Book Four of the Shadow Series
Hidden in New Mexico’s Black Mountains, Test struggles to find the peace that his haunted past prevents. Though Alyssa and Cliff stand with him, and though he’s blanketed by the serenity and tranquility of the forest, he cannot quell the inner turmoil that plagues him.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, the last of the Reapers are plotting to avenge the death of their master. Woefully out-numbered and hoping to even the odds, Casper and Ashley have stolen a biological weapon unlike the world has ever seen. Their mission: mold the weapon for their purpose and eliminate Test along with the remainder of the rogue Shadows that side with him.
Fear and doubt are the two greatest enemies of a writer. I’ve been battling them for the last few months. Usually, I can have help in the form of my beta readers. This time out, all of people I rely on for constructive criticism and feedback have either been too busy to read my books and stories. What little feedback I have gotten, hasn’t been helpful. The reason why someone likes or dislikes one of stories is important especially during the rough draft process. The feedback I get helps me shape a story for the better. I t lets me know what needs work and what I’m doing right. Sometimes, my beta readers will spot potential plot holes and things that need to be addressed. Without this kind of feedback, my confidence has suffered. I’ve been second guessing myself. Each time I’m about to send my book off to my editor, I look at the draft and wonder if it’s truly ready.
This weekend, I decided to take a break from writing to play a couple of games in beta and think about what I’ve been doing wrong. I’ve decided to put aside the Count Albritton story I was working on until my beta readers are free. In the meantime, I’m going to work on a few other projects that I left in limbo while I recruit a few more people to be beta readers.
If you’re interested in being one of my beta readers, fill out the form below. 1) You must enjoy sci-fi and fantasy stories. 2) You must be willing and able to give constructive criticism. 3) You must be able to put up with reading a rough draft. It’s going to be filled with spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors because you’ll be seeing the story before my editor. What do you get in return for this? My thanks and a free copy of the ebook when it is released.
It’s been a while since my last blog post. I spent the last three months second guessing myself and doubting the quality of my work. It didn’t help that a lot of things didn’t go as planned. Sales hit an all time low and a less than stellar review did wonders for my self confidence. I decided to take a break and do a little soul searching.
I made a lot of choices regarding my career and long term goals. Some were good, others not so much. There were missed opportunities and things I could have done differently. I think I learned a little something from all the mistakes I made. My writing is steadily improving but if I want to succeed, I need to keep my head in the game and do better.
Thanks for sticking with me. Here’s hoping you have a happy and wonderful new year.
This was harder than it should have been. Things he had taken for granted tired him. The weight of the world and the snow made even the act of walking a monumental task. When Danr first arrived, he had marveled at his unfamiliar surroundings. Seeing all of this from a distance was different from being here in the flesh. He had spent hours watching the snow fall. Now, as he neared his goal, he cursed the stuff.
DragonCon is known for a lot of things, including some very informative panels. It’s one of the few events where my love of travel and writing intersect. This year, I only made it to one panel but I did manage to talk to a lot of writers. I got a lot of advice this year, some good and some bad, especially when it came to the business of writing. Two pieces of advice stuck with me, both of which I had heard before.
The first was to write the type of stories that I want to read. This time I really thought about what I was being told. The speaker, whose name I forget, wasn’t a big name author but what he said made a lot of sense. He wasn’t just talking about genre but also things like tone, pacing, and length. That got me thinking about the stories I enjoyed the most. Some of the best stories I’ve read are lean and tight ones, that pull you into them from page one. They didn’t lack details but every description and event in them advanced the plot and developed the characters. Stephen King’s Running Man is a very tight, entertaining story that I enjoyed (and far different from the movie). Nine Princes in Amber is probably my favorite fantasy novel but it’s not very long by today’s standards but I would call it a far better read than any of Robert Jordan’s much longer Wheel of Time novels.
The second piece of advice was to not rush things. This is one of those things I need to constantly remind myself about. There’s a lot of temptation to cut corners and rush things. It makes following this advice extremely difficult. I want to publish my stories as soon as I finish them but I know they’re not ready. A little time listening to beta readers, editors, and your muse can turn a good story into a great one. Time spent working on a eye catching cover and description can help sell your book to those unfamiliar with your work. The problem with this advice is that it can delay and frustrate you. I missed several deadlines I set for myself but those delays helped me publish a better book or story. I’m hoping that’s the case with the three projects I have waiting to be published.
So why am I posting this? I wanted to share what I learned. I also wanted people to know where my head is at right now. Things are going to change with regards to how I do things. It’s all part of a process that I hope will improve my writing and career.
Okay, that’s all for now. It’s early and I need to get a couple of hours sleep before I tackle the day.
I just got done uploading a few pictures from this year’s DragonCon to Flickr.
I’ll be adding more pictures when I have time.
It’s been over a week since I got DragonCon. I was in such a rush to leave for my trip that I forgot to post here. It was a great time, as always.
This year, I arrived a week early to take in the sights and see my friends who live in Atlanta. I spent a night dancing in the Shelter and sampling the Atlanta night life. My days were spent writing and visiting my friends who had time to see me before DragonCon. The highlight of the days before the con was a trip to the Georgia Aquarium. A friend was good enough to give me and my family a behind the scenes tour. It’s one of those bits of magic that makes visiting the aquarium so much fun. I never realized how much work people need to do around the clock and the infrastructure needed to maintain such places. With all this, the staff still manages to keep all the animals happy and healthy. Yeah, I was impressed and I recommend a visit to the aquarium for anyone who visits Atlanta.
Once the con began, I had a very busy schedule. This year I brought my Phantom Stranger, Orion, Magneto, Luke Cage, and Nick Fury costumes. I was very happy with how the Phantom Stranger costume turned out but it was too hot to wear and I didn’t get any pictures. Also, I love my Orion costume and my new Luke Cage outfit. I got a lot of pictures dressed as both of those characters.
Between the various photo shoots, panels, and catching up with old acquaintances, I made a lot of new friends. One of the best things about the con was getting to meet two gaming buddies who used to play City of Heroes with me: Eddie and Fluffy. They’re both great guys. A lot of fun was had but my schedule and sleep habits put a limit on the amount of time we got to hang out. The Abbey Park concert at the con was a real blast. Finally, there were the panels on the writing track. Most had a lot of good advice and information.
The flight home turned into an adventure. In retrospect, I should have taken the airline’s offer to take a later flight and go home the next day. They were willing to pay for a hotel and offered a free round trip ticket but I was in a rush to get home. The two-hour trip ended up taking seven hours because of the weather and delays. Next time, I’ll take them up on the offer.
Over the weekend, I’ll post some of the pictures from the con on Flickr. Okay, that’s all for now. I need to get back to work. Have a good weekend.