First Short Story Has Been Released

My first published piece of fiction!

Bob James - The Author

I am excited! While I have a couple of my non-fiction books available, my first fiction story in an anthology has just been published! It can be found by clicking either the front cover or the back cover of the book below. The title is One Last Performance and it’s the story of an aging actor’s last performance. I had fun writing it and I hope you have fun reading it. The cost is $8.99 for the paperback and $2.99 for the Kindle. It’s also on Kindle Unlimited, so it’s available at no extra cost there.

   

And…if there’s a first, there has to be a second, right? I have another short story coming out August 7. More on that later.

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Upcoming Fantasy and Sci Fi to Look For

Why yes, there is a bit of a humble brag as you scroll down…The anthology that I’m a part of Counterclockwise, is mentioned in this preview of upcoming novels.

Truly Novel Reviews

So many stories, so little time…  I was looking forward to upcoming novel releases, and found a number that I’d like to share.  As I have an afinity for worldbuilding, deep, rich, and original fantasy that follows the likes of Jacqueline Carey, Patrick Rothfuss, and Neil Gaiman, I searched and searched for this genre.  I find so many paranormal and urban fantasy, then a bunch of space and time fantasy, but only a few that pull on the worldbuilding string. Don’t get me wrong, those are wonderful stories too.  I just have a deep love for discovering new worlds.

I’m providing a mix of authors everyone knows and authors (many Indi authors) that you might like based on the bigger names.  Be sure to give some of the indi authors a try!  There’s a wealth of talent out there that so often goes under the radar because of the advertising power-houses and name recognition.

It’s nice to be recognized, even if it’s just part of an aggregate of authors! I hope you’re looking forward to this book.

This Calls for a Good Cup of Coffee!

I’ve been working on a short story for an anthology on Time Travel. I wrote the first draft fairly quickly. Then, I sent it to my editor and was overwhelmed by the individual suggestions. I took a couple of deep breaths and began working on revising it. I made some major changes in the beginning. Then, the last three weeks before the deadline, I fought through writer’s block. On a story that was just short of 20K, I was scraping by on most of those days with about 400 words per day. I dealt with impostor syndrome and wondered why I was even working on this story. I got to the last few days, while I was traveling, and needed to write a big chunk of the ending. It was too late to send off to my editor so my wife looked through it and made some notes about needed changes. I had to do formatting work, with about an hour left after I got home from traveling. The plane was late. 30 minutes late. I rushed to make the final formatting changes and submitted the story about 3 minutes after the deadline. The editor showed grace. Then, word came down tonight. My story was included in the anthology. Given the number of submissions and the high quality, according to the editor, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. The title of my submission: Coffee Time. If you read on Kindle, you can pre-order by clicking on the picture.

Counterclockwise

The May Book Cover of the Month Begins!

The May Book Cover of the Month Begins!

This is a great idea! Check out the site and vote! Click on “View Matchup” for a better view. My favorite was Organ Grind by E.A. Copen

M.L.S. Weech

MAY_Cover_Collage

Happy first everyone! As is now officially tradition here on my blog, it’s time to start a new book cover of the month competition.

Siren’s Lure by Frost Kay joins 31 brand new covers this month.

You can vote all the way through the tournament, supporting the covers you like best through each round. I like to make sure people get the credit they deserve, so please show your support. Please vote and share as much as possible to get people a chance to pick their favorite.

As always, I’d appreciate it if you tag the authors and artists if you know them. I try to tag or friend every author I can, but sometimes it’s hard to track someone down. Max participation is a huge deal to me. The more people who vote, the more recognition these authors and artists receive, and I want this to be as…

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Support For Our Rwanda Trip

Greetings folks!

We’ve been grateful for the support we’ve received so far for our trip to Rwanda. Please remember that the most important gift you can give to speed us on our way is your prayers. Some have found unique ways to help us. Our coffee company, ours as in “we love the people who run this company and won’t buy elsewhere,” is called Driftwood Coffee Company. Driftwood sources their coffee ethically through direct trade agreements and the coffee growers get paid reasonable rates for their work.

They have made a commitment to give us proceeds from sales from their website. The people who own Driftwood have a heart for the Lord and love to find ways to give. We’re grateful for their support. So, buy a coffee cup. Buy a T-shirt. Try their great coffee! Use the link above to order, or click on the pictures.

  

These same people run a company called “Two Tiny Coins” that makes jewelry. The proceeds go to support missions in Central Asia. (I’ve been to that area and can vouch for the work going on there.) Their jewelry is beautiful and I’ve bought gifts there – since I don’t wear jewelry myself. ::smile:: I should note that I’m supporting Two Tiny Coins because I support the work that they’re helping with this ministry. Proceeds from any purchase there will go to support work in Central Asia. I just want to help you buy with a purpose.

This Came Up Recently – Using Brand Names in Stories

I had a short story I sent to an editor recently. In that story, I had people from the future go back in time and one of the things they did was buy the IPO of a certain brand name technology stock. I’m not currently using the products of that company, I use a PC. The implication from the way it was used was that the company in question would still be a thriving company a hundred years in the future. My editor, rightfully, discussed a concern about using the exact name of the company in the story. I was of a mind to use the name anyway, especially since I didn’t say anything bad about it.

Still, I felt better when I read this blog post.

Can I Mention Brand Name Products in My Fiction?

While it was written in 2010, I would imagine that the principles still hold true. I’m going to quote a bit from that post.

Writers frequently ask whether they can mention brand name products and services in their fiction.  The answer is “yes,” provided that you take some common sense precautions.  Indeed, if it were unlawful to include brand names in fiction, countless product references in Bret Easton Ellis’s novel Glamorama would have been expurgated, and David Foster Wallace could never have described in Infinite Jest an alternative present where large corporations purchase naming rights to the calendar years (e.g., “Year of the Whopper,” “Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar,” “Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken,” “Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment,” and “Year of Glad”).

The four areas of law to consider in connection with brand names are “trademark infringement,” “trademark dilution,” “trademark tarnishment,”and “defamation.”

If you were wondering about this question, I hope this article helps you as much as it helped me.

Special Deal on Judah Black Series

I don’t normally post special deals here, but this deal is on one of my favorite series! I picked the first book up a while ago and fell in love with the series. E.A. Copen has developed a great female lead character in an Urban Fantasy setting. It’s a fun story, and…. {Ta Da} it takes place in Paint Rock, Texas! If you know where Paint Rock, Texas is, you can get this book free for a limited time. If you don’t know where Paint Rock, Texas is, it’s still free! Click on the picture to get the first book free, then scroll down on the page to pick up book 2 at $.99 and book 3 at $1.99.

Special Deal on Judah Black Series

Broken Empires: Aftermath by E.A. Copen – a review

I continue to marvel at Copen’s versatility as an author. With Broken Empires, she begins a space opera. I actually had to do some research on how space operas work and how they’re formatted. With that said, here’s my review.

Copen begins her description of the book with three words: Soldier, Traitor, Savior. We soon learn that she’s describing Timothy Val. The Senjele Empire is restless, and rebellion is breaking out in some of the outer planets. Val is one of those sent to quell the rebellion on the backwater planet of Toria. Ethical questions begin immediately as members of Val’s squad wonder about shooting people who are part of their empire. Once the rebellious planet is subdued, Val is faced with another ethical dilemma about how to deal with the rebellious subjects. His response sets the rest of the book in motion.

Copen, as an author, reveals a lot about humanity. In her other books, she veils the message by sending it through the monsters of urban fantasy (Judah Black series, Beasts of Babylon). In Broken Empire: Aftermath, the message comes from a humanoid species forcing the reader to think about the best and the worst of humanity. Val becomes involved in a web of political intrigue that involves the emperor, his sons, his wife, a senator who is part of the revolution, in his own words, and a complicated slave belonging to the senator. All this plays against the background of Val’s family history.

If things aren’t bad enough for the Senjelens, relationships with the Erolyians, long time enemies, continue to worsen. Intrigue abounds in the Erolyian Empire as well and the Emperor of Erolyia seems to have some interesting powers. Bring in an unwelcomed birth and the emperor as a distraught father and husband, and the possibilities are endless.

One of Copen’s strengths in my eyes is that readers always want the story to go on. She weaves amazing stories that you don’t want to stop. Aftermath fits that pattern well, perhaps too well. Without giving too much away, the ending is closer to “The Empire Strikes Back” than “A New Hope.” Honestly, I was hoping for a resolution to one of the story lines, but I understand that Space Opera is like that. The good news is that more books are in the planning stage according to rumors I’ve heard!

The above disappointment aside, I really enjoyed this book. It has a few language issues that bother me, but most people aren’t as easily offended as I am. If you can’t live with profane language, you may have some issues with the book. Most of the time, though, they don’t come into play. I can recommend this book because Copen, in spreading her wings even further than she has in the past, plays to her strength and develops a great story that makes it hard to put the book down.