The Rough Draft

If you can't go through it. Go around it.

ManatWork

I know I’ve been remiss at posting as of late but with good reason. I’ve been finishing up the rough draft of Devil’s Ante. Originally it was slated to go to the Editor on April 20th. “Plenty of time,” I thought. Then two weeks ago, my editor contacted me and let me know he’d had a project drop out and a slot had opened up in his schedule in March. March 20th, which if you look at a calendar is this Monday.

I’m not a fast writer at the best of times but I was so close to the end I figured I could lose the four extra weeks. Heh.

So today and tomorrow, I’m finishing up the final big fight scene and the epilogue. Monday morning the MS heads to the UK for a month. After that, it goes to my beta readers. If you’d like to be on my Beta list. please email me at sabotproductions@gmail.com

Have a great weekend.

Steve Abbott

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I thought I’d give you an update on the progress of Devil’s Gambit, the audiobook.

As previously stated, I’m doing this through findaway.com and they’ve been great to deal with. So much so, I’ll be creating an audiobook of Reliance next and will most likely be doing Devil’s Ante in the next few months as well.

We’re about halfway through the book right now and I’m very happy with the chapters to date. My reader has a great voice and delivers the story very well. I’d love to be sharing some of the samples with you but of course can’t just yet. Once the finished product is in my hot little hands (so to speak) I will be doling out some samples for you to check out.

It’s not a totally painless task as you, the author do have to go through your manuscript word by word as it’s read to confirm the accuracy of the audio product. I tend to do this once a week because it’s easier for me to get into my editor headspace to do this. As I’m doing a bunch of chapters at a time, this can take a couple of hours. This is what you get when you write a 110,000 word book.

I do like that Findaway handles the initial set up and then leaves you and the voice artist to get on with it for the middle bit. They’ll be stepping back in at the end to handle the distribution side of things and unlike my ebook and Createspace versions of my work, I will be going wide with the audiobook.

I hope to have the audiobook version out by the end of Spring. More on a fixed date as things shake out.

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Right now Devil’s Gambit is back in the top 100 in a couple of related categories in on Amazon UK.

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The recent boost is the direct result of a positive review the book got the first week of February. It only goes to show how much reviews matter to the independent author. So to that individual, I thank them for their words and for taking the time to write something. It really helps.

The UK was a bit slow to start compared to the US site as far as sales but for the last year, it has been my strongest selling market. This sales boost is really welcome right now as it comes very close to my finishing the sequel to Devil’s Gambit, Devil’s Ante and the release of Devil’s Gambit in Audiobook format.

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I apologize for the time it’s taken to get a sequel out and I hope in the end, it will have been worth it for those of you who have been waiting. I will try harder to increase my output.

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No matter what, life finds a way even in the harshest of environments.

Of the many pictures I took this Summer, the one above keeps drawing me back. I feel it perfectly represents resilience in the face of adversity. Life will always find a way.

I’m currently in the early stages of planning a trip around Vancouver Island in my original home province of BC. There will probably be some shorter trips south of the border as well but considering how busy the day job is, I’m not sure I can set aside the time to do them.

For the first time, I’ll be trucking my bike out to the coast and then flying out there. I simply don’t have the time to ride across the country (US or otherwise) and once you factor in the cost of food, gas and hotels, it sort of makes sense. I’m also looking to switch over to a soft back system for the bike over my current pannier set up. We’ll be doing lots of logging roads and those are notorious for poor surface quality. This will also be a trip with other riders, so that too will be different over my usual solo excursions.

I’m looking forward to this as I know the scenery and the scents of the BC Forests won’t disappoint. Plus I’ll be hooking up with some old friends. Right now I’m just waiting for some of the dates to firm up before I book everything.

So watch this space on more of that.

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Watching the sunrise from The Devil’s Playground on Pike’s Peak 2016

As always you can find out more about me and my books at steveabbottauthor.com

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As much as I like Scrivener and MS Word for the act of writing my books, I’ve never been too happy with the offering on PC for the typeset and layout of my books.

I’d been looking at Vellum on the IOS platform to help me correct that. Of course at the time I didn’t own a Mac and I will admit, there is a considerable amount of sticker shock associated with buying any Mac computer compared to their PC companions. The nice thing now as opposed to the last time I bought a Mac is that many of the PC (read Microsoft) programs are cross platform now. So I can work with the files across many computers and thanks to Dropbox, everything updates seamlessly.

Of course Vellum is specific to ebooks as far as layout goes, though I’m told they’re working on a print book conversion to work with Createspace et al. Which would just make the program that much more cooler to me.

You see my one issue for the last few years is I’ve wanted to write another motorcycle travel book but have been limited by MS Word’s paucity of data available for embedded pictures and after getting gouged by Adobe’s subscription system (I swore I’d never spend money on another of their programs ever again), there wasn’t a PC based program that fitted my needs. Which were simply put, easy integration of pictures into my written text. Something vellum does vey very well.

In fact it’s so easy I’ll be helping a friend put out his next graphics heavy book after doing a short demo for him of Vellum in action.

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Perception is reality or at the very least, your perception is your reality. There’s a pretty good chance that doesn’t reflect the actual reality of the world around you.

2016 was a pretty tumultuous year for me on a personal level, between discovering my own medical issues, having other family medical issues exposed and dealing with my son’s emotional and mental ones. I changed jobs this year, which has stresses attached to it and had the usual other annoying things that happen in a given year such as having to buy new appliances and the always inconvenient (and expensive) car repairs. There is also the eternal struggle of trying to get new material out and bring my books to market. Something I promise to do better in 2017.

And considering the rolling 24 hour news cycle revolving of bleeding and leading conflict, intolerance and celebrity deaths, it makes the world seem more fraught than it really is.

img_0677-lThe only way to combat the wall of gloom is to focus on the positive. Because if you let the negative get a toehold in your head, it will effect your ability to go on. One of the things I love most about riding a motorcycle is the level of sensory input coming at you all the time, from the wind buffet of passing vehicles coming the other way, to the enveloping heat that dries out your water soaked neck kerchief in a couple of hours.

It’s hard to feel bad about the world from the back of a motorcycle because when you’re constantly dwarfed by natural spectacle, it puts your place in among it in perspective. It’s easy to draw a line on a map, it’s a much different thing to ride it.

So for me 2016, once you put all of the craziness aside was a great year of personal growth and triumph. 2017 is as of yet, the undiscovered country but that’s half the fun of things, isn’t it.

Happy New Year.

 

For those of you in self publishing that might be interested, I thought I’d release my sales numbers for the year. I ran a fair number of promotional campaigns through Amazon and I’ll be honest, while the ROI was great for me, that was to be expected in a year where I didn’t release any new content. 2017 will be a different story and I’ll get into that in a minute.

There were a few reasons this year was sparse for me. For one, I’m not a fast writer as far as stories go. I need to cross my t’s and dot my i’s. All the little details take time to figure out and how to connect them.

There was also some personal stuff that encroached on things too. Much of which I’ve already covered in this blog so I won’t bore you with it again.

However, 2016 was not a time spent resting. I started a side project of a screenplay based on true events that will be starting it’s life journey in the coming months. I’m also about a third of the way through a scifi military story that I hope those of you who read my stuff will enjoy as well.

Writing for me is not a matter of fast money (as my numbers will attest), it’s a long walk that for me at the end of the day is about getting my book in the hands of one more reader. Kindle uUnlimited has actually helped me a great deal in that respect and I’ll also go over that in a bit greater detail as the numbers are revealed.

Which brings us to what to expect in 2017. Some of this I’ve just mentioned but writing it down, helps me confirm goals.

 

  1. 42186773~ed09b964d4ab807f708065eb3a17cd0b08d1815d-original .    Release Devil’s Gambit on Audiobook form.  I’ve been trying to do this for the last little bit but only secured the means to do so in November. I’ll be releasing greater and greater detail as we get closer to the launch date for this.
  2. devilsanti1 . Finish edit and release Devil’s Ante. We’re close on this one. I’m just finishing up the last chapters now. Unfortunately my editor isn’t going to be available till April, so my release has to be pushed back to July. I promise to write the third instalment Devil’s Due faster.
  3. augmented-front-jpg-rgb Finish Augmented, a story of a recently disabled Soldier who because of his particular injury ends up the pilot of an experimental Mech Armor Unit and is then dropped back into the zone of combat he was wounded in. The idea from the story intrigued me from the second it came to mind. I’ve tried to keep the tech as real world as possible in this one.

There might also be another one of my Motorcycle Riding books in there as well but that one really is going to be time permitting.

And now…

The Numbers:

These are broken down by book.

Devil’s Gambit:

Kindle Sales: 560    KU Units Read (Calculated by Page count)  314    Total Unit Sales 874

Devil’s Gambit continues to be my strongest seller.

Two Wheeled Maniac:

Kindle Sales: 78    KU Units Read (Calculated by Page count)  26    Total Unit Sales 104

TWM is my little book that could. I don’t promote it but every month there’s a few sales and other than some pissed off Harley guys who have read it, the feedback is pretty positive.

Reliance:

Kindle Sales: 21    KU Units Read (Calculated by Page count)  10    Total Unit Sales 31

I won’t lie, this one hurts a bit. I invested a lot of money into this one and I just have to accept the fact it’s not about to pay off probably ever. Which kind of sucks because it’s one of my favorite stories and I really love the characters. It could be because it’s written as a modern western thriller which might be too much genre bending for everybody. In the end, I wrote the story I wanted and there’s not much else to add to that.

There you have it. My sales year in a nutshell. Here’s hoping 2017 allows me to continue to expand my works. You can check out my books on my Author Website.

I wish you all the best in the coming year

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Having a child with Autism no matter the age is daunting to say the least but once they’re an adult in the eyes of the state they pretty much cease to exist other than as a number on a file which they send money to and a medical plan they administer. Any other services you secure for your child after age 18, you advocated and fought for.

Which is why getting a doctor for my son Colin was such a big deal after years of having doors slammed in our face. As far a neurological support goes? So far nada. But we’ll have to see how that goes because I’ll be pushing hard for some kind of support come Monday.

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For the last six weeks, Colin has been having multiple daily meltdowns. This has been a recurring cycle in his life since he was born. These cycles of extreme agitation don’t always occur bang on every eighteen months but they’re close enough to be expected. Of course because he’s non verbal, there’s no way to know what set off the episode and once he’s in the grip of these things, there’s no way to talk him down as he’s well past any sort of reason at that point.

Some episodes timing are impeccable. Usually between 12am or whatever early morning hour his disorder decided to go off at. Last night started just after midnight and ended around 2am. He actually ended up taking a shower as he looked like he’d just run a marathon. That was bad enough but he seemed pretty intent on reentering the behaviour this morning upon waking.

It’s times like these that leave you pretty raw as a parent and the worst part is you feel pretty helpless as far as supports go.

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It doesn’t help that he can’t help himself. At 2am, things feel pretty personal. The other side of the coin is lack of sleep exacerbates my own symptoms of PTSD. So today I feel stretched really thin emotionally. Which means I have to question every action I take regardless of what it might be.

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I took these series of pictures with a very specific theme in mind. Colin lives in a very insular world of self. I sometimes get the feeling that for him, he’s the rock and the rest of the world, myself included are the water that flows around him. If he can’t touch it, eat it or drink it, it really doesn’t matter to him. He’s always walking ahead or wandering off and while for the most part he circles me, there are times where if he’s comfortable (too comfortable sometimes) in his environment, he’ll just up and go. It’s why I’ll take him by myself to the Bike show which is a reasonable size and easy to see around by myself but it’s a full family mobilisation to hit the car show where he will up and vanish for hours if you take your eyes off of him for a second. So I always feel that even though I’m with him, he’s walking alone.

Now I want to be clear, I’m not speaking as if this is the way it is for all parents of an Autistic child or Adult, it’s just mine and my family’s. This cycle will pass and we’ll have some new temporary mechanisms to help him through these episodes (temporary because change is the only constant here) and hopefully, fingers crossed we’ll have some neurological support to help him, where he needs it.

 

 

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(Full disclosure, I have no affiliation with 2UNDR or MyPackage, I just use and like their products.

It’s a well know fact among those of us who ride for long stretches that the primary focus of any motorcycle is to try and shove your balls up your own ass. This as most can attest is pretty uncomfortable. There’s also seam placement and moisture issues you need to deal with. As a poorly placed seam – say one that runs diagonally across your butt cheek will after six hours or so in the saddle becomes like the water torture only with a baseball bat.

Likewise, so riding underwear goes for the super snug approach. Lycra so tight, everything is held in check mashed up against your crotch. Needless to say, this becomes a sticky sweaty and irritated mess in no short order, especially on the hot days.

Two years ago I came across 2UNDR underwear. They have a pouch all of your tender bits slip into and they’re well ventilated.  This way things are supported, they don’t stick to other things and when you’re up and down in the saddle on a trail, there’s no need for readjustment. Plus they were developed with the input of a Moto-X rider which went a long way to making my decision to buy an easy one.

I’ve since ridden thousands of miles with these underwear with no issues and I’ve switched over to them as my standard underwear of choice. They work well from the sweltering heat of Moab in the height of summer to the cold of riding in late November in Canada.

After my second set of purchases I received an email from the president of 2UNDR asking how I liked the product and what would I like to see in new product from the company. I asked him at the time about developing a set of long underwear with the pouch system. He informed me they were working on it but were concerned about the price point. I told him that seeing as I’d paid over $70 for a pair of motorcycle specific long underwear, price point probably wasn’t going to be an issue for guys like me.

Well it’s been two long years and no long underwear from 2UNDR but all is not lost. A couple of weeks ago I was buying some new underwear and the seller had some long underwear with a pouch under the MyPackage trademark. Most are in the $70 range but some were on sale for $35. I order a pair to test. I’m guessing they’re designed for the runners market as the legging is quite tight but the fabric is smooth and comfortable and to be honest I prefer tight as when I’m wearing my mesh gear, I just want an abrasion barrier between my skin and the mesh and armour. A slightly thicker material might be nice but that’s probably more a matter of exploring other options available in their line.

Seams were also not an issue.

So if you’re looking for something a bit more comfortable to wear under your outer gear, give either of  these a try. You won’t be disappointed.

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It’s a bit of a squeeze to get into this suit for a photo but so worth it if you’re a space nut like me.

 

 

The museum is as previously stated broken down into multiple hangers. Massive structures built to hold a staggering amount of airframes. We’d toured the Early days of flight, the First World War, the in between years and the Second World War. Now we were heading into the hangers that covered, the Post WW2 period, Korea, the Jet Age and all points up to now including the Space Race. Of course Bob and I were here to see the new hangar and its special aircraft section, though both for different reasons.

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Here’s Bob in front of an Avro CF-100. An aircraft he flew in during his service.

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The X-15. The aircraft that all of our Hypersonic flight data still originates from.

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The X-24A. One of a slew of Lifting Body test beds that led to the Space Shuttle.

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The X-24B otherwise known as the Dyna-Soar.

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The front of the XB-70 Valkyrie a supersonic Bomber program that lost out to the Air Force moving into ICBMs.

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One of the Apollo Capsules. Reentry is hard on your skin.

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Not sure what this aircraft is but it looks like it’s from the desk of, “Screw it, let’s give it a try.”

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The back end of the XB-70. Like something out of Thunderbirds.

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The X-1B, Yeager flew this one as well.

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One of the original tilt rotor concept vehicles.

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Tacit Blue – The reason I’m on this trip. It’s the original Stealth Technology demonstrator. It ain’t pretty. It ain’t fast and it’s not that manoeuvrable but it’s damn near invisible on radar and IR.

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Tacit Blue – Undercarriage

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Tacit Blue – The Back End

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The Avro Aerocar. Bob’s Dad worked on this one.

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I liked the fact the new hanger was lit up. It made shooting a lot easier and you got to see every rivet of detail in some very cool air frames. We moved back to older hangers and started our walk through 50s, 60, 70’s and up sections. A time in aviation where everybody was pushing the limits of what you could do with an airframe. though of course, there were still some holdovers from WW2 still in service.

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Nose Art on a B-26C

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The rare Twin Mustang

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A Chinese built MIG

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And it’s nemesis.

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This image gives you a good feel for the actual size of these hangars. 

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An F-105D THUD

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An A-7D Corsair.

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An F-4 Phantom. Seeing as this one doesn’t have a gun on it, I’m going to lean towards it being an early variant. The F-4 was one of McDonnell Douglas’s most successful airframes in terms of sales and deployment.

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A nice Vietnam diorama in 1:1 of a Huey 1D

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The same hanger from the other direction.

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A B-36 Peacemaker one of the largest propeller driven aircraft ever built. So large it also had an additional four jet engines added to aid in takeoff. 

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6 massive pusher props and two twin engine jet pods outboard on her wings got her off the ground.

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A B-50 weather observation aircraft.

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A Grumman Albatross, one of my favourite aircraft.

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A Kingfisher.

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B-58 Hustler. A Delta wing drag racer…

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An F-117A still a cool looking aircraft.

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A Panavian Tornado a Gr. Mk III I believe

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The back end of a Pave Low.

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A B-1B Lancer

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The front end of the Pave Low

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MIG-29 Fulcrum.

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The a-10 Warthog

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and its 30mm GAU8 Cannon.

And so ended our day at the NMUSAF of course it was easier getting a cab to take us back to our hotel from the museum but considering the fairly sketchy vehicle that showed up, we’d probably been safer to go back to UBER for our ride. The vehicle we were in had a very nasty shimmy in the back end and that never inspires confidence in your passengers.

The next morning we set out to head back to Toronto about two hours in because of my lack of having a Scala unit in my helmet, I wasn’t able to get into the right lane when the guys pulled off the highway for breakfast. We then spent the rest of the ride sort of circling each other on the Interstate. Somehow (probably when I stopped to eat) I ended up about forty minutes behind them. Still, these things happen.

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed these pictures and if you are ever in Dayton, OH and you’re an aircraft buff, check out the museum it’s well worth it.

Please check out my thrillers Devil’s Gambit and Reliance on Amazon. They make great Christmas gifts (nudge nudge).

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