RSD 2500x1563-Amazon-Smashwords-Kobo-Apple

Arrives exclusively on Amazon April 30, 2015.

PROMOTIONAL NOTE: Book one in the series, titled MAKO, is currently available for free download from Amazon. Offer expires Tuesday, March 31, at 11:59 pm EST.

RSD Story Synopsis

Five years after the historic Battle of Dulaston, Danny Tucker, Lee Summerston, and the Renegades have settled nicely into life on Aura — yet none more so than Tucker.  Fueled by a rising career as an ASC staff sergeant and a love unlike any he’s ever known, Danny is in the prime of his life and at last free of the demons that have stalked him for years.

Some demons never die, though, and when an old enemy beckons to settle a personal score, Danny soon finds himself swept up in the backlash of a climaxing civil war, and straight into the crosshairs of a father’s bloodlust for revenge.

RED SKY DAWNING is the much-anticipated sequel to 2013’s MAKO, and the tale of one man’s quest to bury his past and protect those dearest to him as the fate of billions hangs in the balance.

Hello again, everyone! Welcome to fall and the Halloween edition of the Manifesto!

Today we’re discussing what has long since been the great unicorn for most indie authors- — brick and mortar book sales. I use that metaphor because, like the unicorn, most indie authors have heard that bookstore sales exist, but few if any have every actually seen them.

Before we get started, though, I did want to take a sec to remind all of my Carolina peeps that this weekend marks the return of HonorCon to the Hilton North Raleigh-Midtown, Friday, Oct. 31, though Sunday, Nov. 2.

HonorCon is a science fiction convention held annually in Raleigh to celebrate achievements in the genre of military scifi. Guests this year include the likes of David Weber (THE HONOR HARRINGTON SERIES) and Timothy Zahn (STAR WARS: THE THRAWN TRILOGY) among others.

I myself will be doing a panel on indie publishing with my colleague, Chris Kennedy (THE THEOGONY) in Room D on Friday at 5pm, so hope to see you all there!

FYI, for those who can’t attend, you can view the slides from our presentation on my website’s For Writers page.

Okay, let’s get on to the meat n’ taters of this puppy, shall we?

The Backdrop

Like many indies, I knew when I started out that I wanted to offer my book in paperback. And why not? For one, it’s just one more platform to make money on, and for another, what author DOESN’T want to see his or her work in printed form?

I was also quite cognizant, however, that sans the help of a major publisher, I’d never have the resources to print a thousand copies of my work for the purposes of trying to flip them for profit.

… Enter the world of Print On Demand (POD) Publishing!!!

How does POD work?

POD is a glorious thing because it gives your readers the option to purchase your work in paperback form—albeit at a few bucks more per unit—but in a way that precludes you, the publisher, from paying any overhead. In a nutshell, if a reader wants a paperback, he or she simply logs onto Amazon, B&N, etc. and clicks the “buy” button, at which time the company prints a single unit, mails it out to the customer, then deducts that order’s production and royalty costs from the retail price before sending you the rest.

As POD services go, there are tons to choose from, but only two that really matter:

CreateSpace: A subsidiary of Amazon
Ingram Spark via Lightning Source

I know some might say that Lulu and or BookBaby are good ways to go, but I’ve never dealt with either, nor have I ever heard a good story about their services from those who have. Just sayin’…

Which POD service is better?

CreateSpace is pretty much a must. Now I know there’s a lot of hate out there for Amazon these days, but frankly there’s a reason why they’re the 800-poud gorilla where sales are concerned. Thus, as an indie, you can’t afford to not be on Amazon. There’s just one problem with that… outside of Amazon, and in some case B&N, no one else will order from CreaseSpace BECAUSE it’s owned by the aforementioned gorilla that seeks to put them all out of business.

Enter Ingram Spark via Lightning Source whom EVERYONE ELSE orders from.

NOTE: It also bears mentioning that both companies give authors the option of selling their works at a discounted rate to bookstores and venders — a must if you hope to get carried. Before you reach that point, though, you’ll want to purchase your own ISBN from Bowker and make sure NOT to utilize Amazon’s expanded distribution feature.

So… now that you’ve gone through all of that work (and financial investment if you had your books professionally formatted), you’re good to go, right? You’re on Amazon; you’ve opened a Spark account for your local bookstore on the corner; you’ve offered all at a discount to make them as cheap as possible for everyone involved… now it’s all about building business relationships with your local venders, right?

Well, as my buddy, Lee Corso of EPSN’s College Gameday would say, “Not so fast, my friend!”

See, there’s just one little problem: Bookstore owners, and rightfully so, want the option to return books that don’t sell to the publishers who printed them… publishers, which in this case, means you. Not Amazon/CreateSpace or Ingram Spark/Lightning Source… you.

Example: let’s say John Smith Bookstore in Raleigh wanted to stock 10 copies of my book, MAKO, in their store using the $10 discounted purchase price I offered them through Ingram Spark — a price that netted me somewhere around 15 cents per book after Spark’s production and royalty fees were deducted. (Gotta spend money to make money, right?)

Fast-forward three months, and Smith has only sold 1 copy of MAKO, at which time the store opts to return the other nine for a total value of $90. I, not Ingram Spark, am obligated to repay that amount, even though I made less than $1 on the entire transaction.

See where this gets sticky if you’re an indie?

Of course, the simple solution would be to set up your Spark account with non-returnable books, which authors are certainly entitled to do. However, as one local vender told me, 95% of most bookstores won’t even look at you, much less consider stocking your books because you’re name isn’t a proven sales brand and they don’t want to get left holding the bag for unsold units.

So what’s the answer?

Sadly, right now there isn’t one, which, sad to say, means that as an indie, seeing your book on physical shelves should in no way be a priority to you. Offer a non-returnable POD option then concentrate all of your efforts on selling e and audio books since those will bring in 95-99% of your revenue. That sucks, I know, because like a lot of you, it really does mean something to me to support, and be supported by, my local stores. But if they won’t work with me, then I, as a business person, need to focus on working with those who will… and that, dear brick and mortar stores with your endless tales of falling fiscal skies, is Amazon.

Bloggers Note: I have seen where some bookstores are beginning to stock “local author sections,” and I’d definitely encourage any author who can get in on that to take full advantage of it where possible. Even if it only means they purchased one copy of your book, they still PURCHASED one copy of your book. So reward that. Throw them the occasional tweet or Facebook post, and take the extra second to plug in their corresponding handle or hashtag so people can find them straight out of your text. Con-goers, let fans know that they can find your work on shelves at those locations. Anything that shows the vender, “Hey, thanks for supporting me. Now let me return the favor as best I can.”

It’s all about mutuality, folks.

Ta ta for now! Hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Halloween this weekend, and can’t wait to see a lot of you at HonorCon!

RUAH!

IJM

PS – Should have my first round of editor feedback on RED SKY DAWNING within the next couple of weeks. From there, it’s on to line edit then to a proofread then to formatting. All told, the second book in the #MakoSaga is set for an early 2015 release.


Okay, so I typically touch on a bit of everything in this blog, from sports to music, movies, food, and of course… writing.  That said, tonight is FINALLY the NFL Draft (should’ve been two weekends ago at noon on a Saturday, but I digress) and given that this is one of my favorite days on the sports calendar, I’m devoting this edition of the Manifesto exclusively to that.  
What follows are my own thoughts on a few teams I follow, as well as a few of the notable storylines going into eight o’clock. 
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
As a longtime Bucs’ fan, I enter tonight’s draft with my first real sense of optimism in years.  Lovie Smith is a fabulous coach, and moreover, our knuckleheaded owners seem to be giving him the necessary latitude to implement his plan for the team.  The question now is: where will he go when the clock strikes zero on Pick 7?
Were it up to me, I’d take Darqueze Denard, CB from Michigan State.  I know, I know, I know.  The Bucs need a receiver opposite VJ, and that’s real.  However, this is an extremely deep draft at that position, and Jeff Tedford will still have his pick of the litter in round two. 
Denard, meanwhile, is clearly the top corner on the board, and given the Revis debacle plus Tampa’s membership of the NFC South (home to Brees, Newton, and Ryan) you can never go wrong with bolstering your secondary. 
And just to be clear… Don’t even think about a QB at 7.  None of these guys warrant a Top 10 selection, period.  Not Bortles, not Carr, and especially not Manziel (a late second-round talent, tops). 
CAROLINA PANTERS
Since trading in my Florida residency for that of a North Carolinian, I’ve kept fairly close tabs on the Panthers as they naturally occupy most of the local football coverage around Raleigh.  
So, where should the Panthers go at Pick 28, assuming they don’t trade out?  Simple.  Wide receiver.  For one, it’s far and away their greatest need, and for two, this franchise took a beating from the fan-base for botching the Steve Smith situation.  Should Carolina have kept Smith?  Perhaps, though I think you could make the case that Smith was old, and the time had come to upgrade that position. 
The only problem is, that’s exactly what Carolina didn’t do.  The Panthers signed no one in free agency, and that rankled a lot of feathers around Charlotte.  Now comes the chance for Rivera and co. to rectify that problem by drafting a shiny new toy for Cam Newton… a guy who is all but forbidden from stretching the field in Mike Shula’s POS offense, but that’s a topic for another blog in August. 
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
The Jags pick at three, and I’m anxious to see how this one shakes out.  The obvious choice here is Clemson wideout Sammy Watkins, IMHO.  I love this guy, and I truly believe he’s a star in the making. 
Still, this team has a ton of needs, not the least of which is quarterback.  Add to that the never-ending whispers surrounding a Jags’ move to Los Angeles, and if there was ever a franchise in need of a face, it’s this one.  
Johnny Football?  Maybe?  
Again, I hate Manziel as a prospect.  It’s nothing personal.  I just don’t see his game translating to the pro level.  Conversely, though, the hard truth is that Jacksonville, as a club and an NFL city, hasn’t been relevant since the Clinton Administration.  Now factor in Manziel’s upside if he does succeed (jersey sales, prime-time television slots, ad revenue… all through the roof), and the Caldwell/Bradley camp would be stupid not to at least look at him.  
Talk about a roll of the dice, though… too rich for my blood.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS
Not spending much time here, but on account of my wife who grew up a die-hard Skins’ fan, I’ll touch on it.  
Washington  is still paying the price for RG III, and thus won’t select in tonight’s first round.  When they do pick, however, they need offensive line and a tall receiver. 
Regardless of who’s under center (I’m not entirely sure it shouldn’t be Cousins, by the way), they need better protection than the garbage they got in 2013.  I mean, whatever happened to the Hogs, anyway?  That used to be the hallmark of Washington football. 
As for WR, the Skins have a fair amount of talent at that position with the addition of Desean Jackson to Garcon and Moss.  The only problem with those guys is that Peter Frickin’ Dinklage could out-jump every one of them! (A little nerd humor there, sorry).  
Get a guy with some ups, Gruden, and your offense will definitely be the better for it. 
OTHER STORIES TO WATCH…
Quarterback Roulette
As always, there’s gonna be a run on QBs.  It’s just how the NFL is built now, and regardless of the fact that none of these guys are fit to carry Andrew Luck’s jockstrap, several teams will draft them as if they were.  (Lookin’ at you, Minisota!)
Among this year’s class, however, I do like Teddy Bridgewater.  I watched his entire career at Louisville, and I love the kid.  Say what you want to about his pro day (it was one day in shorts, people), TB is sharp and he makes all the throws.  Granted, he’s a bit undersized and his arm is far from a bazooka, but for my money he’s far and away the most NFL-ready prospect of the bunch.
Bortles is solid but raw, Carr came from the same peon program that sold me Trent Dilfer, and I’ve covered Manziel. 
Aaron Murray of Georgia, on the other hand, could be a nice find in round three.
Texas to play ‘Let’s Make a Deal?’
They should, if possible.  St. Louis got a king’s ransom for RG III, and given the chance at a similar haul, the Texans should most definitely take it. 
Clowney is a gamble to me.  I know physical he’s a beast, and there’s no denying what he did at SC.  But equally as undeniable is the fact that he also took his fair share of plays off. 
In short, this guy could be the next Warren Sapp, or Booger McFarland.  Only time will tell, and considering all the other needs Houston has right now, it makes sense to let someone else take the risk and fall back for Buffalo’s Khalil Mack who fits their system better anyway. 
Soap Opera Watch
If by some miracle Manziel falls to pick sixteen, I’d pay good money to be a fly on the wall in the Dallas war room.  For all the trumpeting Jerry Jones has done on Romo’s behalf, the Cowboys’ owner LOVES making a splash, and taking the singlemost polaring figure in this year’s draft—from Texas A&M, no less—would definitely do that. 
Plus, let’s be honest, Jerry is just hypocritical enough to do it, too.
Alright guys, that’s gonna do it for this one.  To my readers who care nothing of sports, I promise to get back to the literary stuff next month.  But again, I’ve been a Draft nut for years, and I really wanted to sound off before the commissioner hits the podum tonight. 
Everyone take care, have a great weekend, and best of luck to you and your favorite team as we eyeball another year of “America’s Passion.”
Cheers, and Go Bucs!
IJM


Welcome one and all to Spring 2014!  Hope the holidays were fabulous to you and yours, and that your new year has started out with a bang — or at the very least, with little if any snow.  (What up, fellow east-coasters!)
As I’m sure will come as no surprise to those who know us; 2014 got off to a roaring start in the Malone house.  I’m happy to report that my first ever panel at this year’s illogicon in Raleigh went off rather well, despite a few pre-show jitters on my part.  We had a nice turnout, and I’d like to thank everyone who stopped by, as well as my partner on the panel — Lynn MacNamee of Red Adept Publishing.
Now it’s off to April when I’ll be part of a similar panel on indie publishing at this year’s ALT*Con in my hometown of Tallahassee.  Stay tuned here and on FB/Twitter for date/time specifics as they unfold.
RSD edits continue
The second draft of RED SKY DAWNING (Book Two n THE MAKO SAGA) continues to unfold.  Now that I’m back in the swing of things, I’ve had the chance to really dig into the content, and while there’s obviously loads to do, I’m happy to report that much of the story’s content from draft one remains intact.  As was certainly the case in book one, I find that the action scenes are always the toughest to write — a point usually reflected in my page count at the end of a given writing day.  Give me a setting, a conversation, and a pair of characters, and I’ll bang out 3,000 words in two hours.  But exposition, world-building, and tactical design?  
… Yep, put on a fresh pot of coffee and bunker in, cuz it’s gonna be a while.
I will say this, however, with regard to story differences: RSD is a more serious piece than MAKO in a lot of respects.  Believe me, you’ll pick that up in the prologue, and it’s a theme that carries straight through the entire story.  Don’t get me wrong, RSD still has all of the party humor, snarky dialogue, and pop culture references that most of you dug about book one… that’s the Renegades.  But this is a story set five years after the events of MAKO, and A LOT has changed in the lives of every member of the team.
MAKO hits actual bookshelves!
I’m also happy to report that MAKO may soon be available for purchase at your neighborhood brick and mortar bookstore!  As a lot of folks know (especially other indie authors), many independent shops won’t deal with CreateSpace as it’s owned by Amazon… you know, the 800-lb gorilla that’s presently trying to put them all out of business?
So, for that reason, I’ve expanded my distribution net by opening an account with Ingram Spark, and as such, bookstores can now go online to IS and order MAKO at wholesale by simply using its ISBN (978-0989032704).
FYI to anyone near Tally, I’ll be discussing a lot of this at the ALT*Con panel next month.  Trust me, this may seem like a fairly trivial thing at first glance, but it’s really not.  
R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Bucs fans… FINALLY!
As most of you are probably not Bucs fans, I won’t dwell on this.  But given the absolute nightmare surrounding my favorite NFL team for much of the last decade (most of which was self-inflected on account of piss-poor leadership from the front office), I can’t tell you just how stoked I am to see Lovie Smith in charge and making changes.  Greg Schiano, like Raheem Morris before him, was a joke of a hire — A., because he wasn’t remotely qualified for the head job, and B., because he had no clue how to manage an NFL locker room once he got it.
Smith, by contrast, is the antithesis of this.  He’s a great coach with fantastic credentials and strong ties to the Tampa community.  Moreover, he’s a man of impeccable character who commands the respect of all who know him.  To put it another way: he’s a leader, and a damn good one… something this team has sorely lacked since the Gruden days, and some even question whether we really had it then.
Great hire, Tampa Bay… finally.  Now let’s go play some football!
Okay guys, that’s gonna do it for Blog One of 2014.  Take care, keep in touch, and as always… Happy Reading!!!
RUAH!

 
IJM

I love Christmas time, I really do.  I love the weather, the lights, the food, the time with friends and family… all of it.  Now couple everything I just said with the awesomeness that is New Year’s and college bowl season (which I’ll address shortly), and this really is “the most wonderful time of the year.”
Thus, much like last month’s Thanksgiving edition, we’re gonna keep this one fairly short with some minor house cleaning — then we’re out.
Red Sky Dawning (Draft 1) is done
Yep, it’s finally finished… the first round, anyway.  Mako: Book 2 is finally in the can, and while I plan to tinker with it a bit over the holidays, it’s my intention to burn full-steam ahead on it once I return in January.
I won’t spend much time on this, as I’ve already shared quite a bit about RSD’s plot and characters in previous blogs and during my interviewwith Self Publisher’s Showcase.  But, suffice it to say, I hope to have a solid manuscript ready for beta reading by the spring, then editing in the early summer.
Ruah!!!
Illogicon 2014 is right around the corner!
For those attending Raleigh’s illogicon science fiction convention Jan. 10, I’ll be partnering with Lynn MacNamee of Red Adept Publishing and others to present iAuthor: Indie Publishing 101, an in-depth panel discussion of all things indie books.  
Among the topics to be covered:
        The pros and cons of indie vs. traditional publishing
        Indie publishing platforms (KDP, Smashwords, etc.) and which to use
        Book mediums: E-books vs. print vs. audio
        Marketing through social media
        Setting a budget/deadlines
        The need for editing and cover design
 
Be sure to stick around after the panel and say hi, as I’ll be answering additional questions and giving away swag.  Truth be told, though, I just always enjoy meeting you guys.  J
IJM’s Bowl Game Predictions
Because I couldn’t resist, the following are my predictions for this year’s slate of BCS bowls, plus a handful of other matchups that struck me as potentially fun: (winners in bold)
        National Title: Florida State vs. Auburn (Totally a homer pick, I know, but I love this matchup for FSU.)
        Rose: Stanfordvs. Michigan State (GO NERDS!)
        Sugar: Alabamavs. Oklahoma (Saban won’t lose again, sorry OU.)
        Fiesta: UCF vs. Baylor (Knights had a nice year, but they’re no match for the Bears’ offense.)
        Orange: Clemson vs. Ohio State (As much as I abhor picking a Meyer-led team, I just don’t trust you in a game that matters, Clemson.)
        Russell Athletic: Miami vs. Louisville (Without Duke Johnson, “The U” falls in Bridgewater’s finale.)
        Chick-fil-A: Texas A&M vs. Duke (Johnny Football puts up stupid numbers in this game.  Aggies in a route.)
        Gator: Georgiavs. Nebraska (Also a homer pick, as my sis went to UGA. GO DAWGS!)
        Cotton: Missourivs. Oklahoma State (SEC all the way.)
        Alamo: Oregon vs. Texas (Mack Brown’s team rises up to send him out with a win.)
Okay, folks.  That officially puts the wraps on this, the inaugural year of the Mako Manifesto.  To everyone who follows this blog, you know I appreciate it, and I sincerely hope you’ve had as much fun reading it as I’ve had writing it.
In closing, and on behalf of the entire Malone household, I want to wish each and every one of you a very, Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.  As mentioned up front, we celebrate this time of year for a lot of reasons, the most important being the birth of Christ… which according to scholars, probably happened in April, but it’s whatever.
Don’t worry.  I’m not gonna beat you over the head with the “reason for the season” speech.  A., that’s not the purpose of this bog, and B., because the massive overuse of the phrase makes me want to punch my own nards.  Still, if you get a chance, take a moment to ponder why people like us believe in Christmas.  Then ask yourself two questions:
1.      Can I, at the very least, entertain the remote possibility that Jesus was who he said he was, and if not…
2.      Why?
Cheers, gang, and “see you on the other side” for 2014!
IJM
PS- For anyone scrambling to find last-minute, low-prep menu options for the holidays, check out this article in last week’s Raleigh News & Observer on Christmas meals and crock pots.  CRAZY helpful stuff!


Ah, Thanksgiving… How I’ve missed you and the gluttonous, calorie-rich glory you represent!  Smoked turkey breast, spiral-cut ham, deep-fried venison, sweet potato souffle, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, banana puddin’, chocolate cake… vegetables that I’m sure someone not named Ian will eat!  I mean, seriously people!  Throw in all of your favorite friends and family with some good, ole fashioned college football rivalry games, and what else to you need in life?
Alas, it’s with a mix of cheer and fear of indigestion that I must digress…
Okay, so in the interests of time management (and because this cold is totally kicking my butt), I’m gonna keep this one short with a few housekeeping notes: 
Red Sky Dawning is almost done… the first draft, anyway
Draft one of the Mako Saga’s next chapter is nearly in the books, and I think you guys are really gonna like it.  Naturally, there’s still loads of work to be done (as is always the case with opening drafts), but the framework for the story is in place along with most of the key elements that will comprise the next chapter of the saga.
A new editor = Mako 2.0
I’m proud to welcome Raleigh-based Red Adept Publishing (RAP) as my new editor moving forward.  I bring this to your attention because A., I know many of you are fellow indie authors in need of a good editor, and B., because I’ve hired Lynn McNamee and her staff for a fresh proof of Mako to buff out some of the final blemishes from the original manuscript which, at the time, had tapped out my budget.
I’m running through the Track Changes now, but hope to have the new files formatted and up for sale by Christmas.  FYI, this in no way alters the story you’ve already read.  It’s more or less just an extra pass for grammar typos and spelling.
Illogicon 2014 in Raleigh
Speaking of Lynn and RAP, I’ll be partnering with her to conduct a panel on indie publishing at this 
year’s illogicon, held Jan. 10-12 at the Embassy Suites in Raleigh.  At present, I still don’t have any date/time specifics, but once I do, I’ll bounce them out via social media.   
Alright gang, that’s it for this Turkey Day edition of the Manifesto.  All the best to you and yours this weekend, travel safe if you’re on the road, and see ya back next month for BCS picks and an in-depth discussion of why non-alcoholic eggnog is useless!  😉 
RUAH!!!
IJM
PS- Wanna give a quick shout-out to all the seniors on this 10-0 FSU football team.  Regardless of all of the legal crap that’s swirling around you right now, you guys were the class that kick-started this program’s climb back to national prominence and you’re to be commended for all that you’ve achieved.  Now, how about we roll on down to The Swamp and carve us up some Gator, shall we?  Good luck, boys, and GO NOLES!!!


Hello again, everyone, and welcome to a brisk autumn edition of the Mako Manifesto.  
Many of you read this blog because you know I’m a writer, and whether it’s to learn more about my work or the craft in general, you come here looking for indie-related content.  As a regular reader, though, you’re also well aware that I’m a total mark for college athletics, particularly where my beloved Florida State University (FSU) Seminoles are concerned.  Therefore, given the magnitude of this weekend’s “Clash of the ACC Titans” between third-ranked Clemson and fifth-ranked FSU, I’ve elected to bump the literary stuff to the end of this blog in favor of a good old-fashioned, armchair-QB sports rant.
… Drum roll please!!!
THE matchup
For all the historical flack given the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) for its lack of legitimate football contenders (most times, rightfully so), the conference has rebounded nicely of late in the forms of FSU and Clemson, both having returned to national prominence with regular 10-win seasons and impressive victories over top-tier BCS opponents. 
This Saturday night, however, these two teams will meet in Death Valley, South Carolina for what will undoubtedly be the biggest game in the history of their budding rivalry.  At stake: a clear path to the ACC title, and quite possibly a berth in the BCS National Championship Game. 
Make no mistake about it, folks, both teams have a major point to prove with this game. 
For Clemson, it’s the chance to shed, once and for all, the “national pretender” status that’s haunted them for years, and avenge 2012’s loss to the Noles in Doak Campbell Stadium.
For FSU, meanwhile, a win here represents a major step toward reclaiming the “dynasty” mantle lost to them in the twilight years of the Bowden regime.
The individual storylines for this game are endless, though here are a few to consider:
          Clemson senior QB, Tajh Boyd vs. FSU redshirt freshman, Jameis Winston
          Clemson’s high-powered offense vs. a young, revamped FSU defense under first-year DC Jeremy Pruitt
          FSU’s running game vs. Clemson’s at-times shaky defensive front
FSU fans, we used to balk at the term “Game of the Century” because we heard it nearly every other week from 1990-2000.  Then came the infamous Jeff Bowden experiment on offense, and well… you know the rest.  Granted, much has happened since Fisher’s installment to right FSU’s misfortunes (our renewed status as perennial Top-5 recruiters, for starters) but this game still represents our best shot yet to show the world we’re back on top of the mountain. 
In other words, win this game and people will begin to take you seriously again.
Clemson fans, the same point applies to your program.  As it stands, you deserve major kudos for your successes to-date.  You and you alone rose above the mediocrity of this conference to assemble a top-flight football program capable of beating anyone in the nation, and you’re amassed wins over LSU, Georgia, Florida State among others are a testament to that.
Nevertheless, nobody forgets a 70-33 drubbing like the one you took from West Virginia in the 2012 Orange Bowl, particularly when it happens on global TV.  Thus, a win Saturday night is every bit as vital to your legitimacy as FSU’s.
So… what’s my prediction, you ask?  
Listen, I firmly believe FSU has the talent and the coaching staff to win this game, to say nothing of their superstar QB in Winston, a kid on-pace to torch the record books before leaving Tallahassee.  Primetime top-five matchup or not, “Famous Jameis” will show no fear when he marches into that stadium — hostile crowd or not — and his team will do likewise for his leadership.  Couple that with FUS’s near-limitless pool of talent at the offensive skill positions, and yeah… this is definitely a winnable game for the Noles. 
On the other hand for Clemson, Boyd and Watkins are insanely good, as are most of the role-players around them, the vast majority of whom are seniors craving a national title in their final year of eligibility.   Factor in the clear home-field advantage of Death Valley plus FSU’s massive inexperience on defense, and — as much as my brothers and sisters in garnet may hate me for this — I’ve gotta take the Tigers in a barn burner.
So there you have it, Clemson fans.  I’m picking your team to beat mine.  Enjoy it, live it up, smoke it, do with it what you will.  Just know this… you had better beat us while you can.  Because starting next season… you won’t get that chance again for a very, VERY long time.
Red Sky Dawning update
Book two of the Mako Saga continues to unfold.  At present, I’m about 75% finished with the first draft, and I’m really excited about where the story has gone.  As I’ve said all along, RSD is, in many ways, a changing of the guard with regard to main characters.  True, everyone is back — Lee and Mac included — but this chapter of the saga really gave me the chance to flesh out some of the other characters and introduce some new ones (one of whom I’ve been dying to write since book one, but couldn’t fit into that part of the mythology). 
FYI, I also got to create my own form of MMA (Kachuro) which, as a dude, is just plain awesome!  J  
My hope is to have the piece ready to go to beta readers by the end of the year, with copyedits and proofing set for early spring followed by a summer 2014 release. 
Friends in indie places
As any author knows, one of the toughest aspects of the indie biz comes with balancing one’s time between writing books and promoting them.  Therefore, it’s always nice to find others who can help you with the latter, thus freeing you up for more time with the former.
Paul and the crew from Self Publisher’s Showcase (SPS)want to do just that.  
As implied by their name, SPS is a new service devoted to helping indie authors promote their work.  What sets them apart from their competitors, however, are their rates ($3 a month, respectively) and the expansiveness with which they do so (author profiles, interviews, book reviews, blogs, extensive social media coverage, easy-to-access sales links, etc.).
Ordinarily, I’m not a big fan of paying for grass-roots marketing services like these.  Even still, that’s a lot of bang for a little buck, and if you’re like me (full time job with a family at home) you need all of the writing time you can get.  
SPS can help you facilitate that.
Alright folks, that’s gonna do it for now.  I’m off for an afternoon walk with my pooches then it’s back to the apartment for another round of laundry and RSD edits.
Everyone take care, have a great week, and remember… GO NOLES!!!
Cheers,
IJM
PS- I’m totally in the market for a good potato soup and or corn chowder recipe for the game this weekend.  If you’ve got one handy (especially if it involves a crock pot) hit me up with an email, tweet, or Facebook post.  Thanks!!!  J


Wheeeeewwww, so thathappened!!!  Of course, by “that” I mean Dragon Con 2013.  
For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, allow me to defer to the always lovely and ever-talented Jewel Staite (Firefly) for a quick explanation.
“If San Diego Comic Con is your handsome older brother with a Ph.D., wearing a fancy suit and driving a Prius, Dragon Con is your loud-mouthed sister who’s dressed just a tad inappropriately and most likely coming off a bender in Vegas.” (Quote courtesy of Staite’s blog at Blastr.com)
Simply put, Dragon Con(held annually each Labor Day) is a four-day party in downtown Atlanta whereby 50,000+ of your closest geek family and friends commandeer five of the city’s biggest hotels for a weekend-long extravaganza of pop culture and art. Concerts, venders, celebrity panels, autograph sessions, author workshops, world-class cosplay exhibitions — you name it, and it’s at D-Con!
Obviously as an author, this is a prime opportunity to meet fans of my book and spread the word to others who may want to check it out (hence, the IJM free ebook weekcoinciding with the event).  Still, whether you’re an author, cosplayer, musician, or just a fan in jeans and a Skynet t-shirt, Dragon Con is a fantastic good-time, period. 
Among this year’s attendees: 
·        James Marsters (Buffy/Angel)
·        Timothy Zhan (NY Times bestselling author)
·        Stephen Amell (The CW’s Arrow)
·        Michael Dorn (Star Trek: TNG)
·        Neil Gaiman (NY Times bestselling author)
·        Brent Spiner (Star Trek: TNG)
·        Peter Davison (Doctor Who)
… in addition to all-star panels for: 
·        Battlestar Galactica
·        Smallville
·        Doctor Who
·        The Walking Dead
·        Stargate SG1
For aspiring authors, meanwhile, the Writing a Knock-Out Novel and Writing Careers in the Post-Paper Era workshops offered some outstanding insight on not only how to craft a story, but what to do with it once you’ve finished the project.
As always, pics of all above and more are up on my Facebook page, plus stay tuned for additional photos from next month’s Escapist Expo in Durham, NC. 
Pigskin Pick’em
This month also marks the glorious return of real FOOTBALL!  We’ve slaved away for the last five weeks with the garbage imitation that is the pre-season (aka the NFL’s methadone) and now it’s time for the real-deal Holyfield!  So, for any last minute fantasy footballers out there still sifting through draft intel, here are a few thoughts to consider. 
IJM’s Fantasy Bust: Wes Welker (WR, Denver Broncos)-I hate saying this because I love Denver this year, and while this should in no way be interpreted as a slight against Welker, it’s simply a recognition of the talent around him.  The fact is, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are great receivers, and both bring a pre-established rapport with QB-great Peyton Manning to the passing game.  Will Welker get his fair share of looks?  Sure, particularly from the slot.  However, given the players around him, it’s a safe bet he won’t see the 100+ balls a year that he saw in New England.
Welker is still a great pick in 2013, just not for the 2012 price tag.  If he falls down the board, then by all means take him.  If not, spare yourself the reach and grab an upstart back like Cinci’s Gio Bernard.
IJM’s Fantasy Sleeper: Brandon Weeden (QB, Cleveland Browns)– Do I think Weeden is a top 10 QB?  No, but I think he’s got the potential to be on account of the system he’ll be playing in and the coaches conducting it, namely his offensive coordinator. 
Listen, there are two things we know about Norv Turner: 1.) He’s a crap head coach, and 2.) he’s one helluva friend to quarterbacks as an assistant.  Troy Aikman, Phillip Rivers, Jeff Garcia, Brad frickin’ Johnson, for crying out loud!  Turner knows how to coach an offense — and if the job he did with Cam Newton in Carolina is any indication, so does his boss, Cleveland HC Rob Chudzinski.
Let’s be clear: Weeden is not a QB1 starter.  He could, however, be prime trade-bait by the end of the year which is why you grab him in the later rounds and sit on him to see what happens. 
‘Gone, baby, gone’
So, I started Gone Girl from Gillian Flynn and I’ve gotta admit, it almost lost me in the early going.  There is A LOT of marital drama in the first third of this book, so much so that it felt less like a crime thriller and more like a Lifetime movie.  
… I’m a dude, people.  We don’t do Lifetime movies…
Anyway, somewhere towards the end of Part 1, I was teetering on the verge of returning this one to Audible when it happened… the opening paragraph of Part 2, and the proverbial “HOOOOOOLY $#%T!!!!!” moment that occurs with every good murder mystery.
Folks, never in all of my years of reading have I ever seen villains become victims and victims become villains like I did in Gone Girl.  It was downright schizophrenic, I kid you not.  
Great read if you like psychologically twisted thrillers, but don’t mind a fair amount of raunchiness.
Alright gang, that’s it for another edition of the Mako Manifesto.  Thanks as always for dropping in, and to those attending the Expo in Durham next month, do stop by, say hello, and grab some swag. 
RUAH!!!
IJM
PS- You didn’t honestly think I’d wrap this without at least uttering the name, “Jameis Winston,” did you?  *deep breath followed by long exhale*  Nole fans… buckle up!  😉

In the spirit of this weekend’s Dragon Con festivities in downtown Atlanta, we’re giving away the Mako e-book FOR FREE starting Thursday, August 29th and running through Wednesday, September 4th.  
To download your copy, simply follow the instructions below and don’t forget to spread the word on Facebook and Twitter!!!

(NOTE: E-books are available for all devices including iPad, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and more!)
1.     Go to the Mako sales page on Smashwords.com and select your desired device/format. 
2.     Add it to your shopping cart
3.     During checkout, enter the Promo Code: EF85Y
That’s it!!!  Now go forth and enjoy — and for those hitting D-Con this weekend, if you happen to spot a bald guy in tigerstripe fatigues and a garnet Florida State football jersey (#16), then by all means… stop by and say hi!!!
Happy Labor Day, everyone, and thanks as always for your continued support of The Mako Saga!!!
RUAH!!!
IJM



Hey folks!  First and foremost, let me start by apologizing for missing last month’s blog.  As it turns out, July proved to be quite the busy month around the Malone house, and honestly it was all I could do to find time for Red Sky Dawning (otherwise known as RSD or Mako: Book 2) much less a blog.  Nevertheless, excuses are like… well, you know the drill.

On the upside, though, next month’s blog will most likely be penned from my ATL-hotel room between panels at DRAGON CON!!!  
RUAAAAHHHHH!!!
Alrighty, and away we go!
The Mako Audiobook continues to rock
I want to give a major shout-out to anyone and everyone who has supported the Mako audiobook.  As I’ve said before, while seeing Mako go live as an ebookwas quite the thrill, it paled in comparison for me personally to that of the audiobook.  As someone who has been legally blind since the first grade, audio has been, and always will be, mymedium—now more than ever in the age of mp3 players and smartphones where one can quite literally carry a library in his or her pocket.  Thus, it goes without saying that seeing my little contribution to the sci-fi community perform as well as it has on Audible, iTunes, Amazon, etc. has been pretty awesome.
Seriously gang, thanks for that.
Summer movie surprise
Hats off to Director Extraordinaire Guillermo del Toro for delivering what was—for my money—the best surprise of the 2013 Summer Movie Season: Pacific Rim.  As I told my cover designer in a recent email, It’s ginormous sci-fi fun with an interesting take on the classic monster movie premise, but with all the heart, humor, and quirky charm of del Toro movies like Hellboy.  Plus, as Sons of Anarchy fan will attest, having Charlie Hunnam and Ron Perlman on the same cast is just never a bad thing.
Listen, did I enjoy Man of Steel?  Absolutely (see my June blog post).  The Wolverine?  Yep, possibly the best X-Men movie since X2.  Oblivion, World War Z, Iron Man 3,  Star Trek: Into Darkn— 
**coughs and gags profusely**
Sorry guys.  The old-school Treker in me just can’t abide the last one, but it’s whatever.
Anyway, the point is there were lots of great movies this summer, but as has been pointed out on a myriad blogs, commentaries, editorials, and social media feeds, the vast majority of them are sequels and or reboots.  Rim offered something fresh and exciting, with new characters and a new universe, that audiences could sit back in their theater-chairs, drenched in popcorn butter and Diet Coke, to be dazzled by.
For the record, del Toro was the only guy in filmmaking who could’ve pulled this off, too.  Anyone else would’ve spiked it straight in the jock strap, but GDT understands this brand of entertainment.  It’s not a franchise like Transformers or Marvel, nor is it a political statement like District 9 or the aforementioned Into Darkness.  It’s just good, old-fashioned, fanboy fun on a scale that’s often botched and rarely seen well in today’s movie marketplace.
As summer movie season ends, Con season begins
As noted earlier, Atlanta’s Dragon Con is right around the corner on Labor Day weekend, and Smalls (my wife) and I are stoked!  To date, we’re up to two cosplay themes for the weekend: Mako, of course, and Chuck, one of our all-time favorite TV shows.  So, if you happen to spot a bald head in tigerstripe camo and a garnet FSU football jersey floating through the crowd near the Sheraton… well, know that’s probably me, so do stop by and say hi. 
Besides, one never knows what kind of swag the author might have in his pack.  Just sayin’!  😉
After that, it’s back home to the Triangle where the good folks at The Escapist Magazinewill be hosting their annual Escapist Expo in downtown Durham Oct. 4-6.
Okay guy, that’s it for now.  I’m off to wrap another chapter of RSDand get some odds and ends done around the house before the fam gets here for a cookout this afternoon.  As always, thanks for checking in, stay tuned to my Facebook and Twitter feeds for pics from Dragon Con this Labor Day, and talk soon. 
RUAH!!!
IJM
PS- Had time to check out Stephen King’s Joyland while on the road last month… a good read for those who like King, but don’t want an 1100-page marathon like Under the Dome.