Monday, December 5, 2016

When the Muse Calls

It has been almost 2 weeks now since I released my first novel and I must say that this isn't how I imagined things starting out. Not that things have been bad. Everything has been positive so far. What I am talking about is all of the unexpected things that have been happening lately. The biggest one is the call of the muse. Before we get into that I want to talk about a couple of the other things. The ones that go bump in the night.

I have gotten many requests from people asking me to provide a link to purchase an autographed copy of my novel online. Boom! It is done. I now have a link for that in the right sidebar. Now whoever kidnapped the fluffy bunny, please let it go!

I also decided to try participating in NaNoWriMo last month which I did not win. I have much respect for those of you who did. For me it was simply a case of trying to take on too many things at once. If you are thinking about doing it then I suggest you clear your calendar. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get 50,000 words written in one month. I did learn a lot in the process. You have to go in with a plan and budget your time and word count to ensure that you finish. Setting word count goals for each day is important. If you can't write as much one day then you have to figure out how you can make up that time. It's so easy to get behind bit by bit. You know what else is easy? Getting stomped by Godzilla.

The Muse

The muse is whatever it is that inspires you to make your awesome. It is your sunset. It is your lover. It is your plastic bag floating in the wind. Anything and everything that speaks to you. The muse for me more often than anything is a dream. I have more story ideas based off dreams than anything else. When you read my works it really was all a dream, but I did not read "Word Up" magazine.

I do get ideas based off of other people's stories, but most of those feel fake or second rate. It feels cheapened because I am taking someone's idea and molding it into my vision of what it should be. That story has already been told. Those ideas don't excite me, only chains and whips do that.

Lately I have been getting called by the muse to work on the sequel to my novel. What I have found is that when the muse calls it is not always friendly. While I should be working on promotional stuff and building on what I have started the muse has been laughing at me. The call the muse is putting out is like a violent grabbing and twisting of the ear. It wants me to type the words that give life to my dreams and it will not let go. This is fine although the timing of it has not been helpful. The muse waits for no one and you must listen when it calls. You never know when or if it will call again.

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Writing Progress Updates

Virtual Wars: Running (Writing First Draft)
Current word count: 18,049

The Ghost Season 1
Editing: Page 2 of 47

Monday, November 21, 2016


Before I get started today, I want to push FREE STUFF onto you. OK not really free stuff, it's a raffle and also a copter and you maybe get a prize. The rafflecopter giveaway of an ebook copy of Virtual Wars: Initialization ends 11/22! Godzilla told me he will stomp on those of you who resist! At least that's what I think that roar meant.

Princess Leia once said that Obi-Wan Kenobi was our only hope. I like to think there is a little Kenobi in us all singing Uptown Funk. No matter what you do or what your dreams are there is hope that you can reach them. It takes determination and hard work.


Tell this to yourself this over and over again. There are going to be many people who say that you can't. Don't be one of them! If I had a nickel for every time someone told me I couldn't write a novel then I would have a vault filled with nickels to swim in like Scrooge McDuck! Friends and family alike have told me that I can't do the things that I have done. Use it to fuel the fire. Build the fire bigger and hotter until it is large enough for astronauts to see it from space, then sing "Smooooke on the water, FIRE IN THE SKY!"

Whenever I feel overwhelmed by the size of the project I am faced with I ask myself, "What is stopping you from succeeding?" All too often the only answer is myself. Don't be the obstacle standing in your way. You CAN do this! Pull up your socks and...

Get to Work!

Work harder than anyone has ever worked before. Hard work gets rewarded and the more hard work you put in the better you get at it. If you continue to grind at it and put that time in then it is only a matter of time until you succeed. The only way to fail is to give up and quit.

People will tell you that it isn't that simple. It IS that simple. Period. End of story. Work hard, be awesome, share your awesome, and let people celebrate you with a My Little Pony dance party. Sticking with it and working hard to get what you want is the most difficult part of it all.


Be the light, the beacon of hope for others. Share that light with anyone who will listen. This is the way to fight the darkness of doubt that tries to cloud everything. It helps breed confidence and belief in yourself. Others will follow suit. Doubt has its place and makes us strive to improve or lets us know when we need to work harder to squash it back down. There is always doubt, but at the same time there is always hope. Share the hope.

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Mad Dash

Welcome to the everything is fine portion of our program. Usually when someone says that it means the exact opposite. I feel like I am so far behind on the everything that I don't mind the fires burning all around me. This is the mad dash and we all go through this. The usual suspects that cause this are taking on too much, looming deadlines, and self-imposed pressure to be great. Today I am going to talk about all of these then end the post with a small treat. I wish I could send coffee and chocolate, but whenever I try to shove them through the tubes of the interwebs they get stuck. I'm hoping you will like the treat anyway.

Taking on too much!

This is something I tend to do over and over again. I have so many ideas that I think are the new Velcro that I want to do all of them at the same time. I need to remind myself that I do not have a time machine nor to I have 8 arms. Unfortunately cybernetics has not advanced far enough to give me extra arms. I am not a character in GURPS although sometimes I wish I could be a disembodied brain with psionic powers. Don't ask.

Taking on too many projects leads to not having time for any of them which leads to not finishing any of them which leads to staring at a wall while shoveling air from an empty ice cream container into my mouth... Don't judge! It's not like you've never done it before!

Looming Deadlines

These are the ghosts that haunt my dreams as of late. I have a novel coming out soon which means I have 18 bazillion things to do that are driving me crazy. OK I know that's a short trip, but I like to think I can cross the line to sanity's side every once in a while. The voices told me it was OK. 

What doesn't help is that I decided to take on this monster called NaNoWriMo which I have never done before. It forces you to write until your fingers bleed then you must write more because the bone isn't poking out yet. At the end of the month I am also on vacation where I will spend most of it in a mad dash to complete 50K words for this National Novel Writing Month. The contest is over half way over and I am not near half way to the word count goal.

Self-Imposed Pressure

This is the biggest butthole of them all. Like Godzilla stomping on an ant kind of pressure. I am such a perfectionist that every little thing must be just right for me to be satisfied sometimes. It's hard for me to let go yet I know that nothing is ever truly perfect no matter how much I want it to be. Now that my novel is coming out I have to pretend it wasn't written by me because I know it is not perfect while promoting that it exists and was written by me.

Then there is the pressure of how it performs. I put up a good front with all the smiles and joking around, but inside I'm screaming. I do hope that people read it, enjoy it, and tell their friends. There is a small voice of doubt that is persistent in my head saying that it doesn't matter how hard I worked. I try to squish that voice, but the jerkface is like a cockroach swimming around in my head.

Mad Dash

So here I am typing away on ye old blog as part of the mad dash to get things done. Like giving away a free copy of the e-book version of my novel! Cue the rafflecopter! I TOLD YOU THERE WAS A TREAT weeeeeee

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Writing Progress Updates

Virtual Wars: Running (Writing First Draft)
Current Wordcount: 13223

The Ghost Season 1
Editing: Haven't started yet! Hey, I got it printed and ready for the red pen at least!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

10 Things I Wish I Knew About Writing

When I first started this journey I thought that everything would be all ponies and rainbows. I was so wrong! So here is a list of 10 things I wish I had known when I first began this journey. I hope this helps someone!
  1. If you *think* you are done with your novel, you are wrong! I don't know how many times I told my friends that I was almost done, but then over a year later I was still working on it. Writing is rewriting and editing. Until you have a solid release date with the final version uploaded, you are not really done. It may seem like the finish line is always moving because it is!
  2. Your writing is crap. At least that is what you will tell yourself a billion times before you publish. It doesn't mean your final product will suck. The first draft or two of anything is awful in comparison to the final product. Don't listen to your self doubt! Use the Pee Wee Herman defense, "I know you are but what am I?"
  3. Writing a novel is much harder. Flash fiction and shorter stories can be rewarding and feel easy to write. Novels are a completely different beast. My novel weighs in right around 60K words which in some genres would be considered a short story (Looking at you Epic Fantasy). Writing a story of that length still presents quite a challenge. With a shorter story it is easy to stick to the main points in the beginning and ending without much filler. In a longer form the middle takes up a much larger portion of the book. You need side quests for the extra XP and Level Up. In speaking with other people who write, the middle is what everyone seems to struggle with like a baby smashing their first birthday cake. It is like trying to push a boulder up a mountain of butter while it's raining.
  4. Writing is work! If you want your writing to matter then you have to put in the work. It is just as much a grind as anything else. The harder you work, the more you write, the more research you do, etc... Everything helps make your work better. If you don't put the work in then it will show. Butt in chair, fingers on the keyboard! *cracks whip*
  5. Blogging has many benefits! It doesn't matter if people show up to read it. Although one of the benefits is to help build an audience. That doesn't mean the people who enjoy your blog will support your professional life. Writing on your blog can help you get thoughts out and work through problems. It is also a great opportunity to practice your craft. Every word you write is practice for every word you write after that. Just don't call your blog your friend so you can say you have a friend with benefits, that's creepy.
  6. Social Media is not for promotion! Even if you hate all of the social media outlets, writers need to get on them. Everyone has heard the stories of things going viral and people making money through some form of magic. Well none of this works that way! Social media is for interaction with others. Spamming people with links will cause them to stuff their ears with cheese and duct tape their eyes shut to avoid it. Think about it. If you run up to random people at the mall saying "BUY MY BOOK" repeatedly then you might get tackled by a mall cop.
  7. Lists will save your sanity on Twitter. Twitter is by far my favorite of all the social media outlets. Once you follow a lot of people it is impossible to keep up with all of those tweets. The best way to do that is to separate them into smaller groups by using lists. Then you can check each list as if it were a completely different Twitter account. If I could go back in time, I would have told myself to start building lists from the start.
  8. Other authors are super helpful! Make connections with other authors and bloggers. They will be the ones most likely to help when you need it and you WILL need help. They are the ones who are most likely to understand the problems you face as they have probably already faced them before. If you feel like you're losing your mind and want to stab someone, there is another author out there that has been there and knows how to hide the body. No one has all the answers though. Sometimes it's like we're all stumbling around in the dark, but at least other authors are willing to hold your hand while you stumble.
  9. Unfinished ideas/stories will haunt you! I have so many ideas and a few stories that don't feel finished. These keep me up at night. I have an idea notebook that I keep nearby to write down these ideas. It's the only way to get the voices in my head to shut up! Yesterday I came up with 2 new story ideas and I couldn't concentrate at work until I wrote them down.
  10. Formatting is super easy! I made the formatting of my novel more complicated than it needed to be. There are a ton of online tutorials for KDP formatting that will lead you down the road of confusion and wanting to burn everything. That includes the tutorials on the KDP website which look as if they were written in ancient Aramaic. Even for someone who comes from a programming background it was hard to make sense of it all. I got a version to look great in Calibre, but when I tried to upload it KDP rejected it! The Horror! However, there are many tutorials for formatting a novel in Word which are very easy to follow and work on the first try! Amazon's conversion tools are very good as long as you prepare the Word document properly. 
I hope you all enjoyed the list! Tomorrow I will be over at messing with all the knobs and buttons. What does this big red button with the sign that says "DO NOT PUSH" do?

Be sure to check out Virtual Wars: Booting Up, a collection of prequel stories to my first novel. It is available for pre-order right now with the release date of Friday 10/28/16.

The first novel in the Virtual Wars series, titled Initialization, has a release date of Tuesday 11/22/16. One lucky person who has signed up for my newsletter will receive a free copy. You can sign up for the newsletter here:

Friday, October 21, 2016

Virtual Wars Blog Tour Schedule

I want to first thank all of the amazing people who are hosting me for this blog tour. There are some others who are going to host me in the future, but weren't able to participate on such short notice. So without further ado...

  • 10 Things I Wish I Knew About Writing - Posted 10/25/16 - A list of 10 things I wish I had known when I first started. Also an announcement of the release date for Virtual Wars: Initialization.
  • Perseverance - Posted 10/26/16 -  Guest blog post that talks about chasing your dreams and the journey toward achieving them.
  • Author Interview - Posted 10/27/16 - I am handcuffed to a chair and forced to answer questions. I am scarred from the experience, they promised a lollipop when we finished.
  • Virtual Wars: Initialization Cover Reveal - Posted 10/28/16 - The grand cover reveal for Virtual Wars: Initialization

I will update the links with the direct link to each event once it has been posted.