Tropes and Using them in your Writing


Tropes: Writers are for them, against them, and often discover they’re a necessary part of stories. So what are they, how can you use them, and why are they still so common?

Continue reading “Tropes and Using them in your Writing”

March Update – Iron Tribune and Kickstarter

Kickstarter Preview/Ideas and an Update on Iron Tribune


Hi all,

As I sit here in my office relaxing as my beta readers dismantle Iron Tribune (Hopefully for the best!), I’m also planning Steel Praetorian. So far, I’ve planned out the first four chapters. Chapter one will be included in Iron Tribune, but I won’t even let my beta readers see that 🙂

Here’s my estimated timeline for Iron Tribune to be published.

  • End of March – Beta Readers return Iron Tribune
  • April 20th – Iron Tribune goes to the editor(!)
  • May 1st – Kickstarter campaign for additional illustrations begins. Kickstarter ends by mid-late May
  • (Sometime in May, based on how long editing takes, formatting should begin)
  • Sometime in June, send out all rewards, post Iron Tribune to Amazon, Etc

Here’s what I’m thinking for Kickstarter Funding Levels

  • $1 – Big Thank You + Name in Acknowledgements
  • $10 – Digital Copy of Iron Tribune and one of my two novellas
  • $20 – Digital Copy of all novels + novellas
  • $30 – Signed Print Copy of Iron Tribune (Plus all the above)
  • $50 – Signed Print Copies of all three novels
  • $100 – Create a Character (Create a character in Steel Praetorian, including how he/she dies)

I think the funding goal would be $500. What do you all think of this? I suppose I could bump it up a bit to include shipping, or I could have ‘rest of the world’ backers up their shipping as well. Totally would like some feedback please!

Looking for Some Good Beta Readers

Looking for beta readers! Apply today!


Hi all,

If you’re a fan of my books, you know then that every story is a labor of love, and that in the end it’s not all my work, but the work of various other people – my editor, cover artist, illustrators, etc. I’m looking for two or three people to join my team as beta readers. What does that mean? I’m looking for people willing to read my novel, Iron Tribune (and even later novels if you’d like!) and find mistakes, confusing points, problems, or even good things! This is your chance to provide input before anyone, even my editor, gets a crack at it.

One man cannot hold back the waves of ravening poorly worded sentences alone.
One man cannot hold back the waves of ravening poorly worded sentences alone.

Specifically, I’d need you to…

1.) Read the current transcript of Iron Tribune and identify flaws, errors, etc.

2.) Send me these errors by the end of February (for the 1st round) and March (for the 2nd round) so I can fix them!

3.) That’s it!

What do you get? Well, besides a signed copy of the final book plus a digital copy, if you don’t have either Brass Legionnaire or Copper Centurion, I’ll send you a copy of whatever you’re missing for free (Signed if it’s a paperback copy).

So a pretty good deal. Plus, you’ll get credit in the acknowledgements, a long range high five, even a super big thank you.

So how to apply? Send me a message through the contact me option in the menu above or leave me a message below. For a few nights work you get some fun freebies, and I’d be very glad to return the favor if you’re looking for a beta reader yourself!

Input Needed: To mix chapters or not to mix chapters…

Input needed! Help decide how I format Iron Tribune!


I’m looking for some input on Iron Tribune. Currently, I have the story written in two parts. The first one is almost done, and consists of events in the eastern part of the empire and focuses around Constantine, Julius, and Alexandros. The second part focuses on events in Rome and focuses on Octavia, Corbus, and Marciena, plus one more surprise character. The events happen concurrently in the story, but I wanted to split them up. But right now I’m unsure about continuing this. The events in Rome do impact the events in the east, but mostly at the end. I’d love to hear the community’s thoughts on this matter. Would you rather have the story lines written together, or finish one before starting the other in the same book?

If he had a watch, he'd be making sure to stay on schedule
If he had a watch, he’d be making sure to stay on schedule

Novellas and the Self Published Author: Remix Part 2

A final look at Novellas, and my opinion on how Self-Publishing Authors should use them.


[This is a continuation of this article from earlier this year, where I examine the idea of creating novellas to supplement author income.]Legionnaire

In the last post, I discussed more the ‘self-publishing’ component of novellas. To summarize that post.

Pros: Can be done quickly, requires less editing, allows you to expand different parts of a story without having to create a fully fleshed out novel, builds out your world and provides other small, continuous income streams.

Cons: Takes you away from your primary goal of finishing novels, too many or the wrong idea can slow you down, still requires effort and money to self publish, can be a low return on investment.

Continue reading “Novellas and the Self Published Author: Remix Part 2”

Tax Help for the Self-Published Author

Tax help for the Self-Published or Soon to be Self-Published Author


taxespicBefore I begin, let me state that I am not a tax pro, CPA, etc etc. These are just tips I’ve accumulated over the years.

By Daniel Ottalini

Are you a writer? Got a brand new novel out and selling tons of copies! Wonderful! Uncle Sam would like some of your money!

Bummer. Here’s some things to do to ensure you get the most out of your self-publishing career.

1.) Keep records of all your expenditures. Did you have someone edit your book? Format it? Design a cover? A webpage? Did you pay for web hosting services? Great! You can write all that off against the income you made from your book! For example, this year I had Copper Centurion edited, formatted, had a cover made for it and Antioch Burns, along with Roma Aeronautica. All the money I spent on those I can write off against the income I made from the books. Be wary, depending on how much you spent, you may need to send some additional tax forms, but I have yet to have that happen to me.

2.) Don’t file until you have all your information. Make sure you have all your 1098-MISC forms before submitting your taxes, and if you use something like TurboTax, that keeps track from year to year, make sure you check the names on the MISC forms, as some have changed, such as Amazon, which has changed the name of Createspace and some other platforms a few times.

3.) Remember Home Office, Travel, and Professional Dues credits/deductions – This year I traveled to Portland, Oregon as part of the EPIC Convention. I could deduct a lot of the expenses I had there. Some people would say you could deduct everything, and that may be true, but you really need very good receipt tracking and book keeping for that. As far as home office goes, remember that you’re supposed to use the home office only for your ‘official’ work. So your generic home computer really doesn’t fly. BUT postage for kickstarter items, car rental for the convention, that does work! (And when I get a fancy new laptop, hint hint birthday genie, I may be able to write that off as well (provided I purchase it)).

4.) Realize you should have done a much better job of book keeping this year and resolve to do it better next year.

5.) Create a checking account you use just for book-related purchases and such, that way you can keep personal and ‘self-published’ things separate. Then stick to it!

6.) When all else fails, hire a professional.

❤ Ciao!

%d bloggers like this: