Friday, May 31, 2019

A Soul-Crushing Defeat

Welcome everyone!

Okay, the title of this entry is hyperbole, but still, I've had a severe disappointment. It seems that the artist I hired to do the landscape illustrations for Book 1 of my Hunter's Rose series will not be available for Book 2.

I really feel bad about that. Continuity is important to me, and I loved his artwork so much. He instantly understood precisely the atmosphere I wanted from the illustrations on the first try. I never once asked him for a revision.

I'll go into more detail when we get closer to launch for Book 2. Right now, I'm just looking for a replacement.

On the bright side, the woman who did the rose illustrations for Book 1 is available for Book 2! I have some really cool designs for the sequel, and I look forward to sharing them with you in the future.

Anyway. Take care of yourselves out there :)



Thursday, May 30, 2019

Boring Day

Welcome everyone!

Today I'm proofreading. It's very dull and requires intense focus. Blah :(



Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Motifs I'd Like To Use #3: A Leader's Well Being

Welcome everyone!

One of the more amusing ideas we get from the Middle-Ages is the concept that the wellbeing of a people or nation is directly tied to the wellbeing of the leader or monarch. So if the queen of a country is happy and healthy, the land, people, animals, etc. will be happy and healthy too.

You can see this in various works of the past and present. For instance, the Arthurian legends contain this idea. While things are right among Arthur, his wife, and his knights, the kingdom prospers. When Lancelot and Gwenevere disrupt that balance, Camelot plunges into darkness.

Also, you can see this idea represented in Disney's "The Lion King" animated movie. While Mufasa is in charge, the Pridelands are green and full of life. Mufasa is happy, wise, and in full vigor. When the unhappy, restless, weak, and greedy Scar takes over, the Pridelands decay into a wasteland.

If I were to use this idea, I think I'd want something other than an unexplained mystical tie between king and country to be the cause. For instance, the link could be established by some magic item or an enchantment placed by a powerful Ancient being could be the cause.

Perhaps the item or enchantment could then be disrupted by evil in some way, setting the characters on a quest to make it right. They would have to recover the item or find an Ancient capable of recasting the spell. This tweak keeps the romanticism of the old beliefs but adds the plausibility the modern mind demands.



Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The Best Part About Being An Author

Welcome everyone!

I've been looking forward to sharing this post with you all day. I have now discovered why people enjoy writing books so much.

In the picture below is a young lady with two of her precious stuffed animals, llamas to be exact. Not long ago she read my book, which is quite an accomplishment for someone her age. I'm very impressed with that.

Anyway, after finishing it, she was so inspired by the story she decided to name her toys after two of my characters: Jean-Paul and Jean-Jacques. Her mother contacted me to share the news, and I was overjoyed.

Jean-Paul and Jean-Jacques are twin brothers in my book and very interesting characters. However, I would not consider them main characters at all. Just part of the supporting cast. And yet this wonderful young one was so moved by their story-arc, she wanted to make a part of my book a part of her life.

I tell you the truth, I could not be more honored that she did. To know that my writing has had such a strong impact on a young mind is worth far more than all the sales or book awards I could ever receive. None of those things will ever compare to this. She has given me a wonderful gift.

And I will treasure this picture all of my life:



Monday, May 27, 2019


Welcome everyone!

Great news! I just surpassed 200 copies sold! Actually, way surpassed it.

This past week I received a good number of orders for my paperback and hardback books. I was really surprised at the sudden surge and very grateful for it of course. Thank you to everyone who has purchased a copy in whatever format. Love ya!

These sales push me over a major goalline. I'm now well into the black for my project. That means I'll be able to afford even more editing and artwork for Book 2. Consequently, I think Book 2 is going to be EVEN BETTER than Book 1! I can't wait to share it with you.

Anyway, this is still day 3 of my 3 day weekend, so I'm about to start writing and revising. Happy Memorial Day everyone. I hope you have a good time with your families.



Friday, May 24, 2019

Goals for the Weekend 2019-05-24

Welcome everyone!

I'm going to count this weekend as a three day weekend since Monday is a holiday. And also since, I think I have every minute of my life scheduled from Friday afternoon until Sunday night!

My schedule should open up starting Monday, and quite frankly, I'm glad. I need a break from the pace I've been going. Anyway, what do I hope to accomplish?


  • Further revisions for Book 2
  • Revise grand outline for Hunter's Rose series
  • Update marketing plan
  • Toy with the outline for Book 3
If I can do all that, it will be a successful (three day) weekend. Hope you have a successful weekend too! :)



Thursday, May 23, 2019

How I Outline My Books

Welcome everyone!

Let me begin with an update on where things stand concerning my Hunter's Rose series then I'll get to the topic for the day.

Book 1 - The Huntsman and the She-Wolf: Fully Released

  • My book is available in four formats on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, and iTunes.
  • I am currently advertising on Amazon and exploring advertising opportunities on Google, Facebook, GoodReads, and BookBub.
  • Revisions have been made to the eBook post-launch.
Book 2 - Title Still Classified as Top Secret: In Revisions
  • The First Draft is finished!
  • Beta readers and editors are working on feedback.
  • Revisions are ongoing and will be ongoing for months and months.
  • Half of the artwork is finished.
  • The other half hasn't been started though :(
  • Date is set for cover and layout.
Book 3 - Title Not Even Thought About Yet: Outlining
  • All notes for Book 3 have been collected and organized.
  • Outline for Book 3 is nearly finished.
  • First chapter is sketched out.
So all of that is really exciting! It also struck me, as I worked on putting this post together, that perhaps I should discuss my outlining process. I am a BIG believer in outlining. I know some authors (including friends of mine) don't do it, but I'm just too meticulous of a person not to plan ahead.

When I started writing my first book, I had no idea what I was doing. I knew I needed to outline, but I didn't know how. That's when I happened upon the video below. I was SO LUCKY to find that vid. I could have clicked on any of the hundreds of others out there, but this one was the precise one I needed to see at the time. If you're considering writing a work of fiction, it may be useful for you as well.

I took things one step further than she does, though. I use the numerical outline in my word processor to create a moment-by-moment outline of what happens. Here's a pic of my outline from Book 1:

Now just because something is in my outline, doesn't mean it makes it into the book. It's a guideline, not a straitjacket. So, I create these outlines for each book, and I do try to make them as detailed as possible. The more work I do upfront, the less I have to do as I write the actual story. It takes a lot of pressure off me.

Sometimes, I'll revise the outline as I go. Other times, I'll just write what needs to be written and not worry about updating the outline. Once I get past a chapter, the outline isn't relevant to me anymore. If anything, it serves and an artifact of where I originally conceived the story, and it can be fun for me to go back and see how much things changed between the outline and the finished product.

So anyway, hope that proves enlightening. Looking forward to sharing all my secrets with you in the months ahead :)



Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A Shift in Tone for Book 2

Welcome everyone!

I've tried to write this post several times now, and I've failed over and over. Today, I'm going to suck it up and get it done.

I'm revising a particular chapter in Book 2 at the moment. I got feedback from my wonderful editor (and several beta readers), and there is a scene that has to go. Actually, it's more than one scene.

When you change something early in your book (what I'm talking about happens in chapter 7), it's going to cause a cascade effect throughout the rest to the story. As a result. many scenes have to be rewritten.

So in changing this one scene, I'm going to change the arc of one of my major characters.

Changing a character arc is not something an author can take lightly. I've planned a 5 book series. I've got a broad outline done for all 5 books, and a detailed outline done for the first 3. That's a lot of interconnecting pieces. So, if I change something in Book 2, now I have to take that into account for 3, 4, and 5.

What is the end result of all this change? Well, for one it will change the overall tone of my series. I think the reader will be more happy with the tone. The changes give the reader what he/she wants. However, I am going to miss my original plan.

Like I mentioned in another post, one thing I do is make an extra copy of all the scenes I change in a major way. I treat them as maybe a secret version of the story, or a personal version of the story: something I get to enjoy but few others will ever see.

I hate to say goodbye to the story as I originally envisioned it, but I recognize that the suggestions I've received do address my audience's needs. And in the end, that's the most important thing. So, I look forward to sharing the new version with you. I'm sure you're going to like it :)



Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Blogs I Like #1 - HWBA

Welcome everyone,

Today I'm highlighting a blog I read frequently. It's called Helping Writers Become Authors.

It's written by the fabulous K. M. Weiland who's published novels such as Dreamlander and Wayfarer. She's also published a fantastic book on the art of writing called "Creating Character Arcs."

This book is a must-read for all #aspiringauthors out there. It breaks down how to give a characters motivation, how to make their personalities stand out, and how to create a compelling plot. It's an incredibly valuable resource IMHO.

Her blog is also full of helpful tips that I have implemented in my Hunter's Rose series, and I'm very happy with the results I've gotten from follower her advice.

She's also quite an approachable person and interacts frequently with her readers on Twitter and Facebook. If you're looking for a place to get some good advice about writing, I highly recommend her site:



Monday, May 20, 2019

Sources of Inspiration: Secret of Kells

Welcome everyone!

Today I'm going to talk about one of the sources of inspiration for my novella series: The Secret of Kells.

TSoK is an Irish animated movie about a monastery that's facing a siege from Viking raiders. That's actually a gross mischaracterization. It's more about paranoia, self-actualization, and reconciliation.

The main character, a boy named Brendan is being raised by his uncle who is the head monk of a monastery. Brendan is getting older and wants to explore the world for himself. This motivation is at odds with his uncle who wants to wall the world out (literally).

An artisan monk shows up with an illuminated manuscript which sends Brendan into the forest to search for ingredients to make more ink for the book. I won't spoil more than that here, but if you get a chance to watch The Secret of Kells, you should.

The themes of resistance to change, the inevitability of change, the dangers of pride, the beauty of nature, and the power of friendship really resonated with me. Several motifs from the film made it into my book, and I'll maybe talk about those more in the future.



Thursday, May 16, 2019

Being at Peace with Rewriting

Welcome everyone!

I've received more feedback for Book 2. The latest will require a significant rewrite of a chapter that I personally liked, but that I now realize doesn't work.

I think most writers are sentimental about their writing. We write our first draft that's full of hopes and love, then we have beta readers or editors go over it, and WHAM! Major problems appear. It's sad, in a way.

One method I've found that helps me say goodbye to what I've written in favor of what I need to write is to copy and paste the old parts into their own document. This way I get to keep the original intent and passion that poured out of me in the first draft while making way for the better content.

Doing that gives me a sense of closure. For some reason, I need that. Anyway, that's where I am right now with Book 2. Wish me luck :)



Wednesday, May 15, 2019

2800 Words

Welcome everyone!

The new streak is alive and well! Last night I got 2800 words written, which is pretty good in my estimation since the NBA playoffs have resumed.

Anyway, I'm approaching a major milestone with my sequel. I feel it's going to be a better story than the first book. That is, provided I can clear up the issues with character development and pacing that I frequently struggle with.

At the same time, I am commissioning art for Book 2. That's hitting a bit of a speed bump. Remember how I always say things take longer and cost more than you plan when producing a book? I've got my expectations calibrated for expense now, I think, but the time still bothers me.

My artists aren't delivering on the timelines they set for themselves, and that disappoints me. Perhaps I'm too agreeable as a person. I hesitate to push them, since I genuinely like them as people, but missing deadlines over and over is really aggravating. So, here we are, again, waiting. :(

On the bright side, the work is never really finished. I've got plenty to do on this series to keep me busy, and I can't wait to share it with you!



Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Motifs I Like and Want To Use #2 - The Walled Hermit

Welcome everyone!

One of the most enchanting ideas I've come across in fantasy literature is the old wise man who lives out in the wilderness in possession of many secrets.

I think Tom Bombadil from the Lord of the Rings is the most famous. The Three-Eyed Raven from Song of Ice and Fire is another. But what I'd like to do with mine, if I ever get the chance, is to build a wall around him.

I imagine a circular wall with no entrance. The stones would have to be made of something weird like pink granite, blue granite, or olivine. Olivine might be my favorite since it's the most unlikely and also the color of leaves.

Anyway, like I said, there would be no entrance. The hermit would get in and out of the walled area using a rope ladder. He'd climb up the ladder from the inside, then haul it to the top, and flip it over to the outside when he needed to leave.

Thus, the only way to get it is when the hermit leaves. Then you have to wait for him, which might be days, months, or even years. You'd never know.

The hermit would need healing powers, so a character who is injured might find him and get help. Then the two might form a bond that lasts throughout the story.

On the other hand, maybe the hermit is an old grouch. He refuses help and chases away anyone who comes to him. The characters would then have to figure out a way to placate him and win his favor. Or maybe he's a monster that entraps interlopers.

I'm not hinting that any of this will find its way into my books. In fact, I'm not sure how I could get this motif in at the moment. I doubt I will, which kinda bums me out. But if I could use this idea, I certainly would.

It's just an idea I really like ;)



Monday, May 13, 2019

All Good Things Come to an End

Welcome everyone!

I had a great, relaxing trip this weekend. We celebrated birthdays, mother's day, and all sorts of other things. However, I didn't get any writing done at all. So my streak stops at 30.

That's fine. All it means is that I get to start a new streak today! Right now I'm tackling a huge amount of revisions for Book 2. My plan is still to produce an audio book for it, and that takes a couple months of hard work all by itself. So, I'd really like to get the final draft done as soon as possible.

I'm also making sure that Book 2 ties in well with the whole series. Remember when I talked about creating the character of Syra in Book 1 so I could use her in Book 2? Well, I want to make sure if I have to do something similar for Book 3, I can.

Writing a series is hard work. There is a lot of planning that has to go into it and a lot of faith. I don't know for sure how the plot of each book will turn out. I have a general idea, but until the words hit the page, I can't be sure.

So, I have to be very deliberate in my methodology. I outline, plan, and prewrite in order to make sure the overall narrative connects in a logical way.

I'm making good progress, despite taking the weekend off. I'm looking forward to what the next few weeks bring :)



Friday, May 10, 2019

Goals for the Weekend 2019-05-10

Welcome everyone!

I'll be away from home this weekend, so I won't get much done. I am bringing along my laptop so there's a good chance I can push my streak past 30 days. I am going to have a chance to talk about my book this weekend, though, and I am very much looking forward to that!

So anyway, here's what I hope to accomplish:

  • Get ANY writing done.
  • Have great conversations about my book.
  • Concept the last remaining art pieces for Book 2.



Thursday, May 9, 2019

29 And Counting

Welcome everyone!

I am really pressed for time today. I've got a trip coming up and work is full of big projects at the moment. Consequently, I don't have much time to develop in-depth posts for my site. What I can tell you, though, is that I'm still getting my writing done every day.

We are at 29 days and counting, which might be the longest streak I've had yet. Some days it's only been a few sentences. Others, it's been almost a full chapter. The good news is that work on the series is coming along very consistently.

I feel very confident that if I can maintain this workload, I'll have some wonderful things to share with you by the end of this year. I'm really looking forward to the next step in our journey together.

For now, I'm just going to keep hammering away at my manuscript. Until next time, take care :)



Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Please Consider Nominating My Book

Welcome everyone!

There are a number of literary awards each year for fantasy and science fiction books. Some of them require memberships or entrance fees, but one that does not is the Dragon Awards. I have decided to have no fear and no false humility when it comes to my book, so I'm going to go for this even though the odds are long.

So, if any of my readers would be so kind as to nominate my book, The Huntsman and the She-Wolf, I would greatly appreciate it. The relevant categories would be: Best Fantasy Novel, Best Young Adult/Middle Grade Novel, or Best Horror novel. Please choose only one. There are no fees, no membership requirements, no real requirements of any kind. The Dragon Awards are totally fan driven.

So if you get a chance, here is the link to the nomination form:

Thanks so much!



Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Rewriting Large Sections of The Sequel

Welcome everyone!

Work on the sequel went well last night, so I'm getting over my weekend malaise. However, I have come to realize a big section of what I wrote has to be redone.

There's a few scenes involving Tristan and his trunk at the Lodge. If you've read the first book, you know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, there is a particular storyline involving the trunk that I want to start in Book 2 and carry through until the end of the series. The problem, though, is what I want to happen isn't what's best for the story.

My plan for the trunk actually prevents Tristan from growing as a character. The best parts of a story often involve a character changing, usually for the better. By focusing so much on material items in the story, I was prevent Tristan from maturing emotionally and spiritually.

Thus, I have about three chapters in Book 2 that have to be totally redone, maybe more. The prospect of doing that is deflating, but I think it's a problem many authors face.

In fact, I would hazard a guess that most authors have to rewrite significant portions of their books before sending them to print. It's just part of the process.

So there goes about 10-20 hours of work. I'll have to make sure continuity is maintained throughout the plot. When you change something early in a story, you have to make sure each succeeding chapter takes that change into account.

In the end, I think the rewrites I have to make will produce a more enjoyable narrative for the reader. Book 2 will be a bit gentler than I wanted, but there's still plenty of hardship for the characters to deal with.

Anyway, I've tried to describe all this without any spoilers. I just wanted to give an update on where I am with the sequel and to let you know I'm still well on track to release it in 2020.



Monday, May 6, 2019

Well, That Was Unproductive

Welcome everyone!

It wasn't a great weekend. I got a little lazy and just took a break. I probably shouldn't have, but this time of year I can get so worn out, I don't feel like doing anything at home.

I did get some writing and some editing done each day. It's not as if Saturday and Sunday were total loses, but I could have done much more. And I didn't even begin on my bonus goal. My mind was rebellions. It only wanted entertainment, and I guess sometimes you have to feed your mind to get it to do what you want.

Thankfully, I'm feeling better today. I thrive on routine, and so the more structured my day is, the more productive I become. I have a good feeling that tonight I'll be able to tackle a big chunk of the editing and maybe even get some sketches done.

Let's hope, anyway!



Friday, May 3, 2019

Goals for the Weekend 2019-05-03

Welcome everyone!

Right now I am in the midst of a major editing binge. I've gotten through five chapters, and I'm not even tired yet. So this weekend, I want to continue on that. I'm also trying to write new content at the same time, though that's taking a back seat right now. Mainly, I just want to reinforce the habit of writing at the same time every day.

So anyway, goals for the weekend are simple:

-Edit like crazy
-Continue writing streak
-Bonus Goal: sketch out rough drafts of scenic art I need for book 2 (we'll see if I have time for that)



Thursday, May 2, 2019

Oops! A Day Got By Me

Welcome everyone!

Sorry I didn't have much of a post today. I'm in the midst of editing several chapters, and I just got on a roll. I've been hammering away all day today, including before leaving for work and during lunch.

That'll happen sometimes. All it means is that I'll just have more good stuff to share later ;)



Wednesday, May 1, 2019

New Characters vs. Reusing Characters

Welcome everyone!

As I work my way through the sequel to The Huntsman and the She-Wolf, I am frequently presented with a particular choice: introduce a new character to the series OR reuse an old character the audience knows.

Characters are constantly moving in and out of the narrative. The setting is a small but very productive village and a surrounding valley full of colorful personalities. So, if I want to add a character to the main character's troupe, what do I do?

When it comes to the protagonist and his allies, I've decided to reuse as many characters as possible. When it comes to the antagonists, I prefer a mix. 

I had already started outlining and working on Book 2 in my series while Book 1 was with my beta readers. I was examining how the plot in the sequel would go, and I realized I needed a character with a connection to both Aranka (the librarian) and Garrov (the mad inventor). 

As a result, I created Syra. She's a minor character but fills an important role for me. I introduced her to my character list for Book 2 as a new character, but then I got to thinking. Why in the world would the audience care about her? I knew I needed to establish some past history to draw the reader in.

My solution was to introduce Syra in book one as a helper to Aranka with aspirations to follow in Garrov's footsteps. Syra's interactions in the library make it clear she'd rather be somewhere else, but because of Aranka's peculiarities, Syra is needed in the Lodge much of the time.

To me, that makes her likable and compelling for a supporting character. Syra has a very small role in Book 1, appearing for only one chapter, I believe. But her presence establishes that character for the audience.

Going into Book 2, the reader knows Syra is: young, ambitious, hating her job, and filled with aspirations in the fields of forging metal and inventing contraptions. 

Naturally, I'll have to remind the reader of that in the course of Book 2. I don't expect anyone to remember the characters with that sort of detail, but if I jog their memories correctly, Syra's arc will be much more engrossing than someone they never met before.
Now, a good time to introduce a new character is with the villains. Something new is always intimidating for people since humans are naturally afraid of the unknown.

Introducing a new threat is a powerful literary device because the audience actually feels the same confusion and dread as the characters. Who is this new threat? What are its powers? How will anyone escape?

That's fantastic! There are certainly times to reuse old villains, though, and I'll talk more about the new and old antagonists in a future post.

For now, I just want to celebrate 23 consecutive days of writing!!!!!!!! Let's hope I can keep that going.