Posted in Letters, Publishing, writing

An Update, Brief and Modest

So Party at the Last Tomorrow has had its moment. I got some good feedback on it, and I’m pleased that it picked up as much interest as it did. A Kindle Countdown deal suggested to me that I’m pricing these novellas too high. I’ve already dropped the price on The Devil Left Him to $3.99, I may drop Last Tomorrow as well, and price Void accordingly when it comes out.

In other news, I’ve shuffled something of my Medium profile around, removed some publications that weren’t doing anything, and created a new one: Pop Culture is Filth, to review and discuss the various arts. The title is ironic, I think.

Here’s a discussion of Silence by Martin Scorcese to open it up:

This is a more relevant story that it might seem at first glance: the film doesn’t just cut into the difficulties of being a missionary in a foreign land, or in the clanging misunderstandings of East and West. It cuts right into the question of how far a culture can go to defend itself. Japan in the 16th century attacked Christianity largely because it judged Christianity as too foreign to gel with its existing conception of itself. Japan would not be Japan if it was Christian, the Tokugawa shoguns determined, and those that felt otherwise were brutally suppressed. The film highlights the sufferings of poor Japanese Christians who suffered for the sake of a vision of a deity that lifted them up.

In the process, however, it rather failed to give its heroes the strength of their best possible argument, and so somewhat undercut itself.

There’s some significant changes happening to Unnamed Journal, too. More on that later.

View story at Medium.com

Posted in Books, Publishing

I Get Reviews, But Not Paperbacks

LastTomorrow3I don’t know who this person is (an anonymous Kindle Customer), but they had this to say about The Party at the Last Tomorrow:

on November 10, 2017
Well written. Muse is Everyman on a subterranean journey. Clever use of language to create a world to fear and dread.

That’s a solid summation of what I was going for.

In other news, I have been trying for a week to get Last Tomorrow available on Paperback, and I’m having no luck. Every time I set it up, the thing goes into review, and then I get an email from Amazon saying I need to fix this issue before I can go live, and then the paperback goes back into draft form. The claimed issue is:

Text on the cover is outside of the live graphics area

I am completely confused as to what that means. There’s a link that goes to their help files, which are way too general to be helpful. I assumed that to mean my cover was too big, as I’m using the same cover image as for the ebook, only set on the front cover area. So I resized it. Still the same issue. I’m starting to think it’s some kind of bug. I’ve sent Amazon a help request, we’ll see what happens.

Posted in Books, Publishing

How to Publish Stuff on iBooks, using Tablo…

I laid out the steps some weeks ago on my Ello page. If you like having your stuff iBooks, Tablo takes much of the work out for you. Here’s the basics:

Step 1Put Your Book on Tablo. You can write (or copy-paste) your work there with their Bookmaker software, which is intuitive and very easy, or you can upload a Word document. I’ve only done it the first way.

Step 2 – Publish. Having your book on Tablo, even available to read there, is separate from it being published to iBooks. When you click on your book, you will see three links at the top of the page: “Write,” to continue working on a book, “Publish on Tablo”, to allow it to be read on the web site for free, and “Sell on Bookstores,” which will send it to iBooks. You can have all, some or none of your book available on Tablo to read. You can select and deselect individual chapters. You can post chapters as you write them, to build a readership. Or you can skip this step entirely and go straight to:

Step 3 – Sell. Setting your book up for sale is all done on a single page. You will need to input the following:

  • Title
  • Subtitle
  • Description
  • Author Name (pseudonyms permitted)
  • Language of Book
  • BISAC Category (there’s a clickable drill-down to find yours, so don’t worry)
  • Tags
  • Pricing for US, UK, and Australia (there will be a suggested price point for each, but you can set them to be whatever you want)
  • Paypal email (Yes, you need a PayPal account to play)
  • Book Cover (Upload any high-res image)

Then just click the button and wait. This is the downside: you will wait.

I didn’t end up waiting as long as I thought I would, because as of a few days ago The Devil Left Him is up on iBooks. It has an alternate cover from the Amazon version but is otherwise the same. It’s also cheaper.

Devil3

Posted in Books, History, Publishing, Religion

Barabbas was a Terrorist?

give-us-barabbas-970x531

Today, with The Devil Left Him out and available, I’d like to talk a little about the connection between Jesus and Barrabbas, and the latter’s role in the Biblical story.

1st Century Judea had a number of divisive sects vying for control of what Judaism meant. The Sadducees, the priests, were the most Hellenized, the most docile with regard to the Roman occupation. The Pharisees, the scribes, were most determined to emphasize their Jewishness, and to appeal to Rabbinical authority and black-letter Mosaic Law. The Essenes were the proto-monastic mystics who hungered for God in the desert. They were most connected to John the Baptist, and according to some New Testament Scholars, to Jesus himself.

Then you had the Zealots, who imagined themselves as the successors to the Maccabees who had thrown off Greek rule and in the previous century and briefly established Jewish independence before the Romans showed up. They favored a violent overthrow of Roman rule, and believed that Divine aid would secure this goal as it had secured the Promised Land for Israel in Joshua’s time (Linguist’s Note: “Joshua,” “Yeshua,” and “Jesus” are all the same word as expressed in English, Hebrew, and Greek). A subset (or ally, depending on which source you rely upon) were the sicaroi, or “dagger-men”.

sciarius

Sicaroi were literal terrorists, they would practice stealth assassination with their sicarii, or short-bladed daggers, and then blend back into the crowd. They practiced this not only against Romans, but against Jewish collaborators.

What has this to do with Barabbas?

Well, the Gospels have it that Barabbas was an unsavory character. Matthew refers to him as a “notorious prisoner” (Mt 27:16), and Mark (15:7) and Luke (23:19) say that he took part in a riot, and committed murder. John 18:40 calls Barabbas a “bandit”, using a Greek word (“lestes”) that the Jewish historian Josephus later used to refer to rebels.

Is that enough to justify my headline? Maybe not. Some historians say that the sicaroi were active in the run up to the Jewish Revolt of the 60’s AD, not during the 30’s.

But there’s an even more interesting link between Jesus and Barabbas. “Barabbas” in Hebrew means “son of the father”, and early editions of the Gospel of Matthew refer to Jesus as “Jesus Barabbas”. It may have been changed to avoid confusion.

This presents an interesting contrast between the two guys Pilate had on hand to execute on Good Friday: there’s the Messiah that Jesus claimed to be and the more direct,  political type that Barabbas could well have been. The Messiah of God vs. the Messiah of Man, as Augustine might have put it.

Which is why The Devil Left Him has a tragic, dagger-wielding Barabbas encountering Jesus prior to their more famous meeting. Check it out.

Posted in Books, Publishing, writing

Everything is Back on Track!

New books are live. More books are coming.

The Devil Left Him is up on sale on Amazon. I just did the official announcement on Periscope.

That should have showed up on Facebook as well. I explain that the book is available, and go into a little bit about why I wrote it: a literary experiment on the Divine Character Problem. I talk about Luke Skywalker for a minute, and then can’t figure out how to turn the broadcast off, because it’s my second one.

nailed-it-4

I’m going to publish it on iBooks as well, probably with an alternative title. I’m also doing an Amazon Ad campaign for it, to see how that does. All in all, very exciting. I conceived this and brought it to market in about a year, while working on other projects as well, and holding down a full-time job and taking care of a family. I think I can improve that time, but the future is a tease, always arriving different than expected.

Next up: getting the next issue of Unnamed Journal up. Then publishing Last Tomorrow and Void. I should be getting back on track with The Sword as well.