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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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.

 

The Day Gravity and a 17 Year Old J.G. Did Not Get Along

Rocky Mountains

The title may lead one to believe I am clumsy.  Let me assure you that is not the case.

On a late-August Sunday afternoon, way back in the year 1995, I was a senior in high school and was working full-time at—of all places—McDonald’s.  Two of my closest friends and I happened to work the opening shift, which meant we started at the bright and early time of 5:00 AM, but were fortunate enough to be off at 1.  With our stomachs stuffed full of free food, and with the whole day still in front of us, we all decided to go for a ride.  With no destination in mind, we headed west and followed the winding roads leading into the Rocky Mountains.

After an hour, or so, of driving, we pulled over next to a river and decided to do some light climbing.  We made our way up a very steep hill—I will get back to this later— and spotted a large outcropping of rocks.  We started the forty-foot ascent with no ropes or safety equipment on the loose granite stone, and finally made our way to the top.  In all honesty, we should have probably all fallen, or at least injured ourselves on the way up, but filled with youthful exuberance, adrenaline, and the misguided belief that we were unstoppable, we made it unscathed where we smoked cigarettes and BS’ed the afternoon away.

When we finally decided it was time to head back, one of my friends looked at the way we came up and said “there is no way we can get back down, I am going to look for another way.”  I, in my infinite wisdom—and cite my statement from above pertaining to feelings of invincibility—decided to go and look for myself.  This is where things went downhill—quite literally—for me.  I don’t remember anything, my mind having blocked it out.  I may have attempted to climb back down, or I may have slipped on the loose granite ledge at the top, but until my mind decides to unblock the memories, we will really have no idea.  My friends, who safely made it back down, rounded the corner and reached the spot where we previously climbed, wondering where I was.  They found me a couple hundred yards down the steep, tree-filled hill, laying next to a large boulder.  Thinking that I was kidding and was playing a joke on them, they yelled at me to “get up and stop playing around” but after I didn’t move, they realized something was seriously wrong.

They made their to me and realized something wasn’t right.  Both of my arms were broken, my chest had caved in, and my neck didn’t look normal.  One of my friends ran down—as I mentioned before—the very steep hill in search of assistance, while the other stayed with me.  He was an Eagle Scout and started splinting my arms using whatever he had at his disposal, including several shirts and branches.  At some point I came to, and I guess I tried to get up and I told my friend I was fine.  He told me I wasn’t and basically had to hold me on the ground so I wouldn’t injure myself any further.

Meanwhile, my other friend made it back down to the road where he frantically sought assistance.  Remember, it was 1995 and cell phones were in short supply.  Those that did have phones, found the service to be spotty at best, especially in the rolling hills of the Rocky Mountains.  After finding someone with a phone, but with no luck getting a signal, he found someone willing to drive him twenty minutes to the nearest town where he could call for help.  He had to run back up the hill, tell my other friend what he was doing, ran back down the hill, and headed for the bustling metropolis of Deckers, CO.  When I use the terms “bustling” and “metropolis”, I am being facetious.  It is quite literally a general store at the junction of two, two-lane highways in the middle of nowhere. Who knew if they even had a phone that worked, not to mention, how he was going to explain to the emergency personnel where they could find us.

Long story short, he made it and called 911, before driving back to the two of us, after once again climbing the hill (I joke because he liked to tell how many times he had to run up and down the hill).  They had to continue holding me down on the ground so I wouldn’t injure myself, all the while my complexion was turning blue and they were petrified I wasn’t going to make it.

After another hour or so (I believe, again I don’t exactly remember myself) a helicopter arrived.  The emergency personnel tied me to a board and carried me down before loading me in the helicopter, where we set out on the 45 minute flight to Swedish Medical Center.  This is my first memory.  At some point during the flight, I remember having difficulty breathing and told the EMTs that I needed my inhaler.  Of course, this was nothing more than an asthma attack—no it couldn’t be the fact half my chest was caved in.  I had always wanted to ride in a helicopter, and here I was, yet I don’t remember a thing.  My memories are blacked out again until I am being removed from the helicopter on the roof of the hospital to a frantic group of doctors and nurses, all who were asking me questions and trying to gather more information.

My friends dead-headed to the hospital, but it was a drive of over an hour.  They also stopped on their way and called their parents, as well as my own.  Not really explaining what happened, they instructed my parents to go to the hospital.  At the time I arrived via flight for life, my parents arrived at the hospital to see the helicopter landing, and my mother had a sinking feeling I was the one being delivered.

My next memory is of my parents, followed shortly thereafter by my girlfriend of the time—who is now my wife—and her mother.  I told them all I was going to be okay, but I of course couldn’t see myself, and I think they were all a little more frightened than I was.  My last memory, which was it for a period of several days—I was heavily medicated and sedated from this point on—was of being dehydrated.  I was so thirsty I quickly drank down the required amount of barium sulfate necessary for a CT-Scan, which anyone who has ever had the pleasure of imbibing this concoction will know, it is anything but pleasant, and no one in their right mind would chug it.  Well I did.

Anyway, I spent eight days in the hospital.  I broke both arms, punctured my liver, broke three ribs, one of which punctured and collapsed a lung, and crushed four vertebrae in my neck.  The vertebrae in question were C2, C3, C5 and C7.  Several of the fragments were close to slicing an artery in my neck.  I was put into a halo, which immobilized my neck.  I had to wear it for twelve weeks.  It was one hell of a way to start my senior year of high school.

All in all, I know how fortunate I am to be walking, yet alone alive.  Christopher Reeves’ injury was not too much before my own, and I know I could have faced a very similar fate.  I owe my life and am forever indebted to my two friends who were with me that day.  They are both still very close to me, and I only hope I am able to repay them for all they did for me, one day before our time comes to an end.

I have added two photos.  The first (where I am laying down) is about halfway through my healing process the second , is from the day I finally had the halo removed.  I know my hair was horrible, don’t know what I was thinking.

Halo 1Halo 2

Book 2 is in the hands of several beta readers.  Get a copy of Book 1: The Unknown Man, before book two comes out.

Who is J.G. Gatewood?

 Writing

Good news! Book 2 in the Keepers of the Orbs Series is about 95% of the way through the editing process.  I will be looking for beta readers in the next week or so.

I started thinking about it today, and I created this blog almost a year ago, and as of yet, I haven’t actually blogged.  Sure, I released my short story here, and I also released all of my book reviews, but actual blogging?  Nope!  So, I decided today I would change my ways, and actually use the tools at my disposal.

I know my fan-base is small, but I still get asked to know more about who I am, how and why I write, my processes, etc.  So I am going to use my blog so people can get to know me better.

I have been married for twelve years to my lovely wife Sarah. We have two sons, Branden and Evan, and we live in Parker, Colorado.  I met Sarah in High School, in nearby Highlands Ranch.  After several on-again, off-again relationships, we finally got married after she graduated from college.  I myself, had too much fun partying during my first year of college (haven’t we all made this mistake) and considering I was paying for it myself, I decided college wasn’t right for me.  That is until 2009 when I was laid-off from my IT job of ten years. I found it really difficult to find a job with the U.S. in recession and decided to go back to school while I actively searched for a new job.

This period of unemployment made me realize something; I had a story and I wanted to tell it.  While I couldn’t rely on this as a steady income (being new and all with no books to sell) I continued my education and my job search.  My wife was nothing but supportive (as she remains today).

I wrote the first book in the series—The Unknown Man—in four months.  I loved every minute of it and knew this was something I wanted to continue doing.  While writing my debut novel, I was in school full-time, continued my job search (with entirely too many interviews) and also was hired by my in-laws to finish their basement.  Oh, and did I mention Evan was born during this time too?

Anyway, I finished The Unknown Man and started the query process with agents and publishers.  After getting nowhere, I finally landed a job, in a new field, with a chance to re-invent myself.  I continued to work on the first book by editing and refining the story.

I decided to self-publish it in 2012 and posted it on Amazon.  A couple of points here.  Looking back now, it was nowhere near ready for the market.  I had no idea what I was doing and I can see now why I wasn’t getting anywhere with an agent/publisher.  Given its weak points, I sold a number of copies, and received several reviews (good and bad) to which I am grateful for.  These have helped me to refine the story further, and have helped me to become a better writer (I think anyway).

One of the questions I get asked the most often is when is book 2 being released, and why it is taking so long.  As you can see above, book 2 is close. As for the second part, let me explain.  About the time I started writing book 2 in 2012, I finally found a new job, was still going to school full-time, and we had a very colicky and stubborn infant.  Finding time to write became secondary so I could focus on everything else going on.  So I put my writing on hold, which was a good thing considering how difficult my classes had become.

In October of 2013, I finally graduated with a BS in Business Finance (with honors, not to brag).  I took a couple of months off to just relax and recharge, before I got back to my writing.  Although I hadn’t been working on book 2, I was still actively working to improve Book 1.  I trimmed it from around 213k words, down to 130k, and I really like the flow of the story now.  In 2014, I hit the ground running and began my work on book 2 (and other projects too) although I still had limited time to.  I started off by reviewing what I had already written (about 30k words) and I wasn’t at all satisfied with it, so I scrapped it and began fresh.

It took my about ten months, but I finally finished the rough copy of book 2, The Rising Past.  After several read-throughs and revisions on my own, I handed it over to my wife to edit.  She is an elementary school teacher (for ten years now).  Her Bachelors is a double major in Communication and Journalism, and she has a Master’s in Education.

This is just a little background on my first novel.  I plan on blogging at least every couple of days, and hope to have more information to release soon.

Unknown Man small

While you are waiting for Book 2: The Rising Past, get a copy of The Unknown Man Kindle Nook Smashwords

Get more information from my website