By buzzards I mean people looking high and low for free copies of the Spinward Fringe books. Every couple of days Google sends me email with a list of searches and appearances of specific titles and words.
Over the last few months it's become plain that hundreds of people have been searching file sharing and shady hosting sites for pirated versions of my work. The most amusing thing I've found on forums are listings of pirated versions of Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins as well as the First Light Chronicles Omnibus. I find this amusing because they're both available for free on Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Diesel, the iBookstore and on other, less well frequented sites.
Since no one has complained about the pricing of the rest of the Spinward Fringe series for about two years, and they cost far less than eBooks from other publishers, I see no need to change a thing.
Update on the store:
A lot of people have been contacting me with ideas for the upcoming Spacerwares store and they've actually been very helpful. After some thought and investigation, I've decided that PayPal will be the payment processor, and the store will revolve around signed copies of the final edits of the books. I'm going to try to launch the store before this holiday season with the final version of Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins and the T-Shirts. I'm also talking to an Asian clothing producer who may provide replicas of the white scarf featured in the novels. Starting simple with the store will keep things working smoothly and hold prices down.
Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins
Thanks to your support, I've been able to hire a professionally trained, experienced and somewhat well known editor to work on the first book in the Spinward Fringe books. The reason why I've paid so much to employ this person is because he offers a quality of work that isn't offered for free. When he's finished I'll be submitting it to a professional eBook formatting house where it'll be set up for all readers one last time. Signed hardcover and softcover versions will be in the store within a few weeks.
Every Spinward Fringe book will get the same treatment if everything goes well, the process is expensive, but worthwhile. Anyone who already has eBook copies of the books should be able to update to the latest version. If your retailer doesn't allow you to re-download updated copies, send them an email requesting that they do, since it should be a common service. I've already communicated the need for updates to every retailer that doesn't currently offer them and plan to again when the final versions of the Spinward Fringe novels are ready.
Spinward Fringe Broadcast 7:
Everyone wants to know how work on this book is going, and that's expected. The middle novel in any trilogy should leave readers wanting more, and I'm fortunate to have done my job well. The good news is that Broadcast 7 is better than I expected, the bad news is that it's bigger. It's also more complicated, addresses and ties together most of the plot lines from the previous books, and is at the same time epic and personal in scale.
Above all else, Broadcast 7 has required as much thought as it has actual writing. Plot lines are coming to a head and characters are being tested. It's more important than ever to get everything just right and thankfully most of the research was finished last spring, so that's not slowing me down. I can say with fair certainty that this won't be ready before this January, especially since there's an understandable outcry for more editing / proofreading and I need a couple extra months to accomplish that. I'll be talking about Broadcast 7 in greater detail later.
Right now I'm preparing to move to a better apartment where I can have an office and a proper living room. Until now my bedroom has served as my living room and office, and, while I have a large bedroom, I can't wait to have some breathing space. House sitting over the summer this year has reminded me what a proper home is like, and I'm fortunate that the cost of rent has decreased about 20% since September 1 in my area. Moving is still a huge pain, but I'm sure it'll be worth it since I'll be able to get a lot more work done in a better space.
My Health, or "Pulling A Robert Jordan"
A surprising amount of concern has been shown for my well being in the last couple weeks, culminating in an email that reads;
"I hope you remember to concentrate on getting well while you're writing your next book. Your health is much more important than fiction."
I don't know where this poor reader got the impression that I was ill, but I reassured her at length that I was fine, maybe carrying a few extra pounds, but I recently dropped a belt size, so even that's not as bad as it could be. I'm much younger than most authors typically are when they expire as well, only thirty six. I also don't live near any really tall buildings, so the chances of being crushed by a safe or piano are minimal.
So, there's no cause for concern. Stop jinxing me by obituary watching and hand wringing already!
For extra reassurance, I've provided a list of things I will avoid below:
I promise to avoid the following until Broadcast 7 is complete and possibly longer - construction sites, high places, rickety railings, swimming pools, I won't be eating any kind of puffer fish, going near older electrical outlets, tunnels, rail road tracks, firearms, angry looking redheads, confusing exercise equipment, mediaeval weaponry displays, tall stacks of books or paper, large crowds of people (in case they turn into an angry mob), mosh pits, Spinal Tap drummers, likely cannibals, airports, bus terminals, Alice Cooper, shaving, wet floors, Addams Family fans, dogs, high traffic areas, ferrets, bowling alleys, garbage trucks, gingerbread houses, Sith, all night convenience stores, car washes, foods that require extensive chewing, performance art, open graves, quarries, zoos, ex-girlfriends, Red Green, showering standing up, mints, running, plastic bags, speed dating (not so much for the lethality, just as a general rule), stairs, ninjas, piles of rope, rigging, wet concrete, skydiving, bungee jumping, ladders, water parks, slip and slides, coconut trees, FOX Executives, liquids I can't identify with absolute certainty, paintball, parking lots, Betty White, soccer riots, anything that can double as a noose, Guinness, dry cleaner's wrapping plastic, Hotel / Motels, wearing high heels, revolving doors, elevators, Costco, grocery store sample counters, T-shirt presses, long scarves, sharp looking bits of paper, manhole covers, eating alone, Rob Zombie, airplanes, automobiles, trains, and golf carts.
I'll also stop holding in sneezes, spinning in my desk chair when I don't think anyone is looking, sneaking up on my room mate (yes, Marc, it's on purpose, I don't pop out from around corners by mistake), running up stairs, or opening beer bottles without a proper opener.
[On second thought, I won't avoid Guinness or Betty White, sorry.]