Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Crusades: Cover Image

I'm knee-deep in the first round of edits for 'Crusades', the fourth and last book in the 'Hybrid' series.  As I've mentioned before, this book is twice the size of any of the previous books, so each step of the process is taking about twice as long.

While I hammer away at that, the final cover art has arrived.  It's a great cover for the book, and I think the whole thing's going to be a fun adventure to finish off the series.

In the meantime, ideas are starting to coalesce into the front-runner candidates for the story I start next.  Most of the ideas are centred in the same universe, either close to previous events or far, far away.  There are some fun characters that are taking shape, and some very nifty ideas to get the story rolling.

Back in the real world, March has arrived and winter's grip on the land is starting to slip.  I hope everything's awesome where you are, and that everyone's staying safe and healthy. 

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Working Titles

Happy New Year!  At last, 2020 is in the past.  When last year started I thought for sure it would be the year that we solve our problems and finally get flying cars.  Didn't quite turn out that way.  

I'm happy to report a bit of news:  after a few weeks of obsession intense focus, I've finished the first draft of 'Crusades', the fourth book in the 'Hybrid' series.  It's hefty.


At 160k words, it's almost twice the size of any other book I've written so far.  It will almost certainly shrink during editing, but depending on the final size I still might break it into two books that I publish one right after the other.  That also depends on finding a reasonable place to break the story, without just stopping mid-sentence with a "To Be Continued..."  No one likes it when stories do that.

This book finishes the 'Hybrid' series, and quite a lot happens.  I don't want to spoil anything (because spoiling my own book would be silly), but Yaella might do something without thinking it through and Zura might be irritated by something.  The book is going to be called 'Crusades', though at one point I gave a file the working title of 'For Crying Out Loud, Now What?'.

The cover art is already underway.  It's gone through two revisions, and I think it's just about done.  Once it's finalised, I'll come back here and share it.

In the meantime, good luck to you all with 2021.  Here's hoping it's better than 2020!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

I think I see a light...

At last, the end of 2020 is in sight.  Which is not to say that turning the calendar over to 2021 will magically solve all our problems; it’s going to be more complicated than that.

But it does feel like the light at the end of the tunnel has been switched on.  It’s not all that shiny, and it’s still a long way away, but it finally feels like it’s there.  And that makes a world of difference.

In the meantime, I’m obsessing working diligently on finishing the first draft of the fourth (and last, I think) book in the 'Hybrid' series, which I have given the working title of 'Crusades'.  It has now passed 130k words, and it's just entering the climactic final part.  Without giving anything away, Yaella is still figuring out her life, Zura is still irritated, and there have been explosions. 

Also, because my 3am brain does this, I’ve already been cooking up some ideas for new stories that could come after.  Maybe in the same universe, or maybe not.

I hope everyone has a great holiday season.  Do your thing, whatever it is, and may it bring you happiness and hope.  And maybe snacks; that would be great, too.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Telling a story in an empty room

People have asked me about my writing environment.  You know, people.  The same people that politicians refer to all the time.  Yeah, them.  

Anyway.  It seems like it's a fairly popular thing to bring a laptop (or even a typewriter, I've heard) into a crowded coffee shop and write there.  Godspeed to the people who can do that, but my writing environment is pretty much the exact opposite of a laptop in a crowded coffee shop.


Yeah, the light is a bit of a cliche, but I like it.

Visually, I find I need an environment with less stimulation, not more.  I have a quiet spot away from windows where there's nothing to look at other than the 'Post-It Farm' where I keep track of story details.  

Instead of the random chatter of strangers and the wheezing of nuclear-powered coffee-making machines, I listen to music on wireless headphones.  I prefer instrumental music, usually heroic stuff like 'Two Steps From Hell'.  

As for the writing itself, I use a fountain pen.  The resulting scribbles look like a prescription from Satan's doctor, but it's the closest I can come to keeping up with the firehose of weirdness coming out of my head. 

Speaking of weirdness, I'm happy to report that the fourth (and probably last) book in the 'Hybrid' series is now at 100,000 words and counting.  I think the first draft is about two-thirds done, more or less.  If the final draft is way over 150k, I'll probably split it into two books.  We'll see!


Monday, October 19, 2020

It Builds Character

I've been reading this great trilogy lately.  I don't want to name it, because I'm going to mention something that might be considered a bit "spoilery".  The thing I'm loving is how the characters do something big, with much celebration and a sense of accomplishment, but soon thereafter they start to have the sneaking suspicion that maybe they shouldn't have done that.  Even better, they realise they'd been missing obvious clues about the unintended consequences all along.  It's big fun.

The series does the same thing with its characters, too.  As the books go by, we learn more about them.  There are sides to them we hadn't seen before.  But right from the beginning the characters' behaviours have been shaped by the stuff we didn't know yet.  What seemed like eccentric behaviour when we first met them turned out to be perfectly reasonable, driven by things we just hadn't known.

People are like that.  When someone new comes into our lives, we don't know much about them.  We learn about them bit by bit, and we may find out stuff about them that we wouldn't have imagined.  Stuff that explains why they do what they do, or why they believe what they believe.  Maybe knowing more about them makes you grow closer, or maybe it makes you grow apart.

I'm trying to keep this sort of stuff in mind with my own characters.  I'm about 70000 words into the fourth (and last?) book of the Hybrid series, and I'm not even halfway done.  I'm at the point where the characters are revealing stuff about themselves that the readers (and other characters) didn't already know.  My goal is for the reader to learn something about the character and feel that it explains some of their past behaviour.

Because it's me, I'm also thinking ahead to what comes after the Hybrid series.  There are two strong contenders jockeying for position in my head; I'll have to wait and see which of them escapes first.  

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Alliances: Now Available!

The story continues!  Alliances, the third book in the 'Hybrid' series, is now available.

Continuing shortly after the events in Coreward, we rejoin Yaella in her ongoing quest to find and rescue the Human/Palani hybrids like herself.  She'll have to travel to places old and new, to pick up the trail of her abducted 'family'.

In the meantime, her formidable adoptive mother, the Mahasa Zura Varta, fights to stay on top of squabbling human governments, the indifferent Palani leadership, and a developing political crisis. 

"You don't have to do this alone."

Fifty years have passed since the end of the war and the evacuation of Earth.  Millions of people still live in refugee camps, while humanity's governments argue over their fate.

Humanity's ally -- the ancient Palani Empire -- is creating colonies to house the neglected refugees.  Ruthless war hero Zura Varta now finds herself governing dozens of colonies full of irritating humans.

Zura's people are dwindling toward extinction.  To stave off oblivion, geneticists are creating a generation of Human/Palani hybrids.  But those that are 'too human' are abandoned; only a lucky few are adopted, like Zura's daughter Yaella.

Now, hybrid children are being abducted.  For impulsive Yaella, finding and rescuing her hybrid 'family' gives her the purpose she's been looking for.

For resolute Zura, the fate of a few hundred children is trivial compared to a widening crisis that threatens the lives of millions.

Mother and daughter are both headed into uncharted territory.  They'll need to find people they can trust.  They'll need to make Alliances.

Alliances is available on Amazon, in both e-book and paperback formats:

Universal Link:   link 
National Links:   .com .ca .uk .de .fr .es .it .nl .jp .br .mx .au .in

Books 4 and 5 are already underway; if all goes well, Book 4 will be available this winter.  Come continue the adventure!


Friday, July 31, 2020

Review of 'Burnt Worlds' on ManyBooks

I'm delighted to report that Burnt Worlds has been reviewed by ManyBooks, who had some nice things to say.

Their review can be found here:

In order to mark the occasion, the e-book of Burnt Worlds is currently available for free on Amazon, and will be for the entire long weekend!

In other news, the latest book (Alliances, the third book in the 'Hybrid' series) is almost ready to go.  I'm standing by for a last few edits, and if all goes well it'll be out in August.  Yay!