Peeking Out from the Writing Cave

Photo cribbed from FB

Time for a progress report and other good news.

I made very good progress on the final revisions/edits on Blood Curse this weekend, which was a pleasant surprise. Last weekend, I made absolutely NO progress, and it was a long weekend. I sometimes think I perform better under pressure (self imposed) and time constraints than I do when there’s plenty of time available.

Anyway, I have less than 100 pages left to edit of the manuscript. In its current format, it is 304 pages. That page count will vary between the draft, the ebook, and the print versions.

I did correct a minor detail this morning. I originally had Viktor saying to head south from Dorada’s island to reach open water. However, I changed the location of her island from the Caymans, which weren’t rocky enough, to Islas de Los Roques, which are just north of the South American coast, back before original publication. Neither I nor my editor caught that I didn’t correct the statement of direction when I made the change. Now he orders the ship northeast instead of south.

I realize this old mistake didn’t really hurt the story, but it bothered me to find it. I truly want to keep any Real World references as accurate as possible. I feel I owe it to my readers, especially the ones who WILL fact check me, and to myself to maintain the best quality I can.

In other news: I have even more incentive to finally carve out some time to do some promo videos. I’ve been interacting in the comments sections of several BookTube videos lately. This has already garnered me some promotion space on one of the channels I follow. The Brothers Gwynn have a unique way of announcing premiering books each month by showing a compilation of authors pitching their books and giving release dates.

I will be participating in this once I’ve nailed down a specific release date for Blood Curse rather than the vague “sometime this Fall.”

I also need to create Instagram and Twitter accounts for the purpose of querying some of the reviewers who run the various BookTube channels. Most of them don’t use FB.

I’ve made significant progress on 1st round edits of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe seasons 2 and 3. At this rate, I’ll need to start drafting season 4 before long.

The most enjoyable part of all this editing, both on Blood Curse and The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe is re-reading and re-familiarizing myself with manuscripts written a few years back. In the case of Blood Curse, the original draft was started in 2006, and the first publication (in ebook) was 2011. I think it’s a good thing for authors of series to go back and read the earlier books again periodically. It helps them see where they’ve been and better visualize where they’re going, both in their writing skills and story continuity. While some may bemoan the skill level of their earlier works, they can also look back and visit with old friends with a fresh perspective and, hopefully, fondness — and then whip up freshly revised 2nd editions to hook new readers. (Insert mercenary grin here.)

An Author’s Plea

I’m stealing this from a book mark advertising R. Kyle Hannah’s novels Assassin’s Gambit, Time Assassins, and To Aid and Protect. The following was on the back and is a heart felt plea from authors everywhere.


According to publishing industry experts, 80% of book sales are attributed to word of mouth. This figure includes simple book reviews written by non-professional critics on web-sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads.

Many writers work for months or years to produce a good book. So, help your favorite authors out. If you enjoyed the book, take a few minutes to write a nice review online, rank it on Amazon, and tell your friends. Thanks!

More Progress Than Expected

Would you believe I only just learned this week how to manage this site from my phone or tablet? I could kick myself for not trying it earlier, although my first attempt was a bit frustrating. I didn’t know I had to have the WordPress app to sign in from either of these devices. I tried doing it from my web browser and got the message that my email wasn’t valid. I’ve had this site for around 4 years, so I knew I’d used the correct email. Just had to dig around in Google a bit to figure out what I was doing wrong.

Since then, I updated the page for The Adventures of Pigg &Woolfe.

Speaking of, I’ve started edits on episode 3, made plans for the cover image, and am currently writing episode 34. Yay!

I also finished reading 2 of the books I purchased at LibertyCon. Zombies Ate My Homework, book 5 of the Authors and Dragons presents Shingles series. This one is by John Hartness. The series is a spoof of the Goosebumps Series and is written by some of the most hilariously not-right-in-the-head authors I’ve ever met. As the end of the blurb on the back says, this book is rated Not Safe for Anything.

The other book is Thieves’ Quarry, book 2 of D.B. Jackson’s Thieftaker Chronicles. I am seriously considering ordering the next in the series from Amazon, since I won’t be able to pick it up at LibertyCon next year. The stories take place in Colonial Boston on the cusp of the American Revolution, in the 1760s. One of the nifty things about this for me is that it’s only a decade earlier than the time frame for my own Waves of Darkness series. Of course, David’s stories have a greater depth of history. He holds a degree in the subject. (Yeah, I’m a little jealous of his skills.)

Maelstrom of Fate Ebook Release!

Maelstrom of Fate is now live as an ebook. Print edition will follow soon. I’ve added the purchase links for Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords to the book’s landing page. (Just click on the Books and Short Stories button in the menu and follow the drop down to the bottom.) If you are searching for the book on Smashwords without using the link on this site, you will have to disable all parental controls to find it. Like The Daedalus Enigma last year, it received an Erotica tag which blocks it from general viewing.

I’ve already sent out .pdf copies to a couple of reviewers. If you are a reviewer and would be interested in reviewing this book, please let me know in the comments here or on my Facebook page.

I am also contacting my publisher to get the title corrected on the Amazon link. I found it listed as Maelstrom of Fatex (Waves of Darkness Book 8). It is, in fact, book 7; and there is no “x” anywhere in the title. I haven’t even started seriously plotting an 8th book yet. That will be part of the next story arc, Search for the First. (Book 7 concluded the Sisters of Power story arc.)

Maelstrom of Fate proposed coverAlso, a quick reminder; I will have copies of all seven titles at HallowCon in East Ridge, TN, October 27-29. I will be offering signed copies of Maelstrom of Fate at below retail as a convention special.

It Is Done (Roughly Speaking), and Other Interesting Shi…, er Stuff

This will probably be my last blog post of 2016. I’m ready for this killer Bi*** of a year to go away now. It’s killed more people than Cecil B. DeMille.


Lotsa stuff to cover here, so strap in and pay attention, kiddies.

First: I have finally finished the rough draft of Maelstrom of Fate. I will probably tweak the hell out of that epilogue when I do first revisions; but it is down on paper now, so I can set it aside for a well-deserved break. I may be adding another convention to my line-up this coming year: Hallowcon has moved to a venue considerably closer to me. (It used to be in Dalton, Georgia and has moved to a hotel in East Ridge, Tennessee… just a few blocks from where LibertyCon used to be when I first started attending it.) Since it falls on the last weekend in October, I think it would be a fantastic venue for launching Maelstrom of Fate.

Okay, I realize that was technically two items. Deal with it.

Next: There is a new interview on my About page and a new review of Blood Curse on its page, both courtesy of J.B. Garner. You should visit his site and check out his books. Seriously.

Moving right along: The Daedalus Enigma has been entered in the 18th Annual Preditors and Editors Readers Poll in both the Horror Novel and the Science Fiction/ Fantasy Novel categories. The poll is free; although you have to give your email addie to finalize your votes, you do NOT get spammed… EVER; and it ends January 14. They do limit you to one vote per category (if you vote for more than one book in the same category, only the last one voted for counts).

Every book in the Waves of Darkness series has placed in the top ten in Horror Novel. Please help make that happen for this book, too. I don’t get any money for placing, just bragging rights and a digital badge.

Build-a-Blog news: Over the next few weeks, I will be adding to the Readers’ Refuge section of the site. Expect the Once Upon a Tide as well as a few other selections from The Daedalus Enigma to show up for your reading pleasure. I will announce them here on the main blog as/when I add them.

Artistically Speaking: I’m still in the mental planning stages of rebuilding my old Steel Rose Gallery. I will probably build it as a WordPress site simply because of the ease of organizing it like I want it.

I also have a good idea of what I want to do for the cover art for Maelstrom of Fate. I just hope I’m up to the challenge and can get Viktor looking like I want him to.

I’m a slacker: I still haven’t started the serious research I need to do for There Is No Arizona.

I will, though; I will.

Red Shirt Contest: Just a friendly reminder that it’s not too late to put your name in the hat. So far, I have all of six people willing to let me attach their name to one of the three remaining Royal Marines doomed to die a horrible death in Maelstrom. One will be drawn at Chattacon; another at ConNooga. Names of contestants remain in the pool until the last winner is drawn at LibertyCon. You can do so in the comments here, on Facebook, or on Plurk.

Other convention news: I finally bought my membership for ConNooga. I also just today confirmed with the Chattacon program director I would be available for panels.




November 10, 2016 The Daedalus Enigma will go live as an ebook! I still do not have a release date for the print edition.

The first availability will be through Smashwords. Amazon and Barnes & Noble will follow at their own pace. Both sellers seem to take a little longer to go from upload to live link than Smashwords does.

Once the book becomes available in print-on-demand it can be ordered through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million.

I will also have copies of all six titles in the series at my tables at Chattacon, ConNooga, and Authors’ Alley at LibertyCon.

The journey to this point with this book has been a challenging one. Because of heavy work loads, my publisher put me with a different editor for this book than who I worked with for the previous five. The feedback has been both interesting and helpful. I needed someone to point out where I had gotten lazy with my writing and to keep me on track with making sure I maintained continuity and didn’t lose or confuse new readers coming into the series without having read the previous books. She also pointed out a few of my bad habits such as phraseology not in use during the time period of the storyline, or redundant/repetitive wording which could become a distraction to readers.

I ended up having to do two rounds of revisions. We are both satisfied that the final version reads much more smoothly and clearly.

I have fully enjoyed the journey.

Also, The Daedalus Enigma is the longest manuscript I’ve written for this series. Blood Curse, the first book in the series is the only one which comes close to it.

I’m also happy the scene with Xandricus which I figured would get cut out in fact survived to be in the finished book. The Dungeon of Deleted or Altered Scenes will just have to live without it.

I will be sending out .pdf copies to reviewers as soon as I get that version from my publisher.

Weekend Update

Fenreis detail Okay, this looks a lot better in person. It’s just so hard to share colored pencil art online. Photos get washed out by camera flash, or blurred by a no-flash shot  made without a stabilizer, or grainy from using my phone’s camera. This is detail from the (nearly) finished Dragon Age fan art. I just have one minor detail to alter to meet my client’s specifications.

I also finished chapter 33 of The Daedalus Enigma. One particular scene had been giving me trouble last week and just didn’t want to flow. I finally got it to cooperate with me. The irony is that it is an erotic scene that really isn’t necessary for the plot; I just had to get it out of my head. It may or may not make it to the final version of the book.

Finally, I kicked a little life into my red shirt contest by sweetening the pot. Two lucky winners will not only have their names applied to two ill-fated members of Vik Brandee’s crew, they will also receive a free .pdf copy of Black Venom.

On an added note, Black Venom received a new review from Mom With A Reading Problem. You can read it here:

Book Reviews!



I finally remembered to check back with the NerdGirl website to see if the reviews had posted yet on the two books I’ve sent them so far.

Blood Curse, the first book in my Waves of Darkness series,  received a 4 star review on March 27th.

Demon Bayou, the second book in the series, also received a 4 star review on April 3rd!

A Real Eye-opener

truth about coffee

4.0 out of 5 stars A Real Eye-opener, January 19, 2015
This review is from: The Truth about Coffee (Paperback)
I received a free copy of this book from a promoter for review. This in no way influences my opinion of the book.
I found this book to be well written and researched. It was not an easy read for me. People don’t like to be told just how bad for them something they like is.
Ms. Kushner strikes me as a bit of a crusader, but she does acknowledge that many of the studies cited have been challenged or considered inconclusive by much of the medical profession. I personally think more attention needs to be given to researching the possible links between coffee and many of the medical ills we suffer. I doubt this will ever happen, mostly for economic reasons. Coffee production is big business.
My one complaint about the book was that she waited until chapter 4 to reveal what harmful chemicals can be found in coffee other than caffeine, although she hinted at them early on. I think this information should have been disseminated at least in the second chapter; then go on to explain the links between coffee and several maladies.
Will this book change my personal coffee consumption? Probably not, although I did think about it. I do not consume anywhere near the amounts described in some of the anecdotes, and what medical ills I have started well before I ever started drinking coffee.
I do, however think this book will be very informative to those who look to their diet for cause and effect on their overall health. I also like that the bibliography and appendices provide the information to cross examine the author’s arguments as well as provide support groups to contact.
Overall, even though I rarely read non-fiction except as research for the fiction I write, I liked this book and have no intention of discarding the copy I received.