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":