February already?

I never plan these posts out because I like to blog when the feeling hits me. Of course, being preoccupied with Parallax: Genesis tends to keep me away from here and although I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, here we are.

Yes, P: G is moving forward even though I’m not trumpeting it from the rooftops. Let’s face it, tooting my own horn isn’t really my thing and I’d rather announce a finished work than prattle on and on over something that is a work in progress even though poking my head up from the rabbit hole isn’t a bad thing.

I’ve been a little distracted of late due to my day job but that’s no excuse to make progress and in general, all of the world building and other behind the scenes stuff is finished so all I need to do is roll up my sleeves and get to writing. I’ve put all my other projects on hold to make P: G my priority for 2017 and I plan to get it out by September at the latest which, incidentally, was when I released Parallax back in 2015. Lights and Shadows took up the majority of 2016, which I think cost me some time but in the grand scheme of things, it was my time to consume.

Hopefully, I won’t take another two months or so to bring you all up to date.

Good Tuesday To You

After a few abortive attempts, I’m once again running a month-long pair of advertising campaigns through Amazon Marketing Services for Parallax while I write Parallax: Genesis. I say abortive because setting up a stable writing budget to fund this endeavor proved to be something of a challenge and I prefer to err on the side of caution with respect to these things.

But I did it and I’m glad I did because despite all the romantic notions I’ve ever held as a writer, making a living at it requires some sacrificing and hard work. After all, you can’t eat fun though you can eat FOR fun. Of course, it costs me very little on average to put out a book even though I would prefer to have some kind of return on my investment and have my books pay for themselves (and me) over time. Balancing a Day Job and a Writing Career isn’t as fun as you would imagine.

I’m still coping with the effects of putting Lights and Shadows on hold but anything is possible with it including revising it later as a future episode of a new series I’ve thought about doing after The Parallax Trilogy is complete involving John Pratt and his merry band of wandering do-gooders.

Anyway, that’s what I’m up to at the moment. Back to outlining Parallax: Genesis so have a great day. 🙂

Sword of Ages, Part I

In all my years serving in the Legion, I rarely had to raise my sword in anger. But when I did, the Heavens trembled at the prospect – Immunes Longinus Cratos

The furs that covered his leather armor gave off a musty odor as he walked through the forest at dusk. From a distance, he appeared as any other barbarian that the land would offer up with the exception of his measured stride. The smoke from the chieftain’s cooking fires carried the aroma of freshly killed deer venison and his stomach threatened to betray him as he found a hiding spot near the camp. His brown eyes studied the camp’s design. No guards other than those at the leader’s tent. He shook his head as he sat down in the shadow of a fallen log and checked his dagger and short sword. Once the sun had completely set, he would creep into the camp and complete his task. Tied to his belt was a small leather pouch containing a collection of herbs he had collected along the way and his trusty wine pouch. After praying silently to Mars and Fortuna, he leaned back against the log and waited for the light to dim.

Parallax: Genesis (The Planning Begins)

I’ve been getting a number of messages from people asking me when I’m going to start work on Parallax’s Sequels and though I am loathe to work on multiple projects at once, I’ve decided to dust off the files and get to it.

A little background on where I am at this moment:

Parallax: Genesis takes place immediately after the last battlefield scene in Parallax. Pratt and his crew find themselves trapped in Hyperspace after the ship’s Hyperspace Regulator module overloads and burns out. This poses a dilemma because while the ship’s fusion reactors provide a large amount of power, it is not infinite and when the fuel runs out (exacerbated by unique Time-Space conditions inherent to Hyperspace) everything including their Life Support Systems will shut down. In other words, if they don’t fix the problem, they will eventually drop into Normal Space feet first. Therefore, the first story event in P:G will be a race against time with plenty of opportunities for character development and drama. While I could probably put together a fairly good tale using this by itself, I plan for Pratt and Co to solve their problem and make their way to Earth, where the remainder of the plot will unfold.

This particular sequel is an expansion to the original outline I wrote for Parallax but decided to break into three parts because I felt that it was too extensive for one standalone book.

Considering Amazon Marketing Services

Note: Remember that you read it here first…hehe.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that while I consider myself a good writer and storyteller, I don’t have a lot of enthusiasm for promoting my books. I suppose it’s the last of my naivety to think that merely putting out a story with a snazzy cover would be enough.

Apparently, I’ve learned that the reality of putting out my stuff with little to no support isn’t a good idea. We live and learn by doing.

I publish through Amazon and Createspace and lately Amazon Marketing Services has been sending me advertisement emails talking up their ad campaign opportunities. I’ve known about then for a while but have been resistant to invest the necessary funds for fairly obvious reasons. However, I’ve been reconsidering that option because even as stubborn as I am known to be, I can’t deny the logic that even though I personally don’t like to promote my stuff, paying someone else to do it for me isn’t a bad way to go.

Amazon Marketing Services generally charges around $100 for a 30-day ad cycle, which wouldn’t break my finances, but as I consider this option as a test case, I’m stymied by one simple yet thorny question:

WHICH BOOK DO I USE?

Currently, I have three novelettes and one full-length novel out there. Each would be well served to be the first but I’m having trouble deciding which to choose for my experiment. I won’t say that I have much to lose here (maybe $100) but the potential for growth makes any risk acceptable.

Pro-Conning this is becoming a pain in the backside but I want to choose my next steps very carefully. Once committed, there’s not much point in turning back.

Thoughts?

Storylines: Many Forks, One Meal

As many of you know, I am about 50% Plotter and 50% Pantser because I like to create a framework for a story and then dive in and play within that structure.  I find that combination to be flexible enough to tell a good tale and not burn myself out when a plot goes off-road on me.

The thing is that the initial story idea goes through many evolutions before the finished story is ready to put out there.  We work diligently to interpret and write down the images that hang out inside our minds and that translation process involves an infinite number of mental filters as it grows and prospers.  For example, you’re working on a scene where two characters are having a conversation.  On the surface, describing a conversation is fairly straightforward.

But…

What are circumstances behind the conversation? Is it angry? Are the two characters dealing with an interpersonal issue?  Where are they? Is anything else going on around them?

Each of these questions open new paths that potentially take the story in a new and often unexpected directions depending on the type of story we are telling.  That is both the fun and the pain of it.  I don’t always welcome such forks in the road but I’ve learned that it’s better to explore the alternatives because everything can be edited out later.

In other news, I am still chewing on the elephant that is Lights and Shadows but I see its completion date slipping into Limbo, which was totally unexpected when I started working on it in 2015.  Thankfully, I only planned one book for 2016 so there is still time to get it out there before I turn my attention back to Parallax’s Sequels.

Well, that’s it for today. I should have a Lights and Shadows Update done soon so stay tuned and Happy Writing to you all. 🙂