Episode 05 – Michael Dibaggio – Ascension Epoch

About

Mike Dibaggio has been trying something a bit different with his books. He writes superhero stories set in his own unique world. This world combines elements from many great fantasy stories – War of the World by HG Wells being the main basis.

He has combined these stories into his own unique universe and even invites others to share in that universe and write stories in it.

He works with his wife (who does the art) and has just started a companion magazine.

Website

You can find Mike at: https://www.ascensionepoch.com/ where you can register to get a free story.

He is on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Michael-DiBaggio/e/B00JX865L8

He also runs: https://www.heroicadventurefiction.com which contains many other stories set in his world.

His Books

Four stories set in his ascesion epoch universe – these are about the martian war (which was started in HG Wells War of the Worlds)
This is Mike’s own superhero group. Still based in the same universe, just a different era.

YouTube

TRANSCRIPT

Stephen 0:00
Hi Mike How you doing? I am so apologetic I took one get out driving and then stopped and picked up another good from work and came home and my phone had been dead and I saw the pop up that’s all I

Mike 0:12
got. I don’t mind at all. Well, I’m a little hot here so I have the air conditioning on I don’t know if it’s interfering with the recording at all. I don’t know if you can hear it behind me.

Stephen 0:26
Oh, no, actually, that’s pretty good. Yeah. Pa right. Okay, so I’m just a little ways from you. It was pretty hot today. It

Mike 0:36
was Yeah, it’s a it’s it’s getting to the to the the sticky and humid time of year which, unfortunately, it wasn’t like only totally, I guess it was three weeks ago now we had snow. And it just it just got really cold one night and it snowed for like a day. And then I went back to being in the 60s. It’s just, you know that that weird? that weird. time of year. Yeah. Geography we live in.

Stephen 1:03
Right? Yeah, I totally agree. It’s people don’t get when you say yeah, just wait an hour, it’ll change.

Mike 1:12
I remember, especially when I went to I was out of school at Pitt. And like the weather out there really did change in the span of of hours. I mean, you’d have, I’d wake up in the morning and it would be a nice, nice, thick, warm day out. By lunch, it would be snowing then it would be raining. And then I don’t know what it’s just like the elevation there the way the mountains were. But it was really weird.

Stephen 1:37
Yeah, I lived in San Diego. If you ever want the easiest job in the world, weatherman in San Diego, because the weather is mild, or drought with a slight chance of rain. So all right, well, I appreciate this. It’s good to talk to you. Yeah. I mean, you probably wouldn’t even recognize my face. It’s been like, yeah, it’s been a while since I actually saw you. Yeah. But so let’s just get started. Feel free. If you have anything you want to jump in and say, just tell us a little bit about who you are, where you’re from a bit about your background outside of the right, of

Mike 2:16
course, what I’m Mike DiMaggio, I’m the author of so far six published short story, anthologies, and novels, all set in my collaborate with my wife, she does the illustrations and also some of the writing in our original essentially POC universe, which is a universe of heroic adventure fiction. superheroes and non superhero was built on on great classics from from the public domain. But in my daytime, daytime job, what actually pays the bills, what allows my wife to stay at home and and help raise our son is I’m a software engineer. So so just to get that out there in front I, if you’re if you’re looking to take advice from someone who makes so much on their on their books, that they don’t have another job, I am not the guy. But I think unfortunately, especially nowadays, there’s not there’s not too many people that are actually in that position.

Stephen 3:18
Right. And I think that’s one of the reasons I like to do this podcast because I think too often all the podcasts, all the blogs, focus on the people that had some big success. And that’s not very encouraging. If you’re struggling to try and get one out, and you think everybody’s more successful than you. So and I also do software development. So we’ve got that in common. Okay, so besides writing, what do you like? Do you have a son? I

Mike 3:49
don’t he’s three. I actually we did he was not, was not? I think he was not even conceived the first time we met. Yeah, I think so. He’s in the I guess he’s he’s legally three. Now. He’s technically still two, though. He was born three months early. So he he’s still in the terrible twos. And he has not he has not quite I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and until August, once, once he hits off once August comes around, his behavior had better improve. But right now, yeah, he’s a he’s a young kid. And he, he’s already pretty creative. He follows along with his mommy. He does watercolor and marker and he takes markers and crayons to our walls. And there’s just there’s there’s no stopping him.

Stephen 4:38
Well, well, if it’s a constellation, we’ve got a couple of rooms we’ve been working on redoing, and we take CRAN and marker and stuff, just for fun. So yeah, you don’t grow out of it. Alright, so you mentioned your books, the essential epoch and I know you have a couple others Tell us a little bit why you wanted to start writing those. And when you did start writing why you finally started?

Mike 5:09
Well, I started writing in general, pretty young. I mean, I think I wrote my first actually sat down and wrote on loose leaf paper, a fully original story, I think when I was in like fourth grade, and I will say something outside of the context of a of a, of a classroom exercise. And I guess I think it was like some sort of post apocalyptic military sci fi thing. I’m sure it wasn’t very good. But I was, I still am into that stuff. But I was particularly into that back then. I think I just seen Terminator two. So that that was on my mind. But through the years, I would, I would write my own fanfiction, Star Trek, next generation type stuff, and then x calm the the, the the video games. And then from there, over time, I got into role playing games. And the role playing games, especially the play by email games that I was involved in are really the genesis of the ascension epoch. After many years of being involved in in, sometimes the rule base, sometimes freeform play by email games, I created a role playing game called less than gods and it was a superhero alternate history role playing game that combines like Marvel DC value in the image, like all the major comic titles, but also stuff like GI Joe, Godzilla, dark shadows, things like that. So it was very, whatever, whatever I liked, I jammed into it. And I’m the sort of person who really loves fantasy, but but is very insistent on things making sense. So while I don’t need things to be realistic, I need them to be internally consistent. So I actually spent probably a good six months coming up with this alternate history timeline for this game. And that was a departure in World War Two saying that, like, you know, superheroes were actually real, they had this stuff that, you know, World War Two would play out differently somehow. Yeah. And, and from there, the I got, the game lasted about four years. And it was pretty good. We had a lot of players. And my future wife, well, she, you know, she, she was just a friend of mine at the time, but she joined the game. And, you know, one day she said to me, when we when we started dating that, you know, like, we have some really good stories here. And they’re like, really entertaining, and some of them are really well written. But we can’t publish any of them because we’re using other people’s characters for the most part. And, and yet, you’ve done and you spent all this time doing this, all this world building and everything. And, you know, she said, Why don’t we Why don’t we do our own original thing? You know? And my response is, Oh, that’s a terrible idea. Not because not because like, I don’t like doing original things, but because I was like, I did all this work, you know. And I was like, gosh, I don’t know ever like anything as much as this setting I crafted. But I did. And I do. And, in fact, I like it more. And I really, that was when I really took off with her encouragement, with the idea of doing a different sort of alternate history. In this case, the essentially PUC has a lot of minor points of divergence throughout history. But in particular, it diverges in like the mid 1800s. With at the the Crimean War, and then again, in the 1890s when we say that, that the Martian landings of the world the worlds actually occurred. And that’s that’s the I would love alternate history. And I love the the great literature of the 19th century in the early 20th century, stuff like Jules Verne, HG Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs, all this stuff that’s out of copyright now and I thought these are these are great characters. These are great concepts. How can I use them to build to build a base that who would be recognizable to a lot of people, and yet be something completely new?

Stephen 9:10
Right, and a couple of comments on that in just a moment, but first, shell definitely sounds like great one to keep. So yeah, do what you got to do. I mean, it’s wonderful, she pushed you into that. But we might want to explain what a play by mail game is because I’m going to bet there’s a lot of people that have no clue.

Mike 9:31
So the basic thing is, I mean, you can think of them as as a role tabletop role playing game or as like a collaborative writing exercise either way, depending on how much rules get involved. But you know, normally the way you play those, those an RPG is you get around with your friends on the table, and you built your character sheets and dice and you put your at the same, same location. The play by mail, like snail mail, And then play by email that came later and also the play by foreign play by post games. Basically you do the same thing but you have people that are from farther distance and maybe they’re you know that you It gives you the advantage of not needing physical proximity and time proximity one of the big problems I think most people who have tried to get a war game or RPG session regularly going is that you just don’t have you can’t everybody free at the same time where they can’t make up stuff coming up but the the play by email games that I was in you know you would write posts and you’d wait for people to respond to them and you would expect them to be you expect them to come in with within a certain amount of time you know, but you try to be fine You’re basically you’re crafting a narrative and sometimes sometimes you would have a gamemaster come in and say yes this happened or they would moderate combat or something like that, but some of them were freeform too so they’re kind of like story games that effect but

Stephen 10:57
right. And I think the I like the asynchronous abilities that you get from that because you can think about it and then you’re not being rushed. But man I’m going to bet a lot of people are thinking that that’s a very weird foreign concept of how to play a game but I think they’re missing out on some

Mike 11:20
of them yeah, I hope not I think actually they’re they’re easy you know if you’re if you’re shy or if you’re just a sort of person who like i i think i’m i’m a good writer and I can come up with with with very good dialogue very witty things to say but very rarely Can I come up with them on the spot so if I’m sitting around a table and and you know I’ll say something and then 10 minutes later like everybody else the wisdom of the staircase like Oh, I should have said this. So you really don’t have that problem that’s that’s one another nice thing that like you said, the asynchronous nature of the play by email game you can think about it a little bit can spend time crafting it and it’s it’s a very, it’s a very friendly and welcoming sort of way to get involved in role playing your store gaming.

Stephen 12:08
Right, and it definitely was much bigger back in the day. But I wouldn’t doubt that there’s probably some resurgence of it in today’s world, especially on Coronavirus in that so alright, so you mentioned the books of the ascension epoch and when I talked to you and looked at them everything you said a couple minutes ago was like wow, this is like so cool taking all of those public domain stories putting them into an alternate universe timeline it’s a it’s a big mash up but it works very very well. You’ve got

Mike 12:48
how many books out now and we’re working starting a combined literary RPG book right now as well

Stephen 12:56
yes and I saw that you’ll have to make sure and get a link off that for that to put in the show notes and all that so you did these self publishing your whatever detail you want but how are things going with that what’s been the response what what have you found that works well does um well

Mike 13:18
well the the self self publishing itself I think the any anymore I I’m unless you’re a really huge name, you know, you’re a dean Koons to Stephen King you’re you know, these people that you know who who write who when every time they write like JK Rowling you know she her books would be a big seller just because of her day right? Unless you’re someone like that I don’t really think it pays to be attached to the large publishers anymore or or even the small ones in many cases because all one thing you give up is your rights you know you lose a lot of the control of you know, if you have it out with your publisher and or or they’re not actually your books no longer in print, you may have to fight with them for years and then you know, they have you know, a certain amount of time they put it back in print and then you can get the copyright back but you go through and some places will put out a small print run right before they’re there, they’re about to lose the rights and then you’re stuck again, you’re you deal with with editors and so forth who you know will take your story and you know, from their perspective, it’s a very reasonable thing to do because that they’re saying they think they know what sells they think they know what the market wants. I would disagree with that in many cases, considering some of the stuff that they that the big publishing houses put out nowadays. But so you lose that control. The The only thing you don’t get is this is the marketing the the the promotion that the publishers do. But in fact, I think that they are This almost never happens anymore. promotions and the marketing aspect of it is something that even if you’re attached to a publisher nowadays, if you’re not if you’re not like, if you don’t have a take off like a rocket, they expect you to do it yourself. And so you’re you’re really trading, you’re trading all you’re controlling your rights away for what? Well, just so you don’t have to format books for for KDP. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s a bit it’s a bit silly, and it’s desktop publishing. Things we have like with KDP, or Lulu or, or these other publishers, we can we can print on demand, you can you could get a contract with your own printer, right? Do this stuff yourself. It’s It’s so I won’t say it’s easy, always but because there are frustrating things about it. But compared to how it used to be where you didn’t get any sort of distribution without having a publisher. It’s just not like that anymore. So I, I would be hard pressed to come up with a reason why anyone except for like, you know, to satisfy their ego, why they would really seek out a publisher nowadays.

Stephen 16:12
Right? I totally agree. Maybe it’s the developer or software engineer, you need that control. Because, you know, I’m kind of the same way I couldn’t imagine being told, I have a friend, that’s actually a fairly big name, known author. And he had a trilogy, that he was contracted, and he was writing, he wrote the first one, and it didn’t do so well. So halfway through writing the second one, they said, Look, we’re gonna put the second one out, but not the third one. So you have to end it now. And he’s like, Oh, are you kidding me. So I started, he changed everything. He combined the best stuff and put it into the end of book two. And it was a little bit of a jumbled, chaotic book. And then that came out and suddenly it took off. And the first one shot up, and they said, Oh, great, give us Book Three now. And I mean, he tells that story, and I’m like, I think I would just go crazy. I don’t think I can handle that. You know he’s does very well he’s been doing it for 34 years, doing nothing but writing to support himself. But that control is you in and like I’ve said in, in just being a self employed entrepreneur, that if you aren’t working or if you’re not making what you really want, it’s your own fault. And you know, same with the books, there’s almost always something you can do to get interest or get somebody to purchase it, look at it, read it, feedback, something you can do you’ve got that control and I agree with you i i think that’s better than sending it out and hoping and waiting that though

Mike 17:54
you’re you’re it’s always better to be at your own mercy than someone else’s mercy I mean, it’s, it’s it’s hard to write because you have to motivate yourself to say, I have to go out there today I have to face rejection, I have to face frustration I have to you know, deal with the fact that that money is only trickling in or is not coming in at all and, and you and you ask questions like, gee, how do I get people even know that I exist, which is really the big, the really big thing for for any kind of independent creator nowadays, because there’s so much of it out there. And there’s still so much leftover from the legacy market that people will just, you know, they want they even though even if they’re not happy with the last couple movies that came out, or the TV shows come out, they want Star Wars and they want Star Trek and they want Marvel and G they hate it every time they read a new one. But but they’re gonna they’re gonna keep going back to it.

Stephen 18:45
That’s one of my pet peeves when I talk to a Star Wars fan, so I love Star Wars, but then they go on to say, you know, What is there? Yeah, 11 movies now are 12. And in they ended they list everyone and what they hate about every single movie, I’m like, Well, I thought you said you liked it. And in fact, I think that’s something we talked about when we were first talking about these things. Okay, so we met we talked a little about traditional, would you ever be interested in a traditional deal? Be a hybrid author,

Mike 19:19
that I any there’s a certain amount of money that could that could make me agree to a lot of things. Sure. I think that the big thing to me about the essentially Pog project in particular is we actually do we don’t copyright it, we don’t we actually release everything under Creative Commons with the attribution and share like provisions, which means anybody can do as long as they attributed to us and they release there’s their work under the same license. They can they can sell it commercially, they could give it away they could do whatever they like with it. And that includes making derivative works includes making copies and so forth. That’s that’s pretty important to me, sort of philosophically, especially the Because we’re building so much on the public domain, but it’s it’s a, I also initially thought that that was going to be a good selling point. And that people would really like that because they’d like the opportunity to be able to do what they want it. And do you know, fanfiction fan art and stuff like that? And it turns out that’s not really popular all nobody cares. But with the exception of you, notably, you’re one of the few people who ever contacted me about doing any sort of spin offs of it, but

Stephen 20:31
right, and, and I still have that on the back burner. I haven’t bought it. It’s just you. Yeah, me too. Sure. You know how things go with working. And actually, since the last time we met face to face, I got married. So that changed quite a bit. Thank you. So actually, about the same time your son was born, so. So saying that, if you went back now or knowing what you know, if you were starting out, would you do anything different, I

Mike 21:03
think I would pay a lot more attention to marketing. The other thing I think I would do is I would maybe spend a little more time polishing stuff, not necessarily the prose or the you know, it’s for instance, we’ve checked my wife does the illustrations and she also does all the book covers. And it’s it’s a very difficult like, you can even make it Well, I think is like a really dynamite book cover. But it doesn’t sell the book well, and there’s a whole there’s, you know, much of marketing is a mystery. You know, it’s as much mystery as the psychology they don’t really know what works until it works. And then that seems obvious. And in retrospect, but there but there’s like a certain for instance, she and I are, are both of the same mind. Like we want our books to look unique, we want our, we want to do interesting things with the book covers. But I think one of the things that you’ll find is that the book cover the books that sell well. And to be complete, let’s be completely honest, that book covers absolutely do sell books. In fact, when you don’t know almost anything about the book, it’s almost entirely going to be sold by the cover. So that’s that is a something I want people that are looking into this to really think about, but that the kind of book covers that work on people for the particular genre that you write in, tend to all look the same. And even sometimes, unless the author’s name is on it, or or you remember the title, or you know, this goes for like, like comic books, too many modern comic books that like you can’t tell, you look at it, like well, gee, that covers pretty generic. I can’t tell if I don’t remember what issue I bought, I don’t remember if I actually bought that one or not. The same thing is true with a lot of a lot of books, you look at them, or movie posters to they’re, they’re very similar they have, they have similar templates. And the reason they do that is because they work and and it’s to a certain extent the, the buying habits at least have been have been very, I’ve been commoditized people when they’re looking for a mystery book or a romance right, they expect to see certain things on the cover they expect to see these motifs repeated over and over again. And if you diverge from that you’re taking a big risk you may like really jump out but on the other hand you may jump out and you know jump out in a good way but you may jump out in a bad way like and you create confusion and consternation in the mind of the potential purchaser and you’re like yeah, I don’t know about this one. I you know

Stephen 23:34
I’m glad you said that because you probably listen to various podcasts like I do and probably some courses whatever. And they they’ve pretty much all come back and say those types of things. But a lot of times I think people hear it and say well, I’m gonna do it better I can do it different and over and over. You know, I’ve heard you know, go look at the ones that are close to your book in your genre and make a cover like there’s and in business too I remember business like a shark tank type thing and it was in when I was in school and there everybody wants to come up with some unique idea Oh my god, no one’s ever thought of this and I remember the guy that was working with us said it’s not that no one ever thought of it that somebody probably did and tried it and it didn’t work and so nobody does it. And and that’s something a lot of people don’t get you want to you don’t always want to do something completely different. Take something and make it a little little different or improve it in some way and make it better but don’t do it so it’s like left field because people don’t get it. It takes time for change. So I

Mike 24:46
think it’s it’s a hard learned lesson especially because most creatives, they want to do their own thing and they want to show that they’re different than you know it’s it’s it’s the crux of what I just said before that there’s so much of it. out there now that you have to stand out. But on the other hand, I’m contradicting myself and saying that in some ways you can’t stand out. And and I guess I, it is a paradox and I don’t really know, if I could resolve the problem, I wouldn’t work as a software developer I guess. But it’s, it’s, it’s just right. It’s something you have to deal with. Because when you’re when you’re at when you’re in control, when you’re when you’re like the Coca Cola, when you’re the Sony, when you’re when you’re the big boy on the block that that is known for this, whatever it is you make, then you want to differentiate yourself from them from the rest of the market. But when you’re the small competitors, you actually don’t want to differentiate yourself because you want to tap in to this huge focus that’s on these big these big producers right and so you know, every all the right you’ll notice that all the was felt like the fantasy books, the covers, the covers are almost interchangeable, and they have either they’re either photo really the best example I guess, is like the the teen paranormal romance genre right? There. They’re all like, these photo manipulations of these of these generic models and stuff like that. And they’re not doing anything interesting on the cover. But you know, by golly, that’s what people want. So you got to you got to play to that because you were you differentiate yourself is is the quality of your story, I guess. Like you have to, you have to get past their initial defenses. And then and then wow them and then hopefully bring them on again.

Stephen 26:31
Right, the cover is to tell them what your book is the genre of it. And the basic idea of what it’ll be is it going to have werewolves, is it going to be magical is it going to be outerspace and then they get interested? My my friend I mentioned a couple minutes ago. He writes military sci fi his cover he has no control over right other reason I don’t necessarily want to go trad but they know what sells in the market. If you look at one of his covers, you look at one of the like Chris Fox’s covers, you can’t tell a difference. They’re identical ones trad ones indie. But they’re like I you could switch them in it wouldn’t change anything. So yeah, that’s I think that’s a hard lesson until people get something out. And then they’re like, Well,

Mike 27:18
yeah, in fact, I have a story that that very similar to what you said with your friend didn’t have control over it. But they know what exactly what what sells. I have. I have a friend. I don’t know if I should mention his name. I was getting weird about whether I should you know our people here but I’m the first the first book we published was short story called House of refuge. It was it was written for a liberal libertarian fiction authors Association short fiction contest, and it won a prize in that. And one of the prizes was that the sky went and he got a book cover made for me. So House Of Refuge is a it’s about seasteading. It’s about a rescue service on these these like floating, like artificial islands. And they were caught in the middle of a war at sea. And the book cover was actually very nice. It was very aesthetically pleasing. And it got it conveyed the right generic message. But it had an oil rig on it. And and I was like, ooh, you know, that oil rig. There’s no oil rigs in the story. A C set is not really an oil rig. And it doesn’t look like that describe it like that. And so I had you know, my wife we went through several different iterations of it and and but in truth I think if I just went with the oil rig one, it would sell better because like it’s obvious what that is, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with the story per se and and i think like the it looked, it looked like a tech note. It looked like a like the kind of cover you’d see on like a tom tom clancy novel, right? A very, very, very simplified thing. But it conveyed the genre and everything much better than the say story accurate representation that I was looking for. And I you know, I’ll be honest and say that, I think I think it was I think in hindsight, it was a mistake. So that was that that’s one of those that the book covers, that is definitely one of the things that I would I would go back and change. Yeah.

Stephen 29:15
And I’ve heard that several times before that. Authors tend to want to tell the whole story on the cover, and they a million things and this and this and that and this, and that’s not what people are looking for, again, if you overdo it, yes, people ignore it. If you try and do it to different people ignore it. So I guess, you know, we’ll we’ll put that out as the lesson. If people have heard that before other podcasts or on blogs or Facebook groups, and they listen to this. They’re hearing the same thing. So yeah, take it seriously. It’s printed on the internet.

Mike 29:52
It’s a it’s a bit hard won wisdom I have Yeah, it was. It was it’s tough, especially to convince my wife to accept that. I mean, she does But everything, but it is what it is.

Stephen 30:05
Right? Yeah. Okay, so real quick on this, what the type of software do you use to write? Or is there a services you use that you

Mike 30:15
use, I use everything I will, right? Sometimes I just I feel like, especially as I work well on the computer, you know, for eight hours a day, it’s there’s times I just can’t stare at the computer anymore. So I will I, yeah, worst office environment knows that but so, but anyway, I will get like a spiral bound notebook or, you know, a moleskin, or whatever, and I’ll just start writing there. I but for actually composing the stuff, I use a combination of really depends on my mood, I will use Scrivener, or I will use Google Docs or something like that. Now, I don’t necessarily want to put people towards Google for anything, because they have a tendency to sunset, their products and that’s and then you know, all you have to find new place for all your stuff or, or they’re, they’re actively like deleting stuff that you have on your Google Drive. But the nice thing about Google Docs, or or, or like Basecamp, or any sort of sharing thing that that’s cloud based is is that you can work on on one computer. And then if you’re downstairs, as often happens with me, I may write on something in my office upstairs, but then I’ll be downstairs working, you know, with my son, or even outside or something, I want to get some fresh air, but I have a thought occurs me again, pull out the laptop, and then just just directly connect to that same thing. And that Better yet, I can share it with other people, besides just my wife like I can share with we have we have the beta readers and and sounding board people that we just bounce ideas off, and they can read and comment on them. And that is is a very that’s a it’s a seamless process. And it’s very helpful to have a shareable cloud based writing tool. On the other hand, I never use that for the for the finalized thing, I always I imported that into Scrivener. And then I export it as we have we we’ve published enough books on KDP, both in terms of you know, the actual Kindle ebook formats, and and through what used to be called CreateSpace. But it’s now just Kindle whatever. And and you have to format them differently for print than you do for you know, for the for the for the Kindle itself. But that that is all done in Scrivener. And like, sometimes I have to edit stuff in word or whatever. But so so primarily Scrivener and Google Docs, I also use Evernote, which I think is a fantastic cloud based you can’t really share on Evernote. But it’s a great notepad taking thing into to accumulate your ideas and you know, it’s available on phone available on tablet. And you know, there’s these there’s things you can do like you can scan your paper notes and have them quickly put in there. All kinds of stuff like that. So I think I think Evernote is actually a very useful tool as well.

Stephen 33:21
Yeah, I know, I got big on using USB drives for a while. And I did repair work for computers and things. And so I carried a lot of stuff on these little drives. And when I realized how big cloud storage was becoming, I was just overjoyed. I mean, anywhere I I can hook up through my phone now in the middle of a field hooked my laptop up and I’ve got access. I think like you said, that’s a little sometimes underutilized, or people don’t realize everything they can really do using Satan’s cloud storage and saving things in the cloud. So yeah, I agree. I love it. Have you tried the new Mac or PC? Have you tried the new beta for the sky?

Mike 34:13
No, I haven’t. I’m not I’m the sort of person that I’m not an early adopter. So I it’s hard to say I’ve written enough new software to know that it’s usually a bad idea. But I trust Scrivener and I’ve it’s one of those it’s one of those pieces of software I’m actually willing to pay for and support so but no I haven’t really gotten it. I haven’t been following it really because sometimes I’ll see these new features like Well that seems really interesting. That seems very cool. And then I download it I never ever use it so

Stephen 34:49
right. Well that’s only $50 Okay, I’ll take that. Yeah, yeah, well, I I actually downloaded the beta for Scrivener. But I installed them side by side. So I kept using the original. And lately, they’ve got like release candidate five or something out. And I actually have been using, I said, Okay, you know what I’m just gonna try a new project on here, just see how it goes. And it’s been going well, and I haven’t had any issues. I’ve been watching the bug reports, and there haven’t been any very large scrap everything up type of bugs, it’s been some minor stuff. So I really think it might actually come out soon. And I’m really liking the upgrade. And I like some of the new features. The compile takes a bit to get used to and figure out and but it is almost CSS based, at least if you understand that, you’ll understand how the compiler works with that. So it takes some getting used to but I’ve been using it and haven’t been having a problem. So I’d be interested if we talk again sometime if you’ve

Mike 35:55
Yeah, I’m actually looking at it right now, since you mentioned it and it looks very nice. I think I’ll have to download it and give it a try.

Stephen 36:03
Yeah, you can install it side by side, just make sure and change a install path. So anyway, okay, so where all can we get your book? And what plans you’re next? Well, we

Mike 36:17
we our books are available on amazon.com. They’re available on Barnes and Noble calm they’re available in both ebook format. And and as print books that you can order and those you know, like a regular book. And we’re on Kobo, and all these other than the normal the normal ebook distribution channels. If you’re looking for in a store, and and you don’t see it there, you can, you can always ask to talk to the owner. And you know, they’re the staff there and request it. Like I said, they even if you go to Barnes and Noble, I don’t know if people go to see where I live, we don’t have bookstores anymore. They’re you know, we have a cup. That’s not true. We have a coffee shop bookstore, but as a very small selection but but if you go to your local game store, where they sell, you know, like Warhammer and magic gathering and stuff like that, you can also ask for my books there because actually they do tend to sell pretty good they’re at in that sort of environment. They may be because of the subject matter, like comic book stores and so forth, they may be interested in, in carrying them But otherwise, yeah, they usual e retailers. You can also actually go on our websites. So we have essentially poc.com which is our main website and we also have a site called heroic adventure fiction calm. And that actually has excerpts from our books we’re, we’re going to all the books that we have so far, we’re eventually going to publish them their chapter by chapter, it’s going to take a while to get them out. But they could come up with some illustrations and, and other neat tidbits that you can read them there you can sign up for our email list to get access to secret, never before published stuff. And then we do have our seventh book. It’s done except for the cover. And that will alright well I guess the Kickstarter we’re running now I don’t count as my seventh book. That that’s that’s it’s more oriented towards role playing games, though there is stories. There’s all brand new content in there that was maybe hinted at and touched on in several the other books. But it’s a lot of world building detail that we didn’t get to put out anywhere, there’s new characters and so forth. But our actual seventh book a storybook will be the sequel to The Martian workshop, the first Martian war Chronicles book. And we’re hoping to kickstart that as well. We think it’ll probably be within the next two to three months it will be available for pre order. But so that’s that’s the long range plan for that. And then we’ll see how things go. Because I’ve actually been having quite a bit more success through through Kickstarter than I’ve ever had with anything else. So we’ll see. We’ll see if that continues. That may be the the the new the new way not to say that it won’t eventually be available on Amazon or these other websites. But that that may be the the way we we launch, we do our launches in the future.

Stephen 39:18
Oh, that’d be interesting to follow up with that, too. I’d like to find out. Yeah, sure, that’s going for you too. And I imagine with a two year old, getting time to write is kind of getting a little more difficult than it used to

Mike 39:33
It’s, um, I joke before but you know, I love spending time with my son and he’s really fun. And he already like likes the same thing as I do. He loves Captain America while he was playing with toy soldiers and stuff like that. So like, I feel confident that in the future he’ll be writing and drawing with us. But like, like like anything else, you have to make time for it and it’s just it’s not impossible, but it’s just a bit more difficult when you have kids or you’re taking care of, maybe you’re taking care of like an older family member, someone who’s injured or a spouse or something like that. But, you know, there’s always, always something goes wrong, Oh, you got to fix the toilet, you got to, you know that the window broke or, you know, the basement flooded. And, you know, and you got to have time for your other hobbies and stuff too, and just just living life. But if you can put it this way, you know, if you write a page a day, and even that may be ambitious, but if you do a page a day, and it’s and it’s decent, you’re not constantly rewriting it. Every year, you can publish a novel. So

Stephen 40:39
right. And, and just like the book cover advice that people sometimes don’t listen to and follow, I’ll give you the advice you’ve probably heard a million times, you know, take advantage of your kids and enjoy the time because, man, my kids were three yesterday, and, and my youngest is graduating goes family. So it goes very, yeah, it’s amazingly and it gets a little sad. So don’t miss out on that. Definitely. All right, well, before we go, Mike, any other tips or advice or anything you’d like to say to other authors that are struggling or never make it no one

Mike 41:19
ever I was just to get bit of encouragement. No one ever knows who’s going to make it you know, and, and, and by making it making, it means different things to different people, right? If you’re happy what you’re doing, that’s, that’s important. If you make a little money in the side, that’s important, I wouldn’t go out there expecting to, you know, get movie deals and so forth. But then again, you never know. So I would say keep at it. And really the thing that I find, holds people back who wants to do something, whether sometimes they’re movie makers, sometimes they’re artists, sometimes, their their writers or game makers or something, is that they just don’t ever finish anything or, or, or they do finish and they’re like, Oh, this isn’t good enough to be published. And you know what, frankly, it may not be but there’s a lot of a lot of stuff out there, that it’s going to be better than that’s already been published. It already has a fan base. And you can put it out there and see if people like it, because you just you really don’t know what’s gonna catch on. And you know, if you like it, that’s good enough.

Stephen 42:24
That’s excellent. I love that. All right. Well, Mike, I appreciate the time. I’ll let you know when this is up and live and I’ll probably shoot you an email to make sure I got all the links and stuff, right and hopefully, maybe in six months to a year. I’ll hit you up again and we’ll follow up and see how I was going since then. See how threes are going.

Mike 42:45
Alright. Thank you very much for having me on. I appreciate it, Mike.

Stephen 42:47
Thanks. I appreciate you taking the time. I’ll talk to you later, sir.

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