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!

NaNoWriMo Update: Two-Thirds and 37,337 words later

This NaNoWriMo update brought to you by Carpal’s Tunnel.  Come and visit our world class facilities as your fingers are swept away in the agonizing . . . blah blah blah.

After being off track for the last five days, I have officially caught back up, and I am now on course to complete the challenge in just under 8 more days.  There is still 13K words that I need to pull out of the blue and given I’m working from a bare-bones outline, keeping inspired has been anything but easy.

For the first time in my writing career, I’ve found myself bouncing from section to section of the manuscript.  My normal pattern is to work linearly through the story, but not under these circumstances.  When I sit down to write, I have to just start going, somewhere.  Otherwise, I’ll sit and stare at the screen for 20 – 30 minutes and not write a single word.

So, its kind of odd having chapters 13 and 14 done, but not chapters 8 – 12.  Something I’ve known all along and this seems to underscore it is the first third of the story and the last third of the story are the easiest to write for me.  That center third can be me very tough.  I have to keep in mind that the goal is not to complete the book in 30 days, but to write 50K words of the 70-80K words that I know the book will end up being.  Once I get through this ramp up month, I’ll be able to take some time and structure things properly.

One of the drawbacks to “cramming” so much in so little time, is I’ve had very little time to update everyone on the plot development, characters and interesting tidbits.  From the very onset of this project almost three years ago now, I had a special death planned for Rift.  Well, I wrote that chapter this last week but when I got to the end, my creative consultant forbade me to let him die.  It was a great scene, but I couldn’t go through with it, so I spared him.  When you eventually get to read this book, I would love to hear back from some of you if you felt like it would have been appropriate at that time to let him die.

I am on vacation the next six of the last eight days.  Hopefully, cranking out those last 13K words will be easier than the last 13K.

Good Night.

NaNoWriMo half way point and new event announcement

2016 Christmas and Holiday Gift Fair at the Monroe County Fairgrounds

Today marks the halfway point of the NaNoWriMo competition.  At the close of my writing session, I have managed to hit 25,230 words which puts me back on target.  This after falling behind over this past weekend due to circumstances beyond my or anyone’s control.

I can’t express how much I’ve been blessed by all of the support I’ve received on social media and from my family and friends.  This challenge would not be possible without the sacrifices of many.

Going into the second half, I have some opportunities to make some big gains in the process since I am currently planning on taking ten days off around the Thanksgiving holiday.  Now before you get any brilliant ideas, I have lots of other things to accomplish besides just writing.  I have some special order Christmas presents that I must work on in my wood shop.  I want to spend some quality time with my family and maybe, just maybe, re. . . .lax.  I’m pretty sure that’s a French word.  I’ll have to look it up one of these days.  I hear its quite enjoyable.

I’ve also committed to one more Holiday event up at Life Church’s Indoor Christmas Festival.


Life Church – Apostolic Faith

4200 W Washington St, Indianapolis, Indiana 46241

This should be a great event.  The vendor fees and a portion of my book sales will go to help purchase a bus for the organization.  So, I hope you’ll come out and support this worthwhile cause.  If you have all of my books, that’s okay, I’m trying to work out a deal where I can have prints of some Silverwood Artwork made available and possibly a signed Chel & Riley cover art from my good friend Jingo.

Until next time, blessings!

Christmas is Coming and NaNoWriMo is here

14705664_1277948135600099_8042696769642927582_nI just wanted to take just a brief moment and give everyone an update.  Today marks day seven of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  If you have been following me, you know that I have signed up for the challenge to write 50,000 words or more during the course of November.  I have chosen as my project to continue work on the Silverwood Chronicles of which I recently completed the second draft of book three this weekend.

Book Four, entitled “Friends from Mountain Forge” is well underway.  Two full chapters have been completed and a prologue of sorts.  I will begin chapter three tomorrow with a current word count of 12,505 words so far.

So far, this adventure in writing has been challenging as it has been fun.  Chapter three will be interesting as it is the last chapter that I currently have any kind of outline created for.  After that, we’ll have to see what happens.  I may continue to write using my unfettered imagination, or I may have to take a day and focus on building out more of a structure before continuing on.  At this point, I’m not sure.  I have about three or four days to decide before I’m forced into a decision.

Speaking of five days — see how I did that — don’t forget that Christmas at the Fair Grounds is this Saturday from 8am – 3pm.   Please share this with your reading friends.  I will be promoting both the Silverwood Chronicles and the children’s series, Chel & Riley Adventures while I’m there.  I will also be demoing the Chel & Riley Board game that you see advertised on my website.  Any of these items would make a great gift for someone in your circle of family and friends.

My Creative Consultant will be there and she will be showcasing some custom sketches that will most likely be included in book three.  We may also have some alternate covers for you to peruse and give us feedback on.

Please share this with your Facebook friends.  Encourage anyone in the Monroe County area to come out and say “Hi!”  I would love to catch up and see what new adventures have been happening in your life.

Until next time, Blessing to you, and happy reading!

Let the Marathon Begin!

friends-of-mountain-forge-cover-smFriends and fans, tomorrow begins the biggest challenge of my writing career. If you have been following my blog you’ll know that tomorrow is not only the first day of November, but also the beginning of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Starting tomorrow, I will be committing myself to write for approximately two hours everyday with the goal of writing nearly 1700 words every day for thirty days. While I am accustomed to writing almost daily, I’ve never actually committed to writing every day for this long a time. I am both excited at the challenge and scared at the same time which seems absurd given that I have no one except myself driving me to do this.

I have many friends that have trained and worked hard to be able to run marathons, and I cannot begin to understand the amount of commitment that it takes to do something like that on a physical level. Maybe, I will have some level of understanding on December 1st, we will see. I have no doubt that this will be one of the hardest things I have ever tried to accomplish.

I am therefore asking that any encouragement you can offer throughout the month would be welcomed and appreciated. I know I can do this and I want to do this. The only thing that stands in my way is myself.

Thank you in advance. Here’s to book four in the Silverwood Chronicles series, working title “Friends from Mountain Forge.”