The Desert King 99 Cents 1/23 – 1/29

 [Cover of The Desert King: A Jack Trexlor Novel by T.F. Torrey] When I was writing The Desert King, decades ago now, I had a mystical experience. Basically, I asked the future me to, if writing The Desert King was the right pursuit for me, give me a sign. Which I immediately got. I mean immediately. So, I buckled down and finished it.

Alas, The Desert King did not find its way to publication that year. Or for many years after. It became hard to understand what the mystical experience might have meant.

Eventually, The Desert King was published, and later I got the rights back and published it myself. Now, ten books and many years but later, I still wonder what that experience meant. At the time, I thought it meant the book would be a monumental success. It wasn’t. But maybe it meant that it would lead to the next book, and the next book, and eventually one book would find a monumental success that never would have happened if I hadn’t started with The Desert King.


Anyway, if you’re still waiting for your monumental experience, you can get The Desert King this week for 99 cents at Amazon.

If you leave a review, you’ll have my perpetual gratitude. And as always, make sure you tell your mysticism-loving friends!

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The Desert King FREE Today Only

 [Cover of The Desert King: A Jack Trexlor Novel by T.F. Torrey] Things are about to get busy with my books. I have new releases coming out regularly starting soon, several of which might take things in a new direction for me. This might be your last chance to get The Desert King for free and read it before things get crazy. If you haven’t read it yet, you definitely should head over to Amazon and get it today while it’s free. Oh, and make sure you tell your noir-loving friends!

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 [Cover of Second Wind: An Anthology by T.F. Torrey] Also, Long Way Home has been held over at 99 cents for the next few days. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you definitely should. It’s one of my favorite books.

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The Desert King FREE Today Only

 [Cover of The Desert King: A Jack Trexlor Novel by T.F. Torrey] The Trexlor books have new covers, and this time might be the last time. To celebrate, The Desert King is free today at Amazon. If you joined my mailing list when The Desert King was free for joining, this is your chance to get a free copy with the new cover, and one built into the Kindle ecosystem to boot. Don’t miss it, and tell your noir-loving friends!

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 [Cover of Second Wind: An Anthology by T.F. Torrey] Also, don’t forget that Second Wind is discounted to 99 cents until Sunday. It might never be available at this price again!

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WIP: Feeling Momentum


The better it gets, the better it gets. The more things are improved, the more the things that are not improved look like they need improvement. The more of them are improved, the shabbier the unimproved look. And so it continues.

Writing: Spring Rains

I got in productive sessions both early in the day and in the afternoon. This book has been filling up throughout the chapters as I discover bits of it, which means that all of it has some scenes more or less done and a lot of scenes with only some good parts completed. Today I spent much of my time writing the connecting bits of the scenes in the chapters of part one. That work goes a little slower than just picking an empty scene and writing words, but it results in something that looks finished, and sometimes it’s the right thing to do. I made some good progress.

Business: Publishing day, and covers again

Tuesdays are designated publishing days. I took the time to review yesterday’s cover work, and I decided that it was very good, and the only part that needs to be released right away (the cover of Winter Kills) is perfect. I also decided that my next promotions should giveaways of free books. But … with the release of Spring Rains coming soon, how can I best do that? Hmm.

Also in the consideration is the idea that I should use free days to push the Trexlor books, given that many people joined my list when The Desert King was free. I need to bulk up my reviews of those books, and maybe I could make that work.

However, when I looked at the Trexlor book pages to consider my strategy, what hit me most is that I am not happy with the covers. They look good if you know what they are and you see them up close, but if they are small and you don’t know then they are a muddy mess. Also, compared to my Outliers covers and my new Crusader covers, they look a generation behind. I decided to look at some test covers I made for them a while back. At the time, I didn’t like how different they were from the rest of the collection (my “brand”). This time, however, they look pretty close to perfect. Given how much the Outliers covers have grown on me, I’m sure that these covers will not only be “good enough” for a few years, they will also take the appearance of my whole collection to the next level. The upgrade is so big and so obvious that I can’t not do it.

And, with these books about to have free promotions, it needs to be done right now.

So, after I get the order sorted out, that will be my work for the next few days. New covers for Winter Kills and the Trexlor books, and a schedule of free promotions with a push for more reviews. And print editions, too, if the proofs look good.

Lots of work. Lots of fun.

Total for the day

  • Fiction words today: 1100
  • Weblog words today: 525
  • Covers designed today: 1

Writing In Public: Year 1, Month 1, Day 15

Saturday slog

I arose late in the morning and had nothing to do all day but drive my writing forward. Sounds like a great day!

First, I looked into creating print files. As I’ve announced several times now, I was all set to pull the trigger for the print editions. However, I recently became unhappy with the page numbers, headings, kerning, and hyphenation. Not terribly unhappy, but mildly so. So in the early afternoon I checked out some alternatives for generating PDF’s from text. The cxx2xslfo project looks like it might be perfect. However, it will take some time to test it and adapt my exporter, so I won’t get to it right now.

Plus, more and more writers are saying that in their real experience, it isn’t worth the time and effort to get into print. (See these comments, for example.) So, that’s something. In the same page, you may notice people pointing out that Hugh Howey and Joe Konrath have concluded their testing and decided it’s best to go all-in with Amazon KDP Select, too. Contrarily, Dean Wesley Smith strongly advises in favor of print and against KDP Select. Hmm.


Later in the afternoon I turned my attention to Taxi Adventure. I spent most of the day taking out pieces that no longer matched the plot and rewriting that action to match what really happens in this final version. I’m not sure how many words I wrote total, but I do know that it was about a wash in terms of words added and taken out.

Most of the time, though not always, when I take out or replace a scene or subscene, I put into a Removed section of the book. So far in this book I have written and removed almost 17,000 words. What’s left in the book at the moment is about 64,000 words. So, that’s a lot.

On Outlining

What I’ve removed so far for Taxi Adventure isn’t the record, though. For Paper Cuts, I’ve written and scrapped well over 30,000 words so far. Threshold of Vengeance has over 13,000 written and removed words so far. Sure, one of Heinlein’s rules that I’m trying to follow is to not revise, but these stories were not completed in their original versions, and they don’t work. Scrap. The Dancing Queen was completed in its first run, but in the end it had well over 17,000 words written and removed. What all these have in common is that none of them were outlined before they were written.

The Desert King was outlined first, and it had almost no removed words (in its original and current version). Winter Kills was outlined first, and it had fewer than 200 removed words. Zombies Versus Comicon was also outlined first, and it had under 1,500 removed words. The Crazy Jack was outlined first, but then suffered through multiple painful, wrong-headed rewrites, and in the end it had about 16,000 removed words.

I think all this adds up to a good argument that outlining is the right approach for me. The wasted words aren’t really the point; they’re just the symptom. The real problem is that it takes a lot longer for me to write without an outline. It takes good time write good words, and it is a shame to throw them away. Plus, when you have a story of a good length that isn’t working, it is usually a lot of painful, difficult work to figure out how to change it to make it “work”, if you even can. And you might say that at least it adds up to a better story, but I don’t think so. When sections get taken out and/or rewritten, the pieces before and after them have to be carefully checked and probably at least partly revised to match the flow of the new piece. In the end, for me at least, I’m never quite sure that the new piece fits exactly. It is so much better to write it right the first time.

So, does “writing it right” mean outlining? For me, probably, at least so far.

So prepare to throw up your arms in disgust as I announce that, inspired by Dean Wesley Smith’s book Writing Into The Dark, I am planning to do a new novel in the near future with no prior development at all. No character development, no outline. Just take a general or specific idea, start typing in Chapter 1 and go. I am not kidding. It should be fun.

I just hope it doesn’t end up with a ton of wasted words.

All Jack Trexlor E-Books On Sale Through August 4th

 [Cover of The Crazy Jack: A Jack Trexlor Novel by T.F. Torrey]  [Cover of The Desert King: A Jack Trexlor Novel by T.F. Torrey]  [Cover of The Dancing Queen: A Jack Trexlor Novel by T.F. Torrey]

I’ve been so busy with my new challenge (and sciatica) that I forgot to mention that the three Jack Trexlor novels are currently on sale for 99 cents. I will be taking them out of the KDP Select program in a few weeks, so this is likely the last time they will be available at this price, so get them now and tell your friends!

Today Only: Get All Three Trexlor Books For $1.98

Because of overlapping promotions, TODAY ONLY you can get all three Jack Trexlor novels for the incredible price of $1.98. That’s right, The Crazy Jack is currently on its last day free, The Desert King is on its last day at 99 cents, and The Dancing Queen is on its first day of a Kindle Countdown Deal priced at 99 cents. Wow!

Get this special deal now, and tell your friends, but hurry, because the deal expires at midnight tonight!

(By the way, if you were signed up for my newsletter, you’d have heard about this earlier. Just sayin’.)