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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 Final Episode of The Wolfcat Chronicles and Some Other Stuff

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Yesterday I began working on Book Ten of The Wolfcat Chronicles. I’ll not call this a revision because I’ll be extensively rewriting the book, most of the changes coming in the last third to a half of the story. But already I have changed a couple of things early on and I’m only two chapters into the effort.

As originally written the book was 33 chapters and around 320 pages. After all the work on it I expect it to remain about the same length. There isn’t a great deal of the story and overall plot that will be altered until apron Chapter 26 or so. Between the way Book 9 concluded and how I have begun Book 10, the foreshadowing for the new conclusion to the series has already begun.

Lately I’ve been spending a lot more time at work, doing my other job. That has not really affected my writing and revising of books but it has caused some other adjustments in my schedule. This week I have fewer days scheduled, though I could be called in to cover someone else’s absence. I’ve been doing a lot of that. I need the money, so…

Because I’m riding my bike more often and for longer distances because my work is 4.5 miles away, I’m gradually losing some weight again. I had put on a few more pounds over the holidays, so it’s not a bad thing. I still could lose around thirty pounds and never miss them – except for needing smaller size clothes.

I’ll miss the Superbowl as I’m working this evening. I’ll watch the commercials separately. I always do that online. Having worked retail for so many years I rarely got a chance to watch the big game. Those years my boss threw a party I was always the last to show up because, somehow, I was the one scheduled to close the store. As we don’t have cable TV where I’m staying, I wouldn’t be watching it anyway, unless I streamed the broadcast. I heard NBC is doing that. Folks, consider that the death nell for broadcast TV – when sports is streamed over the Internet and widely available. Cable and Satellite company won’t be able too charge exorbitant rates to provide you with a zillion channels of crap, of which you maybe watch four or five. It makes far more sense to purchase individual shows and costs less money. Haven’t not had cable for much of the past 8 years, I can tell you how much I don’t miss it – or the $100+ a month for stuff I never watched anyway.

#TheWolfcatChronicles #Revisions #Rewrites

 

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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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Revisions Complete on The Wolfcat Chronicles Book 8

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Judging from how the past few weeks have gone with revisions to The Wolfcat Chronicles, I’m not promising a finished by date for the upcoming Book 9 experience. It could come sooner than later, but realistically I believe the end of February might be an accurate target.

Book 8 has been revised and submitted. The first half or so went smoothly, but I slowed down toward the middle as there were several rewrites necessary for the book to function as a part of the series and lead up to the conclusion I plan for Book 10. I’m figuring Book 9 is more like the last half of Book 8 in terms of its need for rewrites. That will significantly slowdown the process. Also, I’m expecting Book 10 to be more of the same up to the point requiring a complete rewrite. The good news is there is plenty of time for me to accomplish that well before the release of the first book of the series.

I don’t have a timetable yet for the releases of the books. That will depend on when the books emerge from substantive editing. I’m hopeful that the first of the series will make it through the process quickly, but we will see once I’ve responded to sub-edits. Also , in the background I’ll be writing a supplementary piece that will fill in some of the details that happen outside of the point of view of The Wolfcat Chronicles. Several beta readers have requested that. I won’t know how long that piece will be until I begin writing it, but at this point I doubt it will be novel length.

For the past two weeks I have been squeezing in revisions between working my day job and functioning as a publicist. That’s been a challenge. I have not been able to read draft material my friends post on FanStory. So, I plan to do some catching up tomorrow before diving into Book 9.

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#revising #writing #TheWolfcatChronicles

 

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Update on The Wolfcat Chronicles

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A dear friend of mine from the UK, Maureen Brindle, is an amazing poetess. I was chatting with her in the wee hours of the morning – for me at least – and sometime since that she composed the following poem that is inspired by the characters in my soon to be released series, The Wolfcat Chronicles. Unlike me, composing poetry is part of her nature.

Elgon William’s Wolfcat Goddess
by Maureen Brindle
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Ela’na, wolf goddess beauty born,
Amidst a universe war torn.
Consummating spirit dance,
Levitating lustful trance.

Wolfcats magically can change,
To a wolf the plains to range,
Into a fearsome Battle cat,
Or human, alluring attract.

A wolfcat is a powerful creature,
With many a magic feature,
Control of matter, time and space,
Spirit of love, warmth and grace.

Rotor, Ela’na’s lover star,
Worshipping from afar.
Banned in dogmatic disgrace,
From looking on her fair face.

The Heart of the Forest condemned,
Their love to a calamitous end.
To spend their life chained to duty,
Devoid of love, happiness and beauty.

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For other poetry by Maureen Brindle, including children’s poetry and poetry about the British Isles go to her Amazon page:

http://www.amazon.com/Maureen-Brindle/e/B00I05SJC8/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1421502845&sr=1-2-ent

For those in the UK, here’s that address:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Maureen-Brindle/e/B00I05SJC8/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1421502845&sr=1-2-ent

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The revisions for Book 8 of The Wolfcat Chronicles are progressing well despite my crazy work schedule this week. Not only was a scheduled more hours – which is a good thing as I needed the money – but also I’ve been called in to cover for people who have come down with the flu, or some other affliction. Anyway, that has also limited the time I often use to compose posts for this blog.

Currently my revision is at Chapter 22 of Book 8, which leave about 150 pages. I get off around 7:15 tonight and will get home around 8. I could be able to knock out a couple of chapters tonight and a few more tomorrow morning before heading back to work. I have a conference call tomorrow morning as well, but, still should be able to get to chapter 28 or so. That means I should be able to finish Book 8 sometime Monday, run it through spell checker one last time and submit it. Then it’s on to Book 9.

I expect the ninth book of the series to require a bit more rewriting, especially toward the end as I am making some minor changes to the plot. I have already been foreshadowing the new ending for Book 10, that concludes the series. I estimate I’ll be working on Book 10 by the end of the month. That will allow me two months, if needed, to rewrite the last half of Book 10. That should be ample time consider how quickly I compose, especially when I have already established the characters.

I have decided to begin writing a supplementary piece to the series. I’m not sure if it will be novel length, though. It may be a novella. There has been interest in the past with readers in knowing what happened with characters introduced late in Book 7 that will now, as I am rewriting it, will affect the ending of the series. So, I will begin writing the draft concurrently with writing the conclusion to the series in order that there will not be conflicts between the two stories.

Another part of the story that beta readers wanted to have told has already been written and will likely be one of the projects I pursue having published toward the releases of the last two books of The Wolfcat Chronicles. It doesn’t really belong in the storyline but, again, provided background material. Titled The Power of X, it draws together some of the plot lines of One Over X with The Wolfcat Chronicles and features Brent Woods, of Fried Windows, as a supporting character. Never fear, there are many manuscripts about Brent. I’ll eventually publish those as well.

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#TheWolfcatChronicles #FriedWindows #OneOverX #Revising #MaureenBrindle

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The Wolfcat Chronicles Book 8

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Yesterday I started revising Book 8 of The Wolfcat Chronicles. Since it has been some time, about five years, I think, since I last worked on this book, I was concerned that there would be a lot of tweaking required. I may still run into that situation later on in the book but six chapter into it I’m not finding much that needs to be changed. Not he optimistic side I’m hoping to be finished with this book before next weekend. Barring anything major that comes up with this revision, it’s possible.

Book 8 begins The Last Wolfcat section of the ten book series, picking up a short time after the events of Book Seven. Throughout One Pack, Mang, a character introduced in Spectre of Dammerwald (Books One and Two), became increasingly important. In the Last Wolfcat he has a major role. When the series was beta tested on Fan Story a few years back many people commented that he was one of their favorite characters. The way the rewrite of the ending is envisioned he will pay a larger role in the conclusion.

The Last Wolfcat tends to be more about Rotor than Ela’na, I can’t go into why that is with spoiling the plot, but it has a purpose. Ela’na has a key role in the finale as well as other books that have a tangential relationship of The Wolfcat Chronicles. Also, as I have said before, I envision a separate volume to handle a backstory issue that some beta readers indicated they would love to read about. That material would not fit into the story arc of this series but some of the subject matter is already handled in two other books I’ve written in draft. The fact that I have written that part of the story allows some depth to the treatment of of the information about it that is included in The Wolfcat Chronicles. There are over twenty manuscripts I have written that are set in the same universe as The Wolfcat Chronicles. I have been working on this story for most of my life. And so, the world has a feeling of completeness and believability about it that I feel is necessary for a fantasy.

Although The Wolfcat Chronicles could be labeled an epic fantasy it is really not. There are elements of urban fantasy and sci-fi throughout. That is not to say it lacks anything int he portions that comprise the epic tale. It’s set on another planet. The characters are influenced and sometimes visit the Earth through connections that exist in nature as well as those produced artificially. And there are parts of the series that take place in the future and out in space.

I set out to write a story that I would want to read. That’s important for the writer and serves as some pretty good advice, really. Some would be authors think that the creative process of building a story ends when they type The End on the final page of the first draft. Most understand that there is still a lot of work ahead with revisions and rewrites prior to subjecting the world to professional editing. I estimate that the average work of fiction will require an author to read it twenty to forty times before it is published. So, the book had best be something you enjoy reading. Otherwise you are in for a painful experience re-reading your words over and over again.

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#TheWolfcatChronicles #Revisions

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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

Uncategorized

Going On a Third Year

Greatest People

Most writers have obsessive-compulsive tendencies, I think. Otherwise we’d never labor over a project through all the revisions and edits necessary to bring something to print and share it with the world. Artistic people in general have the same traits. That’s why a lot of us become substance abusers. We don’t know when to stop and likely as not think we can handle whatever it is we are abusing. In my case the substance was alcohol.

I don’t know why or how it started. It was gradual. I liked the way it made me feel, needed the assist to overcome my self-cosciousness. There was a long period of binge drinking throughout college and during the Air Force. Along the way I build up a tolerance. I never got to the point that I worked drunk but there were times I was probably borderline when I went into work. A lot of stuff I wrote was while under the influence. So, much of that stuff I have revised and rewrote since. At the time I wrote them I believed they were pretty good. Being half lit deadens the bane of ever writer, being hypercritical of one’s work.

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There were a lot of reasons for my drinking getting out of control, but the blame clearly rests with me. I needed to change otherwise all I was doing was killing myself a drink at a time. I thought about AA and substance abuse counseling. The latter was covered under my health insurance, but I knew that wouldn’t work for me. I was Superman, after all.  could handle anything, just like I always had. I’d broken bad habits in the past – quit smoking for example. It takes self-discipline and a willingness to change lifestyle – dramatically in my case.

Out To Lunch

The breaking point came after a trip Illinois to visit my daughters. I took my iPad and a bluetooth keyboard with me to do edits one of the books from he The Wolfcat Chronicles. It seemed like I was always working on one of those ever since I first penned One Pack, the starting point of wiring the ten book series. Writing was my primary focus in life. Since my kids grew up and moved on to pursue their lives, I was alone. My ex-wife and I had separated in practice long before we filed for divorce. After we split being completely on my own was not a good thing for me. I was responsible enough to show up for work on time, but that was about it.

Over a period of three or four years, my drinking increased from one 12 packs a day to one  18 pack. Before I quite I was drinking a case of beer per day. Believing my own bullshit that I was maintaining well enough and not appearing drunk – I was in denial of the problem. I pissed off people,some of them dear friends. Nothing else mattered to me but getting home, sitting down at my computer to write and cracking open a beer – or twelve.

From inside an abuse problem it’s hard to know how one appears to others. There was dependency on alcohol, though. I knew that and work my wasn’t helping it. Health issues were appearing. Overweight and showing signs of retaining water in my ankles, considering my history  with a heart condition, that wasn’t a good thing. I had a number of stress-related problems as well, like lesions that appears on my skin for no apparent reason.

Work paid well enough but, as I was on salary, I was hardly compensated for the amount of time I spent – often more than 16 hours. After my vacation in Illinois with my daughters, I had a change of bosses. Suddenly I was expected to work more hours and asked to come in on my days off without additional compensation or time off on the backside. It was all about getting the job done – whatever it takes! In fact, before I quit on February 22, 2012, I had worked the previous 18 days in a row – pretty much every day since returning from my vacation. On my first real day off in almost three weeks, I received a call from my manager telling me I needed to come in to work yet again – to fix something or the other that the district manager, his boss, wanted done immediately if not yesterday.

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Dutifully I showed up but was dressed down to perform physical labor, as I had done every previous time I had been called in to work on a project, as opposed to covering for someone on the sales floor. My manager sent me home to change into my ‘uniform’ – meaning dress slacks and a dress shirt with my name on a lanyard. This meant he intended form me to work until closing time and help answer manager calls and pages – on my day off. The next day I was scheduled to open the store, meaning I needed to be back to work at 4AM and probably, if the past few weeks were any indication, I wouldn’t get home until around 8PM. It was personally my fault and responsibility to fix anything that was wrong in my part of the store, since the company refused to pay hourly people extra wages to work for me. Being salaried meant the company owned me.

Maybe I snapped. too much drinking over too long a time. I was intoxicated when I went into work. It was my day off, after all. I handed in my keys and immediately I felt better about life.

I’d been considering going pro with my writing for some time. It had been a lifelong ambition. A lot of things got in the way. Even though it wasn’t the best of times for me to quit my job, things had gotten to the point of being insufferable If I didn’t quit then and there I never would and I couldn’t see waking up a year later still putting up with the same crap. Whether from drinking or the job-related stress I was certain I’d die.

It may sound crazy but my initial thought was that all my efforts to write stories that I want dot share with the world would go in vain. I’d die and the world, save for the few dozen of my writer friends who had read the drafts – would never know about the Wolfcats, and my alter ego, Brent Woods and his bizarre universe.

Immediately after quitting I looked for another job. But as that didn’t pan out, mainly what I did every day was was write all day long, uninterrupted. Things began to fall into place, as soon as i quit drinking. It was as if the creative half of my life was coming together from he pieces of my personal life. The draft for Fried Windows I knocked out between March 15 and April 20, 2012 – although at the time I didn’t envision it as a novel but instead a collection of related short stories. A year later I pulled the pieces together and wrote the connective material before adding in an ending.

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While I was running out of money and facing eviction I revised a number of my stories and started writing them as well. A routine was established, writing new things in the early morning, taking a break and then revising for several hours before reading or watching movies in the afternoon and evening – just to take my mind off my immediately dire circumstances. I started losing weight because I didn’t have money to buy food and certain couldn’t drink beer. I had to make a choice at times between buying water and buying food while begging for handouts from relatives who, understandably, wondered what I had done with all he money I used to be making. Answer, I drank it.

After eviction I became basically homeless. I depended on relatives to put a roof over my head and give m a place to sleep. I was nomadic until eventually I found a job. I refused to go back to management, though.

Doing what I do for money will never make me a fortune, but I’ve never been about money anyway. No job I’ve ever had paid me what I was worth. I bet it has been the same with you as well. A very wise man once said you’ll never get rich working for someone else.

Anyway, over the past nearly three years, I’ve made a great deal of progress as a writer. Fried Windows was published last May. I’m growing followers on social media and picking up fans for my writing, one reader at a time. The Wolfcat Chronicles is in the works for publication. Keep checking back for news on release dates. In the summer of 2013 I wrote Becoming Thuperman. That will be published sometime in the upcoming months.

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Gradually this writing as a career gig is happening. And I’m doing it sober. I’ve lost a lot of weight riding a bicycle to and from work – and pretty much everywhere else I need to go. Yeah, I know it’s a strange life I’m leading but I was born to tell stories. What else would you expect from me? To use an overworked business term, the bottom line is this: I’m doing what I love doing. It’s not like I have a choice about being a writer. It’s in my genes.

#writing #SubstanceAbuse #Compulsion #alcoholism #homeless #FriedWindows #TheWolfcatChronicles