Thursday, December 20, 2012

Progress Report

An update for those who care. 

I was really trying to get a new book out by Christmas this year, but, Alas, it will not happen (as if you didn't figure that one out already.)

I finished the yet-to-be-named Christmas story on the 5th. With much thought and trepidation, I decided that I could not get it properly edited and revised in time to release for the holidays. 

It was a tough decision because I am really excited about this story now that it is completed. With cover art, editing, revising and distribution all left up to the self-published author, time was on my side to polish it up before the holidays.

So, on the back burner it goes, until this summer. Then, I'll look at it with a fresh eye and get it out to the editors, clean it up and release it toward the end of October.

Now, my focus shifts back to the Van Stone sequel. You can follow my progress on the progress bar on this page. I have an end of March deadline for publication, so its just around the corner. Thanks for being so patient!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Book Release

It's been awhile since I've posted anything. With a move to a new house and the holidays, time gets away. So you better look out now!

During this time, I also collaborated on a new book that was released on Black Friday ... 

The Indies Unlimited: Tutorials and Tools for Prospering in a Digital World, Volume I

Here's the book description from Amazon:
Whether you are an author wanting to expand your book’s market or an entrepreneur selling candy-coated knitting baskets, you will benefit from an enhanced social media presence.

In Tutorials and Tools for Prospering in a Digital World Volume I you’ll find 62 step-by-step tutorials and tips/tools for everything from establishing a presence on multiple social media platforms to tools for optimizing your web presence to bonus tips tailored specifically for authors.

The award-winning and best-selling multi-national staff of Indies Unlimited brings you the ultimate guide for slapping social media into submission.

Knowledge is power. Fish is brain food. If you don’t have fish, you should at least have the Indies Unlimited Tutorials and Tools for Prospering in a Digital World Volume I. It smells way better than fish, and doesn’t require refrigeration. How can you go wrong?

 So, if you know anyone who is trying to make it in the digital world, whether it be self-publishing or any internet based program, this would make a great Christmas present. 

You can find it on Amazon right here.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Books & Books Event in Coral Gables

Books and Books in Coral Gables, FL

A big thank you to everyone who turned out for The Card event and signing at Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida. The event was a huge success.

The turnout and response was more than I could ever have hoped for! The line was staggering (at least for me!)

Books & Books is one of the largest and certainly the most famous independent books store in the country with locations in Coral Gables, Bal Harbour, South Beach, Miami International Airport, Museum of Art - Ft. Lauderdale, Westhampton Beach, NY and Grand Cayman. 

Now you can find The Card stocked at Books & Books!
Autographing stock for the store!

My son, Gavin, looks at Daddy's novel in the bookstore window
The first time I've ever seen The Card in the window of a bookstore!

If you think I'm a little excited ... you're right. Thanks again to all who attended and picked up a copy of The Card!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What to Make of Author Rankings on Amazon

As if we didn’t have enough things to make us crazy, Amazon has come up with a new one—Amazon Author Rank. This is different from the “sales” rank for individual books on individual platforms. The new ranking compiles all your books sold on Amazon—Kindle, hardcopy and multiple titles combined.
You can access this new ranking on your Author Central Page. A new tab, “Rank” appears right next to the old “Sales Info” tab. Click on that and you’ll see how you rank from Amazon’s perspective. As with anything Amazon, it changes hourly and with sweeping changes. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Indies Unlimited

Happy Birthday to Indies Unlimited! 

We are celebrating our 1st birthday today. A big thank you to Stephen Hise, it was your brainchild that led to what today is one of the best sites for Indie Authors and Readers.

I was lucky enough to be invited on board in February, just a couple of months after its inception. It was a daunting task, contributing on a weekly basis, you know, like with deadlines and everything, but I have survived thus far.

What is Indies Unlimited you ask?

Only the finest collection of authors that help other authors. The writing is superb and the tutorials are priceless. Each author brings their talent, knowledge and experience and shares their secrets to what have made them successful.

 I've been touched on more than one occasion by the responses that I've received from our readers.

A while back one reader left this comment following one of my posts, " ... I've spent a lot of time on IU laughing or getting new ideas or learning new skills but this is the first time I've actually had a lump in my throat while reading an article."

I've gotten more out of Indies Unlimited than what I have contributed, but I'll keep trying every week. If you haven't checked them out yet, go there now, you won't be disappointed.

is the author of the Kindle #1 Bestselling novel, The Card, and a weekly contributing author for Indies Unlimited.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Being Accountable

Thanks to my fellow writer friend, Brian Beam, I got the idea to add progress bars to my site. Now, the world will know if I'm working on my two books or not.

It will also help motivate me a little bit, because I'll have to stare at them every time I view the site. No excuses now. Get writing, Jimmy!

  is a #1 Kindle Bestselling author and a weekly contributor to Indies Unlimited

Friday, September 21, 2012

Getting Started in this Business

This past Tuesday night, I had the pleasure of attending a book signing by one of my favorite authors, Randy Wayne White. Known for his “Doc Ford” novels (over twenty and counting), he has been writing for over thirty years.

What made this event possible is an Independent bookstore, Books and Books, just two or so blocks from a Barnes and Noble. Randy started his talk by remembering the beginning of his career. He had just published his first novel and the publisher had set up a book signing at a bookstore in Ft. Myers, FL. The bookstore had stocked SIX books for the signing.

Meanwhile, Randy stood around listening to crickets. No one showed up. He even went outside and tried to round up people to come in. He didn’t sell a single book that day. That gives me a little hope! My first book signing for The Card, I sold a grand total of ONE book!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Neil Armstrong a true American Hero

For those who know me, the space program has always been a big part of my life. Today, Neil Armstrong has died. I have been surprised at how that has affected me.

You can say what you want about NASA, but that organization has done more for this country than most governmental organizations.

As a child, I watched Neil step on the moon, the first heavenly body that Americans had ever touched. To this day, that memory has stuck with me. As you can probably tell, writing this is difficult. We have lost, not only an American Hero, but a World Hero.

I want to reprint a portion of what the Armstrong family said in their statement ...

“The next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

Tonight has been an emotional night for me, and I am reposting a previous post as I witnessed the final Space Shuttle launch.

Enjoy ... or reflect ...

Apollo Son reflects on the end of the Shuttle Program

Growing up as the son of an engineer working on the Saturn V, I came to love the space program and everything that it represented. The risk, exploration, innovation and country pride during the early days of the Apollo program is unmatched in our history.

On Friday, July 8th, I took my family up to the Cape for the final shuttle launch. Regardless of only a 30% chance of a launch, we arrived to crawling traffic and cars parking wherever there was a sliver of land to view the launch.

This brought me back to the days of the Apollo missions. The throngs of launch watchers took to the shores of the rivers, lagoons, and the beaches. Sometimes we would arrive hours before the launch and spend what seemed like all day and sometimes into the night. Back in the early days, the launch windows were not of the ten-minute variety that we see today.

The sense of pride and accomplishment that made the Apollo program special infiltrated all who watched in awe at the spectacle. Thousands would gather with their picnics, battery powered televisions and radios. All around, the echoing of the launch sequence reverberated from the tinny sounds of transistor radios at each outpost. A chorus of voices joined the countdown adding to the excitement of the moment. At liftoff, the crackling of the five engines producing 7,650,000 pounds-force shattered the calm. The massive percussion assaulted our senses and the crowd would cheer the Saturn V as it climbed higher into the sky. 

Waiting for the final Atlantis launch, the crowd reminded me of the early days. It was good to see. I had witnessed other shuttle launches and the crowds were not impressive. People had grown complacent with the Shuttle program. Faceless astronauts, not the rock star explorers of the early years, piloted the Shuttle. The country had become an “event” crowd and the routine shuttle launches were not an event. Sure, they came back, after a tragedy. That always made the next launch an event.

I’d like to say that the Apollo program was not subjected to the same apathy, but that is not the case. In the waning years, the fervor of launches and the routine of going to the moon brought smaller and smaller crowds to the beaches. The Apollo program ended due to budget cuts and the lack of support to keep sending Americans to the moon. 

As we waited for the final firing of the main engines, the feeling of nostalgia and pride rippled through those that had gathered on the shores. However, it was eerily different. In this modern day of iPhones and technology, there were no radio’s belting out the launch sequence. Many people looked around wondering what was happening, was it going to go off on time. Thousands of launch fans stared at their web accessed phones, trying to get an update. There was an almost church-like hush amongst the crowd.

Suddenly and quietly, the liftoff occurred. The flash of the solid rocket boosters lit up the sky and the Atlantis climbed quietly into the sky. With the wind at our backs, it was as if a silent rocket had just shot toward space. The crowd started to point at the fireball climbing higher. The cheers and applause escalated and a chill went down my spine. Although much quieter, this Apollo Son felt the excitement and pride of the old days.

The man standing next to me looked up and shouted, “Godspeed.” The term used back in the early days of manned space flight, a Middle English expression, a wish for success and fortune for one setting out on a voyage, adventure, or travels. The Atlantis disappeared behind the clouds for a brief moment. As it broke out into the blue, the sounds of the its thrust finally reached the ground around us and provided a brief feeling of the power involved in sending humans to space.

Forty some years ago, I was a wide-eyed kid, watching us send astronauts to space with awe. It is my hope that my three-year old son will have a glimmer of memory about this historic launch. He knows his grandfather helped build the Saturn V and he loves everything “space.” He gets excited when he sees the moon and I can’t help but think that he might one day be able to venture back there. 

There is no question that the Shuttle fleet is old and very costly. I don’t disagree with the ending of the program. It just hurts that as resourceful and innovative we are as Americans, that we don’t have an alternative in place.

Life sends you down roads that you never thought would happen. I’m a author now. Writing stories about a teenager named Van Stone. He doesn’t have any magical powers or isn’t a vampire. He’s a real kid that uses science and determination to solve mysteries. Since I build his world, maybe one day he’ll get into space. The only problem is, we no longer have a manned space program. 

Let’s hope I don’t have to build an imaginary world for him to accomplish that task.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Letter from a Librarian ...

Charles Reed Bishop Learning Center
Wow, I just received an email from a librarian at the Charles Reed Bishop Learning Center at the Kamehameha Schools in Hawai`i. I was so thrilled about the email, that I have to share it here.

Aloha Mr. ,

I am the middle school librarian at a private school for Hawaiian children on the island of Hawai`i.  I first purchased your book TheCard at the recommendation of one of our students who told me it was a great book.  It has been constantly checked out by boys who love baseball.  In fact, I haven’t had a chance to read it myself!  Today, one of our students, who had been placed in remedial reading class, came up to me with your book in hand and asked me if I had the next book in the series!   I told him that if there is another in the series, I would get it for him right away.  Unfortunately, I was not able to find any information about any other book in the Van Stone series.  Therefore, I’m writing to you directly to get an answer so I can let him know.  Hope your answer will be, “It’ll be out next month!”


Crystella Kauka
Charles Reed Bishop Learning Center
Kamehameha Schools Hawai`i
16-714 Volcano Road
Kea`au, HI 96749

Thanks a ton to Crystella and her students for making my day!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Character Arc and Stories That Stay With You

Great characters can make or break a novel. That is why authors work hard to develop these players. Big time authors get a lot of mileage out of one good character. Rowling certainly did that with Harry Potter, Nelson DeMille created John Corey and has had long string of bestselling books. One of my favorites is Doc Ford in the Randy Wayne White series set in Sanibel Island, Florida.  

Back in April, JD Mader posted an article in Indies Unlimited on character development and descriptions. He did a great job of breaking down character development of both physical and psychological traits. Today, I want to take his post a step further and discuss character arc. Character arc is essential to story success.

So what is character arc?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

New Five Start Review of The Card

Exciting news, just the other day, a new five start review showed up on Amazon and Goodreads. The reader and apparently fan of The Card, had this to say ...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Little Help for a Great Place

It was a hot one on Saturday as we set up shop at the Gold Coast RR Museum. In the shade of the world's largest blimp base, the decent sized crowd enjoyed the exhibits and entertainment on the Free First Saturday event. 

The GCRM is an unique place housing a collection of trains and other memorabilia. In addition, they offer train rides and even has a giant room with train tables for the kids. 

The museum sits on the old Richmond Naval Air Station, where in 1942, Blimp Patrol Squadron ZP-21 arrived to provide anti-submarine patrol, rescue and escort over the waters off Florida. 

Ferdinand Magellan Presidential Car
One of the greatest treasures of the museum is the Presidential Pullman "Ferdinand Magellan" that was used by Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower. This armored train was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977.

Great conversation and some books were sold throughout the day, with one dollar out of the sale of each book donated to the GCRM.

A big thank you to Michael Hall, Executive Director, for helping us make this event happen.

is the #1 Kindle Bestselling Author of The Card

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Book Signing at the Gold Coast RR Museum

I'll be out at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum on Saturday, August 4th, for a book signing. 

Every first Saturday of the month the Gold Coast Railroad Museum is offering free admission from 11:00am to 5:00pm. Once again the popular Food Truck Rodeo will return offering a variety of food choices.

Come out to pick up your copy of THE CARD and ride some trains! Kids will love the bounce houses and mini golf as well.

is the #1 bestselling author of the Van Stone series, THE CARD and contributing author for Indies Unlimited.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Department of Justice upholds "Final Judgment" in Antitrust Case against Publishers

A few months ago, the Department of Justice (DoJ) investigated and ruled on an Antitrust case against Apple, Inc, Hachette Book Group, Inc, HarperCollins Publishers, Holtzbinck Publishers d/b/a MacMillan Group, The Penguin Group, and Simon and Schuster, Inc. You can read more about the case and its implications in two earlier blog posts that I wrote for Indies Unlimited HERE and HERE.

The DoJ has determined that the proposed “final judgment” provides “an appropriate and effective remedy” for the antitrust violations. They are quoted as saying that the comments to dismiss the case were being submitted “by those who have an interest in seeing consumers pay more for e-books…”

The DoJ showed little interest in the comments from some of the big players in the industry, including Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and the Authors Guild. The go further to say that arguments that Amazon will eventually monopolize the e-book industry as “highly speculative at best.”

The DoJ also noted that not all authors objected to the settlement. Apparently, many mainstream or traditionally published authors were against the settlement. The largest group in favor of the settlement was self-published authors. In one comment by a group of self-published authors, the traditional publishers and literary agents were described as “… all kinds of middlemen which have gone from being indispensable to optional … “

The purpose of the Final Judgment is to 1) end the current collusion (price fixing); 2) restore competition eliminated by that collusion; and 3) ensure compliance. Specifically, the settlement enforces the following: A) Refrain for two years from entering into contracts containing retail price restrictions and price commitment mechanisms; B) stop communicating competitively sensitive information to competitors; C) not retaliate against retailers that exercise discounting authority; and D) agree not to fix terms or prices with competitors for the provision of e-books.

The final judgment does not impose a business model on the e-book industry. However, for two years, Settling Defendants cannot prohibit retailers from discounting e-books.

There’s much more in this 66 page document from the Department of Justice. I hope that I have picked out the key points to help us understand what it means and how it will affect us. For more information you can view the decision at

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is the author of the #1 Kindle bestselling novel, The Card, and a weekly contributor to the indie writing and publishing resource, Indies Unlimited.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Space exploration and writing - An Analysis of two similar paths

On this forty-third anniversary of the man first stepping foot on the moon, I thought I’d go space with my blog.

If you’re like me, writing is really important. I want to make a career of writing. I want to leave an imprint with my writing. I want to make people laugh, cry, think and dream. I’m not saying that I do—it’s what I strive to do. This past week I started to think about writing in the grand scheme of things. Get a load of this for a sec:     

Let’s say that we look at recorded history and squeeze it into a fifty year equivalent time-span. For the first forty years of our shrunken recorded time-line, we know very little.

Monday, July 9, 2012

New Review for The Card

I just received a new review for THE CARD, posted on Amazon and Hide and Read a review blog site. She rated it at three stars, which I'm really okay with because of the excellent comments. Every reviewer has their own process and scale in which to rate books.

Take a moment and check out the review, I especially liked this opinion straight from the review:

 "...This novel takes us inside the world of baseball, or specifically, that of bat boys, with the introduction of Van's new job. For young sports fans, this may present a point of interest, especially as it is told through the eyes of a neophyte who is both awed and enthralled by each new experience. This "insider look" is one of the high points of the novel and ... "

A big thank you to Hide and Read for taking the time to read and post a review.

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is the author of the #1 Kindle bestselling novel, The Card, and a weekly contributor to the indie writing and publishing resource, Indies Unlimited.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Stop the Insanity - Using the Right Words in the Right Places

I’m not big on posting boring lists, but today, I’ll make an exception.

It's RBI not RBI's
We all run across words, phrases and issues from time to time, that don’t make a lot of sense. Okay, I’ll come right out and say it, they are flat out WRONG. I don’t consider myself an expert on grammar or proper use of words so I’ve kept an ongoing list of the top pet peeves/mistakes I’ve made in the past. Here we go and, hopefully I hope, you’ll find a couple that will help.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Devitt Clan has expanded

I'm back!

After a brief hiatus here on the blog, I have returned to the blogosphere with a new addition to the family. My wife and I recently brought Jovie Taylor into the world. This little bundle of joy was born on June 4th, 2012.

Her four-year old brother Gavin loves having a new sister!

I'll be back to regular submissions now that we've gotten through the first month. Stay tuned for some cool and informative articles.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Illuminating Blogger Award

Woo Hoo!

So here I am, minding my own business (okay everybody's business, I was on Twitter) when I see a Tweet that I was nominated for the Illuminating Blogger Award. Where did that come from??

I am honored and humbled by the recognition and I must send out props to KD Rush from The Rush Room for the nomination. The Illuminating Blogger Award is bestowed upon individuals or groups with informative content or blogging techniques or personalities. I have to think most of the content that has garnered this attention is through the Indies Unlimited Site that I contribute to on a weekly basis. While I do separate the content from this blog to IU, I tend to provide the more "how to" stuff over at IU.

Please visit the site for the award "givers" here.

The Rules
1. The nominee should visit the award site ( and leave a comment indicating that they have been nominated and by whom. (This step is so important because it’s the only way that we can create a blogroll of award winners).
2. The Nominee should thank the person that nominated them by posting & including a link to their blog.
3. Share one random thing about yourself in your blog post.
4. Select at least five other bloggers that you enjoy reading their illuminating, informative posts and nominate them for the award.
5. Notify your  nominees by leaving a comment on their blog, including a link to the award site (

Random Fact
I was a member of the College All-American Marching Band and performed at the Statue of Liberty Centennial celebration in New York City.

Five Blogs
1. Storyfix  Author Larry Brooks, Story Engineering
2. Book Dads  Author Chris Singer
3. A Newbies Guide to Publishing    Author JA Konrath - Hugely influential
4. Amanda Hocking's Blog Author Amanda Hocking - Hugely influential in the early days
5. Full Moon Bites - Author Holly - She posted my first review ever!

These are five blogs that have changed my life. I don't say that lightly.

Lonely Life? Not as a Writer


That word looks so lonely. Every author has heard the proverbial, “Writing is the loneliest profession.”


We spend countless hours in front of the keyboard, with our imaginary and sometimes not so imaginary friends.

Think about it, if you write 750 words per hour (a decent clip, about what I average when I’m rolling) that means in the best case scenario, that’s 133 hours for a 100,000 word novel. In other words if you wrote for a solid five hours per day, it would work out to roughly 27 days—month and a week if you believe in weekends.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Nice reference letter from a client

Hi All, 
I know I've been quiet lately. Lot's going on. I wanted to share with you a letter I received from a non-profit that I worked with on a recent fundraising campaign. 

As I've grown in the indie publishing world, I've gotten more involved with social media. This has led to various freelance projects and helping others with developing platforms. Social media is a constant maze that changes almost daily. 

In this recent project, I worked with two non-profits to help them set up a social media program and then launch a fundraising campaign. It was a very rewarding project and we were able to help them raise enough money to receive a dollar for dollar match by the WK Kellogg Foundation. 

Some nice props from the Southern Partners Fund
I just received this letter in the mail today. It made my day!

Thanks to Linda and her team for helping make this a truly successful experience.  

If you are interested in learning more about working with social media please leave a comment below and I'll be happy to discuss with you.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Amazon Categories and how to become a Bestseller

Bestselling AuthorBestselling Novel … sounds good doesn’t it? A few weeks ago, I posted about reviews and their impact on ratings and readers. You can see that post here. Today, I want to discuss the elusive BESTSELLER.

This article was originally posted in Indies Unlimited a few weeks ago. Since then, several authors have followed these steps and created a bestseller for themselves in the matter of days. 

When you have achieved bestseller status, it is yours for life. No one can take it away. Conveniently, Amazon changes the rankings hourly. Now, many of you might look at that as a negative but all you need is for your book to hit #1 just one time, and even if it drops out after an hour, you’ve just achieved “bestseller” status.