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

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.

 

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

TIme to move on

So, I finally realized it was time to move on. Those who have been around for a while, know I self-published my first book, The Unknown Man. I had no idea what ramifications would come from this small action. The Unknown Man was the first book in what I planned on being a 4 book Fantasy series. It has always been my goal to pursue traditional publishers, but too many agents will not accept work that has been previously self-published. So, I did a bunch of research and found a dozen or so who represent fantasy that are also interested in self-published works. I queried them all and after three months it is time to start plan b. I just don’t think I had the sales they were looking for to be considered. Two different editors said my query letter was solid, so at least that is what I would like to believe anyway 🙂

Don’t misconstrue any of my words above. I completely understand where the agents are coming from. I get it. In my haste to get my work out there, I put a roadblock in my own path. Then again, I still think it was the best thing I ever did. I don’t think I would have made the strides I have made with my writing had I not put The Unknown Man out there. And as another point, I now know the book was nowhere near ready for the market. I was naïve and truly had no idea what I was doing. These things I would never have learned had it not been for self-publishing. It is a tough business, but it is truly the thing I love most (next to my wife and my kids of course). I only hope that one day I can make it my career 🙂

Anyway, on to plan b. When writing The Rising Past (what was supposed to be book 2) I had a feeling I had painted myself into a corner. So I wrote it with the idea that one day it may have to be book 1, and that is exactly what is happening. I am re-branding The Unknown Man as a prequel to the Keepers of the Orbs Series. It is being published on Amazon as we speak and I have decided to give the KDP Select program another chance, which means it will be exclusive to Amazon again (had it in the program for about a year previously, before putting it out for all formats).

Unknown Man Prequel COver- High Resolution

Above is the re-branded cover (I like it a lot better than the original). I completed The Rising Past (will now be the start of the series) in December, and it is 65% through the final edit. My hope is my editor will have it complete by the end of the month at which time I will begin querying it. So far the story has gone over really well with about 20 beta readers, so I am very excited, and hope this can set me up well with potential agents/publishers.

To give an update of what I have been working on. I edited The Rising Past for January, then spent several months refining The Unknown Man so I could query it (as mentioned above). I started writing the next book in the series, but hit a roadblock (needed to make a couple of final determinations on The Rising Past before I go any further). So I put that down in the middle of May and have been working on another piece ever since. I hope to have that story wrapped up and to the editor by the beginning of August, at which point I will start concentrating in the series again.

I know things may be moving slowly (The Unknown Man was originally completed in 2012) but as I indicated, I had no idea what I was doing and basically spent two years refining it. I also work full time, was going to school full time, and have a wife and two young boys, so it doesn’t leave a lot of time. However, I am carving about 3 hours a night out for writing after the rest of my family goes to bed. The Rising Past took 10 months (120k words), my current WIP will be written in 2 1/2 months (70k words), and I hope to have the next book in the series written by the end of the year (January at the latest, 100-120k words). So I really feel like I’m hitting my stride.

Anyway, that was a long update, but I wanted to let everyone know how I was re-branding and my plans for the future of the Keepers of the Orbs.

Keep writing and keep reading 🙂

Get a copy of The Unknown Man

And feel free to check out my Website

 

My Ideas

I know I don’t have much of a following, yet, but I still get asked where I get the ideas for my stories.

I’ll start with my current side project. My wife has been asking me for a couple of years to write a story about a Silver Maple tree we have in our backyard. I know that is vague, but that is how it all started. I kept telling her I would start on something when I had the time. I finally started making time for it, and I squeeze it in when I am bored or stuck on book 3 in the Keepers of the Orbs Series.

While she gave me a topic, the actual story came to me the same way the Keepers series and my short story Redemption (as well as several others that I have yet to create) came to me. You see, when I was younger (8 or 9 years old) I can remember several instances where I couldn’t sleep. My big problem was that my mind would be stuck on another topic and I couldn’t shut it off. I taught myself to tell stories in my head; something to distract me and shift my brain to another topic. I noticed I easily drifted off to sleep. One such time I can recall, I threw all of my blankets and pillows on top of myself, and pretended I was in a cave that collapsed. I had to try and survive, as well as find my way out. I know it sounds silly, but this trained me and any time I had an issue, I used this tactic to easily fall asleep.

I know most people can relate in that as we grow older, trouble finding sleep only grows, especially when you are faced with extra stress or worries. On many sleepless nights over the past ten years, I found a particular story kept coming to me. When I was laid off and finally got up the courage to do something, this one became the basis for The Unknown Man, which quickly grew into a series.

Since I have been writing for the past 4 years, I have adopted a new routine. I write until about 11:30 at night, get into bed and read until midnight (or later depending on how drawn in I am to the book) and then I start telling myself stories regardless of whether or not I can sleep. If I am working on the series, my mind is focused on that and I continue writing it in my head (usually only for about 3 or 4 minutes) until I fall asleep. It isn’t a lot, but it gives me a good point to work with the following night when I actually sit down to write. If I am taking a break from the series, I let my mind wander, and I just create whatever I am feeling on that particular night. Maybe something happened during the day, who knows, but it comes pretty easily. The ideas I like, I write down so I can revisit at another time (when I have nothing else going on).

So there it is. My ideas come to me as a tool I created long ago to fight insomnia.