A Child of Byne

This is for posts related to my novella, A Child of Byne

Earth Cell’s tour enters its final days

Earth Cell cover artIt’s June 6th now, and Earth Cell: The Ux-Blood Trilogy, Book I has been on its book blog tour for nearly a month now. I’ve seen a small uptick in sales, and a few sales of the other two books in the trilogy. Oddly, no one’s picked up a copy of A Child of Byne. Puzzling, but there it is. I think that one has the most dramatic cover. I wonder if I need to put it back on Kindle Select for it to be seen as available. Maybe make it an Amazon exclusive.

As for the tour, the events are as follows:

A pretty fun character interview at The Book Daily. Another one, of a different character, at Cassidy Crimson’s Blog. Won’t tell you which characters get interviewed. And both interviews reveal a little bit of backstory for each character. They’re not long. you may want to check them out!

Some book excerpts at Hollow Readers, 365 Days of Reading, The Book Gazette, and The Reading Guru. I tried to pick some interesting moments in Earth Cell. One of them has a stupid typo, dammit.

I got a book review from Paranormal Romance and Authors that Rock, an author interview at Books A to Z, and I dropped in a guest post at Endazzled Reading (there’s also an excerpt here, too). It’s about typos, oddly enough…

And that’s it so far.

On the schedule, there’s two more book excerpts, two more book reviews, and one final author interview. I will drop in those links as they become available. I also plan to make a page for this book blog tour, with all the links, for your convenience. (And mine, truth be told.)

One thing I’ve learned is future tours will focus more on book reviews and interviews. I’m not a fan of the excerpt. I’d prefer to be able to talk about my book through an interview, or have someone else talk about it through a review. I know reviews can be risky, but I’m confident in my writing and will to take that risk.

As usual, Earth Cell remains free in PDF format. Grab your copy here if you haven’t already!

Revisions mid-revision

Diving back into my latest work-in-progress is not going so well. I finished chapter three easily enough, but that had its own internal flow I found easy to slip back into post-vacation. That chapter possessed a particular ‘short story’ feel. I’m a whole 374 words into chapter four and already decided it’s poop. And in looking at the first 2300 words of chapter two, I see a whole lot of wholesale cutting in its immediate future.

The story itself is not the problem. I know what I want to say and how to get my characters through it all. With the first draft in hand, I’m on target, more or less.

The problem now is I need to change some of the technology being used in chapter two. I want to show how that technology permeates the Shiss society, and let the reader actually see it in use, to set up later terminology and use of said technology. As things stand, the current opening simply will not work. I have decided on the fix, but that will essentially demand a complete re-writing of those first 2300 words. There’s a good chance that word count will drop a bit with a tighter opening. Here’s hoping, anyway.

In chapter four, it’s time to lay the hammer down on the main character, Mother Kreek. She’s the one with the sense of unease, the worry at the back of her mind that the Pheelm are a bad influence for her people. That creeping dread is her motivation to do what she does for the remainder of the story. So it needs to be drawn out. Intensified. She’s already taking a huge risk communicating with a member of a race that openly defied the Pheelm. A huge risk. As is her merchant friend Pench. The letter from her Handresi friend had better well be worth it. (And spoiler: it is.) So the lame opening I’ve penned in those first 374 words is pretty much junk. I’d rather fix that now before digging myself a deeper hole for revision number three.

So, the plan now is to hop back to chapter two and extensively revise. I normally do not do such heavy revision during a heavy revision. This is a second draft that will have substantial changes from the first draft, which I wrote mostly on the fly, with no real planning. I sometimes do that, and it works well for the most part (Earth Cell and A Child of Byne are my two most-recent examples). With a first draft in hand giving me the story’s broad strokes, this second draft is my first chance to narrow down the focus, ratchet up the stakes, and make the consequences, good and bad, for all characters involved far more substantial. Seeing where the current revisions need revising is actually a good sign. It means I’m really buckling down and giving the more subtle elements of the story the deep consideration they deserve.

A Child of Byne cover artEarth Cell cover artWe’ll see in a few weeks how it all turns out.

PS- I jiggered the css for this theme to remove the underlining of links. I’m not a fan of that text decoration at all.

PPS- Earth Cell: The Ux-Blood Trilogy, Book I remains free in PDF format! Click HERE or on the book cover art over there!

So, Checking Back In…


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.

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!

Progress on A Child of Byne Publication


While writing the manuscript and creating the cover may seem like all the hard work, it’s turning to be getting the actual story into publication suffers from its own set of speed bumps. Nothing unusual there.

First, the files have to be submitted to the printer for approval. When that doesn’t happen, nothing moves forward. For an author to finally get all that “hard” work done only to have the publisher not submit the files for printer approval in a timely manner… well, other considerations pop into mind. (Smashwords, anyone?) Author loyalty only goes so far with so many options these days. But for me, it will take a goodly number of such oversights to push me off to new avenues.

Then small issues appear when the printer finally does receive the finished material. The publisher forgetting to request a new template for an agreed-upon lower price for the finished product can be a simple oversight in an otherwise busy world. Taking the long view, though, and seeing it as part of a trend (like forgetting to upload the finished files to the printer) adds to that feeling of “maybe there’s something not quite kosher here.” But again, I understand.

I’m in no hurry to get things published, really. While it’s a joy to have a finished product in hand and be able to say, “I did this!” there’s no great stress in getting it out there. It will happen with a certain inevitability if the author means it to be. For example, I probably spent too many months dinkering with the back cover artwork than was necessary. I’d even put it aside for weeks at a time. If I intended for the book to be put on sale in a timely fashion, I certainly wouldn’t have procrastinated like that. So I’ve no real issue with my author-friendly publisher pushing an actual publication date further along with a couple of honest oversights. In all honesty, my part of the process is essentially complete. (I still have to proof the first copy and make sure it’s all spiffy, which I did not do for the first proofs of Terrorcruise and Earth Cell, much to my regret, but that’s a fun thing!) Now I have to let the rest of the process run its course.

A Child of Byne will be published soon. Likely before the end of the month. Which is fine with me. Just thought I’d pass along some of the little bumps in the road that I’m encountering now, stuff non-writers might not know about. These problems are out of my control, so I’m not fretting about them. Each issue will be resolved, or has been. Eventually I’ll have my prize in hand. Like the writing and art-working, all the rest of the process is exactly that. Part of the process.

An End to My Long Chapters

Readers who’ve braved my Ux-Blood Trilogy (and I know there’s one or two of you out there) know I went crazy on the chapter size for those stories. Chapters of 20K words (which run about fifty or sixty pages) are not uncommon- and may even be at the light end of the scale. I think the longest chapter might be forthcoming with Witch Warden– chapter 3 at over 24K words. There’s a lot going on in that chapter, but… well. (Though I will say chapter 3 of the novella, A Child of Byne, is pretty stinking long, too.)

Why did I stick to a mere six chapters and an epilogue for all three books (a mere four chapters and an epilogue for A Child of Byne), with the results being ridiculously enormous chapters? This may sound hookey, but it’s due to the structure of the original series, written in the early 1990s, each manuscript also being six chapters long. Now, they weren’t as long. I don’t think a single one of those books breached the 100K word barrier. Those chapters might have been considered long at the time, too, but with the updated versions (which you the reader get to read) things sort of got out of hand. I didn’t really know going in how big (pardon the pun) an issue this would become. For the series, I thought it would be nice to have a certain consistency in the book structure as it did with the cover art. Looking back, though (and looking ahead to the publication of Witch Warden), it’s not something I foresee me ever doing again.

Today, as I embark on chapter 6 of Witch Warden, my current work in progress, I realize that this will be the last ginormous chapter I write. I see it easily hitting the 20K word count. At things stand, the manuscript is around 106K words, so chapter 6 and the Epilogue will edge it into 130K word territory- about on par with the second book in the series, Witchblood. I’d like to trim Witch Warden down a bit, and will have a chance to do so in the revision process. But there’s also tidbits I intend to add to round things out. They might cancel each other out and leave me with a 130K word manuscript after all. But no matter how things turn out, chapter 6 will be the final big, bloated monstrosity of a chapter I will probably ever write.

I don’t regret how these books have shaped out. I think they’re pretty fun stories. I don’t intend to write a series again for a while, though, as it got somewhat stale at the end (even though I think this final book is probably the best where the story is concerned). And as far as the size of the chapters go, I will have more mercy on my dear readers. Lord knows if they’ve read this far, they’ve suffered enough.