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This Week’s Agenda

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I have a couple of projects this week. First there is a book launch, the second edition of Eightysixed by Emily Belden. It’s underway, kind of, so I’m finalizing a press release for that. For those who don’t realize it, launching a book in both paperback and ebook formats on Amazon is nearly impossible to synch up so both formats appear at the same time on the same day. Usually they are a few days apart because of the time delays involved between uploading and the posting of the books on each platform. Even then, it takes as much as a week for Amazon to connect the two postings together so that a prospective reader can choose between the two formats. Often the publisher needs to contact Amazon to have them manually connect the books. For that reason, release dates with Amazon are carved in hot butter.

At any rate, book realize dates with publishers are moving targets at best. Spring, Summer or Fall of whatever year tends to be about as exact as can be mentioned until content editing has begun. Even then, it is impossible to get the release date any closer than a week until the cover design and editing is completed and For Review copies are sent out – usually 60 to 90 days prior to release. Having said that, an exact date depends not he format and the distributor. There are a number of reasons a book’s release could be delayed at the last minute.

The second thing I’ve committed to doing this week is reading a book and writing a review for a friend. That’s in progress. I may finish the book tomorrow, depending on how long it takes to finish the press release and whether or not my new bike comes in at the shop and is assembled and tweeted properly. Yes, I have upgraded my ride. It now takes less time for me to get to and from work and my backside is a lot more comfortable in the process. Also, my have brakes that actually work! Anyway, I’m hanging onto the old bike for a while as a backup in case I get a flat tire or something.  I’ll list it on Craig’s List and see if I can get anything for it. It has good tires.

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I’ve been working more hours lately which is a good things for as long as it lasts. I’ve been saving the money for things I need. The first priority was a new bike, because i use it everyday. I also need to buy some paperback version of Fried Windows in bulk so I can do some personal appearances and book signings around Orlando. Also, I need a new laptop at some point, though presently I am using a computer that has an issue with the screen but works fine when plugged into a monitor. Another thing on my wish list is getting an actual Kindle because using the Kindle Reader on my old iPad is not as pleasant an experience due to its relative weight, etc. Everything has a priority, though. Having a supply of books to sell is at the top for now.

News about The Wolfcat Chronicles: nothing major yet. I’m expecting sub-editing to begin shortly on the first book of the series. I’m not sure about the timeline for release dates. My publisher has a lot of other projects in the queue. So, I’ll be busy doing promotional stuff for other authors until it’s my turn at bat. I have read some of the new manuscripts from other authors and there are some great books coming out this year from Pandamoon Publishing!

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There is Jeff Messick’s novel Knights of the Shield which should be out any day now. Emily Belden’s memoir, Eightysixed second edition will be out by the end of the week in both digital and print. Alisse Lee-Goldeberg has a sequel of Sitnalta due out this spring and Christine Gabriel has a sequel to Crimson Forest coming out later this year. Add to those books like Ramadan Drummer by Randolph Splitter, 122 Rules by Deek Rhew and Love’s Misadventure by Cheri Champagne – new books from new authors – and you have the makings of a great reading list.

#Publishing #Publicity #NewBooks #JeffMessick #EmilyBelden #RandolphSplitter #DeekRhew #CheriChampagne #ChristineGabriel #AlisseLeeGoldenberg #PandamoonPublishing

 

 

 

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The Wolfcat Chronicles Complete

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Friday morning I completed revisions for Book 10 of The Wolfcat Chronicles, which included a major rewrite of the final three chapters. I submitted the manuscript to my publisher. So the series that I have spend over a decade writing and most of my life preparing is one step closer to reality.

Before I move on to other projects, I’d like to reassure all those who have read early versions of the books that the essential story has not been altered. Some of the details have changed here and there in the process of revisions. One chapter was added and, in several other places the dialogue was modified a bit, to make the series connect with Fried Windows in a much more substantive way. Otherwise, it’s the same. I’m sure that as the editing process progresses there will be some other changes, though I expect them to be minor and more along the lines of ensuring consistency between the beginning and the end of the story and giving it a good hair cut here and there. The objective of editing is to trim away those things that do not directly contribute to the story, developing the characters, and advancing the plot,

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What’s next? Well, yesterday morning I did something I haven’t done for a while. In fact I’ve not done it since composing what has since become Fried Windows. I wrote a short story. I’m not sure I’ll do anything more with it. I could, though. There is an opening to expand the tale and I may pursue that – kind of like I did with Fried Windows – and we see where that ended up. But for now it’s a back burner sort of things.

The short story I wrote was my attempt to fulfill a prior commitment to write a piece for a collection with a theme “the seven deadly sins”. My challenge was to write something about greed. I’m not sure if I actually accomplished that with the story. What I wrote was more about wealth, money and large corporations mistreating the little guy. To me that’s practical reality of the sin or greed. However, I also believe that all the seven deadly sins are interconnected in many ways. If you ponder the subject for a while you will eventually get to a place that I am, where you understand how one thing leads to another and so on. Greed, envy, avarice… it’s all connected.

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The next two things I plan to work on are the sequels for Fried Windows and Becoming Thuperman. That leaves the stand alone story of Bongwater Moses still lingering in the background, but I need to finish that one too. Somewhere along the way I also want to revise a couple of other stories about the Brent character from Fried Windows.

Having the major weight of ten books off my shoulders – at least until substantive editing begins – I can work on a number of other projects. At some point I’ll be going through something of a relaunching of Fried Windows as it comes up on its first anniversary and is released in the formats and through other distributors. I’m not sure when that will come about. It’s popularity has been increasing through the free promotions, but it has been a slow process. It’s a bit like acquiring friends for me, growing readers. It takes a while to get to know me but after someone has gotten to know me they tend to be friends for life.

 

Lately I’ve been scheduled to work more hours at my day job. That is largely a result of picking up shifts that other people cannot work and having been cross trained to serve other roles. Hey, I can use the money for buying books to sell at book signings, right? Also I’ve saving up to buy a better bike. One with gears that change and working brakes both front and rear would be a vast improvement over what I have been using. However, it’s hard to justify the expense at this point, as I am getting by with what I have. The tried were placed last summer and have a lot of wear left on them.

My idea is to keep the present bike as a backup in case I wake up one day and my tires are flat on the newer bike I’d be using. You know, kind of like having a second car. As my son leave early for work each day and I tend to work in the mostly in evenings I don’t have the option of asking him to drive me. My options would be to call a cab – which I can’t afford – or hoof it for the 4.5 miles. I’d probably opt for the latter though I’m not exactly sure how long i would take me to get there.

At some point I need a new laptop to replace the one I have that doesn’t serve as a laptop anymore – battery dead, screen doesn’t work. I know I’m going to need portability eventually, especially when I start moving around and traveling again, but at the moment it isn’t a huge priority. I’m using a jury-rigged configuration that serves my purposes well enough. Also, as I refuse to go back to a Windows platform for my working computer, I’m kind of at the mercy for how inflated the prices for Apple computers are. They tend to be very proud of their products, as my dad always said of something expensive for no apparent reason. Yes, I get that Apple computers tend to last longer and are supposed to be built better, etc. I’m not convinced any of that is particularly true anymore, if it ever was. Remember, I repaired computers for a while. I’ve been inside everything imaginable. And since Apple switched to using Intel processors their systems have become more and more like everything else out there in the PC world. Much of the difference is cosmetic except that I prefer the operating system to windows and find it to be generally more stable, with he exception of the Safari browser which has been crashing lately for whatever reason.

Coming up there are some promotions for Fried Windows. As soon as I have resupplied my local stash of books, meaning ordering some directly from the publisher, I’ll be working on some local book signings. So, for anyone in Central Florida, be on the look out for announcements. I plan to tie-in the appearances with pre-release activities for The Wolfcat Chronicles and Becoming Thuperman. I’ll also be participating in some promotional stuff for other authors whether as a publicist or a friend.

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Rose Montague has two books coming out next month, for example one at the beginning of the month titled Jane, the sequel to Jade. There is another coming out later next months as well. More about that in upcoming blogs. I also plan to interview her again. She is an interesting person and an excellent storyteller. Her first book, Jade, was released a little over a year ago. I read and reviewed it somewhere around that time. Her writing is as unique as her subject matter. I highly recommend her books to anyone who enjoys novels that bend reality a bit – stories about shape shifters, witches etc.

#TheWolfcatChronicles #FriedWindows #Becoming Thuperman #NewProjects #Rose Montague #Jade #Jane #Revisions #Writing #Publishing

 

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The Wolfcat Chronicles – The Inspiration

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There’s not a single moment that stands out to cite as the inspiration to write The Wolfcat Chronicles. More accurately it was a series of incidents and a process in the evolution of an idea. Since the series is related in many ways to other writing, I could say it began with the first piece of fiction I wrote as a kid. But the idea to write a novel came about when I was riding my my dad’s pickup truck returning from the Trade Day Flea Market in Washington Court House, Ohio in late 1969. He asked what I wanted to be when I grew up if, as i had just told him, I didn’t feel cut out to be a farmer.

My mother told me she’d always heard that the first thing a baby grasps hold of is related in some way to what he or she will do in life. I grabbed a pencil. Years later when I was in college my mother reminded me of that, to which I replied, “The pencil also had an eraser. So maybe it was telling me I’d make a lot of mistakes.”

I toyed around with some stories during high school, even published some in the school newspaper and monthly literary magazine. But it wasn’t until college that I set out to compose a novel. I knew nothing about how to accomplish that, but that did not deter me.

After enrolling in a creative writing course I wrote the first bonafide piece of The Wolfcat Chronicles, a character profile for a wolfcat, though at the time I didn’t call the hybrid creature anything in particular. It was an assignment for which I received a grade of C-. My obstructor didn’t like sci-fi and fantasy, which was fine because I didn’t like him much either. He picked it apart, saying it was absurd and impossible to have a creature that was a their human, a third wolf and a third cat. He’d never heard of the theory of gene splicing. Not many people had back in the late 70’s.

Later that year I wrote a draft novel titled Tarot. Some portions that story survive within chapters of One Over X and The Wolfcat Chronicles. Tarot allowed me the experience of writing a long story spanning several chapters. I let a couple of friends read it and received feedback, some positive. I thought of editing it, revising it and sending it off to a publisher but a few months after writing it I actually read the draft. The story was thin, banal, not well-thought-out or developed and probably not worth the effort to fix.

My first actual publication was the Unit History of the 6903rd Electronic Security Group at Osan AB, Republic of Korea. It wasn’t destined for any bestseller list. It contained highly classified information and therefore had a very small distribution list. It was over 400 pages and received several awards.

Also while in the military I wrote a draft regulation for cataloguing, storing and disposing of classified information. The regulation was adopted within the intelligence community. Also, while I was in training I wrote a training manual that was implemented at my training base. I received commendation for both achievements.

I mention all that because prior to my experience as a unit historian I lacked confidence in my ability to write. It also allowed me to work with a computer word processor, albeit it a primitive one. Receiving accolades bolstered my ego – something vital int he development of an author, even if those who were the most impressed were not especially talented at writing.

Upon returning to the States I began writing From The Inside, the first book of the One Over X series. I would spend the next eight years laboring over that while working in retail management, being a father of three small children and all the other necessary chores and duties. Writing was a hobby. I’m amazed how much progress was actually made, all things considered.

In 1993 I bought the my computer, ostensibly for the family. The kids played some DOS children’s games on it but I wound up using it most of the time. Other than playing solitaire for the first few months of owning it and figuring out how to get online and use email, I began the meticulous process of recreating my novel in progress in a digital format using the MS Works word processor that came with my computer.

In April 1995 I came down with a bacterial infection in my bloodstream which all but destroyed my aortic valve. I was admitted to the hospital with a fever of 104 degrees F and put on IV’s with antibiotics. During the period of high fever which lasted an entire weekend I had vivid dreams about battles between demonic creatures, humans and animals. I recalled them well enough to write about them in my journal. That material made it into The Wolfcat Chronicles Book 7.

After a summer of recuperating from having my valve replaced, I upgraded to a faster computer and bought a copy of MS Word. I converted the Works documents into MS Word format and then began the painstaking process of correcting all the issues that conversion created. That was also the first time I edited and revised any of One Over X.

Along with my adventure in writing I was becoming a computer technician on the side, just from figuring out how to repair my computer and troubleshoot the software. I read computer magazines, books on writing programs and computer repair. I continued writing and eventually produced a rough draft for From The Inside. I met a small publisher join Connecticut and began a two year ordeal of editing the book. A lot of that knowledge influenced my characters and their roles. It also served as an inspiration for the EthosSphere program in One Over X, which in 2015 terminology would be called The Internet of Things.

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In the late Spring of 2000, shortly after my father passed away and while corresponding with my publisher and sending edits and revisions back and forth, I began writing The Wolfcat Chronicles in earnest. Starting with what is now Chapter 2 of Book 3, it was intended to be a wolf story that I shared with friends I’d made in an IRC chatroom. We pretended to be a Wolf Pack and created a roll playing game. Many of the character names in the series came from the screen names of those people or variations upon them. One of those people called herself Ela’na the Wolfcat. She became my personal muse during the compilation of the ten books in draft. We became friends over the years, though we have never met in person and live on opposite sides of the country. And yes, the similarity of the character she was playing int he RPG online and the character profile I’d written in 1977 was not lost on me – especially when years later i discovered she was born on the same day I wrote the character profile for my creative writing class. (Cue Twilight Zone Music)

 

Book 3 through 7 were written first, originally a 413 page single volume titled One Pack, that grew in revisions and through the addition of other backstories and characters. Book 8 and half of Book 9 were written next and was originally titled The Last Wolfcat. While writing that story in 2005, my published asked me to edit a children’s story and upon my recommendation a couple of other scenes were added to the book. I helped write those. Based on that experience, my published suggested I write a children’s story about the wolfcats, sort of like The Hobbit serves as an introduction to Lord of the Rings. One chapter into writing the prequel to One Pack, which was titled The Spectre of Dammerwald, it was clearly not going to be a children’s story. That eventually became Books 1 and 2.

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Upon completing the prequel, I now had sufficient backstory to flesh out the remainder of Book 9 and write Book 10. However, a lot of the material in Spectre required making many changes, both minor and major, to Books 3 through 8. Upon completing that long task (during the Spring of 2007), I began writing The Attributes, which concludes many of the threads created in One Over X and The Wolfcat Chronicles, thought it is a stand-alone, two-book series.

In 2011, I posted each chapter of the draft for The Wolfcat Chronicles to a writer’s website and received feedback which I am presently incorporating into the current set of revisions. By then I had written several other manuscripts and stories that are as yet unpublished. I also wrote much of the Earth-side backstory for Ela’na the Wolfcat, which involved Brent Woods, the main character in Fried Windows. In 2012, I wrote Fried Windows, which technically takes place both before and after The Wolfcat Chronicles. I promise, that will make sense once you have read the books.

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#TheWolfcatChronicles #FriedWindows #Inspiration #Writing #Publishing

 

 

 

 

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The Wolfcat Chronicles Book Nine Submitted

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Yesterday evening I completed the revision of The Woflcat Chronicles Book 9 and submitted it to my publisher.  For those of you who were beta readers for the draft of the manuscript, I changed a few things – most of them in keeping with the new ending I envision for Book 10.

I am taking a bit of a break now. I promised to read a friend’s book and review it, so for the next few days, aside from working, I’ll be plowing through a spy thriller. It’s not a genre I follow all that often but I have read a few of Tom Clancy’s books. I started reading it last night and, so far, the book is intriguing – always a good start.

For Book Ten, I expect the first half to three quarters of the story to remain pretty much to same. There are places to be and battles to fight that are necessary to the overall story arc of the series and resolution of the tenth book’s plot. The last few chapters will be extensively rewritten, though, and one of them scrapped, for the most part. This will allow the story to better align with other related stories contained in other books, publishing and unpublished, including Fried Windows. I’m excited to get started on reworking Book Ten  but I’m a little apprehensive as well. Beta readers were about 50/50 on whether they liked the original ending. Personally, I wasn’t happy with it. It accomplished some things I wanted but not all. My hope is that I will make it an ending worth reading ten books in order to reach.

One of the difficulties of writing a book with feedback from readers is that everyone finds a favorite character – even relatively minor ones – and wants something different to happen with them. Sometimes that is just not possible within the constraints of a story. Yeah, I know I’m writing a fantasy where everything is possible, at least from a  creator’s perspective, but it isn’t quite a wide open to the imagination as one might think. When a fantasy world is created, if it is to be believed on any level, there must be rules established, laws of nature, as it were, and those become restrictions. I believe I’ve been pretty agile and adept at circumventing expectations and conventions as I write The Wolfcat Chronicles. Expect the unexpected has been my motto. But, still, there are some things that must happen in order to conclude the series properly.

Someone once asked me which of the many characters introduced throughout the series is my favorite. That’s tough to answer. As I write a scene there is a star and, for the duration, he or she must be my favorite to whom I pay the most attention. Overall, of course Ela’na and Rotor are favorites. Of the supporting characters, though, I really enjoyed writing the scenes with Swip’ter and Shealu in the One Pack section of the series, especially when they first meet. In the first two books, which comprise the Spectre of Dammerwald section, I enjoyed Grem and to a lesser extent Slammer. In the concluding section, The Last Wolfcat, I enjoyed writing about Mang.

I expect to be back to working on The Wolfcat Chronicles sometime next week, probably by Wednesday. It should take most of February and perhaps longer to finish. I’m not sure at this point. It’s been a long time since I was last here in the story.

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#TheWolfcatChronicles #FriedWindows #Revising #Writing #Publishing

 

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Update on The Wolfcat Chronicles Book 9

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The revision for Book 9 of The Wolfcat Chronicles started yesterday – well, actually the previous night but I only did a couple of pages. So far, so good. I reviewed the first chapter twice and decided to flip chapter one and chapter two. Now the flow is better. I’ve made it to page 70 and, if things progress as well as they have thus far, I should finish the revisions this next week, which would put me a month ahead of schedule – sort of. It’s my schedule, anyway, and therefore, open to revision.

Yesterday, I also wrote a rough outline for a companion piece that would probably be released shortly after Book 8. There are some references to events mentioned in the companion piece appearing in Book 9. You see, the ideas and the plot are nothing new, just something that was never fleshed out in story form. The companion piece also leads into The Power of X just as the conclusion to that book leads into Book 10 of The Wolfcat Chronicles. However, reading The Power of X is not required prior to reading any of The Wolfcat Chronicles. In fact, it would likely be best to read The Wolfcat Chronicles before The Power of X. And since that book does not yet appear anywhere, potential problem averted – except for the couple of dozen beta readers who read The Power of X on Fan Story a couple of years ago.

Since some of the characters from One Over X appear in The Wolfcat Chronicles, I have been asked if it is advisable to read the first two books of One Over X. It’s not necessary unless you want to know where Andy Hunter, Terry Harper and Brent Woods come from. The event stream of One Over X is actually separate from  The Wolfcat Chronicles, due to the concept of concurrent time. Brent Woods also appears in Fried Windows, which technically takes place after The Wolfcat Chronicles.

Now that I’ve thoroughly confused everyone, let me make it clear. You do not have to read anything else to understand what is going on in The Wolfcat Chronicles. However, there is more background material forthcoming through other manuscripts that will be published int he future. That’s how you build a universe, one book at a time.

Now, back to work.

#revisions #TheWolfcatChronicles #FriedWindows #OneOverX #writing #publishing

 

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The Wolfcat Chronicles Book Seven Revisions Complete

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For those of you following the saga of the entire series revision for The Wolfcat Chronicles, Book 7 was submitted to my publisher this morning. Now I move on to Book 8 – after a brief break.

As I have said before, I’ve not worked on Books 8 through 10 for several years. Over that time my writing style has changed a bit. Also I completed and self published The Attributes and signed with Pandamoon Publishing to see Fried Windows released this past May. In other words, a lot has happened.

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I’ve always planned a substantial revision for the final three books that comprise The Last Wolfcat section of the series. As I have written several of the other tangential pieces that tie into The Last Wolfcat, I have some new ideas for the conclusion. I have never been happy with the way the original draft ended.Now that I know how everything connects to Fried Windows, The Attributes, One over X and The Power of X – along with some as yet untitled pieces – I will tackle the task of rewriting the last third of so of Book 10. I am also considering an 11th book that falls outside of the storyline of The Wolfcat Chronicles but would provide some backstory support. I’m thinking of calling the supplement, The Offspring – not to be confused with the musical group.

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So, although I’m happy to have completed the Spectre of Dammerwald and One Pack sections of The Wolfcat Chronicles, and would love to take the day off and celebrate, I have a lot left to do. I really need to have the entire series wrapped up before April to fit into my plans for other books that remain on the back burner – including sequels to Fried Windows and Becoming Thuperman.

As for Becoming Thurman’s release date, expect it sometime around summer. Since it has a baseball theme that is a better time of year for it to appear, I think.

I’ll be promoting Fried Windows locally in some bookstores with signing and personal appearances over the next few months as well as building interest in the first book of The Wolfcat Chronicles and having some launch parties. So if you live in Central Florida be looking for the announcements. My publicist and I are considering some other promotional events, perhaps in other states. Nothing has been officially scheduled yet but it’s in the works. Also, I’ll be offering personally autographed copies of Fried Windows online. I’m working out the logistics of that as well.

#FriedWindows #TheWolfcatChronicles #BecomingThuperman #ThePowerOfX #OneOverX #TheAttributes #Revisions #Publishing #PandamoonPublishing

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Projects for 2015

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Yesterday I completed a list of uncommonly spelled words and names for my editor’s use in preparing a stylesheet for the publication of The Wolfcat Chronicles. The list is complete through Book Six, which is as far as I have gotten with he current round of revisions. I figure as I go forward l’ll add anything that appears to the list, though I believe most things are on the list already. There are some new characters for Books Eight through Ten, though. Already the list is eight pages long. It will exceed ten pages before I reach the end of the series.

The first order of business for 2015 is completing the revision on Book Seven, a process I’ve already begun. Sunday is a day off from my nn-wiritng job, so I’ll knock out several chapters. I’m hoping to complete the effort before January 15. I don’t foresee a problem in doing that.

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Beyond Book Seven I expect books Eight and Nine will take until the end of February. I’m allocating March and April for the rewrite I envision for Book Ten. Factoring in the time I’ll need to devote to substantive and content edits on both Books One and Two of the series, if I finish the revisions sooner, all the better. At some point I’ll be going through sub-edits and content edits for Becoming Thuperman as well, as I expect to release three books this year, two of them are part of The Wolfcat Chronicles. Because the entire series will be completely revised by April, I suppose it is possible that more book of the series might appear in print before the end of 2015, provided my publisher has the bandwidth to process them. Depending on how many of The Wolfcat Chronicles books are slated for 2015 release, I might spend most of my time with edits.

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Six new authors were added recently to Pandamoon Publishing’s family. So their books will be in production concurrently as well as follow-up novels from authors who had books released in late 2013 and throughout 2014. Christine Gabriel, Chrissy Lessey and Steph Post have new manuscripts. Jason Beem plans another novel. Emily Belden is working on a new project as well. Alisse Lee-Goldenberg is rumored to have a sequel for her fantasy Sitnalta that is ready to enter the editing process – nothing officially announced on that one yet, but you can expect something soon. So, there could be as many as 24 books released in 2015 from my publisher.

Then there are other projects I need to work on as well, including the sequel to Fried Windows. I need to finish writing that one. There is also a sequel to Becoming Thuperman envisioned, though I haven’t begun writing it. And there are a couple of other novels in progress that I have yet to complete.

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Once I complete the revisions on The Wolfcat Chronicles I plan to begin revising some other manuscripts I haven’t yet published. I’m not sure whether my publisher will produce any of those, but at least I’ll submit them. For 2016 and beyond I may decide to pull my self-published work, revise those for new editions and submit them as well. At some point I want to complete the One Over X thread that covers Andy Hunter, Terry Harper and Lee Anders Johnston who appear in The Wolfcat Chronicles as minor characters. Then there are the Power of X books, which fill in the background for Ela’na and clarifies her connection to Earth and Brent Woods. Additionally I have a number of books about Brent Woods, pretty much from childhood through college and his military service upto entering The Program. I may also revise a new edition of The Attributes, which is sort of a capstone for all the science fiction threads from One Over X, The Wolfcat Chronicles and The Power of X. All told there are forty manuscripts in various stages of completion, with twenty written in draft (at least) and about half of those have been revised and submitted. So, even if I were able to push out five books a year, which is highly optimistic, I am looking at eight years’ work.

Publicity and building a fan based continue to be major background efforts. 2013 and 2014 were years of building from obscurity. There’s still a lot I need to do. Foremost is establishing a worldwide street team prior to the launch of The Wolfcat Chronicles Book 1. My social media presence has increased significantly in the past year, but I’ll need to leverage those contacts in some way. A major problem is that the majority of my friends and followers are fellow authors. Understandably they are working on their own books and promotions. So networking and dovetailing fan bases is the only strategy that will engage them for supporting my work.

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My urgent goal it to find more readers and get the word out about my writing. Fried Windows has not received the attention I think it deserves. Yes, I know I’m biased because I wrote it. But I truly believe int he book. People who have read it believe it is one of the best fantasy novels out there. It has remained relatively obscure with all the noise out there from competing titles. There is no lack of good books in the marketplace, but the problem for readers is finding them from amongst the utter crap, some of which has come from major publishing houses. Quality control is not exclusively a self-publishing issue, though, admittedly, the bulk of published work comes from independents. A lot of work being published every day that is not ready for prime time – if it will ever be.

It is far too easy to self-publish a book in the hubris and euphoria following the moment of relief typing The End on the final page. Many a writer has put work out there that needs considerable amounts of professional editing. In the past I’ve been guilty of that as well. But I have learned.

Despite overtures to the contrary, quality control in self-publishing remains virtually nonexistent. The measures some, like Amazon, have in place are too easily abused. A book troll can complain about a novel’s quality over some bogus issue and the book will be pulled and the author notified that a revision of the issues must be completed before the book can be resubmitted for further review. The problem with all that is that the validity of the reader’s complaint doesn’t seem to enter into the discussion. There have been several instances that best selling self-published books have been yanked due to a reader’s complaint about an alleged grammar problem that is not based in fact. Many indie authors pay a lot of money to have books professional edited using established industry standards by major publishing houses. I wonder if a reader complains about a book from a major house if it would be yanked from the site?

#revisions #writing #TheWolfcatChronicles #FriedWindows #Publishing #StreetTeams #FanBase #Publicity #PandamoonPublishing

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Next In The Queue

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Here we go again, right? It’s new Years Eve already and I thought at this time last year and the year before that I was on the threshold of having a dream year. Let’s say that previously I’ve been here and been wrong several times.

Although last year I published Fried Windows and have received a lot of positive feedback from fans and fellow authors, it hasn’t allowed me to write full time, which is my objective. Perhaps that is a longer journey than I expected. It tends to take several books before a sufficient number of readers discover a relatively obscure fantasy author like me.

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Yesterday, I submitted Book Six of The Wolfcat Chronicles. Revisions for the entire series continue to move along. I should be finished revising Book Seven in a couple of weeks. As I’ve said before the last three books of the series need the most work, though, and that will slow the pace of revision considerably – especially the rewrite envisioned for the last half of the final book. However, despite the generally painful experience of revision, I’m optimistic that I’ll complete revisions of the entire series sometime before April. I’m including interruptions in my expectations because, somewhere in the process, I will be doing substantive edits and content edits on at least the first book of the series.

Last week was fun. The day at my sister’s house in Palm Harbor was a good change of pace for me. I’m grateful for the invitation and glad I could arrange things in my schedule to take a couple of days off. While there I  met someone I didn’t know who has actually read my most recent book. If you;re not a writer you don’t understand what a big deal that really is. It’s also a little intimidating. You never know what a reader is going to say. They might tell you your baby is ugly.

All of us at the gathering were in rare form. You know how you wish you had a recording of the event just so you could capture the spontaneity and high spirits? Yeah…but somehow I think having a camera present wouldn’t have worked as well. People are naturally hams, you know? Playing to the camera would destroy the occasion, making it look too much like Reality TV.

Anyway, lots of laughs shared and good memories for all. Maybe we are supposed to recall such events without the aid of artificial recordings, just so we are kinder to all the silliness that probably – out of a family context – was not really all that funny. Such events tend to be you-had-to-be-there kinds of things, especially when you attempt explaining what was funny to others.

For some reason being around my oldest sister brings out the clown in me – not the scary kind but the playful, joking sort. It’s always been that way. Her clan is pretty much insane by any reasonable standard. So, of course, I fit right in. We each have our foibles, don’t we? It’s good to have a place you can go that you feel like you belong, even if it is just for a day.

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I like family get together because I sort of expect things – based on past experiences – but also I never truly know what will happen. This time it started with a dining room table discussion about something that happened years ago – something that was not even remotely funny at the time.

When there is a new member to the gathering a novel dynamic is introduced. More stories to be told and greater depths of experience to be fished for something worth sharing quirk the group. I think back to when I was a kid reaching point of realizing that discovering dirt on close relations is immensely interesting. That is probably the best thing about family get togethers. You discover that your personal strangeness when compared to other family members isn’t really all that bad after all.

Anyway, things progressed and evolved from the stories told at the table to other stories told, retold with embellishment, or outright fabricated. I’ve been known to do some of each but since I’m a writer the latter is where I reign supreme. For some reason memories of childhood remain vivid and clear while recalling what happened last week or even yesterday is shrouded in mystery. That’s how life works, though. And whenever you run out of true stories to tell there is always a chance stretch things a bit. Telling how things should have been is almost as good as how they actually were, right?

Yesterday, my editor informed me in an unofficial way that Book 1 of The Wolfcat Chronicles is next in the queue for substantive edits. That means nothing really except that the process is about to begin. I’ll be working on a list of terms, characters and places that have unique spellings so that a style sheet can be created for editing purposes. Otherwise how would we know that Mt. Kordha is spelled correctly each time it appears, right? I’ve decided it makes more sense to create an inclusive list for the entire series. I started working on that last night and the list is already going on four pages – and I’ve not delved into Book Two yet.

The Wolfcat Chronicles may seem to have a cast of thousands while you’re reading it but most of the names are merely mentioned as memorable faces in the crowd and are not actual participants in conversations. Still, a series with the kind of depth and scale of the wolfcat books has dozens of speaking parts. It’s a lot like going through one’s real life in a way. You meet people all the time. Some of them become friends others do not. However we all have momentary exchanges and those tend to affect us in some way.

One of the crazier aspects of writing an entire series is the total immersion required of the author. It begins with the actual creation of the first draft and continues through each successive revision. It becomes necessary to believe in the fictional world, actually entering it and living there for certain spans, just to understand the characters and their conflicts. I don’t know if it ends once everything is settled into final form and published. We’ll see.

This is one of many series I have created over the years but it stands alone as being the one most nearly complete for all its revisions over the years. It’s hard to think I’ll not continue living in the fantasy world to some extent. After all, with so many characters in the series there are other stories left to tell. I’m considering that as I go through this series of revisions. I know there is at least another book, possibly two. Such books would not be necessary to understanding and following the series but they would be interesting projects for me to flesh out more detail on minor characters. That is, after all, how one book evolves into two and three. The main characters may drive the plot but the subordinate characters that interact with the main characters propel the story into new directions. Soon, a trilogy becomes ten books.

I have confidence in The Wolfcat Chronicles because over the past dozen years numerous people have read it in draft. Each one reported loving this or that character and wishing to know more about their stories. I’ve taken a lot of that into consideration with the revisions. Also, it’s a good sign that the story works.

With recent technological developments in film production many beta readers have told me this would make a great movie – something along the lines of Avatar or Lord of The Rings. I don’t know, though. I can visualize it of course, but then I live in the fantasy world while I’m working on the books. It comes with the territory of being a writer.

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#writing #revising #editing #publishing #TheWolfcatChronicles #FriedWindows

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Update on The Wolfcat Chronicles

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The revisions on Book Five are complete. I submitted the manuscript yesterday. I’m already into book Six. I finished adjusting the chapter sequence for story flow yesterday and made it into chapter three last night.

For the most part what I have been doing throughout the revision for the entire series is looking for redundancies and removing them. I have needed to amply some descriptions and made other minor changes to be consistent throughout the series. One can only do this while working on all the books. You see – when you write a series it is easy to forget some little details. That is why programs like Scrivener are probably an asset for writing longer works of fiction. But I composed this entire series using MS Word. Over the years I have edited it and revised it several times using either MS Word or Open Office. I could import it into Scrivener and sort of reverse engineer the story, adding in index cards for each chapter to help keep thing straight, but at this point that would take more time than necessary.

At this point I know the story very well. Since I wrote the first part of it almost thirteen and a half years ago I have read and reread it dozens of times. But what happens with revisions is that a part will be eliminated that impacts other parts of the story. One change begets a domino effect for every part that follows. Fortunately I’m not making major changes anymore. But still, I am finding small details that related to things that have been removed in prior revisions. This is a very good reason to revise and edit books while sober and undistracted. Lately I have been doing my revisions without listening to music or only playing music that I have listened to often enough hat it no longer distracts my attention – which means I’m listening to a lot of older stuff like 70’s music.

There may be a few things that will be tweaked as the books progress through substantive editing and content editing, but I’m pleased with he story flow and the story arc, the latter is difficult to do with a story that spans several books. There is a master plot for the series, of course. But I found it essential for the telling to maintain he integrity of the three main sections as originally composed. So, while there are pieces of story that help build toward the conclusion of the series, the immediate focus in to conclude the interim crises and conflicts.

The first second of the story I wrote was the middle part that now spans five books. As the entire series will be produced the lengths of the books and even the number of books may change. And so this 3500 page, ten book series may be presented as seven or eight longer books. Those are decisions that will be made in the course of substantive edits. But as the series has been adjusted and paced the first section comprises five books. Each book has an overall theme directed to the part of the story – in this case the One Pack section – as well as and individual book theme. The conflicts, climaxes and resolutions work the same way. There are major ones that span five books and also one that spans the entire series, but then there are conflicts that are resolved in a shorter span. I’m not sure this level of complexity to the plot could have been achieved had the series been composed in a more traditional way, one book at a time.

Some writers use outlines and have a great deal of structure from the initial planning of the story. Although I have composed books in that manner it is not the way I created The Wolfcat Chronicles. I developed the characters first, worked on some dialogue and then followed the characters around in their interactions. The first 413 page draft of One Pack lacked a good deal of detail and had gaping holes in the plot, however, the basic story idea was there. In revisions more things were explored, more conflicts presented and, as the story grew the complexity of the plot increased. Also the characters became more realistic with internal conflicts compelling their actions. Other, secondary characters were added in and eventually the story expanded to over 1200 pages.

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In the course of writing The Last Wolfcat, which was envisioned as a three book series from the outside, the story was composed as the main characters were followed. At some point midway through composing the second book of that section, I was involved in editing a children’s book. My publisher at the time suggested I write a children’s book based on the wolfcats. His thinking was that it might be a quick way to get a book out with the basic character ideas. He was concerned that I was engaged in a never-ending writing project – and to some extent so was I.

I writing the ‘kids story’ I decided to do a prequel to One Pack beginning with when the two wolfcats, Ela’na and Rotor, were young. Although the story quickly evolved to be anything but a children’s book, I learned things about the characters that needed to be feathered in and corrected throughout the entire series that followed. And so, midway through the second book of the Last Wolfcat, I performed a massive revision to One Pack and completed Spectre of Dammerwald (the two book prequel) before continuing to tell the concluding part of the story.

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Although I completed the tenth book I was never totally satisfied with how the book ended. I have since figured out why I had issues with it. The concluding part will be rewritten with this current revision and will tie into Fried Windows, a yet to be published book called The Power of X and an as yet untitled book that is the sequel to The Power of X. These books follow the Brent Woods character who appears in The Last Wolfcat and also give insight into Ela’na’s adventures on Earth and much more detail about th offspring of Rotor and Ela’na.

#TheWolfcatChronicles #FriedWindows #BrentWoods #Revising #Writing #Publishing

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News I Can’t Tell You About, Just Yet

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There are a lot of things going on right now beside the obvious Christmas things. Foremost, my schedule at work has cooperated with my plans to spend the holiday with family in Palm Harbor. I haven’t seen them for several months, so it will be good. My nephew is coming to pick me up sometime Wednesday evening, after I get off from work.

My son is spending the day with his mother. My daughters are spending their holiday with their friends. That’s what happens when a family matures and we all go off in the different directions that our lives lead. You plan for maybe a get together for the next year and see if the events of the intervening year allow for that to happen. Lately the plans haven’t always panned out. For that I’m responsible, I suppose. I’m the one who doesn’t have a car and whose income isn’t sufficient to support traveling around to be with family. Will that change in the next year? It could. There’s always hope, right?  There’s a best selling book that will be made into a movie – someday. Yes, I can dream but I really have that kind of faith in my stories.

So the questions remain, this time next year, where will I be and what will I be doing? Generally, if the past in any indication of the future, I’ll be doing a lot of same things I am now. I’m never sure where I’ll be living. Such is the nomadic life I’ve been leading since deciding to write full time. I suspect I’ll stay in this area, though, as I have a part time job that I like. So, unless I start making gobs of money on book sales between then and now I’ll still be doing the part time gig and that is an anchor for the present and immediate future.

By this time next year I should be making a decent amount form the publicity work I do along with writing. I plan to have public appearances and book signings over the next few months. That will cost awareness of my books locally, at least. In the next few weeks there will be some breaking news that I can reveal quite yet. So be looking for it in upcoming blog posts. It’s exciting and I’m very happy about it.

On the book revisions front: I’m about two hundred pages from the end of Book Five of The Wolfcat Chronicles. I should finish it this week, depending on other interruptions, of course. But I’ve set a target of Sunday. I doubt I’ll have much time to work on anything next week. I plan to be preparing Book Six for revision by then. I hope to have that one finished early in January. There are some restructuring issues with the chapters in book six that I need to take care of first, though. I expect it to take most of a day to work those details out before I can dig in and start revising the text.

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Yesterday was a good day all around. I made a lot of progress with Book Five and I chatted online with my muse, the friend who inspired the character Ela’na in The Wolfcat Chronicles  We’ve stayed in contact over the years but don’t converse or correspond as much as we used to. Certainly nothing like it was when I was actively writing The Wolfcat Chronicles about ten years ago.

Since then both of our lives have changed, sometimes for the worst and other times for the best. At some point a few years back I sent her a massive volume of all ten manuscripts. Those were the result of three or four passes of editing and revisions. There have been several others since, the most recent prior to this in 2010 for the entire series and 2012 for the first seven books. She has given me some feedback that I have been incorporating into the revisions. Or chat yesterday was not really about revisions. I’m sending her a copy of Fried Windows to read. Even though the book sort of connects in with wolfcats – the stories are mentioned – it was written well. Over time my writing style has evolved. I’m seeing a good bit of that in the revision process. It’s good because I’m updating things a bit, putting a fresh coat of paint on an already great story.

It was just nice to talk with her even if it was via text. We used to have some interesting conversations, some of which led to bits included in the books. That’s what happens with writers and at least some friends who inspire us to write. People we know wind up in our books, somehow or the other.

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There have been a few changes to The Wolfcat Chronicles over the course of the current revision. Most have been minor. I’m sure other things will change while the book goes through substantive and content editing. That always happens. I had a good, working relationship with my editor on Fried Windows and was pleased with how well things turned out. My only complaint was that everything was so rushed toward the end, but that is how it always is when pushing against a deadline. I’m also aware that regardless of how careful and meticulous the editing process is there are a few errors that get past everyone’s eyes. There is at least one misspelled name that I know of. Some feedback has told me there are a couple of grammar errors as well but when I looked at the spots those occurred in dialogue and they are attributed to the way the character speaks. We opted for authenticity in places, so those are intentional lapses of grammar.

Anyway, for the next week or so I’m not sure how many blog posts I’ll be making. I’ll do a Throwback Thursday later on today but since I won’t be home next Thursday, I’ll probably skip the one for next week or do it early, like on Wednesday morning. I’ll post a progress report for when I submit Book Five and perhaps one when I start digging into Book Six. So maybe there will be three posts I’ll make. The rest of the week I’ll be silently working on revisions or engaged at work or spending time with family.

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#TheWolfcatChronicles #FriedWindows  #revisions #writing #publishing