Sunday, May 17, 2020

Bull and the Goblin Raid

Surprise! I wrote another book!

I wasn’t planning on releasing a book so quickly after The Emerald Gate, but fate forced my hand. I’ve had Bull and the Goblin Raid ready to go for some time now, but was going to wait and give some spacing between it and The Emerald Gate. I also wanted to work on the sequel to Bull as it is a serialized novel and I want to publish on a fairly rapid pace. However, the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off just announced that they opening for entries next Saturday, and I can’t miss this opportunity. SPFBO is a fantastic writing contest for self-published authors.

I am extremely excited about Bull and the Goblin Raid. It is based in the same world as my The Orb novels, but is set 500 years later. Hadde, Ayja, Telea, Nidon, and the others are historical figures to the characters in Bull. You don’t have to have read any of my other novels in order to read Bull.

Bull and the Goblin Raid is different from how I’ve written before in a couple of ways. Bull is written in the first person. I can’t express how much I enjoyed writing in the first person. It was a fantastic, refreshing way to tell a story. The voice of Bull is unlike anything I’ve ever written. Bull and the Goblin Raid is also a short novel. It is 44,000 words long. Eternal Knight was 115,000 and The Dromost Gate was 200,000 by comparison. 40,000 words is really the minimum length you can write and still call a book a novel. By the way, Bull is only available as an ebook. Once I’ve written four Bull books, I’ll bundle them and turn them into a paperback.

The premise of the Bull novels is that an aged warrior who has come to The Green Wyvern Inn to tell the story of his life. Each night Bull will return to tell a little more of his life’s story. Each book of the series is another night of storytelling. Bull and the Goblin Raid tells the tale of his life up until Bull is seventeen and his life is turned upside down my a major life event.

The event may, or may not, be a goblin raid.

I hope you check it out. I am so excited for this book. And if you enjoy it, please leave a review on your favorite bookseller’s website. Reviews are hugely important for independent authors.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Release Day!

Release Day!

Today I'm celebrating the official release of The Emerald Gate. The Emerald Gate is the fifth (and final) book of The Orb fantasy series.

To make it extra special, I've discounted the ebook of Eternal Knight (book one) to free and Child of the Knight (book two) to $.99.

It's been a long journey. I started writing Eternal Knight in 1988! It's an amazing, wonderful feeling to complete something that's been a part of my life for such a long time.

The Orb might be drawing to a close, but I have more books on the way in the very near future. If you haven't read my books, this is a perfect opportunity to start!


Sunday, April 12, 2020

Emerald Gate Countdown

As the new year rolled around I decided I needed to make some changes. Writing had to take a higher priority and goofing off had to be moved down the list. It didn't hurt that I'd just started writing Bull and the Goblin Raid (more about that in a later post) and was loving it. Writing in the first person was a fun, refreshing change. So I said goodbye to my spaceships in EVE Online and said hello to Scrivener (writing software)

Part of my transformation involved getting back to my habit of tracking my work on spreadsheets.

I love my spreadsheets. They keep me motivated and on track. For this one I added an "Hours Editing" column and for my "Adjusted Average" word count calculation I counted one hour of editing, proofreading, and other book work as 500 words written. I'm trying to keep the Adjusted Average over 1,000 words per day.

A lot of my time has been spent on Bull and the Iron Band, book two in The Green Wyvern series I've just started. While I've been writing my new series, The Emerald Gate has been out with my beta readers and editors.

We're in the homestretch now. The final copies of The Emerald Gate have been sent out to the publishers and are available for pre-order now. The actual release date is April 23rd. It's just a little more than a week away.

I'm very excited for the publication of The Emerald Gate. It is the last book of The Orb and represents the end of a writing adventure that began my sophomore year in college over twenty years ago. No, not the end of all my writing! I have a lot of stories left to tell. It's the end of a major odyssey, though. I've written a complete, five novel, epic fantasy series. It feels good.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Emerald Gate Printout

Just printed out the finished draft of The Emerald Gate! Cat tail... because cats.

I will deliver it to my mom for a first proofread before putting it into book form and sending it off to my “Alpha Readers.” This is a change from my usual process. I’m tired of sending off manuscripts I think are well proofread, only to discover they’re riddled with errors. This time, I hit it with Grammarly and am sending it to my sharp-eyed mom, before my Alphas see it.

The Alphas will give it a good story (and writing) critique before I send it off to my Betas. The Betas will give me a “reader’s eye view” of the book, and will hopefully catch any grammar errors that have slipped through the process.

I’m hoping for a January 15th publication date. This is the fifth (and last) book in The Orb series!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

New Mulan Movie

The teaser trailer for Mulan looks great! I love that they're not going to a 100% remake of the animated movie (like they did for Beauty and the Beast) and are instead trying to stay true(r) to the original Mulan legend. That means no Mushu the Dragon or song and dance routines. I know some people are upset about those changes, but if you want them, just watch the original animated movie. So far, I'm really looking forward to the movie.

Here's my one small complaint... and it's one I have with almost any movie that includes archery. Why can they NEVER get archery right? Bows strung backwards, incorrect technique, shooting three arrows at a time, ridiculous results... the archer in my cringes at what I see.

In my novels I try very hard to maintain the willing suspension of disbelief for my readers. That means keeping things realistic. WHAT? REALISTIC? BUT YOU WRITE FANTASY NOVELS!

The willing suspension of disbelief mean creating a world that follows rules. Yes, there are magic and monsters in my world. And I worked very hard to explain their existence and to give them a realistic framework they must operate under in that world. Breaking the framework (the "rules of the world") means losing that willing suspension of disbelief in the reader.

Not only do I try to be "realistic" in my creation of fantasy elements of the story, but I try my best to be realistic in my depiction of the non-fantasy elements. Things like technology, weapons, fighting styles, economics, politics, and the climate. In order to keep a reader of viewer absorbed in your story, you have to keep everything within the story consistent with the rules of the universe the story is set in.

When I started writing Eternal Knight I knew a lot about archery, but I didn't know everything I needed to know. So I started doing research. That research led to me taking up archery and even bow making.

The problem is that every time I see bows depicted in movies or books, I can help but to become an instant critic. This pulls me out of the moment and I lose my willing suspension of disbelief. I'm no longer absorbed in the story because my mind is cringing at what I'm looking at.

So what's wrong with Mulan's archery? (And, by the way, the most famous Hunger Games promo photo is far worse). 1) She's using a Mediterranean/European draw (drawing the string with her fingers) instead of an Asiatic draw (drawing with her thumb/thumb ring). 2) The Mediterranean draw only uses three fingers and you don't wrap your knuckles around the entire string. 3) The Mediterranean draw places the arrow on the other side of the bow. 4) Bad form. Raise that elbow!

I guess it's just not worth the expense to get archery right in movies. They figure that the number of people who will notice is not worth the effort of getting it right. But how much effort would it take to get it right? An hour of instruction with your actors would make a huge difference.

In conclusion:
1) I'm really looking forward to the movie.
2) I'm very happy with the changes from the animated movie.
3) The willing suspension of disbelief is really important to me.
4) Mulan (and every other movie) gets archery wrong. (Please tell me of a book or movie where they get it right).
5) I'll just cringe my way through the archery, because the movie looks like it's going to be great.

Wow, that really escalated! I thought I was going to write a paragraph about the new Mulan movie.

Have a great day!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Bad Blogger!

Wow! I'm a bad blogger!

What have I been up to?

I've been editing The Emerald Gate, which has involved some chapter rewrites as inspiration has required. I'm very happy with the book, but somewhat unhappy with the pace of progress. I find editing harder to do on a consistent basis, unlike writing. With writing I can sit down at a set time every day and make progress. Editing... is different. Editing is done in fits and starts and can be much more difficult as you work to improve what you've already done.

I've also been playing a lot of Dungeons and Dragons. By "a lot" I mean once a week for three hours. But as Dungeon Master there's a lot of prep work that goes into it. The good news is that my turn as DM is coming to a close and my buddy Mike is about to take over. Time to pull out my character sheet and become reacquainted with my elf Paladin/Bard, Keldan Faesuun.

I've also been doing teacher stuff, dad stuff, husband stuff, and homeowner stuff. I'm seriously going to have no problem being a retired person (someday). There's always something to do. There's always so much I want to do. I need more hours in my day.

When will The Emerald Gate be published? I'm wary to give a  date as I'm so often wrong. This fall seems like a good answer. With the school year coming to an end and Amelia heading off to climbing camp, I'm going to have a lot more writing time available to me in the near future. I'm looking forward to digging into the book and making some real progress.

Monday, January 7, 2019

The Dromost Gate arrives in Ten Days!

I'm very excited to announce that The Dromost Gate will be published in ten days! It is currently available for pre-order on most online ebook retailers for $.99. It is not available for pre-order on Amazon or Google, but will be sold at the reduced price for the first 48 hours after release.

A huge shout-out to my critique partner, beta-readers, and proofreaders! I couldn't have done it without you.

Monday, December 31, 2018

My Best Books of 2018 List

I didn't read a lot of books this year, but the ones I did read were excellent. Many of them are series and I'm looking forward for more to come from those authors. And here we go...

I actually haven't finished this one yet. I'm half way done and won't manage to finish by midnight. That's OK. I've read enough to know that it's one of the best books I've read this year. Great world building, cool characters, and... assassins.

Again, great world building, great characters, and this one has mech armor! Don't get me wrong, it is a pseudo-medieval world, but it includes clockwork technology that you wouldn't find in the Middle Ages. My only complaint is that the book was too short!

Christian Cameron is one of my all-time favorite authors. He writes historical fiction under his own name and fantasy as Miles Cameron. He has an incredible talent to paint a vivid world that really captures your imagination. I love his medieval historical fiction series that starts with The Ill-Made Knight and continues with the latest book, Sword of Justice. If you like your fiction set in ancient Greece, I highly recommend Killer of Men. It is one of my favorite books. Fall of Dragons is the final book in the EPIC Traitor Son series. Cold Iron is a fantastic start to an entirely new fantasy series.

Mark Lawrence puts the grim in grimdark. I read the entire Broken Empire series this year. I'll be honest - I almost didn't get through the first few chapters of the first book. It was really grim. The protagonist was really unlikable. I stuck with it and was richly rewarded. There's a reason why the protagonist is so dark. The more you read the more you get pulled into the character's backstory and the more you want to find out what's to come.

Wow! Loved this book. It's like reading the best Dungeons and Dragons adventure you can imagine. The world building, like that in the rest of the books I've listed is great. Unlike the others, Kings of the Wyld doesn't take itself too seriously. This is a very funny, action-packed book. Despite the humor it has its serious, tender, and even tear-jerking moments.

This, and its sequel, Arm of the Sphinx, were my favorite books of 2018. Terrific, unique setting combined with an unusual protagonist, Senlin Ascends was a refreshing surprise. It isn't epic my usual epic fantasy. It has a steampunk/Gulliver's Travels feel that made it a really unique read. I can't recommend it enough!

What I'm really excited about is the fact that all of the above authors have more books for me to read. Well... almost. I have to wait a month for Bancroft's The Hod King and I've read everything that Cameron has published. The good thing about Cameron is that he's a prolific author - which means I won't have to wait long for something of his to appear.

I hope you all have a wonderful 2019! Happy New Year!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Another One Done

The Rough Draft of The Emerald Gate is done!

Well, it's been done for a week, but I'm just getting around to blogging about it.

In fact I'm about 50% done the first run through on its way to becoming the First Draft.  It looks like this book will require two rounds of edits and a trip through the grammar checker/spell checker before its fit to be called a First Draft. Let's say another week....

How did I get here? Let me show you...

The rough draft took 97 days to write. This was a record for me. I started as soon as I sent The Dromost Gate off to my critique partner and just didn't stop. I wrote every single day and averaged 1,532 words per day.

Is that a lot of words per day? Well... it depends. With a full time job and a busy kid it is. If I was a full time author I'd hope to double that number (at least). For someone writing on evenings, weekends, and days off, it's a pretty good number.

Right now The Emerald Gate weighs in at 148,650 words. This makes it the second longest book in the series. The Dromost Gate (First Draft) is a hefty 204,000, but will lose some weight in editing.

What's next? 1) Get Book 4 back from my critique partner and start working on the Second Draft. 2) Put Book 5 into the hands of my critique partner.

When will you see a book? September? Maybe? That's what I'm hoping for.

I'm super pleased with how well the writing went with The Emerald Gate. It has me very excited for my future writing projects -- of which I have many!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Emerald Gate Progress Report

What's this? A progress report on Book Five before Book Four has been published?

That's right. That's exactly what you're getting.

With each of my previous novels I've waited until after the novel has been published before starting the next novel. With Eternal Knight I was waiting for the massive success of my international bestselling novel to motivate me to write a second novel. After all, I'd put years of effort into a first novel. Why would I write a second if the first wasn't a huge success?

I didn't know much about publishing back then. Especially indie publishing. I didn't know that having a hugely successful first novel was about as likely as getting hit by lightning AND an meteorite on the same day.

Well, I sort of knew it. I was still hoping it would happen to me. The huge success part. Not the lightning and meteor.

The path to success is writing good books and following them with more good books. And you need to do this as quickly as possible. Indie readers don't want to wait around for a next book. They want it YESTERDAY.

It has taken a little while for this to sink in. However, I think I have the message now.

I finished writing The Dromost Gate forty-two days ago. I'm forty-two days into writing The Emerald Gate. Forty-two of the most productive days I've ever had as a writer.

I've once again gone back to my practice of keeping a spreadsheet of my writing. I find it highly motivational. The "start" and "end" numbers are my daily word count for The Emerald Gate. As of today I'm 63,481 words into a planned 120,000 word novel. Just yesterday I passed the halfway mark and my critique partner is still reading the first draft of The Dromost Gate. 

It is very likely I'll have finished writing the rough draft of The Emerald Gate before The Dromost Gate is published. I think this is very exciting. It means The Emerald Gate will be published just months after the previous novel. 

What will I do the day after I've finished the rough draft of The Emerald Gate? I'll start writing my next series. That will have to wait for another blog post.