K.

Back when I was first trying out this whole writing gig, I didn’t even go that far; I just picked names of people I knew.  I knew three Scotts in junior high and used that as the Infamous War Novel’s central character.  I knew a few Stephens in high school and used that for Belief in Fate.   [‘Stephen’ became my go-to placeholder name for a lot of my stories at the time, especially around 1986 when I found it was Morrissey’s first name.]  Come to think of it, I knew absolutely no Simons, and that was probably my first not-based-on-anyone character, again in BiF.  I used Simon again with my anti-me Murph character (his full name is Simon Murphy — yes, it is in fact the same character who gets a cameo in The Persistence of Memories!), getting ‘Murph’ from the nickname of one of my managers at the college library.

It really wasn’t until 1993 when I started writing science fiction that I actually started focusing on choosing the right name, going just a slight bit further than just ‘because it sounds good’.  The characters in the original Vigil story were newer and better names for older IWN characters.  Most of the names in True Faith were chosen for a specific reason: there’s a family whose full names are all two syllables and the first name has double vowels; another family’s first names were only a single syllable and contained either O’s or A’s.

That’s when I realized that naming conventions could be used as a way to describe a family’s culture.  I could have a bit of fun with them by briefly telling the reader about the character’s background without actually having to do an infodump.  [There is a reason why the Shalei name is so prevalent in the trilogy: it’s an extremely common Meraladian clan name like the Vietnamese ‘Nguyen’ or the English ‘Smith’.  It’s meant to show that they are the largest Meraladian clan in this story’s world, even if they aren’t all closely related.]

Since then I’ve stayed with my own naming conventions, especially with the new projects.  There are a few characters named after the person or character that inspired them, and there are a few whose name fit their background.  I still don’t linger all that long on finding the best one, just one that rings true to who they are and what they’re about.  I’ve expanded over the years to include more names from different countries and cultures as well.

Do I have a list of names I’d like to use?  Sure I do!  It’s in my head, of course…one of those ‘I should use that somewhere’ lists that come up whenever I’m reading or watching something.  I own a few baby name books and name-meaning books as well.  I don’t think I’ve ever used a name specifically because it means anything, though.  More that I’ll use it backwards; a character I’ve already named might have some secondary or minor traits that fit in with said meaning, just to expand on their background.  Either way, it’s a necessary part of the writing process, and I’ve come to have fun with it.

 

And now I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve used the word ‘name’ so many times in this post it sounds like a silly sound effect in my head. :p

Things and Stuff

sweeping

I seem to be in one of those moods again.  You know the ones: where suddenly feel the need to change everything up, try something new (or bring back something old after I’ve freshened it up a bit).  I think it’s because I’m on the back end of the Colossally Long and Really This Shouldn’t Have Taken This Damn Long project of releasing the Bridgetown trilogy.  I’m definitely seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and it looks quite sunny out there.

Which reminds me — the layout of this blog is rather dark, isn’t it?  I mean, I like the look of it myself, but I feel the color scheme is starting to outgrow its usefulness.  Book 3 is starting to kick up dust on the horizon on its way towards release (still looks like it’s going to be either very late this year, or possibly early next year, by the way things are going), and it’s got a much brighter outlook.

I’m thinking that in the next few weeks, I may change up the site here, make it a bit more warm and inviting.  I’ve got the next few weekends wide open, so maybe some Sunday I’ll pop in and open up the shades!

*

scully

I read a lot of webcomics first thing in the morning while having my breakfast and booting up the Day Job laptop, and I’ve noticed a very weird trend.  In particular, it’s a trend dealing with the balance between the creator’s vision versus reader expectation.  I first noticed this during my weekly reading of the Naruto manga series as it was being uploaded to various comic sites, in which a certain subset of fans were getting increasingly upset that the creator, Masashi Kishimoto, was driving the plot where they didn’t want it to go.  A few fans ragequitting the series towards the end (which was nearing 700 chapters by that time!) in protest.  Others going on lengthy Tumblr diatribes as to why Kishimoto was flat-out WRONG for writing his story the way he did.*

Fast-forward to the other day, when two webcomic artists, Mildred Louis (Agents of the Realm, a wonderful take on the magical girl trope) and Pascalle Lepas (Wilde Life, an incredibly inventive supernatural/horror story) both started tweeting about readers who have recently contacted them, either through DM, site comment or email, letting them know how much they like their work…except that if you fixed X, Y and Z, and did A, B and C instead, it would be so much better.**

Dude.  Really?

I could never quite understand why some fans would do that, especially to creators who are releasing their work on their own and not through any publisher or production company. Would you contact your favorite band’s lead singer on Twitter or Facebook to say you loved the new album but Track 6 sucks ass because it’s a bit too long and someone hit a bum note?

Why would you cross the line from appreciative fan to self-appointed Subject Matter Expert on someone else’s creation?  Why would you want to?  There’s obsession (like my discography completism, for instance) and then there’s obsession (NO NO! You can’t write *my* babies into a corner like that!!), and the second kind is really kind of creepy.

I’ve seen writers get this a lot too.  I’ve gotten it a few times.  Well-meant criticism, but really…it’s our creation, not yours.  We’re trying to tell you a story we think you’d enjoy.  You’re like Vern from Stand By Me, continually interrupting Gordie’s story about Lard-Ass Hogan and just pissing everyone else off.

Constructive criticism isn’t always about saying ‘you did X, Y and Z wrong; here’s how to do it better.’  It’s definitely not about saying ‘this wasn’t written the way I wanted it to be written, therefore it’s wrong.’  And despite your apparent knowledge about what makes a good story, you’re forgetting the most important part: you’re speaking from opinion, not experience.  Your criticism isn’t helpful; it’s coming across as pedantic and selfish.

If you’re a professional editor at one of the major publishing houses?  If you’re a pro artist who’s worked on your craft for years?  Sure, that’s different.  We all like hearing from the pros on what we can do to make our creation that much better.  But if you’re just a Fan With A Very Important Opinion, not so much.

I know, I know…touchy subject.  Just something I had to get off my chest.

* – Never mind that Naruto is, obviously, a Japanese story on numerous levels, and so the storytelling, as well as the character development, is going to be quite different from expected American storytelling norms.  This seemed to be the one major point that the most vocal of this subset would often forget or ignore in their arguments.

** – I’m well aware that this could be mansplaining.  Louis and Lepas didn’t explicitly state that’s what it was, so I’m not going down that route here, but it would not surprise me if that was part of it.  And yes, I have seen it thrown at both male and female creators.  Still, if it was mansplaining, that’s not cool either.  It’s not well-meant criticism.  You’re just being a douche.

*

kermit typing

WHAT IS MY NEXT WRITING PROJECT?  I can year y’all asking me that through the intertubes (mainly because you’re about as sick as I am with me blathering on about the damn trilogy).  I’ve got it narrowed down to three projects:  another novel in the Mendaihu Universe, the time-travel idea I’ve had for some time, or the music-related novel I outlined a short time ago using my daily words.  Each of them has merit, and I’m pretty sure the latter two will have a much quicker turnaround than the first one, so it’s still up in the air.

I’ll be making a decision quite soon, so as soon as I’ve made the decision, I’ll let you know.  One of them may actually involve some reader participation of some kind, and I’m really looking forward to trying to get that to work.  We shall see!

Until then, hope everyone has a gook weekend!

Ownership

I was contemplating posting this on Walk in Silence instead, as it originally pertained to music, but I think it works a little better here, as it’s more about the creativity side than the sounds.

A few weeks back the Republican National Convention took place in Cleveland, and aside from the various dumpster fires that went on before, during and after it, I was once again struck by that party’s consistent borrowing of music without requesting permission.

Now, before I go into any potentially divisive politics here, this is purely from the standpoint of the creator.  I’m a big proponent of ownership, and at least giving the creator their due when necessary.

All too often I see examples of creative works being borrowed for entertainment or financial or even social gain, often without mentioning the creator’s name.  This is especially rampant in the art world, where a creator posts their artwork on Tumblr or DeviantArt or Instagram (or any of the other art-themed social media platforms), and on occasion has had corporations such as Hot Topic ‘borrowing’ said art to print on their own branded clothing, without ever contacting the artist.  [And yes, sometimes they will even go so far as to have an in-house artist ‘draw’ the same exact image with minimal changes just to flirt with any legal loopholes.]  Or even on the public level, where their work will be reposted hither and yon without any note of its origin (sometimes it’s even edited out of the picture), thus it becoming lost in the wild and misconstrued as public domain.  This is why many of the artists have gone so far as to put watermarks across their work.  They’ll have a clean version if you want it–you just need to ask permission and perhaps give them payment for it.  Fair is fair.

Music is another field where this happens all too often.  In regards to the RNC, they were using numerous well-known songs as entrance music — sometimes to the point that it was a little too close to pro-wrestling at times.  They almost never ask permission, even though music publishers always have some kind of Terms of Use rules in their publishing contracts.  [There is also the simple fact that, yes, the creator may not agree with your political message and not want to be associated with it in any way.]

The thing that always gets me is how often these conventions will choose a song without ever actually listening to what the song may be about.  They’ll just go with whatever sounds cool.  Ronald Reagan famously wanted to use Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” — an angry anti-war song.  Not that long ago, Sarah Palin used Heart’s “Barracuda” due to it being an old nickname in her past…even though the song is essentially an angry rant about sexism.   And recently: Ivanka Trump came onstage to The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” — a song inspired by taking the day off from work to enjoy nature.  And both David Bowie’s “Station to Station” and The Who’s “Eminence Front” were played by the house band at this year’s RNC; both are songs referencing heavy drug use.

Each time I hear things like this, I immediately think: you do know what this song’s about…right?  And soon after, the musician will publicly denounce its use.  It reminds me of that boat cruise commercial that used Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life” (a drug-fueled track inspired by a William Burroughs novel) or a game unit commercial using Sublime’s “Santeria” (a song about a violent and jealous ex-boyfriend) as a happy singalong.  They’re focusing completely on the music’s sound and ignoring the context.  It’s all style and no substance.

[Yes, I know someone out there will argue that ‘both sides do it’, but I’m pretty sure that ‘the other side’ usually makes an attempt to clear the permission beforehand.  When Bill Clinton used Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop”, at least the context made sense (it’s a song about determination during the most trying times), and they invited the band to play it live as well.  The DNC more often than not pays attention to what songs they use and how they use them.]

In this internet age, it’s no longer a time of getting away with this kind of thing and saying ‘oops, my bad’ afterwards.  Creators – and fans – can now respond instantly.  My point being: if you’re going to use someone’s creation for public use, the least you should do is ask permission, whether it’s an artwork or a song or a segment of a book.  And there’s a lot of creative work out there, not just the popular works: you may just find the perfect entrance song out there on Bandcamp instead of on Tidal.

Be courteous to the creators, and they may just be accommodating to whatever project you need them for.

Fly-by: On Returning

Hey there! Writing this post on my phone at the Minneapolis-St Paul airport as we wait for our connecting flight home from our vacation. We had all kinds of fun in Paris and London  (transportation hub complaints aside) and I’ll have many pictures to share. I was able to get a good chunk of galley editing done for The Persistence of Memories as well, so I should have the physical Createspace books available soon.

Regular entries here at WtBt should resume later this week. Thanks for waiting! 

Fly-By: brb, afk on vaca

Woo!  Long-awaited two-week vacation is just a few days away!  I’ll be afk during that time (and we will be at Outside Lands upon return), so there won’t be any new posts for the next few weeks.  I’ll be returning to the blog in mid-August.

Upon return, I’d like to return to the Monday & Friday posting update here at WtBt.  Lots of things have been happening this month, most of it pretty cool from a writing perspective, so I’m looking forward to sharing some of the thoughts and ideas and plans with you when I can.

Thanks for playing along, looking forward to seeing you when I return!

Everyone loves free books!

For all of July at Smashwords.com, you can get *both* A Division of Souls AND its sequel, The Persistence of Memories, for exactly $0.00!!

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Book I in the Bridgetown Trilogy, A Division of Souls, is currently free.  So if you haven’t experienced the first book in the Mendaihu Universe, have at it and have fun!
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/565782

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Book II in the Bridgetown Trilogy, The Persistence of Memories, is part of a month-long promotion at Smashwords — all you need do is insert the coupon code ‘SFREE’ when you purchase this book and it’s all yours!
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/625392

Hope you enjoy them both!