July 25, 2015

Book review: [sic] by Scott Kelly

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Six teens are devoted to a game with one rule: If a player gets tagged, they must change their life within the next fifteen minutes. The better the player, the bigger the change. One might give their car away, or punch the school bully. Another might change identities or sacrifice their virginity. Anything to keep evolving, to avoid fitting into a label or caring about the junk they own. But their quest for enlightenment has taken a rotten final turn - one of the players has murdered the game's creator, the teen prophet (cult leader?) David Bloom.

Our narrator is being framed for the crime; can he clear his name and discover which of his lifelong friends is the murderer before he takes the fall?

[sic] is a gritty teen murder mystery that delves into the psychology of enlightenment among the criminally dysfunctional. It is a winner of WEBook's Page2Fame award and a cult classic among its thousands of teen fans on Wattpad, some of whom have actually applied Kelly's fictional game to their own lives.

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

July 11, 2015

Farewell, Fortune Cookies

Yesterday, I unpublished With Five You Get Fortune Cookies*, a collection of short stories that I released early on in my career. Never read it or even heard of it? Don't worry, you're not the only one. It was my worst seller. In the three years since its release, the number of people who bought the book can be counted on two hands.

If you're reading this post, and you're now wondering what With Five You Get Fortune Cookies contained, don't worry. I've posted the first story from the collection, "Fortune Cookies", to Wattpad. In the coming weeks, I'll add the other stories in the collection.

* Yes, the title is a play on the 1968 film, With Six You Get Eggroll. There were five stories in my collection, and the first one was titled "Fortune Cookies." Get it?

July 4, 2015

The freedom of not having fans

Happy Independence Day to those of you in the U.S. or those who celebrate the holiday abroad! For everyone else, happy July 4, 2015, which should be celebrated because it's a weekend!

The holiday kind of snuck up on me because if I had planned things out beforehand, I would've come up with a blog post that ties into Independence Day. So now I'm left scrambling for a topic that's somewhat related. Fortunately (for me, not necessarily for you), I was already planning to blog about freedom in writing. The kind of freedom that many other authors don't have but I do. I'm talking about the freedom to write what you want to because you have very few or no fans.

Specifically, the freedoms that I currently enjoy include:
  1. The freedom to publish on my schedule. I try to write as often as I can. I'm pretty good about it on the weekends, but during the week, there are often days when I'm so exhausted from the day job and family commitments that my brain can't come up with any good words. Instead of stressing myself out, I choose not to write on those days. It does mean that it takes me months to finish a novel, but no one is clamoring for the next book. Having no fans means having no one to disappoint when your next novel won't come out until 2016.
  2. The freedom to write in the genre of my choice. So far, my stories have primarily fallen in the category of young adult speculative fiction. It happens to be my favorite genre to read, but I also enjoy thrillers, and I've been considering writing one soon. Some authors may feel restricted because their name is tied to one genre, and they don't want to confuse their fans by releasing books in another genre. (I've heard this more in the context of traditional publishers than indie authors.) When you have no fans, no one cares which genre you write in. Publishing books across genres may, in fact, be beneficial because you never know where you'll eventually find success. Maybe it'll be my thriller that takes off.
  3. The freedom not to write the next book in a series. My novels so far have all been standalone. I like writing them because I haven't had any brilliant ideas for a series. Fortunately, with no fans, there's no one asking me when book 2 is coming out. I can continue to write standalone novels or switch to writing a series if the inspiration strikes me. Or, if I'm in the middle of a series, I can choose to put it aside to work on something else because no one is waiting for the next book.
By no means am I suggesting that it's bad to have fans. However, if you're an unknown author like me, take heart in knowing that it's not all doom and gloom. As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, use it on your BBQ chicken this 4th of July.