Category Archives: Books/Literature

On Writing… More Stuff

So a couple of days ago the novel I’m currently working on seemed to somewhat come together after several months of working on it.

Finally!

I wish I could offer some kind of short cut to coming up with a story but the reality is that, at least for me, its a tough process that involves so much daily thought and consideration…

For me, at least, my novels have to have a special something to make them come together and be worth pursuing. At the risk of sounding really obnoxious, I want to say something with each book. I want readers to have some very complete work which has its beginning, middle, and end which, if I’ve done things right, will leave you, the reader, satisfied.

Hopefully, more than satisfied!

I want the work to linger in your mind, at least for a little while, and maybe get you curious enough to try my other works.

When writing, I want to create something that intrigues me and which I feel would intrigue me if I were walking through a bookstore looking for something to read.

For my current novel, I have what I consider a terrific start but wasn’t too sure of the middle and ending.

What’s changed is that I’ve now got an ending I’m quite happy with and which eases -and creates!- problems. On the one hand, I now know where it is I’m going to with this book. On the other hand, I have to come up with some juicy stuff to fill the middle of the book. I already have a few things so let’s see how it goes!

More news when it develops!

On Writing… Cracking The Story…

While I’m certain it’s different for authors, for me a book really starts to work when I’ve got both the start and, especially, ending worked out.

Before reaching that point, there’s plenty of thought put into my novels, working with situations I’d like to present or bits of dialogue that appeal to me.

But once I have that ending, I have something to work toward and that, in turn, allows me to more sharply focus on the stuff leading up to that ending.

I’ve often tried to put into words what writing is like.

It’s like creating a jigsaw puzzle from scratch, creating each individual piece and getting them to fit together -or throw them away- until you have a picture.

Or perhaps its like painting in oils, first creating a rough image then slapping on the oils, mixing them and creating more and more delicate shades and a more solid overall picture.

The part that can get frustrating -and, paradoxically, invigorating!- is that, at least for me, the final product is in flux, usually through the first two or three drafts at least. Its frustrating because sometimes one worries when and, more importantly if the whole thing will come together. So far, I’ve never encountered a situation where I’ve written over 20,000 words or more and then have felt the need to go back to the beginning and start all over.

But I’ve come close!

There have been works where I’ve written this amount of words and, while I still completed the novel I was working at, wound up discarding hard work in that word count range because it simply wasn’t necessary for the book as it evolved in my head and on the page.

Invigorating because with each “failure”, if one wants to look at the early pecking away at the book, you close in on what makes the story work and, like a dull blade, you’re banging away at it and sharpening it with each new passage/page.

So it is with the book I’m currently writing.

But yesterday I had a pretty big breakthrough: I kinda/sorta have figured out the novel’s ending -finally!- and now all the other pieces are falling into place.

I’ve been writing this book for something like two or three months now and have reached, roughly, the 1/4th point or a little past it, and now with the ending, things should move a little quicker.

We’ll see!

And just like that…

…I’ve begun my next novel.

It’s the way it goes, you never really stand back and admire your work but rather put it aside when its done and start up something new.

While I’m not totally done with Terminus Island -I’m still waiting for the paperback proof copy of the novel to arrive- the fact is the creative aspects of that novel are pretty much finished and, therefore, its time to think about what’s next.

I started doing so and certain ideas started creeping into my head. Next thing I know, I’m putting some of those early rough ideas into a brand new Word file and I’m off and running…!

I suspect this next novel will not take place in the Corrosive Knights universe, making it the first book in many a year that is set apart from that series.

…but…

Does that mean I may be leaving the Corrosive Knights and the various characters behind?

Hard to say. I still have that one “Epilogue” story sitting in my hard drive and I do mean to one day get to it but we’ll see about that.

Further to all this, given that I’m at the very, very early stages of writing this new work and there’s little doubt it will go through a lot of changes before I’m done with the first draft, much less the final draft, it is certainly possible it might wind up tying into the Corrosive Knights universe when all is said and done.

So, for now, stay tuned!

Terminus Island: Now Available In All Formats!

As of today, September 29, Terminus Island, the 8th Book in the Corrosive Knights series, is now available both in Kindle/Digital format as well as in Paperback:

Whew…!

It’s been quite a bit of work getting it out the door but its for the most part all done on my end. I have yet to get the “proof” copy to verify everything’s ok, but since I’ve already seen the PDF and it all looks good through and through, I felt confident enough to make the paperback available despite not having the proof copy yet.

So for those who prefer to get physical copies of the book, you can get ‘em starting today.

And if you do get the book -I know some of you have already picked up and read the Kindle version!- if you like what you read, please put in a review.

I would appreciate it!

Terminus Island Is Available Now…!

A while back, while still working on Terminus Island, I mused that I might have it done by late Summer. Welp, today, September 22nd, is officially the first day of Fall…

…but…!

Terminus Island was officially listed for the Kindle (ie, digital) yesterday, September the 21st, which means on the very last official day of Summer, the novel was available!

She lies hidden in the frozen northern seas, a dark island with even darker secrets.

For seven survivors of an ill-fated cruise ship, she offers hope at first, then terror.

They will meet forces they can’t understand even as some in their group prove they are not who they seem.

The fight for survival begins and before their stay is done, they will learn the terrifying secrets of Terminus Island.

To get your copy or read it free through Kindle Unlimited, click here:

Given the book was just listed, there’s still some stuff Amazon.com has to do. For example, the Corrosive Knights book listing at this moment has the previous 7 books in the series listed but not this book, with is #8.

…but…!

I’m here to tell you it is a part of the series and in the next day, hopefully, I’ll be getting the paperback material (ie cover and back cover graphics) and will have the proof sent to me. Once I review it and if it all looks good, the paperback follows. I’d give it a week or two, though.

Meanwhile, if you want to read the latest Corrosive Knights book, there it is!

Corrosive Knights: Terminus Island…!

Ladies and gentlemen, its been a long journey but we’re just about there now.

Without further ado, here is the cover to the latest book in the Corrosive Knights series, Terminus Island!

She lies hidden in the frozen northern seas, a dark island with even darker secrets.

For seven survivors of an ill fated cruise ship, the island at first offers hope, then horror.

These seven survivors will meet forces they couldn’t possibly understand even as some in their group prove they are not who they seem.

The fight for survival begins and before their stay is done, they will learn the terrifying secrets of Terminus Island.

******

Terminus Island will be available via Kindle (ie, digital) by this week. I’ll give you the exact date when it is released but it should be in the next couple of days.

The paperback will be available a week to two weeks later, as soon as I get my proof and feel everything is ok.

Feels nice to finally update the eight cover picture…

Terry Goodkind (1948-2020)

Just read of the passing of author Terry Goodkind and wanted to share some thoughts about his novels, for what they’re worth.

Years ago I found, purchased, and read this book by him:

The Pillars of Creation (Sword of Truth Series #7) by Terry Goodkind,  Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

Don’t know how I stumbled upon this particular book, the 7th in the “Sword of Truth” series, but I enjoyed it quite a bit even if I was unfamiliar with the cast of characters.

But it did intrigue me and later on, I bought and read the first books in the series, starting with…

Amazon.com: Wizard's First Rule (Sword of Truth Book 1) eBook: Goodkind,  Terry: Kindle Store

This book, the first in the series, I felt was damn good, a wonderful fantasy epic that, while quite long (it’s listed as running nearly 600 pages in paperback form!) it really was an incredibly beautiful and immersive book.

I bought the next book and the one after that, Stone of Tears and Blood of the Fold and…

…they were good but it seemed with each new book I got the feeling Goodkind was either becoming repetitious or, frankly, just filling in pages.

Then came book #4 in the series, Temple of The Winds

Temple of the Winds | Sword of Truth Wiki | Fandom

Sadly, that was the book that wound up being the first to end my interest in Mr. Goodkind’s novels, in spite of the enormous good will I had toward them at the beginning. I believe I tried to read the next book in the series, Soul of the Fire, but by that point I was done.

Temple of The Winds was an excruciatingly long, padded, and ultimately pointless, IMHO, book which tried my patience like no other. Somewhere around the half-way point of reading it (and, like his other books, it ran some 600-800 plus pages… I don’t recall exactly) I began scanning through paragraphs rather than reading them, focusing on dialogue to try to move things along and get to the story’s point.

I say this not to insult Mr. Goodkind or his works, but to express my sadness at discovering what I thought was a damn good author who for a time really grabbed my interest but who I ultimately had to leave.

I still love Wizard’s First Rule and Pillars of Creation and do not hesitate recommending them to anyone who wants to read some really good fantasy works.

But, I’d be lying if I said my interest in Mr. Goodkind’s works continued much longer beyond that point.

According to the Tor website, which I’ve linked to in the first sentence above, 21 books in The Sword of Truth series have been created and I will absolutely give him this much: He was very dedicated to his craft and published an incredible amount of works.

For Mr. Goodkind’s family and friends and those who were fans of his series, who kept reading his works long past the point I gave up on them, my sympathies.

While I wish I could have continued enjoying his works beyond the initial two I read and the subsequent 2 which weren’t bad but not quite as good, Mr. Goodkind nonetheless provided me with many hours of enjoyment.

As an author, I view that as one of the best compliments one could receive.

On Writing… some thoughts

It’s Tuesday the 15th, the middle of September 2020 and I’m sitting here before my computer feeling pretty exhausted.

It’s a good kind of exhaustion, but an exhaustion nonetheless.

I’ve spent an awful lot of time of late working on my latest novel and, now that its nearing its end, I’m beat by all the intense work but happy because its coming to its end.

If you frequent this board, usually I’m much more active about posting, and of late it seems I’ve only been able to do on average one every week or so… Well, it seems that way, anyway. Further, because of my focus on this novel, many of the posts have involved Book #8 in my Corrosive Knights series.

I tend to write about what’s going on in my life and/or my current interests and at least for the last couple of months I’ve been focused like a proverbial laser on this novel and getting it done.

Which brings me to something I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll note again: I’m always amused by the way authors are depicted on TV or in the movies. I often have these visions of Angela Lansbury as the fussy Agatha Christie-type mystery writer who seems to write in her spare time while solving mysteries in her other spare time.

Or there’s the Hemingway-type author, the great outdoors explorer/great white hunter who also seems to have so much free time to engage in his manly activities while also seemingly writing books and stories in his spare time.

Then there’s the intellectual type, with a pipe in hand and thick glasses on their face, who at least seem like the type that would spend hours before a typewriter/computer creating their works.

There’s also the crazed/weird author, perhaps exemplified by the likes of Edgar Allan Poe (though tragic) or H. P. Lovecraft. People who are misfits yet brilliant when they set pen to paper but are otherwise looked upon as oddballs by society in general.

The other day I saw the opening to a Colombo episode that featured author Mickey Spillane (of Mike Hammer fame) being offed in the show’s opening minutes. Spillane is presented as a famous author who has the time to go to bars and have himself a good time, then record his fiction so that his secretary can transcribe it later.

The bottom line is the act of writing is often presented as something done on the fly, quickly and without much effort by the authors themselves or the focus goes toward the personalities rather than their actual writing.

I’ve noted before that for me writing can be excruciating. I’ve noted the quote one author -whose name sadly eludes me- that they “don’t like writing, but love having written.”

In other words, when it all comes together and you hold the completed novel or see your story in a magazine/online, you’re proud of your work, immensely so, but the actual process of getting there can be very hard.

Mind you, I’m not asking for some sympathy here or saying “poor me”.

The fact is that while I don’t love the actual process of writing, its in my blood and I couldn’t imagine spending those hours doing anything else.

But it is hard stuff.

Just as an athlete spends countless hours practicing before reaching the big game (and I can imagine many athletes love the game but aren’t quite as enamored of the training involved to play it), authors like me -because I’m sure there are others with different techniques- spend countless hours working on our stories and moving pieces this way and that, cutting out sections or realizing we have to do something completely different… and throwing away what may turn out to be months of work in favor of going into a different direction.

With Book #8 in the Corrosive Knights series, I wound up doing just that. The novel began as one thing but after months –months!– of toying around with different ideas, I slowly came to the realization that I needed to go in a different direction and that’s what I did. I had some 20,000+ words written by that point and most of it was now useless.

I very much doubt, too, that any of it can be used in the future and for some other work!

So that’s the way it goes with writing. It’s not this casual thing that I do then solve mysteries on the side with my beautiful sidekick, who we make eyes with and might get involved with.

Neither am I always out in the wilds, canoeing or mountain climbing or (heaven forbid) hunting. Nor am I a weirdo (at least I hope not!) who society looks upon as an oddball.

What I am is a guy who spends a lot of time before the computer or before printed pages, near constantly thinking about what I’ve written and where it is I want to go. Looking for rough edges and softening them, looking for bad grammar/descriptions and fixing them.

In time, the work goes for this amorphous with some ideas in it, say a beginning and an end, maybe some idea of a middle section and certainly vague ideas of what the characters are and what they’re doing, then slowly I mold those disparate ideas until they start to make sense and, once they do, work them more and more, cutting out the fat and focusing like that proverbial laser on what needs to be in the story and what does not.

If I’m successful, I hope my novels -which sometimes can take as many as 2 years to complete- can nonetheless be read in one longish sitting.

In fact, I consider this a great success: That I’ve written something which has drawn a reader in so well and so quickly that they are willing to spend their precious hours breathlessly working their way through the book, whether it takes them one prolonged sitting or a couple of days.

Regardless, I don’t want to waste any readers’ time. I want to present, with each new novel, the very best I’m capable of. I know that my works may have flaws and hopefully they’re nothing more serious than a silly typo here or there.

I want to entertain you, and I truly, sincerely, don’t want to waste your time.

Corrosive Knights, a 9/14/20 Update

Big update today about Book #8 in the Corrosive Knights series…

So last week, September 11th, I offered an update and here we are, only three days later and things have moved along quite a bit.

To begin with, I’ve finished the read-through/pen & ink revisions of Draft #8 of Book #8 in the Corrosive Knights series.

Yay!

Further, this morning I began to pass those revisions into the novel’s Word file and, in what amounted to perhaps a little over 1 hour of work before I had to leave, I nonetheless managed to get roughly 1/4th of the revisions done…!

Whoa!

What this means is not that I’ve suddenly become a revision speed demon but rather that those pages required so little work that I could move through them as fast as I did.

Thing is, the rest of the novel is looking very similar and most pages -though not all- require only light revision and not much more. Even the ones that require a little bit more revision, I feel, don’t require all that much to be fine and certainly no where near the amount needed in previous drafts.

So, in other words, its looking like once I’m done putting all this stuff into the Word file, the book should for all intents and purposes be done… and its looking like I can do this by perhaps Wednesday or, if I somehow don’t find the time, by Thursday at the latest.

This morning I also got in touch with the company that has handled the Corrosive Knights covers and initiated the process of hiring them to get the cover to this book done. In general they take between a week and 14 days to deliver such things so, hopefully, we’re looking at having the entire book done, at the very latest, by the end of next week.

Which means that as soon as I have all this stuff together, I’m going to release the book…!

Because I’m so very close now, I’ll leave any future updates for the time when I get the cover and can reveal it, along with (obviously) the book’s title.

Hang in there folks, we’re about to debut Book #8!

Corrosive Knights, a 9/11/20 Update…!

Only been three days since my last update, but as of yesterday, I finished up Draft #7 of Book #8 in the Corrosive Knights series…

I went ahead and printed the revised Draft and, starting today, begin the process of reading the whole thing once more while marking my pen & ink revision. As of this moment, I’m quite confident this will wind up being the last full draft I need to do of the book.

By that I mean that while doing Draft #7 I found most of the book required only very light fix ups. There were a few pages, no more than 20 out of 200, that required a bit more work but now that I’ve revised them, I suspect even those pages are very close to good-to-go.

What I plan to do is read through the entire book yet again, make my pen & ink revisions, and once I put them into the computer, that will be the last time I need to go over the book from start to end. If I find any pages that required more than a “little” work, I’ll go over them but no longer feel like I’ll need to go over the entire book.

It’s simply no longer necessary.

I’m hopeful that Book #8 will be done by no later than one week from today, next Friday the 18th. By done, I mean just that: Completely done.

So, from today through next week, there are several things still needed to be done:

First, of course, is to get through the entire novel once more, then take on pages -if any- that require one more look.

Second is to get the cover and back cover commissioned and made (this should take maybe a week or, if progress is slow, two), which means I should have everything done by not much later than the last full week of September.

Once all that’s done, I will make the novel available for purchase ASAP.

I’m beyond excited this novel is almost ready for its release, and I can’t wait to get it out to everyone!