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Showing posts from 2013

Character Inspiration in Stories

You might wonder where I get inspiration for characters in my stories. It comes from all sorts of places which shall remain confidential. Because a magician never reveals his secrets. Now, I'm not a magician and that's not secret, but I like to keep that secret like a magician. But I will reveal the inspiration for one character. Wes Cooper from The Permanent Man  series. He's a cowboy who lives in southern California during 1864. He's tough. He's emotional. He's dirty and grimey. He rides a horse. He loves his family. And here's his inspiration. Someone not born until 2013. My youngest son!

My Spotify 2013 Year In Review ... A Little Early

Spotify decided to send me an email with a year in review of 2013. This showed stats for Spotify and also for my music listening habits on the service. I know what you're thinking. "The year isn't over." OK. I know that. But who cares. I highly doubt the numbers with change too much over the next couple weeks. Below is a graphic that shows my stats. But I really feel these stats are inaccurate to my  listening habits because my wife also uses Spotify under my account. So looking at the stats, everything  listed except the top album and top artist are a direct result of her listening habits.

What I Won't Write

If you've read any of my books, you might have noticed a few things missing that most books have today. In fact, what you see missing was absent from a lot of science fiction books from the 1950's and earlier. What am I referring to? Mainly gratuitous sex, violence, and profanity. There's a reason for these things are missing from my books. The main one has to deal with my beliefs and how I live my daily life. As a result, the books I write become quite a challenge in a world where vulgarities and gore abound. The challenge to write the story is small compared to the challenge of selling a story devoid of this content. Most readers today are looking for the "realism" of these added items within the plots. Why? I'm not sure. Let me explain. Most of the science fiction I read is what I would call "classic" science fiction from authors such as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Philip K. Dick. Now, these authors, as their careers moved forwar

Xbox One Day One Edition - I Remember When....

Eight years ago, I went out very early in the morning in hopes of snagging the then hot new console, Xbox 360. I stood in line at Circuit City ( yes, that long ago ) and was somewhere around 15th or 16th in line. Unfortunately, they had about 11 Xbox 360s in stock, and I didn't get one. I then proceeded to go to Target, Best Buy, and online to find an Xbox 360. Still, I was unsuccessful. Black Friday approached and I thought for sure I could get one then. But alas, after standing in line at several stores, I had the same result from the previous week. It wasn't until a month later that I finally picked up the console. I bought it on Circuit City's web site when they got a few in inventory. The stock sold out quickly, but my console finally arrived a few days later. Fast forward to now, and the successor to the Xbox 360—titled Xbox One—is out today. Instead of waiting in line and searching all over the place, I pre-ordered the console (a smart thing to do by the

My Comcast ... I Mean Xfinity Internet Speed

I recently received an email from my Internet provider, Com ... I mean Xfinity, informing me that they had increased my internet speed. So I'm like, "Great. Things just got faster." That's good for my household where we've cut the cord on cable/satellite and get all our programming through Netflix, Hulu, PlayOn , and an over the air antenna. Not to mention the music we stream, along with our web browsing. The speed increase from Xfinity takes it to speeds up to 25 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up. Which is funny because I thought those already were my speeds. Oh well, what do I know? Unless this is a clever marketing scheme to make me thinking they are offering something more when they offered it all along, I'll accept what they say. In the notification, they also mentioned I should check if my cable modem is a DOCSIS 3.0 standard modem so I could take advantage of the speed increase. A quick check on the Comcast (or is it Xfinity, I'm so confused)

Falling Babies Are Funny

Having a child is a roller coaster emotionally, physically, mentally, and whatever else you can think of. When they're first born, they cause lots of sleep deprivation and tiredness. But that doesn't mean having a baby isn't fun. Our third child, Parker, is five months old now. The other day, I tried getting him to sit up without me supporting him. He was able to do it somewhat, but ultimately, he's not ready for it. Check out the YouTube video below and you'll see what I mean. And don't be afraid to laugh at the cuteness!

The Permanent Man Blog #20: Mission Completion

Days before the release of the pilot episode of The Permanent Man , I can say that I have officially completed the first season. That's right! 120,000 words, 12 episodes, 12 book covers, 12 book blurbs, and lots of edits have resulted in a series I'm extremely proud of and that's ready for worldwide release this Tuesday, November 12, 2013! When I set out to write this serialized fiction, I had ups and downs. There were times when I considered stopping because it was, in my opinion, stupid to write in this fashion. There were times when I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced salami and everyone should write serialized fiction. There were times when I simply sipped some Scotch and didn't write at all. My wife and I had our third child during that time, too! I even fixed a broken TV . It's surely been an eventful writing experience. But here we are after this long haul of 20 blog posts that chronicles the journey. I've learned a lot about the wr

Smashwords Interview with Desmond Shepherd

Smashwords has a nifty little thing for indie authors. It's called an interview and it's completely impersonal in that a series of questions generated by their web site can be filled in for the world to view. The indie author can even choose which questions they want to answer, how many, and create their own questions. That's correct. The indie author can even interview themselves. The interview is then posted on the author's Smashwords page. All sarcasm aside, I do think this is a nice addition to the Smashwords site. So I decided to fill in my interview for Desmond Shepherd. I also decided to not take the interview seriously. I did 10 straight questions, using the ones generated by the Smashwords site. Below is the interview. Feel free to view it on the Smashwords page , too. If you do, it will also show books I've written—all of which you should buy because this is a top notch interview that will surely convince you to read my stories. Interview with D

The Permanent Man Blog #19: A Facebook Event

Less than a month from now, the premiere episode of The Permanent Man will be available worldwide. That's quite humbling. It's also quite awesome. To celebrate this milestone, I've created a Facebook Event . All are welcome to join the event and invite their friends and family to join, too. For everyone that joins, I will be rewarding you for your support. What's the reward? On release day, I will let you know. Until then, I'm asking for as many people as possible to join the event . The more people that join, the more people benefit. Leading up to release day, I'll also do some other fun stuff. So what are you waiting for? Show your support! Here's a direct link to the event on Facebook:

The Permanent Blog #18: Deleted Scenes

This past week saw a happy turn of events for The Permanent Man series. Smashwords officially announced that they now allow serialized fiction. That means I can list all the episodes in the series and sell them through many distribution channels exactly as I intended. Did my blog post about them not accepting serialized fiction have something to do with this decision? I'll let you decide that for yourself. So that's good. On another note, I have completed writing The Permanent Man season. There is one adjustment to what I did. I intended to write 13 episodes but have settled on 12. Why? Because the season wrapped up nicely with episode 12. I did have an idea for episode 12 being something different and 13 being the finale. But that idea, though interesting and neat, didn't lend itself to a good story. Rather, it seemed like filler to me and I doubted the "coolness" of the idea would translate into something interesting to read. Originally, this episo

The Permanent Man Blog #17: The Free PreOrder

It's time to have a little fun with the pilot episode of The Permanent Man . It already is available for pre-order. What if it was a no-questions-asked-why-don't-I-just-go-ahead-and-buy-it-since-there-is-no-risk purchase? So how can this be done? Simple. Offer the pre-order for free. For one week, that's exactly the case. From now until next week, October 8, 2013, you can pre-order The Permanent Man #1: Pilot  at no risk to your wallet or loved ones. Purchasing the episode will guarantee you first day ownership on November 12, 2013. And far in the future you'll be able to say, "Way back when, I pre-ordered the first episode of The Permanent Man. " And your great-grandchildren will say in return, "What's The Permanent Man ?" And you'll say, "Well ... gee. You know what? I don't remember." Such fond memories. The free pre-order is available at two retailers, and they are listed below. So what are you waiting for? The

The Permanent Man Blog #16 - Stinkin' Smashwords

UPDATE #2: While my complaints below are still valid, I found a workaround that allows me to offer The Permanent Man  on iTunes, and Barnes & Noble again ... and for pre-order. UPADTE: The day after I posted this, Smashwords enabled a Series Manager function on their site. This allows authors to label their books as part of a series. Which makes the below complaint more valid and Smashwords' stance on serialized fiction quite confusing. Everything has been going swimmingly with The Permanent Man series. I'm on pace to meet all my deadlines ahead of schedule, meaning each episode will release when intended. But I hit a snag today. After successfully submitting four episodes to Smashwords and Smashwords accepting them for wider distribution to Apple and Barnes & Noble (which allow me to offer the episodes for pre-order), Smashwords has now asked me to unpublish everything I submitted. This includes episodes five through seven that I sent to them. Why, you ask?

The Permanent Man Blog #15 - Excerpt & PreOrder

A couple things are happening on The Permanent Man  front lines. First, I finished the draft for the last episode. However, I'm not done writing because I still have to write the penultimate episode. I did these two out of order for a specific reason that I don't want to say now. But when the time comes for that episode to release and you read it, you'll understand why I did it. Second, the first episode of The Permanent Man , appropriately titled Pilot , is now available for pre-order. You can pick it up at these retailers: iTunes   Barnes & Noble Google Play Kobo Books And in case you're on the fence about purchasing the book before release, I have an excerpt for you to enjoy. This comes directly from Pilot  and is The Tease portion of the story. The Permanent Ma n #1: Pilot (Excerpt) © 2013 Desmond Shepherd If Patrick Hold failed in his mission over the next few minutes, his future would be bleak and his present would cease to exi

The Permanent Man Blog #14 - The Preview

Hey! Check it out! I've written 11 episodes now of The Permanent Man . I also will be submitting the first episode for preorder soon. Everything is coming together nicely. Today, I'm going to talk about The Preview. In television, especially dramas, previews happen often. This is the case a lot of times when the drama is serialized. The Preview usually comes directly at the end of the show, during or while the credits roll. I'm going to implement this into each episode of The Permanent Man . The preview will be anywhere from two to four sentences long and give a taste of the story to come the following week. So, it will have something like this at the end: " NEXT TIME ON THE PERMANENT MAN .... A cowboy takes Patrick to a local doctor to help treat the injury he has suffered. On their way, they hit a roadblock that not only prevents them from getting there but might cost their lives, too." Directly under the preview it will mention the name of the next

The Permanent Man Blog #13 - The PreOrder

As this post goes live, the tenth episode of The Permanent Man should be in the can. Can being a Hollywood term that means complete or done. Not the toilet. Today, I'm happy to announce that The Permanent Man  will start a new trend with the books I publish. Unlike past releases which were available to order once they went live, all The Permanent Man episode will be available to preorder.

eBook Pricing Experiment

Preface to the post: You can get all my short stories for free at the following locations:  Smashwords  -  Kobobooks  -  Google Play  -  iTunes  -  Barnes & Noble .   The r emainder of the post explains why. There all all kinds of opinions about how to price eBooks. Some people keep prices low, at $2.99 per novel. Others price short stories (with a bonus) at $2.99. Some say novels priced at $7.99 are better. Or $4.99. Or $6.99. Or shorts at $0.99. Do you get the point?

The Permanent Man Blog #12 - The Radio Show

I'm currently writing episode nine of The Permanent Man . I'm trying to write an episode a week from here on out so I can have the season's first draft complete some time in August. Things are going good, and I'm finding that each episode presents itself well as I continue. One thing leads to another as I write the path toward the ending of season one. I stumbled upon something interesting the other day. I did a search on "The Permanent Man" on Google.

Vizio VO370M Power Supply/Backlight Inverter Replacement

Typically, I write blog posts about books I've written or will release. I'll also write about things that interest me. Today, I try to help out the community with a technical issue I ran into. It was very hard for me to find a clear, definitive answer to the problem I had, so I'm making this post to help others out there find the answer. Someone I know had a Vizio TV that stopped working. He bought a new one and I asked if I could have the broken one to try and fix it. It's possible that the symptoms and resolution I list below apply to other brands and models of televisions that have a similar problem. The TV is model number VO370M.

Big Brother 15 Scandals Are Hurting Competition

When it comes to reality television, there isn't much that I like. But there are two shows that keep me interested. They are Survivor and Big Brother. Big Brother might come as a surprise to many people that know me or read my books. On the surface, it seems like a shallow show about people in a house and moping around. But really, the competition and strategy involved is the best out there, even when compared to Survivor. I think this has to do with the length of time the competition happens and all the switches in strategy and alliances that occur because people are living in close quarters. Each summer, it makes for loads of fun. Fun where I imagine myself being a part of the competition. Who would I align with? What would I do? Could I win? Big Brother is now in its 15th season on CBS. And this season has done something to really stir the pot.

The Permanent Man Blog #11 - The Story

Previously, I talked about the first two components that will make up The Permanent Man . These were The Recap , The Tease and The Title (or Introduction). The next element of the episodes would be the story. This is the meat of the book. You've been hooked, now it's time for you to see the story through to its conclusion.

My Thoughts on the Xbox One DRM Policy

Update: Literally minutes after posting this, a rumor surfaced that Microsoft may be announcing the removal of DRM and online check-ins for the Xbox One.  It turns out this is true  and everything I wrote below is rubbish. All of the video game world (well those who live and breathe it at least) could not overlook the DRM issues involving the release of the Xbox One coming this holiday. Now that the dust has settled on exactly what is going on with the Xbox One, here is my take on things.

The Permanent Man Blog #10 - Pilot Cover

Currently, I've written the first six episodes of season one of The Permanent Man . I still need to come up with a title for episode six, but it will hit me at some point. Since I had my third child last week, I do expect a delay before I get back into writing the remaining episodes. I expected this though, and that's why I set a release date for the series of November 12, 2013.

Mohu Leaf Antenna Review

While I typically reserve this blog for information on books I've written and will be writing, I thought I would share this. For television viewing, I cut the cord last Summer and use Hulu, Netflix, and PlayOn for all my television needs. But a few weeks ago, my wife wanted to be able to watch live TV, so I bought an antenna to get some over the air channels. The antenna I purchased was the Mohu Leaf Antenna and it works really well. Below is a video review I made of the antenna in case you are interested in purchasing one.

The Permanent Man Blog #9 - She Had A Baby

Parker Benjamin - 6/10/13 While I had planned to show the cover for the first episode of The Permanent Man , this week's   blog update isn't about the series at all. That's because my beautiful wife gave birth to our third child this past week. Parker Benjamin was born Monday at 12:40 a.m. He weighed in at 8 lbs 9. oz. and was 21 inches long. He's the runt of the three children as the other two came in at 9 lbs. 7 oz. and 9 lbs. 10 oz.

The Permanent Man Blog #8 - The Tease & Title

In television, The Tease is that little three to eight minute clip that starts a television show. It typically gives a glimpse of the problem to come for the story. Or  it shows a situation in the story that is a focal point. After the commercial break, the story continues or you see what events led up to The Tease.

Summer Ebook Savings

For the summer months, people plan all kinds of activities. Vacations. Barbecues. Days at the beach. And the list becomes endless as children have summer vacation and their parents take them places. All of this increased activity means less time for reading. And because of this, I'm offering all my eBooks at a discounted rate during June. This will give young and old alike some incentive to do a little reading during the summer. All my short stories are $0.99 each. Keep in mind that all my short stories have a bonus story included with it. For instance, Copy Bird  also contains the bonus story The Present . All my novels and short story collections are discounted to $2.99 each. Along with that, Miscorrection Trilogy , which contains all three novels in the Miscorrection trilogy (duh? right?) is only $7.99. Check out my Print & Digital book availability page to find a book that interests you and your favorite eBook retailer where you can buy it. Enjoy!

The Permanent Man Blog #7 - A Call For Beta Readers

Yesterday, I finished the fifth episode of The Permanent Man . I titled it "Barter Me Love", a take on the popular song form The Beatles, "Can't Buy Me Love". This is the first episode where I implemented some new points I've learned in regards to writing, and I think it is a great little story. Now that I am five episodes in, I thought it would be appropriate to begin preparing for others to read the episodes. To do this, I will need beta readers. Beta readers will help mostly with spelling corrections, missing words, incorrect punctuation, and grammatical errors where the error causes confusion in the context of the story. They will also check for inconsistencies in the episode or episodes. Also, the pay beta readers receive stinks beyond imagination. You get no money but get to read every episode of the first season for free. I'm putting the call out now, months in advance of when I will actually require the help of beta readers, in order to

Will You Follow Me? Follow Me Wherever I Will Go?

Sing the title. Don't read it. Now, there are several avenues with which you can follow me. I'm making no bones about it, whatever that means. My real name is my real name. Desmond Shepherd is my pen name. I'm retiring my other pen name B.C. Young. So, if you want to follow me, here are your options: Twitter Instagram Facebook Pinterest Spotify Google+ Commence following, liking, hearting, pinning, and whatever else you might call it.

The Permanent Man Blog #6 - Cover Template Reveal

I've finished the first four episodes in The Permanent Man . I've also started the fifth episode. During this time, I have learned quite a bit. I finished reading two books, The Screenwriter's Workbook  by Syd Field and Writing to the Point by Algis Budrys. Both of these books had some great information on constructing a story, and I'm going to use what I learned as I write the fifth episode and beyond. I imagine that once I complete all thirteen episodes, I might go back to the first four and see if I've learned anything that will improve those stories. I've also had some extra time in the past couple of weeks (I won't soon, my third child is due any day now). So I have come up with a template for the covers of each episode. The template is below and in black and white. The Episode, Title, and Byline will all be colored the same. The background color will also change, often to complement the image used. This cover gives me a good interchangeable des

Episodic eBook Content

For over a year and a half now, I have been writing in full force to the best of my ability. I'm doing all this while balancing my job, family, and other responsibilities. Despite all of that, between August 2011 and March 2013, I wrote and published six novels and two short stories equaling a total of about 378,000 words. When I put it in that perspective, I've accomplished a lot. I intended to move forward with writing the third  Fram Gage  novel. I began it a few weeks ago, but found that my rate of writing paled in comparison to what I had done before. There are a number of reasons for this. I know what I want to do with the story, but I'm having trouble getting it to work. It's not "clicking" for me right now. There's another issue, too. I have had some other story ideas. One of these ideas as been put to the fore over the past month. I fleshed out the premise, the main characters, and the plot. As I did it, I thought it would work good as a series. B

Track Your Book Sales Numbers

It's important that self-published writers keep an accurate total of their book sales. One aspect of this is the number of books sold and the money made. I've created a Google spreadsheet for just that. This is a public document, so feel free to copy it for your own use. Using this document, you enter the following each month: Total Income Total Sales As you enter these, you will automatically see the statistics for the following: Yearly Income Yearly Sales Per Month Income Per Month Sales Per Sale Income You can access this file here: Book Sales Statistics Spreadsheet Currently, I have spaces in there for sales during 2012 and 2013. I kept these on the same page of the document for quick and easy comparison. If you have any suggestions for improving this form, let me know in the comments.

Tie the Knot with The Truelove Knot

A friend of mine recently posted a YouTube video showing a new knot for tying a tie. He calls it The Truelove Knot. It's a pretty cool and creative knot, and you can watch how to make the knot in the video below. After seeing the video, I decided to give The Truelove Knot a try. Having never attempted the knot, I played his video and tried to make it with another friend. The results of my efforts are below. Be sure to comment below or head over to the video showing how to make the knot and let Eliot know what you think of it. And here is my attempt to do the knot.