New release: “First Magic”

Hey, everyone! I’m pleased to announce that the fourth Minimum Wage Sidekick series, First Magic, is now available for purchase on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited!

Click this link HERE or the cover image above to go directly to its Amazon product page and pick up your copy. A trade paperback edition will be available from CreateSpace very soon.

Enjoy,

Lucas Flint

Review: “For Steam and Country” by Jon Del Arroz

Normally, I don’t do a lot of reviews on this blog; actually, I think this is the first time I’ve ever posted a book review on this site, ever, much less book reviews about steampunk.

And I’ll admit, I’m not really a super steampunk fan. I’ve never really been into it, even though I’ve appreciated the aesthetics of the genre. It’s always struck me as a primarily aesthetic movement/trend, which is not bad, but just not something that interested me.

But I like helping other authors and I know that one of the best ways to do that is by writing reviews of their books. And Jon Del Arroz is an author I’ve come to know and like over the last few months, especially his posts on the comic book industry.

So when his new book, For Steam and Country, came out, I decided to pick up a copy and check it out. I already read and enjoyed his first book, Star Realms: Rescue Run, so I decided I’d like to see how he’d handle a more fantasy-oriented novel.

With that out of the way, let’s move onto the review itself:

For Steam and Country is a steampunk novel (the first book of the Baron von Monocle series) set in a world where steam powers most forms of technology, such as the airship, Liliana. It stars young Zaira von Monocle, a young farm girl who inherits the aforementioned airship from her adventurer father, who has been pronounced dead, and soon finds herself drawn into a war between her home kingdom of Rislandia and the powerful but cruel Wyranth Empire.

It’s a fast-paced, action-packed novel with plenty of interesting characters, plot twists, and ideas that keep your attention from start to finish. I read the whole book in about a week in between sets at the gym and always looked forward to reading it when I put down my Kindle each day.

My favorite character was probably Toby, Zaira’s pet ferret. I’m not sure why, but I really enjoyed his antics in the book. I also liked James, Zaira’s childhood friend, and am interested in seeing his development in the next books.

As for negatives, I don’t really have any major complaints with this book; the characters are good, the plot is solid, worldbuilding makes sense, and everything else is more or less in order. The biggest problem I have is that the copy editing, while generally pretty good, has a few glaring issues here and there, but it’s not bad enough to detract from the story itself, so this is a pretty small thing, all things considered.

Overall, For Steam and Country is an excellent steampunk novel and book in general and I enjoyed it even more than Del Arroz’s Star Realms novel. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys steampunk or fast-paced fantasy adventure novels and I look forward to seeing where the author takes the characters and plot in the following books.

Watch me talk superheroes on the SFF Marketing Podcast!

Hey, everybody! Just wanted to let y’all know that I was on the SFF Marketing Podcast recently, in which I talked about my experiences and tips for succeeding in the superhero genre, which you can watch on their website here: http://www.marketingsff.com/succeeding-in-the-super-hero-genre/

Speaking of superheroes, I will probably be doing a year end retrospective on 2016 sometime this month, most likely after Christmas. I’ll also discuss in more detail my plans for 2017, which I intend to make my best year ever, so stay tuned for that.

Listen to me talk superheroes on The Wordslinger Podcast!

Hey, everyone! I was recently interviewed by Kevin Tumlinson about my experiences writing and publishing superhero fiction. I had a great time and thought that you all might like to know that the interview is live as of this morning and ready for listening here.

Superhero Super-Sale July 8-10 only!

Superhero Super-Sale July 8-10Hey, everyone! Just a quick post to announce the Superhero Super-Sale!

What is the Superhero Super-Sale, you ask? Well, it is an event in which several other superhero authors (including yours truly) have come together to offer a variety of superhero books for less than a dollar each from July 8-10 only, including my own book, The Superhero’s Test, which is available for free for this weekend only!

Click the image at the top of the post to see what books are available or click this link here to go to the sale’s page itself.

Remember, these books are only under a dollar each for this weekend only and I can’t guarantee when or if they will ever be on sale this low again, so head on over there and grab whichever ones look most interesting to you ASAP if you want to get them at such a great price.

Enjoy,

Lucas Flint

New release: “The Superhero’s Team”

The Superhero's Team 200x300

Hey, everybody! The next book in The Superhero’s Son series, The Superhero’s Team, is now available for purchase from Amazon! It is also available for free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

Buy the book here or by clicking the cover image above.

And yes, a trade paperback edition will be available from CreateSpace very shortly, probably in early July or so.

Also, the next book in the series, tentatively titled The Superhero’s Rival, is scheduled for a July 2016 release.

The 25-Day Novel Challenge: Day Five

The Superhero's Test - Ebook Small

WORD COUNT 20,007/75,000

We are now onto Day Five of the 25-Day Novel Challenge! I am now 20,000 words into the novel, which, according to my progress bar widget on the right side of the screen (or bottom of the screen, if you are on a mobile device), means I am about 25% finished with the novel. Yay!

Back on Day Three, I mentioned how much I enjoyed writing in first person. And it’s true, I do. I think it might be my favorite point of view to write from, mostly because I love the challenge of creating a distinct voice for whoever the protagonist happens to be.

The problem, of course, with first person is that you are limited to what your POV character knows and so you have to find a way to deliver important plot or character information to the reader in a way that makes sense and doesn’t turn your character into some kind of all-knowing god (unless your character is an all-knowing god, in which case disregard the above).

Also, it’s harder to develop characters who are not the main POV character. In third person, it’s easy to jump into another character’s head for a scene or two and then return to the protagonist’s head later, but in first person, you usually can’t do that unless you have multiple first person narrators (which can work and I have done before, though it is trickier than writing just one first person narrator).

Nonetheless, first person still comes easily and naturally to me, probably because I have a lot of experience writing from that perspective. It may not be suitable for every book, but I try to use it when I can, mostly because it’s so much fun.

Anyway, that’s enough for today. Tomorrow is Day Six. Can’t wait!

The 25-Day Novel Challenge: Day Three

The Superhero's Test - Ebook Small

WORD COUNT: 12,005/75,000

We’re now on Day Three of the 25-Day Novel Challenge. Writing today went great, as you can tell by the fact that I hit my word count quota for the day so early.

Writing this story has reminded me why I love writing in first person so much; it’s just so dang fun! I feel like I can be a lot more creative in first person than in third person, though I can write in both fairly well.

Some of you might be wondering how I can write so quickly without an outline. I know a lot of writers, if they don’t have at least a vague outline to guide them, can get stuck very easily and might even give up on a story altogether if they don’t figure out what happens next.

I am able to write without an outline because I am used to it. When I first started writing years ago, I tried to outline because I thought that it was what writers are “supposed” to do, but I quickly scrapped the process when I saw how my first novel-length story was turning out completely differently from what I outlined, so outlining seemed like a waste of time and effort to me, time and effort that could be better spent writing.

As a result, I’ve moved to writing into the dark. Under my main name, I’ve written 23 novels over the last couple of years without any outlines, which isn’t counting the novel-length fanfics I wrote prior to starting indie-publishing back in 2014. I’ve had a TON of practice writing into the dark, so it is now very easy and natural for me.

Here are a few quick points that help me:

  1. I write fast. This allows me to outspeed my doubts and fears. If you listen to your doubts and fears, you will have a harder time writing at all, whether you use an outline or not.
  2. I keep something happening in every scene and try to end every scene or chapter on a cliffhanger. I don’t just let the action wander off into irrelevant nothingness, but I don’t just toss in random crap that has nothing to do with the story, either. By doing this, I keep my own interest in the story alive, as well as reader interest, so it’s a win-win.
  3. Prior to starting work on a story, I do some basic preplanning, such as figuring out the main conflict, who the protagonist is, who the antagonist is, what the setting is, etc. It’s not good to go into too much detail here, because if you do, it could kill your interest in the story early, but I do need to know a little bit about the story, otherwise it is much harder to write
  4. I write every day and do not bounce between projects even when I get stuck. Writing every day helps me to stay in the world of the story, which makes it easier to keep things like worldbuilding details and characterization consistent, while focusing on one project at a time does pretty much the same thing.

Like with all pieces of writing advice, this might not work for you and you shouldn’t treat it like some sort of unquestionable gospel (especially coming from a writer like me, one who isn’t nearly as successful as others). But I encourage you to try out any of the above that resonates with you, especially if you write into the dark like me.

Anyway, the challenge is going great so far. Tomorrow is Day Four, so we’ll see how the next day goes.

The 25-Day Novel Challenge Day One

The Superhero's Test - Ebook Small

THE 25-DAY NOVEL CHALLENGE: DAY ONE

WORD COUNT: 4,001/75,000

Hey everyone! Welcome to the 25-Day Novel Challenge. In this challenge, I am attempting to write and edit (and maybe even publish, depending on how fast everything goes) a 75,000-word superhero novel, titled The Superhero’s Test (you can see the cover at the top of the post). During this challenge, I will also be blogging about my experiences writing and editing this novel every day.

Today is Day One of the challenge and I have already written my 4,000 words for the day (you can see my progress on the progress bar on the right side of the screen), so I will not be doing any more writing on the book today. These first 4,000 words came out very easily, but that doesn’t surprise me, because I’ve been looking forward to writing this book for several months now and I’ve discovered that my books are easier to write if I wait for a while before starting work on it. It helps that I did a lot of worldbuilding (but not too much; otherwise I wouldn’t be able to write it at all) and have thought about the characters and what I want to happen in the story a lot.

But I don’t use an outline. While I understand that outlines work for a lot of writers, I just don’t like using them. I know most outliners say that an outline should be a guide and not rigid and inflexible, but to me it just seems like a waste of time to spend time making an outline only for a story to completely change when you actually write it. Why not just jump straight into the book and take whatever it throws at you?

Now granted, without an outline, I cannot guarantee that this book will be 75,000 words. It might be longer or it might be shorter, but I doubt the book will grow to monstrous lengths, because I am good at controlling the length of my books and making sure I don’t spend a lot of time going down rabbit trails that only pad a book rather than adding to the story.

I came up with the number 75,000 because I estimated that that was close to the word count for your average superhero novel, and this novel is written to market, so I am aiming to make it as similar as I can to other bestselling superhero novels. If I write 4,000 words a day every day, I should hit 75,000 words in 18 days.

Assuming the novel is 300 pages and I edit 40 pages a day, that should take only 7 days, and 18 + 7 = 25, so that’s where I got 25 from, for those who are interested in the math I did to figure this challenge out.

I believe this is completely doable for me, because I’ve written novels in 20 and 30 days before, although I’ve usually taken longer than a week to edit a full-length novel. We’ll see if I succeed or if I crash and burn.

Anyway, I don’t want to make these posts too long, so I’ll just end this by saying that I will post the blurb for the book tomorrow so people can know what it is about, since I have been keeping the actual story of the book a secret for a while. Or rather, I should say the blurbs, because I have written two blurbs and am not sure which one to pick.

And if you’d like to know about the release of the book, you can subscribe to my mailing list below by entering your email address into the box below:

All right. Day One is down and now onto Day Two!