Wednesday, August 29, 2012

America in the Ki Kalendeen Chronicles universe

In book 2, I write about America.  Or as our characters refer to it, "The Western World".  After the Rain of Fire, the nomadic tribes had no choice but to settle down and cultivate the land.  By the time the Iberians (Spanish) venture there, they are technological equals.  Westerners have built great cities!  Instead of conquest, trade develops!  Hence, instead of just cannabis, which people of Europe smoked prior to the 1600's, Iberian Nightshade (tobacco) is available.  Just a little tidbit.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Operation Paperback

So I've decided that, with the small amount of money life, family, and the IRS leaves me with, I am going to start sending copies of my books to the troops via the USO's Operation Paperback.  Three sent so far.  I'm going to ask the soldiers that receive it to send me a picture of them holding it.  I'll feature their pictures here on my blog.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

My second short story, Trouble At The Scholar's Inn, is now available for free on Smashwords!
Women!  Underestimate them at your own peril!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Two short stories

So I took a break from writing Fall Of The Righteous to write two short stories.

The first, Pirates of the Decian Sea, takes place during David's third year aboard the Waverunner. David arranges for the crew to transport money for the royal bank, the failure of which to deliver will land the crew in indentured servitude. However, the notorious pirate, Black Jack Mulligan, has caught word of the half million in gold that the Waverunner is carrying. Can David and the Waverunner's crew defeat Mulligan when outnumbered almost four to one?

Speaking of being outnumbered, that brings me to the second short story, Trouble at the Scholar's Inn. Janelle Argos and Holle MacLeod stop by the Scholar's Inn after a hard days work. After hearing a scuffle outside, the inn is taken by ten criminals, fresh off of a botched heist. They take the girls and the Inn's owners, Kat and Will Brewer, hostage. In addition, there was an older man, who the criminals kill to show the town watch they mean business. Janelle and Holle must use their wits, their charms, and their weapons to survive the night. Women: Underestimate them at your own peril!

I will be making both available for free on Smashwords, which Amazon will eventually match. Just waiting anxiously for my cover artist to finish for Pirates. Trouble at the Scholar's Inn is with my Grammar Hammer, and will be released shortly thereafter.

Friday, April 13, 2012


I'm making some good progress in Book 2 of the Ki Kalendeen Chronicles: Fall Of The Righteous, and I'm about 1/4 of the way done. I'm looking towards a October 2012 release.

On the "Blood" front, I am going to be doing another 2 day free trial on May 3rd and 4th. Yesterday, I went to my local talk radio station and met with an advertising executive. Why conservative talk radio? Because that is the audience with whom my book seems to resonate. It is an epic story of good vs evil that conservatives can't seem to get enough of. And it is a market that is usually overlooked by the traditional publishing industry, which is dominated by liberal women.

Anyway, I'm going to be running my commercial the week before my free give-away.
Take care, all!

Jim Sandoval

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Welcome To The Revolution

One of the things I see when gallivanting around the net is industry people talking about how we are in a "self-publishing bubble" and how they look forward to things settling down and going back to normal. I'm sure the buggy whip manufacturers felt the same way when the automobile started to take off.

Living in Pittsburgh, I am very familiar with this mentality, which is essentially a staunch resistance to positive change. This area started to boom after World War Two. Every single other nation with any industry of note had been decimated. We had a monopoly on manufacturing and other industry here in America. It set the stage for American dominance that would last half a century. Labor suddenly had unlimited power, and they used it to gain advantage and improve their lives. They received amazing pensions, great health benefits, and middle class salaries with nothing more than a high school education.

However, the world has now caught up. So here we are in the steel buckle of the rust belt. The once great steel town has lost its factories and mills to the right to work south, Asia, and other parts of the developing world. Labor there is cheap, and money will always go where it is treated the best. The only powerful unions left are public sector unions, who sit across the table from people who's political campaign they financially support. They hang on to the mentality that that post World War Two fantasy land is the norm, and not a once in a national life time event. They are unable and unwilling to admit change, even if their region is constantly broke because of legacy benefit expenses, such as lifetime health insurance and pensions.

I believe this is similar to what is happening in the publishing industry. This is not a bubble. It is a seismic permanent paradigm shift. Amazon has cut the "big six" off at the knees. They are putting traditional bookstores out of business. In this area, we just lost our final Borders Book Store. Barnes and Nobles was fortunate enough to develop the Nook (My book will be available on the Nook and other platforms in early June), so they are holding on. And while going to the book store is still a wonderful experience, I personally find myself going there for the social aspects and shopping a lot less. It is so much easier to just go onto Amazon and order what I want online.

So, in closing, welcome to the publishing revolution! It is a very exciting time to be an author.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A few thoughts on some book series

One thing I can't stand is when authors string out a series for no reason other to sell books. For example: The Wheel Of Time by Robert Jordon. This was one of the first fantasy series I really got into. It had an extremely good start, and would have made a fantastic trilogy. Instead, Jordon turned it into a 12 volume behemoth, mired down in details. Then, when he finished book 11, he DIED! Personally, I made it to book 6, then quit reading it all together.

I'm thankful that J. K. Rollings didn't do this with Harry Potter. Although a few of her books, especially book 5, could have been a hell of a lot shorter.

My series, I am going to limit it to 7 books. Five in the main story arc, and two collections of short stories.

Blood Of The Righteous (Published and available in both physical form and e-book)
Fall Of The Righteous (Writing this one now)
Redemption Of The Righteous
The Ki Kalendeen Chronicles - A Collection Of Short Stories
Return Of The Righteous
The Ki Kalendeen Chronicles - Tales Of The Blackguard
Wrath Of The Righteous

Afterwards, I have some ideas for a trilogy involving one of the minor characters from the first series.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lesson learned

When I set up my CreateSpace account, I paid an extra $25 to make my book available to "extended distribution" channels. The way it works, your book is available directly from CreateSpace (Author gets about 45% royalties), Amazon (Author gets about 22% royalties), or Extended Distribution (Author gets 3% royalties).

So I selected Extended distribution. What that means is that bookstores can buy your book for a lower cost. I looked at amazon, and I found that 5 parasite bookstores were offering MY BOOK on Amazon cheaper than getting it directly from Amazon! Needless to say, I turned off that channel, as it is nothing more than a way to cheat authors out of royalties. I can't stand parasites. I put months of my life into my book! Now, the only way it is available is directly through Amazon or CreateSpace.

I did, however, leave the library extended channel open.

Lesson learned.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

World Map

Here's a map of the world in Blood of the Righteous:

Why J. E. Sandoval?

J. E. Sandoval is not my real name. So why did I chose it for my pseudonym?

I was adopted when I was 3 months old into a lower-middle class family. Growing up, my idea of luxury was going out to eat at McDonald's once a month, on the Friday of my dad's non-mortgage payday. Those fairly meager beginnings gave me a very good perspective on life, and an appreciation for any blessing that may come my way.

It was a good thing my biological mom put me up for adoption. She was 18 and an unmarried college student. Fortunately, it was 1969. Her pregnancy shattered her relationship with her father. After I was out of the picture, given to a loving family, she was able to go through medical school and became an MD.

When I was 30, I got in touch with her again. The first time I met her, her husband, my two biological siblings, and my biological grandmother and grandfather was at my adopted dad's funeral. My dad was the rock solid foundation of our family. Giving me my biological family kind of felt like God's way of softening the blow.

Anyway, I digress. The name of my adopted family just doesn't roll off the tongue. It turns out that my biological father, whom I've never met, is Hispanic. This is why I chose the last name Sandoval. Plus, on book shelves in the bookstores, it will put my novels next to R. A. Salvatore!

Serendipity, baby!!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Covers are ready!

The cover to Blood Of The Righteous is done! Thank you Steve Till, my cover artist (visit his blog here).

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Not Quite Heaven

Here's a quick poem I scratch out this morning:

We met when we were six, your family had moved in.
It was June, and when we met, a friendship did begin.
In the summer we had fun. We played and rode our bikes.
Little did we know, we'd both made friends for life.
You'd wonder why on Saturday nights out late I could not stay.
I had to get up early for church on the mornings of Sunday.
As we grew up together, you were almost like my brother.
But in college we lost touch, I went to one, and you another.
Then when I was an adult, divorced and in much pain.
On Facebook, if figured what the heck, I searched upon your name.
As luck would have it, the first result, my old friend I had found.
And better yet, you lived so close, one mile outside my town!
We got together that night for drinks at my favorite local bar.
We talked, we laughed, we reminisced, in life, we'd both gone far.
Your wife had divorce you also, and left you in a fog.
You also were living alone, except for Max your dog.
For the next few years, we'd get together several times a week.
We'd talk about anything in the world, just of one subject, we did not speak.
We'd have some beer and talk politics, we'd solve the problems of the nation.
Then one night, I'd drank too much, and I asked you about your salvation.
You laughed and told me you didn't believe, but you respected how I feel,
But alas, you said, when it comes to God, all that stuff isn't real.
And look at you, you said with a smile, you hypocritical punk!
Your church says drinking is evil, yet you sit before me drunk.
I explained that the bible taught that moderate drinking was fine.
After all, Christ was called a drunkard, and he changed water into wine!
Never again did we speak of it, for I didn't want to offend.
And we'd get together, laugh and drink, the fun would never end.
Alcohol, that double edged sword, the source of fun and strife,
How ironic, with how much closer it brought us, that it would take you from my life.
It happened a cool November eve, you were taking your dog Max for a walk.
You had texted me that when you were done, we would get together and talk.
But a driver who had too much to drink thought he'd try his luck
to make it home okay, but instead it was you, my friend, who his car had struck.
I got there as soon as I heard, Max whimpered by your side.
The paramedics tried their best, but alas, my friend, you died.
The funeral was large, since you were taken far too soon.
All I could think about was the time we met in that youthful month of June.
Your wake was nice, fun but sad, of our antics I would boast.
My friend, you will be missed, I said in the closing toast.
I took in Max, your faithful hound. He lived his life all through.
But I was never his master. That honor belonged to you.
He died years later, sad and content, peaceful in his sleep.
And now at the rainbow bridge, and eternal vigil will he keep.
I also lived my full days, but it was never quite the same.
And I was truly ready on that night the reaper came.
I was in my eighties, when I felt the icy touch of death,
But things weren't quite as I expected the other side of that last breath.
I stood before a throne of judgement on atop what seemed a cloud,
Every sin that I'd committed in full was read aloud.
I braced myself for final judgment when a lamb who had been slain,
Spoke "this one belongs to me, for my book contains his name."
I asked him about you, my friend, about your final lot.
The lamb looked sad, "I'm sorry, my child. For your friend, I knew him not."
Heaven, more glorious than I could ever know.
There was no death, no sickness, no pain, not even rain or snow.
I am always so comfortable, I neither sweat nor shiver.
I eat the fruit from the trees of life, and drink from the crystal river.
Other wonders and amazing beauties are beyond my words to tell,
But every now and then, I'm sad, because my best friend burns in hell.
They say God wipes away every tear, and I know for fact that's true.
I've shed a lot throughout the years. It's not quite heaven without you.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Self Publishing

So, after yet another rejection letter from an agent / publisher, I've decided to self publish.

Admittedly, the genre in which I write, Traditional Old School Fantasy, is a difficult genre to break into. There are a lot of established well known writers such as George R. R. Martin, R. A. Salvatore, and many others. Right now, Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy is what's hot, and it offers the best chance for new writers. While I could see myself writing an Urban Fantasy series in the future, I want to get a series under my belt before I go that direction.

I already have a marketing plan in place, one that hasn't really been tried, but I believe has a lot of potential. I am not going to release the details of it until after I launch Blood Of The Righteous. I'm also going to give up one of my vices and use the money towards online marketing. I have several sites picked out already, and once my cover artist gets my cover together, I am going to create an ad banner.

I know a number of people who have self published, and now their books are sitting on Amazon for $0.99, or free with an Amazon Plus account. I've studied their errors, along with what successful self publishers have done, and learned from them.

1) If you believe in your books, put your money where your mouth is. Be prepared to spend $300 - $400 on a professional cover if you aren't a digital artist yourself. Being a Neural Network Scientist by trade, this is not one of my strong points.

2) Given that the Ki Kalendeen Chronicles is a seven book series, once I'm ready to release my second book, I'm going to make the first one free. My wife is a very big e-book reader, and that is how Amanda Hocking snagged her interest.

3) Go out of your comfort zone on Social Media. You may be a brilliant writer, but the quality of your writing alone won't get you noticed.

4) Join independent author sites. They are a great way to get noticed. Be prepared to pay to join. Several I am looking at are free for readers, but they charge the authors.

5) The "Two Days Free" promotion is a great way to increase sales from what I've seen.

Anyway, these are just some thoughts on self publishing. I'm hoping I'll be a success at it. We'll see.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Trying to get published

For six years, I wrote a political blog that had a large following. Tiring of the endless insanity on both sides of the isle, I turned my talents towards fiction. I have seven books planned for this series, 5 in the main story arc, and two collections of short stories.

Blood of the Righteous covers several genres: Traditional old school Fantasy, and Alternate History. The series offers a consistent world that incorporates magic and religious elements, both scriptural and apocryphal. It can be used across many genres, and I have ideas for series that take place in both the old west and modern urban fantasy.

I have already received a request for manuscript from a small independent publisher. While that route is acceptable, I would really like to get in front of larger publishers. I am looking for representation so I don't get taken to the proverbial cleaners.

If need be, I will go the self publishing route. I have hired a professional artist to do my cover design. You can visit his website at . Also read about his own upcoming zombie apocalypse book: Shuffle.

The publishing world is a numbers game. Try go get in front of an agent / publisher, along with the other 200 people they will be glancing over that day. Naturally having that many people vying for your attention will create some very big egos out there, so prepare yourself for a lot of rejection, and some of it will be uncalled for and nasty.

I'm going to keep perusing the traditional route, but thanks to companies like Amazon and CreateSpace, the traditional route isn't the only way to go.

Blood Of The Righteous

Book 1 of the Ki Kalendeen Chronicles

Murder most foul! A noble lord is slaughtered in his manor. His three surviving children suddenly find themselves commoners. The Oldest, Gabriel Ki Kalendeen, is a knight in service to the church. He must balance his commitment to God with his responsibilities of his family. Eleenia, an independent minded healer, tries to make her way in a male dominated society, and in a profession that permits few females to enter. The roguish David, having survived the attack on his family, takes on a new identity, convinced that he is still a target. Together they struggle against society, their own deep character flaws, and the evil that secretly manipulates the world through intrigue, deception, lies, and murder. But the sons of perdition knew not what they did when they spilled the Blood of the Righteous!