Archive for July, 2014

I more or less did it. I reworked all of Apocalypse. The book is now 75,000 words (where before it was about 40,000). It’s as long as the later books of the series and hopefully a lot better written.

That said, it won’t be available for a long time. Compared to Origins and Evolution, which are both longer than the original Apocalypse, the new Apocalypse is substantially longer than both of these books. For that reason I’d feel uncomfortable with releasing it until those two books were reworked as well. I don’t want new readers to be confused about a long first book and shorter second and third books. So until I can find the time to rework those, the reworked Apocalypse is going to stay on the backburner. It’ time to move on to working on the new series.

I’m creating a new world, so I’m probably going to do a lot of outlining first. The first step will be figuring out everything that happens in the four hundred years following the events of The Wasteland Chronicles. It’s a bit ambitious, but I think I can do it. The challenge will be revealing that history in bits and pieces and not all at once in the actual book, that way the story has room to breathe and move. And I still have to figure out the story…I have a main character in mind, but I still need to give her an objective.

Yes, it is a she, at least for now. What I do know about her (if I’m to use her as a main character) that she is going to be a descendent of Alex and Anna – which, four hundred years in the future, isn’t too hard to imagine. The main conflict of the book is going to be the fact that the Radaskim are coming back – except the world has forgotten – which also isn’t too hard to imagine.

Trying to imagine such a world will be incredibly difficult. How much technology would still be useable around that time? How much would be rediscovered, if anything at all? What happened in the years after with Augustus, the Empire, the Reapers, and everyone else?

Those really aren’t easy questions to answer, and it’s what I’m going to be trying to figure out. As of right now, I’m imagining the main character will be set on a quest to rediscover the past – the real past – and not the mythological version of it that’s believed by most people at large.

Creating an entire world is one of my favorite things to do with writing. I really liked developing the idea of the Wasteland with its cities, its factions, and the alien virus and invaders. There will still be all of that stuff, but the world will be a lot different in the 2400’s, in a time where humanity will have lived side by side with the Elekai going on five centuries.

I have to say that there is a lot of potential for awesomeness and I may well be writing 20,000 words of pure background information that I can work with. From that, I’ll probably get story ideas – and the story is always the hardest part to get right, and it also happens to be the most important part.

It’s been about a month since Xenofall came out. Reworking Apocalypse took a bit longer than I’d planned, but I was also rewriting pretty much everything. Now, it’s on to the thing you guys are really excited about. I’m pretty excited as well to see how things turned out. I’m flying mostly blind here, but I’m ready to see what’s in this world and the stories that are waiting to be told.

On a side note, while reworking Apocalypse, I thought about how cool it would be to do backstories for some of the characters. Makara might be interesting to do, because her voice was one that spoke to me strongly as I wrote the books. Don’t hold me to that, though, because the main priority will be the new series. What excites me about The Wasteland Chronicles is that there’s so much potential for stories – past, present, and future, with any of the characters, really.

Then again, eventually I’m going to want to move on, but even if I get to that point, I’ll have to come back to the Wasteland every now and then.

Well those are my ramblings of the moment. Time to go back to reading me some Rothfuss.

What I’m Working on Now

Posted: July 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

Before I start the new series, there’s been something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I’m going back to rework Apocalypse a bit, and I don’t think it will take too long, and frankly, it’s been long overdue.

Apocalypse was my first novel (first published novel, anyway) and I think it really shows. Of all the Wasteland books, it’s probably the weakest, in terms of clunky dialogue, lack of description, plot holes, so on and so forth.

The original book totals about 40,000 words, but this is turning into a complete rewrite. From what I’ve added so far, the book is now 63,000 words and they haven’t even gotten out of the Bunker yet! I have no idea if I’ll actually publish the new version, but I’m going to dedicate another week or two to the rewrite and see where it leads. Part of me hesitant about posting an updated version, because what’s published now might be working really well. Then again, if I go back and make it better, it will give people a better reading experience. Unless, of course, I mess everything up with the rewrite. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

I wrote Apocalypse not really knowing what would happen later, including new characters that would be introduced. For that reason, Lauren and Ruth will be making appearances in the Bunker scenes. Alex will be a more fleshed-out character earlier on, along with Michael, Alex’s dad, CSO Chan, among several others. I think if they spend a little more time in the Bunker, the reader has a chance to miss it when it falls around word 30,000 (in the first version, it fell around word 10,000). 10,000 words is not a lot of time for the mighty Bunker 108 to fall.

So far, the extended scenes include a conversation with Lauren in the beginning, a changing of a major plot point earlier on, and a Citizens’ Council scene. Pretty much every scene has been expanded and fleshed out greatly.

I don’t think I’m merely treading old ground. This is more of making Apocalypse what it should have been, with the writing skills I have now. I expect the new version to be as long as the newest books in the series, and for that reason, I might go on to rework Origins, and possibly Evolution. I swear to stop when I reach Revelation, because I think that was when I finally hit my stride and the series finally found its tone.

Like I said, I don’t expect this to take all that long. As I said, it’s been long overdue, and I’ll be making the enhanced versions available as soon as I can. Of course, I will always have the old versions available as well, but I’ll probably only be able to send those by email, or perhaps publish them on Smashwords.

So, best case scenario, I can have reworked versions of the first three books in a month or so. A little ambitious, but I think I can do it if I buckle down. That’ll also give me a bit more time to figure things out about the new series. I don’t have to think of the story, but the entire world the story is set in. It’s going to be a world that’s completely different from the world of the Wasteland. It seems so big that I’m not even sure where to start with it.

Whatever the case, thanks for being patient with me.

Xenofall on iTunes!

Posted: July 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

As the title says, Xenofall has finally been published to iTunes. Just received the email and checked the iTunes store, so it should be there and good to go. And with that missing link, Xenofall is officially published everywhere.

Which reminds me, I forgot to put it on Smashwords. So, I’ll get on that…

Readers…I Thank You

Posted: July 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

TLDR: Please read this petition written by various authors to our readers, in support of Amazon during their negotiations with Hachette. It gives the other side of the story you’re unlikely to see in major news outlets (many of which own traditional publishing houses). And THANK YOU for your support and being an awesome reader!

It wasn’t that long ago that I was working data entry as a temp at a large oil and gas company. It was definitely a place where I was very unhappy and felt unvalued as an employee. I was in a place where I had to take what was offered, and even if I could have had a better job, I almost felt like it was impossible to find one.

That was when I first started writing Apocalypse, and shortly after self-publishing the book on Amazon, I was informed I was being laid off. That was early 2013, and so much has changed since then, thanks to Amazon and my wonderful readers.

I went on to work at a warehouse, which I actually enjoyed a lot more than my old job. I say I enjoyed it more, but that certainly doesn’t mean I enjoyed it. Despite often working 10-12 hour days in the summer heat, I also wrote on the side and often sacrificed my social life to make it happen. I’d come home so tired that writing was the very last thing I wanted to do, but I did it anyway, because I was so committed to making it that I was willing to sacrifice anything.

And I’m so glad I did, because by the time BookBub made my book take off, I had three books in my series with a fourth on the way. Readers finally found me, and readers have been the reason why I could finally leave my job last March (I’d moved on to a job with air-conditioning, thankfully, that was much better all-round).

Amazon has been catching a lot of flak lately regarding their negotiations with Hachette. Because Hachette (and other big publishers) are owned by media conglomerates, it’s not surprising that they’re winning the PR battle. It certainly doesn’t help that many big names, such as Patterson, King, and Gaiman, are sticking up for Hachette – as one might expect.

However, the typical author’s experience with a big publisher is very different from the treatment of their all-stars. The majority of writers have unconscionable contracts which offer very low royalties (try 7.5%-15%, and you’re doing well), demand the rights of the work for the author’s life plus seventy years, along with forcing authors into non-compete clauses, meaning the author can’t publish with any other publisher, including the author, if that author wanted to self-publish something.

But left out of the conversation are the most important people in the book industry – the readers. There is a lot of misinformation being spread in all the Amazon bashing, which is understandable given that they’re a large company and you have people like Steven Colbert waving the banner.

At the same time, though, Amazon has made it possible for me, and thousands of other authors, to self-publish through Kindle Direct Publishing. This has allowed you to find my books, and not only find them, but pay a very affordable price of a free first book, followed by $2.99 installments. You could read my entire series on Kindle for less than the price of a single hardback book marked at $28 at your local Barnes & Noble.

Make no mistake: without Amazon, you would never have read The Wasteland Chronicles, not to mention the works of many other independent authors I’m sure you enjoy. Despite what Big Publishing would you have you believe, Amazon is the best thing to happen to publishing in years, if not decades, ushering in a rise of new voices due to a removal of publishing barriers, barriers set in place by traditional publishers that make absolutely zero sense in today’s digital world.

Furthermore, Amazon wants lower prices for readers. They have a history of having unbeatable customer service. Any time I’ve had to call Amazon for any reason, they have treated me with utmost respect and the problem was solved in minutes. They accepted a return from me, no questions asked. They care about their customers, and their history proves that – and they’re willing to take on suppliers who would charge more when charging more does not make any sense – in this case, Hachette wanting higher prices for their books.

In contrast, Hachette and other Big Publishers have a history of treating writers and readers alike poorly – authors because of unconscionable contracts, and readers because they want to charge as much as they can squeeze out of you. In the digital transition, they’ve made little attempt to change their archaic business model, much more connect with their readers. Authors continue to be offered poor contracts, while authors who self-publish through Amazon make anywhere from 35-70% royalties.

There are so many stories of independent authors who were rejected by various publishers, for various reasons, who went on to self-publish through Amazon and sell thousands of books – and in some cases, millions. And it’s because of Amazon – and even more, readers, that we get to do what we love for a living to bring you more books.

That’s why I urge you to read and sign this petition, by authors and for readers. We believe Amazon is right, because they are fighting the publishers from keeping e-book prices artificially high. Without Amazon, there would be no pressure for publishers to lower their prices, because big publishers absolutely refuse to compete with one another in almost every aspect of their business. This is bad for readers, and this is bad for authors – no one benefits except for the big publishers.

So, please, I humbly ask that you read the petition and get the full story, because you certainly won’t hear it from most major news sources. Once again, I thank you personally for reading my books and allowing me to do this for a living. Every day I wake up and absolutely cannot believe this is my life now, and I have you to thank.

All that gushing aside, it’s time for me to get back to work.

Xenofall is live on Amazon, Barnes, Kobo, and Google Play, but for some reason it’s taking forever with Apple. In the past, it’s at least taken a week for my books to be published on Apple. I have no idea why they always take so long, and I‘ve tried contacting them for my last two books, but nothing really seems to work.

So, we’ll just have to wait and see. I’ll write another post as soon as it goes live. Thank you for your patience!