What I’ve Been Up To Lately

I’ve been busy. That’s the short answer. The longer, more detailed answer to what I’ve been up to lately follows.

Sometime last year I started outlining the third Alchemancer book, tentatively titled “The Inversion Solution.” I actually completed that outline, then switched gears back to my Assassin Without a Name series because I’m trying to round that one out with a solid ten stories (the story being told in that series will go longer than 10 stories, but 10 seemed like a good number to shoot for as an incremental goal). After spending some time with my witty assassin, releasing The Goddard Affair, Thief’s Gambit, Assassin’s Justice, as well as compiling the first three assassin stories into a collection called The Killing Knife, I changed my focus back to Aaron, Serena, and Ensel Rhe. I did leave them in a somewhat precarious position at the end of The Nullification Engine, so I know it’s important to get back to that series and get the next book out. The problem was that I was not satisfied with the outline. It needed more.

So I re-worked it from the ground up. Along the way, I realized there was too much going on to wrap the series up with only one more book, so I decided to add a book four. At that point, given the complexity of the various storylines, I knew I needed to outline book 4 before even thinking about starting to write book 3. I hate writing myself into corners or missing an opportunity for foreshadowing or some other tie-in. Plus, I really needed to work out the details to make absolutely sure I was telling the best story possible. So I pushed through and finished the outline for book 4. With both outlines now finished, I’m poised to finally begin writing the next book. People on my Facebook Page have been asking about it, too, which is kinda nice and cool at the same time. It’s good to know someone out there is looking forward to getting their hands on it.

Meanwhile, I also finished the outline for “Witch’s Imperative,” the next/seventh Assassin Without a Name story, and started writing it. I’m about 5,000 words in.

The plan moving forward is to split time between the two series, most likely giving more of my time to “The Inversion Solution” simple because it’s going to be longer than "Witch’s Imperative," and thus will take longer to write, and because I know readers have been waiting for it for a while now.

Last, I’ve commissioned a very talented artist to create a character illustration of everyone’s favorite witty assassin. I’ve received pencil sketches and some initial color blocks and absolutely cannot wait to see the final illustration. It’s going to look fantastic. The next step after that is to have full illustrations worked up for each of my major series. Think Aaron and Shanna in the middle of a chaotic, elemental storm for The Five Elements or Ensel Rhe and his daughter, Jakinda Rhe, battling a host of skeva for The Nullification Engine. I’d also like to see the Assassin Without a Name with Elizabeth at his side caught in the middle of a host of Jakaree priests. Exciting stuff. The business purpose of these illustrations is to use in advertising, on my web site, and in other promotional capacities, so there is reason beyond the coolness factor.

And that’s about it. I don’t write full-time; I’d need to sell a whole lot more books for that to ever happen, so I make use of what time I can outside of my day job.

One last parting word... If you’re on Facebook, stop by and like my author page, why don’t you? You’ll get occasional updates like this one as well as other genre related goodies and you can post stuff and ask me questions or just strike up a conversation. I'm very approachable and love to talk to people who share a common interest in all things fantasy.

Until next time!

Interviews and a Writing Update

imageI don’t do  many general update sort of posts anymore, as lately it seems I’m busy writing. It’s a good problem to have, right? Currently, I have three projects ongoing. More on that below. But, first, some other news.

An Interview and a Shout-Out

I’ve done one interview in the past month or so over on Judy Goodwin’s My Writerly World site and a blog shout-out on Michael Brooks’s Cult of Me blog. I want to thank both Michael and Judy for having me. The interview was a good opportunity for me to talk about my writing philosophy, along with current and upcoming projects. The shout-out was me talking about this blog, its evolution, and where I'd like to take it into the future. Go check each of them out.

Assassin Without a Name Sale

If you’ve been following along, you may have noticed that each week for the past month each Assassin Without a Name title has been on sale for 100% off. 100% off means free, of course. This week The Goddard Affair is on sale at Amazon until 9/22. Get it while you can.

Writing Update

Last, I have a few projects in-progress at the moment.

The first is Thief’s Gambit, the next Assassin Without a Name story. The rough draft is about halfway done and it’s currently sitting at 20,000 words. That puts it into novella territory in terms of length and, when all is said and done, it will be the longest story of the series to date. My goal was to have each story get longer and longer, which was to be expected as the plot continues to grow more complex and involved. So, I’ll be quite happy with the fifth story coming in at something like 30,000-40,000 words.

Meanwhile, in other Assassin Without a Name news…



I’m working on a short piece for a kickstarter campaign promoted by Ragnarok Publications called BLACKGUARDS: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries, and Rogues, which will feature my favorite assassin character. This is a submission/approval process, so there’s no guarantee my story will be accepted for the publication. However, worst case scenario I’ll have another story to fit into the series. This one would fit into the timeline somewhere after Thief’s Gambit.

And, third, I’m also working on the next Alchemancer novel, The Inversion Solution. Given the other work I've been putting into my Assassin series, this one has not gotten the attention it deserves. I expect that to change real soon, though, as this becomes my primary focus.

Writing Progress & Other Business #26

I realized it's been three months since I last did one of these updates.

Based solely on that, it might seem I've been on vacation. Not so.

In that time, I've:

  1. Revealed a new cover for The Five Elements
  2. Announced plans for a re-release of The Hall of the Wood
  3. Ran a LibraryThing giveaway of 80 copies of The Hall of the Wood (of which I have not gotten many reviews in return, which means I likely will not be doing another one of these for future books)
  4. Did the official release for (yeah, you guessed it) The Hall of the Wood
  5. And, THE BIG ONE, I made the official announcement for the release of Book Two in The Alchemancer series, The Nullification Engine

I have one more announcement, which is that the The Nullification Engine goes to my editor tomorrow.

That means I've done all I can do with it. Some argue that art is never really "done". That's a point I can get behind. But, in commercial works, there's a point where you have to declare it finished. I'm almost there.

Once back from editing, I have about three weeks to make all the needed changes and then it goes to proofreader 1, then proofreader 2, then proofreader 3. I'm taking the proofreading more seriously than ever before. I learned my lesson with previous works and I want as many eye balls on this as is financially reasonable.

The book will be "done, done" late November. The official release is therefore late November/early December. I'm trying to give myself the best possible chance of making back my investment on this one, which means I want it on Amazon's New Releases list between Christmas and New Year's Day. The exact release date will be determined based on those dates (I really just need to take a look at a calendar and figure the date out).

More on the official release day in a future post.

Writing Progress & Other Business #25

I'm writing the next book in The Alchemancer series. It's called The Nullification Engine and should be out soon. As a way to keep readers updated on my progress and also so I can gauge the same, each week I take a look at my current writing progress and report it here. Also, I discuss some other areas revolving around the business side of things.

The Hall of the Wood – 2nd Edition

As indicated to those who signed up to receive notifications when new novels and such of mine come out (what? you're not signed up? Then go here. You'll get a free eBook copy of The Hall of the Wood when it's ready just for being on the list.), The Hall of the Wood is going through final editing now and should be ready sometime this month. My editor got hung up a bit with sick kids and a tornado that knocked power out to his house for a week. Needless to say, his schedule got thrown a little out of whack. But, I'm close to having this book back out there in its glorious new second edition.

The Five Elements – New Cover

This is something I've been thinking about for a while. With the next book in the series imminent (see next section), I wanted to circle back around and start with a fresh, new cover for The Five Elements. This cover was done for me on the cheap, and while it's served me well over the past few years, it's now time to take it up a notch. More on this in the near future.

Writing Editing Progress – The Nullification Engine

I'm no longer writing the next book in The Alchemancer series but editing it. I'm under a deadline, too, as I've already commissioned an editor and she's got me on her calendar with a firm date. This person comes highly recommended, so I'm expecting great things. She'll get started in September. So, all things considered, The Nullification Engine should be out in October. That's the target date, anyway.

Shorts – Assassin Without a Name series

By now you may have seen the cover reveals for each of Fine Wine and Killing the Dead, so you have some idea what this series is all about. If not, the Assassin Without a Name series is about, yep, an assassin whose name just wasn't that important in the context of the first story. In fact, in his line of work, he doesn't really want people knowing his real name, so it fits that it's never revealed upfront. This might become a bit tricky as I continue on with the series, especially as he has family relations in the city he calls home. But, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. As I continue on with the series, I'll go deeper and deeper into the character's background, male-up, and views on the world in general. He has a colorful past, but it won't be revealed all at once. Primarily these shorts are about telling a good, entertaining story, so that's where the focus will remain.

You can purchase Fine Wine and Killing the Dead for free or close to it from all major online retailers.

Writing Progress & Other Business #24

I'm writing the next book in The Alchemancer series. It's called The Nullification Engine and should be out soon. As a way to keep readers updated on my progress and also so I can gauge the same, each week I take a look at my current writing progress and report it here. Also, I discuss some other areas revolving around the business side of things.

I missed last Saturday's update post because I was off volunteering at a Memorial Day weekend event for some of our wounded soldiers. I'm happy to have been involved and to help out. These guys sacrificed a heck of a lot more than most of us ever will, so doing even my small part brought with it a certain amount of gratification.

Oh, and I also met a former President of the United States, namely President George W. Bush.

Back to the book… I was so very close to finishing The Nullification Engine prior to our leaving town, too. Like down to the last and final chapter close. But, I'm happy to say I just closed the book on that last chapter so that I am now officially done with the first draft. Almost 150,000 words written over about 6 months. Here's the final data:

Date Current Word
Words Written Words/Day Words
% Complete
12/1/2012 0 0 0 146,850 0.00%
12/8/2012 20,019 20,019 3,337 126,831 13.63%
12/15/2012 24,425 4,406 734 122,425 16.63%
12/22/2012 30,027 5,602 934 116,823 20.45%
12/29/2012 32,059 2,032 339 114,791 21.83%
1/5/2013 34,757 2,698 450 112,093 23.67%
1/12/2013 38,923 4,166 694 107,927 26.51%
1/19/2013 44,503 5,580 930 102,347 30.31%
1/26/2013 49,628 5,125 854 97,222 33.80%
2/2/2013 52,073 2,445 408 94,777 35.46%
2/9/2013 56,503 4,430 738 90,347 38.48%
2/16/2013 62,161 5,658 943 84,689 42.33%
2/23/2013 68,213 6,052 1,009 78,637 46.45%
3/2/2013 74,552 6,339 1,057 72,298 50.77%
3/9/2013 77,757 3,205 534 69,093 52.95%
3/16/2013 84,859 7,102 1,184 61,991 57.79%
3/23/2013 88,321 3,462 577 58,529 60.14%
3/30/2013 90,459 2,138 356 56,391 61.60%
4/6/2013 95,984 5,525 921 50,866 65.36%
4/13/2013 103,119 7,135 1,189 43,731 70.22%
4/20/2013 109,196 6,077 1,013 37,654 74.36%
4/27/2013 116,797 7,601 1,267 30,053 79.53%
5/4/2013 121,121 4,324 721 25,729 82.48%
5/11/2013 128,802 7,681 1,280 18,048 87.71%
5/18/2013 134,918 6,116 1,019 11,932 91.87%
5/25/2013 144,117 9,199 1,533 2,733 98.14%
6/1/2013 147,853 3,736 623 -1,003 100.68%

You'll notice I finished at over 100%. That's because the total word count was always just an estimate which changed over time based on various averages I computed.

So, what's next?

I should get edits back on The Hall of the Wood this week or next. Meanwhile, I need to get going on the additional chapters I plan to add to that novel. Then I need to start in on the edits for The Nullification Engine and start thinking about a cover and setting up an edit slot with my editor. Still lots to do!

Until next time.