Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Zero Sum Has Launched!

We Have Liftoff!

I'm happy to announce that Zero Sum, the sequel to Zero Sight, is now available for purchase. Like it's predecessor, Zero Sum is provided to you DRM-free. That means you can read it however you want, on any device, or print it out onto linoleum siding.


Zero Sum picks off right were Zero Sight left off. Lambda squad has been handed a heavy task: prove Talmax's ACT devices are made from contraband from beyond the frame. No pressure, though. Only the West Coast of the United States is at stake. Zero Sum is another complete novel, weighing in at over 137,000 words, or approximately 450 pages of literary goodness.

Hope you enjoy it, and please spread the word!

About The Making Of Zero Sum
knowledge of Gurren Lagann would be most helpful in this section

Every project carries certain competing pressures. Surgeons want that tumor out, but dread nicking one of those pesky vessels. Internists want to keep that blood flowing, but worry about inducing an arrhythmia. Writing my first book was no different. It came with a whole list of competing dreads. Was the pacing of the novel too slow, or was there too little detail? Were the characters compelling, or were they on the verge of being overblown? In the end, I had to admit I didn't know. I decided to just try my best and put Zero Sight out there.

Maybe I'd even sell 100 copies.

But there was one thing I didn't have to fear: reader expectation. You see, I didn't have any readers to begin with. No one had read my work before.

But in writing the second volume of the Zero Sight Series, I battled with two new impulses. On one hand, I wanted to continue to follow William Carlos Williams' advice:

“Forget all rules, forget all restrictions, as to taste, as to what ought to be said, write for the pleasure of it -- whether slowly or fast -- every form of resistance to a complete release should be abandoned.”

I love writing like that. It's like charging forth with a battle axe and a roar...but on the other hand, I also didn't want to ignore J.A. Konrath's words to the wise:

"If you're really worried about readers being subjected to %#$@, here's what you can do: DON'T WRITE %#$@." In other words, if you don't write to your readers, they'll chop your hands off.

So should I write what I really wanted to write, or adjust my writing to better suit what I believed my audience wanted to read? I was thrown into a deep septic tank of doubt, and if you've never experienced it before, I can tell you that doubt is far worse than writer's block. It poisons every step of the writing process.

I tried rewriting passages that were fine to begin with. I tried killing off Rei in the first chapter. I tried giving Dante breast implants. I even tried tweaking Jules' accent so it sounded more like Jar-Jar Binks'. Fortunately, as I began to describe Jules' new lilt, a beam of lightning shot through the clouds. It was Kamina. He descended in a shower of fire.

"Author!" He said unto me. "Believe in yourself! Not you, who believes in me. Not me, who believes in you. Believe in you, who believes in yourself!"

"Wow!" I exclaimed. (I was unaccustomed to such manly visages appearing in serenades of fire.) "But, All-knowing Kamina, how can I possibly write a riveting sequel to Zero Sight?"

"Silly, fool!" He said with a laugh. "Whether it be impossible or laughable, Great men open up paths of battle!"

"Open up paths of..." I began to frown. "Are you saying that all I need to do is kill off more people?"

Kamina gave me a proud nod. "Absolutely. And add more blood showers!"

That was all the inspiration I needed. I got out my scalpel-pen and got to work.

And A Thank You

Many people deserve thanks.

To my wife-unit for not murdering me for staying up so late.

To Jon Steller for another fantastic effort on the editing and author coddling.

To Jordan Kimura for another wonderful cover.

To the beta team for the challenging task of rooting out all those devious little typos.

To my medical school class for allowing me to bum gum off them at 03:00 hours.

And to Zero Sight's rabid fans, for their undying patience with my dithering. I hope you enjoy the result. We all put a lot of blood, sweat, and manly tears into it. But if you hate it, never fear, there's always another Skyrim mini-quest to complete. Word of advice, though. Leave the chickens alone.




Trevor said...

Enjoyed the Skyrim reference, but Fas has only one A :P

Edit: Also, congrats on the release of the sequel!

B. Justin Shier said...

I was goin' all phonetic on that one...and now I gotta get to work.

Enjoy, all!


Bookblogger said...

Finished the book up last night. Another well written adventure, but damn you for leaving me wanting the next book already!

Anonymous said...

I agree damn I need the next one lol...

artikk said...

I believe the next one was already half-written. I must known the approx release date for Book 3. I'm guessing at least at the end of summer.

B. Justin Shier said...

Phew, what a release. It got up into the Top 500 on Amazon at the end of the day!

And ZS Book 3? Jeepers, guys and gals, can't I get one day off?!?

It's not like I've been working on them or anything...

'_' *poker face*


Anonymous said...

Great book, but now i want the next one. People i say we chain him to his desk till its done, lol.

BaronThundergoose said...

Cryogenically freeze me and wake me up when the next book is out please!

too good!

B. Justin Shier said...

@Baron: Be sure to sign up for the New Releases Email List at the top of the page. It's the ideal choice for my cryogenically frozen readers. It'll let your cryo-team know when to turn on the heaters.

The next one is gonna take some time to finish writing, but I'm really happy with it's direction. As you all know, I'm not a full-time writer, so I'm afraid you'll have to be a bit patient with me.

In the meantime, there are a ton a great writers out there for you to explore. I highly recommend:



Both sites have been tremendously supportive of the indie movement and do a great job highlighting great new fantasy.

Oh, and holy cow, thank you everyone for buying Zero Sum. Its Amazon ranking is just plain crazy!


Anonymous said...

Another great book also waiting for the next. Another sweet cover too! Hope your braintrust of you, editor and artist keep pumping them out!

Aaron said...

Bought it as soon as I received the email release notification. Extremely well done, sir (once again). Not even remotely pleased to be waiting for book 3. Ah well.

M@ said...

I agree with everyone, this was a fine book. The pacing was different than your previous (more stop and start) was that intentional? I was also quite pleased to find only 5 grammatical/spelling errors. That is on par with a standard print fantasy novel. (Though I did read a print detective novel that used the wrong their 3 times in one page recently so I guess you were balancing the universe. Again, congrats on the release. Hopefully it will show that indie publishing can be profitable and will encourage other great authors to go that route.

furballtiger said...

Read it the day you posted it (despite holiday travel). Only a few errors (e.g. fare/fair). A few places where I had to reread lines to figure out what was happening/where/who was speaking. I think the first 1/3 of it was some of my favorite writing in quite awhile! I'm going to let it rest, then reread it to figure out specifically what disappointed me somewhat about the middle/later bits. Revival of the trivial "hero is inherently special thru no effort of their own" trope (trying to avoid spoiling it here w/ specifics) was a disappointment, let alone to see it squared. Some mechanics seemed(barely) introduced just in time to solve a plot problem; that never looks right. The very last scene seemed stronger again. I was glad to see a bit more development on secondary chars without losing the focus on the strong primaries. Pacing was really good, and no huge "show not tell" issues this time. Funny, good chars, good banter, nice overall plot arc, some very inventive twisting of existing info, etc. Really quite good. Keep writing! As the poet said, the world is made of stories not atoms. I think our world is a richer place for having Deiter, Rei, and friends in it.

B. Justin Shier said...

@M: Yes, the chop was intentional. I way to address the time lapses needed to tell the story. I doubt I'll do it again. The transitions seemed to annoy some folks.

@furbaltiger: Good to hear from you again! I was excited to hear your feedback on the new book. I do have to take umbrage with one point you made:

I agree that Dieter is "inherently" special. It was wholly intentional, and I made it clear at the start of the first novel. (Dieter had an unparalleled intellect that allowed him a shot at scholarship, he blew off a boy's head with his bare hands in the first 20 pages, and he survived a fiery explosion that his nurse stated should have killed him.) But while I'll grant you that Dieter's magical talents are profound, I challenge you to point out where his powers have given him any sort of free lunch. Dieter is continuously exploited and abused due to his special talents. (A trope quite extant in real life.) Additionally, he still can hardly cast straight due to lack of practice, and by the end of Zero Sum, Dieter's inability to apply his talents wisely may have had serious ramifications for his world.

My issue with the "inherently special" trope is the unearned benefits such unearned powers tend to grant. That's why I chose to employ the trope. I want to try and turn it on its head : )


Anonymous said...

hi mate, i had a drunken rant earlier in another comment section, asking if i could buy ur books elsewhere than amazon. i hate that i have to download their app, register it, all before i can pay or get the book.
please upload them here or somewhere that i can simply pay and download them in epub or similar.
(the reason that im repeating my request is i cant remember where i wrote the two other comments cause im drunk. sorry for repeating

B. Justin Shier said...

I'm thinking about using Smashwords, Anon. What says you?


Anonymous said...

Registering on Amazon takes a few minutes and their app is very easy to use. I actually read both books on my android cell phone with a kindle app. Not sure what the fascination is with epub but all I have to do is click 1-click buy on amazon and shazam it is on my kindle/pc with kindle/cell phone.

Anonymous said...

(drunk anon here)
Justin... dont know smashwords, if i can just buy and download from there great.
to other anon...
i'm sure registering at amazon takes just a couple of minutes... and im sure there app is just great... but why should i need to? i simply want to pay and buy the book, not register, download and register the software of yet another piece of proprietary that i dont need or want, so i can i can buy the book. Really, even if having to do this turns away just one customer, why should justin miss out. Its just another example of why so many people simply bypass these sites, to the detriment of the authors. Err, end rant... again.
With regards to epub, i dont have a particular fascination, i'm happy to read any of about6 formats already, i just dont think i need to bother with another reader or format. Sox is already enough.

Anonymous said...

drunk anon again.
wow. I just read what I wrote.
All I can say is, its a good thing i'm not doing justins editing. Talk about dumbing down the comments section lol.

furballtiger said...

Thx! ah, I missed the intended inversion and merely felt that it cheapened Dieter's very obviously hard-fought life retroactively (i.e. I saw it as a bad retcon not as an attempt to reverse a cliche). Perhaps, given how entrenched that one is, a bit of "excessive clarity" like pointing out "well, it sure as shit hasn't helped"... No, even then, it hasn't helped but (for example that that isn't necessary for the trope) did H. Potter's inheritance make his life easier? no, it normally makes the protag's life harder (but it also "excuses" how they can survive it...thus trivializing their effort). So, my bad to some extent; I simply didn't see the intended inversion. But, perhaps, the handles on that trope aren't where you thought they were (i.e. it isn't about making the protag's life easy, usually, so Dieter's rough life doesn't really reverse it). It *does* explain some of his spec ability, esp that which is key to this plot. So, color me unconvinced that you actually reversed it. I think you fell into it, *maybe* just a little? I'll ponder that, as I am often found to be full of fertilizer. But I feel a bit better knowing that was your intent. And, as I said: as a writer you rock, keep going! :)