Sunday, January 30

Sample Sunday - Split

I skipped Sample Sunday last week because I was so close to finishing Split that I didn't want to break and find yet another passage in Knight's Rebellion for you to look at. Now that Split is finished, we're in the soft launch stage, which means it's been uploaded but it's still propagating through the Amazon and B&N search engines. However, today I give you a chance to read it, for free, so long as you go to Smashwords and download it (I know, I'm demanding). So go there, read it, love it, tell five friends and fame and fortune will be yours. No? Well, as long as you read it, I'll be happy. Here's the blurb:
Erika kills vampires, but not in the usual manner. Her way leaves a body behind, the demon cleansed from the vessel it tried to control. Mitch is a Hunter and Erika's trainer. However, Mitch is ever the traditionalist and focuses more on the physical training and not on Erika's unique ability. Adonis has no qualms about training Erika to use her ability. As long as she uses it to achieve his goals.

Buffalo, New York is a long way from Dallas, where the events surrounding the Spiral X nightclub are fading from memory, but the Eternal War knows no boundaries, and battles aren't always won with a stake to the heart.
Split is what will be the first of a series of shorts that take place within the world of the Eternal War. I plan on doing them between major projects as a way to step back and focus on something less complex than a full-length novel. They'll use current characters everyone knows as well as new characters that have yet to be introduced into the main series. They'll also be a way for me to explore various aspects of the Eternal War that might not get a whole lot of love in the main series. Go HERE to download it from Smashwords.

Speaking of the Eternal War, the follow-up to Spiral X is going to be my next novel. As much as I want to work on Knight's Rebellion, the reality is that right now the readers I do have are here because of Spiral X. Which means I need to keep within the paranormal genre so that I build that fanbase enough for other genres to be available. Butcher didn't break from his Dresden Series until he had a few of them under his belt and Hamilton didn't break from the Anita Blake series until she had a few of them out as well. So, in a business sense, continuing the Eternal War for a bit is probably the best choice. At least until book after book four.

That's not to say KR is completely going on the backburner. When I need a break from the current project, I'll get a few pages or a chapter of it done so that it's ready down the line. As well, I would like to turn it into a trilogy so I need more time to come up with the other two books. I want to make sure any eventual fans I pick up on KB aren't disappointed down the line.

That's it for today. See ya'll later!

Tuesday, January 25

Tuesday Tales

Split is now complete. That's right, it's done, finished, ready to be put into the hands of readers everywhere. So when can you expect it? Soon. Lack of a cover is a problem, but there's time still for the guy I've commissioned to get it done. But I'll be heading home tonight to get the files ready to upload, and from there it's just a matter of being patient. I really think you guys are going to like this.

Spiral X is now complete as well, at least in terms of the final proofing edit I was doing. Pretty sure there aren't any issues remaining for people to find, so really it's just about my voice and whether or not people like it. And speaking of Spiral X, the giveaway I was doing over at LibraryThing finished last night, and twenty lucky readers are going to find themselves enjoying it very soon. Overall I had ninety-seven people sign up for it, which is more than I could have hoped for.

One last bit of Spiral X news. The Amazon Breakout Novel Award contest opened up yesterday, and with the proofing edit done, I decided to go ahead and give it a shot. There's a few phases I have to get past before the judges even read it, the first of which is whether or not my Pitch was good enough to generate interest. I'll find out by February 24th if it was or not. February as a whole is looking up. Split will be released, a ton of reviews are supposed to come in, and then ABNA and the potential to have Spiral X get recognized. I'm feeling giddy. Are you feeling giddy?

Wednesday, January 19

Wednesday Revelations

My writing class is different than anything else I've done in school before. I'll be working with a single idea throughout the entirety of the quarter, and I'll be focusing all my energy into furthering that idea. So what's the idea? I'm not gonna say, mostly because it's a hot button issue and I want my personal views to remain clear of my author personality. That said, even though I'll be working within a single idea for the next eight weeks, that is a concept I am quite familiar with. As a novelist, I spend weeks, even months, focused on a single idea. The book. That's it. Just the book, and everything in it. So I am well prepared for this course, I just need to adjust my way of thinking from fiction to non-fiction. I want to say so far, so good, but I won't know until the grades come in for the previous unit. So we'll see.

Split may be done for the most part, but I'm still letting it marinate for a bit. As "finished" as it felt before, I get the sense that a week off will give me new perspective on the whole project. Besides, I'm waiting for feedback from a few people who have it, and the cover isn't even finalized yet, so there's time. I'm antsy, but I need to be patient. Patience is not one of my strong points. Which is odd considering I spent a year-and-a-half writing Spiral X. I think that shows a remarkable amount of patience, but then I'm biased.

While I'm giving Split some room, I've been doing one final pass through of the Spiral X manuscript to knock out any lingering issues. Stuff like dropped words, misplaced commas, and the like. Since I do eventually want to push for a print copy to be available, I want that copy to be as professional as possible. I've currently decided to produce a Smashwords coupon for a free copy that'll be active for a week so people who've already bought a copy before can get a new one with all of the fixes implemented. I'll be posting to the Facebook page when that happens.

I've also been working on Knight's Rebellion a little. Once that project takes off it should go quickly. Once the first draft is finished, I will be sitting down to outline Cheryl Book Two. I'm sure that last bit will make quite a few people happy. Part of why I've been putting off doing the follow-up to Spiral X is because while I had ideas, I had to figure out a way for them to fit within the Eternal War. I think I finally hit upon what to do about that the other day, and since I already have a general sense of what I want to happen, I'll be able to put together an outline. So what's the idea? Wouldn't you like to know? I will say this, you'll learn a lot more about Father Harold by the end of Book Two. A lot more. Of course, all of this is preliminary, as before I do any serious writing on it, I need to get Knight's Rebellion out the door.

A couple of objects of note concerning Spiral X. TicToc has posted an author interview with me that you should check out. Also, Book Lovin' Bitches eBook Tours has picked up Spiral X and in the month of February, there are going to be two more interviews, two giveaways, and five reviews. So check back here and at the Facebook page for when that starts.

North Texas is roughly two weeks away from hosting the next Super Bowl. I only have one request concerning that... please don't let the Steelers win. Please...

Sunday, January 16

Sample Sunday

Today's Sample Sunday is a little different. I've been toying with the idea of writing drabbles as a sort of writing exercise. Something to flex the creative muscles without having to spend a lot of time on it. Drabbles, for those who don't know, a drabble is a 100-word story. The idea came from a Monty Python book of games, and the game called Drabble basically said the first person to write a novel won, and in order to make it work in the real world they limited it to 100 words. So there we go, and here you go:

1: Interspecies Dating
"I don't recall asking your permission to date him!" screamed Kati.
Buddy sighed and buried his face in his hands. "It's not that you didn't ask permission," he said after silently cursing the Gods for creating teenagers. "It's that you didn't bother talking to me about it. What if it had gotten serious?"
Kati huffed and crossed her arms. "And what if it had?"
"Because Drockae may look human, but they're not. It's very likely he would have tried to eat you after your first time together."
Silence filled the room. Then, "Oh."

And that's my very first drabble. See you around!

Tuesday, January 11

Super Action Tuesday

I like mindless action flicks. There's something about them that is refreshing to me, especially since that's where I get a lot of inspiration from. Not for the stories, but for the action that takes place within them. A good action scene will be easy to follow, have a beginning, middle, and end, and it should make me say, "Cool" when it's all said and done. Make no mistake about it, action is my bread and butter. I call Spiral X "paranormal action" for that very reason. It is my hope that the books and stories of the Eternal War will continue to fill that niche quite nicely for a long time to come.

Speaking of the Eternal War, I finished Split yesterday. The final tally of this rough draft was a whopping 12,576 words. That number will fluctuate as I go through revisions and edits, but once this is done it will be the first thing shorter than a novel that I've written in about seven years. I hope to make a habit of it, though I readily admit I had help on this one. It was the wife's idea. However, it shows me that I am quite capable of keeping something short, so I expect I'll make a habit of going to a short story in between writing novels. Less stressful, you know. I hope to have this one done and out the door soon.

As part of the process of getting Spiral X ready for print I'm looking to redo the blurb which will supposedly draw people in to read the book. One of my aunts told me she expected Cheryl to be a DEA agent based upon the blurb, and that sort of stuck with me over the holidays. Now is the perfect time to redo it, what with everything going on with the new cover and the edit I'm doing.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm crazy. I think going back to a project that was supposed to be "done" two months ago qualifies as nutso.

Sunday, January 9

Sample Sunday

A quick note before I get in on today's sample. Today marks the end of the two-week Holiday Sale for Spiral X. It now goes back up to the regular price of $3.99, which is still a bargain. I've always felt that it was worth at least half of what a paperback book goes for in today's market, and I've had quite a few people agree with me. If you're looking for something to get an idea of my writing style, then Split will be available fairly soon and it will be cheaper than Spiral X (final price to be determined).

At any rate, today's sample comes from Split, and it deals with an unfortunate side effect that the protagonist, Erika, experiences as she comes to grip with her special ability.
The nightmares started almost immediately. An endless procession of people she didn't know walked up to her in a line, and asked, "Why?" Each time she met them with a blank stare, unable or even unwilling to offer an answer. After a moment, they would take on the look of someone who was lost and searching for answers, and simply walk away, only to have the next person in line come up to repeat the process. It wasn't so much the question or the look that made the dream a nightmare, it was the sheer size of the line. So many people looking for an answer that she couldn't provide. It truly frightened her.
Disclaimer: This sample is in the First Draft and is not indicative of the final product.

I hope everyone enjoys their Sunday and I'll see you again soon. Later!

Saturday, January 8

Saturday Musings

I've been busy getting things ready for a print version of Spiral X. Yes, you heard that correct. The wife and I talked it over and we're going to go ahead with a print version using Amazon's Createspace service. We're also going to enroll the book into the Pro Plan, which is going to allow me to set the price to the same as any other paperback out there. There's no profit in that, but the point of this endeavor is to have a print copy available to send out for reviews, as well as to give to family and friends who don't have e-readers. There's a fee involved in using the Pro Plan, but I've made enough off the sales of the e-book version to fund it. Along with the print version will be a new cover. That's still being finalized (mostly down to the back cover and spine), but it'll be the same cover as the e-book version. I uploaded that this morning so I'll update what it looks like on the side once everything propagates.

Part of this process is doing one last pass through of the manuscript to get rid of whatever issues might remain. I'm using a program I discovered through Kindleboards called Serenity Editor. I wish I had known about this thing back in October. Seriously. It's called attention to so many small things that didn't even cross my mind. Like my use of "towards" instead of "toward", which is the proper spelling. Or my misuse of hyphens and word conjunctions. I'm using the trial version right now but the more I use it the more I am inclined to buy it. If anything it'll help improve my writing, which is something any writer should strive to do. Except now I would have something of an instructor looking over my shoulder telling me what I'm doing wrong. It's not infallible, as many of the suggestions occur within the midst of dialog, and the way we speak is different from the way things are presented in the written word. I deliberately tried to mimic speech patterns and phrases we use within the dialog of the characters, so I'm ignoring the majority of those suggestions.

School started on Wednesday and I went to my first seminar with the Access course. It's going to be interesting. The writing course has something called "flex seminar", which means they give you an option between five different seminar times. I'm not a fan. Of the five times available I can make one of them. Things would have been better served by giving me the option ahead of time. I mean, seriously, what if I hadn't been able to make any of them? Oh well, I can make at least one so I guess it's not a big deal. Doesn't mean I can't disagree with the process.

I think that's enough for today. I'll stop by again tomorrow for Sample Sunday. I know you all eagerly anticipate the event and I would hate to disappoint. Later!

Tuesday, January 4

Tuesday Talk

Another Tuesday, another day in the life of an indie author. Current work on the novelette Split is moving along, and I had a creative breakthrough the other day concerning it. See, I've always known where the story was going, I just didn't know how it was going to play out once it got there. Well, I figured that out, and I think it's going to be really good. Even if you've read Spiral X, you won't see this one coming. Just another wrinkle in the overall lore of the Eternal War.

Speaking of Spiral X, very soon I will be debuting a new cover, created by a budding 3D artist who works in another department across the hall from me. The plan is to use this new cover as a springboard to making a print version of the novel a reality. I've been working on what the interior of the print book will look like, and I plan on going through one last round of edits to take care of any leftover proofing errors that didn't get taken care of the first four or five times around the block. If the process goes well enough I'm hoping to have it ready for sale by the end of the month. 

School starts back up tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. One of the two courses I'm taking is a writing class, but I have no illusions about it being easy for me. For one thing, most of what I'll be working on will be within the realm of non-fiction. Me and references don't get along. I'm so much more adept at making things up. I'll do well, but it will be a challenge. My other class is on Microsoft Access, something I've dabbled in but never got into very much. 

I think that's about it for today. Short of subject material, I know, so I'll try and have something more to talk about come Thursday. Until next time then!

Sunday, January 2

Sample Sunday!

Sorry this is late, but today was my son's birthday on top of being the last day of the NFL season. I'm sure you understand.

Today's Sample Sunday comes from Knight's Rebellion. It's a bit into the book, and Halton is reuniting with an old friend who has gotten a bit of an upgrade in life. Read on to get a taste:
We sat in the council chambers not long after Jayce had finished his report, trying to catch up on the last twenty years of our lives. I was extremely curious as to how he'd ended up where he was now sitting. After all, neither of us had been Knight Adepts when the Coup had occurred. Not even close. So why had it been him to start the reformation of the Royal Knights? The question burned in the forefront of my mind.
And that concludes your latest Sample Sunday.

Here is another reminder that Spiral X is only $.99 for a limited time in select venues. Click the links to the side to see if the sale has hit your favorite eBook store. See you again next week!