A Wall for Teeth and Stingers Three Month Check-in

It’s hard to believe that my new novel has been on sale for three months already. It feels like a lifetime ago that I was pressing publish on all the things: publish the book, publish the announcements, publish the photos, publish the videos. It’s been a great summer so far, and I can’t thank you all enough for the support.

Here are some highlights I wanted to share with you:

A Wall for Teeth and Stingers Royalty Donation

Last spring, I announced that I would be donating all the royalties earned from the first three months of book sales. Now that it’s August, I’m happy to report that after manufacturing and distribution costs, I’ve earned over $450 in royalties from paperback and Kindle editions, and I have donated that money to The Oregon State Honey Bee Lab and the Xerces Society. Go pollinators!

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews!

My goal by the end of launch week was to have 20 reviews on Amazon. I fell short of that goal by just one review, which aint half bad. Three months later, I’ve got 30 reviews on Amazon, and I have 27 ratings and 17 reviews on Goodreads.

As an indie artist, reviews are one of the most important things for our work. They bring credibility, offer insight, and help new readers find our stories. For everyone who’s reviewed the book, let me buy you a beer sometime. And if you know anyone who’s read it, but hasn’t posted a review, let them know!

The Cover

I really love the cover of this book, and it seems like the internet does too! My book has been featured on a few different sites, including the homepage of Ebook Launch, the company that I partnered with to create the design. It was also nominated for a BookDesigner.com e-Book Cover Design Award!

Ebook Launch Homepage

Publish Drive:
On the importance of hiring a professional.

The Book Designer
e-Book Cover Design Award Nomination: “You can almost hear the buzzing when you look at this cover, it’s a great hook.”

The conversations

I’ve had some amazing conversations with my readers. Listening to people think critically about my work is surreal. All the crazy stuff that’s been in my brain for the past three years is now in yours, and hearing you parse through the details, ask questions, express interest—it’s my absolute favorite thing. Some reoccurring questions:

“WHAT THE HELL IS THE WALL?”

A real jerk. I’ll tell you that much.

“IS THERE A SEQUEL?”

I love this question, and it’s the one I’ve gotten the most. And the answer IS…

no, not at this time.

HOWEVER, if you’re interested in learning more about what was happening in A Wall for Teeth and Stingers, I would encourage you to read my other works. While they might be different stories with different characters, they aren’t necessarily unrelated…

Speaking of which, I’m writing a new novel!

The working title is Little Fires, though it’s likely to change when I go to print. I’m almost finished with the fourth draft, and my goal is to start pitching literary agents by summer 2018.

Thanks everyone! That’s it for now. Be sure to follow me at all the fun places below:

Ready Player One Trailer Lands, Gives Me Lots of Feels

Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One is one of those books I avoided for a really long time. I think it was because everyone told me I absolutely had to read it.

Really, it’s just that I prefer to find stories in my own time, or for stories to find me at the right time, which finally happened a few years ago at the Multnomah County Library. I stumbled across Ready Player One sitting on a shelf, which was curious because this is one of those novels with a five month waiting period.

Still, I was able to check it out, and, of course, I loved it. Now I’m one of those suckers telling anyone who’ll listen that they need to go buy the book before the movie comes out.

I have no clue if the movie will be any good. These days it seems like most films are about 25% less awesome than their trailers, which may not bode well for this film, because I really enjoyed the trailer. Especially the use of “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka in the score.

A Wall for Teeth and Stingers Giveaway!

Enter for a chance to win one of three signed copies of my new novel, A Wall for Teeth and Stingers!

When a swarm of bees begins trapping families inside their homes, four men are forced to confront dark secrets of their past. Driven to the brink, each of them begins turning on his loved ones. Unable to help, the world outside must watch and wait.

The news is calling it the lottery of nightmares.

With three families now dead, can retired police negotiator Rupert Loren hold his team together long enough to save the last family before it’s too late?

“A well-written mishmash of King and Crichton.” – Amazon customer review

“Could not put it down. If you like tightly-packed, plot-driven thrillers, you will enjoy this novel.” – Amazon customer review

“Started and finished this book in less than a day.” – Goodreads review

“Attempting to make bees truly horrifying without being too campy was a bold move, and pulled off perfectly.” – Goodreads review

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Wall for Teeth and Stingers by J.B. Kish

A Wall for Teeth and Stingers

by J.B. Kish

Giveaway ends July 02, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

A Wall for Teeth and Stingers is ALIVE!

Here I am, 8:00am, sitting in one of the very coffee shops where I wrote A Wall for Teeth and Stingers, pouring over some of the amazing reviews for my new novel. Is that weird? Probably not. I’m an indie author. This is literally all I have to do with my free time…

Photo: Eva Kosmas Flores

I’m 4 days into launch week, and the support for my new novel has been tremendous. I can’t thank my friends, family, and the strangers who rolled the dice on me enough. You’ve made this week a truly special experience for me.

As most of you know, 100% of the royalties earned for the months of May, June, and July will be donated to groups that support bee conservation. So if you know anyone who likes supernatural thrillers AND helping the environment, this is the deal for them. But don’t take my word for it. Check out some of these great reviews:

“Got sucked in and couldn’t put it down! Really liked the story, fun, fast-moving storyline with interesting, well-developed characters. Very imaginative, put plausible with interesting plot twists along the way.”

“J.B. Kish managed to do something with this book that is near impossible – prove me wrong. I’ll admit I was skeptical when I originally read the description. A wall of bees? I couldn’t fathom how that could work. However, one page in and that was it. The imagery and language were enthralling, the plot-line complex and irresistible, but what really got me was the character development. Every character revealed immense psychological depth that I think few writers could portray with such unapologetic eloquence.”

“As someone who reads a LOT of horror and true crime, it’s not easy to find stories this original and engaging. This book is spooky and refreshingly creative. The plot is interesting and new, with twists that will actually surprise you, and moments that will genuinely make your skin crawl. Themes of innocence, belonging, and connectivity across time and culture resonate with surprising tenderness, against the backdrop of a story-line that will suck you in and creep you out.”

“Truly chilling. I love the use of overlapping timelines and character arcs to underline the present horror. He’s got a great cadence for suspense and paranoid tension.His crafted descriptions and banter serve the rising terror well and offer a deep care for people and place.”

Check it out now for Kindle and Paperback!

Amazon
Goodreads

100% All Proceeds Donated

So I’ve written this supernatural thriller. And—OK—on paper, the antagonist *appears* to be a dangerous, almost cognizant swarm of American honey bees. But that doesn’t reflect my feelings on this amazing insect!

In fact, I’ve spent the past year getting to know some of the inspiring people and companies that drive Portland’s bee scene. I’ve spoken with apiarists, educators, and even attended a couple honey tasting competitions. I’ve been so impressed by everyone’s passion for conservation that it’s motivated me to join the cause in my own small way.

That’s why I’ve decided that for the months of May, June, and July, 100% of my novel’s proceeds will be donated to groups like the Pollinator Partnership, the Xerces Society, and the Portland Fruit Tree Project. So, if you’re a lover of fiction AND you want to support bee conservation, then this is a knockout deal. I’ve poured hundreds of hours into this novel, and this feels like the perfect conversion of my energy.

The book goes on sale May 14th for Kindle and paperback, and the official launch party is June 4th! I’m so excited to get it in your hands. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it.

A Quick Guide to Hunting View-Masters

Hunting for View-Master merchandise is oddly cathartic. For me at least. Maybe it’s how I unwind and check out, because I’ve spent hundreds of hours wandering through Portland’s antique shops and thrift stores looking for something to add to my collection. Headphones in. Music way, way up. It’s easily one of my favorite pastimes.

Viewers

Over the years, I’ve developed a loose set of rules for both finding and purchasing View-Master reels and viewers.  Unfortunately, this hobby might be pretty specific to Portland, OR, the birthplace of the View-Master. The further out in Oregon you go, the less common your finds will be. Though it’s not impossible. And I still have yet to find anything on the East Coast. That’s not to say View-Master didn’t make it that far. But I’ve found their antique shops value different kinds of collectibles: maritime loot and early Americana.

But, if you’re on the West Coast, and heading out for the day, here’s a couple tips for making the most out of your trip.

  1. Multi-Vendor Thrift Shops Take the Cake

    It’s not that single-vendor shops are a waste of time. It’s just that you can drive all over town only spending five minutes at each location. With multi-vendor shops, you can get lost for hours, and it’s fun to learn the personality types of each seller. If you’re going with a single-vendor, keep an eye out for the HUGE shops. This increases your chances.

  2. The Best Units May Surprise You

    When hunting, you’ll often come across units that live on either end of the spectrum: people who only collect toys, and people who only collect antiques. I’ve found that neither of these units are actually ideal, which may seem strange (especially considering that View-Master is now marketed as a toy). Here’s my logic:

    While toy dealers are great, they often overlook early View-Master reels and viewers because they appeal to such a niche market.  While there are some pretty rare models and variants, View-Master rarely sells on Ebay at jaw-dropping prices. Not like some baseball cards, action figures, or comic books at least. So the units with all the toys are often full of just that: toys.

    On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve got our old folks selling their brass and fine china. They don’t seem to care too much for View-Master. I’m guessing that’s because it’s below their pay-grade. I mean, we’re talking about Grandma’s best silver after all! That she carried across the ocean in 1902! So yeah, these people have finer things to worry about.

    Which brings me to this unit:

    Ohhh, man. Isn’t she glorious? Just the perfect amount of junk. This is the kind of unit that you’re looking for: the seller who lives in the center of that spectrum. They deal in some nicer-end items, but they also boast some total crap. And that rack of lunch boxes (center-left) tells you they have some appreciation for pop-culture and collectibles. The more you look, the more you’ll find. And don’t be afraid to dig. It can be easy for reels and viewers to get buried behind books or other large items.

  3.  Know a Model’s Value

    I’ve been collecting View-Masters for a few years now, so I’ve established my own pricing guide based on what I’ve seen in stores and online. I like to evaluate items based on their age, appearance, function, and a couple other categories. But that feels like a blog post for another time. For now, I think the best rule of thumb  is that few items are worth more than $100.

    This Model D is slightly more rare and one of the few exceptions to the $100 rule.

    Don’t assume an item is rare because a vendor says it is. I’ve offered this vendor $20 for the packet. Waiting to hear back…
  4. Know Your History

    Take the time to learn about View-Master’s history and the many models they produced. This will help you make informed purchasing decision. You might also stumble across some of View-Master’s predecessors.

Writing Heat Maps

I have trouble writing from home. I get distracted if I’m too comfortable. So I’ve always gotten my best work done in a public space—somewhere with a lot of white noise. For every city I’ve lived in, there’s been a coffee shop, a library, or a bar where I’d go to focus. Building on my interest in process, I took a look at some of my favorite writing spots across the country and created a series of heat maps to show where I’ve spent the most time. Visually, I think it’s pretty cool to see where my past three novels were born and nurtured. For those of you that celebrate my (incredibly) small catalog of (mostly) unpublished work, The Midnight Club and New London was written in Flagstaff, Austin, and Phoenix. A Wall for Teeth and Stingers (coming late 2016) and my third novel, Little Fires (in progress), were both written right here in Portland, OR.

Process: 30 days of writing [time-lapse video]

As a working writer, I’ve become obsessed with process.

A couple years ago, I saw Dana Haynes speak as a guest author for Willamette Writers. That night he mostly spoke about his Crasher series, in which an ensemble cast investigates plane crashes—not my favorite topic (I’m terrified of flying). When it came time for Q&A, a girl raised her hand, and, on behalf of her friend (also in attendance), asked what Dana thought about ‘process.’ She explained that while she could write every weekend, her friend (the shy one sinking down in her seat) could only manage a few hours every month.

I was interested in hearing Dana’s thoughts on this. I think the girl’s question really spoke to a deeper struggle that every writer must confront at some point: when can you—when are you allowed to—call yourself a writer?

When you publish your first book? When you land an agent? The first time you write a sentence?

A video posted by J.B. Kish (@johnboywrites) on

Dana’s answer was great. He spoke to the embarrassed girl directly, explaining that the art of writing was not unlike baseball. Some people churn out three pages a day. But there’s nothing wrong with holding out for the grand slam. If you can only write for 3 hours a month, then that’s your process, and you shouldn’t consider it any better or worse than [your] friend, who writes every weekend. Recalling it now, the metaphor seems a little muddled, but the point is generally understood.

Since that day, I’ve thought a lot about my own process. When I wrote my first novel, The Midnight Club and New London, I had none. It was the wild west in those pages. I wrote whenever the mood struck me, and I had no procedure or discipline. I attribute my struggle to finish this book to my lack of process.

With my second novel, A Wall for Teeth and Stingers, I finally managed to put a process in place. I wrote three hours a morning every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I was working full-time at a web company, and I remember how frustrated I felt because I wasn’t working quickly enough. I’d been humoring the idea of committing myself to a routine, and finally, one weekend, when I was supposed to leave for a camping trip, I called my friend and told him I had to bail. I needed to be home the next morning to get my three hours in. And I’ve been doing that ever since.

Now I’m working on my third novel, tentatively titled Little Fires. I got a new job and lost my ability to write on Friday mornings, which meant I was down to two days a week. Again, I felt that frustration mounting. I wasn’t working fast enough. I didn’t have enough time. I’d been experimenting with writing before work. But I had to wake up at 5am if I was going to take care of the dog, get ready for my day, and have time to write. I failed time and time again. I was losing sleep. I couldn’t focus at work. And my writing was junk. But I kept at it.

It wasn’t until two months later that something finally clicked into place. I started waking up five minutes before my alarm went off. I’d laid out my clothes the night before. The baristas had my coffee order memorized. I was getting a solid 60 minutes in before I had to catch my bus. And the most shocking part of all: my writing was growing more and more coherent. At times it was even good!

My process has evolved over the past ten years. I’m finally at a place where I can write every day, but it’s been a long, long road. A lot of coffee, and a lot of terribly written sentences. I made the video above as a kind of experiment. Writing is an exercise in isolation. It’s not as flashy or exciting as some other forms of art. And it can be years before you have anything to show for it. But writers, regardless of their process, are some of the hardest working people out there. Anyone who can spend hours reworking a single sentence is OK in my book.

For more updates on my process, check out my daily writing journal or Instagram account.