Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Hemlock and the Maker's Fire Released!

Finally!  After almost five years, the fourth book of The Maker's Fire series is complete!  It is currently live on Smashwords and pending on Amazon.  I will announce when it hits Amazon and the other major channels (via Smashwords).

Here is the Smashwords link: Book IV on Smashwords .

UPDATE:  Amazon link is live: Book IV on Amazon .

If anyone would like a free review copy just email me.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The First One Thousand Words

I have some good news to report!  The final edit of Hemlock and the Maker's Fire (aka Hemlock IV) is complete and the only work remaining to publish is to integrate the edits and complete the final formatting.  It is very close!

In the meantime, I want to send an overdue shoutout to artist Elena Dudina who has done wonderful cover art for my Maker's Fire series.  I remember many years ago I had published an early edition of Hemlock and the Wizard Tower using a stock photo for a cover.  At the time I asked several folks about the cover and they said it was serviceable.  But I knew I needed to take things up a notch.  I hired Elena and she did not disappoint!  After I released the new cover, I received several comments about how impactful the new image was and how it changed the way they felt about the book.  Don't underestimate the power of the cover image--I don't care what that old saying says!  Thank you, Elena, for bringing my world to life with these four images!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Battle of the Final Edit II

Hello, intrepid reader!  I write this post in a haze of disappointment because my plans to continue my work on the fourth Hemlock book have been thwarted at every turn.  It seems that circumstances are conspiring to deny me the combination of uninterrupted time, mental alacrity and motivation that I need to continue my work .  The potentially good news is I think this upcoming weekend may finally present such an opportunity.  But I don't want to over promise given my recent, poor track record.

It's really a shame to have the story basically completed but stalled in "post production".  For various reasons, using a 3rd party to do the final edit is not an option I want to use this time around.  My latest thought is to edit chapter by chapter and then post each successive chapter on this website as they get completed.  If you would like me to take that approach then leave me a message in the comments.

As I've said in prior posts, I'm really pleased with Hemlock Book Four and I've gotten good feedback from beta readers.  I am very anxious to share the final installment with you!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Battle of the Final Edit

I have had some delays in preparing the draft of Hemlock IV for the editor.  Now, for various reasons, I've decided to attempt to edit the manuscript myself.  I am under no illusions that I am a great editor.  On the other hand, I've never really attempted the process, either.  I am going to do some research on how to best approach it.  As with other things I've successfully integrated into my life, I'm going to have to figure out a way to make this editing process a part of my day to day routine.

I am also going to take some time off from my primary occupation to devote to this edit.  I will try to get it done as quickly as I can within the constraints of whatever the necessary process ends up being.

I apologize for any delays this may introduce.  Believe me, I am very anxious to complete this project and get this book released!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Hemlock and the Maker's Fire: Cover and Status

Here is the cover art for the forthcoming Hemlock and the Maker's Fire (The Maker's Fire - Book Four).  It was created by the wonderfully talented artist Elena Dudina .  She has done the prior three covers in the series, and I think she really outdid herself on this one!

I recently got some very comprehensive feedback on the manuscript from my beta reader, and now I have some rework to do before it's ready for the editor.  I will try to make this work go as quickly as possible.

I'm also wrestling with the ending a bit.  I love the current ending I've written, but there's one aspect of it that I now worry is inconsistent with one of the core themes of the series.  I need to figure out a way to fine tune the ending.  I'm hoping it won't need a total rework and that a refinement will suffice.

Thanks for reading, and hopefully I will be able to report some good progress in my next blog post!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Hemlock Book Four Update

Hi!  This is a very, very quick update on the status of Hemlock and the Maker's Fire - Book Four in the series.  The book is nearly through the beta reading phase and close to being sent out for the final edit.  I also have the final cover art, which I will post very soon!  Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

New Year's Resolution: Achieved

[Author's note: the first draft of this blog post was written on on January 1st, 2017]

As I start writing this post, the default title for it seems self-evident.  I've been struggling to come up with ideas to blog about for the past several months.  But the obvious thing to do on this date is to post about making a New Year's resolution to complete the manuscript for Hemlock and the Maker's Fire (book four and final volume of the Maker's Fire series)!

Well, I'm pleased to report that this won't be necessary, because I have already completed it!  I finished the manuscript during the break between Christmas and New Year's.  I have sent it off for beta reading, and I've decided this would be an auspicious occasion to break my recent silence and post an update with this (hopefully exciting) news!

I am pleased with how the story turned out.  I was worried that the planning that was necessary to bring the story to a satisfying ending might constrain the free-form writing process I like to employ.  But this didn't turn out to be the case.  In fact, there were some surprises near the very end--even for me.  As schizophrenic as this sounds, I wrote some revelatory passages, and just sat back and said to myself:  "Really?"  But then I thought about what had sort of just ended up being written (in as close to a spontaneous fashion as possible) and I started to nod my head affirmatively.  Not only did the surprising idea mesh with the plot and backstory--it felt right.

This book also marks the point where I discovered that writer's block is a real thing and I can be vulnerable to it.  Despite my best attempts to keep a positive spin on things in my most recent blog posts, I simply wasn't writing, and I now feel I was in real danger of torpedoing the manuscript by letting it sit unfinished for too long.

Before this point I hadn't grappled with being blocked.  Maybe it had something to do with trying to come up with an ending to a series that lived up to what had come before in prior volumes and my own expectations.  It's also a fact that things were happening in my personal life that presented a real distraction: both temporally and emotionally.  But, the thing is, I don't think I should have stopped writing altogether like I did.  If I ever hit a similar situation again, I think it would be much better to carve out small blocks of time just to write something--anything.  I think writing just enough to keep the creative embers glowing is important.  Fortunately, I was able to pick this project up and complete it fairly easily once I did finally make the time.  But I won't take that for granted ever again.  I liken it to losing my balance around the edge of a cliff.  Maybe I wasn't in danger of actually falling, but if the same thing had happened a few feet closer to the edge, then who knows?

The Maker's Fire series of novels were written over a ten year period.  I guess, when I really think about it, every period of my life over those ten years is probably reflected in the story.  But that reflection is more on the micro level.  The macro level story was conceived early in the process. although the details did evolve.  The initial one hundred pages or so of Book One were totally off the cuff, but after that some "vectors" informing and predicting the overall plot arc did begin to form.  Some of them didn't even make sense to me at the time.  For instance, the implications of Hemlock's early visions of the Black Dragon stirring were not fully planned out when first written.  But I soon "discovered" what they meant as I imagined each unfolding layer of the story.  This is part of the mysticism of writing that I like to believe in.  I wrote about those draconian visions because I knew Hemlock's use of her powers was having some effect in the larger universe; and, later, my imagination filled in what that was and how it fit into the story.  It was like an off the cuff riff in a musical jam session that later got (seamlessly?) woven into the tapestry of the story.  I really enjoy that aspect of writing.

Now it's on to editing and cover imagery and all the other fun stuff that comes with publishing.  Stay tuned and thanks for reading!