“A Trial for a Dragon” Moves into Beta!

Hello readers! I’ve got news! One specific bit of news, to be precise. A Trial for a Dragon is moving from Alpha to Beta!

Plot holes and missteps have been cleaned up. Segments rewritten, rephrased, or even in some cases cut. And with a ticking clock hanging above it, it’s time for the next phase.

Beta Reading! As before, those of you that have been prior Beta Readers should watch your inboxes, as I’ll be sending you invitations to participate shortly after this goes live. Those of you that are interested in being Beta Readers for the first time, leave a comment and I’ll get in touch with you.

Tomorrow I’ll have a new Quarantine Chat post, just so I’m not totally absent from the site (sorry, been editing).

Again, I know this isn’t much of a post. Just kind of working to keep all the plates spinning. Check your inboxes, Beta Team!

And with that, I’ve got writing to do on the next episode of Fireteam Freelance!

The Jungle Beta Begins!

Oh yeah. You’ve been waiting for this one. The moment has finally come.

Beta Reader invites for Jungle have just gone out.

That’s right. It’s here. It’s happening. We’re close baby. So very close. Jungle is almost upon us!

Which means that if you’ve really been holding out on reading Colony, now is your time. Grab a copy! Be ready when Jungle hits!

In the weeks ahead, meanwhile, look forward to the cover reveal and then the release date!

“A Game of Stakes” Beta Call!

Sorry this is a bit late, but the Beta Call for A Game of Stakes has been sent out … almost a week ago? Crud, yes, it was a week ago. If you’ve been a Beta Reader in the past, check your e-mail inbox! I’m going to try and have this one polished up by this weekend, next at the latest to get it in early before the submission deadline.

Check you inboxes. That’s all I’ve got today!

Shadow of an Empire Beta Call!

I know I said there would be a news post on Tuesday. And then that … got derailed by a lot of work. As did Wednesday, as I was half-dead from lack of sleep and honestly didn’t trust myself to rub two sentences together.

But after a long, hibernation-like sleep, I am ready to deliver the news that, you’ve all guessed by now from the title. Shadow of an Empire is going into Beta! Which means it’s time for the Beta Reader Call!

See, the Alpha Readers are done with Shadow, and I’m simply catching up with their changes and revisions, which I should be done with in another day or so.

They liked it. Quite a bit. Suffice it to say, it’s a pretty wild adventure, the Alpha Readers loved the universe, magic, and setting, and they were quiet pleased with everything that went down. No major changes were needed, thankfully, though as you would expect, there were a number of minor changes, tweaks, and small sections where things were polished a bit. All in all though, it was a pretty clean draft.

But all that is bringing me back around to the point. The point, readers, is that it’s time for the Beta Reader Call! That’s right, Shadow is about ready for the Beta Read, which means I’m looking for some Beta Readers!

Those of you who have Beta Read before (you know who you are) are automatic shoe-ins. I should still have your contact information in my master reader file, so even if you don’t leave a comment, you should be getting an e-mail in the next few days as Shadow breaks out of Alpha.

Now, what about those of you who before have not done Beta Reading but are looking to hop in? Wondering what Beta Reading is? Well, it’s pretty simple: It’s typo and error hunting. The plot’s been polished, the paragraphs keyed in. Beta reading is about finding misplaces apostrophes, accidental capitals, misspelled words … all the nitty-gritty detail stuff. Typos, functional errors, misplaced letters, double-punctuation … all that jazz.

Once that’s done, Shadow of an Empire goes into the copyedit … and from there … it gets listed and gains a release date, and I can start working on The Dusk Guard: Hunter/Hunted.

So, interested in being a Beta Reader, former or new? Drop a line or a comment. It’s time to get this book out!

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!

Colony Beta Call!

It’s time.

No, I’m not kidding. It really is.

Colony is officially in Beta! See? It’s listed as such on the current projects page and everything.

And this means … it’s time for a Beta call.

So, how does this work? What’s a Beta call? Quite simple really. I’m looking for grammar fanatics.

See a Beta Read is the second phase of getting novel ready for publication, the phase in which you’re looking for doubled apostrophe’s, misspelled words (or homophones), extra spaces … the works. This is proofreading time. Missing quote mark? Gotta find it. Accidental tab? Gotta find it. Word “autocorrected” something it shouldn’t have? Gotta find it!

And fix all of it, so that the final product is a polished, shining piece of literary might! Or weight. Take your pick. Colony is 334,000 words long, so that’s pretty heavy.

Either way, if this sounds interesting to you, like the kind of thing you’d like to spend your time doing, then comment below with your reasoning.

The catch? Well, this is a dedicated thing. I’ll be counting on you to be able to read 334,000 words worth of Sci-Fi Epic in a timely manner so I can release the book on time (current release window is end of October). And it definitely helps if you’ve read my work.

The reward? Well, all participating Alpha and Beta readers get a gift copy of the book on release (boo-yah!) to either keep for themselves or pass along to someone else. You’ll be thanked in the acknowledgements (either by name or by internet handle). Youalso do get the cool privilege of reading a juggernaut of a story before it actually comes out … which is pretty sweet. It’s like seeing a movie before anyone else!

Anyway, if you’ve got the time for it, leave a comment below with some details!

Colony Moves into Beta

It’s happened. Colony is officially ready for Beta 1.

That means grammar and typo hunting. Proofreading for small errors. The stone the story was carved from? It’s been examined and re-examined, prodded at, chipped away at, and touched upon. And now, at long last, the sculpture is finished. What’s left is the spit and polish, the final sheen to make the surface gleam.

Beta reads are open to all prior active Beta Readers and Alpha Readers. The call will go out tomorrow. Which also means that in a short period of time, Shadow of an Empire will progress into it’s own Alpha, so there will be a call for that too.

Right, back to work! There’s no time to waste! I’ve got a cover to get done, files to put up, and much, much more!

Oh, and I’m still aiming for an October release date for Colony. Mark your calendars!

The Sound of Silence

Yes, I know I’ve been pretty quiet this week. Fear not, it’s been for a good cause! Colony is on the edge of being done with its second Alpha. How much of an edge?

I’m literally doing the final run-through to make sure that all of the Alpha readers concerns have been addressed, taken care of, and/or fixed.

In other words, I’ve been silent for you guys … but not for them! They’ve been fielding message after message. “Does this look right? What about this? I rearranged this sequence, does it flow better now?” Etc.

But the good news, which you may have picked up on above? I’m on the final run-through. Problems have been fixed, plot quibbles patched up, science worked out … and I’m doing the final checks. Which means that Beta calls will probably start … tomorrow? Or Monday at the latest. Planning for two Beta reads, as usual. This also means that next week I need to start work on the cover. And (because I’m juggling two projects here) this also means that the first wave of Alphas for Shadow of an Empire can really start getting out there. So that’ll also start next week. Gotta make a few adjustments to the initial draft first, but …

Yes, I’m quiet, I know, and in the business of running a site that relies on content, that’s not always the best option, but thankfully I’ve got a lot of content in the archives to keep readers occupied.

Though if you are looking for something new to glance at for a few minutes while enjoying … well, whatever it is you’re doing when you bounce through your morning collection of sites (Coffee? Donuts? Stakeouts?), then you can take a look at Publisher’s Weekly‘s 2016 summary of the industry. Just … ignore the click-bait title (the article itself offers a solid and actually logical explanation of the same thing they try and social-outrage with in the title).

Anyway, if you’re interested in looking at some numbers in the industry concerning who holds what jobs and whatnot, it’s fun to look at. Useful? Well … depends on what you’re doing, but it is interesting to look over even if you’re not directly involved with it. It also does raise some uncomfortable questions (such as why there’s such a firestorm over male authors being more prevalent than female authors as an example of male sexism when about 80% of the publishing industry is women. Is the male-centric sexism really there? Etc), but feel free to contemplate those or ignore them on your own time.

Anyway, I’m back to work. Watch this space for updates.

Colony is coming soon!

Being a Better Writer: The Process of Editing

Editing is a curious thing. Almost everyone agrees that it’s something a written work needs to have. But by the same token, it’s one thing that I’ve noticed that, in my time as an author, many people don’t actually agree upon or know much about what it entails. The most accurate consensus I could assemble from what I’ve read and heard from casual writers (not dedicated authors) or the average layperson is that editing is about making a written work better. It’s about fixing the mistakes.

Now, that doesn’t sound bad at all. But here’s the thing: What do people mean when they say “fixing the mistakes?” And that’s where the root of today’s topic comes from.

See, you’d be hard pressed to find a reader of books somewhere that wouldn’t make a case that editing is something a manuscript needs. But if you ask them what goes into editing, you’ll get something like “Well, you know, fixing errors and stuff.”

Yes. “And stuff.” While that’s an answer that makes sense and technically is accurate, it really doesn’t give the discerning writer much to go off of. After all, there can be a lot of errors in “stuff.” And this vagueness in turn makes it difficult for new writers, first-timers pushing out their skills to try and get their first manuscript together, to understand what they need to do to fix errors, or even what those are. It’s a bit like asking someone to fix a car and then, when asked what’s wrong with it, giving the answer “stuff.” Not only is it not helpful, but those who have worked on cars (or really, done any big tune-up project) know from experience that there are some things that matter more than others, or need to be done in a certain order.

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