Nips, Tucks, and Other Site Changes

The attentive among you may have noticed some small changes here and there across the site. Particularly the removal of ads, and the rearranging of the sidebar on the right side there. I’ve moved a few things around to make a few of the more important items (like the search function, we’ve got a five-year archive of writing guides here!) more easy to access.

Everything’s still in it’s infancy, however. A lot of these changes are just minor, quality of life changes designed to make the site a bit more user friendly, easier on the eyes, and distinct. Which … is easier said than done. When I learned how to code a web-page, it was not only basic stuff, but it was back when HTML was new. So not all of it carries over.

But past that, I’m trying to work with the look the site already has. Having my own domain and whatnot does open up a lot of other “looks” and ready-made themes other than this one which I can slap across the site (in fact, this one is legacy support, so if I dumped it, I’m not sure I could get it back) but I’ll be fairly blunt about these other options: even the “clean” ones look cluttered and ugly compared to the current setup.

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Quick News Post

Sorry for the lateness. Had work yesterday and I’ve been battling a gnarly chest-and-throat cold that refuses to die. Now, really quick, some news!

Unusual Events

First up, Unusual Events: A “Short” Story Collection, is currently 50% off. It actually has been for almost a week, but being blasted by being sick, I completely neglected to mention it. In any case, you can grab this collection of ten “short” stories (there are two novellas in there, and only three or four of them are actually short enough to warrant the short story tag) for just $2.99!

Second, the Alpha 2 Reading of Shadow of an Empire is moving along, but at this point I’d like to get some more eyes on it. If you’re interested in being an Alpha Reader (and if you’re confused as to what an Alpha Reader does, check this handy post here on the topic), drop me a line! The more eyes, the better.

Third, LTUE, or Life, The Universe, and Everything, the writing con, is coming up! Next week, in fact, from February 15th-17th. Unfortunately, this year I will only be able to make it to one day due to costs, and that will be the first day, the 15th. Still, if you can at all make it to one of the best writing cons for chatting with authors and learning about the craft, this is it. And if you’re going to be there that first day and want to put a face to the words, let me know! I’m always happy to talk with fans!

Okay, last one, I promise. This one has been on the back-burner for a while, but with everything sort of reaching an equilibrium, there’s no sense in me not destabilizing my carefully balanced load with some new business. I pose to you readers a question: How would you feel about doing a live Q&A session over Discord? I get a mic, you readers get questions, I drop a link here on the site at a pre-planned time, and I spend an hour or so answering questions on a variety of topics? Anyone interested in that?

Right, that’s it for the news! Onward to today’s Being a Better Writer post!

Biting Off More Than I Can Chew?

Almost.

Yes, I’ve been fairly quiet over the last two or three weeks outside of the Being a Better Writer posts. And the reason for that is that I’ve been keeping very busy.

How busy? In the last week and a half, despite having family in town and pulling hours at my part time job, I’ve managed not only to get both BaBW posts done and up, but also 20,000+ words done on Jungle.

That’s right, the sequel to Colony. Am I going to spoil anything for you guys yet? No, not at all, except to say you’re all in for a lot of surprises. Yesterday I got partway through chapter three, so it appears that any worries that Jungle would be shorter than Colony are going to be fairly unfounded. I don’t know how long it will be, but at this point I’d expect it to be around a similar length.

I’d better get it done fast, too. The demand for more in the wake of Colony is strong. By the way, if you haven’t read Colony yet, you really should. It’s sitting at a 4.7 star rating on Goodreads and a 4.8 star rating on Amazon, with stellar reviews in both places.

So, that’s been eating into my time. As has my part-time job (which, naturally, really wants more time out of it than I can afford to give). And family visiting. I love to see them, but work grinds to a halt while they’re here.

But I’ve had other things digging into my time as well. Life, The Universe, and Everything (LTUE) is coming up as well, and I’m trying to determine which panels to apply for (new system this year, apparently). And tomorrow, being the weekend, I get to sit down and do beta editing for Tirek is Doomed, plus start setting up Alphas for Discord Day Care and Shadow of an Empire.

Plus other life obligations … Patreon supporter stuff, DnD campaign, etc, etc …

Basically, I’m making this post to say “Yes, I’ve been quiet, but it’s only because I’m really keeping busy! Really!”

And it’s true. And right now, I’m cutting this post short because I’ve got a bunch more things to do today in addition to putting at least another 3,000 words onto Jungle‘s first draft before my night-shift tonight.

So, what can you expect?

Patreon supporters are going to see a post soon, for January, December, and November. Likely it will be a chapter or two of Shadow of an Empire. A sort of teaser, if you will, of what’s coming.

Fanfic readers will be seeing Tirek is Doomed before long, and will start getting more info on Discord Day Care.

Colony will continue to sell well, continue to get glowing reviews, and continue to be an absolute blast of a Sci-Fi book. I’m getting reviews calling it ‘the best Sci-Fi [the reviewer] has read in years’ and comparing its originality and level of amazement to Ender’s Game.

Yes, that Ender’s Game.

Anyway,  for future reference, I’m probably going to scale back the number of projects I tackle at once, just to keep things a bit easier to handle and the pipeline a bit more streamlined.

And now? I have work to do, so away to my keyboard. Which is actually right here, I’m just going to swap windows and—

Colony Now Up For Purchase

colony-finalThis is it! The pre-order copies have all gone out, and now Colony is now available for purchase on Amazon.com. Buy it, and it’ll go right to your Kindle App. DRM-Free too.

It’s also available on the Kindle Unlimited Library, so if you’re an Amazon Prime user or KU reader, you can grab a copy ASAP and start reading. If you’ve not heard of the KU Library, it’s basically a Netflix-like service for books. Basically, if you want to read Colony, you’ve got some good options for doing so!

Anyway, you can click the cover there to your right to take you right to it!

A corporate investigator who doesn’t trust his employer.
A mercenary gun-for-hire with a talent for violence and a willingness to shoot first.
And a white-hat hacker who doesn’t know when to quit.

Three independent contractors brought together for one unusual job. Five years ago, master programmer Carlos Rodriguez retired. Now his old employer wants him back.

Quietly.

It’d be a lot easier if he hadn’t left Earth.

A Sci-Fi Epic Adventure of 333,000 words, or roughly 1100 pages.

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Shadow of an Empire Alpha Nearly Done

Just a quick update, since I’ve been so quiet this week. The reason is simple: Shadow of an Empire is in its final three chapters. Which is a fancy way of saying I’ve got two more chapters to write after I finish the current one, plus maybe a final bit of closure, and then the alpha 1 of Shadow will be done!

Which means … next week, hopefully. Barring any surprises. Final stats right now? It looks like it will weigh in at 230,000 or so words. Though given that I’m about to write a bunch of finale scenes, it might push itself to 240,000. Maybe. I’d guess that 230,000 words is a much closer bet for this draft. Sadly this took me, counting July, five months to write. The perils of having a second job, I suppose.

Anyway, the first alpha draft is nearly done. And once it is … I step away for a second, and while I let my brain disengage from it before I begin editing, I’m throwing myself into finishing up Colony. That truly massive Sci-Fi title I finished the first of draft over a year ago.

Yeah, that’s right. Currently, it’s in Alpha 2. Once Shadow of an Empire is in Alpha 1 status, all my writing work is going towards moving Colony from Alpha 2 to Beta 1. Then Beta 2. Then Beta 3. And after that … publication.

Yes, you heard that right. Colony is at last coming out. That’s the next big project. Colony publication. The 1300 page tome is finally coming, guys!

Oh, and one last bit of news. City of Doors posted reviews for all three of my published books—One DrinkDead Silver, and Unusual Events—finding all of them well worth the time reading. They had quite a bit of praise to deliver all three as a whole, but my favorite quip had to be concerning Unusual Events, which they declared “… a damn good collection of stories that is certainly worth both the price and the time it takes to read through it.”

Good praise any author would like to hear.

Status Update

All right, guys. Time for a status update.

First of all, it’s a good thing I got 20,000 words written last week, because I had more shifts than normal at my other job this week, and that’s made this week quite a bit slower. In the end, I guess it balances out at neutral, aiming somewhere slightly north of 10k per week. Which is a lot less than my old, pre-second job standard, but still functional.

However, the slow but steady rate still pays dividends. Shadow of an Empire has passed 200,000 words, and is in its final chapters! Which means that my estimates of it being around 225k or so were pretty on spot. For the record, that’ll be about 700 pages of reading.

Now, I’m sure some of you have wondered where news of Colony has gone. Well, it’s been in its second alpha for some time now, the alpha readers slowly picking through it while I’ve been working on Shadow. But once Shadow is done and into its first alpha … all of my attention is going to shift to Colony. The time I’ve spent on Shadow gave the alpha readers plenty of time to summarize and read through Colony‘s 1200 or so page bulk, so it’ll be time to return to its watery pages and revise, rewrite, and edit. I’m hoping there won’t be a need for a third alpha, but with a book this large …

From there, it’s on to Beta status for Colony. Beta 1, 2, and then the final pre-read and the creation of the cover. So maybe August? I’d like it to be out this summer. Taking a second job has slowed me down, but I need to get this book out at long last.

From there, I’m not going to dawdle on Shadow of an Empire. Once Colony is out the door, it’s going into alpha and beta before I start working on Jungle.

And in between, I’ve even got some ideas for some smaller, fanfiction-related stuff to write up.

It’s going to be a busy summer.

Anyway, that’s the update. I’m out!