I’m done. At least for a while. I’ve been avoiding Facebook for weeks, if not months, due to all the crap I’ve been seeing. Fear, hate, and outright bullying in the form of political bullshit. Sadly, it was mirrored on the television. Fortunately for me, I don’t watch much television and what I do watch is either a hockey game or something I can block the commercials out with.
And now it’s over. Sweet, blessed relief. Normalcy can return. Except it hasn’t. If anything, the fear and hate mongering on Facebook has escalated. Most Trump supporters are getting sick and tired of it, even though the vast majority seem to have stayed quiet about it up until now. Hillary supporters are angry and bitter because she gave them a holy crusade to believe in and convinced them to take up the pitchfork and torch for her cause – only to find out her plan didn’t work out the way they thought it would.
Personally, I’m glad. I hate to admit it, but I’m glad on as spiritual a level as I’ll ever get that the American people did not condone her past and present actions by electing her into office. The evidence is irrefutable and, had it been anyone else who would have broken the agreements and laws that she did, a harsh sentence would be quick in coming. For her it did not, much as her husband was acquitted during his tenure as president when he was investigated. This, if nothing else, has served as an example of how corrupted and broken our system has become. To perpetuate that would be a crime. The government has too much influence and power.
Look at almost every science fiction story or movie out there. Utopian societies exist because of some hidden evil beneath. Some great corruption that allows the socialist regime to flourish and remain in power. Civilizations are disarmed and kept powerless. They are subjugated, perhaps even drugged, to perpetuate the illusion of a perfect world. Until some rebel with a bow and arrow or a bizarre way of thinking rises up and makes people realize that roses aren’t supposed to stink like decay.
More government is not the answer. More government means more rules and more restriction. Less freedom. Less ability to choose. Less human rights. In my stories I strive to keep government at reasonable levels and let the characters flourish and achieve what they are meant to achieve. Out here in the real world I struggle to do the same thing, because I believe it’s people that can, and do, make a difference. Not institutions or organizations. People.
America made me proud on November 8th when they said we want a real change. We don’t like what’s happening to us – what we’ve allowed to happen to us. We want something different. Is President Trump going to bring it? I’ll be damned if I know. I am convinced that he is extremely intelligent and very persuasive. His skills at business are exceptional. He’s not going to be the despot so many people believe in, but only time will tell that. Whether he can chart a new, and better, course for America will be a subject for historians. All we can do is work together and try to help each other through the bumps along the way.
Will there one day be a woman president? Absolutely. Will she be as enslaved by her ambitions and willing to broker any deal or tell any lie necessary to achieve that title? I sure as hell hope not. In my mind I argue that electing Hillary wouldn’t have been a proper way to shatter the glass ceiling – it would have been a lesson to our youth that it’s okay to do whatever is necessary to win, regardless of the consequences. That, to me, is just bad parenting on a national scale.
And I’ve gone on far longer than I intended to. My intent was just to say that I can’t stomach Facebook right now, so I’m taking a break from. Any abusive or defamatory comments on this will be removed. I’m not inciting a discussion, I’m stating my mind and moving on after months of doing my best to remain neutral only become involved when something amused me.
I’m not taking a break from writing though. Medic has broken the 20k word barrier and is coming fast and furious. Not as fast as I’d like, but I’m still slapping the keys as much as I can. It will definitely be done this year, and as long as editing and cover art are available in time, it will be published this year as well.
After that? Maybe a political thriller? That’s a joke. I hate politics and what they do to people. Next up could be a lot of things, but to be honest I have no idea which one it will be. I’ve had character ideas and story ideas – we’ll just have to wait and see which one makes the most sense.
Oh! There will be a release in early December. It’s called Arrested in Peace, and it’s my secret project I’ve been working on all year. This book is part of a multi-book project releasing at the same time. It’s science fiction and fantasy mixed in a cool new concept. I can’t say much more about it yet, but I do plan on getting up for pre-order soon so it can launch the same time the others do. Stay tuned for more info on that.
Voidhawk – Queen of Shadows, has sailed! To the editor, at least. I have cover art already so I just need that to be finished when it can dock a port near you for reading.
What took so long? An incredibly busy and crazy life lately, for one. The book itself was a joy to write and never stalled for lack of ideas of interest. In fact, it took on a life of its own and went in a direction I didn’t intend. Along the way a few characters really dug deep and really showed some amazing things to me. All in all, it was a good time and one I wish I could have gotten done sooner, only so that I can share it with the Voidhawk fans out there.
What’s next, you ask? Well, I have a couple of awesome character ideas, but unfortunately they won’t fit in the next Serpent’s War book, so they have to wait a bit for me to finish that. Another character I’ve been dying to write is a soldier who is living with PTSD, and a lot of ideas I have around it would fit in wonderfully with my Wanted setting. Think anybody’s up for an unexpected 5th book in the Wanted series?
Then there’s The Continuum, my joint venture with Dawn Michelle. That one needs more books written as well. Argh! So many options and so little time – and don’t think for a moment I’ve forgotten about Dark Universe or Vitalis.
So that doesn’t really tell you anything about what comes next, other than to say sooner or later, they’ll all be new books waiting to be read! Until then, hold tight for Voidhawk and stay tuned for more updates on what I settle on.
Oh, and my updates were pretty sparse lately. For that I apologize. I kept saying I need to write one down and share it… or I could spend the time writing the book and get it that much closer. I knew I was near the end, I just didn’t realize it would extend out another 6 or 7 chapters until I reached it. Next time, update first. These are short and quick, so why not make the time to do it?
Nothing like a summer cold to bless the end of summer. And bring progress to a standstill on my projects. The three day weekend was nice – until it ended, of course. Sadly, that’s when I broke my cold over Friday and Saturday. Getting back to normal now, but I spent labor day laboring (had to frame out more walls in my basement).
The good news is, the worst is past and now I can get back to working on Voidhawk! I’ve got a sweet new idea to incorporate into a book that’s already got a lot of possibilities I really want to work into it. Voidhawk – Queen of Spiders is a little under halfway written, what with my current half baked plans. Love to say I can crank out the rest of it over the next couple of weeks, but we’ll see how that works out.
In other news – there really isn’t much for other news. I’ve been delighted to notice that my non-Amazon sales are higher than ever and even outpacing Amazon this month. Too many issues with Amazon lately has me happy to see another venue outpacing them. The downside of that is my Amazon sales have also been terrible so far this month. Labor day weekend has always tanked for me though, so hopefully they’ll pick up and run neck and neck (Amazon vs. non-Amazon).
If you’re a reader looking for one of my books, if at all possible pick it up from iTunes / iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble (Nook Press), or someplace else. Not that I’ll snub a sale on Amazon, I just like to see healthy competition.
Today’s blog title is a bit of a play on words. While sailing the stars is a bit of an allusion that could be used for any starship or space travel, I mean it literally. As in using a solar sail, of sorts, to ply the solar winds and travel from star to star and world to world. Using modern science (or even future science, perhaps), it’s a viable means of transportation, but slow. Using fantasy, it opens up all sorts of possibilities!
So, since I abhor reality and enjoy escaping into my imagination, I’m talking about Voidhawk. Voidhawk is the name of the series and of the wooden ship that sails through the void (space) under the command of Dexter Silvercloud. He’s part scoundrel and part knight, among many other things. The Voidhawk is a ship that has been through a lot since he found it and rebuilt it. They’ve faced off against Elven Armadas, chased demons, travelled outside the void to a place without time, and hunted dragons that could not be killed. And they’ve paid the price for their boldness many times over. But they keep doing it.
The exclusivity? Well, that’s because I just put my entire Voidhawk series into KDP Select, which means it’s available on Kindle Unlimited. It’s exclusive because that means, for the ebooks, at least, I cannot sell them anywhere other than Amazon for the next 3 months. Since they weren’t selling anywhere but Amazon for the past several months, I figure this isn’t much of a sacrifice.
Better yet though is the news that Voidhawk, the first book in the series, is free on Amazon today (8/3) and tomorrow (8/4)! Then it goes back to its regular price of $0.99. Or, if you’re a member of Kindle Unlimited, you can read all 8 books in the series without paying a dime.
As for 8 books in the series, I’m working on book number 9 right now, although I have to finish up another one first, I hope to have that out of the way very quickly.
Oh, and lest I forget, Voidhawk becomes intertwined with another fantasy setting I have, the World of Kroth. The Blades of Leander trilogy (Child of Fate, Victim of Fate, and Silver Dragon) is already part of Kindle Unlimited. The next series, Order of the Dragon (4 books in that one), is not in KU yet. Nor is The Serpent’s War trilogy a part of it (and for the record, I haven’t written the 3rd book in that trilogy yet either). Voidhawk and Kroth cross paths in Voidhawk #7 (Broken Shards), Voidhawk #8 (Fallen Goddess), and soon to be in Voidhawk #9 (untitled). As for the World of Kroth books, the action happens between the end of Order of the Dragon and the beginning of The Serpent’s War, although there should be some interaction in the upcoming 3rd book in the Serpent’s War trilogy.
Phew, if that was confusing to you as a reader, imagine how tricky it is for me, the author, to keep it all together! Don’t worry though, I’ll take on the burden of keeping it straight. All you have to do is enjoy the books – and don’t forget to snag Voidhawk while it’s free.
First the really good news: Cover art for Vitalis: Valkyries is almost done. Any day now and it’s going to be ready to go – maybe even today. My fingers are crossed and so far I’m loving the concept art and mock ups going into it.
Outside of Vitalis, I’ve been working on helping Dawn Michelle with her Continuum series. The last two novelettes we wrote featured a character I came up with so we flew through them. Her next novelette in the series is switching back to her character, Selena, so it’s a little bit more of her work and less of mine. That means it goes slower (she’s a super-busy lady), and I can turn some of my attention back to my books. Specifically, my next project which I’ll be starting today.
Let’s see, Vitalis is science fiction, so that leaves space fantasy… what books do I write that fall under that classification? Well, it all started with my first published book seven years ago, and now my next entry into the series will mark my 9th novel. Of course I’m talking about Voidhawk, my fantasy series that puts humans, elves, dwarves, and every other fantasy race harnessing solar winds to sail through space (the void) on magical ships.
It has taken me a really long time to get back to Voidhawk after my last entry into that series (Fallen Goddess). If the reason why isn’t evident, it’s because of what happened in that book. The loss of a major character and the impact that had on the crew. And, to be honest, the impact it had on me. I don’t want to give out any spoilers for those who haven’t read it though.
Suffice to say, I’ve had a really hard time figuring out where to go next. Oh, I knew a general plot line and story idea, the problem was that it was too soon. I wasn’t sure how to deal with the characters and what they’ll be feeling and facing. There’s a hole on the deck of the Voidhawk and a hole in the hearts of the crew, it’s a spot that nobody wants to fill, and I’m not sure how to handle it either. Life must go on, and I’m finally prepared to find a way to make that happen.
I know, they’re fictional characters – they aren’t real – so wtf is wrong with me, right? Well, I’m talking to readers and book lovers, so you probably know where I’m coming from. There are characters that get inside of you. People you identify with because they feel real, even if you now they aren’t. Outside of a couple of books I’ve written (Voidhawk – Fallen Goddess in particular), I can think of one book that really hit me hard in the feels. Odd Thomas, by Dean Koontz. Phew, that book was… intense. Regular readers of my blog will note I’ve talked about Dean Koontz in the past though. I consider him to be the best I’ve ever read when it comes to telling a story. His plots and ideas aren’t always absolute top shelf, but I’d read anything he wrote regardless of whether it was original or not.
Anyhow, the point is, the characters might be made up, but their just names and faces for concepts and emotions that are real. Maybe part of them is part of me, or maybe it’s someone else I can associate with in real life. That’s the beauty and the magic of writing. Experiencing something new, or not new, in a way that makes me feel it.
I have no title yet for the new Voidhawk book, but it will definitely revolve around the recovery from what happened, as well as the need to fix what went wrong in the universe in Fallen Goddess. That means a lot of time exploring the new incarnation of Volera and understanding what, and who, exactly she is.
I just finished The Vault, a book I wrote that takes place in a post-apocalyptic North America (New York, to be precise). I intended it to be a novella but it got away from me and turned into something bigger, longer, and better. It was a book full of lessons for me too, as it detoured away from areas I am more comfortable with (science fiction / fantasy), and yet I could not use a lot of modern conveniences in it (no running water, electricity, etc.).
In fact, The Vault is set a year after a very impressive asteroid falls out of the sky and lands in the Atlantic Ocean, just west of the Bahamas. People around the world are wiped out, either right away or over the next several months as the sun is blotted out by debris, acid rain scours the planet, and the food chain is wiped out. All in all, it’s a pretty grim time, but there are survivors – otherwise how boring would it be to write about a barren rock we used to call home?
But that’s another story that’s already been told. It’s in my editor’s hands and when she’s finished with it, I’ll make it available. A week or two is my guess. I was inspired to write it by the success of my second book I ever released, Wanted. That book (and the series it spawned) has arguably been my most successful book. My hope is that I can recapture some of the magic in Wanted in the post-apocalyptic setting, although this one is very different both in setting and in the amount of people remaining. If it does well, who knows where it might lead later on?
That’s for later, this is now. And now it is time for me to once again take up the glowing crystal spear and knife and revisit the universe of Vitalis. When I last left Vitalis there was a group of bad-asses on Vitalis that were training and developing themselves. They have their orders now, and they are ready to return to Earth. Their mission: become the enemy so they can defeat the enemy. Pity the name “Suicide Squad” has already been taken, it might have made a great title.
At this point, after I finish up Vitalis #9 I’ll finally move back to Voidhawk and finish the rather epic storyline that was unearthed in Fallen Goddess. Not to mention addressing the hole that I left in the hearts of both the Voidhawk’s crew and myself when Jenna was lost. Finishing that story is going to require the third and final book in the Serpent’s War trilogy to be written as well.
As a special note, I’ve been doing a lot of research on character development and interaction recently and I really hope it begins to show in Vitalis and beyond (not that the characters haven’t developed and grown already, it’s just some new things I want to introduce).
I’m working on a story I’m calling “The Vault.” It’s a post-apocalyptic story exploring what happens to a group of people that are the first to emerge from a government vault designed to help a tiny portion of humanity survive an asteroid striking the earth. Trust me, when big, fast rock hits the earth lots of bad things happen. It’s happened before and it will happen again, but hopefully not for hundreds of thousands of years (or millions).
Researching what would happen for an asteroid strike is some pretty freaky stuff. Impressive, to say the least. Or maybe terrifying, if you’re the type that lets you worry about things you have zero control over (um, sorry, if that’s the case). In my scenario I’ve got a rock roughly 8kilometers (5ish miles) in size, fairly dense, traveling around 30 meters a second striking just off the Bahamas. Secondary problems involve fault lines shifting and causing earthquakes around the world, including an early release of a lot of stored up magma and pressure in the Yellowstone Caldera. It is, for all intents and purposes, an extinction level event.
Yet, people are resilient. Worse (or better) than cockroaches even. Survivors are trying to find a way to bring life back to the planet and rebuild. And that’s the gist of the story without giving anything away. I’ve got a core group of characters I’m focusing on and making them deal with one natural disaster after another. Fun, in its own way, but I’m afraid I went and made a terrible mistake.
I accidentally saw a snippet of a series on Netflix called Orange is the New Black. That tiny snippet was enough to hook me. That lead to the necessity of binge watching the first three seasons whenever I could. And now I’m waiting for the fourth season to come out this summer. Wait – what the heck does that have to do with my writing?
Good question. The characters in Orange is the New Black are outstanding. Even the ones I don’t really care much for have such rich backstories and lives I’m left shocked and impressed. My only complaint is that the series has expanded so much on so many of the other characters that I feel like the original heroines of the story, Piper Chapmin and Alex Vause, aren’t getting as much focus as they should. Their story, after all, is the one that hooked me and made me want to know more. I’m not happy with how the 3rd season ended, regarding those two, but I have my own hidden theories about what might happen to / for them.
Now then, back to writing. As I said all of these characters are so rich and thought out that it’s really opened up an itch in my to write something new and different. I’m struggling to stay focused on The Vault, and I’m happy that I only planned this story to be a novella instead of a full length novel. I’m halfway done by my guess, and I’m anxious to get it done as soon as I can so I can explore my new ideas.
What does that mean, as far as what comes next? Well, there are many options. I was thinking my next book would be a Vitalis story, and I could see myself trying to incorporate some of these ideas into Vitalis. After all, Vitalis has a history of having many characters with their own backgrounds and stories, so it might be a natural fit. Conversely, I could very easily find a way to slide these new ideas into a new Lost Girls book, although Katalina and Skylar would not be the main characters anymore. Instead it would follow their daughters and their desire to grow up and make their mark on the world.
Or maybe something else completely new? Naw, probably not. I’m probably going to end up focusing on Vitalis, but the appeal of a Lost Girls spin off is growing. I still need to write more Dark Universe, Voidhawk, and The Serpent’s War too (and countless many others). Come to think of it, maybe some of these new ideas could end up working out in an extension of my Wanted series too…
The positive take-away from this is that inspiration can come from anywhere. On the flip side, it can be damn irritating too, because it’s messing with my current focus. That makes me mad though, and anger I can use to drive me forward. Scorched earth be damned, I will have these stories out as soon as I can!