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Friday Fiction Freebies!

The weekend is almost here! Time to grab a good book and a cup of tea (or coffee, or, as the case may be, whiskey) and settle in. To assist, here are some free books I want to share with you.

Cheers!

—Ben

The Dream World Collective

The Dream World Collective

Five friends quit their jobs to change the world. Sort of like Friends, but with more art, geekery, and tea.

Chapters 1-8: PDF | Kindle (Mobi) | ePub

Chapters 9-14: PDF | Kindle (Mobi) | ePub

Chapters 15-18: PDF | Kindle (Mobi) | ePub

More FREE episodes posted regularly at: http://bit.ly/latestdwc


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The Argent Star

What if your decisions affected an entire universe?

FREE on Amazon today and tomorrow!

Learn more | Get it now at Amazon

Living on the last surviving island on Earth, Ren has put herself on the path to become an archaeologist. She’s defied her father’s wishes and gone out on her own, barely keeping in contact with him as he commands an army somewhere across the universe. And it was all going well until her brother Elian discovered a planet.

Lost for centuries, Novae was thought to be a legend. It vanished years ago and since being rediscovered the Monarchy has stepped in to take over. What Ren didn’t realize was that she and Elian and their father are the chosen leaders of Novae, thanks to a scorched piece of paper that claimed her ancestor named the star Novae orbits.

With suspicion and doubt, Ren is forced leave her life on Earth to go to Novae with her estranged father and rule over the planet she doesn’t think wants her there. Her suspicions are confirmed when she learns there are insurgents hiding in the darkened forests, and her father assigns her a guardian, Sheridan; a woman with a threatening gaze and silent steps.

Now Ren is just trying to stay alive long enough to figure out what the Monarchy is planning for the planet, because she doesn’t believe that they’re on Novae for the good of the people. But going against the Monarchy means going against a government that spans across galaxies, and Ren doesn’t know if she’ll be enough.

Novae is already at civil war that gets worse with each passing day. Ren doesn’t have long before the Monarchy decides to “neutralize” the threat. Will she be able to stop the hostile takeover? Or will her actions ignite a rebellion across the universe?

Learn more | Get it now at Amazon

Absolutely Critical Miscellany. Well, Miscellany, Anyway.

All right, guys. Not much new to report and I’m severely feeling the itch to get my actual word count up, so just a few quick news items and a mysterious noise today.

Readers! Only a couple days left to pre-order Kara Jorgensen’s The Winter Garden for $0.99. I ordered mine today. You can get yours here. Congrats, Kara!

Writers! Joe pointed me to a pretty cool-looking new writing tool at Novlr.org. I haven’t done much with it yet but I’ll be trying it out and will report back if I find new value in it. Or you can just try it yourself. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Night Vale Listeners! What was that noise? There. There it was again. That silent, brooding noise in the back of your mind, like a heart beating a little too slowly, like the sound of still, cold air. There! Did you hear it that time? No? Well. It’s probably nothing.

Brilliant Friends! New section of The Dream World Collective should be up to read for free later this week. A problematic offer of free beer. Simmering romantic complications. And Otto tries to gather some intel. Hilarity ensues. In the meantime, catch up here or start with Chapter 1.

Also? The Stone and the Song is still regularly selling copies! It’s been three weeks, people! I didn’t expect this sort of thing until I had a critical mass of at least 3 books out, maybe 5. Many thanks to everyone who’s buying, reading, sharing, and reviewing. You are making my days figuratively magical. Maybe even literally. It sort of depends on what ‘magical’ means.

Cheers!

—Ben

Secret PS – Yay! Hi, Ivy!

Origami Lunchbox: Butt-Kicking Thoughts on Life, Fear, and Creative Work

Hey everyone! It’s been a crazy day, so this will be quick. My friend, sounding board, and unofficial publicist Joe recently launched a very stylish site that I think you’ll enjoy. It’s called Origami Lunchbox and it’s—well, think inspiration the way it should be. Not fluffy thoughts about imagining success and feeling good, but honest, no-nonsense, and surprisingly vulnerable advice and reflections to get you pointed in the right direction again. If you’re an idea person or do creative work, check it out.

OrigamiLunchbox

Sometimes you need a kick in the butt, sometimes you just need a reminder that others are in this with you. Origami Lunchbox will give you both.

Cheers!

—Ben

Double-Digit Legit! First 10 Amazon Reviews

It’s official! The Stone and the Song has reviews in the double digits! Not only that, but my work has now been compared to Narnia and Patrick Rothfuss. That’s two separate chronicles! Heady stuff.The Stone and the Song, coming Feb 21, 2015 (!)

No, but seriously, thank you so much to everyone who has bought, shared, read, and/or reviewed the story. You guys are amazing and you thrill me.

In celebration, I present this lovely word cloud crafted from the reviews themselves. Let them be thus immortalized as visual ephemera, as art made out of words discussing different art made from different words.

Ok, I’ll stop. Sorry. It’s been a kind of long week. If you want to get in on the fun, you can get your copy now or sign up for my email list to get a note when the paperback and audiobook forms come out.

Cheers!

—Ben

Name a Book That Totally Immersed You

I remember one time, sometime during college, I was at the airport ready to fly from Turkey to Germany. I was an experienced traveler even then and I prided myself on it. I arrived at the gate well ahead of time, everything neatly packed in one small bag, boarding pass ready. I picked a seat, settled in, and started reading.

Some time later, I looked up to see everyone lining up to board, except they were one gate over, boarding a flight to Bahrain or somewhere. But all my people were gone. I went to the customer service desk and learned that my flight was gone, and in fact they’d called my name several times, all while I was sitting at the gate, immersed in my book.

The book was Harry Potter. Wish I could remember which one—maybe Goblet of Fire, but I’m not sure. What about you? When has a book totally immersed you? What was the book? What drew you in about it?

February in Review + March Goals

Some pretty cool writers I follow are writing month-end reviews and goals. It’s a great idea. I might make a practice of it, too. Certainly last month was great and this month is exciting, so I’m going to try it out today.

February Accomplishments

  1. I released my first story,The Stone and the Song, on Amazon. Lots of work, but a smashing success!
  2. Released 2 more sections of The Dream World Collective.
  3. Launched my mailing list and got 2-3x industry average open and click rates. Because my people are awesome. Sign up here for friendly notes and mysterious missions.
  4. Wrote more of The Unaccountable Death of Derelict Frobisher. Uncharacteristically, I’m not sure how much.
  5. Recorded about half of the audiobook version of The Stone and the Song.
  6. Established rough concept for Hubris Towers, an upcoming serial fiction collaboration, with Bill.
  7. Wrote a blog post every week day.

March Goals

  1. The Unaccountable Death of Derelict Frobisher – Current word count: 96,642
    • Minimum: Write 12,000 words (avg. 3,000/wk)
    • Target: Write 22,000 words (avg. 5,000/wk)
    • Stretch: Round it up and hit 120,000 words total. (That’s my projected total word count! Could finish the rough draft this month! That’s crazy!)
  2. The Dream World Collective
    • Minimum: Release 2 sections on Patreon
    • Target: Release 3 sections and overview remaining rewrites needed before launch
    • Stretch: Release 4 sections and overview
  3. The Stone and the Song
    • Minimum: Keep encouraging readers to leave reviews
    • Target: Release paperback
    • Stretch: Release paperback and audiobook
  4. Hubris Towers
    • Minimum: Sketch characters, setting, and rough arc for Season 1
    • Target: Above plus sketch concept for each episode in Season 1
    • Stretch: Above plus write partial episode to test process and develop speed projections
  5. Write a blog post every week day.

Oh, man. This is such an exciting time! Let me know in comments or at byfaroe at gmail dot com if you’re interested in beta reading, collaborating, or chatting about the art and business of writing. I love this stuff and I love finding other writers who are serious about making it a career and/or lifestyle.

Cheers!

—Ben

Book Survey! Calling All Serial Lovers

I’m starting to plan out a couple upcoming projects and I’d love your feedback. Two of them will probably be released in serial form (episodes released regularly then bundled into books or seasons) and I want to figure out what will give the best reader experience.

I’m really excited about the projects. They are, in no particular order:

  • The Dream World Collective, which you can currently read for free here. It’s kind of like Friends with more art, geekery, and tea.
  • Hubris Towers, still very early in the process but looking hilarious. It’s leaning toward sort of a comedy of manners meets comedy of errors in the tradition (I hope) of P. G. Wodehouse. “Luxury Living at Hubris Towers: Isn’t it time you got what you really deserve?”

Here’s what I’m trying to figure out about how to structure them. What do you think? Please leave me a comment – I’d love to hear from you!

  1. How frequently should episodes come out? Weekly? Monthly? Fortnightly?
  2. How many pages long should an episode be? (Or how many pages per month should I release?)
  3. What’s a good price per episode?

For reference, I’m leaning toward something like one 50- to 75-page episode per month, sold for $2.99, with every 6 (or maybe 12) episodes bundled into a book/season/novel and sold at a discount.

If you know anyone who loves serials, please send them my way so I can get their feedback too. Thanks!

Also, about yesterday? I ended up writing a thousand words yesterday and a thousand today. Haven’t made up for Monday and Tuesday, but it’s good to be back on track and adding to Frobisher.