It’s done. The second draft of The Birch Island Chronicles has been completed. Now I can start to gather some much-needed input from some of my close friends and family. That input will go into the next draft (hopefully the final one) and influence the next book in the series.
This doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about Red Devil and my fantasy series; I have a better marketing strategy for my horror series, so I’d like to start there. To that end, I will write the following two books in the same series as The Birch Island Chronicles.
I’m going to start actively working on said marketing in the new year, but there is no rush because it doesn’t need to be finished until I have two more books done. So the long and the story of it is I need to write a few new short stories and build supplementary materials. It’s a fun project, but you’ll have to stay tuned to see what I mean.
I also have some other lingering ideas for ways to keep myself sharp. Last year I wrote some micro-fiction in the margins between short stories and novel work, but I’m now looking into serial fiction as a way to keep my mind working on off days. But this is where I could use some advice, is anyone reading this blog actively using any serial publishing platforms? I only know about Wattpad and Kindle Vella, and only one of those is available outside of the US, so that limits my options.
I have perused Wattpad, and I fear my works won’t fit in. I don’t mean this as an insult, but I don’t write BTS fanfiction, and that seems to be the most popular stuff on the platform. Do any of you write on there? Is there a place for serious horror on the platform?
I could also publish serial works here on my main site. However, I wonder what the answer to my previous questions would be on here as well. Is there a place for serial fiction? Can it find readers on WordPress?
These are some of the ideas I’m grappling with. I’m a year or so from trying to launch a real author career, and I still have a lot to learn before then. I know how to write, but marketing, dealing with indie and traditional publishing, and how to find readers? I’m still pretty clueless.
It’s been a couple weeks since we have discussed my writing progress. The truth is, that’s because there hasn’t been much. Two weeks ago as I was finishing my first big chunk of editing in the third draft of my novel the worst case scenario happened: my computer crashed while saving and the file corrupted.
All is not lost, with my wife’s help and a few hours of work we managed to recover most of it by reverting to a previous version of the file. Over all it was a huge relief, but I still lost 2 days worth of editing. The weekend after was Halloween and the day I was going to sit edit that weekend I found out The boneless had been published (check out the blog post here). After such good news I felt like I had done enough for my career that weekend and I have been making similar excuses ever since.
The truth is, I hate redoing work and the idea of spending hours editing the same chapters just isn’t motivating. I’ve also finished my writing partners for this piece and, up until the crash, I felt like this step was complete.
So now I’m sitting here again today trying to motivate myself to get back to the grind stone. Luckily I found a hack for this. I’ve made a commitment to it.
I’ve joined a local writing critique circle that specializes in novels. Pretty soon I’ll be forced to keep up with my editing for else I’ll have nothing to show them! I work well with structure and I’m hoping this will give me the push I need to buckle back down. In a sense I’m trying to social engineer myself, which is the kind of crazy I do apparently.
On another note, you might be able to tell from the photo today that I have upped my game. My wife got me a lightbox and that pushed me to pull out my DSLR camera and take some proper pictures. The results varied but I think there is already a slight improvement. The lightbox has different lighting levels and I’m rusty with my camera so I have a lot to fine tune.
I have a bunch of time off coming up this week so I should have more to talk about soon. I already have a new writing partner picked out for the next section of the book so stay tuned!
The month has ended and so has my recent project. I’m happy with the results, even if they didn’t quite match my initial goals.
Just to recap: I was aiming to complete and submit three pieces to a horror journal, and to accompany that I was going to build the Feast of Bones box as my side project. For reference this is the Feast of Bones box:
These would accompany the creation of one poem, one short story, and one piece of flash fiction.
As usual, life got in the way a bit. This time it was a project at work which launched a bit rougher than expected. It happens (a lot actually). However, it didn’t really effect my writing, it hit the miniatures hardest. I had to really focus on my short story to make up for lost time and subsequently there was a long gap between minis. The writing is, however, the main point so I can live with that.
I completed the poem quickly and over the course of about a week I developed a short story I’m actually kind of proud of. Sadly, the flash fiction piece I was working on never really came together. I tried to restructure it multiple times and even tried to rework it as another poem. It just didn’t work. I might be able to salvage the idea for something else, but for now it will sit in the idea bucket and stew.
As for my writing partners, I managed the heroes and basic infantry for both armies.
I also have the Leadbelchers (the cannon bois) partially completed. Really all I’m missing are the complex set-piece miniatures. I’m not sure if I’m going to power through them or save them for a future project.
Overall, I think this is pretty good for two weeks of work. Even if that flash fiction piece is really stuck in my craw. I wonder if I still have time to get something else written and submitted tonight?
I’m not sure what I’ll be working on in August but I can assure you, as soon as I know I will post a blog about it! Talk to you again soon.
A new weekend has come, bringing with it new opportunities to spend long hours on a new project. For the next couple of weeks I will be working on entries for a horror publication doing a special issue on the theme of mythology. for this I plan to write one short story (somewhere between 2500 and 3000 words) one flash fiction story (roughly 500 words max) and a poem (likely a Shakespearean sonnet as that’s my preferred format). None of these are daunting tasks but getting them all done before the end of the month will take some discipline.
For this task I knew it would be hard to pick a writing partner. I’m going to be writing multiple pieces with only the genre of horror and the theme of myth connecting them. No one miniature would do. Some tasks need an army. This one needed two.
I’ve had this box on my shelf since it came out. It is the Warhammer Age of Sigmar Feast of Bones set which contains a small army for both the Ogors Mawtribes and Ossiarch Bonereapers. It is a big set with a ton of really fun minis in it. As my side project I hope to have this box constructed and primed before the end of the month.
As I have mentioned before I don’t play a lot of Warhammer and tend to use the minis more for RPGs. So for this project we’re aiming for variety, both in writing and in miniatures. I’m not a “what you see is what you get” kind of guy.
The skellington army has a lot of variety that requires very little effort on my part to bring out. This is true for both construction and how I would use them in games. For example: the main leader unit would make a very nice lich in any game. He is the one in the front carrying around his crumbling tomb.
The Mortarchs (the flying bois) work as either strange gods or undead angels. They come with two different weapon options, two single hand weapons or the large glaives. I can make one of each option without it costing me any extra time or effort.
The three Necropolis Stalkers (those weird skeletal constructs) can work as advanced bone golems or a variety of other constructs with a bit of imagination. They come in three very distinct configurations and plan to build one of each. In games I can see them guarding ancient treasure, being the discovered life’s work of a mad mage, or as the main event in some twisted black market auction. Great stuff.
Last but not least there are ten basic Mortek Guard. These guys are a bit fancy to be basic skeletons but I’m a big fan of skeletal champions and more advanced undead. I imagine them guarding a really powerful necromancer or a lich. There is a lot of variety in this kit; spears, sword and board, banner bearers etc. I plan to build at least one of each variable over the ten minis.
The straightforwardness of these kits really matches my ideas for the poem and flash fiction. Variety out of the box, easy to create, should be no problem. It gets more complicated with the short story and our second army.
The ogors are tricky. With fewer minis and lots of options I need to either make some hard choices are do some time consuming kit-bashing. For the uninitiated, kit-bashing is when you take pieces from different minis and use them to construct something new. I usually do it to make interesting leaders and heroes out of basic infantry units.
The leader, the Ogor Tyrant, is a great miniature. I’m uncertain as to how he fights with both a spear and a hammer, but I’d love to write about it. I imagine I would use him as the final boss for a short mid level campaigns. He’s unsophisticated but deadly in close combat and commands loyalty through fear in his forces. He also requires no extra work which is nice.
The basic infantry kits (if creatures that big could be called that) can be constructed as either Ogor Gluttons (melee units) or Leadbelchers (ranged units). These minis can be used in a variety of story scenarios. They fit in anywhere where you need a stronger than average leader or as a group of heavies supporting a bigger bad. There are 8 of them and the units break down in units of 6 for the Gluttons and units of 2 for the Leadbelchers. So the math is easy right? Not entirely. Looking through each kit I found the Leadbelcher had four unique guns, all of which are pretty cool. So then I thought, “ok, I’ll just make 4 leadbenchers and kitbash them with some extra hand weapons on their backs or something.” That way if I ever do play them in Warhammer I can use them for either unit. Then I noticed how many different Gluttons were possible. They have all kinds of really neat weapons too. I could magnetize them… but that would take too long. So when I go to assemble they ogors I have some hard choices to make.
The choice for the large siege weapon is easy, the Ironblaster shown in the image above is way cooler then the alternate Gnoblar Scarplauncher (a goblin catapult). In my experience siege weapons don’t come up often in RPGs but I’m sure I’ll find a way to use it for a set piece some day. At least that’s one easy choice, right? Not really. looking over the kit I’m now wondering if there are enough bits to build the catapult as a separate mini with some creative kit-bashing. With these kinds of things I just can’t help myself. There is a phrase my friend came up with years ago while reviewing one of my scripts. He liked the ending as a concept but didn’t know how I could pull it off. He said I had to “circle square it.” This has become a common turn of phrase now in my inner circle and it essentially means making a round peg fit into a square hole. It’s possible, but extremely challenging. I like challenge, in-spite of what this will inevitably do to my time table.
Speaking of time table ruining, look at all those decorative gnoblars (goblins). You can see one of them on lookout in the awesome banner bearer shown in the full army picture above as well as a ton more in the picture below. There are a ton of them… and I’d hate to just use them as intended. So I’ve textured up another ten bases and I’m going to see how many of them I can reuse as new goblin miniatures. They are too unique to pass up, full of character and interesting gear. I can imagine them leading or supporting more standard goblins in battle. However, this means another circle to square and a whole new force to construct… with a potential centerpiece of their own if I can figure out the stupid catapult.
Three forces for three projects and only two weeks to work on it. What could go wrong. Well, some of you might point out that it probably wasn’t wise to spend this much time talking out how to construct this box of plastic armymen when I should be writing. Well… maybe. But in the time it took to write this I have written outlines for all three writing projects, I textured all the bases and organized all of the kits into piles by unit and in the order I plan to tackle them. It’s only procrastination if it doesn’t help you focus. There is a method to my madness.
I finished the query letter For my book Everyday Monsters. Fingers crossed it properly embodies the book I wrote. As I have mentioned before I’m new to the concept of selling my works and I haven’t written a lot of these. luckily there are a lot of resources online with advice and examples. I also leaned pretty heavily on the instructions in my copy of Writer’s Market. I linked the most recent version, mine is from 2016 so it’s probably time for an upgrade.
As I do with all my writing projects I picked a thematically relevant mini to paint while I worked and this is how my latest writing partner turned out:
Not as cute as the monsters in my book but it has it’s own charm. He has the kind of brash vibrant colors I was hoping for but I do wish my highlights and transitions were a bit smoother.
I ran into two issues with this mini: the first is his design and the second was the wash I used. If you look at the mini you will see he kind of has segments, but he also doesn’t. This made it hard to highlight as I had to create the sort of texture I wanted with my paint instead of it being built into the model. The Wash compounded this issue. When I washed the mini the pigment didn’t have a lot of recesses to fall into and it ended up giving a really mottled look. So I had to build up my transitions a second time because my wash didn’t smooth them out so much as cover them in a new texture.
I also could have worked more on his base, maybe added another layer to his teeth, a third layer to his eye transition, etc. However, I have new things to work on and it’s time to move on. My weekend project is looming and I need to prep my next writing partner. But first, I have some manila envelopes to toss in the mail…
Sometimes you just can’t avoid it. You work as hard as you can, try and put it off by working on new projects. Sometimes it can’t just be about the art… sometimes you need to try and sell something.
That’s what I’m working on this week, writing and sending out query letters for a book I wrote a few years ago. It’s a project that got shelved after the last wave of queries resulted in silence and rejection letters. Recently I decided to give it another shot.
It will be a lot of work creating proposal packages for the 30+ publishers I want to submit to. Such a large amount of, let’s be honest, kind of boring work would be really hard to do alone. As such I have picked out a writing partner for the project.
It’s a children’s book about monsters. This means I need to find a partner that’s monstrous, but also approachable. This would be a perfect project for a Warhammer squig, but sadly I don’t have any of those lying around. So I got my wife to help me pick out the perfect mini for this project from my sea of unpainted plastic.
This is what caught our eye:
I’m not sure it’s everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it’s cute.
Because the project in question is a children’s book I’m painting this with bright heavily contrasting colors. I’m thinking lime green and purple. Big red eyes. Dribbling slime trails. Cute, right? The kind of mini a younger version of me would have really gravitated towards. Does it fit with the aesthetics of the book? No, not at all. But it feels right, and I think that’s what matters.
Stay tuned for an update on my submission process and to see the finished mini!
I’ve been reading/highlighting my copy of the Writer’s Market text for the last 5 hours and I need to come up for some air. That thing is a real cinder block! I’m compiling a list of publishers to submit one of my projects to, and I’m nearly done now. This should be an easier process, but the truth is, I haven’t really done this before.
I spent the last year writing a novel, which I’m now editing, but I guess I should have started with this site. It turns out I put the cart before the horse. I wasn’t aware how much publishers rely on self promotion these days and I’ve spent the last 10 years working on my storytelling. I never learned how to sell my own works.
However, things aren’t hopeless. I have ideas on how to build up some fun content on here that will both entertain and get people acquainted with my brand. It just might take me a little bit to iron out the balancing act.
Here is my basic content plan:
I have a series of articles I plan to writer based on storytelling through tabletop gaming. It’s a subject I have been working on for years so I’m excited to share some of my ideas.
Series that will show how I incorporate my love of painting with my writing work. It’s weird but it’s something that actually does help me write more efficiently.
I also plan on posting regular flash fiction and poetry online. I haven’t worked out the exact delivery method yet but I’ve already started building a catalog so it’s just a matter of time.
In short, I know I need readers but I also know that no one wants to read blog post after blog post of me complaining about trying to get published. I will post topically and thematically relevant content on here and if/when people start reading this I am also open to suggestions.
Just bear with me, I’ll have something worth reading up soon!