Category Archives: Writing

TrackerBox Mac Kickstarter: 15 Days To Go, Writing Challenge, & Patreon

TrackerBox Mac - Track Your Book Sales on OSX -- Kicktraq Mini

The title says it all, really. This is pretty amazing. Just having a real opportunity to make TrackerBox Mac a reality is something I’ve been working toward for a long time. As a Windows user, myself, I don’t have a good reason to make TrackerBox for Mac, other than the regular inquiries I get, and a desire to be able to tell them, “Yes!” TrackerBox basically makes enough money to cover its costs, and I don’t see that changing, much. It isn’t a big money play for me. It’s about being able to help people, and I know it helps people.

Writing Challenge

I’ve taken on a challenge with a writer friend of mine, Michael Warren Lucas, to write three novels in three months. Writing a novel in a month isn’t exactly something new to me. The vast majority of Shattered was written in a month, and the same is true for a couple other books. The trick will be doing it three times in a row.

I’ll be attempting to write three new Grim Repo books, with the goal of getting them released in the first half of next year. It’ll be fun, it’ll be nerve-wracking, and I can’t wait to see what happens to Grimm and his crew.

You can follow along on twitter by searching the hash-tag #idiotwriterchallenge. If you’re crazy like us, you can join in!

Patreon

In line with the challenge, I’ve started a Patreon page. If you don’t know what Patreon is, it’s a place where you can support me directly for a couple bucks a month, and get some nifty rewards while doing it. Among the rewards, I’m giving patrons early access to drafts, copies of books, access to a monthly Google Hangout Q&A, and other potentially nifty things.

This month, you’ll get my new novella Making Up Lost Time. No, there’s no link, because it’s not available yet! But here’s the cover!

If you like my books, if you like what I’m doing, Patreon is a way you can directly help me do more of it!

Become a Patron!

The TrackerBox Kickstarter Rolls Past 40% and an Interview

TrackerBox Mac - Track Your Book Sales on OSX -- Kicktraq Mini

After five days, the TrackerBox Kickstarter is sitting at 43% funded, which is awesome! That first day, the first hour, when I sat and watched it sit at 0% really got my head spinning, thinking that it would never get funded, but it’s on a good trajectory, and I’m pretty confident it will get funded.

Still, I need all the help I can get in getting the word out to authors and small publishers, especially those like me who like to hide under rocks.

With that in mind, here’s an interview I did with Blackbird Publishing about TrackerBox that might help people understand what it is.

There’s also a question about more Grim Repo at the end. I won’t spoil it, though.

October Update

September turned out all right, I guess. It was actually kind of a difficult month, as I managed to run into a curb with one of our cars, and it’s been out of commission because we can’t currently afford to get it fixed. It meant that all of the events my son needs to go to require a lot of planning to make happen (as well as help from some of his friends on occasion).

I did get that TrackerBox update out, but I couldn’t make the Mac TrackerBox Kickstarter happen. I’m hoping to submit it for approval tomorrow, though (they say it takes three days). If it all works out, it should be up and going early next week. I’ll do a bunch of tweets and facebook posts surrounding it, as well as a post here, so don’t worry that you’ll miss it.

I’ve added features for the next big StoryBox update. The wordcount calendar is now in a real calendar, and the word usage data is now in a sortable grid. I’ve added a Bookshelf feature that can show all of your stories from all of your projects in a single view with cover thumbnails and status info. I’m in the middle of adding custom document properties for each document. For Characters, Items, and Locations, these will allow you to replace the text document Q&A with a set of fields that you can fill in. Some of these fields will let you draw links between documents or characters (think friends, family, etc….). I don’t have a target date for the next StoryBox release, but I can say that it is probably a few months away, still.

On the writing front, I finished up a superhero novella for an anthology/bundle I’ve been invited to. If I didn’t miss the mark, that should be available in November. I immediately started working on the follow-up to it, which, if all goes well, will be available in December. When I finish that, I’m planning a third that should be ready in January. After that, more Grim Repo.

I’m really going to push to complete series over the next year and a half. I think one of the primary things holding me back is how wide I let my focus get. I wrote Shattered, then followed it up with Questioner’s Shadow (the first book in another series) instead of with Fragments. Then I wrote Moony, and maybe a couple other things before finally getting back to Fragments. And then I wrote more things.

Frankly, as a reader, I’d hate that.

So the plan is to tighten up the loop. I’ll finish this novella series, then finish up Grim Repo, then a Sword & Sorcery series I’ve started (and not yet published), and then I’ll tackle the remaining Wizard’s Work books. I’m getting excited just thinking about it. Big plans, big plans. However long they take me, they’ll get done, and in that order.

What’s Going On?

I haven’t posted much here in a long time. It’s challenging when nothing seems to be happening, when writing isn’t going well, to talk as if things are okay. It’s been a challenging year (yes, another one), and I just find that I don’t want to speak publicly about it. It’s hard to feel, sometimes, like anyone cares. I know people do, I know you’re out there, but knowing doesn’t really alter my perceptions.

But it’s time to climb out of the hole, take a peek outside, and see what the lay of the land looks like, now that spring seems like it might finally arrive (the rain this year has been relentless).

So, here’s what’s going on.

I’ll be running a Kickstarter for the Mac version of TrackerBox in the near near future. If you have been waiting for a Mac version of TrackerBox, this is the only way it’s going to happen. I’ll post more when it goes live.

I have been writing, but I’ve been writing songs. You can hear demos of some of them on SoundCloud. They’re all kind of rough, but you should get the idea of what I’m aiming for. And when I say they’re rough, each of them were written and recorded in a single day. The plan is to write a few more, then do some work on the demos, and record an album.

I’m still working on the multiplayer part of the game Paperback, which you can find on iOS and Android. It’s a great word/card game. That should be done soon (I’m timing the TrackerBox Kickstarter around when I think that will be done).

Do not worry, more books will be coming. I can’t leave Robert and company, Grim, or the other the crew from Minders alone for too much longer.

If you’re still listening, thanks for hanging around in my absence. I’m going to try to be better about posting regularly.

Pondering Bloodweave and Its Consequences

It’s in the low ’70s outside right now, sunny, and feels warmer than that. I’m barbecuing hot dogs for lunch, and I’ve spent much of the morning pondering the question, “What next?”.

You’re probably wondering why I’m even asking the question, seeing as how the last post said “more posts”, and this is the first one since then, nearly half a year later.

But I’m asking the question, because it’s time to get back to writing. It’ll probably be a slow start as I feel my way forward, but I fully intend to be back to a normal (for me) pace by the end of the year.

In order to do that, though, I need a book to write. Among my options are a third Grim Repo book, a sequel to Minders, and finishing up BloodweaveBloodweave is the most challenging of the three. The Grim Repo books are fun to write, and they’re shortish. A sequel to Minders would also be a bunch of fun, and still not terribly long (not like an epic fantasy novel). Bloodweave, though, has some issues.

The first issue is that it already has (despite what the counter on the page says – I should have updated it) 62k words written, which would mean I’d have to pick it up in the middle, and that’s always been difficult for me. The second issue is that it’s been a very long time since I wrote most of those 62k words, and I’m not entirely certain I could match them in feel and style. The first of those words was penned on April 12th, 2013 – more than two years ago. The third issue is that I’ve learned quite a bit since I started writing it. I wrote another novel called October in between then and now, and my life has been a mess of things that has changed my perspective in many ways. I’m not the same person that wrote those early words. The fourth issue is that there was a reason I bogged down, and I think it’s because I was trying to force too many things to happen. I wasn’t letting the characters speak for themselves.

For those reasons, I’m thinking about tossing those 62k words into the waste bin, and starting fresh. Same initial starting point, but after that, it will be what it becomes.

If I do that, another change will likely happen. The A Wizard’s Work series will be over and will only ever be a duology. The new book and whatever follows it will be part of a new series, obviously linked to the first, but will stand on its own. Part of the reason is that I already know that the story that started in Bloodweave wouldn’t likely be finished at the end of the book. I don’t intend to leave it as a straight up cliffhanger, but the Bloodweave story, as I envision it, is much longer than I can fit into one book. It will truly be an epic fantasy.

It’s still all up in the air, but I said I would post more, and I would talk more about what’s happening, so there you go. I’m going to give it no more than another two weeks before I make a final decision. I might make the decision tomorrow. But if you have thoughts on it, let me know in the comments.

Oh, yeah, I finished the hot dogs while I was writing this. They were tasty.

The New Year

2014 turned out to be one of the worst years of my life, though it got better (slightly) as the year went along. I barely wrote anything, though I did manage to finish one short novel (October) that will be out in the next month or so. 51,000 words for the year. When I look back, I don’t even know how I got that many done.

But this isn’t about looking backward. This is about looking forward, and I have a lot of goals for the year.

  • Be More Open – Through more than a few coincidences, I was introduced to the work of Brené Brown. It, along with The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer and an introduction to the story and work of Ksenia Anske has convinced me that I’d like to share more of my process and my struggles. I don’t expect I’ll share all the details of my family life, of course, but writing is a lonely business to begin with. There’s no need to make it lonelier by trying to pretend I’m superhuman. So, more blog posts, more tweets, more attempts to connect with the half dozen of you that are paying attention.
  • Write More – The most I ever wrote in a year was 256,000 words in 2012. The second half of that year, I wrote every single day.  I want to repeat that effort, and even blow it out of the water. When I’m writing on a roll, I average about a thousand words an hour. I’ve set a goal to write three hours a day, every day. If I get on a good roll, the math says I’ll write a lot of books. At the very least, I’d like to write one book in each series this year. That means finishing Bloodweave (A Wizard’s Work 3) , and writing the second Lords of Genova book, the third Grim Repo book, and a sequel to Minders. If I just get those books finished, I’ll count it as a good year.
  • Read More – One of the casualties of 2014 was my fiction reading effort. I just couldn’t focus on other people’s stories. I think I read about twenty books this year, which is far off my normal 50-60, and most of those books were non-fiction.
  • Be Kind to Myself – One of the major issues behind my troubles of the past year and a half were outsized expectations of what I can accomplish based on a perfectionist view of the world. It’s taken a lot of work to even begin to overcome the negative thoughts that missing my expectations, or the perceived expectations of others, could generate in my head. Writing is art. It’s not subject to a set of rules that defines what the perfect book is. There is no perfect book for everyone. So there’s no point in beating myself up when sales or reviews don’t live up to some arbitrary standard. I’ll write the best books I can and be grateful for each reader that chooses to spend their time reading my stories.

Ultimately, I want to spend my time writing and enjoying the moment instead of worrying about external and internal expectations, and I want to share those experiences with my readers.