Writing in Spring and Unexpected Happenings

My mower of choice

My writing—both blogging and short story/novel writing—always slows down in the Spring. The weather is nicer, the grass needs mowing, trees and shrubs need trimming, farmer's markets are opening for business (my wife and I try to shop local and for organic fruits and vegetables as much as possible), and our two dogs plead for walks more often than usual. These are just some of the usual things which come up annually to distract me from writing.

Don't get me wrong, though!

I enjoy most of these activities. Even mowing the lawn! Life's too short to do nothing but work (and writing is most definitely work, though of the enjoyable variety). Besides, these things are expected and manageable. It's the unexpected events which lately have thrown a major wrench in my usual routine. The biggest of these is that my wife broke her leg during a mountain bike race. She's on the mend and all is well considering she had surgery and has been in a variety of splints, casts, and a boot for over two months now. Of course I've had to play caregiver for the duration, helping her with a variety of activities she couldn't easily do herself. This wound up taking away a lot of my time right when it was already at a minimum because, again, Spring is here and the grass grows like you wouldn't believe here in Texas.

But, we're getting back to a more normal schedule now as my wife likely heads back to work full-time next week. That means I'll get back to more writing.

Here's a few tidbits going on now or coming up along those lines.

Blogging

I've been working up a post on negative energy that I'm pretty excited about. Negative energy is a theme which fits into both The Alchemancer series and my Assassin Without a Name series. The latter has been building up to some bigger things involving this phenomenon. It's been fun writing about the different organizations each attempting to harness it for their own use. It plays a fairly large role in the next Alchemancer book as well, so hopefully this post when it's published will provide some nice background info and maybe some hints on where the next book is going.

The Nullification Engine (The Alchemancer: Book Two) On Sale Right Now!

The Nullification Engine is on sale as a Kindle Countdown Deal for 99 cents for the next day or so. Then the price goes up to $1.99 and then again to $2.99 before returning to its usual $3.99 price point. Kindle Countdown Deals are limited-time promotions where the price of a book starts at a deep discount and works its way back up to its usual, full price in increments. Readers get a good price on a book, maybe discover a new author at minimal risk, while authors gain new readers, sell some books, and make a little money. It's a win-win all around.

The next Assassin Without a Name story is almost here

The next short story in my Assassin Without a Name series goes to editing in a week, then it should make it out to retailers the week after that. If you're signed up to my email list, you'll get The Goddard Affair for free. This story is about 25% longer than the previous story, Night of Zealotry, putting it at around 19,000 words (76 pages). Based on some measures, this puts it in the category of a novella, which should affect pricing. That's something I'm still debating. Of course, price becomes a moot point if you're signed up for my email list since you'll get it and every Assassin story after that for free. Click-through for more details.

Map Reveal: City of Brighton

Last time I revealed the regional map which goes along with my new steamfantasy novel, The Nullification Engine. Now, it's time to take a look at the second map.

I give you, the city of Brighton.

City of Brighton

Brighton is a city where three rivers—the Silvercross, Whitecrest, and Highbrook—converge. Its residents took full advantage of this by re-routing the rivers into waterways which flow throughout the city. It should come as no surprise that Brighton contains a great number of bridges and, much like our own real world Venice, finding your way around its streets and alleys, when you have the additional obstacles in the form of rivers and waterways, can make for a difficult time getting around, especially for newcomers.

Aaron, Serena, and Ensel Rhe arrive at Brighton's gates fresh from their ordeal in The Five Elements. As one might expect from my writing, right away things go south for them. I'll say no more, other than that you can pick up a copy of The Nullification Engine at all major online retailers. I hope you'll give it a read.

Map Reveal: Earldom of Kettering

I've gone on before about how important maps are to fantasy novels. So important, I commissioned a regional map for my first novel, The Hall of the Wood, and again for the first book in The Alchemancer series, The Five Elements.

The Nullification Engine, which was just released a couple of days ago, is no exception. In fact, this new book has not one map, but two!

Here is the first one (with the second to follow in a near future post). I give you the Earldom of Kettering.

For those who read The Five Elements, you'll no doubt notice the presence of Norwynne Keep, which is where the story in that novel begins. Much of the rest of the places from The Five Elements are 'off the map' (see the map for the Barony of Fallmere), because now our players are heading north. Where, you ask? All the way up to Brighton, which is a city that sits at the intersection of three rivers (The Nullification Engine actually begins with our heroes already having made the journey). There are a lot of hamlets, other cities, and geographical features called out in this map. Not all are touched on in The Nullification Engine, but will become more relevant as the series progresses.

Next post I will reveal the second map, which is of the city of Brighton itself.

You can purchase The Nullification Engine at all major online retailers.

The Nullification Engine (The Alchemancer: Book Two) Release Announcement

It's official. The next book in The Alchemancer series has been released!

This weekend only, you can buy The Nullification Engine for 99 cents at Amazon and Smashwords only. After that, the price goes up to $5.99.

This new novel picks up pretty much where The Five Elements left off. The first thing readers will notice is that the story widens, as does the number of characters. Aaron has more challenges ahead, Serena returns to a city she left behind three years ago under dubious circumstances, and Ensel Rhe will confront one of his greatest enemies. Also, he has to face his daughter, who he abandoned seven years ago. Throw in a whole lot of 'steamfantasy,' as one reviewer called it, and you've got 500 or so pages of high adventure, intrigue, heroes, villains, mystery, machines, magic, and mayhem.

Here's the blurb:

The city of Brighton promises new beginnings for Aaron, Serena, and the taciturn eslar, Ensel Rhe. But, upon their arrival, Aaron and Serena are arrested for their role in the Chaos of a week ago, while Ensel Rhe slips away on business of his own.

The pair are given the opportunity to plead their case before the earl himself, whereupon they are released and assigned a very special duty, for deep below the palace lies the Nullification Engine, an ancient machine completed hundreds of years ago but never activated. Until now. While Aaron and Serena struggle to unravel the machine's mysteries, Ensel Rhe confronts his past once more when he learns his daughter has come to Brighton, but in the company of one of his greatest enemies.

A race against time begins as Aaron comes to realize the Nullification Engine was never turned on for a reason, for once the machine reaches a state of full nullitivity, it will destroy Brighton and everyone in it.

You can get more details about the novel, see additional buy links, and find out about the characters, both new and old, at the The Nullification Engine's product page.