Book Three, Prophet to the Outerlands, Draft is Finished!

Happy day.   I have completed the first draft of book three, officially titled, Prophet to the Outerlands.  I have already started doing the first revision which I may or may not get done before I decide just to hand it off to my army of editors.

Speaking of my army of editors, if you haven’t reached out to me yet and you’d like to help proofread/edit the manuscript, please reach out to me.  There is never enough editors on a book, in my current humble opinion.  I have a pretty tight deadline for the edits to be returned, end of November, so I may even divvy up the responsibilities so that I can get better coverage.

Also coming up is the November Holiday Fair at the Monroe County Fairgrounds on November 12th.  I will be there along with my creative consultant signing books.  This is a great opportunity to get that special reader in your family a unique gift for Christmas at an awsome price.

One last thing, next week begins NaNoWriMo which is National Novel Writing Month.  I am planning on starting book four right away.  The goal for NaNoWriMo is to write 50K words by the end of November.  This means that I could have two-thirds of book four complete by the end of November.  This also means my updates may be interrupted more than usual and shorter.   Any encouragement during this marathon is appreciated as I expect the first week to be pretty exciting and then the last three weeks to be grueling and painful.

I’m hoping to start dropping cover idea’s out as well over the next several weeks for book three.  I’m considering including chapter heading artwork in this book to dress things up a bit, but I don’t know if I have enough to make it work.  We will just have to wait and see.

Thanks again. Blessings to you and happy reading.

Three Days to Go!

This will most likely be my last update before the big event at the Greenwood Public Library, this Saturday, October 15th at 1pm.  I really hope you can come by and see how book three is coming along.  I’ll have a draft copy of the manuscript and a couple of the prototype covers that I and my creative consultant are working on for it.  There will also be a little challenge for those of you who like to consider yourself an editor.

Chapter thirteen is complete and fourteen is over halfway there.  I can not tell you how excited I am with the way the last half of this book has progressed.  Thirteen and Fourteen are shaping up to be, in my honest assessment, some of the funnest and most exciting storytelling I’ve ever done.  I just pray I can keep the pace up and have fifteen end on as high a note.  Tonight’s goal is to finish fourteen and hopefully start on fifteen.

By and large, I should be done with the manuscript in the next week or so, but ending it by Saturday will probably not happen.  My normal weekly writing schedule has been interrupted during the day as I try to encourage some new team members at work during my lunch breaks.  I feel this important as things have been rocky over the last several months in our organization and with new people coming on board, I feel like it is important that they not only feel welcome and excited to be here, but comfortable with the people they work with.

So far, I’ve lined up a couple of proof readers for book three.  If you are interested in being one of my army of proof readers, please let me know.  In the past I’ve been fairly slack on when I get the manuscript back, but I’m really pushing to get the book into production before the end of the year, so as quick as you can turn it around it would be greatly appreciated.  Again, the first completed draft should be available in the next week to ten days.

Until next time.  Blessings to you and happy reading!

Cover Designs and Chapter 10

The last week has been a great week for writing. I might even go so far as to say its been the best day for this project as a whole. Labor Day weekend gave me some much needed downtime from my normal professional activities. This included some much needed rest. Saturday, I had an opportunity and the intention to spend several hours writing. It didn’t happen. Fatigue and the opportunity to sleep kept me from it. However on Monday, I managed to pull off a good solid three hour writing session. The results were completion of chapter nine, the dungeon crawl chapter.

I’m very pleased with the results of chapter nine more so than I thought I would be at first. I am a little worried; however, as it is the longest chapter I’ve ever produced. I’ve discussed it with my creative consultant and she feels that it moves along nicely. I mentioned maybe breaking it up into two chapters just to keep the flow of the book moving, and she did not feel like it was necessary. So, for now, I will keep it all together, all 9,500 words of it. Yes, you read that correctly.

Tuesday and today, I’ve been pouring myself into chapter ten trying desperately to keep the momentum going. Just five and a half more chapters to go. Chapter ten has our cast encountering a dragon from the Outerlands. This one, as Arnethia so aptly puts it in the book, is not trying to eat them. Firebane is being placed in some tough leadership situations right now. Given his reliance on Guntharr’s commanding persona over the years, this has him a little uncomfortable, to say the least.

Its about time that I start thinking about cover designs. Here is a simple one I threw together this evening. I love the background. It is very much a setting from the book.

I do have an exciting announcement. I will be signing books at the Greenwood Public Library Author Fair on Saturday, October 15. I’ll be posting more information on the Facebook page in the next few weeks.

Until next time, Blessings to you and happy reading!

Lost in a Lava Tube – Silverwood Chronicles Book Three Update

Chapter nine is progressing nicely.  While I have to admit I’m not flying through it quite like I did with chapter eight, it is progressing nicely.  Especially considering our adventurers are traveling down a seemingly dried up lava tube turned treasure vault.  Now I know what you must be saying, “What in the world are they doing in a lava tube, and what is a lava tube anyway?”

We’ll take the second part of your question first.  A lava tube is essentially a cascading tunnel in the ground that was originally forged by flowing lava.   Our adventurers currently find themselves in the Outerlands.  Part of this region of Taradandra is littered covered with lava pits.  Some of these lava pits have been dormant for sometime and therefore the pit and its source has since been emptied.  What causes this?  I’m a writer not a geologist.  Quick for 1,000 points, what famous Sci-Fi character does that sound like.

Now to the first part of your two part question.  Our cast has a need for an audience with a very important dragon.  Currently, this dragon has a desire for a treasure that has been out of his reach.  Meaning, he’s to big to fit in one of these lava tubes and he hasn’t found anybody willing or desperate enough to go find this treasure up until now.  Thus starts a pseudo-classic dungeon crawl.   While trying to include all of the essential elements of a dungeon crawl, I’ve really gotten an opportunity to explore a couple of the new characters that are currently working with our cast.  Throw in some foreshadowing for a future story and chapter nine should be complete in another 2 – 3k words.

Today I broke the 42k word mark and over 100 MS Word pages.  If I can stay focused and minimize distractions chapter nine should be complete later this week, which means I’m almost through what I consider the most difficult part of any book — for me anyways.  The first third of a book is usually pretty easy for me as is the last third, but that middle third is tough.  Just a minute, front, back middle, okay I got it all.  I was worried I had missed a third.

I’m still working on a couple of events that I might be attending later this fall, but my contacts have not returned my inquiries.  Maybe they’re on vacation.

Chel & Riley Returns – Live!

Last week, Chel & Riley made a return visit to the place where it all began a little over fifteen years ago.  After almost a five year absence, my good friend Chel invited me — Riley — to tell our adventure in the haunted house.  We covered just the highlights of the adventure during our three night event and left the kids with a bit of a cliffhanger.  Any child that comes back to the start of AWANA will received an autographed copy of Chel & Riley’s Haunted House Adventure compliments of Morgantown Baptist Church.

I must say I was very nervous on the first night.  It had been what seemed like forever since we’d last performed.  But once we got on stage and in character, the old chemistry came roaring back — at least that’s what I felt, you’ll have to ask the children if they felt the magic.  I forgot how much energy it takes to perform even a short sketch such as these.  At the end of each evening, I was very encouraged, but I was also very tired.

A special thanks goes out to my friends Brian and Ben for putting together a nifty set.  Chel & Riley usually don’t get to work with a real, honest-to-goodness set.  Thanks also to Scott for stepping in as Chel & Riley’s pal Sagon and for the spooking the children with the sound effects.  And finally, a warm, humble thanks goes out to my good friend Julie aka Chel for putting together this reunion.

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Ten Thousand Squirrels

I wanted to post an update tonight about the positive progress I’ve been making on the manuscript for book three.  Normally, I write my post and then I try to find an interesting little clip art or image to go with my post. I’ve found that if you don’t post a picture no one pays any attention to what you have to say.

In this case, the image I selected actually warrants its own post.  Normally when I write, I have a picture in my imagination of the scene that the characters are in and then I do my best to describe it and paint it with words.  The image attached to this post is the exact opposite.  It really has very little to do with my book, but I so want to set down and write a story around this picture.  Its both cute and intriguing at the same time.  Possibly a scene in a later chapter or book in this series.  Who knows?

Back to the topic at hand.  I love a good dungeon crawl.  Having grown up in the early days of role playing games, the concept of a band of friends delving deep into the earth on a quest for treasure just gives me the warm-fuzzies.  While the Silverwood Chronicles are themselves fantasy, there has not really been a good point in the story where I could weave in a real, old-fashioned, dungeon crawl.  Turn to chapter nine.  Well, over a year ago, me and my creative consultant planned a dungeon crawl for our fantasy family.  Keep in mind, my creative consultant doesn’t have the background in such things as I have, but never the less, she gets the concept because of the number of video games she’s played.

I must admit, with the exception of the whole of book four, this is probably my next most looked forward to moment in this series.  While I’m terribly excited to get started on this chapter, I’m also terribly afraid.  Why?  You ask.  I realize on the outset that a dungeon crawl in itself does not necessarily make exciting reading.  I have to very aware of my characters and the end goal at all time.  As the story teller, I need to be careful that I do not allow myself to get lost in the dungeon.

Chapter eight was a stark difference for me from chapter seven.  While chapter seven was a real challenge to get through, chapter eight seemed to pour itself out.  I began chapter eight four days ago, and I completed it today.  Its been a long time, maybe since book two, since I’ve been able to pull together a chapter that quickly.  All told, chapter eight was a little over 5K words and it took me a little more than six hours to write.  Hopefully, I can keep this pace up throughout the rest of this project.  My goal is to finish a chapter a week, which means the rough draft should be complete in about seven weeks.

Anyway, feel free to share with me some of your favorite dungeon crawl experiences.  Some of you close to me will remember the event in which we were startled by ten thousand squirrels.  Of course it wasn’t quite as direct as that.  It was more like,

DM — You begin to hear a rumbling sound.

US — Stop and listen closely

DM — Yes, its definitly getting louder.  Whatever it is, you can start to actually feel the vibrations in the ground.

US — Ready our weapons.  Form up and everyone prepare for attack.

DM — The sound of feet scampering is growing louder now.

US — Do we see anything?

DM — Just a growing shadow, but its definitely heading your way.

US — As soon as it gets near we attack.

DM — You want to attack?

US — Yeah!  Go for it.

DM — Well as your party stares carefully at the approaching shadow you realize that it is in fact . . .

US — Yes

DM — Not one . . .

US — How many?

DM — Ten . . .

US — Ten what?

DM — Ten Thousand

US — AHHHHH run, run RUN!

DM  — squirrels

Laughter may now ensue.  It did for us.  One of the funniest moments in my Role Playing career.

Footnote:  Those of you who experienced “ten thousand squirrels”, may remember it differently or can add more details.  Tales grow taller as time goes by.

Book Three Update

Now that the Johnson County Fair is over, I can try to get back into a routine of writing once in a while.  My goal is to still have book three out around Christmas time, but based upon past experience, I may not be able to have it available to ship until the first of the year at this point.

I did complete a two thousand word stretch today between my lunch break and pre-dinner time.  Chapter seven is now complete and I’ll be starting on Chapter 8 soon.  This means we’re now officially past the halfway point in the book.

I’m up to just over 35K words, which is somewhere between book one and book two’s page count at the same point.  I’m still guessing that I’ll probably hit the 70-75k mark on this book, but some of the later chapters have a lot of action packed into them, which could make things stretch on a bit.  But you don’t care, so long as its exciting . . . right?

As you may or may not have heard, book one is now back in stock on the website, and I’ve already shipped out a couple.  I’m still waiting on feedback from some of my new readers, so as soon as you get through with the book, please leave me some feedback either on Facebook or at my website.

So, I heard of something new this week from a co-worker that I guess I wasn’t familiar with.  It’s called National Novel Writing in a Month or something like that.  All I know is its referred to as NaNoWriMo.  It’s in November and basically author’s are challenged to write 50k words in a month.  I laughed thinking that this would be a wasted challenge on me because it takes me around five or six months to get 60K words written.

But after giving it much thought, I just might try it if I can figure out a way to allocate one and a half to two hours a day in my schedule.  As it is, I write around 800 to 900 words per hour.  The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 1600 or so words a day, every day during the month of November.  It would be tough, especially with Thanksgiving and Black Friday, but I think it would be cool.

Now, the question is what to work on, because I should long since be done with Book Three.  Is it something I could try to start Book Four?  Maybe.  I’ve also thought about a spin-off series with Rift and his family, which you’ll learn more about in book three.  I’ve also thought about a new Chel & Riley Novel, but from the standpoint of them grown up.  I’ve got a great intro I’ve thought up, but where to go from there, I’m not sure.  I guess I have till November 1, at 12:00am to figure it out.


2016 Johnson County Fair Final Update

First a public service announcement.

“Don’t text and drive!”

So, a funny thing happened to me at the fair today.  No really, I’m not just quoting a line from a comedy bit.  A lady was texting and drove her buggy into one of the main tent posts.  Pause for effect.  Now before you go wondering how I could derive comedy from what sounds like a tragic situation hear me out.  The buggy was a front and back baby stroller.  But the lady was indeed texting as she was walking through the tent.  In perfect form which could only be described as something to watch over and over on YouTube, she blindly walked right into the tent post directly in front of our booth.  Fortunately, no one was hurt, however, the little child riding in the front seat of the two-seater, promptly began crying as the impact shook both passengers and driver.  The dialog that transpired after that between the mother and the father is not suitable for writing in this blog.

Today, the crowd was tough.  I mean T-U-F.  I could have been giving away gold bars and people would have ignored me today.  Not everyone treated like we were made of glass.  I ran into a young lady who is an illustrator.  She shared with me some of her digital portfolio which was impressive.  The “cool factor” didn’t come till we were wrapping up for the day.  She had reserved a copy of Guardian and jotted down her info on our memo pad.  On it, she noted her address, Morgantown.  I couldn’t believe it.  How did I miss that?

I also got a chance to meet a nice young lady who had went so far as to write several books in long hand, and then, regretfully, lost them.  My heart went out to her as her premise had some very intricate layers.  I encouraged her to take some time and begin again.  Set aside a special place and fixed amount of uninterrupted time and just write.  Stick to the routine so that her mind and her imagination gets use to the idea of going to work whenever she’s in that place/time.

While the weather was unbearably hot, we made the most of it and had a pretty good time overall.  I did make some new contacts.  It looks like I may be planning some additional appearances in the near future.  Stay posted for updates.  Tomorrow, its back to work and by work I mean writing.  The fair has been a distraction for sure and now I need to get my writing back on schedule so that I can deliver book three by Christmas.  I know I can do it.

Thank you again to everyone who stopped by.  Thank you for reading this blog and supporting the Silverwood Chronicles and/or Chel & Riley.  While I write because I enjoy it, its nice to have people enjoy what I write.


2016 Johnson County Fair Update #4

My Creative Consultant made her first appearance at the fair.  Unfortunately, she was not able to stay long and meet many of you, but she is going to be around all day tomorrow and Saturday.

Someone, please, find for me a statistic that proves that extreme heat causes a person to forget things.  There has to be a statistic for this because I really want to believe its true.  Is there something wrong with that?   I only mention this because there were several times during my eight hour shift at the fair today that I tried to strike up a conversation with someone who had either been there on a previous day, or who had already been by earlier in the evening.  Oh, but I did remember alma mater mom.  Although after I said “Hi <x> mom”, I realized that I had missed X’s name slightly.  It’s the heat!  I know it and someone is going to give me a study that proves it.  Right.  Someone.  Anyone.

We got to visit with some old friends.  I don’t mean they were old, necessarily, I mean that I had known them for a long time, but that it had been a while since I’d seen them.  So, maybe that does make them old.  If it does, it makes me old too.

There was no clear winner tonight of the “What type so of books do you like to read?” question.  The closest we got to a unique answer was one individual who explained to me that they enjoyed historical fiction.  I know this is a popular genre for some, but as for me, I like history.  I really do. I also like fiction.  I like it so much that I’ve chosen that as my writing platform.  But for some reason, if you’re going to look at history, look at history.  History in and of itself is very exciting — for the most part.  Adding fiction into the mix just muddies the importance of the events of history that the fiction is hung off of.  #EndRant

I did meet one young lady today that didn’t let me get past my opening description of the Guardian of the Silverwood book, before she had it in her hands and said I need to buy this.  I honestly didn’t know how to respond.  Don’t get me wrong, it was very cool and I was encouraged by it, but it really did knock me off balance for a second or two.

I’ve already mentioned in the last couple of updates about aspiring new authors.  Today I not only got to meet a woman who was working on a gargoyle series, but I also ran into a budding young filmmaker.  It was very neat to talk with both of them and I wish them well in their endeavors.

Tomorrow’s the big night — Friday.  If you’ve been by and haven’t gotten your copy of Guardian yet, I’m down to 4 copies.  I’m overwhelmed by the amount of support for series that I’ve received and I had no real expectation to sell as many as I have.  If you happen to miss it tomorrow, I promise to hold over the Fair price including FREE shipping until I can get a new batch printed and delivered over the next week or two.

Good night everyone.  I look forward to seeing you all at the Fair!

2016 Johnson County Fair Update #3

My mom just has to take my picture standing next to the booth.  Really mom, don't you have enough pictures of me!
My mom just has to take my picture standing next to the booth. Really mom, don’t you have enough pictures of me!

Today was family day, or so it seemed.  My mom, my mom’s best friend, my mother in law and her husband all dropped by to encourage me and visit the fair.  Really, I think they were there for the elephant ears or yummy rib eye steak sandwiches, but they told me they stopped by to see me.

So many stories today I can’t possibly fit them all into this post.  Well, I could, but I would be up until morning writing this post, and I really, really want to go to bed.  My feet hurt like I’ve been at Disney World for a week.

Probably the most exciting encounter today has to go to the young lady who is going to be a Junior at my alma mater.  What was even more exciting was to find out that she too is in the Computer Science program there.  And still more amazing, she’s even had a class with one of my former professors.  It was so cool to get a chance to catch up first hand on how the university has changed recently and what’s going on there.

Tonight I was also fortunate to run into not one but two young authors.  A young man and a young lady.  Both of them had very interesting stories to tell and I hope that they eventually get the chance to share them with the world.  I cannot stress enough how much I enjoy meeting other authors, especially ones that have just started this journey for the first time.  I was able to enjoy some extended conversations with them about the stories and their progress.

The winner for the night to the answer, “What types of books do you like to read?” was the young lady that answered with “Poetry”.  I don’t know why that surprised me coming from a young lady, but you don’t hear young people expressing a interest in poetry very often.

Thank you again to all of you who stopped by today.  It was indeed my pleasure to talk with all of you.  Those of you that made a purchase, I truly hope you enjoy my stories, and I look forward to hearing back from you regarding your experiences.

My bed is calling me.  I must obey.  Must sleep.  Fingers . . . are . . . slow—–ing down.   Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.