Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On Time Flying

Is it really the end of June already? It seems like just yesterday I was starting this month and looking forward to getting some of Iron Angels done. Now I am looking at finishing the second draft of Iron Angels and starting Badger. Kinda crazy how quickly life can change on you, huh?

Hopefully I can be a bit more focused and productive this next month. It should be interesting, but if I don't let myself get distracted or discouraged, we could have a pretty good headstart on my deadlines by the end. Here goes nothing...

Monday, June 27, 2011

On the Road to Progress

Well, I seem to be making at least a little progress so far. We've managed to find a copy editor for Woflhound, and we are planning to start that process in August. Still looking for a cover artist, but I am hoping that we find one soon.

In terms of writing, I'm about one-half to one-third of the way through the second draft of Iron Angels. My plan for that book is to rewrite most of the rest of it this week, then finish up the remnants in the next couple of weeks as I turn my attention to a new project.

That new project will be Badger, the sequel to Wolfhound. For the first five weeks I want at least eight thousand words a week while I work on other projects like Iron Angels, a brief Wolfhound revision, and perhaps the third draft on Kingsley. After those five weeks, I'm going to ramp up to around twelve thousand words a week to finish the first draft by September 10th. At that point I will switch from Badger to the next book in the Kingsley series. The planned title on that one will be The Continued Adventures of Hector Kingsley: Murders in Whitechapel, and the plan is to finish it six thousand words at a time while I aggresively rewrite Badger, Iron Angels, and get Wolfhound ready for publication near December 3rd. Another side project for the December deadline would be a collection of Christmas short stories Emily and I would put up on Amazon. If the rewrite goes well enough, I might be working on publishing Kingsley around the same time as well. After that, it'll be a race to get sequels revised up to standard and write new books to follow them up. Here's hoping that particular run is effective.

So that's the plan as we see it right now. Any comments or advice would be appreciated. Outside of that,, I'll see you around!

Friday, June 24, 2011

On Finding a Cover Artist

One of the first things I need to do to get Wolfhound published is to find a cover artist willing to do a cover. Unfortunately, I seem to be running into difficulties.

First off, it seems like nobody can agree on what cover art should cost. I've seen prices run from a thousand dollars down to around two hundred. So I have a hard time deciding what to offer people without sounding like I am trying to rip them off.

Second, I want something that looks good. Not just on a book cover, but on a thumbnail. That's part of the problem with self publishing; most people are just going to see the cover as a tiny image on Amazon, not as a full cover. At the same time, the cover art is important because it is one of the first impressions people will have of my book, so I can't just skimp on it and count on it to do well.

Third, I suck at negotiation and networking. Both are kind of the bane of my existance, and finding a good cover artist for the right price seems to involve a bit of both. Sigh.

Right now Emily and I have been thinking of turning to Concept Artists, both for the quality of work and professionalism. I would love to have a hand drawn image of the Wolfhound on my first cover, but I am still wondering if it will turn out the way I hope, and how much it will cost. Only time will tell.

In any case, let me know if you have found some good contacts to help me out. I could use the help, believe me. See ya round!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On When to Publish

So I have been hammering out a tentative publishing schedule for the books that I have been working on lately. Sounds ambitious when I only have a few of them past the second draft stage, but it is better to have a goal ready than to wait on it.

Wolfhound is probably the first one to go up. I was thinking of trying to get it up by at least this December. By then, Kingsley will be in much better shape for a quicker release, and Wolfhound's sequel, Badger, will be in at least a third draft or so. Iron Angels will be in a third draft stage, and the second book of the Kingsley series will have a first draft done. So in tentative order, we would go Wolfhound Dec 2011, Kingsley Feb 2012, Iron Angels March 2012, Badger May 2012, Murders July 2012.

Then again, these are all still kind of tentative. In large part it will all depend on my ability to write a whole lot in the next few months, but we will see how it goes. Wish me luck everyone; I think I will need it. Let me know what you guys think about it, and I will see you later.

Monday, June 20, 2011

On Recovery!

Good news! I managed to recover the first draft of Iron Angels, along with the majority of my other files, from my previous, damaged hard drive. That means that I have all those thousands of words just waiting for revision rather than having to start from scratch.

Of course the question now becomes, what do I do with them? Should I finish out the first draft of Iron Angels, or continue with my second draft rewrite of the story? I think I am leaning towards the rewrite option, if only because I am planning on changing the story quite a bit at the beginning, and the ending will need to reflect those alterations. Plus, I've already started it, so there's that too.

In any case, it isn't lost forever! Huzzah!

Friday, June 17, 2011

On Writing a Sequel

Man, if there is anything that makes me want a story bible, it is the writing of a sequel.

This is something I've only partially attempted once before. On my mission I wrote sequel outlines for two books following the Jakeson storyline, and actually put a few thousand words into one once I got back, but it didn't get very far. I think I am now discovering why.

A sequel seems to be an entirely different beast from the first book. A first book has to worry about a lot of things, from the basic details of the world to the introduction of the main characters and their traits. The sequel doesn't have to worry about that, but it does have to worry about developing them further. So your character did a lot of awesome stuff in the last book. What's he doing now? How has he changed, or what could possibly challenge him after what he went through in the last book? How will he change further now that he has new things to face?

Even more intimidating is the fact that I now have to base everything on a foundation provided by the last book. I find myself constantly questioning whether a detail should have gone in Wolfhound, or if it is okay to put it in Badger instead. Were the characters and development foreshadowed enough in the last book? It has made me want to go back and do one more edit solely to provide that solid basis, though I'm not sure if that's a good idea or not.

So in summary, this is a new experience that may or may not be driving me crazy. Anyone surprised?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

On Minor Setbacks

So as some of you guys might know, me and my little family just took a short vacation to go to a family reunion in Utah. I had taken my laptop along with the intent of writing the crap out of Iron Angels during the time off of work.THe first three days went wonderfully. I managed about 4k a day, and the end was rapidly looking to be closer than I had originally suspected. By the time I went to bed late Wednesday night, I had been convinced to readjust my writing plans to account for a finished first draft either last Friday or by the end of this week, which would allow me to begin work on Badger, the sequel to Wolfhound, before the end of the month. Things were definitely looking perfect.

Then I woke up on Thursday and sat down to start again. Fifteen minutes later, I realize that my computer still hasn't booted up and I feel the nagging sense of horror that all writers someday feel when they've made the mistake of not backing up files as often as they should. Long story short, I stand to loose about 45k of work if they can't do an effective data transfer today, which makes up a rather sizable amount of my progress over the last two months. Kinda depressing when you think about it.

Then again, perhaps this is just an opportunity to shift gears and change tactics. The first draft was going to need a thorough rewrite anyway, so why not get it done this way? Right? Right?

Monday, June 13, 2011

On Romance

Somehow, and without my prior knowledge, I have ended up writing a character story.

This may seem obvious to most people. After all, there are characters in every story, right? What I mean is that in this story, the main driving source of the tension is going to have to be the relationship between two of the viewpoint characters. This will be new to me.

Tension from mystery or plot twists is not a new technique to me. My characters, on the other hand, have typically been awful. Jacob from Wolfhound is a decent character, but the main tension from the story lies in the adventure he's on, not necessarily his character arc. Kingsley and Patricia aren't bad, in fact they are the best characters I've had, but the mystery provides the tension that drives their story. This time, in Iron Angels, Gabriel and Susan have to make the story work a bit more on their own.

That makes me incredibly nervous. How do I keep getting myself into these situations? At the very least the writing group will let me know how well--or how poorly--I manage it. Maybe I'll even be able to salvage it and it won't turn into New Realm, my least successful experiment to date. Sigh.

Friday, June 10, 2011

On Crying Babies

Man that freaking hurts... Seriously, it's like she angles the sound perfectly to echo around in my earhole. If this keeps up I'm pretty sure my hearing is going to be gone.

So if you see me on the street and say hi, but I dont hear you, you can thank Seraphina. Seriously

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

On Waiting for Alpha Readers

There is a certain kind of horrible anxiety that seizes a writer who has just sent his book out to people for them to read. Are they enjoying it? Did that part suck so much they stopped? Are they recognizing your true, mad genius? Or have they scorned your life's work and tossed it into the gutter, never to see how truly special a find it truly was?

In my time giving people stuff to read, from Brellan to Wolfhound to other stories, I haven't had it quite this bad for some time. Maybe because this is the first readthrough and response I will get on Kingsley. Maybe I simply have fewer distractions this time to amuse me while I wait. Or maybe I've created the greatest book of all time so read it you guys!

Ahem. I will attempt to restrain myself now. Calmly. Calml--It's got plot twists and everything! Genius I tell you!

Sigh. It's going to be a long couple of months.

Monday, June 6, 2011

On Returning Favors

So Joe tagged me in one of these social networking things, so I suppose it would only be fair to do it as well. Here goes nothing...

1. Do you think you are hot?

Well, this went somewhere creepy fast... I'll settle for 'hot enough for your mom.' Next question.

2. What is your desktop paper?

Nothing impressive. Just a canyon view that came with the machine, actually. Though I wouldn't mind changing it. Now that you mention it, I should probably get on that...

3. When was the last time you ate chicken?

Yesterday. With your mom. Man, I'm mature.

4. What are you thinking as you're doing this?

I am wondering what I am thinking as I am doing this. It goes into one of those recursive things, and eventually either Captain Kirk or Captain Tagon have to get me out of it.

5. Do you have nicknames?

Yeah...Quite a few actually. For some reason I seem to collect them as I go, for no apparent reason. I went by the name Paul in one class during softmore year in college. It took them a while to figure out that that was nowhere near my real name. Next question!

6. Tag eight blogger friends.

Since I suck at embedding links, I will just put the names. All eight are over there on the sidebar anyways. #laziness #randomtwitterreference #didIdothatright

Gamlia's Review
One Thousand and One Parsecs
46 Dogs
Life of a Story Engineer
M.K. Hutchins
Xister's Cutting Board
Come to the Pink Side We Have Cookies!
Kyler and Jeanette

7. Who's listed as number one?

My wife's book review blog, who is much more consistent and popular than me on the interwebs. Kind of a good first choice, dontcha think?

8. Say something about number five?

Hmmm. Megan's a good writer, and I've been glad to have her join our little writing group. Just read her latest draft of Contractural Gods, and I am looking forward to seeing it published somewhere so that I can buy a finished copy. Believe me, it's ready for it.

9. How did you get to know number three?

A lack of other options, really. :) Drek (or Ben as some might call him) is an old friend from the writing meeting back in Quark. He is one of the many who patiently told me Jakeson's character sucked as I resubmitted the first five chapters over and over and over again. Between that experience and the rest, we've gotten to know each other pretty well--at least well enough for casual death threats.

10. How about number four?

Funny story, I actually met Andy while I was on a blind double date that my roommate had set up for me. Later, she showed up at the writing group in Quark, and we've been friends since then.

11. Leave a message for number six.

Pat, I still haven't forgotten the revenge I owe you for setting me up on a blind double date. You will burn for it, burn I tell you!

12. Leave a lovey-dovey message for number two.

Ummm. I probably should have remembered better which of these things went to which person. I think I will spare Joe and me the discomfort here and say he's a great guy! With stories and a novel! Up on Amazon! Go buy them. That is all.

13. Do number seven and eight have any similarities?

Hmm. Aneeka, and Kyler and Jeanette. Well, Aneeka writes a webcomic about a MMORPG where her characters earn money to live etc, and Kyler likes World of Warcraft, which Chinese prisoners work in to make a living for their guards. Then Jeanette and Kyler both live in Utah, and so does Aneeka! Oh, and Kyler is from Canada, and Aneeka is from St. George, which are both strange, foreign lands that no one wants to return to. That's all I got.

And there we go! I think I failed at it, but oh well. Such is life...

PS Lambson, I did not forget about you. You sir, are simply not updating your blog. I need to know about dinosaurs now!

Friday, June 3, 2011

On Bad Days

Not much to write about today. Nothing to see here. Move along...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June Goals

So here they are, in no particular order.

1. Go to the temple again. Good habit to keep.

2. Actually go home teaching this time. Yeah, progress!

3. Personal goal for unrelated reason...

4. Second personal goal. Quite annoying isn't it?

5. Family Home Evening. Some guy says it's important, so why not?

6. Write at least 45,000 words in Iron Angels. Might as well keep it going...

7. Send Wolfhound into traditional publishers. Turn Kingsley over to alpha readers.

8. Beging looking for book review blogs and make contacts, in case said traditional publishers turn up their nose at my obvious awesomeness. Find at least ten.

9. Switch over health insurance by the end of the month.

10. Get driver's licenses done. If not already done, take care of car registration stuff too.

11. Buy new running shoes/exercise clothes and casual clothes. Been a bit too long there.

12. Start search for new place to live/continue job search as well.

So there we go! Hopefully I can get right to work on this stuff, and just as hopefully I don't mess it up along the way. Thanks to everyone who's already been helping me out, and I'll see you around!