The Blood-Dimmed Tide is OUT!

Book 2, Electric Boogaloo

As of today, book two of The Remembrance War, The Blood-Dimmed Tide, is out in stores! Those of you who preordered e-books should have them on your e-readers already. Those of you who preordered paper copies should get them today. And for those who didn’t preorder but want the book, you can find it wherever books are sold.

In fact, unlike book 1, Sacramento readers can go to ANY Barnes & Noble for a copy—all Sacramento and Roseville branches have it in stock!

I want to thank you, my readers, for your support. Without you, writing would just be a thing I did for my own pleasure. More than half of the joy I get from creating these stories is from the messages I get, or the blog posts I see, where people talk about loving the world and characters I’ve created.

Today, you can also check out:

My AMA on Reddit:

My post on Scalzi’s Big Idea:

See you next time!

What's In a Name? And Other Bits & Bobs

When I first began this publishing journey in 2013, I was set that my “writing name” was going to be my real name, but unlike in everyday life, I was going to use both my middle initials. I’m named after my uncle, you see, but my “middle name” is both my father’s first and middle names. So my name is Michael Robert Eugene Johnston. My writing name, then, was going to be Michael R. E. Johnston.

Fast forward to 2016, when I submitted the book to Flame Tree Press. Somehow I forgot about the E, so I submitted as Michael R. Johnston. And when the contract came, I was so excited, and so eager to not screw it up, that I read everything BUT my name with a fine-toothed comb. So I noticed what the royalty rates were, and the rights I was signing away (some of which I learned later I should have kept—never sign away your dramatic rights, kids!—but that’s something I’ve discussed before), but I totally missed that my name wasn’t quite what I’d always wanted it to be.

Now, after two books published, and a third being written, it seems like it doesn’t matter all that much. That extra initial wouldn’t sell more books, and it wouldn’t make me any less of a nerd who writes books about aliens and space travel, so meh. I’m still publishing books, and people are buying them and positively reviewing them, so nothing was harmed in the making of this writer.

But sometimes, I still wish I’d noticed it when I had the chance…

The Blood-Dimmed Tide drops 20 February 2020, and Publisher’s Weekly gave it a solid positive review. The book can be pre-ordered through any bookseller of your choice, but ebook and audiobook aren’t yet available—but they’ll be available closer to publication, and I’ll let you all know when they are.

Writing on the final book in the Remembrance War trilogy, What Rough Beast, has begun. Tajen has come face-to-face with the enemy who bested him at Jiraad for the first time, and the experience has left him a bit shaken. This book will depart further from the first, in that instead of just Tajen’s viewpoint, there will be a pretty equal number of chapters told from the POV of Tajen, Katherine, and Liam, all of whom are separated for much of the story.

If you don’t hear from me again in 2019, have a great holiday and Happy New Year!

Hey, an update!

It has been a while...

So book 2, The Blood-Dimmed Tide, is now totally edited, proofread, and off to the printer, or will be shortly. The book will release in mid-February 2020, so it’s just a few months now. I urge folks to preorder from whichever outlet the prefer. Preorders are good for writers—they tell the bookstore people are interested, which gets more books on the shelves, and builds our audience. And as a relative newcomer to the field, I need my audience to grow! Many preorder links can be found here.

I’m still working on the concept of a book launch; I’m not sure if I’ll do one for this book or not. It’s a lot of time and mess, and while it was kind of fun last time, it’s also got its risks. But we’ll see what happens.

It’s Halloween as I write this, and I’ve become the Old Man yelling about his grass. I didn’t dress up, which disappointed some of my students, but them’s the breaks.

Next up on the docket is Book 3, What Rough Beast?, and then after that I’m not sure which of several projects I’ll start working on. I’ve got two Fantasy projects and two more Space Opera projects in the wings.

That’s all for this update! Have a great month!

Royalties, A New Teaching Year, and Book Updates

The best news of the day is that I got my first royalty statement, which covers from the time the book released in March 2019 until the end of June 2019. And in that time, I was fortunate enough to “earn out” my advance, which means that my share of the book sales, which ranges from 15% to 50% depending on the kind of book, totaled out to more than the advance the publisher paid me.*

The publisher then takes the amount of my original advance out of that, and I get what’s left. Now, the publisher is permitted by contract to keep a little back as a hedge against future returns. Mine didn’t do that this time, but it’s possible they could in future. So I get the full amount of [Total Royalties Earned - Advance]. Even though we’re not talking about earth-shattering amounts of money here, I’m excited, because I never thought I’d sell out even my modest advance so quickly. At lunch today, I took a quick glance at the Amazon page for Book 1, reflected on the fact I’ve now made money on it over and above the advance, and did a little dance in my seat. Former students can have fun imagining that.

Meanwhile, back on the day job front, most of my classes are pretty good this year. Once of them is a bit on the “We’re not going to participate in class” side, which is always annoying, but it’s early days; I’ll break through their fear eventually. My first and second periods are excellent classes to start the day with, which is always a plus. Third period is good, fourth is the reluctant class, and fifth ends the day on an up-note.

Finally, updates: The Widening Gyre is still doing its thing in the world, and The Blood-Dimmed Tide revisions were just sent off to the editor today. The book had about 2500 more words added in revision, but it also had some removed, so I’m not exactly sure what the final wordcount will be—when I’m revising, I don’t erase words (they just get marked as “delete” in Word’s “Track Changes” mode, and my editor does the actual deletion when he accepts the changes), so the wordcount goes up but not down.

In any case, soon enough I’ll get the proofs, read the book yet again and find any problems (and hopefully miss fewer than we all missed in the first book!), and then it’ll be ARC time again, and then the book will release in February 2020.

I’m still a little fish in the author pond, but you know what? It’s a big pond, and the water is nice. Come join us!

*By the way, because of the variance in price between different models, 15% of the paperback cost is just about the same thing as 50% of the ebook price or 20% of the hardcover price. So, at the end of the day, no version of the book is better for my royalties; buy what you want on your shelf/in your device.

Book Sale!

And a little bit of humanity...

My aunt and uncle—functionally my parents—have sold the house they’ve lived in for a bit less than 25 years, and are moving to Arizona. I support them, of course, but both my daughter and I are sad to see them go. This will be the first time I’ve lived far away from them in, well, forever. There was a brief period in the early 80s when my aunt lived in New York, but I still lived with my adoptive parents then (it’s a long and sordid tale; don’t ask).

That’s normal, I guess, and I’m glad I’ve had them here and near me from the time I came to live with them at 15 to now, when I’m pushing 50. And even though I haven’t needed their aid in many years now, it’s a little scary knowing they won’t be here if anything goes wrong. Their presence has always been a bit of a safety net—nice to know it’s there even if you don’t want to need it.

I still have three of my sisters nearby, so it won’t be the end of family in the area, but I’m still a bit sad “mom” won’t be close. And my daughter is devastated.

But mom and dad deserve a retirement free of stress. So good luck, and we’ll see you at Christmas—here or there.

Meanwhile, my publisher has knocked down the price of my E-book, for this weekend only, to 99 cents! So if you haven’t picked it up, this is a good time! If you bought it in print but would like to also have the ebook, now’s a great time! If you don’t want it, but you know someone who will, now’s a great time! Let them know!

Just to make it easy, here’s a link to the US Amazon page.

The book is similarly discounted in Canada ($1.31) and the UK (£0.98), as well.

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