Saturday, December 28, 2019

Coreward: Now Available!

It's a holiday miracle!  (well, maybe not a miracle, but I'm still happy about it...)  The second book in the Hybrid series is now available on Amazon.

Ten years after the events of Blue Guardian, the precocious youngster Yaella has grown into a strong-willed young adult.  She's just graduated university, and has a vision of buying a ship with her friends and exploring the galaxy.

Her mother, the fearsome Mahasa Varta, now oversees a network of human colonies developing across former Palani worlds.  Keeping tabs on a few million colonists is as much a challenge as keeping tabs on her independent-minded daughter.

"I am going to go get my daughter.  And I am going to kill everyone in my way.  Everyone."

For eight centuries, Mahasa (General) Zura Varta led the forces of the Palani Empire, gaining a reputation for ruthlessness.  Now she is the Governor of the Outer Frontier Territories, overseeing dozens of new human colonies on former Palani worlds.

As the Mahasa’s adopted daughter, Yaella grew up in a world of discipline and order.  Newly graduated from university, the impetuous young woman dreams of a life travelling the stars.  With her friends Tal and Bucky, she wants to buy a ship and go into business.

But Palani-Human hybrids like Yaella aren’t welcome in some areas of the galaxy.  In other areas they’re sought after… for the wrong reasons.

When you fly Coreward, you fly into danger.  It’s a place where merely landing on the wrong planet can set unexpected events in motion.  Some events will affect a single young life, and some events will affect the entire galaxy.

New parts of the galaxy will continue to be explored.  We'll meet new friends, and maybe catch a glimpse of some familiar faces from long ago.  I hope you enjoy Coreward, and will continue on this new adventure!
Universal Link:   link 
National Links:   .com .ca .uk .de .fr .es .it .nl .jp .br .mx .au .in

In the meantime, I've deep into the first draft of Book 3 in the series, which doesn't yet have a name.  Book 4 has an outline, and Book 5 (and potentially 6) are quietly forming in the ether.

Thank you for your continued support!  I hope 2020 brings you peace.  And cookies.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Coreward: Cover Image

Here at the Secret Lair, we've finished getting ready for winter.  We installed the snow tires on our cars, put the patio furniture away, and gave the snowblower a tune-up.  In accordance with Prophecy, we performed the sacrifices and spoke the forbidden words.  We pray we have appeased the ancient evil that dwells within the mountain.  You know, normal stuff.

In the meantime, Coreward, the second book in the 'Hybrid' series is nearing completion.  I'm delighted to share the final cover art:

Yaella has grown up.  Zura has grown cranky.
The book has been making numerous rounds of the 'Readers of the Apopsicle'; have I mentioned lately how awesome these people are?  With their help, I'm hoping for a release somewhere around mid-December.  As always, I might let that slip a bit, because I think 'great' is better than 'on time'.

While all that's going on, I'm moving ahead with the third book in the series.  It doesn't have a name yet, but it's about 30,000 words' worth of indecipherable scribbles.  So that's neat.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Pumpkin Spice Chemtrails

Last week, I had trouble staying awake during the Illuminati meeting.  We'd already decided the winners of the new hockey season (spoiler: not the Leafs) and had agreed it was time to change the chemtrail flavour.

While the High Muckimuck was arguing with the Lesser and Intermediate Muckimucks about the upcoming bake sale, I found myself thinking about controlling the world.  Obviously.

I was thinking about how an author controls their world, and how that controlling should be done behind the scenes, out of view.

When you spend a lot of time building a world and laying out its moving parts, there's a very strong temptation to tell the readers all about it.  There's an impulse to share everything you've created, to say "look at this thing I made".  But unless the character is a member of the Illuminati, the moving parts of their world are invisible to them. 

I've been doing some freelance editing, and have come across some manuscripts where the author gave in to the compulsion to share.  The characters had the weirdest conversations, where the author shoe-horned in a discussion of their world-building.  I mean, I've never once sat down to lunch with friends and discussed the foundational structure of our system of government, or reviewed the dominant creation myths of our culture.  Heck, no; we save that for the Illuminati meetings.

While I give some thought to my votes for next year's Oscars, I'd also like to mention that the second book in the 'Hybrid' series, called Coreward, will be out before the end of the year. 

Friday, September 20, 2019

Bits & Pieces

I think one of the questions I get the most is, "how do you come up with ideas?".  

Mostly, it's my brain's fault.  The stupid thing keeps me up until the middle of the night, bombarding me with random nonsense.  Thoughts rattle around in my head like ballbearings in a blender, and it's hard to shut it off long enough to fall asleep.

Sometimes, one of the ideas will be strangely compelling.  It might be a glimpse of something I've seen or heard: a grainy mind's-eye image of a place or a person.  Maybe it's a few seconds of a conversation between two people, where someone says something interesting.  A few frames of a movie that doesn't exist, showing some movement or activity or location that catches my interest.  

The memorable bits and pieces stick around.  If I spend enough time thinking about these things, I might start to form connections between the disjointed thoughts.  Maybe that one interesting line of dialogue was spoken by that one interesting-looking character.  Perhaps the grainy picture of a location can be the place someone comes from.

Over time, I might assemble enough bits and pieces that something coherent starts to emerge.  A new character, for instance, that I first met as a face or an expression or a single line of dialogue.  They start to form into a person and, if I'm really lucky, there might be an idea for a story they can take part in.  I've got a few characters in my head that I'm really happy about, but I don't have anything for them to do; I don't have a story to put them in.

So if you ever see me slumped in my chair with my eyes closed, rest assured I'm working really really hard, trying to grab at the ideas whizzing by in my head.  It's another vital part of the process.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Flawless Process

Even after I'm done editing, there's still a bit of work to be done to get a new book ready for release.  It's a highly technical process that looks a bit like this:

1.  Output ebook file.
2.  Upload ebook file to Amazon.
3.  Preview ebook file in online viewer and on tablet.
4.  Find some tiny thing that isn't formatted perfectly.
5.  Fuss over tiny thing for an hour and a half.
6.  Go to step 1.

This process continues until either (a) the book is perfect or (b) I lose the will to live.  Ideally (a), but there are no guarantees.

Then, once the final, final, final version of the ebook is uploaded, the book can be published.  As a reward, I get to go ahead and run through the same process for the paperback version, which requires different formatting.  Once that is done, I go through an entirely different process for the cover of the paperback.

Granted, a lot of this is self-inflicted.  I don't have to be so fussy.  I could say "that'll do" and shorten the entire process by about 93.7%.

But it's fine!  I'm getting much better at the whole formatting thing.  Each time I publish a new book, I get the hang of it.  And then, I forget everything by the time the next book is ready.

It's a flawless process.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Blue Guardian: Now Available!

With the arrival of Blue Guardian, a new story begins.  I'm happy to report the first book in the Hybrid series is now available on Amazon.

Set twenty years after the end of the Borealis series (and forty years after the end of the war), Blue Guardian picks up with the story of the Palani Mahasa (General) Zura Varta.

It's been forty years since the end of the war. Despite struggling with millions of refugees, humanity looks to the future. Their uneasy allies -- the Palani -- look to the past, and remember the vast empire they once ruled. 
New Fraser is a human colony deep in Palani space. Once a thriving Palani world, it's now an empty ruin, given to the humans to establish a settlement. The colonists are trying to build a new life, while wary of their alien hosts. 
Zura Varta is a living legend among the Palani. For eight hundred years, Mahasa (General) Varta led the forces of the Palani empire.  She's fought countless battles, and gained a reputation for ruthlessness.  But now the war is over, and the old warrior faces a new 'peaceful' galaxy that no longer needs her. 
Living in the debris of the past, the humans and Palani struggle to create their futures amid the barren lawlessness of the frontier.   
And on New Fraser, the colonists are about to meet their new governor...

According to one of the esteemed 'Readers Of The Apopsicle' (©Dr. Jones), Mahasa Varta is 'a cross between Xena and Grand Moff Tarkin'.  I think that's awesome.

I hope you'll enjoy reading Blue Guardian, and will come along on this new adventure!

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

In the meantime, I've finished the first draft of Book 2 in the series, currently called Coreward.  In a day or two, I'm going to start editing it and getting it ready for the Apopsiclic Readers.

Have fun!

Friday, May 31, 2019

Standing By For Lauch

In the next couple weeks, a new adventure will begin.  Blue Guardian, the first book in my new 'Hybrid' series, will launch during June.  As I've mentioned previously, there'll be some new characters to meet, and a familiar face might make an appearance.

Right now, I'm in that strange sort of 'waiting area' that exists in the final days before a new book is launched.  The Five Readers of the Apopsicle have been taking turns with the book, and I've been busy incorporating their feedback as it comes.  I tend to fuss a lot over the final version:  I spend ages trying to hunt down typos and Kindle formatting issues and other strangeness.  Finally clicking the 'Publish' button is a bit nerve-wracking.

In the meantime, the second book in the 'Hybrid' series is underway.  I'm up around 50k words now, and there's a ways to go before the first draft is done.  It looks like my handwriting is getting worse.  I didn't think that was possible.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Blue Guardian: Cover Image

I'm delighted to introduce the final cover art for Blue Guardian, the first book in the 'Hybrid' series.

Everyone, meet Mahasa Varta.  Ma'am, meet the nice people.  Please don't hurt them.

The current draft has been making the rounds of the 'Readers of the Apopsicle' (© Dr. Jones), and there has been some great feedback so far.  As soon as the feedback is all in, I'll be able to create another draft and send it to more people for more feedback.  It's the circle of life.

In the meantime, I'm forging ahead with the first draft of Coreward, the second book in the series.  I'm currently at around 30k words, and scribbling is proceeding apace.  If all goes well, Blue Guardian and Coreward will come out within a very few months of each other. 

I'm already planning out the third book in the series.  Current plans call for adventure, and maybe a happy little explosion or two.

Monday, March 4, 2019

The Monster gets a name

As previously mentioned, my next book will be the first in the upcoming Hybrid series.  For a while I've been using the working title of Monster, but it's now getting its final name:  Blue Guardian.

At the moment, Blue Guardian is making its way to the Readers of the Apocalypse, who are no doubt wondering what they did to deserve this sharpening their red pens and getting ready to "have at it".  Their sharp eyes and brutal honesty are a vital part of what makes all this possible.

While the intelligent & attractive Readers get started, I'm carrying on into the second Hybrid book.  The first draft is underway, with pages of scribble-coated paper already piling up.  For now, I'm calling this new one Coreward, though only time will tell if it keeps that name.  Teaser: Coreward starts with a spaceport, Thai takeout food, and an angry mob.

In the meantime, it's still winter here in glorious Canada, where the weather feels a bit like this:

Okay, I admit it, I doctored this a bit.  Friday's real forecast is -10C with periods of light snow.

Spring can't be far away.  Can it?

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Permission Assets and other vitally important things

It's now February, and time for my January update.  And just like that, you've already learned a little something about my scheduling skills.

The Brain is a mysterious and poorly-understood part of the body.  I never seem to know what sort of nonsense Brain going to come out with next.  Some days, Brain opens up and wonderful ideas flood out.  Other days it just stares, seemingly fascinated by pointless things.

Because it's high time I posted an update, and because Brain was being particularly pointless, I decided to enlist the help of The Googles.  Surely*, I thought, I could find a compelling idea for an update.

Some of the ideas were, uh, unusual.  Here are my 4 favourites.  I swear I'm not making these up; these were actual suggestions for author blog posts.

1.  " a permission asset..."  (I have no idea)
2.  "Your relationship to a special tree..."  (What the tree and I have together is no one's business)
3.  "Writer fashion..."  (I have pants on, isn't that enough?)
4.  "Love letter to a product..."  (What the microwave and I have together is no one's business)

Obviously, none of those are my ideas.  I know that because I didn't have any ideas today.

In actual book-related news, I'm deliriously happy to report that 'Monster' (working title) is now on its third draft.  Very soon, it will start making its way to one or more of the Readers of the Apocalypse, who will subject it to adversity because (I'm told) that builds character.

* Leslie Nielsen, we miss you.