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.

 

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.

Excerpt from Book 2

Here is an excerpt from Book 2 in The Keepers of the Orbs Series, The Rising Past

He enjoyed the normalcy he had found once again, and wanted to soak up every minute of it, even if it would be short-lived. On this particular day, he ate his breakfast on the terrace connected to his quarters overlooking the ocean. He took a deep breath and enjoyed the crisp morning air filled with the salty aroma it gathered as it blew over the white-capped water. It mixed with the sweet smells of the flowers surrounding his terrace, bringing back pleasant memories of his childhood. He took a sip of his steaming hot tea and let the citrus aromas flood his senses.

He knew he was only stalling, though, and needed to confront his brother. He sighed and collected his plates. He left them on a table, knowing they would be taken care of when the servants cleaned his room for the day. He hated leaving them; his preference had always been to take care of them himself, but time was of the essence.

He left his room and made the short walk to his brother’s quarters. With no idea whether or not his brother was even in his room, he pounded on the door and awaited a response.

He faintly heard noise from inside. “You may enter.”

Raythum could tell his brother had no idea who had interrupted his morning, and he quickly recognized the surprise on his face when he walked through the door..

He didn’t rise when Raythum walked in. “Well, if it isn’t my amazing brother. What brings you to visit your loathsome brother?” he asked with a sneer across his face.

“I hope I am not interrupting?” Without waiting for a response, Raythum walked into the room and motioned toward a high-backed chair. “May I?”

“Please, by all means.” Tirell arrogantly crossed his arms and leveled his gaze at his brother.

Raythum wasn’t surprised to find his brother—who now was in his mid-twenties—curled up on his couch with his head engrossed in a book.

Tirell marked his page. “Please tell me why I have the honor of your visit? Shouldn’t you be busy taking care of your lizard, or saving the world?” The sarcasm dripping from his brother’s words wasn’t lost on Raythum.

“My Dragon’s name is Milenthia, and is it turns out we are making preparations to travel to Agripina.” He could see the greedy look in his brother’s eyes. He knew he counted the days till their departure so he would be out of his affairs. “Before I leave, though, I have received several troubling reports of your activities while I have been away.” He stared sternly, not wanting to come off like an angry parent, but in a manner that would express the importance of the situation.

A disdain-filled grin crossed Tirell’s face. “I should’ve known Norlun would run to you. That meddlesome old man should know to stay out of other people’s business,” he hissed angrily.

“Yes, well, he is concerned about you. He talked of your infatuation with Luther.”

Tirell stood. This obviously struck a chord with his brother. “Infatuation! There is no infatuation. Luther was a powerful wizard. The more I have learned of him, the more I have come to respect him.” Raythum saw a passion uncurbed in his brother’s eyes.

Raythum stood to meet his brother. “Calm down. No one is accusing you of a misplaced love affair, or anything like that.” He directed his brother back to the couch, before he continued. “Norlun is just concerned. Luther was a great wizard, but he followed a dark path. A path that led to his death. I… we would both hate for the same thing to happen to you.” Raythum’s voice filled with concern at the words.

“What do you care what happens to me? You have never cared before,” Tirell almost spit the words as he spoke them. A grotesque look crossed his face.

“Come now, brother. I have never been anything other than supportive of you, and the unorthodox practices you uphold.” Raythum tried to placate Tirell’s anger.

Tirell shot Raythum a glare. “Is that so? Then tell me again why you challenged my claim to the throne?”

Raythum tried to hide his agitation. “You know that to be a false claim. I never expected, nor did I have a desire, to be named heir. I know I am the second born, and my eyes longed for other things. The test we went through for the throne was not of my doing. It was fathers!” Raythum approached Tirell who sat on the couch. He pushed a finger into his brother’s chest, no longer able to hold his anger in check. “Father saw something in you, something he did not care for.”

Tirell shoved his brother’s finger aside. “Don’t play the innocent with me. Father has never understood me, nor have you. Out of fear, he rigged a test, enabling him to honorably depose me as his heir, only to put you in my place. He has always understood you better, and instead of getting to know me for the person I really am, it was easier for him to brush me aside. He had this planned for years. You cannot be so naïve as to think otherwise!” he scoffed.

Frustration overwhelmed Raythum. He had been having this same argument with his brother for years and he grew tired of it. “So that’s it then? You are going to let your petty father-issues potentially send you down a dark path?”

Tirell stood and faced his brother. “It’s so easy for you, isn’t it? Everything has been handed to you on a platter, and you expect it to be as easy as you wish. I cannot tolerate it, and I won’t.” He turned his back on his brother. “I know you better than most, and can see through your rouse.” He spun around on his heels. “You’re no better than me. You may not have sought out the throne, but the second father handed it to you, you changed. You may have father convinced, but not me. You look forward to the throne as much as I. Maybe not for the same reasons, but you cannot deny it.” He looked menacingly up into his brother’s eyes.

“Would you stop it already? As much as you would like to believe otherwise, I have never been in competition with you. I had nothing to do with father’s decision, so please let it go.” Raythum threw his arms up in frustration.

Tirell rolled his eyes. “So why are you here then?”

“You need to stop with all of this Luther nonsense. You are drawing too much attention to yourself and people are starting to notice. I cannot believe you have gathered followers,” he spit with scorn.

Tirell’s face turned as red as the apples growing in the thick forest outside of Havenbrook. “Now you mock me?”

“Nobody is mocking you, Tirell. I am just surprised.”

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