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

 

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

Book Review: Xanadu (The Keszthelyi Chronicles Book 2)

Xanadu

This was a fabulous story that quickly brought me in and kept my interest throughout. This is the second book in The Keszthelyi Chronicles and was written by Zichao Deng.

In all honesty I had no idea this was a series until I finished reading the book. Never was it an issue that I had not read the first book, so i tip my hat to the author for writing a book in a series that is able to standalone.

I really enjoyed the main characters Nicolas Keszthelyi and his counterpart Estrade. I think Estrade was truly my favorite character as I liked the no nonsense way he went about his business (especially his plan for the company).

The story is primarily set in Kabul Afghanistan. I have never been to Afghanistan but the author does a wonderful job describing the landscapes and the people. I could get a wonderful picture in my head.

I will say I was a little hesitant about this book due to several of the names or titles in Chinese, but the author provided a wonderful blurb describing how to properly pronounce them, and it put my mind at ease. I would also like to point out that I have never played mahjong before, and the author made this a non-issue by giving the audience a quick run-down on the basic rules so we as readers were not left saying “huh?”.

I will say while I think the character Bibi brought plenty of comic relief to the story, her language and manner of speaking began to wear on me by the end of the book. I also felt like the ending was a little abrupt, and I felt like I wanted a little more closure; then again this is a series.

For those who love stories of adventure in far off lands, this is the book for you. I truly enjoyed the story and have given it 4 out of 5 stars . Personally, I plan on going back and reading the first, and I look forward to future installments in this series.

I was provided a copy of the book for free in exchange for a review

Book Review: Elaenorh by Vanessa Kittle

This was a very interesting story that I really enjoyed. It was a little bit fantasy, a little bit historical fiction, and a little bit sci-fi.  Together it created a unique story that I could hardly put down.  It was a very quick read.  I felt like the ending seemed a little bit rushed, but it didn’t detract from the overall story and concluded how I would have expected it to.

I loved how the characters developed during the story, and how they also connected through the different time periods. I found myself pulling for all of the Caldeans and loved the world they had created within Earth.  I would recommend this to any one and have rated it 5 of 5 stars.

Youc an get a copy here.  http://www.amazon.com/Elaenorh-Vanessa-Kittle-ebook/dp/B00KIXH4OE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1402982509&sr=1-1&keywords=elaenorh

Book Review: Save Me by Crystal Lee

I found Save Me by Crystal Lee to be an intriguing tale that kept my attention throughout. It was a very well crafted story that was a quick read. I really liked the characters and the connection that many of them shared with one another.

I found the story to be predictable at some points, but this wasn’t a big issue, and was offset by a few surprises that were thrown in.

I enjoyed the story and would recommend it to anyone that enjoys a love story with a mixture of a little bit of action and suspense. 5 out of 5 stars. I look forward to reading other books by Crystal Lee.

http://www.amazon.com/Save-Elk-Creek-Crystal-Lee-ebook/dp/B00H5U922K/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1401428515&sr=1-1&keywords=crystal+lee