Monday, December 31, 2012

Tons of Other Talent Out There

While the main purpose of this blog is to try and bring attention to my passions, it would be irresponsible of me not to mention all of the great people that I have had the privelege of rubbing shoulders with over the past several years.

Tania Elicker has made perhaps some of the biggest impacts on my love affair with sci-fi/fantasy.  Her novel, The Flame Weaver, is a brilliant look into the way her imagination works.  I urge anyone who enjoys the genre to peruse that book - she's one of those tortured artists that doesn't realize how adept she is at storytelling.  The more people who are out there and able to convince her otherwise, the better.

If high fantasy isn't your cup of tea, you could always check out Nace Phlaux's freshman release, Coincidence.  If you've ever stopped to think about life, you know how perfectly things manage to fall into place.  The love of your life could be just around the corner; a statement heard loudly enough by the wrong people could completely change your destiny.  Phlaux wraps his story up with a bow that could unravel with the slightest tug - it truly is an winding journey, but it is one that couldn't have unfolded any other way.

Finally, several years back, I had the opportunity to work with a guy whose real name I still don't really know.  SplashKhat had a tremendous influence on the direction my stories took.  Although he was in a completely different medium, it was one that I once ventured upon.  As time passed, and I realized that it wasn't something I was proficient enough to pursue whole-heartedly, I always looked back at him with respect and admiration.  At one point, I reached out to him on a whim, and we had almost collaborated on the final piece of his magnum opus.  At present, he's doing very similar things as I: trying to develop his own video games.

There are, of course, many other people that have had a huge hand in helping me to develop into the storyteller that I am today.  There are other writer's that I emulate.  There are masterminds of such caliber that I could never hope to match their talent.  Perhaps in one of the other blogs down the line, I'll highlight these folks.  They deserve their moment in the spotlight as much as anyone.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Ultimate Penultimate

I'm finally feeling like I'm making some decent progress on this damn chapter.  Several of the characters have taken their final bow for the trilogy (excluding the epilogue).  Most of the action sequences have been taken care of, and the final chapter is structured instead for exposition and a big reveal.

This chapter is monstrous.  I've said it before, but it bears repeating.  The last section I was working on was Steel Tip and his troupe, and just one section ran six and a half pages.  And I write incredibly small.  My written pages end up being longer than typed pages.  All told, this chapter is already 28 pages long, and it's still going.

When it gets to the point that I can see the end, I start to write more purposefully.  There's definitely a flow to my writing, but further up the river, so to speak, my habits tend to focus more on being more relaxed.  I write when it is convenient.  Now, with a sense of finality, my writing sessions are more structured.  I plan on sitting down and writing more often.  A reality where I am finished by the end of the year is completely justified, especially in the next coming days.

For now, I have to slay this massive beast that still stands proud and strong before me.  These final chapters are always a little meaty, but I've never been faced with one this enormous.  It'll feel like a huge relief once I manage to put it behind me, although I'm sure a little melancholy as well.  After all, this goodbye is going to be a long one.  It may be years before I get to write about some of the characters again, and that is a painful realization indeed.

In the meantime, there is always the need to push on.  This monster of a book is going to be done soon, and I hope that it is something that I can share with everyone. 


Monday, December 17, 2012

Sales Spike!

It might be a little presumptious (I've had people return copies of my book before), and it may be only slight, but I've had the best month in... well, months, in terms of sales.

Better yet, the attach rate for the series increased as well.  Typically, I get about 20% on a return readership.  That is to say, if 10 people buy The Bindings of Fate, two of them will purchase As Darkness Falls.  It will be very interesting to see how things go once The Enemy Within is out.

Last week, I spoke about sales strategies, and what I plan on doing regarding the first book in the trilogy.  Rather than do a few days of free sales, I'm thinking of permanently lowering the price of Bindings.  It's clearly my first book, and I want to get more people on board for something which is a decidely niche title.  Medieval superheroes hadn't ever been done before, to my knowledge.  I think some fans have envisioned the Avengers as such, but even that came out after May 2011.

Of course, as Bindings becomes more open to the public, with a cheaper price, I imagine I'm going to get hit with a massive amount of hate (or so it would seem, anyway).  More people will get their hands on it, but the attach rate will probably drop.

That % is just a number.  I don't really care about that.  If I couldn't impress 95 out of 100 people, I'd just be incredibly happy to entertain those five other people.  As of right now, it looks like I'm writing the Tellest series for 200 people.  If that's the case, I salute you all, and I'll continue to write for you.  Thanks for being on board thus far!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Culmination of Everything

It's been a while since I've posted an update, and that's because there's been very little to tell.  Still, I think it's important that people know how far along the book is, and how well I am in my mind.

Things are still on track for this book to be completed at the end of the month.  I have about four more sections to write in the penultimate chapter, and then one last chapter that will reveal the secrets of the universe (of Tellest).  I promise to explain why people are gaining these powers, and what that means to the other powerful beings of the world. 

After that, I'll type the final part out, and then put the entire thing in a drawer somewhere for a month.  Then, I'll pick it back up, and do a preliminary edit on it before sending it out to someone who knows better, and can better strengthen my voice.  After he's done with his red ink, I'll edit it one last time, put the final touches on it, and commission a cover to be made.  In May, it will be out and ready to be in your hands (or on your desk).

I'm struggling with a couple of the details for when it is complete.  This is going to be my longest book, by far, and because of that, I'm debating what I should do about the cost.  When all is said and done, I've put the most work into this, and I would like to think that I should be compensated for it, so I'm thinking about raising the price compared to the last one.  This one would be $4.99 as opposed to the $2.99 I've been selling the last ones at.  If anyone happens upon this blog, it is most likely because you're already a fan of the books in some way, so I'll leave it to you.  What do you think my book will be worth?

One of the reasons that I'm questioning myself is that it's been quite some time since I've received any kind of feedback on the books.  Sales have slowed dramatically as well, so I'm getting a much smaller indication of how much people value my writing.  Before, when I released As Darkness Falls, I could tell what kind of attach rate I had with my readers.  You can tell that I have about a 20% rate.  That is, about 1/5 of the people who read The Bindings of Fate liked it enough to purchase the sequel.  That may not seem like a huge amount, but, in my view, that's splendid.

You see, I know that my first book has a sinister lull.  I've talked about it before in one of my other blogs.  There are a variety of people who will pick up my book, but a special niche of the audience will tolerate my journeyman flaws.  Once people were able to trudge through one of the weaker moments in The Bindings of Fate (specifically between Chapters Ten and Thirteen, if you're familiar with the work), I believe they were treated to one hell of a ride.

You see, in those 20-some pages, I tried to force character development onto my protagonist.  I wanted to give the audience a little more familiarity with him.  Yet the whole time, it showed him as infallible and indomitable.  Kaos became a man with no weakness (with the exception of spiders, of course), who was able to do in one day what eight men could not do in decades.

Of course, that was a weakness that should reflect on me, not the story.  There were plenty of ways that I could have written those passages leading to the Valley of Kathka that would have made Kaos' success seem more appropriate - more realistic.

I didn't do that, of course, and it's hurt my reputation as an author in some regards.  It's also helped immensely, because I've been able to identify some of my biggest flaws.

One of my lowest reviews has this to say about The Bindings of Fate:

"Here is another issue that bothered me. The main character enters a tournament. Why? For treasure. In fact, he repeatedly calls it "treasure". Not money, not gold, not anything specific. Just generic "treasure". The treasure he gets? A treasure map to go find... treasure! And he's so excited about it, he goes and finds this lost treasure that a group of eight other men could not find in their combined lifetimes. In. One. Day.
The hero is stabbed through the leg with a spear? Two pages later - he's off saving the world... sprinting and leaping. The main character is perfect at everything, all the time, but he's also perfectly humble, perfectly handsome, etc. etc."

As I've said before, the realistic chances of Kaos finding anything that eight other men could not is a little beyond the realms of ridiculousness.  I should have said that no one really bothered to try looking, or that they had just recently come into possession of the map that would have lead to the fabled treasure.  The former is actually accurate to the story as well.  With the Knights of Virtue recently developing the City of Wonders, who could blame them for not wasting time trying to find a city that may or may not exist?

And again, the main character's flawlessness is brought under the lens as well - something I've not forgotten, despite that review being written a year ago yesterday.

Another reviewer actually threw down his copy on several occasions, and couldn't even make it through the book:

Throwdown 1: Our hero won 4 gladiator battles, found a magic gauntlet in a lost city and then sleeps with the Duke's daughter ALL WITHOUT TAKING A BATH. It wouldn't be such a big deal, but the author mentions how Kaos has blood and sweat all over him and the guy changes clothes, but doesn't even splash water on his face. Ridiculous. Also worth mentioning: all of the above happened within 48-72 hours. Really?
Throwdown 2: Our hero makes a deal with a necromancer that if he defeats his champion, he'll let the Duke's daughter go free. Kaos defeats the champion and now she is free. "Free to watch you die!" (insert evil cackle). This was too much cliche and I liked Twilight for the love of Pete.

Now these complaints I take odds with.  I've responded to the "your character never takes a bath" comment on other forums before, and frankly, it always strikes me as a little odd.  Why should I ever have to mention that the character uses a washcloth or cleans himself in any regards?  It should just be implied when he's clean in the next scene.  I don't ever write about any of my characters taking the time to urinate, but is that supposed to imply that they never do it?  Fake spoilers ahead: the antagonist of the story actually dies of a bursting bladder.

It's the comment about the cliche that actually makes me realize that I'm not going to please everyone, and I'm alright with that.

All that said, however, let me further explain what is going on in my head as I near the end of these books.  As I sat, quietly writing this morning, the creeping, nagging worry that I'm not as good a storyteller as I wish to be would ferment in my mind.  The echoes of those comments, specifically the first one, still resonate within me.  It has effected my confidence, and in turn has effected the speed in which I've proceeded along this last year.  Everyone has doubts about their abilities, and most of mine are fostered from these admitted flaws.

In spite of that, however, I think that my writing has steadily improved since I wrote the previous two novels.  In this third book, I wrote a very similar treasure hunting sequence as the ill-fated chapters 10-12 in BoF.  It was because of that complaint, however, that I identified that weakness, and for that, I say thank you.

So it boils down to this:

  1. Bad press has made me second guess myself briefly, but I'm still in the game.
  2. If anything else, the bad comments have helped to strengthen my resolve.
  3. This book is going to be a monster in length.
  4. Help me to price out this new book.  Do I keep it at $2.99 or do I ask for $4.99.  Do I do a early premium and then drop the price later?  The price is in your hands.
As more information is ready to divulge, this blog will be the place to visit for the reveal.  Thanks for your support!

Friday, November 16, 2012

String Theory

At the end of this third book, I've come to a point where I'm trying to give every character their own time to shine.  There are two large focal points that are separated by hundreds of miles, and a whole hell of a lot of mountains.

In each of these locales, I have a handful of characters who have been favored greatly by the readership over the past couple of years.  New abilities have been discovered, and, of course, the characters themselves have grown.  Recently introduced characters have to have their place in the sun as well, however.  As The Bindings of Fate suggested, fate has woven a web between everyone, and without all of their stories, the saga cannot be properly told.

There is an extra dimension to the conflicts that we see in the story, and that dimension was largely hinted at in the second book.  External forces have been pushing Blacklehn and Tarson to converge on Raleigh, and despite all the trouble that Kaos Kreegan has found himself in, nothing will prepare him for his encounters in The Enemy Within.

Though Kaos has always seemed at the center of the universe in the Child of the Stars trilogy (and rightly so, given the name), there is indeed a greater scope.  Everything is connected - things don't just happen without a purpose.  Perhaps the gods have their hand involved in the events that have come to pass, and those that will.

To truly see where the story is going, you need to know where it has evolved from.  With that in mind, I'm happy to announce that the next full-length novel I will be working on for Tellest will focus on Kaos Kreegan's childhood and his first real quest.  It will be called "The Veil of Mists" and it will introduce you to characters that you may have only heard about in passing, and also show you glimpses of familiar faces that you might not have thought to see again.

Work has resumed on Devour, but I'm still very cautious about putting a firm schedule to it.  My programmer has always been awesome to collaborate with, but I know that he's incredibly busy.  He's been tutoring me to try and pick up some of the slack, but there is a lot of logic/math involved, and, admittedly, that's not my strength.

In any case, things are still plodding along in Tellest.  Hopefully, I'll have some more meaty news for you soon.  With the wrap of my book coming shortly, I intend to start the trickle of excerpts.  Maybe one per month until the release!

Until then, take care, and thank you for your continued support!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Culling

Oh yes, there will be blood.

I've talked about it before, but I'm nearing the point of no return for certain characters.  This will be their final bow, and that realization is both humbling and terrifying.

One of the things that I set out to do as a storyteller is tell the story of a character without a bias.  Even though my universe is a complete work of fiction, there is still a spark of truth that is set to the events.  I try, in no uncertain terms, to show when someone has something interest to say, rather than presenting it as fact.  The reader can determine whether or not it is important to the story, but the character, in revealing that portion of his or her nature, can clearly represent what is important to them.

Though this novel lies at the end of a trilogy, I've included new characters, several which show up as late as the final chapter.  Some of them have been referenced to, and some have had no precursory introduction.  Their lives are at stake as well during all the turmoil, and it would have been crude and disheartening if I didn't display just what odds they were up against.

Meanwhile, there are veterans of my saga who are forced to come to grips with their own mortality.  My readership may already know of the kind of damage that can be done within several hundred pages.  Some characters are not meant to make it through to the end.  This doesn't mean that they weren't important.  They had their role to play, as we all do.  The best that they can do is have an impact on someone's life.  In that way, they can leave some kind of lasting legacy.

There will be those who survive the horrors of battle.  These heroes (and villains - though who is to say which is which?) will bear the scars of lost loved ones, of broken dreams and unfounded wishes.  Of course, not all who survive war end up unscathed.  Some survivors leave only a broken, maimed husk behind, the memories of their hellish encounters enough to rend their very sanity.  Others walk away with only a fleeting semblance of hope, a rapidly diminishing black spot growing inside their hearts.  If all that is evil in the world is left to fester, what hope could good possibly venture?

Yet, among the shadows, a new light dawns.  There are those who fight, knowing that the odds are ever against them.  Some press on, despite all the pain and torment that plagues their lives.  Few laugh in the face of danger, tempting fate like some exotic lover.  As long as their is a world to protect, to help endure, they will remain.  The tales of those who fell too soon may be written in stone, or on tattered pages, but it is the blood they spill that leaves a permanent place in history.  Oh yes... there will be blood.

Monday, November 5, 2012


I probably shouldn't have played The Scorpions like it was a challenge to Sandy.  That was most likely my first mistake.

The hurricane hit my area last week, and it had a pretty severe impact on the community.  Trees had demolished houses, power lines were strewn about like shoelaces, and some of the people nearby are still without electricity.  This is definitely the worst storm I've seen in my area in my lifetime, and for a lot of other people I know, I'm sure they feel the same.

To all those who weathered the storm, my prayers go out to you.

It has been very strange trying to acclimate myself to the land of the powered again.  We were down for 72 hours, and were doing a variety of things to help get us through the dark hours.  We did crossword puzzles, we tortured the cat (lovingly - we rolled her up in a couple blankets and made her a Peanut burrito), and sometimes, we just talked for hours at a time.  I'm very lucky to have Rhianna in my life - no matter how long we've been together, there's still more I find out about her every day.

There were things that I missed in those three days, however.  My hobbies, for sure... it's crippling to go cold turkey on video games - I imagine people who quit smoking have an easier time of it.  No television except for whatever we had on DVD that we could pop in Rhianna's laptop.  No access to email or facebook... I often forget how much of a social creature I've become in the last several years.  I felt naked without the internet, and I'm very appreciative to have it back.

It was a struggle to write this past week as well.  I couldn't bring the book to work, because there was hardly any time to work on it, and the day is burning to fast during this time of year that by the time I get home, I can barely see what I'm working on.  Even with some of our fancy flashlights, it's a struggle to really find your focus on a page when you write this small.  And none of that even comes close to being out of that comfort zone that I've mentioned in previous posts.  Seriously, how am I supposed to write without a hair dryer providing magical white noise that whisks me away to another place?

After not writing for three days, I was forced to recalibrate myself.  I spent pretty much all of Friday night staring intently at what I'd already put to page, like Michaelangelo stared at the block of marble before it was David.  I had to set myself back in that world, and in the mindset to write.  The good news is that I'm back in top gear, writing like crazy. 

The bad news, if you can call it that, is that my story took on a new twist that's going to require a little more intensive care on my part.  I always neglect moving forward cautiously into the final chapter of my books, and they always end up becoming their own monsters.  The Bindings of Fate's last chapter nearly tripled the length of the chapter before it.  As Darkness Falls was doing it's own thing, but that's only because of the way I broke up the action.  It ended up being about 12 pages longer than the chapter before it.

Now that I'm closing up The Child of the Stars trilogy, I can tell that The Enemy Within is definitely going out with a bang.  I may even have another chapter to throw in after the one I'm working on to help me dole out all the secret reveals - and trust me, there are a lot of them.  I digress.  You want details, I'm sure.  All of the characters that you've grown to love in these books gets their own little piece of action in this last chapter.  It's an impressive overlay that will have a very cinematic feel.  I'm thinking it might push close to 40 pages when all is said and done.

With that in mind, I'm pushing back my previous deadline.  I know some people might find it a little annoying, but I'd also like to think that the delay will allow it to grow at a more natural pace.  A delayed art can eventually be good, but a rushed job will always be terrible.  The new deadline that I'm shooting for is May, 2013.  That would mean that The Enemy Within would release on the two year anniversary of The Bindings of Fate's release.

Furthermore, I had discussed previously that work on the game was going to be finished sooner than I had anticipated as well.  Sometimes the people you work with on a team start off with very good intentions, but other things can get in the way.  I'm of the mindset that when you're first interviewing people you're not meeting them, but rather, a representative of them on their best behavior.  With that in mind, development on the game is going to take a bit longer than I had previously expected as well.  It's my goal at this point to try and get Devour completed and ready for release alongside The Enemy Within.  I'll have more details to post over the next few weeks, surely.

Finally, just because one project has a few kinks, that doesn't mean they all must.  Kev and I have been working on a new game that we'd like to unveil soon, and of course, it is Tellest related.  Old-school gamers should like it as well, but that's as much as I'm able to reveal at this point in time.  Stay tuned!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Long Goodbye

I don't know how some authors do it.

At some point in all the most popular fantasy narratives, one of the characters that the audience has grown to (or grows to) love has died: Boromir in Lord of the Rings, Dumbledore, Snape, the one Weasley twin, etc., in Harry Potter, everyone in Game of Thrones.  At some point, the author had to stop and say to themselves, "Well, this is it.  This is the last time that I'm ever going to see this character operate under their own volition.  We might hear about them again through passing, or discover some of their unmentioned deeds, but they will never have a meaningful, growing relationship from this point on."

It's got to be a painful experience.  The characters we create are kind of like our children, in some regards... little brain babies left to their own devices, going out into the world.  If you've ever lost a loved one, you know that the most horrifying result is the knowledge that you'll never be able to hear their voice again.  When my father passed away, it didn't really hit me until a few months later.  Sure, I was emotionally damaged because I had lost my dad, but the reality of the situtation wasn't clear.  I had a house repair to make, and I remember getting my phone and scrolling through the contacts, intentionally landing it on his name.  And then I realized that if I had called, he wouldn't have answered.

These characters are gone, even if they're not forgotten.  Unless you've got some clever way to bring someone back from the dead, the only time you're going to experience their personality is in flashbacks or prequels.  It has got to be a tough call to make, even if you've been preparing yourself for it for ages.

George Martin is a mass murderer, yet I refuse to believe that when *SPOILERS* Ned Stark made his unfortunate exit at the end of his first book in the Game of Thrones series, he wasn't a little dissapoitned that it was the true experience he would ever develop with that character *END SPOILERS*.

I can't imagine how J. K. Rowling felt at the end of the Harry Potter series.  In one way, it's difficult to leave one character so that your story can proceed.  It must be a completely liberating yet tragic feeling to come to terms with the finality of an entire world you've created.  I'm dreading the final moments of this trilogy, because I know that it will probably be one or two years before I ever "see" many of the characters again.  If I ever determined that I was done with the Tellest universe, it would have to be because I knew I was dying, and I had given it the logical, fair closing point it deserved to have.  And even then, I'm sure I'd be more miserable about the fact that it was the last time I would ever venture into my little made up world than I was to be leaving this one.

The beginning of the final episode of "season three" of Tellest is wrapping up.  I'm nearing a moment of respite for some characters, and I'm bowing my head one last time for others.  While it's a great feeling to know you've finished a mental task such as this, it's almost depressing at the same time.  While the words themselves may be immortal, the lives of the characters, in some ways, are not.

The long goodbye is cruel and cold.

13th Hour Edit: I, of course, should mention that one way around the death of certain characters is redacting that with later storyline.  Gandalf the Grey became Gandalf the White.  All of R. A. Salvatore's characters have been snatched from the jaws of death at some point.  Even Martin lets some of his characters live after the reader believes they have shed their mortal coil.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Comfort Zone

Poo Warning: This post reveals intimate details about my writing method.  If you or your loved ones hold sacred the - dare I say - art of defacation, and do not want it soiled by my words, please, turn away now.

Whenever I'm writing, it's usually in a comfort zone.  As I've stated before, typically, a hotel room does a great service to my creative side.  The single best comfort zone that I have, however, is a bathroom.  That's right.  If you've read any of my work, there's at least an 85% chance that you're reading inverted poop literature.

But wait!  I can compound the oddity quotient.  You see, the main reason writing in the bathroom is so effective for me is that it just became comfortable after so long.  The lavatory was a safe haven for me to escape to when I needed a break from anything else, whether that was family, or work or even my other hobbies. 

If it was feasible to write in the shower, I probably would.

So it's been established that I am at my most relaxed when I'm dropping trou.  But for me to truly feel absolutely at peace, I need to be as near to natural as possible.  That means that I am practically naked when I'm scrawling my brain baby onto paper.  Think about it.  How else can you be that intimate with your hobby?

Furthermore, breaking down the outside world helps to establish that personal connection that I truly need to find expressive dialogue and emotions in my work.  If I had one readily available, I'd find comfort in a nice waterfall - but bees and flies and other things could preoccupy my time, so I find white noise elsewhere: a hair dryer.

Friends and family have taken to referring to it as a dryer poop.  It's my little piece of heaven, for fifteen minutes at a time.  I'm relaxed, I'm warm, and I'm naked.  But that's just the point.  When I'm in that mentality, I'm as far away from reality as I've ever been.  It's in that state of relaxation that I can best displace myself, and write from the point of views of multiple characters.  It's practically an out-of-body experience.  Fear me, for I am an almighty poop god!

Now, that's not to say that I can't write elsewhere.  In fact, that's the point of this blog post.  As I draw closer and closer to the end of a novel, the perimeter of the comfort zone seems to grow.  I'm not sure if it's because the intimacy of the project grows as I prepare to bid it a final adieu, or a need to express myself more often (usually attributed, I'm sure, to the volume of the story that falls into that last chapter or two).  In any case, I can write just about anywhere.  I'm a veritable Doctor Seuss character as it pertains to scribbles at this point.

This becomes such an issue that - despite the fact that I'll finish The Enemy Within, with the intent to put it away and not look at it for a month - I will begin writing the follow-up to the novel within the next few days or even hours.  When I finished As Darknes Falls, I knew that I was going to be taking a huge step away from my original conceived notion of The Enemy Within.  I thought I'd need time to load the new ideas into my mind, but they were already buried somewhere in my mind, and I ended up renting a backhoe without any prior anticipation.

Basically, it all boils down to this: over the next month or so, it becomes incredibly interesting for me as a writer.  I can't wait to see what insanity comes to pass!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ebb and Flow

There is a natural progression in all things.  The water moves at its own pace, so does the wind, and, if left to it's own devices, a fire.  Who are we to govern or manipulate our destinies?

I've spoken at length before about how it's my intention to create a videogame, and that hasn't changed.  However, it's recently become established in my mind that my enthusiasm may have convinced me that I was able to complete what I was aiming for in far less time than I need

It was my intention to have Devour done and launched by March, but that may be an unrealistic goal.  The initial plan was to have the programming of the game finished by the end of December, at the very latest.  The worst thing you can do in life is believe that your long-term plans are unshakable.  The time that the team working on the game requires is tricky to obtain, mostly because this is a part-time project.  Real life, if you want to call it that, can sometimes get in the way, and I can't fault anyone for that.

What I can do is adjust the timeline we have.  There's no reason that the game wouldn't be able to come out in June rather than March.  Obviously, there's some dissapointment there, because I would like nothing more than to reveal my brain baby to the world as soon as possible.  Devour can only benefit from the extra time it has to baste, however.  I'm still going to give it all the attention it deserves, and when it does manage to come out, it'll be even better for it.

In the meantime, everything else Tellest-related is still on track.  The Enemy Within is going to be finished, likely by the end of this month.  Then, it'll sit in a drawer for a month before I pick it up and go through the edits for content and for quality before it heads off to my editor.  March is looking to be the month for that!

In other news, it's been a couple of months since the Bindings of Fate came out in paperback.  To lead the way for The Enemy Within, As Darkness Falls is going to see a physical release in either January or February as well. 

Finally, there are a few other workings in the background that we may be able to talk about soon.  Keep sending your good energy our way, and maybe we'll have some decent surprises for you before you know it!

Monday, October 8, 2012


One of the things that I haven't really had the chance to talk about is how much I know about the universe I'm working in as it pertains to Tellest.  I've been writing the novels since I was 17, and a lot of what my audience reads is something that's been written twice.  It wasn't until I finished writing the third book in my series (the first time) that I decided my writing had evolved far beyond what it had started out as.  So many things changed - but I was still writing the same baseline stories.

Several times over the course of the books, I've been able to surprise myself from a narrative standpoint.  Characters who were evil in the original books ended up on the other side of the playing field.  People who had small parts were embellished, and others were completely stripped from the book altogether.  And then, of course, there's the whole point of the series getting down to brass tacks right away this time.  In the original trilogy, you learned very slowly of the superhero powers that each of the characters had.  In this one, you learn it all right from the get go.

A lot of the time, that change in the narrative comes as a surprise, even to me.  Whenever that happens, I'm invigorated by the potential.  It's scary, because you're going off track from what you anticipated, but I've always been of the mind that you let the story dictate itself - you're just the writer.  On the other side of things, it's absolutely exciting.  When you're writing a story you know without a fault, some of the scenes can tend to drag on.  You're not doing anything new.  It's been done before, and you're not pushing boundaries.  But when you manage to surprise even yourself, you know you're onto something good.

Whenever these things happen, I tend to try and make sure there is potential for readers to catch it before it actually happens.  This has happened twice before in my series... once in each book.  As time goes on, I'm sure people are going to look out for them like I'm the M. Night Shymalan of ancient superhero novels.  Eventually I'm going to have to think up even bigger surprises.

Side note: Shymalan is actually a pretty nice guy if the conversations I've had with him are genuine.

For now, I have to wrap myself in the twist.  The payoff has to be as powerful as it was before, and I think in this case, it will be even greater.  And then of course there's the post-climax reveal that I was already intending on writing...

But that's a story for March, I suppose.  Not too far away now!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Game On

As the final book begins winding down (only two chapters left!), the game that I've been working on is heating up!

Last week, Rhianna and I took some time to figure out the concept of the main character of our game, which, for now, I'll call "Digger" just to try and retain some amount of mystery.  She had me jumping around on all fours like a baboon, which really isn't that much of a stretch for me.  I mean, have you seen my arms?  Her sketches were impressive enough on their own, but now, we have something that we can show you.

"I just want to be held."
World, meet Naryx.  Naryx, meet world.

As you can see, our little creature is very anxious to be starring in his own game.  He's got a lot to learn, but then, so do I.

The good news is, my team is pretty much put together, and I couldn't ask for better developers.  Our pixel artist is very impressive, our musician is uber talented, and the programmer... he's definitely the glue that helps me keep everything together.

I put together an official story the other day too, and so far, the reception to it has been very good.  I can definitely see this being a game that a lot of people are going to enjoy.

Over the next few months, you'll see me drop more tidbits of information, some art, perhaps some music, and, one of the coolest parts, a campaign, where you help out and receive rewards for your patronage.  If you're especially interested, who knows... maybe you could even be part of the game.  More details on that later...

As I said before, there's a lot ahead of me.  But a lot of the time, when you weather the storm, you come out bigger, stronger, hungrier on the other side...

"And I'm not even fully grown."

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fact Checking

It seems strange, but as I'm wrapping up this third novel, I'm consistently having to widen my own memory net.

Whenever any author writes their novel, unless they're intimately aware of everything they're talking about, they inevitably have to dig in and research.  For The Bindings of Fate, I had to study up on castle terminology (and I had to brush up on it some more for The Enemy Within), and I needed to research weaponry somewhat.  In As Darkness Falls, I did some looking at dragon history and dragonology.

Now, as I said, I'm beginning to get to the hind end of my third book.  I'm probably over 1,000 pages into my universe now, not including supplemental work, like the encyclopedia that I've been working on, or the games.  At this point, there's so much going on, that I often retread my steps in the narrative one way or another.  I think it's a good habit to take your readers back to something familiar, even if you have to explain it in a different light. 

One of the reasons that I started writing up the encyclopedia was to have an easier way to keep myself in check.  I'm fully aware of all the major details - people's appearances, their fighting styles and weapons, etc. - but with so much going on, it's nice to be able to look back at something without scrounging too much, and finding out, "alright, yeah, that's exactly how I thought it was."  The last thing you want to do is forget your own material.  While I haven't done that yet - as far as I can tell - I'd like to make sure I don't in the future either.

This is an especially daunting task because of the aforementioned supplemental pieces.  With all the sideways and historical lore, there are plenty of things that I could incorrectly reference, if I'm not careful.  For the game we're currently working on, the main character is a creature that's only mentioned twice in the second book.  I was intentionally vague in their descriptions, but even the details that were given had to be taken into consideration.  That had to be worked into the concept art for the main character of the game.  Rhianna had me running around the house on all fours like a gorilla the other day for reference, just to make sure she understood the description right.

That is the nature of this foray into my mind though.  If you're going to do something of this magnitude, that doesn't mean you take shortcuts to end the journey quicker.  No matter what you're working on, it's better to take the time to perform your task, whether it's research, or narrative, to the best of your ability.  You can't take back your integrity once it's out in the open, so it's best to make sure you polish it as much as you are able.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Home Stretch

This morning, I was able to finish another chapter before I started my daily work routine.  There's a calm in the hours before the sun comes up that I utilize best, I think.  I can get lost in my thoughts, and write for an hour without even realizing it.

We're coming down to the last three chapters or so.  All that I've been writing so far has been leading me to two of the biggest scenes since I started writing.  While the chapters leading up to this moment have gone quickly, I have no doubts that these last couple will take a long time.  There's a coming together of the ensemble that requires a lot of detail, and a lot of respect to each of the characters.

Speaking of coming together and ensembles, I've been working on putting together a team for the game, and it has been such a new experience for me.  I have certain leadership qualities deep within me that I've never truly explored.  Because of this project, however, they're coming out in full force.  When you're dealing with an intellectual property, you want to give it the best treatment that it can get.  That means you're not rushing into things just to get them done.  You're trying to find the best people for the job, the best synergy between your team, all while trying to balance a modest budget.

I'm not the kind of person who has ever been very good at haggling.  You'll never see me at a store trying to talk a cashier down for a piece of furniture, or the newest gadget.  It would even be a miracle to see me trying to talk down a car salesman.  I think he'd almost be offended by my nonchalant approach.

As it pertains to this game though, I'm being as frugal as I've ever been.  I know that I'm going to need all the money I can get to make it more robust and aesthetically pleasing.  That's one of the reasons selecting this team is so interesting, and, at the same time, so terrifying.

While I've pretty much settled on an artist, the musicians are another breed entirely.  I know what I want my game to look like.  I've got an image in my head that has been in there since day one.  For whatever reason though, the sounds are a little less concrete.  Music is just as important as what you're seeing though.  A catchy song in a game can mean the difference between your project being just another in a sea of similar games, or a breakout title that everyone has to get their hands on. 

To top off the struggle of finding music, I'm not tasked with deciding what musician to go with.  I'm quite surprised at how many candidates have come forward in such a short time.  While it's intriguing to have all this potential talent clamoring for a project I'm working on, it's also a very daunting request of myself.  I know that some people are going to be denied, and that's another thing that I'm no good at.

As I said before, however, the project deserves my utmost respect.  I have to give it every chance to thrive, and that's what's driving me forward.  I'm learning these new things as I go.  Hopefully I'll become more comfortable with the ins and outs of this project sooner, rather than later.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Boost Mode

I love going on vacation.  It's not just because it gets me away from whatever superficial problems I might be dealing with.  It isn't merely so I get a break from work.  One of the greatest benefits that I receive by getting away for a little bit is this rush of writer's adrenaline.

When I finished As Darkness Falls, it was my intention to put down the pencil for at least a month or two before I took it up again to begin the next one.  A friend and I ended up taking a short November vacation in Florida, and I took some things with me to pass the time.  I took a Nintendo DS, some cards, a magazine, and, just in case a flash of inspiration struck me, I took a fresh notebook.

I spent more time with that notebook than anything else.  The pencil scribbled so furiously that I almost had to put out a fire on multiple occasions.  When I arrived back home, it almost seemed silly to take that break that I had scheduled.  Too much work had already been put into The Enemy Within, and I wasn't about to stop.

This past May was a repeat of the vacation from that November.  I shared it with infinitely better company, and thought that my days would be completely planned out, but that wasn't even remotely the case.  I still made time for the novel, and it still welcomed that time openly.  At best, I thought that maybe it was the Florida weather that had somehow inspired me so.

Again, I found out that this just wasn't the case.  Rhianna and I took our last vacation of the year this past weekend.  We went to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, and followed it up with a visit to Atlantic City.  You'd think the pageantry and the knights would be nothing but pure fuel for the old imagination, and you'd probably be right, if I needed it.  Even in AC, whenever I was given the chance to put my palm to the paper, it was there.

There's no real explanation that I have yet for why it's so easy for me to write when I'm on vacation.  I don't know if it's the idea of having nothing else in the way, or if it's that feeling of being cut off from the people in my life that I would otherwise be involved with.  In any case, The Enemy Within received a huge boost this weekend, and it might be done earlier than I anticipated.  A little extra polish couldn't hurt!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Everyday Victories

As has been said before, I was suffering recently from the Broken Washer Blues.  I can proudly say today, that I suffer from this affliction no more!

It may not seem like a big deal, but even the smallest changes in our day to day lives can really help to make or break our long term mood.  When you're young and you've got your own home, the natural deterioration of certain things can be so disheartening.  For me, I'm just now digging my way out of years of a flooded pit of financial burden, and climbing up to a dais of debt-free existence.  When you're trying to ascend that mountain, and you can see the peak off in the distance, any distraction can seem daunting.

Besides just the washer, at home, we've had a few other problems, which are rather insignificant in hindsight.  As one unified front, however, the issues seemed almost insurmountable.  A lawnmower breaks down, a car's engine light turns on, a leak springs in the upstairs dormer.  These are all fixable, assuming you have the money.

I would have had about $630 more, had I been paying better attention to my credit card bills over the past five years.  I signed up for a card at Best Buy a few years back, and without my knowledge, they had signed me up for a paid service that would have alleviated any debt I might have had if any of my purchases would have been stolen.  I usually don't even pay for warranties, though, so I knew I didn't sign up for this extra coverage.

After a little more investigation, I found out that this is a wide-reaching problem, that has infringed on a lot of people's lives.  You may not even have realized it happened to you.  If you signed up for a Best Buy credit card in the last few years, I implore you to look at your bill for anything that says "Debt Cancellation".  I thought it was a mandatory fee that I was being charged for paying off my debt early, but that was not the case.

When I realized what was happening, the only thing I could see were crimson hues of fury.  It's not often, these days, when I get stressed out, and it's perhaps because of that lack that I was hit so profoundly with uncontrollable rage as I learned that this bank was ripping off potentially thousands if not millions of people.  If this was me taking money from the bank, I would have been put in jail for the rest of my life.

Cooler heads prevail, however, and I somehow worked out all of the madness that was wracking my body.  It only took a few calls to have my account credited, and to get the frivolous charges cancelled.  The point is, if you have a credit card through that company, do yourself a favor and make sure you're not getting charged for something you never wanted in the first place.

Regarding the washer, however, I was able to get a service technician to come out again.  I don't know if it was because he could see how much I had tried to identify the problem myself, or if I was just a good tipper that last time, but he fixed it for free, and probably about 16 times faster than I could.

It's the victories like today's that make you feel like you can keep going on for miles.  I will always be thankful for them.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Proboscis Prognosis

You can't write better fiction than this.

I've said before that there are minor distractions in my life that don't really have any effect on when the third book should be done.  You'd be surprised at how much something can affect the other things that go on around your life though.

About two weeks ago, our clothes washer stopped draining properly.  I tried my hand at it first, but no matter how intently I stared at the device, I just couldn't bring it back to life.  On Thursday, I had a repairman out, and basically told me that the pump was bad.  It was pretty much what I suspected, but diagrams online weren't really helping to explain where the pump was.  I was looking for it in an entirely different area of the washer.  So he came in and told me what was wrong, and how to fix it, so that I wouldn't be charged an arm and a leg for what would have been a fifteen minute job. 

Two days later, I tried my hand at fixing it.  We have a joke around the house that Rhianna's hair is ruining everything.  She's a beautiful ginger - it's easy to spot her locks when their wrapped around the vacuum cleaner roller, or clogged in the tub.  I teased her that if I found her hair in the washer, and if that was what was causing the pump to malfunction, she would get us a new washer.

Lo and behold, what did I find but a clump of lint reinforced by an outer shell of her hair in the pump.  It was so robust that I didn't have the dexterity to remove it with my hands.  I had to use a set of long needlenose pliers to liberate that pump paralyzing beastie.  Of course at that point, she was embarrassed, and bemoaning, yet lamenting her hair. 

After I nursed the washer back to health as best I could, I began running a litany of tests on it. The pump kicked on, and it seemed like everything was going to be good.  I noticed, then, that it was raining beneath the washer.  There was a waterfall that was churning directly under the counterweight when the device was filling, so I put a saucepan under there to collect whatever precipitation I could.  Over the course of this brilliant break-fix, I realize that the test is going to go into overflow mode - it's filling beyond what I can safely gather in the saucepan, so I call for reinforcements.

Rhianna, bless her heart, ran in like the house was on fire.  All I wanted was a cup to free up some of the water in the saucepan, but she treated it with the utmost urgency.  She dumped the first cup of water in the sink in our bathroom, and then - THWACK!

Instantly, her protest shook the house.  She came into the laundry room with a new gash on her nose, and laughed merrily at her coordination.  Fifteen seconds later, that laughter morphed into uncontrollable weeping.

This woman and I haven't been together for a year yet, but we have a remarkably strong connection.  In our time together, we haven't had a single fight.  I've seen her cry in mourning, or because of something that she sees in a movie or a television show, but I've never seen her cry in pain. 

Keep in mind that at that point, I was trapped underneath the washer.  I still had a typhoon brewing right above my head, and a girlfriend bawling her eyes out and cursing up and down the house.

Over the next two days, things settled down a bit.  Rhianna's nose doesn't hurt any longer, and there's no bruise, but the reminder is still there in the form of dried blood that'll scab over soon.  She's already able to laugh at herself and the situation, and even put this gem up on Facebook:

Needless to say, the washer is still not fixed.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In Memoriam

This past Monday, a lot of people were celebrating Labor Day. 

For my brother and I, we raised a glass to our father, who passed away five years ago.  Dad was the kind of guy who lived very much in the here and now.  He had a decent job, a brilliant mind and a hell of a disposition.

He left me a lot of things.  I'm sure my nerdy sense of humor (and nerd-dom in general) came from him.  My sense of fantasy, even though he never really followed it, certainly was acquired from my father.  And of course I also have the beat up old house that he left to me after he passed.

One of the biggest dissapointments in my life is knowing that he won't be physically present to see all of the things that my brother and I have accomplished in his name.  There are things that we would have liked to have left him, too.  A lasting legacy that he could have seen before he died.  He wasn't able to see Matt graduate from college or get his nursing license.  Before he passed, I dabbled here and there in a few various things.  He was always very excited to see me on a television show or a movie, even if it was only a small glimpse of me as a background actor (read: extra).  But he won't be able to see my proudest accomplishments.  He won't be able to see that I was able to publish a book, even if it was non-traditional.  He won't see all the work I've put into making a legacy of my own.

There are other things that leave a shadowy spot on my heart as well.  I know that he'll never see either of his sons married.  He'll never get to meet Rhianna, the woman I intend to spend the rest of my life with.  He'll never experience the joy of being a grandfather.

These things all weigh heavily on me, as I'm sure they do to Matt, and all the rest of the loved ones he left behind.

There is a bright spot in all of the sorrow and mourning that you have for someone who has moved on, however.  My faith sustains me.  I'm sure that there is something out there.  At various points since my father has passed away, there is no doubt in my mind that though his physical manifestation is gone, he is still present somehow.  He looks down on us and he smiles, content that we're making the most of our lives, and that we still remember.

In a year or two, I'll have muscled my way through the first trilogy of the Tellest fantasy.  After that, I want to try and tackle a prequel, that follows Kaos before some of the hardest turmoil in his life.  Though I could never properly capture the essence of my father, I've already got a character in mind who reminds me so much of him.  I wish that Dad was still alive to see him the way I see him - as this hero who gave his children the love he could, and sacrificed for them when necessary.  Though he may not see it, I know he feels what is in my heart.

I remember you, Dad.

Friday, August 31, 2012

What's New in Tellest

A lot of the time that I've spent on the blog in the past month has been regarding things related to the sidelines of Tellest.  Whether that means I'm thanking the people who have made me as successful as I am within this experience, or talking about my hangups and roadblocks - Since July 31st, no real news has been given.  I would like to remedy that.

The Enemy Within is still coming along nicely.  The pace has slowed down just a bit, due to some unforeseen issues on the homefront (no big deal, just normal house stuff), but it won't be enough to derail the book or my plans for it.

Rather, big things are happening in Tellest. 

I haven't really talked about him much, but my friend Kevin Gallagher has always been one of my biggest supporters when it comes to my made up little world.  He's always on the front lines when it comes to reading them and offering advice, he's promoted the hell out of the books since their first release, and he's been nailing the back end work on the website and on The Bindings of Fate facebook page.  Recently, he has been helping me to update  We're working together on making the site more user friendly, and easier on the eyes as well.  We'll also be rolling out a new format for the Tellest Encyclopedia on that site soon - hopefully that will be something that will make perusing the deeper lore of the fantasy world a little more attractive.

Speaking of applications related to Tellest, I've mentioned before that I was looking to do some tie-in games.  I've started working alongside some brilliant people who will help to reach that goal, and make that dream of mine a reality.  I'm not as confident with my ability at programming to nail down a specific date or deadline that I am anticipating.  Suffice it to say, however, whatever the wait will be, I'll make sure it's worth it.

My brief experience with the paperback release of The Bindings of Fate has been beyond my expectations.  I'm not going to be the next J.K. Rowling or G.R.R. Martin, mind you, but for an independent writer with no agent (if Kevin would just learn how to become one, I'd be set), I am truly blessed.  With that in mind, I think it is fairly obvious that I would attempt to release the second book in the series in paperback as well.  I'm still not certain of a date, but I'm looking toward releasing it between the December-January months.  With the release of The Enemy Within just around the corner, I want to give hard copy lovers a good reason to jump back into Tellest (or, get a good second look).  I don't want to rush it though, as people who may have just purchased The Bindings of Fate may want a brief respite before they delve deeper into the Tellest fantasy.

Hopefully this glance into what's going on behind the scenes will appease the people who have been patiently waiting for a follow-up in Tellest since last November.  It's very odd to think of time having passed so quickly.  They say time flies when you're having fun.  I have my friends, family and supporters of Tellest for entertaining me beyond what words can say.  I hope that I am able to reciprocate, and that you are enjoying interacting with the fantasy world as much as I enjoy delivering it.

Thank you!

Monday, August 27, 2012


Humanity is typically overburdened with negativity.  Think about it - we're stunningly subjected to it.  Whenever you see the news, all the biggest stories are horrific.  Shootings, terrorism, natural disasters... they all take precedence over the goodness of mankind, and the truly wonderful coincidences that we all take for granted.

For me, it seems as though life continues to improve after each day.  It's common for someone to look at something, and see something with the pessimistic view.  Sometimes it makes life easier for that person.  If you're expecting things to go wrong, they don't hurt you as badly when they do.  But if you strive for a better tomorrow - if you push toward that next goal, and I mean really push - it isn't too difficult to see the good in everything.  Every event is a learning experience.  There's not a single moment that passes in your life where you can't stop at think of a way that it has improved your outlook.  If you can't find that lesson, you're not looking hard enough.

I recently spent a few days preparing my first novel for release as a paperback.  I can tell you that I expected very little reaction when I first announced that I had hard copies available.  It's also my privilege to say that I have one of the very best support groups I could have ever hoped for.  As I said, we take things for granted, almost all the time.  I know that my friends and family, and even people I hardly know at all, are absolutely wonderful.  It shouldn't come as such a surprise to me, but it does.  I could never have moved forward at such a pace if it wasn't for all the kind words of encouragement and interest in my work that I've received.  I truly am blessed!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Challenges

For the longest time, my biggest challenge regarding my books was finding the time to work on them.  Typically, I spend an hour or so a day on my work, every day.  This is the biggest drawback to working full time.  I would rather not be so stingy with my time on the Tellest series.

Assuming my readers don't grow tired with me, the pace that I'm working with doesn't bother me too much.  It's something that I've grown to accept.  As time goes on, I learn better ways to keep my appetite sated, while still giving the supporters what they need as well.

What I'm learning more recently, however, is that once you decide to move to paperback, a whole new slew of challenges show up.

Last month, I began setting up The Bindings of Fate through CreateSpace, one of Amazon's partners.  Most of the work is done, since I've already written, editted and formatted the book for Kindle.  The drawbacks are resizing cover art, and adding back cover and spine matter.  Those tasks are easy enough to handle, especially considering how exciting of a prospect publishing your book in paperback for the first time can be.

The wall that I've suddenly hit is having all of these physical manifestations of my book available.  It is such an awesome concept, and I'm selling the copies I have on hand faster than I would have thought possible.  But, being that they are coming from me, I am in immediate proximity to write an autograph.  I've only autographed one other thing in my life, and that was a cooking tray that I used in a hardcore wrestling match in my childhood.  Somehow, I don't think anybody really cared much for what I had to say back then.

No, the autograph in an intellectual property of this type is so much different than a dented piece of metal.  What am I supposed to do with these autographs?  It feels so impersonal at times, especially when I don't know some of the readers as much as I like.  Is there a special kind of salutation that I'm supposed to employ?  Do I write everything in cursive?  What kind of pen do I use?  What about the cases when I can't ask the recipient what they want written?

These are all such petty questions, I realize, but it's a challenge nonetheless. 

This is the epitome of a first-world problem.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Deleted Scenes

Derrick Hibbard (at just recently related that one of his favorite things about DVDs are the extras that come with them.  You'll get to see behind the scenes featurettes, watch outtakes and sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll get to see certain deleted or altered scenes.

Almost every writer knows the feeling.  You start with something you feel fully engaged with, but along the way, you realize that what you're writing is either poorly implemented, or needless for the story to progress.  You want your readers to feel like they don't have to trudge through the muddled parts of your tale - often, you want to get them right into the thick of the action.  Every intricate detail is important, and if you have a chapter or a section that doesn't flow just right, it ends up on the chopping block.

Hibbard knows the feeling all too well.  His editors gave the first chapter of his novel, This Side of Eden, the axe.  It wasn't a bad chapter, as you can see if you visit his blog.  It just didn't fit with everything else that he was working with at the time.

In some ways, it's a blessing when you can take a few pages that you've written and move them into the recycling bin.

There are some times when you write yourself into a corner that you can't write your way out of.  As an author, you're always looking at yourself and critiquing.  Two of my novels in the Tellest series are already out, and a third is on the way.  The first book, The Bindings of Fate, has a particularly muddled section that, over time, I've become a little disappointed in.  It's not exactly necessary.  I wrote the scenes just so that the protagonist could get a little more face time - a little more time in front of the reader.  The biggest hurdle that it's become, if you can call it that, is that I now have to write around it.

I'm happy with where that little sidestep led me.  Not only did it stitch a nice little path for my story to take, but it somehow keeps sneaking its way into the ongoing story.  The inclusion of, what I thought at the time, was a fluff piece had proven to be just as important as anything else I've written.  It's a strange sensation.

On the hind end of working on the conclusion to the first trilogy in the Tellest series, I'm noticing that there are some new muddy parts in this novel.  Inevitably, I'm going to have to go back and change these ones, or cut them out entirely.  It's just an endless cycle, and one that I've learned to embrace fully.

Maybe some day I'll let readers see the scraps that have fallen on the cutting room floor.  I commend Mr. Hibbard for doing so.  For me, I'm not quite there yet.

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Own Worst Enemy

The title of my third book in the Tellest series is "The Enemy Within" - it's effective because I think everyone is their own worst enemy at certain points in time.  Whether you attribute the lulls in your life to laziness, or social anxiety, there probably isn't a person in this world that doesn't step in their own way at some point.

For me, my biggest hurdle is depression.  The form I have isn't crippling.  I'm not manic-depressive.  I'm not chronically depressed.  Sometimes, I just get a little down.  Often, it's only for a day or two, perhaps a week at most.  But that one brief moment can make or break you in certain regards.

Every time I get hit by my depression, I feel this intense self-loathing in all of my creative outlets.  I start wondering if I should give up on everything I'm doing: my books, the games, any other ideas that I might be ruminating on.  They all suffer.

But here's the thing.  With the exception of that little slip here and there, I'm one of the most optomistic people you'll ever see.  I have seen the darker sides of things.  Every day that passes feels like it's brighter than the one before.  It's with that in mind that I'm able to push through that minor contrivance.  I know that something better waits for me the next day, and that makes even the toughest days easier to deal with.

In some ways, I suppose it lends itself wonderfully to that old adage about keeping your enemy closest.  There's also that other one about knowing yourself.  Coincidence?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


By now, if you've read any of my prior blogs, or read my "About" page on Tumblr, you know that I've been hit with a touch of the creative type.  The books probably solidify this idea, but there's plenty of other stuff in the background in my head that I would love to get out into the real world.

One of my coworkers and I have been talking for some time about any new big idea.  And you know what?  A lot of them have been done.  A few years back, I really wanted to pioneer the idea of the chocolate chip cookie cup - that is, a little shotglass sized and shaped cookie that had the capability to retain milk without becoming so soggy that it leaks.  All that time ago, the idea didn't exist, except in the mind of maybe a few people, and I was one of them.  If you look around hard enough these days, they are already among us.  I, for one, welcome our cup-shaped cookie overlords. 

But of course, the ideas don't stop there.  The coworker is a bit of a partier, and while I don't share in his zeal, I completely understand the interest and the appeal.  He wanted to make an iPhone app that would randomly set you up with a drink you could order.  I told him it's been done.  Alright, let's tweak the idea then.  Why not set it up so that you can look for a bar, based on preferences and find it on a -- Sorry pal, it's been done before, I would say.  This went on for a few hours.  I commend him for his persistence, and I know for a fact that some day, this guy is going to be filthy rich.  Not because he wants to be rich (though what sane person doesn't?), but rather because he's got that itch to do something with his brain.  There are gears that are in his head, and they're spinning, and they are making something.  Whatever his mindfactory is producing, it might be in production for a while, but eventually, it's going to get out, and if he treats it with respect and care and caution, it's going to reward him for the time he put into it.

When Rhianna and I were biking back from the park the other day, I casually asked, "What do you think about a game where "THIS" happens?"  She loved the idea, and for the duration of our ride back to the house, we went back and forth, back and forth.  What was the littlest snowball became a fully fledged snowman family.  Of course, it wasn't until the next day that I did a little research and found a game that had already utilized a lot of our concepts, but I feel like I could tweak it enough to make it work.

To save this post from being nothing more than a ramble, I will expressedly get to my point.  I am incredibly happy to be writing.  I'm ecstatic that anybody would like my books.  And while I'm not stopping, or even slowing down, a few other dreams of mine are beginning to take hold, and I'd love to see them through to their end.  While I can't promise anything, I'd like to tell you to be on the lookout for other potentially interesting releases from me in the future.

Check out my eBooks on amazon.  This is the link to the first one, "The Bindings of Fate":

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Been a while!

It was never really my intention to dissapear from the internet.  It really wasn't.  At the same time, though, I never had a huge internet presence to begin with.

I have a lot of things coming up however, and I'm going to try to remedy that miniscule showing that I do have.

First thing is first: The third book is coming along nicely.  It's taking longer than I would have liked, but that's because the quality and quantity of the book is expansive, and true to the story that the characters and situations need told.  I'm sure that some of the scenes can afford to be cut, and I've already laid out some of what will most likely be on the chopping block later.  Meanwhile, what I do have is already longer than either of the first two books, and that's before I even started writing the final part.

What I can say clearly is that this book pushes me from the get-go.  Whereas the first book started with my main character in a solo act, and I tried to pull a fast one on readers in the second book by sneaking away important and favored characters for surprise reveals, this one starts off at full velocity.  All your favorites are there from the get-go, and that makes the endeavors lengthy indeed.  Not that I'm complaining.  As I've said in a previous blog, my story is almost sacred.  That is, I'm not really telling the story, as much as relating it to the readers, so I don't really have the permission to alter huge details to shorten what I have unless the passages and scenes have no relation to details down the road.

I can also say that some of the big questions will be revealed by the end of this third and final book of the trilogy.  The reader will find out what it means to be a Child of the Stars.  They will find out where the Strain comes from.  They will delve deeper into the lands of Blacklehn, and further east in Draconis than they ever have.  New characters with interesting powers and interesting backgrounds flesh out an already wonderful ensemble.  This is, without a doubt, the next step for Tellest, and I'm sure that those who have enjoyed the first two books will absolutely love this one.

With that in mind, I feel confident to say that fans of the series can be ready to pick up The Enemy Within, the third book in the Child of the Stars trilogy next March.

The blog doesn't end there, however.  As I've been working on this book, as always, there are new stories to tell.  Just like my main character, I am able to see into the future (as far as Tellest is concerned anyway).  While the first trilogy may be ending, there are so many more legends and tales left to appease fans.  Some of these may not be what you expect.  Though I can't give a solid release date, I can tell you that one of the projects will include a look into the past - an explanation of how Kaos Kreegan became the man he did.  While series mainstays like Steel Tip and Christopher may not show in this prequel story, others that you know and love, like David Garus and Zachariah Caista, are ever present.  Again, I can't be certain of when that novel will release, but I can promise you this: I will treat it with the same respect and patience that the rest of the series has seen.

Finally, I have one last big news item.  While I have seen some success on the eBook side of things, I have maintained an almost invisible hard copy presence (mostly due to the fact that I didn't have an available hard copy).  That is all about to change.  Ladies and gentlemen, The Bindings of Fate is now available in paperback.  Of course, this is just the first in the series, and you can expect to see the follow-up books later as well.  The book sells for 12.99 plus shipping and handling on Amazon - not a bad price for an indie author.  However, I can and will send out signed copies, which you will soon be able to order at  We will be working on updating that site to make it more functional, and more appealing in the coming days and weeks as well.

Since it has been a while, I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been so supportive of me, the Tellest series, and my creative process.  I feel truly blessed.  Thank you very much!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Moment of Inspiration

Mary Flannery O'Connor said at one point that she didn't know the ending of her short story, "Good Country People" until about twelve lines before she wrote it.  This is a learned secret from the circle of great writers, and its one that many of us embrace.

Stephen King, too, utilizes this method of telling a story, but his description is much more amusing.  This is paraphrasing, I'm sure, but, imagine you are in a desert, and you come across a buried fossil of a time long ago - something amazing, it has to be!  You know that it is delicate.  You know that it has to be treated with great care and responsibility.  If you were digging up this fossil, you wouldn't use a shovel.  A cautious, passionate archaeologist would use a toothbrush to make sure even the most intimate detail was not lost.  Such is the case with writing, in the mind of Stephen King.  You are the archaeologist, and the fossil is whatever story you're trying to tell. 

Now, this goes beyond the idea of caution and level of detail.  In fact, I dare say it may reverse that idea of caution and detail.  The concept of the writer is one who writes.  They craft a story from scratch, in the minds of many.  This couldn't be farther from the truth.  Any great storyteller knows this.  The story has always been there, and we are merely the translators.  That fossil in the desert was always there, ready to be discovered, and we are the ones who must learn its intricate mysteries.

Me, I'm a bit beyond the archaeologist up there.  I'm not saying this is better or worse - it's just an observation.  You see, I'm a bit of a historian too.  When I develop my stories, I tell them twice.  Once to myself, and once to the reader.  But here's the kicker.  I'm in that "reader" bucket too.  Whenever I'm writing, I'm writing as the archaeologist.  Even if I have the story told to myself in my head.  I write to surprise myself, and I write subconsciously more often than not.  If you have managed to read either of my first two books, and you've noticed something that deliciously came full circle, I didn't do that.  But my crazy mind did.  I may have applied a little bit of finesse to intertwine the bits of storyline that was frayed, but something beyond what I purposely seek out helped to do that.  In a way, I'm reading my story for the first time when I finally put it down to paper.

This was all a very long-winded point to make to say that I just had one of those little moments of inspiration.  Best of all, it facilitates a greater storyline in the future, and one that hadn't quite found its flesh yet.  Like O'Connor, I hadn't known it was there until just before I reached that pivotal moment.  But it was there - it always was.

What have been some of your "aha moments"?

Check out my eBooks on amazon.  This is the link to the first one, "The Bindings of Fate":