2018 and Beyond

Welcome to 2018.  I know, I am a little late to the game.  This should come as little surprise as those of you that know me understand I like to juggle many things at the same time.  Some of you would say, and rightly so, too many things.

While I’m not a big resolutions type of person, I do like to make plans.  So, I’ve been thinking about what some goals would be for 2018.  For purposes of this blog, I will focus on some goals I have for writing in general and The Silverwood Chronicles in particular.

As I’ve tried to be clear whenever I talk about it, The Silverwood Chronicles was planned around five stories and book 5 is a little over half done.  One major goal of mine will be to finish book 5 and get it out before the end of the year.  I would be really happy to have it out by mid-summer, but more on that later.  Book Four, is currently in the revision stages and should be out in the next couple of months. I am hopeful it will be available before spring.

Another goal I have for myself is to move into some new venues for promotion of my books.  Writing, I have discovered is hard, but not as hard as marketing.  I have known for many years that I was lousy at marketing, and I am just now realizing that without lots of spare cash, its up to me to make this thing happen . . . or not.   Therefore, if anything spectacular is going to happen, I need to move things forward.  This means searching out new avenues to make my works available.

One major venue will be the 2018 GenCon Author’s Avenue.  The application process opens up later this month, and I hope to be accepted.  I have no idea what the competition for the few spots that they have available are, but getting into that venue could be a game changer.  Another big opportunity is the annual Indiana Historical Societies Holiday Author Fair.  For the last two years, I have known about this event, but I have been unsuccessful in securing the information necessary to apply for it.  This year, my hope is to at least apply.

I continue to search for other opportunities in and around Central Indiana.  I am also looking for at least one, maybe more, chances to speak at an elementary or middle/high school setting.  This gives me an opportunity not only to expand my exposure but to give back to the community and encourage children to write as well as read.  I could use your help in this regards.  If you are a part of a PTO, or have insight with a school board and can drop my information off, I would be very appreciative of it.

The last goal I will share with you is discovering the “next thing.”  Once The Silverwood Chronicles is done, I will be left with a vacuum of sorts.  I hope to participate, as I have the last two years, in the National Novel Writing competition this coming November, but as of now, I am project-less for that event.  I have a few ideas that I have shelved over the years that I could try to resurrect.  One option is an old fantasy novel that is mostly done but needs serious updating or possibly a mystery that I have in mind.

Thank you all for your continued support.  I am getting very excited about book four’s upcoming release.  I’ll share more with you on that as the time nears.  Until then, happy reading!

2017 NaNoWriMo Competition Complete, Book Five Development Continues

Fifty thousand, two hundred and forty-one (50,241) words later at 1:17 p.m. EST and this year’s NaNoWriMo competition is in the books — so to speak.  

As was last year’s WriMo, this has been a great jump-start to the next book in the Silverwood Chronicle series — Dayspring’s Heir (working title).  Part of me wants to keep going and finish up the series, but Friends from Mountain Forge is waiting for revisions to begin which requires me.  I now have to decide whether to shelve book five for a couple of months to get book four ready for publishing or finish out book five, first.

On the one hand, I have the momentum going for book five and that is very useful.  On the other hand, I have committed to myself and a few others to have book four out this winter and if I finish book five first, the likelihood that I will do both before April is unlikely.  Still on the other hand . . . wait, I only have two hands.  I will keep you posted on my direction after I take a slight break this weekend.

I want to personally thank everyone who shared their supportive comments along the way, and to my family who made sacrifices all month long so I could have extended writing sessions everyday.  One thing I have learned about NaNoWriMo, no matter the motivation, no matter the planning, expect bumps somewhere along the way.

NaNoWriMo 2017 Two-Thirds Update

A quick update on the progress of book five and my NaNoWriMo challenge.  As you can see by the attached graphic, I’m struggling to stay caught up this time around.  The last weekend was busy with a gaming party and travel.  The travel produced a significant amount of fatigue which has taken me a day or so to recover from.

Now that I’m enjoying some warm weather in sunny Florida, I was able to get in a couple of good writing sessions.  Some very exciting plot developments have occurred in Chapter 3 of Book Five.  Even the author can be surprised once in a while when he discovers things he had not realized before.  I think that is one of the joys of writing I love the most.  I can have so much of the story planned out, but in the midst of writing it, I can will come across some facts or information that I had never considered or even realized where there until I had put them down on paper (digitally speaking of course).

I should be two-thirds of the way done today — 35k words — instead I’m just about three-fifths done.  Thank you to my family for working with me through vacation and allowing me some extra time.  Well, I am going to go have some fun with them right now.  I will get back to writing this evening.

 

Busy Busy Busy & NaNoWriMo Too

NaNoWriMo 2017 is well under way and I’m doing my best to stay on top of it.  After a very long day at an event: Christmas at the Monroe County Fairgrounds, I still managed to craft 2008 words.

A special thanks to all of the new friends I made today while at the event.  I hope your journey into the world of Teradandra or the Chel & Riley Adventures is one that makes you smile.

It was also great to meet some old friends.  Nothing does an author better than to have someone walk up to you and go, “Oh yeah, I got these books last Christmas and I loved them!”  I had that happen today, really!  I think I even overheard one of this individuals companions go, you’ve read and read the books several times.  It was all I could do not shout out loud.  Needless to say, when I explained to her that there was now a book 3, she was all excited and quickly secured her copy.

I also met with a couple of individuals in which some opportunities might open up for me to go into the schools and have an author talk with some elementary students.  I will keep my fingers crossed.

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!  Book 4’s first draft is complete!  I was able to finish chapter 16 on Thursday.  It will now have to sit patiently while I finish up NaNoWriMo before we can jump into revisions and production.  So, maybe by Christmas or New Years I’ll be reaching out to my editorial army for your assistance once more.

With Book 4’s manuscript wrapped up, that means I’ve rolled straight into book 5.  Yes, you heard that right.  Today I began Chapter 1 of Book 5, Dayspring’s Heir (working title).  This is it, the grand finale.  I have so many exciting things planned for this book to conclude the series, I’m ready to bust.  No spoilers today; however.

Thank you for your support.  If  you are new to the Silverwood Chronicles or Chel & Riley Adventures, please message me and let me know how you’re enjoying the books.  I’d like to hear from you.

Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families.

Until next time, keep reading!

Taking a Deep Breath

I realized today that it has been nearly six months since my last post.  Actually, I have known about the ever increasing gap in my posts for some time and that gap has summarily influenced me into extending the gap because of fear for what I would write.

It is not like I have been on vacation on an island in the middle of the Caribbean, although that possibility certainly sounds enticing.  I like all of you have been busy with life.  The new term which I have heard tossed around is “adulting”.   Six months of taking care of business (every day, taking care of business . . .) has left me with much less energy to spend time on the things that I love to do.

This does not mean that I have stopped writing.  On the contrary, if you happen across my website or sister Facebook page – Chel and Riley page – you will see that I took a little bit of time this spring to write a new adventure for the kiddie duo and even put on an event in which Chel and Riley acted out (more or less) the first three chapters of the new book.  As a reward to those that attended, the children received a copy of the finalized story so they could read how the story ended.

With Chel and Riley safely “Back to School”, I have turned my attention back to book four.  I will be frank with you.  The excitement I had hoped would come from the release of book three has not manifested itself.  This has been a downer and my motivation to continue on has somewhat been dampened.  This has caused me to struggle in picking up where I left off in March with book four.   With roughly twelve chapters complete and over fifty-five thousand words written, I have spent the last few weeks realigning the book so as to get it back on track.

This book started out out as a project for NaNoWriMo 2016, for which it successfully completed its goal.  The problem was  during the writing process, I was bouncing all over the story in order to keep on top of the word count.  This comes from not having as complete an outline as I had in previous titles.  So, I went back to the outline and finished out the book to help realign my progress and get me motivated again.

All I need now is focus which for me comes by sitting down with my laptop in a semi-quiet atmosphere with at least 45 minutes to an hour of time.  Anything less than that seems to be a waist as I cannot pull myself into the story in less than fifteen or twenty minutes.  Ultimately, it comes back to writing the first sentence which takes me upwards of ten minutes when I sit down.  I hope to allocate two to four writing sessions a week now until the book is done.  In order for me to hit Christmas, I will need to have the rough draft completed by the end of September.  This can be accomplished, but I will need prayers and encouragement from any that read this post.

Along with that, fall brings with it festivals and opportunities of all shapes to promote my work.  I will try to give you more details in future posts of upcoming events that I will be attending, but for now, the main two events I have scheduled is the Greenwood Public Library Author Fair in October and the Christmas at the Fairgrounds at the Monroe County Fairgrounds in November.  More details to come.

Thanks for sticking with me.  I look forward to exciting progress reports on book four very soon.  As always, happy reading!

Interruptions, Distractions and Finally Success

One of the disadvantages of not been a full-time writer is the inevitability that interruptions and distractions will ultimately come up.   Things like work obligations (you know the job that actually pays the bills while you strive as a starving writer), household obligations (actually paying those bills, filing taxes, keeping the toilets flushing), family obligations (attending your children’s sporting events, helping out around the house, being there when someone you love is dealing with physical maladies), have a tendency, and rightfully so, to delay the arrival to your latest writing goal.

But the wait is almost over.  On Friday, I released my third book to the printers and I should be receiving my proof copy in the next few days.  Even though this is technically my eighth book, I am just as excited to receive that proof copy as I was the very first book.

For those of you that I’ve talked to still on your writing journey through your first book, I have just three words to share:  Stay With It!  The interruptions and distractions will come and go, but you have to stay with it.  Manuscripts do not write themselves.  Editors can provide all of the guidance and recommendations, but the ultimate decision to accept or reject that guidance falls on the author.  In the Indie Publishing Space, final cover design and marketing material all falls on the author to create, design and approve.  Stay with it!

Since I first started writing, this project has been beset with more interruptions and distractions than any other, it seems.  I started the manuscript in November of 2015, finished it in October 2016 and it is now, finally, on its way to the printer.  Don’t get me wrong, there are still projects that I’ve started and shelved that have been sitting around for years.  Will I come back to those?  Maybe, maybe not.  Most of those projects were shelved for different reasons, and sometimes that happens.  But once I’ve committed to a project, outlined it, and started down that road, I intend to finish it . . . eventually.

Everyone that takes this journey needs someone to be a sounding board and a cheerleader.  Writing can be a lonely profession, but it doesn’t have to be.  Recruit, draft, or coerce someone to be that constant pillar of support.  Get them excited about your work.   Tip #325:  If you cannot find anyone that can get excited about what you are writing, chances are you’re not writing.  What do I mean by that?  Writing requires a passion about the subject whether it be fantasy, children, history etc.  If you have a passion for it, someone in your circle of influence will also share that passion enough to support and encourage you on your journey.  That is if you start putting it down on paper (digital paper works too).  Conversations are great to spark interest, but people really get engaged once they see your efforts materialize on paper.

So, while book four has been delayed since December, I intend to getting right back into it.  It may take me a few weeks to get back into a pattern of writing again — those unfortunate distractions are everywhere — but expect to see more frequent updates.

Until next time, keep reading and writing!

Countdown to Launch

This project has taken more time than I previously expected, but after many delays, I am nearing the end. Book 3, Prophet to the Outerlands, is in its final round of editing and should be released to production by the end of this week. Thank you to all of you who have contributed to reviewing the manuscript and providing comments and corrections during this massive undertaking.

In the tradition of book 2, I have started a Facebook Giveaway. Guardian of the Silverwood Giveaway If you know of any friends that my enjoy a signed copy of Book 1, please share the giveaway link with them. Facebook giveaways don’t seem to allow for more than one winner, so I will probably post a concurrent giveaway on Goodreads.com later in the month.

Work on Book 4 will resume shortly now that Book 3 is finally out of my hands. Expect to see more regular updates once we get back into writing mode.

Happy New Year, just a little late

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, we’re almost already 10 days into 2017 and I am just now getting around to posting.    Maybe Rift’s attitude is starting to rub off on me a little.

So, I suppose in the first post of the year, I should reflect some on what 2016 held and then expound on what I hope 2017 will hold.

Well, in brief, 2016 was a year of challenges met and challenges not met the way we wanted it to be.  The key being, Book Three should have been out by Christmas, unfortunately, I’m just now going through the editing process — more on that later.  My first NaNoWriMo was a rousing success even given the fact that I was less prepared than I would have liked to have been.  Thanks to a good friend, I began actively promoting my works outside of the website/Facebook by attending fairs and shows, and plan to continue to do so when it seems feasible.  I released my first board game after a nearly two year development period and I’ve drafted ideas for a couple of other games, but have yet to work on them.

But enough about 2016, it’s so last year.  2017 has a lot of promise.  I fully expect to have Book Three released in the next few weeks.  Book Four is coming along nicely and could be released as early as this summer.  My long dormant Chel & Riley Adventure series should get a new installment later this year, but I’ve yet to determine what to do.  Finally, I hope to start the final book in the Silverwood Chronicles by year’s end for release in 2018.  This is, of course, on top of my day job and job as a father, husband and friend.  Let me get this straight, there’s how many days in a year?  400 at least, right?

Now onto my updates.

Book Three edits have been pouring in now over the last couple of weeks.  I can’t thank my volunteer army of editors enough.  I have many hours of work before the manuscript can be completed, and I still have two or three more editor’s who are planning on submitting corrections, so I can only hope that I have the manuscript submitted by the end of January.  The good news is that my creative consultant is pretty happy with the initial cover design this time around.  If you recall, Book Two created a bit of controversy between me and she.  I had originally planned on setting up a vote for the cover campaign again this time around, but she immediately approved of the design and I have to admit that I’m pretty happy with it myself.  Its still a mock-up, but if you look at it and want to share your thoughts, I’m interested in hearing from you.

Book Four has made only minimal progress since the end of NaNoWriMo.  Part of this is due to “burn-out”, then there was vacation and the holidays, and lastly is the arrival of Book Three edits.  As you can imagine, and hopefully appreciate, getting Book Three released has to be my priority right now.  As it stands, Book Four has nine complete chapters and three or four partial chapters.  Okay, I’m to lazy at this point to go and check my facts.  I’m going off a rather strung-out memory.  I did learn a few things when reviewing thoughts and feelings about Book Three, that warrants some additional material for Book Four.  This means I may have to restructure it a little and re-write a few areas, but I have till May to complete it.  Did you catch the subtle, self-imposed deadline there?

One last thing.  As I mentioned above in my goals for 2017, I’m looking for opportunities to not only present my works, but also engage people in the craft of creative writing.  I have had the privilege in the distant past of meeting with an elementary school and talk about writing in general and share my Chel & Riley stories. If you know of any schools in the area (let’s keep it to the State of Indiana for now) that would entertain the idea of me stopping in and spending 30 minutes to an hour talking and/or reading with your children, I would be happy to set aside some time in my calendar to do that.  If your organization is planning a festival / fair in which an author would welcome to sign books and talk about writing, please let me know.  If you have another type of opportunity that I haven’t thought of, please reach out to me on Facebook or email and I’d love to talk with you.

Here’s to a productive and exciting 2017 (did I hear someone say “what’s left of it” in a snarky voice) full of adventure, and meeting new friends both real and fictional.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I’ve taken the last couple of weeks off to catch up with all of the other things that got set aside during November’s NaNoWriMo challenge.  Now with Christmas and the New Years right around the corner, I wanted to take a moment and say thank you to everyone who has joined either the Silverwood Chronicles or Chel & Riley family of readers.

Speaking of special days, the Silverwood Chronicles turned two just a few days ago.  I’m very excited about what’s to come in the next few months.  Book Three is currently in editing and is still going to be released next month.  Book Four which was started during November, is moving along rather nicely.  Ten chapters are complete and I’ve managed to add a little over 1,000 words to it since November.

Chel & Riley have seen a small surge in sales at the last two events and I have plans to start work on a new Chel & Riley project in between Book Four and Five of Silverwood.

Mostly, I just wanted to wish everyone the best and happiest holiday season.  I still have some books that I can get out to you this week in time for Christmas, so, jump over to the products page of my website and order a set of books for that special someone in your life.

One last teaser.  Those of you that have challenged me to convert Guardian of the Silverwood into an audio format, I’ve just procured a semi-professional USB microphone.  Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to try my hand at reading my own book, aloud.  I need to build a sound cabinet, first so as to reduce the amount of external noise, so once that is complete, I’ll begin reading chapters and I plan on posting the first few, just to see what everyone thinks.

Until next time, Blessings to you all and Happy Reading!

 

NaNoWriMo 2016 Winner!

Today, with two days to spare, I completed the 50,000 word novel challenge set out by the NaNoWriMo organization.  Today alone I managed to write over 5,500 words before calling it quits at about 10:30pm.

This effort went into jump starting book four of the Silverwood Chronicle series, currently named, “Friends From Mountain Forge.”  At the onset of November 1st, I was both excited and nervous about the aspects of forcing myself to write so much in such a concentrated time, given everything that goes on in the month of November.

By day 15, I was beginning to get worried.  I had hit a dry spell. Two full days of nothing written and a day with less than the 1,667 words prescribed.  It all started when I pushed passed the limited outline that my creative consultant and I was able to churn out just days prior to the start of the event.  She continued to provide insight, but even with her schedule, keeping up with what I’d written was difficult and it made it a challenge to get new ideas.

With all that being said, I was able to complete nine full chapters and got started on three others.  As you can imagine, once I got away from the outline, I just began thinking about different aspects of the story and worked in the whatever areas felt reasonable at the time.

While I don’t plan on taking a break, I will be falling back on my pre-NaNoWriMo writing schedule which means I can expect to finish the first draft of book four sometime during the winter.

Book three however is currently in the editing phase and I’ll be spending some more time getting that ready for production.  I still have many volunteer editors I need to get copies to, so if you haven’t heard from me yet, please don’t give up on me.  I need your help to make book three the best yet.

Indoor Christmas Festival at Life ChurchOne more thing.  All of my Indianapolis area friends, put this date down on your calendar:  Saturday, December 10.  There is an Indoor Christmas Festival at Life Church on the west side of Indianapolis.  https://www.facebook.com/events/1193424660703999/ .  I will be signing books there and $1 for every book sold will be donated to the ministry there.  I will also have some sample covers for Book Three that you can come and look at.  We also may have some character prints for sale from some of the creatures in the Silverwood Chronicles series, including characters from Book Three.

Until next time, Blessings to you, and Happy Reading!