The Battle Plan

Posted: October 18, 2020 in Uncategorized

Man. This year has been absolutely crazy. On a global scale, on a personal scale, and a professional scale.

Global for reasons I don’t need to mention. Personal, because of the birth of my son (four days away from being four weeks old).

And finally, professional. Because this year has been really tough in the development of my new series. I haven’t had a release since January, which was definitely not the plan. But in a way, it was for the best, as it has given me ample time to write a ton and set up an amazing 2021.

There are a lot of awesome things in the pipeline. I have more ideas than I know what to do with. But in the immediate future, this is what’s going down:

  1. Final pass (by me) is done. Book 1 is more or less done. Just needs editing and a cover. It goes for professional proofing next week.
  2. My cover proposal has been submitted to my cover artist. This has been the main bottleneck. I sent my request all the way back in July and their first opening was November this year. Lesson learned! Book way in advance! This little mishap forced me to finish book two and a good chunk of book three early, which isn’t a bad thing. I have six covers for this series ordered. Yes, six. So I need to write fast to keep up with them!
  3. The cover should be done in early November. I can’t wait to see it! And reveal it as well. I have no idea what it’s going to look like yet, but it’s by Deranged Doctor so you know it’s going to be awesome.
  4. It’s about this time that ARC’s will go out. Going forward, I plan on developing two teams. The Beta Reading Team and the ARC Team. The Betas will be responsible for proofing and catching last minute errors on what should be a clean copy of the book. ARC Team will be responsible for reading the book in advance and posting reviews on Amazon on release day. Of course, both duties can intermix for those who are already on my Beta Reading Team (who will get dibs to be on my ARC Team).
  5. ARC’s will go out in mid to late November. Along with beta copies for beta readers who happen to not be on the ARC team.
  6. Cover reveal sometime in mid-November.
  7. Book release in early December.
  8. In the meantime, in between getting all this stuff ready, I’ll be writing every chance I get in between a newborn’s naps and diaper changes. Put the finishing touches on Book 2, and start really writing fast for Book 3.
  9. Book 2 will release in mid to late January, and Book 3 in early March. At which point, I hope to be a good ways into Book 4 or nearly done with Book 4. By that time, I should have six book covers done.
  10. Gauge the reception of this series early next year, and try to judge whether to make it super long and epic (12 books) or cut it “short” at six books.
  11. Super pie in the sky, but I’d love to write a backstory novella for Anna. And I’d like to clone another version of myself to write another Wasteland series, a trilogy called “The After Years”, set in the immediate years after the conclusion of Xenofall. Do not hold your breath for that! I probably will not have the time or the energy, but it’s a future goal.

Speaking of, I now have a name I’m mostly happy with for Book 1 and my series. Are you ready?

Series name: The Star Sea Cycle.

First book name: The Way of Mages.

And as a bonus and a teaser, the titles of the second and third books:

Second book name: The Orb of Binding

Third book name: The Rifts of Psyche

I’ll let your imaginations run wild about what those might be about.

I’ve been pretty close-lipped about what to expect, mainly because the first book of a series is always the hardest to write. I have set a record for number of edits I’ve done. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was six, I’ve lost count. I feel insane for taking the time to do that, but I want to make sure book one is great, especially considering it is highly character driven. But I’m mostly happy with the story, and things are less likely to change now. Mainly just whatever corrections are found between now and publication.

So, expect more information about things to come. I’m super excited, mainly because this year has been pure drudgery as far as work and not much reward.

But all of that changes next month! All of my carefully laid plans will come to fruition, hopefully with great results.

Of course, this series could bomb spectacularly but I won’t think of that. I believe in the story line, even if the first book is a bit of a departure from my usual style.

More on all that in the coming weeks.

Insert Title Here

Posted: October 14, 2020 in Uncategorized

These past three weeks have been a huge blur. Lots of getting up in the middle of the night, diaper changes, and all those things that come with raising a newborn. And in those rare moments of quiet, when I’m not sleeping, I’m working.

Despite everything going on – and it’s a lot – Book 1 of my new series is getting the final touches. My own edits are done. Right now, I’m just proofreading and catching the obvious stuff before sending it off to another editor give it another pass. That should be done in the next few days, hopefully.

After that’s done, hopefully I can get those edits back in a timely manner (probably late October or early November). After that, beta readers will get the advance version to catch whatever the editor missed.

In early November, the cover art should be finalized. One of the main hold ups is I’m terrible at titles. I’ve experimented with a lot of different things. Titles are hard because they can literally make or break your book. They have to communicate what the book is about while still being somewhat original. That, and I’m blending two genres (sci-fi and fantasy), so the title has to communicate those two things quite clearly, along with cover art.

So, this is by no means conclusive. But name of my new series, I’m thinking, will be called The Oracles of Starsea. It sounds very fantasy-ish, with an element of space sci-fi with Starsea – a concept of my own creation that fits into the series (which will be revealed in later books). I’m somewhat happy with it, and if I don’t think of something better, it will probably be the working title.

I haven’t come up with a great name for book one, honestly. What’s funny is I’ve written titles for up to 12 books in this series but still haven’t found one for the first book. Possible titles include Fate of Mages, The Way of Mages, Passage of Mages, Stellar Mage. That last one sounds cheesy to me, but at least it’s pretty clear what the book will be about. Could be I’m on the wrong track, because I’m not super happy with that direction. I just want a title that communicates that there are magic users in space, and it’s sort of hard to do that without blatantly stating it. Of all the titles, Passage of Mages is probably the closest thing to what the book is actually about, but it doesn’t necessarily say anything about outer space – which could be a problem.

I know for my current fans I could name my book literally anything and people would buy it. So, I’m mostly keeping in mind new readers who aren’t reading me for me, but just for the story or genre. For them, I sort of have to come up with a good title that communicates exactly what my story will be about.

Another thing I’m looking into is developing a dedicated ARC team of ten or so peeps to post reviews on Amazon the day the book goes live. Something I’ve been meaning to do for a while, but now’s a good time as ever. I need to figure out how to go about that. The book should be out in early December. It’s more or less done, just awaiting to go through all the filters (professional proofreading, beta reading, ARC readers, cover art, publication. And of course before all that, finding a decent title).

Sorry if this post is haphazard and rambling. Don’t have much time to edit it down or make it somewhat legible, but figured I’d let you guys know where my thoughts are and reassure you that things are moving along. If you have any ideas for titles, I’m all ears. I understand I haven’t revealed much about the series itself, but you can expect magic and mages in space, futuristic spaceships, a sprawling story line, a long dead alien race’s ruins, lots of different worlds to explore, and other things I’m sure.

I’m hoping this series turns out to be popular, because I have a lot of ideas for it. Could be more ambitious and epic than Wasteland and Xenoworld combined. Not to hype it too much :).

Final Two Xenoworld Covers

Posted: October 9, 2020 in Uncategorized

With these two, the series rebrand is complete!

This is a very basic cover that hearkens to the original Dissolution cover with the Thought Dome in the background. The main difference is just Shanti standing in front and the color scheme.

The new Aberration cover goes a different direction as the original. I wanted to do the tree but finding one that fit quite right (without using original art) was not going to be easy. So instead, we just have a landscape that includes the interior of Ragnarok Crater, the Tower of Shal, and a couple of dragons duking it out for good measure.

So with that, the new covers are done! Big shout out to Olivia Pro Designs, where all credit is due. The new paperbacks should be in the process of updating, and one day hopefully in the future, audiobook covers for when I need them. Finding the money for production will be the hard part, but it is something I want to do for the future.

New Kingdom Cover

Posted: October 1, 2020 in Uncategorized
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The new cover for Kingdom is done! This one might actually be my favorite now.

Kingdom is a bit of a weird Xenoworld book. It’s the first book in the series where the characters get access to Odin, which is featured on the cover. They jump around all over the place – from the Northern Wild, to Shenshi, to Dragonspire, to Atlantea, and back again to Hyperborea and the Thought Dome.

It was sort of hard to decide on what location should be featured, so I went with a mountain that matched the description of Dragonspire. And instead of featuring dragons, I thought featuring the ship might add a different element of this series, since it is a fantasy/sci-fi fusion.

Either way, we have just two covers left to do. The artist is working on Dissolution, which will be be somewhat similar to the current cover for that book, only done in the same style as the new ones.

Fun fact: I’m not sure why I named this book Kingdom. Originally my idea for this novel was for Shanti to take over the Kingdom of Haven somehow, but that idea was nixed when the story went a different direction. The title stuck for some reason, and I couldn’t think of a better one, so it stayed.

New series news: I’m doing one final edit, fixing some things in the first book of my new series. It’s still untitled, which is kind of crazy. But, I’m making some changes that should make it stronger read. That, and I have to add a few things to create some drama and suspense. Hard to say when all that will be done with the baby. But so far, he’s turning out to be a great baby, i.e. he sleeps really well so I can squeeze an hour or two of work here and there without throwing off my pace too much.

Lost Angel audiobook: It’s done! The narrator did a superb job and really nailed the role of Makara as a child and a teenager. The final step is the final product being reviewed by me, at which point it will be submitted to Amazon for final approval. Word on the street is that they are taking forever to approve new audiobooks, so it probably won’t be coming out until much later this year, unfortunately. I’ll give more details as I learn more.

Welcome to the Universe, Hadrian West!

Posted: September 27, 2020 in Uncategorized

The day finally came. On 9/21, our little bundle of joy was born on the auspicious day of the autumnal equinox.

It’s pretty crazy that he’s here. I don’t really have the measure of his personality yet, but his hobbies seem to include sleeping, drinking milk, crying, and bodily functions.

I look forward to the future with him. I’ve never spent much time around babies, but I’ve gotten the hang of most of the basic stuff.

I’m actually not as sleep-deprived as I thought I would be, which is good. I may be speaking way too soon though.

Anyway, just wanted to share some pictures of him to let you guys know he’s here!

New Sanctum Cover

Posted: September 20, 2020 in Uncategorized

As I continue to work on the new series (about 20,000 words into Book 3 at the moment), Xenoworld Saga is continuing to undergo its rebrand. This new cover for Book 4, Sanctum, marks the halfway point of the series.

It shows Shanti standing in front of the the domed city of Shenshi (what used to be Los Angeles). I really like the color scheme, and you can really get a sense of the clash between Shanti’s medieval-like world and the futuristic Shen Collective.

Here’s the paperback:

As a side note, Xenoworld was placed in Kindle Unlimited some months back. Now, the entire series is available most everywhere e-books are sold. Wasteland Chronicles should be available everywhere again in a few weeks’ time.

I saved the most important news for last. I may be out of action for the next few days for a very understandable reason. My wife and I are expecting our first child to be born either tomorrow or the next day. It makes me grateful I’ve gotten so much work done these past few weeks, because I have no idea what the future is going to look like.

We’re both feeling a crazy mix of emotions right now, mostly positive. We’ve got everything ready but these next few weeks will be somewhat hectic but who knows, I might crank out some words during the naps.

I’ll be sure to update and post pictures when I get the chance!

New Cover For Beacon

Posted: September 15, 2020 in Uncategorized
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Here’s the very AWESOME looking cover for Beacon, which just might be my favorite cover along with my second favorite Xenoworld book.

This cover showcases Shanti just as she reaches Hyperborea in Ragnarok Crater. And of course some dragons flying around top, just because it looks cool.

Here’s the spread of the paperback as well, with some really cool details on the back cover.

A Humble Request

Posted: September 14, 2020 in Uncategorized

Hey guys!

I need your help with something. If you have a minute to spare, it would be great if you (my awesome readers) could leave a review of the Wasteland Chronicles on my Amazon Wasteland Chronicles series page.

The page is an important place for authors to showcase their books. It’s one of the few places on Amazon that’s not plastered with ads, so it’s my go to place to send potential readers. Unfortunately, not too many people know about it because it’s kind of buried. I only have two reviews there, for example, while the rest of my series has hundreds on the individual book pages.

I know this in no way benefits you, but it would help me a ton.

I can’t really you offer anything in exchange for the review other than my thanks and gratitude. I don’t want to get in trouble with anybody since Amazon requires reviewers to disclose they got something in exchange for a review.

Anyway, here’s the link again. Thanks in advance!

New Bastion Cover

Posted: September 8, 2020 in Uncategorized

I knew this cover would be awesome, but it came out much better than I expected!

I think it captures the spirit of the book very well. Bastion is the first point where Shanti really takes things into her own hands and fights back.

Here’s the full spread for the print version as well:

New Prophecy Cover

Posted: September 3, 2020 in Uncategorized

As I alluded to before, I’m refurbing the Xenoworld covers. As promised, here’s the first one:

In short, I love it. This particular scene shows Shanti in the Silverwood forest on her way to the reversion, where she discovers…well, something big.

I absolutely love the typography. It’ll be the same across all seven books. Right now, the cover artist is working on book two, which will feature Shanti, the Bastion, and a dragon :).

I’m super excited to see what she comes up with. And I’m especially excited to see the covers for later entries.

If you’ve read Wasteland but haven’t gotten into Xenoworld yet, now is the perfect time to start. The first book has been discounted to 99 cents.

As a bonus, this is the full spread of the paperback: