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

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 🙂

 

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.

An Update

Things have been busy for me. During the day, I work as a Subject Matter Expert and support a sales staff around the globe. We are all focused on the upcoming Q1 (starts Dec 1) as our CEO believes if you have a successful start of the year, the rest will fall in line. Considering Oil companies account for a large portion of our business, the upcoming year is looking sketchy at best. So, I’m working extra hours to help in any way that I can (basically doing a whole bunch or research as to how we can grow accounts).

I know, you’re wondering how this is important to my writing. Well, the extra hours have limited the amount of time I have to write. Of course the wife is back teaching after the summer off, and my oldest is busy with his final year of elementary school, which is also cutting into my writing time.

I started querying THE RISING PAST, Book 1 in the Keepers of the Orbs series about ten days ago. As I am sure some of you are aware, this in itself is time consuming. I have a list of about 110 different agents I am querying (have only sent out a portion of those so far as I am trying to space them out). From my first wave, I have only received 3 “not interested” so far, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Tonight I finished my second read through/edit/cut/update of THE ELVES OF A SUGAR MAPLE. This is not part of the Keepers of the Orbs series and is actually based on a tree in my backyard. It is one of the features of our house that sold my wife on the purchase twelve years ago. I’m very excited about this story. I love the way it came together and I feel like my writing is really starting to come into its own. I am now giving it to my wife to edit, but unfortunately she still has about 25% left to edit on a paying job, so it has to take a back seat for a couple more weeks. But I know she is just as excited as I am for to get her hands on it. The idea after all, was hers. In the time we have lived here, we have had many conversations and musings as to what creatures may live on this tree. She had initiated the idea that it was a race of Fairies and we talked about it at great length. I felt the whole Fairy thing has been overdone, so I changed them to Tree Elves, and I then let the keyboard guide me as I discovered this little story. It’s 70k words, so it’s shorter than my other books, but I feel like it is a wonderful little story and I have high hopes for it. So stay tuned for further information.

That means, tomorrow I am returning to the next book in the Keepers series. I started on it back in March, but had to put it down as I was unsure of a couple of things in THE RISING PAST that I wanted to have nailed down before I continued. With those loose ends tied up, I am exited to dive back into Raythum’s world. I’m very excited with the direction of the story and can’t wait to see how it all comes together.

In the meantime, feel free to grab a copy of THE UNKNOWN MAN, the prequel to The Keepers of the Orbs series by Clicking Here That’s all for now.

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