Amazon is Giving 5 Bucks for Reading

Not Lu here: Amazon is rewarding readers with five bucks towards a Kindle eBook just for reading… and other stuff related to reading. All you have to do sign into your Amazon account then go to

Unfortunately, it’s only for people who shop in the United States store. I’ve also read that it’s by invitation only. Supposedly, Amazon sends you an email with an invite. Well, as you know, I’m not a big fan of believing what people tell me just because they said so, so I went to the Kindle Challenge page even though I hadn’t got an invite. I saw this.

At the top of the page it also gave me an option to get an email on my progress. I chose the option because I wanted to do everything I could to make sure Amazon would reward me. Hehe.

It already showed me how many days I’d read this month. Then showed other badges I could earn. The diamond shaped badges are the ones that you need to earn for the five dollar credit towards an eBook. You need four of them and you have to earn them before January 31, 2021. Fortunately for me, I was near the end of a book so when I finished it I checked out a new book from Kindle Unlimited. I also made sure it was the start of a new series so I earned that badge too. Just for kicks, I followed an author on Amazon, but that badge hasn’t shown up yet. The challenge page states that it can take a few days for earned badges to show up. They turn from black and white to color when you’ve completed the task.

I don’t know if Amazon will credit my account, but I figure it’s worth a try since I’m reading anyway. It might be worth a try for you too. Here’s the page again:

Good Luck! I hope it works for you!


80% Done with Book Two

Not Lu here: I’ve finally got some good news… I think. In the last update, I told you that Justan had run into some snags which had him writing a lot of words, but not finishing the book. He also had some problems with where the characters were and how their story was progressing. Well, he thinks he’s resolved both problems. The problem for me is that the little bastard isn’t a good judge of what it means to solve a problem. As you can see below, I’m pretty sure the problem is he’s been gaming too much and writing too little.

Nevertheless, I’m going to give you his update (and hope he’s not lying to me). So, he now has every character up to the 80% point of the book. It took him a lot of time to figure out Sybil and Loy’s stories. Cough. Cough. Can you say gaming? Poor Sybil, she never gets enough attention from Justan.

He also told me that he has a rough outline of what needs to happen with every character by the end of the book. Of course, that “outline” is only in his head, because as you might know, Justan just starts writing and lets each character go where they want and hopes that they all do what is necessary to advance the story. So, we’ll just have to wait and see if he really is close to finishing or if he gets “stuck” (aka gaming) again.

He now just has to push through and get every character to the finish line.

As far as word count goes, he’s got 450,000 words written in the official document plus tens of thousands in the “might be used” folders. This led me to ask if the book was going to be 600,000 words. His response (as always) was a murky jumble of nonsense that basically said, “I still think it’ll only be 500,000 words because even though the last chapter I just wrote was 40,000 words and I still probably have 100,000 or 150,000 words left to write I’ll probably have to take a lot of the words out of the 450,000 in the official document, but I know that I’m definitely keeping 300,000 of those words because I’ve rewritten them a couple of times, so yeah, about 500,000 words.”

I don’t think he can do math. Or speak in small sentences. Or even write small sentences. Good thing we all like long books and long sentences… and hate math.

As far as betting goes, I’m taking the over 500,000 words odds. Yep, it’ll be five or six books in one. Good thing we’re all readers who never want the story to end… but we do want Justan to finish the damn book!

So, the short story is. He’s about 80% done with the first draft. He’s also given me a reasonable date that he thinks he’ll be done.

Unfortunately, he’s really bad at estimating as evidenced by the fact that this draft is now a year late. Where does that leave all of us? In the same place we were before. Waiting. All I can say is IT BETTER BE WORTH THE WAIT!


A New Hobby for Not Lu

Not Lu here: I’ve been waiting so long for book 2 of Justan’s Common Among Gods series that I’ve lost interest in reading. If I can’t read Justan Henner, what’s the point? Right? So, while I wait for the next book I’ve decided to take up a new hobby. I’m recreating scenes from Death’s Merchant. My first one is Chapter 5 where we get introduced to Wilt. Here it is:

Beneath the lone tree in a field of green, Wilt lived an unmercifully long death. Once he had been a soldier, but now he was only pain.

She had stabbed him. The bitch had stabbed him.

To create the scene, I took The Mother’s bonsai plant, added some ground cover, then Wilt with purple spewing out of him. Why purple, you ask? Because as Lu says, “Dying is purple. I like purple.”

Ok, back to reality… and an update on where Justan is on book 2. Currently, he’s semi-stuck, but not so stuck that he’s not making progress. Actually, the little bastard’s major problem is that he’s making too much progress with words and not enough progress with finishing the damn book.

He’s written 318,000 words that are in 43 complete chapters. He also has another 78,000 words in his “in progress” folder for a total of 396,000 words.

Death’s Merchant is 408,000 words so you’d think Justan would be finished. Maybe that all he needs to do is wrap up a few things, right? Wrong. Instead of being almost finished, he’s pretty much got every character where they need to be leading up to the climax. Now he just has to write the final push.

When I asked him how many words he thinks that process will take he said, “I think the book will be about 500,000 words.”

To which I said, “So, about 100,000 words?” Thinking, sheesh this is getting out of hand. A normal book is only 100,000 words. He already gives you guys 4 books in 1. Now he’s going to give you 5.

How wrong I was. It was even worse.

His next sentence was, “Well, I’m probably going to take out a bunch of stuff that I’m not happy with so it’ll be more than 100,000 words.”

At which point I lost hope and asked, “But, you said you’re happy with where all of the characters are, right?”

That’s where the real dissembling started happening… and I pretty much stopped listening – because it was sounding like excuses. But, I did get one thing from him that actually mattered. He said that he just wants to get it right.

That gave me some hope again. For those of you who have signed up for Justan’s newsletter you know it took a lot of rewrites to satisfy his beta readers and get Death’s Merchant right. For book 2, he’s trying to avoid several rounds of beta reading. That means he’s has taken a little more time going back and doing a reread of Death’s Merchant then reading book 2 to make sure it flows smoothly and that the storylines make sense going forward. He thinks he’s there now. So, hopefully he can make a sprint to the end and I can stop doing fan art.

Bottom line, he thinks he’s 70% done with the rough draft. I’ll let you know when he makes another major milestone.


Not Lu’s Handy Guide to Stealing Justan’s Ideas

Not Lu here: I’ve always wanted to write an epic fantasy book, but couldn’t come up with any good ideas. The god of inspiration just doesn’t shine on me the way he does for Justan (Yes, all of Justan’s good ideas come from the god of inspiration. All of his bad ideas come from thinking for himself. He should really start listening to the god of inspiration a lot more.). Oh, sorry, now back to me. Even though I don’t know how to come up with ideas for myself, I do know how to scheme… especially if it means a scheme that pisses Justan off. So, I’ve come up with a handy and nefarious guide to stealing Justan’s ideas.

The best part about the scheme is that I took most of the words from reviews of Death’s Merchant. That way you know that the idea you get from my epic fantasy idea generator will guarantee a highly rated (but confusing, frustrating, brain digesting, errant thought — or my own personal favorite — author really makes you work for it) book!

The even bester part of my scheme is that my idea generator tailors the idea specifically to you so lots and lots of you can steal ideas from Justan but they’ll all be different. That way Justan will never figure out that you stole it from him.

To get your specifically tailored and totally your own epic fantasy idea that is just for you, all you have to do is put the words (you get from my handy chart) that correspond to the letters of your name (which you got from your parents) in the specially prepared slots that I’ve provided in a sentence just for you (in my handy chart). And as Lu told Null, for the love of the gods, do it in the order provided so we can move this process along!

Epic Fantasy Book Idea Generator



65% Done with Book Two

Not Lu here: It’s been a while since I gave you an update on Justan’s progress in writing book two in the Common Among Gods series. Fortunately, I’ve got good news to report. After the last update, Justan finally got his act together (or just decided to start lying to me) and figured out a way to keep book two to about 400,000 words. He’s also been busy writing and now has over 259,000 words written. That means he’s about 65% of the way done with the rough draft of book two.

He’s figured out what every character needs to do except for Sybil, which I find kind of funny. But, I’m sure some of you will be pissed. On the bright side, he’s got 140,000 words left to work Sybil (with Loy, Skibs, and Rise) into the story.


Theories About Lu

I’m planning on writing a newsletter with Lu and/or Not Lu and/or not Not Lu (or as Brother Critic calls Lu “Not Dydal or whoever the F*** he is”) as the subject. I’m not ready to reveal who or what Lu is just yet, but it seems everyone has a theory so I thought it would be fun to collect them from anyone who is willing to share. So, if you have a theory about who a Lu or a not Lu is send it to me and I’ll include it in a future newsletter. You can email your theories to or hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


More Time for Writing Because of OneUp App

Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook know that I like to post quotes from Death’s Merchant. Every week, I usually load up 10 to 20 quotes with images that I think you’ll enjoy. The problem with this is that it takes valuable time away from my writing. So, what’s an author to do? Find an automated solution, of course!

I went in search for an auto-scheduler and found a great social media scheduler called OneUp. It lets me upload my quotes and pictures automatically from a file instead of having to load them one at a time. The cool thing about it is all I have to do is set a schedule for what time of day (for each day of the week) I want quotes to post on Facebook or Twitter then upload a file. OneUp puts the social media post into my schedule automatically. Now it only takes a few minutes for what used to take an hour. What that means for you is that I now have more time to get you the next book in the Common Among Gods series.

Another benefit for you is that OneUp can schedule Instagram quotes too. So, those of you who are on Instagram can follow me at where I’ll start posting quotes sometime over the next few days.


Good News and Bad News

Not Lu here: Notice the following in the image below. Sipper cup – check. Comfy jammies – check. Warm socks – check. Phone and thumbs for writing book 2 in Common Among Gods – check.

Justan just gave me the good news that he’s written 176,000 words and 28 chapters in book 2 of Common Among Gods. You can imagine my delight that he’s over 40% of the way done… except he probably isn’t.

The little bastard followed up his, “Oh, I’m such a good author. I’ve written 176,000 words in so little time!” with, “But I think there’s a problem. I’m not even to the half way point yet. I don’t see how the book will be less than 600,000 words.”

I promptly gave him a beating and sent him to his room without dinner, in part to nurse his wounds but, mostly to think about disciplining himself and just getting book 2 done.

When he emerged from isolation and humiliation I asked him if he could tell me what he did wrong (that’s our rule for getting out after being sent to your room – no time limit – just come out when you can explain your failure in detail). His response was, “I know it’s too much, but it’s all really good stuff.” Yeah, right. As if any of us believes that!

But being the better person that I am, I decided I’d listen and see if he could explain his problem. It turns out that in ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-SIX THOUSAND WORDS (about 75% longer than most books), the neerdowell spawn hasn’t even gotten Sybil out of the university and looking for Just. “Seriously? Isn’t that kind of the promise of book 2?” I asked.

“Well, Null has to do some stuff first. And Jem has to do some stuff with Wilt. And Bell has to do some stuff with Just. And Lu has to do some stuff that messes up the stuff everyone else is trying to do. Plus the Mother and maybe Fate. And I have to find a way to build Magistrate Godahn because he wasn’t really a player in book 1. And I’m not sure what the promise is yet because I don’t know how it ends yet. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

At this point, I gave up and said, “Well, we’ll just have to do what we did with Death’s Merchant. You just write it the way you want, using as many words as it takes, then we’ll send it out to your beta readers, they’ll tell you how bad it sucks, then you’ll strip out what you have to, then add what you have to to make it readable.”

“Sounds like a good plan. Can I come out of my room now?” he responded.

So, with all that said, he’s 43% done if he can keep it to around 400,000 words, 35% done if it’s 500,000 words, and 29% done if it’s 600,000 words. All I can say is it’s a good thing all you epic fantasy readers like big ass books.

Oh, yeah, if you haven’t read Death’s Merchant yet you can get it here. Or here are some free stories that lead into Death’s Merchant.



20% Done With Book Two

Not Lu here: The family went to Hawaii for Thanksgiving and Justan wrote almost every day. Here he is writing while The Mother and The Brothers read. And before you ask, yes, we went to Hawaii and sat around reading…. at least we moved around from couch to chair to deck to patio to hammock to beach and back to the couch.

Now for an update on Book Two in the Common Among Gods series. Justan has 86,000 words in the official draft (and another 21,000 word in a “to be used” pile). The official words are in 15 chapters that are complete or in progress. So officially, he’s about 20% of the way through the first draft assuming he keeps the word count to 400,000 words (the same size as Death’s Merchant). However, he told me last night that he’s worried that it might end up 600k words (something about Sybil not getting enough attention… blah, blah, blah). I gave him a stern reprimand then sent him back to work so let’s hope he can discipline himself and just finish the damn book.


19,000 Words

Not Lu here: Over the past couple of weeks Justan has pounded out another 19,000 words. The total for book two in the Common Among Gods series is now up to about 69,000 words. There are 10 chapters complete or in “official” progress. Justan has about 30,000 more words in some sort of “to be used” status that aren’t in the official count. So, using the official count and the length of book one it appears that book two is about 1/6th of the way done.