A while back (you can read it here) I thanked everyone who, to that point, had taken the time to not only read my Corrosive Knights novels, but also taken the time to either write reviews or give the novels a “star” rating which pops up on Goodreads.com.
Since that first posting, I’m beyond honored that my novels seem to continue being both read (almost all the Corrosive Knights novels are available to be read through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program) and purchased and positive reviews of them keep coming in.
In the first posting, we had 77 ratings for a total score of 4.18 out of 5 stars. Since that point, we’ve moved to 93 ratings and our score remains remarkably consistent, now at 4.17 out of 5 stars.
Hopefully, I’ll soon get to see my books reach 100 ratings… and beyond!
This year has easily been the best I’ve had with regard to people reading and purchasing my novels. Since releasing the seventh book in the series, Legacy of the Argus, back in November of 2018 and redoing all the covers to the books, every day -save for maybe a handful since January- has movement on the books.
As a small time, independent writer, it pleases me to see so many people checking out my works and, of course, enjoying them enough to offer positive feedback. While I’m not so obnoxious to think that my books appeal to everyone, I’m pleased because the impression I’m getting is that those who have tried the books have plunged in deep, reading multiple novels and/or the full run.
To be clear: I can’t “see” who exactly reads the books or the amount of pages each individual reads, but I can, from day to day, see the number of pages of each novel that is read through Kindle Unlimited. And when I see one particular novel suddenly getting, say, 500+ pages read in a single day, I think its a safe assumption whomever is reading the particular novel is enjoying it enough to blow through it.
In my case, if I do so with a novel it means I’m really enjoying it and am eager to get to the end.
I hope the same applies to my works with other readers!
Regardless, once again a BIG thank you to everyone who’s given me their time and read my novels.
I hope to keep surprising and entertaining you guys with my future works!
…I’d say I’m a little more than halfway -roughly- through writing it…
I think its a little more than that!
Over the weekend, a major breakthrough: I finally figured out how to end the book.
I know, I know: Didn’t you already have some clear idea of the story you were presenting, including the ending?
Yes… and no.
Each book I write tends to follow certain paths but they are almost never identical. For many of my books, believe it or not, I have a relatively clear beginning and/or ending but have to figure out the middle and the hard work comes with this connective tissue.
Often it is the middle part of the book that gives me the biggest fits and, when I finally work my way through it, the biggest sense of triumph when the proverbial plan “comes together”.
Then there are cases like Book #8, which started one way and then went into a whole ‘nuther direction…
As I mentioned in that previous post, my original idea was to have Book #8 in the Corrosive Knights series be an Epilogue. It was meant to be a finale that ends the series properly, and truth to tell, I’ve already written a strong first draft of that Epilogue.
Thing is, its really short and I realized it needed to be longer to be a proper book rather than a very thin novella. The previous Corrosive Knights books run roughly 90,000 to 110.000 or so words long. This book, as it stands now, runs something like 20,000 words long.
When I first tackled it, I figured what was needed was more “meat” and that’s what I started to work on. I wanted the Epilogue to be a finale that stands up with the rest of series and helped “close the book” on the series which began with Mechanic and concluded with Legacy of the Argus .
Here’s the thing, though: As I started working on doing this Epilogue Book #8, and I started to think about how I would expand this slight story, the proverbial wheels started to turn in my head and I realized there was another story, not an Epilogue, worth telling.
And with that realization came a second realization: There was no need to so hastily “end” the Corrosive Knights series. For the Epilogue would certainly do that and I realized I wasn’t quite ready to end the series yet.
Thing is, and as mentioned before, Legacy of the Argus sure does offer a very strong conclusion to the storylines written to this point, so if I create another novel that takes place in this Corrosive Knights universe, I felt the need to offer something that didn’t feel like “just” another story, but something which would add to the series in a meaningful way.
Which is why the breakthrough I had this weekend, the conclusion of this story, was so important and why it took me so long to figure out.
I’ve been writing this story for a while now, since shortly after finishing/publishing Legacy of the Argus, and because of the initial nature of the book and its transformation into something else its taken me much longer to get a clear idea of where I’m going with all this.
I soldiered through, writing first an introduction to the Epilogue version, then a new introduction to what would wind up being the new non-Epilogue version of Book #8, then coming up with a whole new -and far better- introduction and scuttling the previous one.
Then, I moved along, on and on, building up scenarios but never quite getting a feel for the book being something worthy of standing on its own and adding to the series in that meaningful way. Mind you, the story was intriguing, even if it felt like it needed that extra something.
I worked hard on it, forcing myself to power through page after page despite worries by the end it might not come together. This is a fear authors have, that their hard work, when all is said and done, will amount to a wiff, a good, but perhaps not great story not worth all that spent effort.
On the other hand, and not to sound too obnoxious, I have confidence in my skills. It takes me a while, sometimes a very long while, to figure out what I’m doing, but with concentration and effort, I usually get to where I want to go.
This past weekend’s break through, my coming up with an ending that puts the novel into a good context within the series itself, did the trick.
Now we have an exciting, suspenseful/thrilling story that anyone coming into this book wondering “Where is he going after Legacy of the Argus?” will feel it adds to the overall story of the series.
Of course, I won’t get into any details as I’m sure the book will go through many permutations as I revise/revisit it and fix it up on its way to being published. I’m still not quite finished with the first full rough draft but getting this conclusion in place sure goes a long way.
It feels like I haven’t stopped moving these past few months… maybe years… and when the weekend is in view, as it is this Friday morning, I can’t help but feel relief and look forward to unwinding.
I suspect I’m not alone in this!
I haven’t offered much information of what I’m doing, writing-wise of late, but suffice to say I’m neck deep into what will be the 8th book in the Corrosive Knights series.
A while back I was offering the following image to give a hint as to what this 8th book was going to be…
Note the “Epilogue” statement.
Welp… it no longer applies.
There is indeed an 8th book in the works and I’d say I’m a little more than halfway -roughly- through writing it and it most certainly will not be the promised Epilogue to the series.
Because the Epilogue, which as I’ve stated before is pretty much written already (and has been for a while) kinda ends the whole Corrosive Knights series and I’m not feeling like the series should end just yet.
In fact, the ideas I’ve come up with in Book #8 are fascinating to me, a sure sign that the book is “working”. If I didn’t feel excited about what I was writing, I’d have given it up a while ago.
Yet the same things always rear their head when writing: I try my best to deliver a story that will zig when readers think it will zag. A story that will hopefully surprise them with the many turns and, likewise, give them compelling characters along with a compelling story with a strong beginning, middle, and end.
Any hints as to when the story takes place?
Here’s the thing: With the Corrosive Knights series, I have this broad timeline where I can fit in stories. The story could theoretically take place in pre-historic times. It could take place in the 20th Century and from there, five thousand plus years into the future.
So it could take place the very day after the final events of Legacy of the Argus or before the events of Chameleon (those who have read the books know what I’m talking about).
I’ll offer more updates soon enough…!
Suffice to say I’ve found a good subject/plot and am pushing forward as quickly as I can. Once that first good rough draft is done, things will start coming together more quickly, even if I do require considerable polishing before I feel a book of mine is ready to be released.
I’m working really hard on this one and I want it to be ready perhaps by the middle of next year, if I can manage this.
This is a difficult one for me. I’ve faced incredible frustration with the time available for my writing, to the point where in the past month or so I’ve done very, very little.
If you’ve been reading these posts, you know that a large part of this is due to the catastrophes I’ve faced at my house. First, the plumbing problems which led to having to virtually change all the water exit lines on the east side of my house. This resulted in completely tearing up the yard on that side (they had to bring in a digger to create the trench for the new pipes), then, a grand total of two days after the pipes were laid in, my central AC went down and I had to spend even more money on getting that replaced.
Then, my daughter moved and I spent a week with the wife driving to her home, helping pack up her stuff, then spent two days on the road moving her stuff to her new home. Then, another two-three days unloading and unpacking then flying back home…
…and now I’m knee deep in fixing the bathroom that initiated the whole fiasco. See, that bathroom, our guest bathroom, had trouble getting the water out, whether when flushing the toilet or using the shower/bath. We brought in some people, they used a snake, but no result. Then they brought in cameras and determined that the old exit lines, which were metal (a popular choice when our house was built in 1959), had corroded and plugged themselves up to the point they had to be replaced.
Anyway, the original plumbers had to break the ground under the toilet and, since then, the bathroom was unusable. Realizing that simply fixing the floor would be, at best, a patch up job, we decided it was best to refresh the entire bathroom and that’s where we are now.
We’re on day three of this process and I anticipate we’ve got another three days -at least!- to go before being done.
At that point, I very much hope –and pray!– all these time sucking calamities will be done and I’ll be able to finally get back to writing my latest book, which I’ve found an intriguing work to this point.
What is it about?
Well, my intention is to create a good suspense/horror novel which is set in the Corrosive Knights “universe”.
While before I stated my next novel would be an “Epilogue” to the Corrosive Knights series, I’ve reconsidered that thought.
It boils down to this: There are more areas I want to explore in this universe and if I finish off the Epilogue book (the first draft is pretty much done), I fear that it may serve as closure to the Corrosive Knights series and I’m not quite ready to do that yet.
So stay tuned. I’m very, very eager to pounce on the current novel and finish it up as quickly as possible… provided all these other problems are finished up and my focus can return to my work.
I’ve seen a big increase in people both reading the books (almost all of them are available to be read “free” if you have Kindle Unlimited) and purchasing them (to then, very hopefully, read as well!). I’m also incredibly honored to find the increase in positive reviews of the books in Goodreads.com as well. Please, keep it up and bring on more reviews in Amazon.com as well!
In the time since releasing that book, I’ve also been writing a new book set in the Corrosive Knights “universe”, though I have to admit I’m still kicking ideas around and I’m not entirely certain how things will shake up in the end.
Originally, I was intending to release an 8th Corrosive Knights novel which would serve as an “Epilogue” to the CK series. However, since releasing Legacy of the Argus and after giving it some thought, I decided to put that book on hold for now. The reason being is that the story, which is already pretty much done though it is much shorter than any of the books in the series, serves as a good conclusion to the series and I find I’m not willing to end it all quite yet.
I feel I’ve set a very high bar for myself with the CK series. Without sounding incredibly obnoxious, I feel the series is pretty damn great as is and if I’m going to add to it with “new” novels, they better damn well not be lame add-ons but full-fledged great stories in their own right.
So I started writing this new CK book shortly after the New Year and, I’m not going to lie: It has been a bit of a struggle to figure out where I want to go here. I spent a few weeks working on one particular set of story ideas but found my mind moving in other directions and effectively re-started later in the month with another concept.
I’ll keep working at this. I’m nothing if not bullheaded and will eventually crack this nut, but in the meantime, THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH for giving my books a try and for the positive reviews you’ve given.
At the risk of bragging/sounding like some kind of blowhard, today I went over to my author’s page dashboard at Goodreads.com and found the following:
What you see here is the overall statistics my novels have earned over time. The important stuff is toward the top, which shows people have offered 77 ratings between 1-5 stars (5, of course, being the highest) to my novels and at this point I have a 4.19 average.
And I want to say with all sincerity and humility: THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Not just for taking a chance on my novels, not just for reading them and getting enjoyment out of them, but for also taking the time to offer your opinion on them.
So, to among others, a very, VERY big thank you to:
John Warden in NC, Fred in CT, Thomas (grumpid), Jon, Mike, Jason Naro in OK, John Stephens in TX, Kevin J. Brinkschroeder, Michael in GA, Ken Thompson in NY, Edward Corey, Jonathan, John Sammons in FL, Zachary Goldbeck, “C”, John H. Wise, Jon in Iowa, Cory Rose in TX, Brian Deacon, Cindy Lee Andron (finally, a woman… come on, I know there are more of you out there!), Cindy Lee Andrus (same person? I hope not!), Tim in Oregon, Bob Wolff in IA, Leon in South Africa (hello out there!), Christopher Vairma in MD, W. Gregory Kett in MN, Henrik Sørenson, Brandon Bridges, Philip Heathman, Nicolas C., Brett in WA, Sarah (I know you didn’t like the original Chameleon cover… I must admit I didn’t like it very much myself and of the covers I did, it was my least favorite -even after doing several fix-ups- and the reason I was determined to do the new covers. I hope the new covers are more to your liking!), and last, but not least, Robert S. Feeley.
To date, and unless I missed someone, these are all the fine folks who have offered ratings to my Corrosive Knights novels over at Goodreads.com and, once again, my most sincere, humble thanks for taking the time to do what you did.
The fact of the matter is that writing is a very difficult and lonely profession. You’re competing against an army of other people who are also releasing books and hoping to gain your attention with their wares even as I’m trying to do the same.
The best way to “break through” to a larger audience is to impress people enough with your work that they will, like those fine folks above, give their opinions on the books and, even more hopefully, recommend the books to their friends and so on and so forth.
If you want to see more of my novels on a more frequent basis, its up to you guys to be my promoters. If the books succeed and sell to larger audiences, I will need less time to worry about such things as paying my rent, paying for food, etc. etc. (you know, the little stuff! 😉 ) and more time in getting these lovely novels finished.
It’s the 8th of January and, since yesterday for many people and students, its back to work.
For me, the release of both Legacy of the Argus, the concluding chapter of myCorrosive Knights series, and the fact that I was able to get all the covers re-done and revise the first book in the series, Mechanic, couldn’t have been accomplished at a better time. By finishing all that tough work by mid-December, I was able to take a very much needed two week vacation -at least from writing!- and recharge the ol’ battery.
For quite a while now I’ve been showing people this graphic of the Corrosive Knights books:
As you can see from the graphic, I planned an 8th Corrosive Knights book, one that would serve as an “epilogue” to the series/story. I’ve even noted that the book is mostly written, though to be fair the story I wrote is actually more of a novella rather than a full novel (I believe the total word count of that draft wound up being around 20,000 words versus the usual 100,000 words -give or take- of the other novels).
Thing is, the “epilogue” as written is something of a concluding chapter to the Corrosive Knights series and I’m not sure I want to go there quite yet.
Don’t get me wrong: The Epilogue doesn’t “kill off” every/any character or provide some kind of Apocalyptic scenario. But it is set in a future farther from that presented in Legacy of the Argus and, again, I’m not sure if I want to go there yet.
Because the story is indeed something of a wrap up of the Corrosive Knights series and I feel like there’s more storytelling to do with the characters and the various timelines they’re set in.
Even though the seven books present a nice complete story, over my writing break, I thought about what I wanted to do next and considered the Epilogue and, because it was so short, felt it was best to bulk it up and add a few more elements to it.
And as I did, I started to think about another interesting story line apart from what was in the Epilogue. Yeah, though I may have taken a writing “break”, that didn’t mean my brain wasn’t working on another story.
At this time, I have the building blocks to a new story and, over the next few weeks, I’m going to work on it, chip away as well as build up. See where it takes me.
The story looks like it will NOT be part of that Epilogue, but rather another story set in the Corrosive Knights universe which could serve as an interesting add on without seeming like something I’m pulling out of (excuse my French) ass.
If all works out, it will be a stand-alone story which might just lead into other stories set in my beloved universe.
Give me a little time to work things out.
If you’ve liked what’s come before, you know I won’t release anything unless I’m really happy with it.
As I’ve made it known for a while now, I just released Legacy of the Argus, the 7th and concluding chapter in my initial Corrosive Knights series.
Now, getting this book ready to be released required plenty of steps beyond simply “writing” the book itself. For the Kindle (digital) release, I had to prepare the manuscript properly along with the cover art, etc. For the print copy, the same had to be done but, as I’m very careful to make sure everything works out fine, I request a “proof” copy so that I can hold the book in my own two hands and see that everything on it is proper.
I did this with Legacy of the Argus and once I gave it a good look I approved the book and now both Kindle and paperback versions are available.
Now, for those who order things from Amazon.com, you may be aware that once you do order something from them, once in a while you’ll get an email pointing out your purchase and asking you to rate it on a 5 star basis. I’ve had books, household items, etc. ordered through Amazon and now and again get these emails asking for me to review the item.
This is the first time I received a request to rate a proof copy of one of my books!
So… I’m being asked to give a review for a product -the proof of my novel- for… what reason exactly? The way this is presented is not me telling Amazon they’ve done a good job… indeed, they already knew that when I approved the book for sale!… but instead this form email is being sent as if the proof of the book is a product in and of itself and is available for purchase through Amazon to all clients…!
Only, of course, it isn’t. The proof copy is something that comes only to me and, should I wish it, to others I may want to get it and see it. But now that the book has been formally approved, the proof copy is a thing of the past. If people want Legacy of the Argus, they can order it and it will come without that “Not for resale” notation over the cover/backcover. If I want to get copies of my book, I will likewise order the approved version and don’t have to worry about proof copies anymore.
I wonder… if I were to “review” the proof, would my review appear on the book’s listing itself? I suspect it will.
And how obnoxious would it be for the author of a book to give his own book five stars?! 😉
I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat: It’s been an incredibly busy month plus for me. I’ve finished off Legacy of the Argus, the concluding chapter in the Corrosive Knights series (but there will be more stories set in this universe to come, stay tuned!).
Because we were reaching the end of this seven book series, I wanted to go back and re-do all the covers to the various books (all but one, we’ll get to that in a moment) as well as do something different with the cover to Legacy of the Argus. I found the ebooklaunch.com company and they’ve done a smashing job getting the covers done for me.
Along with all that work, I revised Mechanic because a) it is the first book in the series and I wanted to make sure it was as good as it could be and b) because it was the first book in the series and I did so much work since that point I was certain I must have improved as a writer if only a little and therefore it was worthwhile to give the book one more -quite possibly final!- revision.
So I did that but, afterwards, felt there was one more thing that needed to be done. Of the various Corrosive Knights books covers I did, Mechanic was my favorite and, even when I hired ebooklaunch.com to do the covers, I wanted to keep Mechanic as it was.
The problem, though, was that as I got all those other covers done, the cover to Mechanic began to look less and less like it was part of the series. I wanted to make the book’s spine and back cover fit into the work of ebooklaunch.com and decided, several days ago, that I would also do a slight change to the Mechanic’s cover. To wit: Have the logos on the cover fit in with the other covers.
So, without further ado, the “new” cover to Mechanic!
Now, all the covers together…
I’m as happy as I am exhausted but the work is done. The complete seven part Corrosive Knights series is finalized and, as a very welcome bonus, I’ve got time to enjoy the remainder of the Holiday season and New Years without having to go back and work on these particular books!
But that doesn’t mean I’m doing absolutely nothing for the rest of the year. Remember the Epilogue book I promised, the book that would be #8 of the Corrosive Knights series?
Suffice to say, I’ll now get to focus on it as I wanted to. Properly!