Category Archives: Uncategorized

Birthday Check In

Yes, it’s my birthday. And since it’s been a while since I posted, I wanted to take this opportunity to check in and let you all know I’m still here, working hard on Book 2.

Book 2 is largely outlined, with only a few gaps to connect. I’ve got about 70,000 words written and plugged into yWriter. And I’ve got all the Kickstarter-created characters figured out. All in all, it’s just some hard work to get the draft finished.

I’ll try to post more on here in the future, but it might be spotty until Book 2’s rough draft is done.

In the meantime, Happy Birthday to me! Last year I had just finished my Kickstarter campaign and was happily on my way to publishing Renaissance Calling. What a good year it’s been.

Cheers!

Accidentally Published on Amazon

The story of how I accidentally got published.

So the fun thing about setting up books with printers (in this case Createspace and Ingram Spark) is you have to decide a publication date. Since I have never done this before, I was a bit optimistic about when I could get everything proofed and prepared. When I started setting everything up in February, I believed I could get it all done by early March. March has turned into April, since the hard cover turned out to be a bit longer to proof than the paperback was.

While this was happening, because the paperback (from Createspace) was already approved, I forgot to change the publishing date from early March. So two weeks ago, I realized that Renaissance Calling was already on Amazon. I had been unofficially published and I didn’t know it.

Surprise to me.

Shortly thereafter I got a 5-star review from a Hall of Fame reviewer. That was a nice start.

So, as things stand the eBook and paperback are on Amazon. The hardcover has been approved but is still tricking through the internet to get posted (the hard cover printer isn’t affiliated with Amazon, so it takes a few weeks to get put up).

Anyway, you can now buy Renaissance Calling on Amazon.

I am, officially, a published author.

A different type of writing

Right now, I’m going through a bit of a rough writing spot.  I fulfill a requirement for my Kickstarter, I need to write a number of segments of mechanical (think social studies) styled articles. Which, let me tell you, is a different type of writing.

As a reward in my crowdfunding campaign, backers are slated to receive the ‘Backer Booklet’, a small book that rounds out the world of Renaissance Calling.  The topics chosen for the book were selected by four polls run during the campaign, and they all turned out to be pretty similar in their scope:

  • From State to Kingdom: History of Minnesota
  • Life in Walker County: How the Protagonist grew up
  • The Kingdom of North Mississippi: The setting of the story
  • Countries of Atlantic America: A survey of foreign powers

Some of them could easily be Wikipedia articles, and the rest could be found in some scholastic journal.   All world building.

It may sound easy, since you’re not writing with dramatic prose or worrying about ‘show don’t tell’, but I’m not coming up with sixty pages of mundane facts.  ‘Life in Walker County’ is not a counting of population and agricultural production. It is a look into the life of the main character, explaining the world she grew up in.  It needs to be interesting and informative.

One easy assist it to add in graphics. I’ve got maps and flags planned, and I’m leaning towards commissioning a few pieces of artwork to round it all out.  That definitely goes a long way to keeping it interesting.  But it can’t save a book where the writing is too mechanical.

At the moment, what I’m working on is getting the information down, so I have a good starting place.  It will be dry, sure, but I can worry about crafting the words later, once I know what the data is.

I can tell you this, though.  I’m looking forward to getting back to some good, old fashioned fiction writing.

-Michael

Slow and Steady Publishes the Book (I hope)

I did not expect it to be three months between posts.  I really thoughts that my next post would be announcing a Facebook page or a publishing plan.  Maybe some word on Crowd Funding or Publishing Dates…instead, I’m not there.

That’s not to say I’ve slacked off for three months.  My book is getting edited, and I’m closer to having artwork for a campaign.  I’m writing two other books that are coming along nicely.

But when it comes to publishing, there are so many options the possibilities get intimidating to consider.

I could ask for a lot of money and do a bulk package from a website, hoping that the extra expenses pans out for me.  While this seems simpler, I’m not a fan of how much it costs versus how little I can expect back, and how little control I may have over it.

Or I could start a publishing company and do as much of the work myself, working to get several books out there and establishing a name for myself that way.  This gives me more control, but I’m not sure that I know enough to use it correctly.

Lots of research to be done, and soul searching.  Whatever plan I go with, I’m going to be going with for the first several books I publish, so it’s got to be something I’m comfortable with.

Moving on

I failed to fulfill the NaNoWriMo goals, which is okay.  The fact is I have a lot of goals I’m working on, and adding one more to the plate before I finished off a previous goal was a bad idea.  Someday, I’ll get to the challenge, but not now.

On the positive side, I finished my revisions for my book.  The next step is to sit down and figure out what to do with it.  I’ve been alternating between splitting it into two books or serializing it.  Both have their advantages.

I also need to go through my bag of goodies from the AWP (Associated of Writers and Writing Programs).  I had some ideas of submitting work to reviews and journals, and some contacts who might help me with the marketing and promotion of my book.

Slow and steady wins the race.  Focus on what I’ve got in front of me and finish something.  Then move on.

Five things I want to avoid when writing

A simple list of five things I want to avoid in my stories.

1) The Mary/Gary Sue Protagonist

The character who is always right and always wins.  Every likes her.  No one can defeat her.  She never does anything but always comes out on top.

2) The Cartoon Antagonist

He’s evil because he is.  No depth.  No personality beyond opposing the Protagonist.  You can’t really hate him, because there isn’t enough of him to hate.

3) Consequence Free World

Buildings are destroyed, vehicles crash, banks robbed, people hurt or killed, but in the end everything turns out okay.  Sometimes with music.

4) Static Characters

The character wakes up, goes on an adventure, experiences pain, fear, joy, and victory, and wakes up the next day the same character.

5) Repetitive Challenges

The Antagonist only interacts with the Protagonist in one or two different ways.  No real variation in their stories, and the Protagonist is never really challenged to grow.

Orphan Folder

Nothing sucks more than remembering that you had a great idea, but not remembering the idea.

Several years ago, I started to combat that problem by opening an Orphan file. It’s nothing more complex than a folder where I store flashes of inspiration. A line of dialogue, a scene, the basic concept for a story, it goes in the folder. An outline that I’m slowly working out? Saved.

It’s nice to know that I have all these ideas saved, and I have raided it a few times to get ideas enough to get around Writer’s Block. I doubt I will actually get to use all of them, but I’m okay with being more creative than productive. It means I’ll never run out of things to work on.

Happy writing! 🙂

Happy New Year!

With the New Year comes a reevaluation of goals.

2014 was a fine year for me as a writer.  I started this website and blog, made headway into a second book, and learned a lot about self-publishing. But I did not actually get to publishing a book.

I want to make more strides towards being an author in 2015, so I am setting myself some goals.

-I will determine if my first book is too long to be published and how to fix it if it is.

-I will finish my second book.

-I will continue blogging.

-I will, by the end of this year, have a concrete plan for self-publishing.

And as always, I will just keep writing.

Hope 2015 is a Writing Wonderful Year for all of you as well.

-Michael

The First One

Writing One

I have always been a writer.

As a kid I wrote and drew pictures books. By middle school I was attempting to write novels. My friends and I would play imaginative games in yards, turning a front porch into a starship bridge. In high school it was Role Playing Games, crafting a story through acting and die rolling. In College I did not pursue writing as a career, instead trying my hand at a number of possible fields, none of which panned out. But I was still writing and creating in my off time.

I write because I enjoy it. I enjoy creating worlds of wonder, writing about people and their adventures. I love puzzling out the story behind everyone. I even enjoy the writer’s block and the chapters I finish and delete, because all of that leads to the moment when you type ‘The End’, sit back, and marvel at what you’ve done.

I write because I find it soothing. Coming home from a long day of work, sitting at the computer, and immersing myself in the details of a world of my own creation drains all of those cares away.

I write because I read. I love the thrill of reading someone’s work and getting so intense that my heart races with every word. I’ve cried and laughed with the characters, felt the exultation of victory and the pain of defeat, and hoped that someday I could write so well.

I have always been a writer.

Now I mean to be an author.

This blog and website are my proclamation to the world. I am embarking on a quest to self-publication and all that entails. I will blog and write and share the process as I go on. Perhaps this is the start of a great career. Perhaps this is just another attempt to start a career. Perhaps it is somewhere in between.

Regardless, I have always been a writer.

And I always will be.