Monday, May 27, 2013

The Count Down Begins

Aure, the Topaz, Book 1 of the Aglaril Cycle can be pre-ordered starting May 31. That's this Friday. The publisher hasn't shared any specific details, but I'm assuming you'll be able to order it from their web site.

I'm planning to ask about this, however, along with several other things because the physical proofs are MIA and I've got no information on the book trailer either.

I'm mostly done with re-reading the PDF copy they sent me. There are few little changes I'd like to see in the wording but other than that, the book is in fine shape I think. Lots of people should enjoy reading it.

Meanwhile, work on Books 2 and 4 continues. More on 2 than on 4 but that's because I'm busy with preparing for my appearance at the Chelmsford Library in two weeks and other chores around the house. Life doesn't stop for anyone and I've still got plenty of things to do here to keep my home going.

But at the same time, I'm trying to rest as much as I can. My plan for this long weekend was to rest and write and I never really got to the writing part. Perhaps today will be different.

Regardless,  I am focused on the pre-sale date for my first novel. Hope it sells well.

Keep writing everyone.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Story Tone

I've been proofing Book 1 one final time and in the process realizing Book 2 has a long way to go. It's the characters you see. I'm not sure their reactions are right ... or consistent ... or complete.

That may be my imagination. Or that fact that Book 2 is a different kind of story. Book 1 is an adventure start to finish. Book 2 starts as a mystery and transforms.  In Book 1, you see the magic gem early and it is the centerpiece of the story. In Book 2 you don't see the gem until the very end. It is the centerpiece but you don't know that until the story is over.

So the tone of the novel is different. In Book 2 we see Evan conduct an investigate and confront necromancers with his men -- something that does not happen in Book 1. We learn more about him and  the other main characters. And new main characters are introduced. All this makes Book 2 a complex thing while Book 1 is simple bill of fare. In short, Book 1 is like a hot dog and Book 2 a full course meal.

Given this I suppose, Book 2 should feel -- or taste -- differently. But something isn't right. I don't know  what. Not yet. But I will before I'm done. Time to review the ten chapters I've just "finished" and see if anything pops out.

Keep writing everyone.

Friday, May 17, 2013

One More Time

I received a PDF of the final draft of my novel from my publisher. So I'm reading it once more time. The physical galleys are coming by mail or UPS or whatever delivery service they use.

I'm about to order 10 copies of my short story collection, Men, Melee, & Magic, for my Chelmsford appearance. This will give Lulu time to get the copies to me. I'm now slated for an interview on a blogtalk radio site in June. I don't have the exact date, but it is coming.

Needless to say, I've had little time for writing. But that will pass. I just have to get through the next few months.

And since there are so many things vying for my attention just now, time to go back and attend to them.

Keep writing everyone.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Interviews, Reviews, and Other Stuff

I received another set of interview questions courtesy of my publisher. That makes two sets so far. They seem slow to get me the physical proofs for the book but they seem to be working on promote well enough.

The other night, while waiting for my brother's plane to land at the airport, I discovered that someone had reviewed one of my stories. The Reaper is a fairy tale about how the perils of theft. The review gave the story four stars, which is great. It made my day.

Meanwhile I'm plodding along in my writing. Book 4 is closing in on 45000 words but progress is very slow. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll even finish it this year.

The good news is I'll have a long weekend coming and that should give me time to focus on it more.

In the meantime I'm just doing what I can and preparing for my visit to Chelmsford.

Keep writing everyone.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Not All Reviews are Equal

Feedback and reviews for a writer of fiction -- hell, for just about any writer -- is important because it allows you to gauge if your draft is on target. But not all reviews are equal. In most cases, a review or critique is subjective based on the bias of the reviewer. This is important to remember.

I had forgotten it until the other day. I know this because two stories I submitted to an anthology were rejected yet the stories continue to do well in Smashwords. So while the stories might fail to meet some literary benchmark, they resonate with my readers. Given that choice I'll gladly take the latter option.

And this fact reminded me that in an age of self-publishing, old literary standards mean little. People who insist on upholding them are clinging to a past that is evaporating. It is kind of like living in an closed religious community with strict rules of dress and behavior. You miss out on everything around you. They insist on the old ways out of fear.

I'm not saying down with the old ways; but I do think people need to be open to change and have to learn how to adapt. I'm not one to talk here; I really dislike change. But when I see the handwriting on the wall, then the time to change is at hand. In this case, how you judge a good story from a bad one depends on who you are.

I know that my two stories were rejected because they were not considered very original. I would argue that because originality is in the new of the beholder. Sure, an editor of an anthology who sees hundreds and thousands of stories could have that reaction, especially if he or she doesn't read the whole story. But for others, the story is unlike anything they've every seen.

And that's the point. As a writer I tend to think that all comments are equal and have equal weight, but that's not true because for the editor of the anthology my work is crap. And I know that's wrong. So my goal is to write the best story I can. Make the text as clean as possible and adhere to the rules of writing creative fiction, such as they are. Beyond that, what you think of a story is your business and rushing to judgement does not do you or me much good.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Coming Soon

Hard to believe that in a few short weeks, my novel will be available for pre-sale. I don't have the details for this yet, but I'm assuming my publisher's web site will let you pre-order the book and that my web site,, will point you there. A link from this blog may also be available if I get really organized. So start saving those sheiks if you've been waiting for a paper version of the novel.

In the meantime, I'm preparing for my visit to the Chelmsford library and I've been re-reading Book 2 and have been making tweaks here and there. It will go to the editor I used on Book 1 so I can finalize the copy. I'm undecided if it will go my publisher after that. I'll have to see how they do with promoting Book 1. If there do a poor job, I may self-publish Book 2, at least to start.

It's really hard to say for sure since I have no crystal ball for the future. So my focus is just to get Book 2 to a point where the editor can do her job. I thought the novel was at that stage but I decided that was not the case a few weeks back. So I opened it up for one final read and edit. After that I'll see where I stand with Book 1.

All this will take months because I'm reading Book 2 very slowly, crafting each scene as I go. It takes longer that way, but the results are good and it is really the only way I can be sure the end result is what I want.

Keep writing, everyone.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Interview Questions

My publisher arranged an interview for me which will appear in social media prior to my book's release. I have a series of questions to answer which the interviewer will arrange and post. I don't have a date for when this will come out yet -- hell, I'm still writing my answers -- but if I had to guess I'd say mid-June since the release date is July 9.

The publisher also confirmed that the pre-sale date remains May 31, which is good. I'll be able to tell the folks who attend Local Authors Day in Chelmsford that my book is available for pre-sale. So now all I have to do is figure out what I'm going to say about my book.

That's harder than it sounds because so many pieces are intertwined. I have the added burden of explaining which the Aglaril are. In my rehearsals for the event I usually start there and then give a brief  history of the magic gems so they will have context.

I've identified several passages from the book to read and I am told that the goal here is to hook the audience. So I think I need to finish with the battle between Evan and Jormundan, the necromancer Evan has been chasing because that encounter goes very badly for Evan. If I stop just as Evan is waiting for the final death stroke, I should have the audience on the edge of their seats.

Or is that kinda heartless? I don't know; sales is one of those things I never learned about in school. It just seems to me that I need to set an expectation and then leave them hanging so they will buy the book and can fulfill it themselves. Of course, that might not work. I don't know but it is worth trying once.

Keep writing everyone.