Novels

Guess It’s Update Time…

Been a while. I have been neglecting things. Not a good idea if I want to keep up appearences.

Went through the author’s proof for Witch Warden: The Ux-Blood Trilogy, Book III. (Yeah, I finally got it.) Found a ton of typos. Fixed them up and sent the revised manuscript off. Now just waiting for word that it’s been uploaded and softcover copies are ready for sale. The Kindle version is out (and the corrected upload has been put in place, too, I hope). So by the end of the year it’s my wish that the series can be put behind me, save for marketing the shit out of it all. I have an idea for one more short story, but that’s low on the to-do list.

Closure has been accepted for publication by Terry Wright, of TWB Press, who published Nit. There’s a lot of work to be done still. Don’t expect it up and out by Christmas. But early next year will work just as well. I’m pretty happy. I thought this new version came out a lot better than the previous (but that’s the hope for huge revisions, isn’t it?) and think it will make a very good read. I will be curious to see the final cover that we end up with. We’re still considering ideas. It’s kind of a hard story to pin down in a cover.

There is some bad news. I am typing this on my old HP HDX Dragon. The hard drive on my newer laptop, the dv7t, just decided to quit. I ran some tests and it looks like the entire file system for the main partition has been wiped clean. It says there are no files on the drive, anyway. Needless to say, that’s not good. Second computer this year- and bothr un Windows 7. Good thing I have my Windows Vista backup desktop and laptop still working. Expecting a box to ship off the laptop next week. Expect the laptop back in about a month. Then it’ll probably be another month before I have all the software loaded again. What a pain.

Anyway, I will try to keep posting a lot more regularly. I’ve been in a funk lately. Just not motivated to do much of anything. Even my reviews at the Next Big Writer have stopped. That is not good. So, somewhere, I’ll find the motivation to get back into things. Not sure why I’m slacking, but it’s been going on now far longer than normal. And I don’t think it’s just that time of year. I can say that I worked hard on the Ux-Blood portion of this website. If you look on those pages, you’ll see I’ve added book information, links to buy, and generally cleaned things up. One final thing to have gotten done before putting the series to rest, I guess.

See you next week!

Updating TERRORCRUISE

While I am in between works, with the latest revisions of Closure behind me, I decided to add some behind-the-scenes depth to the blog here.

The purpose of having a blog is to make it easier for people to find out more about my works, and perhaps entice them into making a purchase. (And maybe quite possibly getting a glowing review at amazon.com!)

So one story at a time, I am adding some content to the site beneath the headers at the top of the page. First up is my debut novel, Terrorcruise. I dug through some very old files and pulled out some detailed character profiles I threw together a long time ago. These were for the original Terrorcruise website, which never got posted. But since digital files take up practically no space, I kept the HTML files around, pretty sure that one day I’d use them. That day has come.

Most of these character sketches will be new material. If you’ve read and enjoyed the novel, you may like these peeks into the character backgrounds- what led them to be where they are when the story takes place. If you’re new to the story and just poking around, I welcome you to get to know the cast of characters that populate my fast-paced adventure. I know I enjoyed writing them. Not sure if they were fully formed when I wrote my first draft oh so long ago. But they still fit the characters that fill the final version of my science-fiction action-adventure story.

Peruse at your leisure, and I hope you enjoy! As always, I welcome any and all comments.

So, Checking Back In…

Hello!

I’ve been away for a few weeks. But I have not been idle. Lots done. All that work is perfect fodder for my little, unread blog.

First, Witch Warden: The Ux-Blood Trilogy, Book III is at the printer. I uploaded the finished files to my Dropbox, where my publisher moved them on to the book printer people. The next step is for me to get my hands on the author’s proof and to read through it, finding as many of the remaining nits as possible. I never get them all (found one in A Child of Byne already) but as with Witchblood: The Ux-Blood Trilogy, Book II I will really put in the effort. I think that book is pretty clean. So, the trilogy is done. Yay! Just need to update the book pages on my site here, and there I go. I plan to do this in November. Just pick a day and do it.

Second, A Child of Byne: An Ux-Blood Novella is uploaded and ready for sale at my publisher’s website, ClearView Press. I would welcome your taking a moment to look at the site, maybe even buy on of my books. (Or any book there if it piques your interest, and there’s a few now, covering a variety of interests.) I had a huge scare when the animated marquee on the home page suddenly stopped working. I had visions of the new HTML 5 causing issues, or some new browsers not working with the code. But I’d just made a simple typo in the code, which was powerful enough to throw pretty much the whole page out of whack. Me making a typo. Go figure. (In typing the previous two sentences, I made two typos.) While this little novella of mine should have been published earlier in the year- June or July or so- I am pleased to finally have it available. It’s also ready for you in Kindle format, too.

Third- and this is the big one- I just finished a 48K word novella. Closure is a completely revision of the smaller 17K word version I finished late last year. My editor, Erin Wilcox, said it lacked obstacles for the protagonist to get what he wanted to accomplish all done did up. So I added a slew of new characters and threw some humdingers of obstacles in his path. My world is a bit more fleshed out, the story builds to an intense climax, and in reading through it all last night, I have decided it is one of my better works. I think it just came out really well. Now, the fun begins. I’ll send it off to the publisher who worked with me on Nit (another fine short story of mine available on amazon.com and other fine e-book outlets) and give him first crack at it. He didn’t like the initial version (and rightfully so) but maybe this second go-around will work for him. If not, I’ll send it out, see if I can find it a home. It would be nice to end the year with another project weaving its way through to publication. If anything I’ve written is worthy of it, Closure certainly sits at the top of the list.

The third reason has been why I’ve been neglecting my little blog. But since so few people read it, I figured I wouldn’t be disappointing too many. But with my latest in the bag, so to speak, I think I’ll have good time to drop posts in on a regular basis again. Until the writing bug takes hold once more and thrashes me around until I tap out that final closing period.

Witch Warden is all but done!

It’s been a productive weekend!

I gave the manuscript a solid read-through. I’d put it aside for a few days to gain some distance. At the end of that first proofing, I formatted the manuscript into the 6×9 inch page format for the finished product. It came out to about 225 pages total. Well, I thought, not bad. But then I realized the second book in the trilogy, Witchblood, was a good 330 pages or so, and only a few thousand words longer. Something didn’t add up! So I checked the formatting for the manuscript and discovered I’d stayed with the 8.5×11 page size. D’oh! Reformatted to the correct dimensions for publication, Witch Warden came out to 318 pages. Now that’s more like it! It’ll be a hefty-sized softcover.

I also spent a lot of time on the back cover. I did have ambitions to add smoke and fire as Copperfox’s command ship blasted the back door. But I couldn’t quite get that to work in Maya. I’d get close, but then something would always mess up. Ugh! Frustrating. So in the end I decided to just play with the sky a little. Found a nice one in Bryce and rendered it out. Looks pretty furious. I kind of like the mood it sets. So I went with it. After tweaking the back copy, I went ahead and dropped everything into Photoshop.

So, here are the covers! I think these are pretty much how they’re going to look when the book finally hits the shelves.

Witch Warden front cover art Witch Warden back cover art

Residue of hard drive crash behind me now…

So, I got the HP Phoenix PC back from HP last Saturday, and I’ve been restoring the software I use. Got most of it back in place. Threw in the new 1TB hard drive. I’ve been using that to store my program files when the installation process lets me. Hopefully this will save wear and tear on the C: drive, where the OS resides. And hopefully the new hard drive will last a bit longer than the original. But I do have to give HP kudos for making the process relatively smooth. And the new motherboard beneath all the wires and stuff looks pretty cool. Oh, and I got my new Nvidia GeForce 9800GT GPU in the mail right before the tower arrived. So even that part worked out!

On a sad note, my Vista tower now won’t even turn on. The power box might have fried or something. And yes, I’ve checked the plugs. So, I might be bringing that in the shop. I might give replacing the power box a try first. Should be simple enough. I’ve replaced plenty of stuff in the tower before. We’ll see. I’ll probably wait until I actually need something off that hard drive…

While dealing with this issue at home, at work I threw myself into the cover art for Witch Warden: The Ux-Blood Trilogy, Book III. Got the front cover mostly done. Early critics suggest adding stuff to the sides of the walkway to show it’s a walkway and not some sort of pyramid. They also thought the two shadow figures were Egyptians of some sort. Well, not going to fret over the look of the figures. But I will play with the idea of adding stuff to the walkway’s edges. That really should be simple enough.

For now, here’s a peek at the cover so far. Click on it for a larger image.

Waitch Warden cover art

Progress on a Few Fronts

It is my hope to soon get back to twice-a-week postings. Tuesday and Friday were my original days, but that sort of drifted to Wednesday-Saturday. But those work just as well. We’ll see what I end up doing. Probably a combination of both.

One issue that should help is the repair of my main PC tower. According to an email from HP, it is on its way home. The hard drive and the motherboard both needed to be replaced. I fear the hard drive will come to me with the original software load of mostly useless programs. I’ll spend as much time cleaning those off as I will loading the stuff I really need. With luck the new drive will last me far into the future. Regarding the motherboard, the issue there was a loose SATA plug. I discovered that the first day I had my desktop. I managed to clip the loose plug back onto the motherboard, and the hard drive I’d hooked up to it worked just fine. It wasn’t an issue but I’m glad it’s been fixed.

I’ll be glad to get off my old Vista desktop. Every day it seems there’s a new issue with it. Today, the sound stopped working. Though the speakers were plugged in (I checked), Vista was convinced they were in fact not. So I rebooted. But that only kicked off the USB ports, which I needed right then. So I rebooted. Ugh. Always something. Don’t get me wrong- I am glad I have that system up and running. I was able to start the cover for Witch Warden and do some other work on the Kindle versions of my already-published novels. The Vista tower still showed its usefulness. I just can’t shake the feeling that one’s about to crash soon. Maybe it is time to put it through an extensive diagnostics.

Speaking of Witch Warden, I have indeed started the covers, both front and back. I hope to have the front cover artwork done by Monday morning- the start of my three-day weekend. Then I hope to have the back cover done by the following Monday morning. I’ve done the hardest part, I think- the back copy. Writing that can sometimes be harder than writing the manuscript. In all, a tight schedule, but I think I can swing it. I know what I want on the covers this time- unlike A Child of Byne, with which I pooped around for months before picking a scene and sticking with it. I have a feeling Witch Warden will be a breeze to put up for sale. If all parties involved do their work.

And speaking of A Child of Byne, I am pleased to announce the Kindle version has been posted. It should be on sale tomorrow or Saturday. I even put in a sneak peek at Witch Warden at the end. Time to begin thinking of using some of those free promotional days. Maybe I should even advertise this time. Get the word out the trilogy is nearing completion. I always said I wanted to wait until I had the full series out before giving it a big marketing push. Well, that time is upon me. Now I have to explore my options. I have three really good stories there- four if you count the novella (and why wouldn’t you?). Got to let people know.

I will also have to update the blog here. Time to add some meat to the Ux-Blood pages. After working on the trilogy for over three years now, I can finally see the end. I will bask in a sense of accomplishment. But only for a short time- maybe an hour. I still have far too many stories in my brain juices for it to be healthy.

Desktop PCs Update

So, it’s been a while since the last post. Thought I would throw out an update.

The new desktop, my HP Phoenix, is going back into the shop for fixin’. Turns out it’s still under warranty so I’ll get fresh new equipment out of this. That equipment includes a new hard drive and a fix to the motherboard- one of the SATA plugs is loose. (It still works but a good pull on the cable will yank the plug off the motherboard.) In tinkering with the desktop I discovered my Nvidia GeForce 9800GT had also crapped out. So I put the original graphics card back in. I can boot to normal Windows now, with my dual monitors, but the hard drive still throws up an error code 303 and 304 when I run a SMART test. That means the hard drive is on the verge of completely pooping out. I got very lucky in that I was able to pull off all the info I needed while the drive was still alive. I will have to reinstall all of my software when I get the tower back from HP and I’ll never get it back the way I have it now, but that may be a good thing. It’ll give me a chance to clean some things up. And I have a new GeForce 9800GT on its way so when I do get the tower back I should have all my hardware options as they were.

On the Vista desktop I used to recover from my HP Phoenix disaster I found a few loose plugs, stuck them back into the motherboard, and got all of my USB ports working again. And since I downloaded a number of free software tools to diagnose my Phoenix I also ran the Vista through the wringer and fixed some minor issues with that one. It’s working well enough that I am not worried about trying to finish the cover art for my latest book, Witch Warden. I’m writing this from my Vista desktop, as a matter of fact. Got music rocking and everything. My Vista has Maya 2011, Poser Pro 2012, Bryce 7.1, and Adobe CS5 installed, so I’m ready to go where my cover art is concerned. I have three weeks or so to get it done- plenty of time. So things could be worse.

My laptop remains in trim fighting form. The one bright light in all this. As long as I don’t drop it or do something stupid… I’d like to throw in an SSD drive for the OS, but that’s for next year.

A Child of Byne coverOn the writing front I have spectacular news! My author’s proof for A Child of Byne is finally(!) on its way so I can proof it, make corrections, and make it for sale. And Witch Warden: The Ux-Blood Trilogy, Book III is in the hands of my editor. I expect it back from her in about three weeks. Should leave me time enough to incorporate her suggestions, fit the cover to the template (I need a final page count for that), and send it off in time for an October 31st publication. Two books in two months. Makes it look like I’ve been a busy beaver. Truth is I procrastinated on Child most of the year, and then there were issues with the printer. It should have been out for sale by the end of August. Well, we’re coming to the end of that road finally. It’ll be fun to see how things go with Witch Warden (probably embarassingly smooth).

And that will probably be the last book I publish for a while. I have three shorter stories brewing in my head that I want to hammer out. One of them is a long short story set in my Ux-Blood universe. I also want to throw more effort into selling the short stories I do have already written up. Most of those need some good tweaks so I’ll spend time getting those up to speed. The plan is to sell one or two of these before I settle into writing my next novel, a fantasy entitled Dew Drops. I plan to have that out for sale by Christmas, 2015.

And now we’re all caught up!

 

UPDATE: It’s later in the day now. The box to ship my Phoenix tower to HP came while I was out walking. So I packed up my poor ailing tower and brought it down to a Fed-Ex pick-up spot in neighboring Chaska. The tower is on its way to the fix-it shoppe. I should have it back in all its sparkling glory in about two weeks- about the time A Child of Byne might be finally on sale. Stay tuned for further updates!