Dave Birchbauer's Blog: Alec's Dream

February 20, 2016

Jett Speed is complete; big deal. I think I am out of phase with what agents want. My previous attempt at Alec's Dream is YA. It is raw and needs work... I've learned a lot from finishing a second book. But most sci-fi agents are looking for YA and Jett Speed isn't.

Jett Speed is more old-school. A PI with a blond bombshell secretary plus a myna bird that swears in polish. I invented a new genre for it; cheesy space opera. Lots of 'stuff' going on, maybe too much that doesn't give the reader much time to rest.

My twist - instead of mankind evolving to the universe, the universe is evolving to man. The universe needs a stem cell and Jett is it. Unfortunately, the bad guy Yurgey who can't feel positive emotions is also one. What would happen to the universe if Yurgey was used as the stem cell? A mixture of science turning into fantasy, steam punk and more.

I don't know what is going to happen with Jett Speed. I've sent a handful of query's but I am not published (only self published). Most agents prefer 'professional' writers; I guess I see their point as they have to spend more time with amateurs and time is money.

I'm at a crossroads. I love writing or should I say I love coming up with the ideas; exercising my creativity. Sometimes I think if I'm not able to release my imagination in writing I'd go nuts.

Reviews of Alec's Dream aren't bad other than complaints about editing. I won't say more cause I've ranted enough in previous blogs.

Submitting to agents is disheartening. Most have high standards or want socially controversial stuff (i.e. LGBT). Even though I'm expecting rejects, they're still hard on me. I guess I'll spend the next few months sending out queries then work at getting my boat back in order and do some fishing over the summer. By then I should have all my rejects. I may do something different; send to publishers... they usually take 6-12 months to respond... or I'll self publish again... but I would have to do things a bit different... advertise and stuff.

I guess if I set my expectations low enough, it takes pressure off me.... I just may finish up both series... I want to rename Alec's Dream to the Inheritance Stone, make Jessie and Sophie a bit older, get rid of the books beginning and start it in the middle of the action. I've got 2 more Ghosts of Angels and 3 more Jett Speed books.

I already have the second Jett in my head.... really cool and can't wait to write it.
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on February 20, 2016 09:29 • 9 views

February 23, 2014

Boy, have I been getting nailed on grammar (their/they're/there, your/you're...). I know there (their?) are grammar errors in Alec's Dream but I never really thought it would matter much to readers. It doesn't bother me when I see them in other books... but I guess for some its (it's) make or break.

I am very grateful for your reviews, even though they can be a bit painful. On the bright side, everyone seems to enjoy the story, about a third whack me on grammar (ouch).

I just need to vent a bit. After working full time, doing yard work, house work and spending time with my family... after watching Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures and American Idol (Idle?); is when I find time to write. If I'm lucky, I get 2-5 hours a week. I wish I could write full time, but life isn't letting me.

You see, when writing the first draft or two of a book, you just 'crank'... you write what's (whats?) in your head as fast as you can without worrying about grammar, spelling or whether it makes sense. You just get it down as fast as it enters your head. It isn't till the third draft when you start worrying about cleaning up the wording. After that you begin editing your (you're?) mess. Each pass finds errors, fewer each time, but eventually you just need to move on and work on something else.

If you're (your?) lucky, you get published. If not you self publish. Publishers provide editors... editing is a profession. When you self publish, you rely on yourself and friends. Being my first attempt at writing, I didn't realize I needed professional level editing. I now have a few people willing to help edit in the future (which I will take advantage of).

Oh, by the way, I am just a few pages away from finishing my first draft of 'Jett Speed - The Seed'. It is a romp. Some people thought Alec's Dream was imaginative, this goes beyond that... I hope not too far. I think it'll be a fun read, I just hope I can find a publisher that thinks the same. If not, I'll make sure it gets (get's?) better editing before I put it out there.
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on February 23, 2014 07:57 • 37 views • Tags: alec-s-dream-grammer

September 19, 2012

Hi all.

I found out that if you let the reader set the price for your book on Smashwords, Amazon will cut it's price to zero.

I didn't realize this until my Amazon sales report showed over 400 downloads in a week. At first I thought it was an error, but after realizing Alec's Dream was free, it made it much more interesting to readers (I've consistently been in the top 100 of the sci-fi adventure category) and over the past month I've gotten close to 700 downloads.

Not bad. Even though I'm not making any money, I like it. I like it so much that I decided to not try getting an agent or publisher for my revised edition. It is now free on Amazon, free on Smashwords and as soon as Smashwords distributes it (B&N, Sony, Apple...), it'll be free everywhere.

As a first time writer (I won't consider myself an author until I actually make money at this), its all about the readership. The more downloads I get, the more I'm encouraged to continue writing.

So download it if you can and read it if you want.
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on September 19, 2012 17:55 • 91 views

May 27, 2012

Reviews have come in... from Bookplex. I didn't want the reviews for advertising, I just wanted some opinions. They were well worth it... thanks Bookplex.

Summary: Alec's Dream starts out bad and ends great. (note to self: the beginning of a book should draw people in, not scare them away)

What they said about the beginning.

1 - Too technical.
2 - Time-lines are confusing.
3 - Confused as to who the main character s were.
4 - Seems to jump around.

I first tried rationalizing these criticisms like "I always thought the technical part was a necessary evil of science fiction." After some weeks of thinking it finally occurred to me what the problem was.

"IT'S ALL ABOUT ME!"

The beginning of Alec's Dream is about ME. It is self indulgent. It chronicles MY inventing anti-gravity, starting MY company and presenting it to the world. Alec, Jessie and the rest of the cast are just supporting characters.

Funny, before I came to this realization, I couldn't see the problem (duh... how can there be anything wrong when the subject is you?). Now that I understand (the mental block is broken), the fix is obvious. So I decided to put a hold on my current project and rewrite the beginning of Alec's Dream. I am extremely fortunate that I seemed to have hit upon a successful writing style as the reviewers seemed to love the last two-thirds. If I can pull this off, I think I may send out some agent queries again... and maybe try a small indie publisher or two.

Wish me luck.
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on May 27, 2012 08:12 • 65 views • Tags: alec-s-dream, fiction, sci-fi

February 22, 2012

Well, I may as well use this blog as a diary... I've found out that if you want to keep your writing a secret, start a blog.

I've just finished another feeble attempt at promoting Alec's Dream. I've come to the conclusion that the best way to promote a book is to finish my next, then start another... I need to build a library. Heck, who knows, maybe I'll get one of these future books picked up by a real publisher one day.

Funny, a little over a half a year ago I bought a Nook Color for my birthday. The name of the first book I downloaded (a freebee) is... well, I won't tell it here because with my luck the only one reading this will be the author. But, needless to say, it wasn't very good. There was no focus, point of view, point of reference, no... I call it texture, tone or 'feel'. It was difficult to read, the story was one dimensional (built around a single plot twist) with a weak ending. I didn't think much of it. For some odd reason I just came across it and saw it had dozens of reviews (from mediocre to bad). What the heck! How can this lousy read get that many readers... and with a collection of lousy reviews?

It got my blood flowing. Alec's Dream is buried and I need to get it out in the open.... so I made it a free read for goodreads... and now I created a coupon for Smashwords (XR62J - because it allows for other formats... goodreads provides epub OR pdf only). Kind of funny, but the cover I got with my Nook has a quote from Samual Johnson that reads "A writer begins a book. A reader finishes it." how true.

In case your wondering. My next book is the beginning of a new genre.... Cheesy Space Opera. I can't give many details because I've heard that ideas can get borrowed (not that anyone would actually read this blog), but I may as well keep it to myself until I get it copyrighted (I've got two brother-in-laws that are lawyers that won't let me get away without it). Cheesy Space Opera... It's not as bad as you think. I want to write (and read) something fun. Lots of action, good pace, characters with attitude. Not a big book, but a group of smaller ones (about 65,000 words apiece). Right now I've got about 4-5 books floating around in my head (I really need to write these ideas down).

I'm about a quarter the way through my first draft of "The Continuing Adventures of xxxx xxxxx: The Seed". Now that I've got all this promotional stuff out of the way, its time to go back to writing. So, so long for now. Also, now that I have this cool diary, I'll be updating this a lot more.

Alec's Dream by Dave Birchbauer
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on February 22, 2012 17:30 • 75 views • Tags: cheesy-space-opera, promotion

November 25, 2011

Hello everyone (or anyone?). I'm new to goodreads and found out about you from a sci-fi forum. I'm glad I found you.

Alec's Dream is my first novel (I've got at least six more floating around inside my possibly delusional head) and am really wondering if I'm nuts in believing Alec's Dream is any good. That's why I'm here.

Alec's Dream is young adult science fiction. After I completed it I sent out about a dozen query letters to agents (getting form letter rejects) before realizing that unless I write about vampires, werewolves and forbidden love, agents will never give me a first look. After some research, I believe that's not so bad.

Reading is changing. I think e-books are the future. I bought a Nook Color to see how my novel would read and I LOVE it. I enjoy reading from the Nook better than real books. I think if the price of e-readers drop to 50 bucks, e-reading will become the future.

Right now the problem is that there are tens of thousands of e-books out here and mine is one of them. What I found was needed is a way or sorting and filtering the good ones from the bad ones... repeating what I wrote earlier... I'm glad I found goodreads.

Here's a little bit about Alec's Dream.

I've always dreamt of being able to fly. I mean real dreams, not just daydreams. I still have them. I wonder how may other people dream of flying.

Alec's Dream started with my own dream of anti-gravity. I thought of how the world would change if someone invented it. I actually thought of inventing it myself. I theorized and calculated but alas, I'm just not smart enough. The idea soon crept into my mind of writing a book about it.

Funny. I've never thought of writing a book before. I've written dozens, maybe hundreds of technical specs, designs, requirements, user docs... even a business plan but never a work of fiction. I guess the business plan did it. I remember writing the marketing section of the plan... a pretty good work of fiction. It felt good to write without needing to stick to facts or truth.

My goal was to write a book everyone can enjoy. A book about ordinary people thrust into extraordinary situations. A classic science fiction novel, but not hard core. A book that keeps science in science fiction.

For some reason, I’ve seldom seen anti-gravity highlighted as a technology in a science fiction book. Thinking about how anti-gravity would change the world makes my head spin, but writing stories about all the wonderful things it could do makes for a dull story, unless of course, you add a 30 mile long alien spaceship hiding behind the moon.

I would invite anyone reading this blog to try Alec's Dream. I'm not looking for sales and would just love to have reviews. I plan on providing free copies or samples through goodreads.

Enjoy.Alec's Dream
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on November 25, 2011 19:25 • 118 views • Tags: adventure, anti-gravity, entertaining, science-fiction, young-adult