Mailing List Freebies

I’ve tested everything and it all seems to work, so I guess I can tell you now:

If you sign up for my fiction and/or nonfiction mailing lists, you will get free ebooks.

If you sign up for the nonfiction list, you’ll get a free copy of Tarsnap Mastery. I’m sure that Colin over at Tarsnap will be less than thrilled that I’m giving away free documentation for his service, but it’s my book and he can suck it up.

If you sign up for the fiction list, you will receive not one not two but six free stories, spread out over a month. Some are commercially available only as part of collections.

These are not newsletters. I only bother to send mail when I have a new reason for you to give me money, such as a new release, a Kickstarter, a bundle, or one of my very rare sales.

Is this giveaway a transparent ploy to make you listen when I try to sell you other books? Yes. Yes, it is. I hope that the freebies will so enchant you that you must purchase everything I have ever written. Or, that my generosity will so burden your conscience that the mere sight of my name will make you mash the BUY button. Either works.

Eight years ago today, my first novel

Eight years? Who celebrates eight years? I missed every previous anniversary, and I will probably miss most of the others, so suck it up.

Anyway, eight years ago today my first novel came out. Immortal Clay is a critical success and a financial sinkhole. Seems that some parts of it were a bit much for people. Mind you, this book did establish my unbroken practice of never writing a normal sex scene, so there’s that. I took “Carpenter’s The Thing, but after we lose” to its logical extreme, so it shouldn’t have surprised anyone, but here we are.

I’m hoping to take another run at book 3, Bones Like Water, next year. Yes, it’s been delayed. Writing cheerful apocalypses requires a certain amount of stability, which we haven’t had since 2016.

Part of me says, “Eight years? What have you been doing, wasting your time? You should have had thirty novels and a television contract by now!” But then I look at my fiction brag shelf and realize it’s bigger than many authors build in their lifetime–I mean, I’m no Blaze Ward or Rex Stout, but it’s not a shabby showing.

fiction brag shelf, 2022-11-04

If the book didn’t do as well as I hoped, what will I do about it? I will continue flensing readers out of the indifferent mass of humanity, that’s what. After all, the best promo for an old book is a new book.

“Prohibition Orcs” Kickstarter signed paperbacks shipped

Today I converted this:

into this:

If you backed the Kickstarter for a signed paperback, these are them. I booked a pickup for tomorrow, but if the postman’s feeling mighty he might take them today.

Note that the piles are not the same size. I ordered 13 of each. They sent me a box with 13 “Prohibition Orcs” and 11 “Frozen Talons,” plus another box with two more “Prohibition Orcs.” It’s like they realized they’d printed the wrong number and ran off two to make it up–but two of the wrong book. Sigh.

Patronizers, what about your books?

You’re backers. You get the exclusive limited-edition Orcibus. Which I plan to order before Monday. I was waiting for the printer to ship me a correct proof before I ordered.

Also, a note on shipping:

If you do any amount of shipping personally, such as signed books: invest in a thermal shipping label printer and learn how to feed address spreadsheets into your postage vendor. I’ve been shipping books from my house for seven years now, and adding new capacities every time.

The spreadsheets shrunk days of shipping into a single day.

But the label printer? “Oh, I can just print my labels on regular paper, trim them down, and use a tape gun to put them on the package.” I bought the label printer this summer and holy crap, I just did an afternoon’s worth of shipping in an hour.

The right tools help. Who knew?

I also discovered that shipping to Canada got more expensive, so I’ve adjusted the shipping rates on the OpenBSD Mastery: Filesystems limited-time direct order. It’ll also impact future sponsorships. The change isn’t horrid, I can eat the difference for what’s already been sold, but still.

Sponsorships, Releases, New Books, and Kickstarters

A giant tangle of stuff, and it’s all related. Plus, I want your opinion on two questions.

OpenBSD Mastery: Filesystems is at the copyeditor, and due back 15 December. I should have print in stores immediately before Christmas. Barely.

Prohibition Orcs and Frozen Talons are leaking out in ebook right now. If you buy them directly from me, they come with an exclusive bonus–To Serve Orc: Enduring Recipes from the Old Country, Watered Down for America. It’s short, but you won’t find it anywhere except my site. The print books are underway, and the leather-covered Orcibus will have to wait until I can deliver print books to the cover maker. Covers should exist in early December, so I should completely fulfill everything before 2023.

Which brings me to scheduling.

People sometimes ask me if they can buy signed print books directly from me. I had intended to run a Kickstarter as an advance sale for OpenBSD Mastery: Filesystems, which would let those folks buy signed books from me. Kickstarter will not let you run a new Kickstarter while an old one has not yet been fulfilled, however. If I’m honest, I can’t run a new Kickstarter until, oh, 1 January 2023.

Which means I can’t realistically do one for OMF. I am considering running a thirty-day print sale for OMF on my web site, however. Paperbacks would be $25, hardcovers $40. Shipping would be $10 US, $15 Canada, and $40 rest of world. (Yeah, shipping is terrible.) You’d have the option to order one extra book, at the same prices, for the same shipping. I can cram two Mastery books, or a Mastery and a novel, in an USPS Priority Mail envelope. Shipments would go out with the sponsor shipments, but would NOT arrive in time for Christmas. Comment if you’d buy one. If nobody wants it, I won’t bother setting it up.

Which means that my next Kickstarter will be for a fiction collection (Corrosive Devotion: Ten Tales of Love that Aren’t Love Stories), probably in January 2023.

About that time, I’ll open sponsorships for the next Mastery title, “Running Your Own Mail Server.” Because, like Kickstarter, I won’t open new sponsorships until I’ve fulfilled the old ones. Prices are rising everywhere, so I’m contemplating raising print sponsorship prices from $100 to $120. If you’re a previous print sponsor, would that stop you from sponsoring again? This will let me integrate a Kickstarter into the business plan, rather than being a late addition haphazardly nailed onto the side.

For similar reasons, the ebook of OpenBSD Mastery: Filesystems will be $12.99 rather than $10.99. This means that while the Kindle version will be available at any number of bookstores, it will not be in Amazon’s Kindle bookstore. Amazon will have the print edition. Amazon is no longer a viable e-bookstore for my new shorter nonfiction, mostly because I’m not willing to screw my readers.

That’s the reasons for the schedule.

Speaking of schedules, I have once again completed all current writing projects simultaneously and now must perform a laborious cold start. I truly must figure out how to de-synchronize my multiple projects.

I Eat Salmon Ice Cream

There’s about sixty hours to go on the Prohibition Orcs kickstarter. I haven’t done the math yet, because the campaign is not over yet and I don’t have money in hand, but it appears that I’ll net about as much on this Kickstarter as I would selling the books to a midsized publisher.

The Kickstarter is undoubtedly a huge amount of work. But it’s less mental labor than selling the books to a publisher, negotiating a contract, and interfacing with that publisher’s staff to shepherd them into print.

I’m calling this a win. Plus, a sane normal publisher won’t give me fancy leather covers.

Yes, this post is here to remind followers that the campaign is about to end and you should back now if you’re going to. I also wanted to mention my live reading of the PO tale Woolen Torment.

And finally, the subject of this post.

One of the Kickstarter stretch goals was recipes. A “friend” of mine saw that and decided he would contribute, by making orcish ice cream. Four different kinds. I tried them. On camera. Live. For your amusement. Content warnings for phrases like “punt it into the Sun” and “lick the bottom of the rat cage.”

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mwlucas/prohibition-orcs/posts/3571090

I feel compelled to share this. After all, many of my readers love to watch me suffer.

Halfway Through the Orc Kickstarter

I hoped that the Prohibition Orcs Kickstarter would break $5k in thirty days. That would give me the complete custom covers, and let me publish my Dream Orc Books.

Instead, it’s over $8k in less than half that time. This is the most I have ever been paid for a work of fiction, and it’s not even out yet. (Lifetime sales on some novels are higher, I’m sure, but I don’t have the accounting software to figure that out. Nobody does.)

It’s also following the same trend as the Badgers kickstarter: busy for ten days, pretty flat for ten, and a last minute surge over the final ten days. I might make the next one only twenty days, to see if I can cut out the sagging middle. Pretty sure it won’t actually work that way, but this is all an experiment and nobody knows anything, so why not?

I’m especially surprised that so many folks are buying the leather-covered Orcibus.

As part of the Kickstarter, I also recorded me reading Woolen Torment, in its entirety. Yes, yes, I have a face for radio and a voice for print, but it’s a thing.

I’ll say it now: my guess for the finish is about $10k.

If the Kickstarter hits the $25k stretch goal, however, I will get my first ever tattoo. A few of my readers who are especially interested in me experiencing pain and scarring would like me to have a tattoo. I figure this goal is low enough to encourage those folks to shill the campaign to others–after all, it’s nearly realistic!–while being high enough to keep my hide intact. But they’ll enjoy threatening my pasty complexion with color, so it’s all good. Here’s the black and white art that will be engraved on the orc-hide Orcibus, and maaaaybe on my hide.

Yes, Mha the orcess is crazy romantic.

Sixteen days left if you want any of the exclusive rewards. Or, just wait until it goes in my bookstore. Whatever.

Prohibition Orcs Kickstarter now live!

At long last, I’m publishing a collection of Prohibition Orcs tales and a full-length PO novel. I’m using a Kickstarter to fund the initial expenses, so that I can afford custom art and a few extras.

If you’re a Patronizer, you’ll automatically get books as per your patronage level. If you want the fancy but expensive Orcibus bound in authentic orc leather, you’ll have to get it through the Kickstarter I’m afraid.

Once the books go live, the individual chapbooks will go out of print. Grab them now if you want them.

DNSSEC, Badgers, and Orcs, Oh My!

Talk about one weeeird mass escape.

DNSSEC Mastery, 2nd edition hardcovers, paperbacks, and ebooks should now be available everywhere, so that book’s officially out.

Today is the official release date for Domesticate Your Badgers. I made this a pre-order, so it’s available in all formats everywhere. I don’t bother with preorders for tech books, but I wanted the Kickstarter backers to get a chance to have theirs in-hand before the general public could order it. It didn’t quite work that way–backer books have started to arrive in the last day or two–but they’re on their way so it’s not a complete failure.

Last, the Fiction River anthology Broken Dreams comes out today. The author list includes my name. The book description says something about alternate history, in Detroit, with orcs. It’s at all major retailers, and a bunch of minor ones.

If I had pushed, I could have released “Letters to ed(1)” today, but that’s too much even for me. A couple more weeks on that one. Consider yourself warned.

New time travel short story escaped, new Kickstarter approaching

In the aftermath of getting DNSSEC Mastery to tech review and getting my first ever Kickstarter ready to launch, I went in search of easy dopamine. I have maybe forty-odd short stories ready to publish, so I seized the one on top of the heap and flung it out into the cold hard world.

My tale Drag Air Through Fire is now available at all fine bookstores. Supply chain problems have made the paper chapbook stupid expensive, so I solidly recommend the ebook.

She isn’t dead.
He just hasn’t saved her yet.

He invented new kinds of math, new engineering, new science. His colleagues and friends failed to stop him. He surrendered everything for last one chance to rescue his love.

The chances of a new Big Bang? Acceptable.

Originally appeared in “Boundary Shock Quarterly: What Might Have Been”

And oh yeah, I’m trying Kickstarter. After 45 books and uncounted other stuff, I’ve finally written something on how to write. You can’t back it yet, but you can tell Kickstarter to poke you when you can. I’ll post Monday when it opens.

October 2021’s Bipolar Updates

This business is enough to make you bipolar.

Yesterday, someone went out of their way to inform me that while the technical content in TLS Mastery was impeccable, the book was not as funny as my other tech books. If any other author had written this book they would give it five stars, but on the Lucas Scale it rated only four.

First: it is very true that writers rely on reviews for their business. I appreciate reviews posted anywhere, for any reason, of any rating. I explicitly don’t want to know about them, however. It’s number five in the beginning of my FAQ.

Second: When you encounter a book that weirdly lacks some of the author’s usual glee, check the publication date. Any book written in 2020 is not going to have the usual bonfire of delight. We were lucky to strike even a spark.

I started writing TLS on 5 May 2020, as we were realizing exactly how awful the pandemic would be. I finished the first draft on 1 March 2021, when vaccines were an exotic treasure limited to health care workers. My wife is a nurse. We lost colleagues and family members to covid. It was not a good year. The mortgage waits for no writer, though.

Thinking I’ll use Camus’ “The Plague” as a motif for the OpenBSD storage book.

Also yesterday, I got copies of two new anthologies I’m in: Fantastic Christmas and Mysterious Christmas, both edited by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. She has won so many dang awards for writing and editing that she uses the heavier ones as doorstops. (Truth.) While it’s horrid form to quote from one’s own reviews, quoting what an anthology editor says about your story is merely gauche and I’m all about gauche. The editor’s intro to my story in Fantastic Christmas says:

The reason I decided to lead with “The Last Hour of Hogswatch,” though, is that it is one of the best stories I’ve read all year, if not one of the best I’ve read in the past several years.

Both of these, on the same day.

I probably should see a physical therapist about that whiplash.

In other news: DNSSEC Mastery 2/e is now at the technical review. It uses BIND as the reference implementation, but it’s less BIND-centric than the first edition. If you’re a DNSSEC expert and want to tech review, drop me a note. Tech reviews are due 8 November. It’s only 35,000 words, so a smaller book. I’ll be on OpenBSD Storage Mastery next. Sponsorships for that will open when I ship the DNSSEC sponsors their gifts.

Here’s the current 2020 books. I suspect this will be it for the year, but one of the things currently cooking might sneak out before the end of the year.

The question you’re all dying to ask, I’m sure, is: does this make the total stack taller than me? I don’t think so. Maybe next year. But publishing eight and a half inches in a year isn’t bad.