Vincent Berg: Blog

Smashwords' End of Year Sale

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I've entered several books in Smashword's latest "End of Year" Sale, which runs from Dec 25th, 2018 until Jan 1, 2019. Use the following codes for the various discounts:

Not-Quite Human Box Set SEY25 = $8.99 (includes books 1, 2 and you can update to include book 3 when it's released)
- The Cuckoo's Progeny SEY50 = $2.50 (new graphics if you haven't upgraded for a while)
- Lost With Nothing to Lose SEY25 = $4.24
A House in Disarray SEY50 = $3.00
Demonic Issues Box Set SEY50 = $5.00
- The Demons Within SEY50 = $2.50
- Speaking With Your Demons SEY50 = $3.00
Unwelcome Visitors Box Set SEY50 = $4.00 (discontinued on Amazon, soon to be discontinued on SW)
- Stranded in a Foreign Land SEY75 = $1.25
- The Lad Who Poked the Devil in the Eye SEY75 = $1.25 (discontinued on Amazon, soon to be discontinued on SW)
Singularity SEY75 = $1.25 (new sequel in the works)
Zombie Leza SEY75 = $1.25

Now's the time to grab any books you didn't pick up previously.

Note: Catalyst and The Great Death series have been retired as I work (slowly) on revising them both. Also, all my print books are now out-of-print due to Amazon permanently shutting down Createspace (I'm hoping to relaunch them on D2D, but they haven't launched their print service yet).

Health Issues: Update

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Some time ago, I mentioned (in an earlier blog) that I was having some health issues which were impacting my work (an inability to sleep, exhaustion and corresponding inability to focus).

Well, it's been almost a year (nine months) since this all started, but we're (my doc and I) are we're finally making headway.

I'd assumed my 'inability' to focus was the result of my exhaustion, but I was confusing cause with effect. It turns out I suddenly developed ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), which often accompanies my lifelong Asperger's (I'd always believed those were undiagnosed, rather than late-onset cases), and even after figuring out I needed to treat it, my shrink didn't want to treat it for fear or worsening my sleep issues.

Turns out, the ADD drug (at the very lowest possible dose), actually resolve my sleep issues, and now that we're finally slowly increasing the dosage, I'm able to see the effect the ADD has had on my writing.

For the past several months, I've been struggling with the sequel of my Not-Quite Human story, and my editor and I have been butting heads. I've already completely changed the ending twice, and I'm still unsure how I'm going to resolve the story, but I'm now able to see just how badly phrased much of my writing is and how badly thought-out the plot has been. In the past week, I've been busy 'rephrasing' chapters left and right.

The key is the ADD was interfering with my coping mechanisms for my Asperger's. So what's allowed me to produce so many incredibly-detailed stories is now broken, and I'm left floundering.

The good news is we're finally turning the corner, and I finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. The bigger problem is, as usual, my doctor's 'first do no harm' philosophy translates to 'never resolve the patient's problem'. I've fought this same issue with a whole string of doctors over the years, and each time, after never getting better, I either tell them flat out I won't take as much medicine as they're prescribing, or in the case of my diabetes, I start adjusting my dosage on the fly, because my doctors is so timid my health is in danger (it's easier arguing my techniques are valid when I have the blood tests to prove they work, than arguing that the drs. assumptions are flawed). As often happens, the patient has to be responsible for his own health, as the doctors are more concerned with litigation than correcting disorders.

Thus, while things are improving, it's likely to be several more months, at least, before my writing will be back on track. Many of you have likely noticed my over-the-top rants on the SOL Forum, where many of my points, while valid, are incredibly badly phrased, which undermines my credibility (unfortunately, since I'm unable to write, I have trouble staying away from the endless discussion time-suck). That's the same thing that's happening with Building a Nest of Their Own. The underlying premise and plot are strong, but the way I'm presenting the story just isn't convincing because it's so badly phrased.

Long story short, despite only posting a single chapter per week for my currently posting story, it's looking doubtful I'll be able to publish the sequel this year. :( I'm hoping I can get it out by early 2019, as I'm hoping to have my medication resolved by then, but I'll have to see how long it takes to find the proper dosage, as it's much easier to stop taking too much medication than it is to self-medicate more than is prescribed. (Duh!) But, in the end, if I left my medication to my doctors, I likely wouldn't be in the shape I am today, and in the end, the doctors always seem happy with my results, even if they're too cautious to do anything about it themselves.

Anyway, that won't impact my currently posting story, Lost With Nothing to Lose, as that was written and fully edited long before these issues arose, and the final book will be completed before long, it's just that I don't trust my writing well enough to push my previous aggressive posting/publishing schedule.

Sci-Fi's Favorite 'Not-Quite Human' Story

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Before I'd asked about a descrepancy I'd noticed between SOL and Sci-Fi users. While the SOL users seemed to overwhelmingly prefer the more recent and more detailed Lost With Nothing to Lose, Sci-Fi users seems to prefer the earlier The Cuckoo's Progeny, which lacked as much character development.

Well, over the past few chapters, that's turned around (on the Sci-Fi side at least), as now Lost With Nothing to Lose is scoring higher than it's predecessor. As several of you pointed out, the faster-paced, frantic search for others like them fit the first story, but it's nice to know that users don't simply dislike my development as an author over the years. 'D (That's always an issue as I struggle to refine my story-telling techniques, sometimes I fear I'm giving up on what made my stories so popular in the past.)

A Couple of Screw-Ups

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A couple of posting errors in Lost With Nothing to Lose. First, chapter 5, "Exploring an Alien World", was missing the image for Section II, "Arrival at Tandor". Secondly, chapter 6, "Testing Their Limits" never posted, never making it past the posting stage (I posted it, but it's been sitting waiting for action for a couple days now).

They likely won't appear until tomorrow (Saturday, August 4th). Sorry for the delay in your reading.

Also, so far the scores for Lost With Nothing to Lose have been lower than those for The Cuckoo's Progeny, I'm assuming because the premise is SO dark.

As you've probably noticed by now, the first four chapters were about defining the basic story conflict: that the human crew isn't welcome, is untrusted, and everyone would rather do away with them than take a chance on them. So now both sides are gambling on their fates. The Tandorians are praying the humans can succeed where everyone else—including the Inquistors—have failed, while the humans are gambling they can pull off a miracle, despite knowing that all their claims are patently false. But ... things will mostly improve from here.

Smashwords Ninth Annual Read an Ebook Week Sale!

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To help promote the semi-annual Smashwords sale, I'm reducing my books from 50% to 75%.

The Sale lasts from March 4 - March 10, 2018.

50% off (enter "RAE50" in the discount code field)
- A House in Disarray $3.50 (not yet posted to SOL)
- Demonic Issues Box Set $5.00
- The Demons Within $2.50
- Speaking With Your Demons $3.00
- Zombie Leza $2.50
- The Cuckoo's Progeny $2.50
- Singularity $2.50

75% off (enter "RAE75" in the discount code field
- Unwelcome Visitors Box Set $2.00
- Stranded in a Foreign Land $1.25
- The Lad Who Poked the Devil in the Eye $1.25

Time to catch up on anything you haven't purchased yet.