Shadow of an Empire Update

Hey readers! Dropping a small news update here for Friday afternoon to keep you updated on Shadow of an Empire‘s Alpha progress!

And the update is … It’s going well! I’m about halfway through cleaning up miscellaneous errors and fixing little plot niggles that slipped through, and so far the feedback from the Alpha Readers seems to be that it’s a fantastic story with fascinating characters, a cool setting, unique magic system, and fun plot. With, you know, minor Alpha stuff to fix here and there, which is the point of an Alpha after all. Making sure all the numbers add up, that there aren’t any lingering loose ends, etc etc.

Crud, two of them finished it in the first week. I’m playing catch up with the changes!

Bottom line, though, is that the Alpha is going well and it doesn’t appear that there will be a third Alpha, which means … Yes, Shadow of an Empire will be moving into Beta! Which, naturally, means that there will be openings for Beta Readers soon. Interested? Let me know. If you’re a prior Beta Reader, especially, as you guys are basically instant welcomes.

So, what does this mean in the long run? Well … it means that a release could come as early as, oh … Mid-April! No promises, but … that’s the goal!

Anyway, back to it! I need to get a bunch of chapters done today so I can get this into Beta!


More Alpha Readers Needed!

Hey readers! Just a quick post here but …

I need more Alpha Readers. A few of my old standbys are busy with life/college/etc and are unable to contribute at this time, and I’d really like to get a few more eyes on Shadow of an Empire before bumping it to Beta status. Right now, we’re sitting at one Alpha having already read through completely, and a few more working on it, but I’d like to get a wider net if possible.

If you’re interested, have the time, and up for an early look at an awesome Fantasy-Western, drop me a line. The sooner I get Shadow out, the quicker I’ll be able to start work on the next Dusk Guard book, since Hunter/Hunted is my next project …

Shadow of an Empire Editing Rolls On

Not much to say today, folks. Work on alpha editing Shadow of an Empire is rolling on, about halfway through the first pass now, and that’s been keeping me pretty focused. I’d forgotten how fun this universe was to play in. If you read the short story Ripper from Unusual Events, then you’ve already had an early taste of what Indrim has to offer. Shadow of an Empire is a lot bigger, though, being an epic novel. Ripper was just a short story. Still, if you’re looking for a preview of what’s coming and don’t want to support on Patreon, grab a copy of Unusual Events and pay close attention when you read Ripper. Might be you’ll see some faces from there in Shadow of an Empire …

Anyway, things are pretty quiet on the site front mostly because I’m just plugging away at the editing process. Oh, and Monday’s Being a Better Writer post is going to have to be on Tuesday, as I’ve got a long shift on Monday. So heads up!

Last but not least, I thought I’d throw out a comment made the other day on a discussion forum about books that turned to “High brow literature” versus “low brow literature,” as I feel it’s a good comparison. One poster was asserting that they only read “high brow” quality stuff, and none of the “low brow” stuff that’s popular and read in large numbers, because they wanted to “experience quality.” I made a comparison response that, I think, worked pretty well. Here goes, cleaned and trimmed a little.

Millions of people drive Toyota Corollas. They’re known for being a quality, dependable car that lasts and performs it’s purpose with simplicity that to most is elegant in its simplicity. It doesn’t need Walnut-trim door handles. It doesn’t need a special shifting pattern, or even a manual gearbox. It’s a car that does exactly what it’s supposed to do without any fluff or unneeded complexity.

Then you have something like a Rolls Royce or a Bentley. A “high quality” car designed with the purpose of “experience quality.” And sure, it might be nice to ride in one from time to time, but it’s a car with brakes that cost as much as a Corolla that the driver will never use. Walnut trim on the door handles that looks nice but otherwise adds little but the look. Suspension that confidently assures you that you’ll never feel a single moment of discomfort provided you keep the car on specific roads it’s meant to travel and not anywhere else (yes, read into that).

Point being it’s nice to ride in one occasionally, but much of what it is, while pretty, is superfluous to actually being a car. But you still have car enthusiasts that look down on Corolla drivers for not having a “quality car” like a Rolls Royce, Bentley, etc.

All they’re really doing half the time is spending ten times as much to make an otherwise simple journey in ostentatiously overblown “comfort,” away from “dangerous roads” and “lowbrow designs.”

IE there’s a time and place for a luxury ride in a nice car or with a high quality book, but don’t be fooled into thinking you’re somehow superior to the majority of Corollas out there delivering the same end-goal and scenery without the Walnut door handles.

I thought it was a pretty good comparison. Look, there is something nice about reading an overly verbose and flowery book once in a while, a title far more concerned with the flow of its language than the intelligence of its characters or plot. But you don’t need those things to have a good story, one that provokes thought or carries the reader down an unknown road (and often, the more “high brow” stuff sticks to the same roads repeatedly rather than going anywhere unexplored). Both can get you to the destination: one with “luxury experience,” the other with a bit of character and sometimes even some daring when it makes a detour off the normal path.

Anyway, back to work! Gotta get Shadow of an Empire ready for its big debut!

By the way, if you’re a prior Alpha reader, check your inbox for your Alpha Read invitation and get back to me. A couple of you haven’t responded yay or nay yet, so the invites are just floating in the limbo.

Jungle’s First Draft … is Done!!!

Yes, I used three exclamation marks there! I earned those!

Because the first draft of Jungle is DONE! After a writing day of 5,236 words. Bringing the final wordcount for the first draft too …

457,931 words.

Yes, you’re reading that number correctly. 458k. 2.1 MILLION characters.

That’s insane. Colony was only 334k. Which makes Jungle a third-again as long as Colony. So we’re looking at 2400+ pages, easy.

Editing should trim that down a bit, but still. What a beast.

And now, now, editing can begin on Shadow of an Empire. The work never ends, folks.

But I think I’ve earned a small celebration.

And by the way. This book? Prepare for ride.

Being a Better Writer: The Death Spiral

Real cheery title for the first post of 2017, isn’t it?

Seriously though, welcome to 2017! I hope it feels like as much of a breath of fresh air for the rest of you as it does from me. Though in my case, it’s mostly because I took the last two weeks off.

I know. I took an actual vacation. Cleared games out of my backlog, read a bunch of books, and everything. And you know what’s funniest about it?

I actually had to convince myself to stick with it. There was a period about three or four days into it where my mind was like “What are you doing!? You should be working!”

I’m glad I stuck with the vacation. I was so dedicated to clearing my backlog that it almost was work, but it was a lot of fun all the same. Finally knocking a few games off of that list was satisfying. As was all the reading I got to do.

Anyway, none of that really has anything to do with today’s topic, mind. I suppose if I had to tie together my ramblings, they would come together as “It was a nice break, but I’m glad to be back at work!”

So, about that topic. As I mentioned, it may seem like an odd title for the first post of 2017. After all, “death spiral” doesn’t exactly imbue much confidence, does it?

No. It doesn’t. Which is exactly why I think it makes a good topic for the first post of 2017. Because for many young writers, a death spiral is something they get trapped in with no idea of how to get out. And for the new year? Nothing could be better for some of those writers than realizing it and breaking free.

Right, enough pontificating. Let’s dive right in and answer the question on so many minds right about now: what is a death spiral?

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Colony’s Copy-Edit is DONE!

Yes, you read that right. Not an hour ago, I turned the last page of Colony‘s Copy-Edit.

It’s done. Finished. Right now I’m putting the final file together for upload. Tomorrow I get the cover and the description finished. And then … ?

Colony goes live for pre-order.

At long last, it’s almost here. Over one thousand pages of Epic Sci-Fi Adventure. Submarines, action, explosions, mystery … After so much time spent working on it and staying quiet … it’s finally going to be out!

Here’s a quick teaser for you all:

Five years ago, Carlos Rodriguez, one of the greatest computer programmers of the modern age, retired.

Now his old employer wants him back. Quietly. Which means enlisting the services of three unconnected individuals: A paranoid corporate investigator, a white-hat hacker, and a gun-for-hire with a penchant for violence.

There’s just one catch. Carlos didn’t just retire from work, he retired from Earth, vanishing out across the stars to one of mankind’s distant colony worlds.

It’s going to be a long trip.

Ehh, I’m working on it. Speaking of which … I’d best get back to it!