Greetings and Salutations!

Welcome to the longest-running* yet least-read** blog on the internet! Here you'll find me writing about all the things that I write about, which strikes me, just now, as somewhat recursive. In any case, enjoy :)

* not true ** probably true

Friday, January 13, 2017

Ye Olde Writing Update

So I've got two projects that I plan to finish by the end of February. Here's where we're at on both of them, and after:

Prayers in Steel

This is a rewrite/expansion of the Blood Tempered novella and its unreleased sequel, Weaving Steel. I'm going back and reworking the terse style and fleshing out secondary characters, as well as giving it a more 'epic' tone. It's sitting at about 48,000 words, and I estimate it'll clock in at roughly 80,000 when it's finished.

The Last God

Four interconnected connected short stories set in the Amra Thetys universe, told from the point of view of Lhiewyn, Sage of Lucernis and Grumpy Old Man. It isn't necessary to have read the Amra series to enjoy this one, but it is meant as a sort of companion piece. For those who have read the Amra books, you'll find an Easter egg or two. Also, I'm writing it in Google Docs, so you can follow along if you'd like. Currently at 7,000 words of an estimated 30,000.

After February

Here's what the calendar looks like: Once the first four are back in my control and out of Ragnarok's, I'll release How To Make A Killing In Kirabor, an Amra prequel novelette. Why not release it now? I don't want people to buy the book and be tempted to purchase the Ragnarok editions. I have no faith that I'll ever see those royalties.

I am of course working on the fifth Amra book. If all goes well, you can look for that one around August or September. I'll update as things get more firm.

I'm also considering whether to revive/continue the Comes the Conqueror series. It was an experiment with serialized fiction. I personally really like the story, but readers weren't interested, possibly because of the serial format.

Finally, there are a crap-load of Amra side story ideas that pop into my head on a regular basis. Two of them continue to pester me as I drift off to sleep.

First, the idea of writing stories/novels about the villains that appear throughout, like Red Hand, and the Sorcerer King, and the Telemarch. They've all got back stories, and we only get to see them at the end. They're all tragic heroes, in their own way, like Oedipus or Hamlet. None of them started off as villains.

Second, there's a lot going on with Theiner/Moc Mien. He's actually worthy of a series of his own.

So… I'm contemplating. I don't know if there's a market big enough for these stories. Not that that's ever stopped me before.

Until next time,


Monday, January 09, 2017

Publishing and self publishing: more straight talk from Uncle Mike

I've got some more things to say. Once again, some of it won't be very popular, but I believe it to be true. Better you hear it from me than find out on your own.

1: Embrace the suck

This is army speak for the inevitability of ending up in a situation that sucks, and the attitude that will see you through it. Complaining, time honored though it may be, will not extricate you from the suck. Pretending you are not in the suck will not extricate you from the suck. Flailing around in a panic will definitely not get your suck-stuck behind out of the suck. What will extricate you from the suck is realizing and admitting that you are mired in suckitude, plotting a course to get away from the suck, and then implementing your plan. This is true whether you are a self publisher or traditionally published.

Wow, I don't think I've written the word 'suck' that many times ever.

2: Talk is cheap

Whether it's a publisher, an agent, or a so-called indie publishing expert that you're listening to, remain skeptical. They are in the business of making money from your books. They will say what you want to hear, and it'll sound really good. Just like your prom date. Yeah, exactly. We all know how that turned out.

The point here: get it in writing, and make sure you understand what it says, and what it means, before you agree to anything. Also remember that money should flow to the author in all traditional publishing scenarios. If you're an indie and money is leaving your bank account, it had better do so for specific reasons with measurable outcomes. For example, a book cover.

3: People love to make excuses

You know what? Crappy things happen to people. They miss deadlines. It's an imperfect world. I get that. But you are not immortal. Your time on this earth is finite. And people who constantly make excuses for failing to live up to agreements are stealing your time.

Scrape them off.

4: Don't be a cheap talker or an excuse maker

You want publishing success, however you define it? You are ultimately responsible for making it happen. Treat others, and especially yourself, with the same respect you want to be given. Don't make excuses that you have no time to write if you just binge-watched Luke Cake or Downton Abbey. Don't throw up your hands and say you don't know where to start if you have access to Google. And don't call yourself a writer if you keep polishing the same 1/3 of a manuscript over and over for months or years.

Yeah, this writing thing is hard. See point 1 above. It's first for a reason – because it will get you through everything else that happens to you along the way.

Give the Suck a big ole hug, and get writing.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

An important announcement

Hi folks,

I've got some disheartening news to share with you this time around, I'm afraid. I've decided to take the rights to the Amra Thetys series back from Ragnarok Publications. The reasons are business-related, and boil down to this: I doubt I'll ever actually get paid the royalties due me for sales of the Ragnarok editions of the books. They seem to be in a pretty big mess over there, so I've decided to cut my losses. I wish I didn't think it were necessary.

So what does this mean? Well, for the next 3-4 months, Ragnarok will continue to sell the first four Amra Thetys books. I'd ask you not to buy them, if you haven't already, for the simple reason that my portion of the money you spend on those editions may well never make it to me. If you'd like to show your support, you could purchase the ebook edition of my short story collection on Amazon, or you could check out Ace of Swords, which is a fantasy geared for slightly younger readers. It's available both in print and electronic format.

Wha does this mean for Amra, going forward, you ask? I'll tell ya :) Of course I'm working on Amra 5, never fear. I've also got one Amra novelette pretty much completed that I've been holding back – How to Make a Killing in Kirabor. Once I've gotten the rights back to Amra 1-4 I'll be releasing it.

I'm also currently working on a series of short stories from cranky old Lhiewyn's point of view. I'm doing something different with this one: I'm writing the first draft in Google Docs, which means you can check in on its progress, make comments, point out my awful typing skills and generally kibitz during the whole process if you like. Sort of like watching the guy at the Italian restaurant make your pizza. I love that guy.

If you like/tolerate Facebook, I'm there. It's where writing things get talked about the most.

And that's about it for this newsletter. I do wish I had better news to report, folks, but the main thing is, the stories are still coming, and as I return to self publishing, they will come at a more frequent rate.

Awkward hugs,