When is it coming out? Can I get it for free? Will it be printed?

Some questions I was asked frequently during my recent trip to the Great Surprisinglygreen North:

When is it coming out?

I am not quite sure. Since this is my first time publishing there is a lot of new stuff I have to educate myself about as I go. The writersphere makes that much easier than it would be otherwise but it’s still a lot of learning. I am hoping to take as great advantage of y’all as I can in order to avoid mistakes.

All that said, here is my current loose launch plan for the first four books:

  • Weavers, March 2016
  • Ninja at Law, May 2016
  • Unseen, July 2016
  • Makers, November 2016

Can you just send it to me? Can I have it for free?

These were generally said jokingly, but yeesh it was distressingly frequent.

There will be opportunities for ERCs and ARCs for each book. Early Readers help after the first draft by giving basic feedback on the story, plots and characters. Advanced Readers give an honest review of the pre-published manuscript. Both groups receive a free digital copy of the manuscript as well as my thanks.

I will also be trying various marketing tools and promotions. It’s pretty likely that some of those will be free.

Will it be printed?

Maybe? This is a whole big ball of question for me at the moment. I know I will commission at least a limited run for myself and to promote the books but whether they will be generally available in print depends on things I am largely ignorant about now.


Unseen draft complete. Excerpt

I finished the Unseen first draft tonight. This is the third book draft I’ve finished off under the wordsurge I largely attribute to NaNoWriMo.

I celebrate with a scene I like that was written for a character I didn’t expect to become a principle, but did anyway. Likely just to spite me. She has issues with authority.

 Unseen is steampunk / post-apocalypse. This scene is where we learn about my unexpected protagonist’s character when it’s nobody but her there to see.

Critical Personnel

The alarm woke her. There was no way it could be morning yet. She felt like she had only just laid down. What time had she gotten to bed, anyway?

It must have been pretty late. She couldn’t even remember getting relieved from her watch station.

The alarm. The watch station.

Verias became alert in a shocking instant. She was on perimeter watch. An alarm. There was a perimeter door open. What was she supposed to do? She was supposed to never have to figure that out! That’s why first years were put on this duty! Because nothing ever happened!
Snap out of it, Verias!

She gave herself a quick physical slap to go with the verbal one.

Thinking back on the brief training, she remember the senior student saying the only reason these alarms ever went off was a dog sensor being off. Just go to the port and re-clamp the dogs to reset it.



Go to the port and re-clamp the dogs.

She noted the port location that was alerting, grabbed a light stick, and ran off to make her check.

As she made her way through tubes that were lighted, unlighted and every variation of semi-lighted, she made a mental note to request the service ways be excluded from mandatory night variations.

She arrived to her target but it was not the port with a loose dog as she expected. This was an open porthole, exposing the Burrow to whatever might wander in from outside. She couldn’t believe it. Who would do such a thing?

It was at that point that she noticed the lights dimming again, and realized it was a general alarm.

A general alarm and somebody sneaking out of a port she was monitoring!

She realized her first duty was to the Burrow’s safety and that meant dogging this port and waiting for reinforcements. But whoever was escaping might be just meters ahead of her! She had to at least see if she could identify them!

Volume three approaching doneness

I caught up on NaNoWriMo goals last night and also realized I’ll be finished with the Unseen draft today. (Clemson won, happiness won, writing may continue.)

I’ll then return to Makers and I will finish that draft this month too.

November has been (/will be. it’s weird retrospecting on something that isn’t done yet) a hell of a month. It began with two books in process and will finish with four drafted and one illustrated. The first two manuscripts are out for early reader feedback and both are getting excellent marks for story and characters.

I’m actually looking at a series of books that are staging for sequential publication. It’s a very heady feeling.

Here’s where I should be at the end of the month, and it appears I need to get serious on researching editing/editors:

Where's there's a plan, there's a graphic.
I’m a project manager. Of course there’s a plan.


Pomes are hard

I have an incredibly difficult time with poetry. Writing it, I mean. I’m fairly good at enjoying a well written poem. Getting something of my own down in satisfyingly melodic fashion is really hard though.

There is a carrying religious theme through the Ages of the Seed and I’m finding that it requires some poetry. Religious verse isn’t prose, generally. It is parable, instruction, message and verse all in one. It’s a poem.

Generally when I have to write something poetic it is… Well to be honest it’s generally what I’d consider to be total suck. But then there are these brief flashfire moments when a poem writes itself and all I have to do is write it down. I really love those moments. I had one tonight.

The Verse of the Seeker Ardent

In the dark I wandered aimlessly, lost in body and soon in mind. My hands, my sight in these burrows, bloody and raw from the granite incisors I ran them upon. Forsaken, lost, bereft. What would I give to see again the light, to feel the sun upon my face? Nothing, for nothing was everything I had.

Found him

I just figured out Daeven, my protagonist for Unseen. It took a long time for me to understand him, much longer than any of my other leads.

It was worth the wait. Unseen is flowing now. I’ll be caught up and past the WriMo goals tonight. I might be now, actually. Scrivener is telling me Daeven just wrote 2000 words.

This may be the most complicated character I’ve ever helped to find a page and I am very excited to find the story that he wants to tell me.



Early reader feedback for Weavers and Ninja at Law have started trickling in and it’s both extremely promising as well as mega frustrating. The promising part is because both books are getting high marks for readability and the storylines themselves. The frustrating bit is because the feedback is excellent and I want SO BADLY to go start fixing the things that are being pointed out.

But I must stay strong! I must resist this fell compulsion! I must NaNoWriMo!

I must also admit that part of the urge to go edit is because Unseen is coming along so much more slowly than those other two. I haven’t been able to fall in love with the protagonist yet and I’m worried that means others won’t either. The genre is also one that’s new for me to write in, for multiple aspects. It’s post-apocalypse and I’ve never done a story for that. It’s also a buddy adventure and I’ve never done one of those. Lastly, the world isn’t fully developed in my head the way the other two were.

But I shall prevail!

Okay, Jim. Get off the damned blogs and go write.


The Elevator Speech

At a party last weekend I realized I had a problem. Friends I hadn’t seen in a long time were interested in my novel and I stumbled over how to talk about it. How could I possibly encapsulate all that I’ve worked on and all that I’m planning into a conversation piece that wouldn’t make eyes glaze over and kill that nascent interest? I’d been parceling everything out through narrative revelation and realized I myself didn’t have a holistic description for it.

I really had no excuse for this. I’ve been doing project summaries and carrying them around in my theoretical pocket for a dozen years in my job. I speak of course of…

The elevator speech! (Saw that coming, didn’t you? My teaser titles may need some work.)

An elevator speech is a short and concise blurb about your project that you have ready for whenever a prospective resource shows interest in it. When you end up on the elevator with the VP of Technology and she asks how your big development effort is going you don’t have to think. You tell her exactly what the status is and where it needs help, and you do it in less time than it takes for the elevator to get to her floor.

I generally have three versions ready at any time for projects I’m working and I think the format will work most excellently for writing projects. I’ll take one of my books through this as an example (and because I need to do this for all of the books I have in process). These are all for Unseen, the third volume in Ages of the Seed and the book I’m currently NaNo’ing.

The one liner

A simple statement that encapsulates. It answers the question “What is it”? This is what you give to casual inquiries to judge whether deeper conversation is warranted.

Unseen is the introductory novelette for the steampunk/noir age of my novel series.

That’s a lot of information with few words. I’ve conveyed the title and genre as well as giving a reference for length. I’ve also related that there are more stories in this vein as well as additional novels. I’ve given them multiple topics they can ask follow-up questions on depending on their interest. If they’re not interested in any of that a longer description is just wasted words.

The Descriptor

This adds status to the statement and fleshes out the description. How is the project doing? Where is it in the process? Where do you need help?

The story follows a young man and the voices in his head as they navigate through an Earth where physics has gone wrong. I’m about a quarter complete and am planning on getting the draft out to early readers for feedback by mid December.

I’ve engaged the story (compared to the book) and communicated progress, completion estimate, current state and that there is an opportunity for their assistance.

The Decimator

The waxing poetic marketing blurb. This is stuff suitable for the back cover and the Amazon description. This tends to work better written, unless you can talk like that guy who narrates all of the movie trailers. “IN a World…” You know the guy.

200 years have passed since the fall of mankind. Life is cheap, brutal and short for the remnants of humanity as they eke out a desperate existence in the deadly Earth their ancestors created. The Cataclysm mankind visited upon itself has taken away its greatest advantage; technology no longer functions in a world where physics is broken.

Life is slightly better for Daeven. Deep in the Burrows he has food, shelter and community, a quality of life that he had thought unachievable. But there is a shadow hanging over Daeven. A darkness that lies waiting in his mind, ever watchful, ever waiting.

Darkness has decided that its waiting is over.

At this point they should be telling me to shut up and take their money.


There you have it. The elevator speech, sized to fit all audiences.

Trapped (Unseen, Insertion)

This will be an insertion for Unseen, Ages of the Seed Vol 3. The main characters in Unseen experience the same circumstances from very different perspectives. This is how Darkness lived through Ch.1.



I am cold. So very cold.

Has there ever been a cold like this? So all consuming. My world is frozen. I would shiver but I cannot remember how.

Why can’t I see? Could I ever see? Yes, I remember a time far from now when I saw… Continue reading “Trapped (Unseen, Insertion)”

Darkness – Unseen, Ch.1

Unseen (Ages of the Seed, Vol 3)

Chapter 1 – Darkness

Daeven wasn’t mad, but he was pretty sure one of the people living in his head was. Most of them were okay folks; some were even friends. Faena helped him find food that didn’t make him sick. Taran remembered things, sometimes things from long before Daeven was born. Adiv and Vida, the deadly twins, kept him alive in the dangerous dark confines of the Burrow. Even little Pastich did her part, lifting dark spirits with her infectious laughter. They all worked together and tried to make their communal life as pleasant as possible.

But then there was Darkness. Darkness never spoke to Daeven or the others. Darkness just lay in the back of Daeven’s mind, brooding and watching. Always watching.

Until now.

Daeven felt Darkness push forward again and held his breath as he concentrated on pushing back. “Help me” he whispered. “Please. Somebody help me.”

Darkness surged forward and Daeven’s head exploded in pain. Tears rolled down his face leaving tracks through the grit and soot as they fell across his cheeks. “Oh, please no. Please no. Please no” he cried over and over.

He had some experience resisting his passengers. When they first fell out of their shadows and became real people they were panicky and frightened. Most reflexively tried to assert control and he would gently but firmly stop them. It didn’t take much effort as they were very weak when they first arrived.

But not Darkness. Darkness had never so much as moved before and Daeven had had no idea of its power. This was no freshly delivered passenger, weak from its birthing. This was a mind with strength and purpose, easily on par with Taran and possibly even stronger. Possibly stronger than Daeven himself.

The pressure in his mind was unbearable. His vision faded to darkness and exploding lights. A rising roar assaulted his ears. He squeezed his eyes shut and pushed back desperately. “Taran. Vida. Anybody. Help me. Please!” he begged. Where were his passengers? Why wasn’t anybody helping?

“Stop it! You’re hurting him!” Pastich’s tiny little girl voice yelled at Darkness. It receded somewhat, perhaps out of surprise. Daevan gulped in a breath of air and PUSHED, taking advantage of the small respite she had given him. Darkness pushed back and Daevan felt its anger, hot and musky, a palpable thing. He clenched his hands into fists and concentrated with all of his will. Slowly, ever so slowly, Daevan pushed Darkness back into its corner at the back of his mind.

Abruptly, Darkness stopped resisting him and retreated to its normal home. Daevan still felt its anger as it sat brooding and watching, but the pain in his head began to recede. He pulled in several clearing breaths and felt the pain vanish. He opened his eyes and was again able to see.

He leaned back against the cold granite wall and slid down to the floor. “What do you want!?” he screamed. Darkness, as always, did not answer.

Help! I’ve edited and I can’t get up!

I’m editing and I can’t stop. NaNoWriMo is about getting new words on paper – not so much about fixing them. But I’m in a weird spot for the Seed project overall.

I started a new book for NaNo as they encourage but I finished it yesterday. For the project goals I need to return to the first book of the series (Weavers) and get it finished to 1st draft so I can get Early Reader feedback and get my illustrator the story she needs to create chapter art. That requires incorporating about 6.5k words of dialog (that is already written) into it so I’m editing and getting no word credits for NaNo.

My choices are start Unseen (vol 3) and smash through NaNo or keep on with Weavers to drive that to publication.

I was stressing about this over my coffee this morning and then it hit me. For the first time in a decade I have so much to write I don’t know what to write first.

And I smiled sooooo big.