Monday, March 31, 2014

Yo Ho Yo Ho A Writers Life for Me

Since before Requiter was released, I have been hard at work on book three; until three or four weeks ago.  I needed to step away and revisit the real world for a few moments.

Since May of 2012 my time away from work has been dominated by the World of Nilrus; writing, editing, marketing, rinse and repeat.  This has been one heck of journey, and I’ve enjoyed it.  I will continue to enjoy it.  Now it’s time for me to dive back into this fantasy world.

Book Three:
At this point, most of you know I will not have a title for this book until near completion.  I am roughly halfway through the brain purge.  I’m struggling here and there with timeline issues.  The book deals with several storylines that need to mesh in the end.  Eldric and company are returning to Dalthanalle, Lith and his band of merry elves are also going to Dalthanalle, albeit for different reasons.  The Knights Kranse have a want to visit that wonderful city, and Aeldon works on his return.  Add General Grunsch and all his friends to the list.  Dalthanalle has become a genuine tourist destination; the Disneyland of Nilrus.

Of course, we can’t forget the rulers of the fair city; King Alik and Queen Elma.  Oh wait!  Does Keeper Leandros actually rule the city?

I have built myself quite a trap here with more than eight story lines to follow.  It is quite a challenge to bring them all together in the end, but it promises to be an engaging story.  I really can’t wait to see how it all ends.

Spuds Au Rotten:
This is the short story I promised long ago.  I have the cover art for it, but I hit a little snag.  An additional scene was suggested, and I agreed.  When I went to add the scene, the electronic document was gone.  Gone!  This is wild, because I am OCD when it comes to backing up my work, yet I can’t find Spuds anywhere.  I say it is a little snag because I have a hard copy of the story.  It is just a matter of typing it all up again.

But, Book Three is priority.  When I hit the next dry spot, I will get Spuds finished and published.

I started this story a few years ago, and it will likely be the first book after Drums of Rallinwar is completed.  Occasionally, I hammer out a scene for the book.  I like the story, and the main character.  This book will be a standalone.  If it works out, Condr will be the first of many stand alone books based on his adventures.

Anyway, that’s about where I’m at right now.  I hope to have Book Three published this year, but I’ve learned my lesson and I’m not promising anything when it comes to release dates.

In other, more important, news; Requiter is available.
I’m still waiting for Barnes and Noble to put it out, but I strongly encourage you to purchase a copy for your Nook from Smashwords.  Mark Coker continues to be an awesome advocate for the Indie world, and has earned every penny he makes from book sales.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Time is Like My Daughter; Short

This busy lifestyle never seems to end.  I had to find a new mode of transportation, since the Memory Machine choked on me Christmas Eve.  The time for looking had to come from somewhere, so the writing suffered a bit.  In the process of all that, I needed to file taxes to get money for the truck.  Of course, that resulted in more time away from the writing desk.

The good news:  I have a new-to-me truck.  That should get me another ten years.

With a fresher mode of transportation, I have been busy planning the next Gunter Family vacation.  It looks like we may have another trip with the full brood.  My brain is in serious need of this trip.

Spring Cleanup is here.  Yeh, it was thirty something when I woke up this morning.  We spent the weekend piling junk on the curb for pickup.  In the process of cleaning, I stumbled on a Nintendo 64 box with all the instructions and paperwork, as well as a Mario Kart game package.  It’s hard to believe I had time for something like that.

Now, I can almost park the motorcycle in the garage and not have to walk sideways when I jump off.

At some point, over the last couple of years, I gained a new friend just above my waisteline.  I guess between my day job and writing, I spend the bulk of my waking hours in a desk chair.  In light of this new guest, I’ve set aside an hour or so every day to see if I can “run” him off.  I hate to steal more time from the fantasy world, but I’m sure the truck’s gas mileage will increase if it doesn’t have to haul so much…

With all that is going on in my life, I am still plugging away at the final book in the Drums of Rallinwar series. I look forward to finishing this project off and moving on to the next. I’ll slip in a complete update on the next visit to The Stray Scribe.
In other, more important, news; Requiter is available.
I’m still waiting for Barnes and Noble to put it out, but I strongly encourage you to purchase a copy for your Nook from Smashwords.  Mark Coker continues to be an awesome advocate for the Indie world, and has earned every penny he makes from book sales.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I'm Back

Yes, I have been away for a while.  I needed to step back and give this whole blog thing some thought.  I also stepped away from social media for a bit.



It was one of those moments where I stepped backed and asked:  “Wow, dude, is this really who I am?”  No, not really.  I’m really not a social type person, but I am also not as negative as I sometimes come across.  Unfortunately, for me, when I spew out a blog post, the contents have a negative feel in a lot of cases.  I don’t much care for the perception it conveys.

But then, there are still things I just need to get off my chest.

This issue really seemed to take root when I noticed some of the feeds on my personal Facebook page actually turned me away from the authors of the posts.  I mean, who wants to purchase an item or service from someone whose posts are primarily complaints?  Those negative feeling posts led me to question who would buy my books, when I was doing close to the same thing.  Maybe not to the same extent, but darn near.

That’s when I stepped back and evaluated the purpose of this blog.  The Stray Scribe was brought into existence as a piece of my “Writer’s Platform”.  One of those annoying terms that basically means, I’m trying to get my name out there into the big wide world.  Through this blog, I wanted to show the journey of a budding writer.  

After looking back, I think I’ve done a fairly decent job of it.  On top of that, I hadn’t whined as much as I thought I had.  I was simply being hyper-sensitive due to outside influences.  I hope.

Anywho, I’m back.  I will continue to ramble nonsense, and maybe even throw in a gem you might agree with from time to time.

In other, more important, news; Requiter is available.
I’m still waiting for Barnes and Noble to put it out, but I strongly encourage you to purchase a copy for your Nook from Smashwords.  Mark Coker continues to be an awesome advocate for the Indie world, and has earned every penny he makes from book sales.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I Don't Get It

Sometimes I feel like I need to start a post with a disclaimer, and I guess this is one of those posts.  If you are one of these people, don’t take this post as an attack, because I honestly (as the title says) don’t get it.

I have a great friend in Lucky Dunbar, who has done the artwork for my stories and I hope he can continue to do so for as long as I need artwork for my stories.  BTW, visit his Facebook Page at LuckyArt.  But, as he continues to work his craft, he will be busy with other projects and I can’t expect to always be number one on his list.  So, I’ve been perusing DeviantART and finding other artists that I could use in the event Lucky just doesn’t have the time to get something done.

In my journey’s I have found a handful of artists that do some great work and their style fits what I am looking for.  For the most part, they aren’t too expensive.  If I want a character art, it costs X.  If I want a character and a background it is X.  If I want multiple characters, etc.  One artist has even gone so far as to show examples of what you would get for so much money, with the explanation that more complexity equals more money.  Very customer friendly, and since they only have certain times when they are available for commission work, I can assume business is good for these artists.

Then there is the, what I consider, not-so-customer-friendly artists.  You almost get the feeling that if you have to ask how much, then it’s too expensive for you.   

Now, let me make something clear, for those of you who are not familiar with DeviantART.  This is not a site for well known artists.  You won’t find Vellejo, Parkinson, Bell, or Kinkade hawking their wares (okay, that would be odd for a couple of them since their dead…bad examples, but you get it).  The artists found on that site are talented people who haven’t had the exposure.  Some want to be the next big thing, while others are happy with their niche in life.

So here we get to the part I don’t understand.  What is it about pricing your artwork that needs to be a secret?  Is it too complex for you to give the potential customer an idea of what they would spend if they worked with you?  Why do you shun the apparent model that other artists follow with their pricing structure?  Or, is it a case of “if you have to ask…”?

Look, I know there is some reasoning behind it.  You have a reason for not disclosing your pricing structure, assuming you have one.  But I have no clue as to what that reason could be.

Here is how it looks.  And don’t take this as an attack.  I am simply saying this is how it looks to your average customer with no training in business101.

You overvalue your work.

I am the average customer and that is how I see it.  I don’t see your art as better than the others.  In most cases, your artwork is on par with other people who are more than happy to provide pricing information.  Any guesses on which artist I will go to?

As I said, I don’t understand.  Perhaps you don’t overvalue your work, but because I don’t understand why you want to hide your pricing structure, that is how I see it.  Not only is that how I see it; that is how the average customer sees it.  The sentence “If you have to ask, it’s too much.” can be read from two different perspectives.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Time Isn't Always On My Side

Seriously.  Like never.

I have so many stories I want to tell.  I also have a 60+ hour a week job.  I am married to a wonderful lady who deserves every ounce of my attention.  I have a house to maintain.

As Book Two (Requiter?) plods to its publish date, I have begun Book Three. 

The artwork is near completion for Book Two.  The edits continue to filter in.  Soon, I will publish the book and move into marketing it (bleh).

I have been writing Book Three.  I have to write it while the story is still fresh in my head.  There is so much I want to get down before I forget it.  I really like how it is shaping up.

There is a short story sitting on my desk that needs the first few hundred words rewritten.  I wanted to publish this story months ago, but I received comments on it that I can't ignore.  The beginning of the story is just not on the same pace as the rest of it.  In my experience, it only takes a few sentences added, changed, or removed, to fix these problems, but since my brain has been tied up with the Drums of Rallinwar series, it has been difficult to address.

On top of that, there are two short stories that need to be written.  I have the notes for them, and there are just a couple of minor tweaks to make before they get written.

I have another short story that is almost complete.  I need to complete it and publish it.

And already, I have been considering the next book.  I have a story that I began a couple of years ago that will get written, but I have also been brewing a "fantastic" type story.  One of those with over the top fantasy elements.

I could lock myself away in my office for a week and not finish all the stories on my list.  I honestly get excited just thinking about what is next.  And the excitement only increases when I am told the manuscript for Book Two is in much better shape than Blood of Two was when i passed it off to the editors.  I mean, I feel as though I have improved, and it has been validated by those I work with.

I only hope you see it the same way when it gets published.

Time isn't on my side, but this is an exciting time for me.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Just Effing Smile

Most parents know how difficult it can be to raise children, and most of us have a list of things that would fall onto a list of parenting mistakes.  We all make them, regardless of whether you want to admit it.  Come on.  You can't go 18+ years and not make some sort of boneheaded mistake that you later (often the moment after it happens) regret.

I have three adult children, and I can tell you that most of those stupid mistakes are harmless in the end.  Yes, I know, there are some lopsided adults out there that want to blame their personal issues on a mistake their parents made.  After all, we are a nation of finger-pointers.

My children listed their favorite vacation memories during a Facebook conversation.  It included several memories that made me smile.  I am thankful, as a parent, that I could be a part of making those memories possible.  Somewhere in that top ten favorite memories list was a memory that makes a top ten list of my own; the top ten mistakes I made as a parent.

The kids were very young at the time and we had taken the tent and spent a few days in Missouri.  As with all of our trips, we had a blast.  It was on the way home, somewhere on a back highway in southern Missouri we came upon this old concrete bridge that had been closed.  It was an awesome looking structure, so we pulled over to explore a bit.

The kids were tired, which is most often accompanied by cranky in children that age.  Before we returned to the car, we decided the stop warranted a photo.  As mentioned, the kids were cranky, which in turn made mom cranky, which, as we all know, gets dear old dad cranky.  We were all cranky.

Of course, it is difficult to smile when you are cranky, and who wants a photo of cranky kids.  After what felt like hours of trying to coerce the cranky kiddies into a smile, and the cranky meter pegging out for all five people involved, it happened.

"Just Effing Smile!"

Yep, I said it.  I said it to little kids.  My little kids.  That memory has haunted me since.  Every time I think about it, I cringe.  What a horrible father!  I cussed at my kids!  To this day, I hate that memory.  Nothing I can do about it now, but it still bothers me, and always will.

Imagine my surprise when I saw this memory float back onto a Facebook page, and the kids were laughing about it.  One of their favorite vacation memories?

Wow!  My kids are messed up!  All I can do is effing smile.

Progress on the book:

I was hoping to publish book two today, but regretfully, this won't happen.  The delay is my fault, but now I wait for other parties before I can publish.  There is just a couple of days of editing to complete, once I get the notes back, and there is the book cover and the map.  I am waiting on others, but only because they had to wait on me.

At this point, all I can say is "soon".

I haven't been idle while waiting, I am already deep into book three.  Hopefully that one will happen according to plan.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Late Again

November 17 is the new release date for the second book in the Drums of Rallinwar series.

Three months later than I anticipated.


I’ll begin by stating this book was destined to be behind schedule without any outside influences.  The editing process is far more intense than it was for Blood of Two.  So much so, I would like to revisit Blood and put it through the same strainer.  I feel as though this book is better written and you, as the reader, will see that.  While some of the improvement can be attributed to my learning of the craft, most of the improvements are a result of my enhanced editing schedule.

To say this year has been eventful would be an understatement.  In May, three tornadoes tore through my life.  Friends and family lost their homes, and insignificant in comparison, we lost a good portion of our fence.  Not only did those three events take me away from the book physically, helping with the cleanup, but mentally I just couldn’t focus.  You can’t live in Oklahoma and not know somebody who has lost something to Mother Nature, but even then you can’t prepare for when it impacts your life.  That sh*t sticks with you, and the impact it had on me is minor in comparison.

Those three events (three days) set the book back 30-45 days.  Add in a few everyday squirrels and the August release day was not achievable if I wanted to put forth my best effort.

So where am I now?

In one of my earlier posts I outlined the editing process I set in place.  I am in the middle of steps 4 and 5 (of 7).  The initial copy edits for the first half of the book were completed a few weeks ago, and that portion of the book passed off to the evil editors.  One of those editors is done; the other two are about half way through.

I completed the checklist edits (step 3) for the second half of the book this last weekend and am now in the middle of the copy edits for that portion.  I hope to complete that part this weekend and then forward the second half of the book on to my editors.

Monday I expect to begin step 6 (appeasing the evil editors), and from what I have seen to this point, I will catch up with the editors (who are in step 5) rather soon.  When they finish up with part two of the book, and I complete my portion, I will make one last pass with the copy edits.

I am not sure where Lucky is with the cover art, but you can expect another beautiful cover that continues the theme begun with Blood of Two.  I also need to print off a map so that he can paint one up for me.

I’m excited to finish this project.  I will take a short (very short) break, and then drum up Book Three.  At the moment, it appears the series will be completed with the third book, which would basically make it the cliché fantasy trilogy.

Beyond that; I have the beginnings of a story about a man from Saimus’ home country.  It will likely be a stand-alone novel.

I am also still sitting on a short story I promised earlier (which I have the cover-art for), but I have been so focused on the book, it has just been gathering dust.  If there’s a chance before November 17, I will brush it up and publish it.

And of course, I still need a title for Book Two.

Anyway, that is where I’m at.  I apologize for the delay.  I let things interfere with my productivity and it will probably happen again.  Tis the life of a writer who has a day job.