Update – May 11th Edition

It has been awhile since my last post (man do I have to get better about this) so I thought I would put an update out.

I’m still shopping Elves of The Sugar Maple to agents, but there is nothing to report yet. This is my Young Adult fantasy novel that mirrors many of the religious/racial issues our world currently faces.

I completed The Saukarian Children. I currently have the book in the hands of a couple beta readers and am awaiting feedback. This is my Sci-Fi story that I am very excited about it and think it has a lot of potential.

I recently realized the process of querying my work as the only means of attracting a potential agent is absolutely ludicrous. As such, I joined the RMFW (Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers) and have joined a critique group. I also plan on attending several conferences as they become available. I also plan on entering both the above titles into the Colorado Gold Writing Contest at the end of this month. The finals for this contest will be held the beginning of September. More than anything, I am looking for feedback and for areas where my work could use improvement, although if I actually final with either of them I would be over the moon J. As a result, neither of these are flagged for Self-Publishing at this time.

With my other projects completed, I recently returned to the world of Nithor with my friends Raythum, Liniana, Aglina, Matt, Jaeden, Milenthia, and let us not forget the despicable man name Lutheras. The third book in the series is currently at right around 50% complete and I am still hoping to have this released by the end of the year. Since the first two books in the Keepers of the Orbs Series are already self-published, this will go directly to Amazon (more news to follow).

Yesterday, I had a hard time concentrating on anything else as I recently had a new idea for another YA Fantasy novel. I think this idea could have a lot of potential and I am currently just writing down notes and creating the characters/building the world. I hope to start writing it in the near future and will update when appropriate.

I won’t be writing at all this weekend as my wife and I are off to Wisconsin to celebrate my grandparent’s 66th wedding anniversary.

While you wait for my upcoming work, you can still get your hands on the first two books in my series.

I am running a free promotion on the first book, The Unknown Man. You can get a free copy through this Saturday May 14th
HERE

And the second book, The Rising Past, can be purchased HERE

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Interesting Point in Life

So, my wife and I have reached an interesting point in child rearing. I should preface this by saying, neither my wife nor I are extremely religious. As we prayed tonight before bed—as we do every night (more on that in a moment)—our ten year old started crying. We go to church all of maybe 3 times a year (we used to go much more, but at the current stage of our lives we seem to go less) and we discussed how we were going to go tomorrow to celebrate Jesus. Now, one would expect a child who had not been forced to go to church for much of their life, would be okay with this. Not my 10 year old. He had many questions about religion and God,. We totally respect this and foster an environment where we are supposed to ask questions. But at the same time, he expects candy and all the “finer things” of Easter, and as such doesn’t understand why we have to go to church. I don’t think we are totally out of line. In our day, we were expected to go to church. It was a given. In fact, my dad would regularly drop my siblings and I off for Sunday school so my mom could sleep in (whole different story). But at the same time, I myself don’t know how I feel about religion. I tend not to believe in  an all powerful being, but at the same time I believe in the spirit of what religion teaches us, and the various holidays we celebrate. Isn’t everyone a bit happier around Christmas? Don’t we all want to give to our fellow man? Isn’t the idea of someone dying on the cross to forgive us our sins a little more powerful than some bunny hopping around handing out candy?

I tend to believe the best of human nature, more than maybe many give us credit for. Maybe it’s the nature of our environment and everything that is going on around us. If you’ve read my writing, you may have noticed a theme. I tend to believe in the betterment of our species. I see each new generation progressing a little bit further. I believe in a world where color, race, background, or upbringing has no bearing on how we view each other individually, and I pray for the day where we can finally forgive our differences and recognize each and every person living on this planet as one thing, and one thing only. We are all HUMAN. Sure we may have a difference in beliefs, or may have different skin colors. but that is what makes us all unique. It is what makes us all individuals. It is what makes all us human. It is these differences that define us, and each should be celebrated.

Anyway, long story short. I don’t want to force my beliefs on my own children, but am I out of line for making my children accompany me to church on this holiday? I believe in the idea of such religions as way more powerful than what may be preached. But isn’t that the point? We’re supposed to come together and love one another. To respect what is being said, more than the historical implications of what may or may not have happened. I believe we are all allowed to love who we want love. Be it gay, straight, Muslim, Hebrew, Christian…whatever. I don’t care. As long as we are happy. Isn’t that what Jesus died for? If we welcome him into our heart (or any other being in my opinion)  does it matter?

On this Easter holiday, I’m thankful for the people I surround myself with. I love my wife, and I love my children unconditionally. I love them all for what they believe in and I respect their decisions. I love this world for the differences in belief and look forward to a world where we can all live in harmony. I love the idea of Jesus and everything that may or may have not happened. I believe in the spirit of Jesus, and all that he sacrificed so we could live  a better life. I don’t think we’re out of line for making him go to church with us. Thoughts?

 

I made a decision today

So, as anyone who has been following me already knows, I have been working on the third book in The Keepers of the Orbs Series while also writing a standalone Sci-Fi book at the same time. I’m about 50% complete on the next KOTO book, but my focus lately has been on the sci-fi book as I am over 83% and looking to wrap it up.

I know, you’re asking “so what’s the big decision”? Well, I have struggled with the way I was planning on ending The Saukarian Children (that’s the sci-fi story). This was always intended to be a one book thing. That was it. Write it…and move one. The only problem? I don’t think I can. I have fallen in love with the characters, but at the same time I don’t think a happy ending is coming their way. Don’t get me wrong, the three MCs are the heroes of the story and they will get the credit they deserve. But I can’t just leave it at that.

Along those lines, I am changing how the story is going to end. I still have 5 chapters to go, and the way I had intended for it to end when I sat down four months ago, has been scrapped. Without giving too much away, I just don’t think the human race would ever accept the Saukarian Children for what they are. There would naturally be some form of prejudice and hatred coming their way and I think it just makes sense. Then again, it also leaves it open for me to write additional stories down the road 🙂 which is never a bad thing.

Anyway, the story hasn’t even been released yet, but I know there will be some hatred coming my way for the ending and I just wanted to explain myself ahead of time to calm the storm. Not everything can end like a fairy tale, and I think this just makes more sense. If you hate the ending, blame me for falling in love with my characters, and for not wanting to give the final farewell.

 

Get a Copy of The Rising Past FREE

The Rising Past Cover

From Thursday February 24th through Sunday February 28th you can get a free copy of Book 1 in The Keepers of the Orbs Series from Amazon for your Kindle Device.

Click HERE for more information.

I would appreciate if you left a review after reading it.

Raythum Stormdragon has a problem. The orbs he swore an oath to protect are disappearing, weakening the prison of a nefarious demon, and his brother is to blame. It’s only a matter of time before he must choose between the nation he loves, Askabar, or his brother who is determined to destroy it.

Long ago, a wizard who valued power and control more than the life, walked the planet. Killing and conquering to suit his own needs, he plunged the entire world into chaos. With the assistance of the Elves of Ferrindale, the conclave of Havenbrook creates seven orbs to imprison the wizard and stop his rampage. After the battle, the orbs were scattered throughout the world. An elite order of soldiers exists to protect them, known as the Keepers of the Orbs, and Raythum is their leader.

If the seven orbs are combined, the prison will unlock and the wizard will walk free, plunging the world into ruin. Raythum knows this is his brother’s intention, and he follows him 130 years into the past. With two orbs already in his brother’s control, Raythum must unite all of the nations of Askabar to stand against him.

The only problem? He is half a continent away, and must use his relationship with the Elves and Dwarves—a relationship built in the future that doesn’t exist yet—to reach his brother before he captures any of the remaining orbs. With time running out, Raythum must decide.

You can also pickup a copy of the prequel HERE

A Poem Read at my Grandpa’s Funeral

Over the weekend I packed up the family and we made the 850 mile drive to Mankato, MN to attend the funeral of my Grandpa. He passed away last Wednesday. As I sat down at the computer Wednesday night to write the next chapter in my serialized Sci-Fi story, The Saukarian Children, my mind was stuck on my Grandpa’s passing and I decided to write a poem. It turned into more of a poem about life than of my Grandpa directly, but I was still happy with it and I read it at hisfuneral on Sunday.

I’m not a poet (man is poetry much more difficult than fiction) and I know it isn’t perfect (I repeated everything will be fine three times) but I wanted to share it with everyone anyway.

Grandpa, you will never be forgotten and I just want to let you know how much I loved you and what you meant to me.

Grandpa

Our journey begins on the day of our birth,
We’re graced with the blessing of wandering this earth,
Every moment spent growing and learning from above,
Until we find solace, nurture and love.
We come to this world as nothing more than a child,
With ideas and dreams as our minds run wild,
Every day a new challenge, a lesson, a risk,
Until we find a true love, someone to share a kiss.
We come before God to confess both our hearts,
Agreeing to be together, forever, till us do part,
We lay the bricks, the foundation, and build a home,
Filled with laughter and love from which we’ll never roam.
One day comes a child, or maybe even more,
Never knowing each day what God has in store,
But then they grow older and start a life of their own,
And we watch in disbelief can’t believing they’re grown.
We look to our parents to teach us the way,
And cling to their hands, as their hair turns gray,
They tell us how they got through it and finally found their way,
And we keep going, and moving each and every new day.
Before long, they too are gone and a new pain arrives,
Each moment grows harder, something else we must survive,
So we look to our love to fill the emptiness we’ve found,
And realize all around us that treasures do abound.
Then comes the time when our love one must leave us,
Left with more pain, and sorrow always missing so much,
We remember what we built and the good times we had,
Before life comes to an end, when we look back and we feel glad.
We hope the legacy we leave will always be remembered,
For all that we gave, for everything we endeavored,
Life is a story we write one day at a time,
Assuming the next day will come and everything will be fine.
For most, that’s the case and we continue each day,
For others, time’s come and there’s not much left to say,
What we leave behind is what matters the most,
That we’re remembered for our love, something everyone will toast.
For our love one’s it’s tough to deal with the sorrow,
But we do our best and know we’ll get out of bed tomorrow,
For life must go on, as difficult as it may be,
And we hope it grows easier, that we can finally see.
What was built was more than one, and will last throughout time,
That we’ll continue on, knowing everything will be fine,
For you’ll blossom in heaven and watch over our lives,
As hard as it may be, we will survive.
Although we will miss you, and feel the emptiness you’ve left,
You’ve finally found peace, you can finally rest.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Rising Past HERE

The Rising Past Cover

Or a copy of The Unknown Man HERE

Amazon Prequel Cover

Writing Update

It has been a while since I posted, and I figured it would be a good idea to post an update. I initially planned to take a week or two off during the Holidays to unwind and enjoy my family (immediate and extended). We got a bit of a surprise when a couple days after Christmas, my wife’s grandma passed away unexpectedly. I took some extra time to support my wife and her family during this difficult time, and haven’t written as much as I expected lately. Only complicating matters, as am I writing this I’m expecting a message any time now that my grandfather has passed away. He has somehow survived for four days without his feeding tube and IV, but it’s only a matter of time (he always was stubborn). He has accepted it and is at peace with it, but that doesn’t make it any easier for the rest of us though. Needless to say, it has been a crappy end of 2015/start of 2016 so far. I don’t expect to do much writing in the next week, but you never know.

It hasn’t been all bad, though. I released Book 1 in The Keepers of the Orbs series, The Rising Past on December 1st, and I broke all of my previous records for single day downloads during a free giveaway. Let’s hope it leads to some additional sales. I’m currently waiting on four reviewers to give me their feedback (in process), but the first few I have received have all been positive. The most recent came in today and can be found HERE.

I am currently about 40-50% through writing the next book in the series and I expect to have it available on Amazon by the end of 2016, with a plan for the final book near the end of 2017 or early 2018.

My editor is currently done with 50% of her final review of another fantasy novel that is unrelated to my series. The title I’m working with is Elves of a Sugar Maple. I am excited by this story. It was originally an idea from my wife about a species of tiny beings who call a giant tree in our backyard home. I took the idea and ran with it. I incorporated many of the issues our society is currently facing (race, religion, sexual orientation, etc) and I’m quite satisfied with how it all came out. I should have it available mid-spring.

I’m also writing a serialized novel for Channillo.com. It is a Sci-Fi story and is an idea I have had for several years now. I’m releasing a chapter a week on Channillo. Currently there are 9 chapters available to read. I plan on making the full novel available on Amazon this summer. If you have a subscription through Channillo, you can access the story HERE.

That is all for now. I continue to squeeze in as much writing as I can as often as is possible.

You can get a copy of The Rising Past for Kindle HERE

The Rising Past Cover

Or  see how it all began by picking up a copy of the Prequel, The Unknown Man HEREAmazon Prequel Cover

Remember, do an author a favor by leaving a review 🙂

 

The Rising Past: Book 1 In the Keepers of the Orbs Series

The Rising Past Cover

My newest book, The Rising Past, is now available for pre-order from Amazon. The book will be delivered to Kindle Devices on December 1.

To Promote the release, I am running a contest for a $25 Amazon Gift Card. To enter, pre-order a copy of the book by November 30th at 11:59 PM.

I unfortunately do not get information pertaining to who orders a copy, so I will need you to forward the confirmation email from Amazon to contact@jggatewood.com (you can remove any personal information, of course). The email will put your name into the drawing, which will occur on December 2nd (this also provides a way for me to get in contact with the winner).

To pre-order a copy follow the link HERE and thanks for the support!

While you wait for The Rising Past to be delivered, you can get a copy of the prequel HERE

The Saukarian Children

Saukarian Cover

Several years ago, I had an idea for an Alien/Sci-Fi story. I’ve been so focused on The Keepers of the Orbs series, that this story has been placed on the back burner. Well, I was approached last month by people at Channillo to see if I have ever considered doing anything serialized. I decided to take a chance and submitted a proposal for this little story. They accepted.

I’m very excited by this series. So far, the first chapter was released last week, and Chapter 2 will be posted tomorrow. If you are on Channillo, I would appreciate if you checked it out.

The story is set on Earth during current times. It will follow three Human children (all around the age of 18, coincidence, I think not :)). The Saukarians, who hail from Alpha Cassiopeiae, have lost the ability to procreate. They instead alter the DNA of less advanced species to further their own race. They arrive at Earth intent on decimating the planet, and the current population to survive. What they don’t account for is the innate desire of the Human race to survive at all costs. The Human race rests in the hands of a small number of teenagers who must decide between saving Earth, or joining the Saukarians.

If you’re a member of Channillo, you can check it out Here. If you’re not a member, it would require creating an account and paying a monthly fee. If you select the cheapest plan ($4.99 per month) you will get access to not only my series (if you decided to follow it) but 9 others as well.

Also, please check out my fantasy series, The Keepers of the Orbs. The prequel can be found Here. The first book will be released December 1 on Amazon.

My Review of Azurite, By Megan Dent Nogle

Azurite

Azurite, by Megan Dent Nogle, is a delightful tale that primarily follows Zora, the young bastard daughter of Samaria’s Queen, Evangeline. I really liked how Zora developed throughout the book, unwilling to turn her back on her people, even when it would be easier to take a different path.

I was intrigued by the Warden concept, and can understand their importance. I can tell a lot of thought when into how the author described and built the magic system. It made sense to me, which made it all the more believable.

I think the world was built well and was described in great detail. I could clearly conjure images in my mind of the beauty of the Anion Mountains and the desolation of the swamps. I felt like I was transported from the story and brought right into the thick of things.

The author did a good job creating Evangeline. I despised her (which is by design) and thought she was the perfect evil mother. She claims she has nothing but the best interests of her people, but what she really cares about is power and being known as the greatest ruler Samaria has ever known, even though her nation is falling apart at her feet, all from the choices she has made. Well done.

I mentioned Zora in the beginning, and I immediately fell in love with her innocence. I love that she always has her people at the forefront, and I think she truly would make an excellent leader one day. I was disappointed when she disappeared from the last 20% (or so) of the book, as she was the character that kept me turning the pages, but I understand the story line and plot building the author was creating for the future of the series. I like that she wasn’t emotionless, and how her emotions could affect, and sometimes overwhelm, her channeling.

I also liked the supporting characters, especially Brutus, Talan, and Milo. Brutus is your typical General, but I like that he sees the bigger picture and recognizes the importance of the Samarian people over the orders of the Queen. I was glad to learn that Milo wasn’t all he was immediately revealed to be. I like his bigger part in the story, and I have to admit I am intrigued by where his story is going.

Toward the end of the book, I enjoyed the introduction of the character “Heath”. I found myself wanting to know more about him and his master. I wanted to know if this character was possibly the same being who had haunted Zora earlier; or if these plots were somehow intertwined. I liked it and the ending left me wanting more.

My only real issue with the book was the repetitiveness in the dialogue. One example would be when subordinates of the queen would often say “My Queen” multiple times when addressing her. I understand respecting the title and position of the monarch, but I think the term was overused and it made the dialogue seem stilted. There were also instances of misused words, i.e. though instead of through, amour instead of armor, etc. Neither of these issues was enough to stop me from reading because I felt like the story was written well enough to overcome the small obstacles.

I really enjoyed this book and give it 4 stars. If I could give half stars I would (meaning 4 ½ stars) because the only issues were the small ones listed above. The story left me wanting more and I can’t wait to continue with the second book. Well done Megan!

I was given a free copy of this book for my honest review.