Friday, October 14, 2022

BAM! With an Episodic Twist

Last year, the American version of Amazon introduced its Kindle Vella service. It's a way for writers to release new, fresh content in short little snippets, or "episodes." Each episode can span between 600 and 5,000 words. For readers, they can read the first three episodes of a story at no charge; however, should a story span four or more (and most usually do) episodes, they will need to be unlocked with tokens purchased through the main Amazon website or through their mobile application. The tokens come in bundles, with the cheapest USD $1.99 for 200 tokens. The cost of the locked episodes will vary, but a rule of thumb is 1 token per 100 words within the episode. Therefore, readers will pay between 6 and 50 tokens per episode. Why am I telling you this? Because I have decided to stick my toe into these waters and gradually release an episodic story of my own.

Previously, I had released a couple of stories on the service, but when I didn't find they were garnering any reads, I pulled them off the service. (One of which has since been turned into a 19,000-word novella, which consists of the fifth book of my 'Gary Celdom Case Journals' series, "2 Minutes for Interference.") But after a few months of humming and hawing, I decided to give it another go. This time, I'm dabbling in romance of a different sort. 

The story, which I've titled, "Long Live the Night," (after the popular song by Canadian country music duo, The Reklaws) is about an aspiring country musician who is attempting to break into the business by attending an Open Mic Night. However, he harbors a dark secret about himself. While at the bar where the Open Mic Night is going on, he befriends one of the bartenders, and they eventually embark on a professional and personal "career" together. At the present, the story is fourteen episodes in, with "Episode 15" currently in the works at the time of this blog post. If you're a reader in the U.S. (Sorry, the Vella service is not available outside of the States) and frequent Amazon.com, feel free to give my story a try. The link to the currently ongoing tale is right here.

Until next time, happy reading!

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Invasion of the Spambots

 I will be the first to admit I haven't been upkeeping my blog for the longest time. Work, school, and other commitments play a huge role in that. But what I've noticed the past week was some comments on some vintage posts I had made on here from what appears to be Spambots.

The Spambots in question are leaving advertising comments about an online casino on these vintage posts, the majority of the posts in question are ones I did during a failed attempt at National Poetry Writing Month a few years back. Now, anyone who knows me knows about the issues I've had with gambling in the past. So, seeing these ads are not only a potential trigger, but repulse me to no end. I also notice that they appear to have some sort of Korean language embedded in the hyperlinks to said websites. Could the North Koreans (presumably) be attempting to hack my blog? Why would they do that? I'm just a working class former Canadian trying to make it in America.

At any rate, I've deleted the malicious comments and changed the settings for added security; limiting how accounts may leave comments on my posts. Hopefully, this will give myself and the individuals who read this little corner of the Internet a little piece of mind.

As I write this, I'm less than 2 weeks from my first of what are now three signings this year. The first weekend of March, I will be appearing at All The Books in north Houston, Texas. What was originally going to be my second signing, Romancing The Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario has been postponed again due to the growing concerns of the Omicron variant (of course, the recent trucker protests haven't helped either) until 2023. So, my second signing won't be until June when I attend the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention here in Florida. The third and final appearance is slated for August at Ignite Your Soul in London, Ontario. But given what transpired with Niagara Falls, I have my fingers crossed this doesn't get pushed back again. I was also slated to attend Bouchercon this September in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but alas, I had to cancel that when my wife and I started talking about potentially moving from our current apartment into a new dwelling due to a hefty rent increase. So, in essence, I have three events this year, and three in 2023 with the rescheduled Romancing The Falls in May, Getting Witchy With It in the Salem, MA area that September, and All Shook Up at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee slated for October 2023.

But one would think with all these signings, work, school, and the other aforementioned commitments, I wouldn't have any time to myself. Fear not, for the same weekend Niagara Falls was slated for this year, I've flipped my plans for a personal weekend of relaxation and hopeful creativity. The destination for this personal "retreat" was one on my bucket list for the longest time, and this May, I will be able to cross it off said list. I just hope the thinner air of Denver, Colorado won't impede my creative juices. If not, I have a Colorado Rockies baseball game to fall back on, provided there isn't an extended lockout between the players and owners this season.

That's all for now. I'll try to post more here in the future, but we all know how well I've been doing that in the past. Instead, I'll wish you all happy reading!