Archive for August, 2020

Work has begun on Book 3!

Posted: August 31, 2020 in Uncategorized

I’m a bit nervous about this series, because it seems I’m saving all the good stuff for Book 3.

In a way that’s good. My only worry is Book 1 is going to be too boring since it’s more about building the scene than lots of action.

It was a bit of a creative risk. But if a reader is patient with a slow ramp up, the payoff is going to be enormous.

Book 1 definitely sets the scene. There is definitely conflict, a lot of it being interior. But it’ll give the reader a glimpse at the world and introduces the reader to a lot of mystery. My hope is that it’s intriguing enough to continue.

Book 2 picks up in action, and the stakes are raised. The series takes a risk in that the MC makes a lot of stupid mistakes. He fails quite a bit. He’s not a superman, which is my pet peeve of a lot of sci-fi/fantasy novels. You never feel like the main character is in danger because they never make mistakes. And when they are in a compromising situation, something swoops in and saves the day.

There may be a few moments like that, but the main character will be punished for their mistakes and flaws. It’s interesting writing that kind of character. Shanti especially is more of a superwoman due to her connection with Anna.

The main character of this series, Lucian, will have to earn his powers. And he even as he earns them, he won’t be able to control them well. Using that power will also come at a cost.

It’s safe to say he won’t even be competent until Book 5 or so. Which might make some readers impatient, but then again, the payoff will be so much greater. He will spend a lot of time in danger, a pawn of forces greater than himself. This will hammered on in Book 2, and especially in Book 3.

Which I’m writing now. There’s going to be a lot of fun stuff in this book. The gloves will be coming off, so to speak.

I’m super optimistic about this series. It’s clear looking at the text that Book 1 is the slowest of the three. It reveals some big information, but you don’t learn everything. Every book will reveal more, and there’s a pretty big reveal at the end of Book 2.

Of course, it’s hard to know if Book 1 sucks or not. There are actually a few scenes I want to go back and add. For the most part, what’s there is what’s going to be in the final book.

How I ramble on and on. Well, back to writing. I have about 4,000 words down on Book 3. There are a lot of exciting scenes I’m ready to write.

The Art of Editing

Posted: August 25, 2020 in Uncategorized
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One of the hard truths about being a writer is that “writing” is about 20% of the job.

That might be an exaggeration, but there’s definitely truth to it. The writing part is fast. Assuming you have an outline, and you’ve written a book a few times, it’s a matter of cranking it out.

I use what I like to call “the landmark method.” A new story is the great unknown, but there are images and scenes that stick out. Those are you landmarks. You got them down, and try to string a path of words to each one. You have about thirty “landmarks” and as long as you get to each of them, you’ll have a complete story.

Of course, it’s not as simple as that, but that’s the gist of it. And it’s worked pretty well for me so far.

A writer spends a big chunk of time on editing. This is the part a lot of people aren’t aware of. This is where the magic happens.

Here’s an example of a raw sentence pulled from my manuscript without context:

“Dust and gravel lined the floor, and it was clear that the wind and elements had had some time to make a mess of it; the door was still there, just weather-beaten and wide open, seeming frozen in place.”

That sentence is a mouthful. But sentences like that are common in a first draft. After picking away at it for a minute or two, this is what it turned into:

“Dust and gravel littered the floor. The wind and elements had made a real mess of the cabin, over a period of weeks or even months. The weather-beaten door hung wide open. Ice encased the hinges, having frozen it into place.”

It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better. The raw example is one long sentence, while the refinement is broken down into four sentences. Breaking down the sentences allowed me to even add some new information. If I added any new info to the first one, it would have made a complicated sentence even more complicated.

I changed “lined” to “littered”. Lined implies all the gravel is in a line, not the effect I was going for.

Now, multiply those sentences over the course of an entire novel. Or a series! And you can see why this takes so long to do and requires a lot of patience.

Of course, I could refine that further. Make it perfect and make it pop. There are needless words that could be eliminated. The trick is finding the right balance between refining and speed. If I got bogged down, spending ten minutes per sentence, nothing would ever get done.

I’m not sure why I wrote this. I guess I wanted to give you guys a little insight into the writing process.

You may or may not know this, but the first three Wasteland Chronicles books are available in audio.

Unfortunately, the series was never completed. I sold the rights of the first three to Tantor back in 2016. I was very impressed the production. But I never took the time to email them about getting the last four done.

That’s my fault. I understand a lot of people “read” books almost only through audio. Plenty of people over the years have emailed me about doing them.

Audiobooks’ popularity have exploded, especially over the last five years. Not getting into audio so late has been one of my biggest mistakes as a writer. But it’s one of my main goals for 2021.

Earlier this year, after receiving another email, I reached out to Tantor. And much to my surprise, they made me an offer for the rest of the series. Using the same narrator for the first three.

So, Revelation will be coming most likely in December this year, followed by the rest in early 2021. It seems a long time to wait, but that will also coincide when the first books of my new series are going to come out. So the timing is right.

I’m super happy with how it’s going. The narrator, by the name of Graham Halstead, is a talented voice artist. His narration brings Alex to life and he does all the characters well. It makes you feel like you’re a part of the Wasteland crew. His voice even drew in some of my family members, who aren’t readers. So I count myself very fortunate that Tantor was able to get him again, even if I have to wait a few months extra.

This sort of brings me to another point. I want to make audio for all my books a reality. To sort of test the waters, I’m currently auditioning voice artists for Lost Angel. The submissions I’ve gotten so far have been very good, so it’ll be difficult to choose. Hearing the samples read by a professional made me interpret it in a different way. It was like I was experiencing the story for the first time.

After I learn the ropes with Lost Angel, my next goal is to get Xenoworld done, too. The first person narration should make it a very emotional journey! I’ll get started on that as soon as I figure out how the whole process works with Lost Angel.

Audio is something I’ve neglected to my downfall. I guess I always supposed that it would be too expensive and remain out of reach for me. But I’ve since discovered Amazon has ways to make it easier for smaller authors to make it happen.

Anyway, here’s to (finally) completing the audio versions of WC. And may there be a bright future for the rest of my works as well. This process will take time, but my hope is that I can find an awesome artist to work with. I can’t wait to see who will bring both Makara, and later, Shanti to life.

Lost Angel gets a facelift

Posted: August 15, 2020 in Uncategorized
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I was never really happy with the original Lost Angel cover. I’m delighted to share the new version, which in my opinion, is much better!

The paperback is also getting updated to the new design, while the interior will have better formatting. It’s the little things…

I’m glad to finally have a cover I’m happy with!

Another One

Posted: August 12, 2020 in Uncategorized

I’ve always wanted to have a map of the Wasteland and it’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. Finally, in the year 2020, I got around to doing it.

I’m pleased with the results. I made the map by taking a screenshot from Google Earth. Then, it was a matter of doing some simple stuff with Photoshop. I found the grungy frame on Shutterstock, and I had to learn a few new things to put it together.

I could have added more to it, but some parts were getting pretty crowded. For that reason, I only included locations I mentioned in the series. The only nitpicky thing is Ragnarok Crater is slightly off in location. It should be a bit further northeast.

It sort of reminds me of Mars, with the reddish tint and spreading ice cap. Which was sort of the effect I’m going for. Beginning with Wasteland Chronicles, I wanted to show a planet in transition.

I hope it will help new and old readers alike with envisioning where things are in this universe. So far, I’ve included the map in my box set, and will most likely also include it in the individual books.