Writing Update – June 2018

There are a few things I want to write about this week regarding my novels and RPG products.

The Traitor and the Thief Novel

Yes, this has taken far longer to publish than any of my previous novels. I’m still hard at work on it, though I ran into a few structural issues that basically meant I stalled out on it completely at one point. I’ve been trying to juggle two separate but related stories and interweave them to make something where the whole is greater than the individual parts, and this has proven more difficult than I originally expected.

Having said that, I realized that I needed to start over from scratch. I took everything that I did before and set it aside, and then focused on the core themes and key characters and spent some time brainstorming ideas about the second and third book in this series. I know where I want to end up, but I even tossed that aside during this process so that I wouldn’t limit myself.

What has come out has been something that I think is stronger, and that I’m more passionate about, than what I was writing previously. Ultimately, this will be a benefit to my readers, though I understand the frustration that delays cause.

All I will say at this point that is that I’m writing again with a drive and a feeling that this is the story that needs to be told. I don’t know how long it will take—it’ll be done when it’s done. But I’m optimistic that things are moving well and I don’t expect any further delays.

Wide Distribution for My Novels

I was enrolled in Amazon’s KDP Select for a while, which meant that some of my novels did not have wide availability on platforms other than Amazon. That is no longer the case. In addition to Amazon, all my novels are now available from DriveThruFiction, Kobo, and are in distribution through Smashwords. That means that they will shortly appear in Apple iBooks and on most other ebook selling platforms.

While my experiment with KDP Select did gain me some reads early on, I found that they did not make up for what I was losing by not having wider distribution. Therefore, I don’t plan—at this time—to enroll further books in KDP Select (though of course I reserve the right to change my mind if things change on the Amazon platform or other platforms that currently sell my novels).

Rooms with a View RPG Product

My RPG product Rooms with a View is nearing completion and I’ll be doing the test prints shortly. I think this new version will look fantastic with all the new maps combined with the original wonderful layout done by my wife, Pam.

At this point, I’m going to be releasing a version for D&D 3.5 (which was the original version), and for D&D 5E. In addition, I’m looking into a license for a version that includes stats for another game system—though I cannot announce anything just yet.

HeroQuest RPG

I’m super-happy about the announcement over on the BRP forums that the HeroQuest RPG will be getting the OGL treatment later this year. HQ2 is one of my favorite systems, and I’ve enjoyed looking at ways to use it for various settings, such as:

Needless to say, I’ll be looking closely at the OGL terms and the license requirements. In fact, I have a sword-and-sorcery adventure that I ran at GenCon a number of years ago, and I think others might enjoy playing it.

Obviously, nothing is going to happen with this for a while—at least until the actual license terms and SRD are released. But you can expect I’m going to do something with this once it’s available.

Origin Novella

I’ve still got the novella that I wrote for my son sitting on my hard drive. I’d love to release it, but I have a specific idea of how it should look, and I’m really attached to having it done properly. Unfortunately, it requires a number of pencil sketches for the chapter headers, and I haven’t had the time to source the right artist or start talking about commissioning those pieces. And then there’s the cover art.

This is something that keeps getting pushed back, and I realize that I’ve put it near the end of this update, which reflects, perhaps, where it sits in my priorities. I think that I need to move it up the list and get it out, because I believe that it’ll be a well-received story.

Conclusion

At this point, my priority is completing The Traitor and the Thief, so that those who read The Soldier and the Slave are able to get the next book in the trilogy. In conjunction with that, I want to get Rooms with a View back out, as most of the work on that is already done. That will take up my time when I’m not able to sit down to do actual writing.

Then, I’ll focus on getting Origin moving before I dive into the last book in the Undying Empire: Rebellion trilogy, The Revenant and the Reaper.

Any further RPG products, using the HeroQuest OGL or otherwise, will come after those priorities have been met.

Next week, I’ll return to looking at using HQ2 for other settings, with a dark horror/sci-fi offering.

 

Writing Update – April 2017

 

This month I’m going to change around how I do these updates to make it clearer the order in which things are happening. I’m also adding a summary list at the top if you just want to know the status.

List of projects:

  1. Tales of the Undying EmpireKindle and print versions available from Amazon; complete.
  2. The Traitor and the Thief – Manuscript completed, waiting for final pass before going to beta readers.
  3. The Broken Temple of Yinak – Story completed, ready for editing, will be posted in April.
  4. Origin – Awaiting review and decision on how to move forward.
  5. The Revenant and the Reaper – Outline completed, working on chapter-by-chapter plan.
  6. The Darkness in the Deep – Outline completed, chapter-by-chapter plan completed.

Tales of the Undying Empire

With both the kindle version and the physical book available from Amazon, this is now complete. Unfortunately, Amazon is still working on linking the two entries and making sure they both show up on my Author page, but I’ve notified of them of this and it should be corrected soon.

The Traitor and the Thief

This has been sitting waiting for my final pass before it goes to my beta readers. The Broken Temple of Yinak (see below) has taken up more of my time than I originally planned, but I’m ready to get to the final pass now and I will be focusing all my energy on this until it’s out to the beta readers. I’m not making any promises on timing, though, because sometimes I find things that I had missed earlier that requires a bit more work to correct.

But I’m working hard and I hope to have good news next month.

The Broken Temple of Yinak

This is the first story of Kaus Kagunvar, and I wanted it to be just right. And so instead of a short story, I’ve actually written a novella. I hadn’t planned to do it this way, but the story needed to be told in a particular way, and I can’t say I’m disappointed in the result.

So I will be posting this in its entirety next week as my “short story” for the month. I have additional stories about this character planned, and it wouldn’t surprise me if some more of these turn out to be novella length as well.

But other than The Broken Temple of Yinak, I will probably hold onto the other stories and publish them all in a collection once I have enough to make it worthwhile. This is going to take some time, as I’m going to work on them between my other novels. But I really enjoyed writing about Kaus Kagunvar, and I hope you enjoy reading about his exploits.

Origin

Not much to say here this month. Once The Traitor and the Thief is off to my beta readers, I’ll review the story and figure out what work needs to be done to get this published. But considering everything else that’s going on, I could see this one being delayed until much later in the year.

The Revenant and the Reaper

I already know how the Undying Empire: Rebellion trilogy is going to end, and I have a fully-complete outline for this book done. I need to work on my chapter-by-chapter plan, but that comes after I take a look at Origin and usually happens right before I start writing (while everything is fresh in my mind and I’m excited to get working on it).

The Darkness in the Deep

Just to be clear, this is a working title only. But this is the next novel in the Tales of the Undying Empire series, and signals the return of Jeyrra and Flasek from The Severed Oath. I already have the outline and the chapter-by-chapter plan completed, and so I’m ready to start writing it as soon as I finish The Revenant and the Reaper.

This Blog

I don’t usually talk about this blog in my plans, other than the short story that I’m going to post. But I’ve been blogging steadily every week since I set out my plan here back in July of last year. I’ve managed to keep it going without missing a single week, and I’m pretty happy with the way things are.

I’ve taken a look at what posts get the most attention, and the clear winner is my posts about stuff I find cool. My posts about The One Ring, Night’s Black Agents, The Conan RPG, and Talislanta: Savage Lands are the highest-viewed posts by far, with my Reading & Writing posts in second place, followed by everything else.

I’m pretty happy with the reads I’m getting on my short stories, despite the fact that the posts about them are pretty low in views—but it’s the stories themselves that matter, so that’s not a big deal.

I’m not quite ready to change anything up here, but I’ve been considering what I might want to add or drop. I’ll keep an eye on things for the next couple of months, and probably make a change right around the one-year mark. Not sure what the change will be, but I know I’ll definitely make some adjustments.

That’s it for this week. I can’t wait to share The Broken Temple of Yinak with you next Sunday.

Writing Update – March 2017

I’m going to change up the order of my updates this month to highlight the biggest news first.

Tales of the Undying Empire

The Kindle Omnibus Edition of the first three novels in the Tales of the Undying Empire series is now live at Amazon!

I’ve priced this Omnibus so that you get all three novels for the price of two if you bought them separately.

The files for the print version of the Tales of the Undying Empire Omnibus Edition have been submitted, and I’m just waiting on final approval from Amazon for it to go live. I expect this will be available for order by the end of this coming week.

The print edition took a lot of work to produce the final product. At 728 pages in a 6” x 9” format, this is a hefty volume. But I’m very happy with the finished book, and I’m excited to see what others think of it.

The Traitor and the Thief

Now that Tales of the Undying Empire is complete, I’m going back to the manuscript for The Traitor and the Thief for another pass. I expect this will take about a month before I’m done and it goes off for editing.

Short Stories

The response to Inheritance last month was amazing. I received a number of comments from readers who told me that it really connected with them, and it has been my most popular story by far.

I’ve been playing around with a few ideas for this month’s short story, but it’s not quite finished yet and I don’t want to promise something that I can’t deliver. So I’ll just say that it’ll be my first post of Spring, and it reflects some of the themes of this time of year.

As mentioned last month, I’m about to start dedicating time to the first of the Kaus Kagunvar short stories, The Broken Temple of Yinak. I expect to have it ready for posting in April.

Origin

Once I complete The Broken Temple of Yinak, and after I finish the next pass through The Traitor and the Thief, I’ll be dedicating a week or two to evaluate Origin and see what needs to be done to get it ready for publishing. However, my primary commitment is to complete the Undying Empire: Rebellion trilogy in a reasonable timeframe. So while I’m going to spend a bit of time on this, if I see that it’s going to take some real effort to get it out, then it’ll bump down the list while I focus on The Revenant and the Reaper.

The Revenant and the Reaper

This is the third book in the Undying Empire: Rebellion trilogy and I’m really looking forward to diving into this one. My plan is to start writing this book in early May, and I’m making some adjustments to my weekly writing schedule to get more time in front of the keyboard. So I’m aiming to get the first draft of the manuscript completed by Hallowe’en at the latest.

That’s it for this month. If you haven’t read any of the Tales of the Undying Empire novels yet, don’t forget to check out the Tales of the Undying Empire Omnibus Edition.

See you next week.