Formatting Update and Other News

First, I’d like to say thank you to my fellow authors on some of the writing groups we share on Facebook. They’ve been extremely helpful in my navigation of Ingram Spark’s submission guidelines. I highly recommend authors, whether new or veteran, to join such groups. They are especially beneficial to those of us whose schedules don’t mesh with in-person writing groups’ meeting schedules.

Meanwhile, I finally got started on the formatting of Blood Curse 2nd edition this weekend. I’m having to go back through and redo the italics because copying the text to the correct trim size undid all that work. Next up will be changing the font from Word’s default of Calibri. I’ve also installed Treasure Map Dead Hand as my font for titles and headers.

I know all this is tedious, but I’m enjoying the process. This will also help make producing the rest of the books in the series easier.

Meanwhile, I should finish typing up the final episode of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe season 3 this week. I will start plotting season 4 once that’s done. I plan to start publishing season 2 early next year. Somewhere in between now and then, I need to do some promoting on that serial.

That’s it for now. Enjoy your short work week, and I hope you had a good Labor Day weekend.

Fixing the “Oops!”

Nothing like going through first edits on a rough draft written a few years previously and spotting gargantuan plot holes. In case you haven’t guessed, or are new to this blog, I have returned to working on my steampunk serial, The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe.

I’m finally getting episodes 13 through 24 (aka Season 2) ready for publication. I’m also seriously entertaining the thought of having a new cover done for the Season 1 omnibus, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, as well as doing new illustrations for it.

“Why?” you ask. Mainly because sales have been all but non-existent, and I never really got marketing off the ground the first time through. This will mean pulling all the current versions down and republishing.

Yes, I am a masochist. I must be to intentionally put that much on my plate.

Meanwhile, back to why I started this post. I’ve found myself trying to keep supposedly intelligent characters from unintentionally looking like bumbling idiots. In other words, I originally wrote some scenes which turned into “wait-a-minute” moments. So, I have to figure out why I had a character do something a certain way, when an obviously better way was available.

Specifically, why did a character LEAVE a communications center to deliver a message rather than send it via a secure means already available to them. It would’ve been quicker to use the system rather than leave the building and head into a subterranean system of tunnels and lifts to reach a place deep underground.

Not to worry. I did find a plausible excuse.

Messages sent through that system, while secure, have to be entered in the log if they originate from the communications center itself. The character didn’t want this message to be discovered by her supervisor, so she feigned illness to be excused from the rest of her shift. She also didn’t encounter any message stations along her route before encountering other major characters.

Plot hole plugged.

Book News (and stuff)

I must agree with Viktor on it this time.

The rough draft of Hunting the Dragon (Waves of Darkness book 8) is in the bag. The first 10 chapters are with my alpha reader, and she’s promised feedback notes, hopefully by next week.

The remaining chapters are still in handwritten form and need to be typed up. I will start on that soon. I have to admit that the back half of the rough draft is a hot mess and in need of some scene rearranging and serious polishing.

Meanwhile, I’ve completed inking all the Dragon Poker portraits. I will be doing a color accent version of them for special edition sets of the cards. I’m told those will be offered in a wooden case.

Next on my agenda is the reformatting and revision of Blood Curse (Waves of Darkness book 1). The new edition will be in the 5×8-ish (not sure of the exact measurements right now) size rather than the 6×9 trade paperback version it was previously published in. I plan to snazzy up the interior as well. All this is necessary before I can order a new cover design, since I need a page count to determine the width of the spine. The size change will change the original page count, of course.

Finally, happy news: someone bought one of the 6-episode mini-omnibus ebooks in my The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe steampunk serial. This is the first sale of the year and the first sale in months!

That is all for now. Thanks for reading!

Brain Hurricane

Had more ideas for this second Waves of Darkness story arc storming through my head this week. Given the nemesis I’ve given Viktor, I figured I needed to up the stakes for him in these second 7 books. (The rough draft of book 8 is nearing completion, so I need to get with my beta reader and hopefully recruit a few more.)

I won’t list the details here, since they would be spoilers spread out over books 8-14. I’ll just say to expect things to get personal between Viktor and Dragon. At least one main supporting character will be taken out of the picture. Allies will be attacked or subverted. Nobody will be safe.

All I can say is it’s a good thing my mask has been hiding my maniacal grin from my coworkers when these ideas start playing out in my head. I don’t want to scare them too much. Mwahaha!

In Passing

The teacher who originally inspired me to major in print journalism has passed.

I hadn’t thought of the man in years, then I saw his obituary in yesterday’s newspaper. I did the math to make sure it was the same man I remembered and verified that I was one of his pupils the year he retired from teaching (but not from sports writing).

Farewell, Coach Johnson. you’ve more than earned your rest.

 

Sometimes It Pays …

Sometimes it pays to be paranoid, or at least highly skeptical.

Today, I received a call from a “senior acquisitions specialist” for “the only award winning hybrid publisher” about evaluating my book to present to one of their “book investors” and possibly add it to this year’s portfolio. (I was just sitting down to eat before getting ready for work, so I let the machine get it.)

To her credit, the woman, identified only as Sunshine (no last name stated), did pronounce my first name correctly. She failed, however, to actually identify the publisher she represented. I found out from my caller ID it was called Stratton Press. The call back number matched the one she called from, which seemed to add a touch of credibility.

The thing is, I haven’t sent out any queries since early last fall. I keep a board of who I’ve queried and when. This publisher was not on it. I am assuming the fact I’m an author, and my contact info was culled from my FB posts on various author and book promotion groups, then Google-fu for my phone number, which I don’t believe I’ve posted.

So, I did a little Google-fu on my own. Sure enough, there was a post about this publisher on SFWA’s Writer Beware.

Yeah, I’m not calling Sunshine back.

I’ve been a published author for 9 years and a regular attendee of the writing tracks of several conventions, so I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about naive new authors and even veteran authors falling prey to the somewhat dubious business practices of some vanity and/or fly-by-night publishers. (Yep, the terms acquisition specialist rather than editor and hybrid publisher had images flashing in my head of Robbie the Robot flailing its arms and repeating “Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!”)

So my advice to my fellow authors out there is do your research when looking for an agent or publisher, be suspicious of unsolicited offers to help you publish, especially if the one’s offering want money from you, and don’t be afraid to ask more established authors for advice or recommendations.

Writer’s Flow

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Lack of the ability to concentrate over the past few weeks had slowed my writing down drastically. I just couldn’t focus past all the distractions. Add to that the need to rewrite/replot in the middle of the manuscript for Hunting the Dragon, the 8th book in the Waves of Darkness series (and the start of a new story arc). Yes, I’d plotted the book out; heck I’d gotten a basic guideline made for the entire 7-book arc. (That’s right kiddies, not only will I get the first 7 books back into publication, I will write 7 NEW books in the series.) However, the plot I had turned out to be easily accomplished with a novella, if not a novelette.

That was/is not acceptable.

Finally, the battling ideas of what event to place where and what plot points to add have sorted themselves out. The writing has begun to flow again. I’ve even found a way to start off one of the secondary plots for the story arc a little earlier than I’d thought.

I love how unplanned characters not only pop up but give new insight and depth into the overall story. I am a “plantser”, a cross between a plotter and a pantser, in how I write my stories. It works for me.

Actually, this is the most similar book writing experience to that of writing Blood Curse (book 1) I’ve had since I started this series of novels. I had an overall idea for the story arc and a jumble of scenes and ideas, and I almost wrapped it up in 17 short chapters. With that book, too, I had to find a way to stretch/fill it out without making the added material read like unnecessary fluff.

Can you tell I’m enjoying my revitalized creative productivity?

Books for Sale!

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I will have 9 copies of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky: The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe Season 1 available for sale at my table in the Chattacon dealer room!

I’d ordered 10 copies, but I already sold a copy to a coworker who is a fan and a speed reader. He wanted a signed copy, and waited until I had them available in person. I guess he worried he might read any copy he ordered before he could get my signature, since we’re on different shifts. (He did over pay, at his insistence, which more than covered my shipping cost.)

I will also have copies of Silent Fathoms, Black Venom, Hell’s Dodo, The Daedalus Enigma, and Maelstrom of Fate, books 3-7 of the Waves of Darkness series available. The first two books in the series, Blood Curse and Demon Bayou, have been sold out since early last year. Rest assured, I do still plan on getting these titles back into publication, one way or another.

Speaking of the WoD series, writing has stalled on book 8 for now. I’m not happy with chapter 12 and plan to rewrite it, moving some of the events about. Otherwise, this book might end up a novella instead of a novel.

The majority of my free time has been taken up with working on a previously mentioned art commission. I’ve really been enjoying the challenge as well as exercising my rusty portraiture skills.

As soon as I’ve figured out my schedule for Chattacon, I will post it to my Appearances page here. I’m not slated as a panelist, so I imagine a large portion of my time will be spent at my table. Hope to see you there!

Happy New Year!

Looks like Mr. Grimm wishes to give a New Year’s greeting of his own.34

(Image “borrowed” from one of the many FB pirate groups I haunt.)

While my writing has stalled out a bit lately, I have been working on an illustration commission. Fans of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series will really like this one. That’s all I’m at liberty to say at this point, until I get the clearance from my commissioner.

I will be at Chattacon January 24-26. Click on the link for location and other details about the convention. I will have a table in the Dealer Room and will have copies of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky: The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe Season One available for sale. Just placed my order this morning. If you’re in Chattanooga, TN that weekend, please stop by. It’s a fun con to attend!