Training Dragon Dictation with a Book Update

I’m writing this post today with a new tool: Dragon Dictation 4.0. I installed the Dragon Dictation software on my MacBook Air yesterday, and the first thing that must be done is to train speech profiles for the individual user.  After working with it a few hours, this is the first time I’ve used it for real, so this is a test. Although I’ve been aware of Dragon Dictation for quite some time, it wasn’t until recently that I learned it had improved sufficiently that many authors are using it for writing books.

While I’m a fast typist as long as I stay in practice, Dragon Dictation makes it possible to get more words on the page per minute than any typist could do with a keyboard. But aside from speed, the real appeal of dictation software is the ability to write without being chained to a desk. With the newer versions of Dragon, not only can you dictate speech with a wireless Bluetooth microphone, but you can also use a smart phone or voice recorder to dictate audio that is later uploaded and transcribed to text.

Learning to speak clearly enough and adding the punctuation into the dictation takes some practice, but the accuracy is quite amazing and what I’ve been able to do in just one day leads me to believe buying Dragon was a good investment. I’ll soon put it to a real test composing the manuscript for my next book and will post here to let you know how that goes.

Today, I wanted to post an update on the status of Sailing the Apocalypse. I’ve completed the final draft of the manuscript, and it turned out to be quite a bit longer than I intended when I started. What really surprised me though is my decision that this story is now going to be a series instead of a standalone book. I can easily see the adventure going on, and I’m really starting to like writing these characters and settings, and the crazy situations they keep getting themselves into.

Building on that, it’s natural to continue with the sequel and I intend to get started on it right away. For those of you who have pre-ordered the book, I also wanted to let you know that it’s going to be released sooner then the date scheduled on Amazon, which is February 15, 2015. I should  have the editing wrapped up and the final formatting done by the end of the first week in January. If everything goes as expected, that means the book will be for sale around the middle of January or no later than the end. Whether you preorder now or wait until the book is released, the price will stay the same, $4.99 for the ebook version. The paperback price will be announced as soon as it’s finalized.

For those who have pre-ordered already, I want to thank you for that because strong initial preorders boost the title’s visibility on Amazon and elsewhere, making it easier for new readers who may not be familiar with my work to find this and my other books.

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Sailing the Apocalypse Available for Preorder

I’m wrapping up the manuscript for my next book within a few days and it will be all set to go to the copyeditor shortly thereafter.  Sailing the Apocalypse is a novel of about 70,000 words, and is the first novel I’ve written in the first person point of view.  This is a story I’ve really enjoyed working on and writing it has given me several ideas for other works or possibly sequels to this one. Anyone who has spent as much time on or around the water as I have could not help but run into some of the eccentric characters sailing attracts. The main character of this story is one of those, but like most sailors and boatbuilders, Terry Bailey is resourceful and independent even if he does take a lot of his ideas too far.

With “apocalypse” in the title, a lot of my readers will assume this book is another “post-apocalyptic” or dystopian survival tale like The Pulse or The Darkness After, but it’s actually more “pre-apocalyptic” if anything. The Wharram catamaran featured in the story and on the cover is christened the Apocalypse by Terry and his family after they build and launch it.  And it’s purpose is to be their new home and escape pod from the doom that Terry is certain will soon befall America. Readers of my other works will see a bit of the prepper mentality in this character as well, but he’s much more off the deep end than I’ve recommended in my serious nonfiction titles on the subject.

Sailing the Apocalypse is available for preorder now in the ebook form for just five bucks from the usual retailers linked below, and the print version will be available about the time the ebook is released.  Although the release date posted on Amazon and the other stores is February 15, the book should be available a full month earlier or by the end of January at the latest.

SailingTheApocalypseFinal1webAmazon Kindle

Apple iBooks


Barnes & Noble 

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Another Interview with John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith of Destiny Survival Radio invited me back this week to talk about my most recent book, Refuge.  You can listen to the interview in full here:

John has posted some of his thoughts about the book and the interview on his website here:

He also shares some thoughts about what he calls “survival” or “prepper” fiction, and we seem to agree on the aspects of this sub-genre that we both like and dislike.  For example, none of my characters are survival experts, seasoned preppers or ex-special forces military types.  I understand the appeal of books with heroes of that nature, but for my own writing I prefer to place mostly ordinary people into extraordinary circumstances and see what happens.  While some of the characters in my stories have special skills or backgrounds that make them more adaptable to the dangers of a post-collapse world, none of them are “preppers” or “survivalists” and I do not consider myself one either.  I don’t like either term because of the popular misconceptions of them, even though I have written both nonfiction and fiction books could be considered to fit into those descriptions and my most recent nonfiction book was even titled  The Prepper’s Workbook.

I’ve been interested in learning wilderness survival skills for as long as I can remember, having spent much of my childhood reading outdoor adventure stories and wanting to be able to do the things the heroes in those stories could do.  Even then I knew I would pursue real-life adventures as much as possible when I got old enough, and I was lucky enough to make many of my dreams come true in that regard.  As a consequence, it was essential to learn many of these skills and to learn how to be comfortable in conditions and circumstances far outside of ordinary modern life.  This is the background that has provided the inspiration for the last seven books I’ve written, including the three novels, and I plan to continue the stories started in The Pulse and The Darkness After as two ongoing series.  Aside from those, I have plans for other unrelated stories, such as Sailing the Apocalypse, which is in progress now.  Most of these other ideas have a survival or apocalyptic theme, and all are adventures in one way or another because adventure is what I live for.

Speaking of those future projects, if you haven’t signed up for my new email newsletter, please consider doing so now.  There was some confusion when I started the new mailing list because many of you who are reading this have subscribed to my blog posts on this site.  I want to point out again that the blog subscription is a separate thing and I have added sign-up forms for both the newsletter and the blog posts in the sidebar to the right on this page.  If you are already a blog subscriber and are reading this in an email or RSS feed, the proper link for the newsletter signup is here:

The purpose of the newsletter is to keep my readers updated regarding my new books and other events and one of the benefits of signing up is that you will automatically be entered to win free copies of my books in the many giveaways I’m doing there.  In October, one subscriber was chosen each of the five Fridays of that month to receive a free copy of Refuge, and before that, ten copies of that book were given to winners chosen at random from that list.  I have more book giveaways and announcements coming up, so stay tuned for those.

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