Archive for August, 2011

Well, I didn’t get to start back on Eye of Darkness as quickly as I expected, but I did finally get back to work on it. I’m closing in on 60K words, and will break past it today, I expect. The story is progressing nicely, though I think when I’m done I’ll have to go back through and do two things: a) ensure that I’ve dropped appropriate “foreshadowings” for later events early enough, and b) tie up all lose threads. I found I had to do this a bit with The Elixir of Life as it is – in fact, this formed the bulk of my effort to beef up the work. I can’t imagine not having to do it for something I’ve composed so quickly.

I’ve also realized that I want to add an afterward to both The Lost Scrolls and The Elixir of Life: something that will highlight the factual elements in each story and offer readers an opportunity to explore further. It’ll probably be something similar to what I’ve composed on the pages here for the books. I have to discuss this with Ellechor first, of course, but I’ve encountered two authors who do so, and it’s interesting (to me, at least) to read that stuff.

James Rollins, one of my fav’s, does this at the end of his books, as does Terri Blackstock (just finished reading her book Predator the other day).  And I started doing something similar for the Jefferson’s Road series. I think it’ll be a nice tie-in for the Jonathan Munro stories.

Naturally, of course, as soon as I finished Elixir, I started plotting out the next adventure for Jon while in the shower. Meanwhile, I came up with an idea for an urban fantasy based here in Rochester. Basically, the story transforms the Rochester metro into a fantasy world for those who can see it (it involves the geography, history, and architecture of the city). There are two sides (good and evil, naturally), of which the good side is composed mostly of homeless people, and the bad side of those who are attempting to control the average citizens of Rochester, who remain blissfully ignorant of the magical war going on around them. Yes, it’s a total rip-off on Harry Potter’s Muggles, but that’s about as much influence as Rowling has had on the idea so far. The story will touch on the drug-use of the homeless (a device designed to keep the magical ones “burned out” so they can’t rise in defense of the city. Something like that), as well as the history of this city when it comes to spiritualism (The history of the Fox sisters starting the spiritualism craze back in the nineteenth century will give a partial justification as to “why here.”). Oh, and since there’s a large white tower and black tower downtown – that’s kind of important, too.

Of course, I can’t even start to work on it until I wrap up my current projects, so I guess I’d better get cracking. So many stories, so little time (that’s starting to be a theme for me).

Finished!

Took me a lot longer than I thought it would – largely due to my inability to find time to sit down and write (when I actually have energy – er, maybe that’s a discipline issue), but the good news is that I’ve finished The Elixir of Life. I’m quite satisfied by the ending, now. I don’t think I’ve overwritten any passages – even in my attempts to beef up the word count. Overall, I think it’s simply strengthened the story and given me a chance to include some details in the story I’d meant to add at one time, but hadn’t included in the first draft.

Final word count: 74K. It’s still a little shorter than I wanted it to be, but I think I can live with it. Now it moves into the editing phase, but I’m not going to put a lot of time into it until I’m closer to a submission date. Given that I probably need to wait until The Lost Scrolls comes out before offering Ellechor a sequel, this means I can at least move on to Eye of Darkness, which I hope to wrap up before the end of September.

Speaking of September, my sister is asking me when Patriots and Tyrants will be available in paperback. I’ve gotten this question a couple of times now, and I’m beginning to think that I ought to release it sooner than I’d originally planned. They don’t teach you this stuff when you decide to become an independent author (actually, nobody teaches you anything. You have to figure it all out on your own. Hmm… might be a series of valuable blog posts there…), but releasing your book at the right time is as critical to your success as writing a quality manuscript. There are certain periods where readers buy. I’m going to do a little more research on this, but look for Patriots and Tyrants to come out sometime next month.

Given that I’ve got people demanding even The Tree of Liberty, I’m pondering which book to work on after Eye of Darkness. My original plan is to work on Topheth first, and then Tree, but I might reconsider. Regardless, I’ve got some time before that becomes an issue.

Now, I’m gonna help my wife get the house ready for company, and then I’ll disappear back into my man-cave once the guests arrive (’cause they ain’t here to see me!).

Feels pretty good to have this book done, though.

Posted: August 14, 2011 in Jonathan Munro Adventures, The Writing Life

As my friend Linda has pointed out, it’s now about mid August. The good news is that I did indeed finish The Elixir of Life, but I found that my word count is a little low. I’m going through the thin chapters right now and seeing what I can beef up. It’s allowing me to add a little more color and background to the story, I think, without slowing down the action any. We’ll see, I suppose. But that’s where things stand.

Of course, I’ve already broken my rule a bit by taking a look at a novel I started two years ago called Rock of Ages. It’s about an attempt to spark a new war in Israel by destroying the Al Aqsa mosque – also known as the Dome of the Rock. I like the story because it’s letting me tell the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from both sides- which is really fascinating – seeing the history involved in the conflict. I’ve got about 12K words done on it already. No worries, though. I didn’t actually start working on it again. Just looked at it is all. Something this morning was just prompting me to give it a second look. I may put it in the hopper as the next novel to send Ellechor’s way, after Elixir, if only because it is a Christian action-adventure novel.

But as of right now, it’ll have to take a number. I’ll wrap up Elixir probably by the end of next week, all things being equal, and then I can tear into Eye of Darkness again and try to finish it by the end of September. Or better.

So many stories. So little time.

On a positive note, I did hear from Rochelle Carter the other day. They’ve begun working on my cover design (Doing the happy dance – I’m so excited!) I have to send them any images that sort of depict what I’m looking for. I had a few I saw at one time, but I have to try and find them again.

And my sales in August, though rather slumped compared to June, have picked up a little bit, so that’s a relief. I was beginning to think the economy tanking had taken all the wind outta my sales. But I reckon it’s just the summer doldrums.  Once Eye is finished and released, we should see a healthy uptick again.

I’m thinking about employing a new strategy. For a few months now I’ve been struggling to finish some of the projects I’ve been tackling of late, making very little headway on any of them. It’s occurred to me that holding four separate novels in my head simultaneously might not be the best way to accomplish this.

For the record, I have the following projects in various stages of completion:

The Elixir of Life word count = 64,007
Eye of Darkness word count = 56,382
Topheth word count = 25,584
The Tree of Liberty word count = 11,886
Total All Books: 157,859

So you can see, I’ve been plenty busy. It’s just that I haven’t gotten some of these off my plate yet. Perhaps they’re taking up too much room in the fields of my imagination. Better to harvest them and get them out of the way, and then move on to the next with a little more energy.  I only need about 10K more words or so to wrap up Elixir. Eye only needs 20K more or so. Topheth needs 50K. And Tree needs 65K at least. That’s assuming I reach my baseline goal of 75K words per book. Bear in mind, this is a minimum target. I’ll write until the story is finished, naturally, but it does give me a sense of how much more there is to go. I suppose it’s possible that Eye could run for another 50K words, though I doubt it at this point.

Regardless, I think this’ll help break the logjam and get me rolling again. The only downside is that I won’t be able to release Elixir due to contractual obligations (Ellechor gets first crack at any Jon Munro adventure – really, any Christian adventure fiction I write).

After this, I can take a serious look at the other projects languishing in forgotten corners of my mind (like Descent, my story about alien abductions, or The Novem, a sci-fi thriller about children with neural implants that connect them directly to the internet), and that’s not considering the remaining sequels in the series I’ve already begun (Janelle Becker books have two more; Jefferson’s Road has three more after Tree; Jon Munro has at least two more, possibly three; and Lucas may have as many as three more.).

I’m starting today. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Posted: August 1, 2011 in Jefferson's Road, The Writing Life

Well, I don’t have the final sales tally for Smashwords just yet, but overall it looks like my sales tanked in July. At least, as far as Amazon goes, they did. I could be wrong (given that I show Nothing selling through Smashwords’ various distributors), but that’s where it stands right now. Call it the summer slump. Speaking of slump, I had real trouble summoning up even the interest in writing last night on my overnight. Could be that I’m just tired (that first night is a killer), or it may be that I need a vacation, but I’ve noticed this a little bit more lately. I’m hoping it isn’t burn-out. Maybe I just need to refill the barrel by reading more, but the library hasn’t had anything of interest to me in a while. My friend Greg C. just sent me a note inviting us over this week. Gotta talk to the boss first, but I think we can do it. He also sent me this:

RE: your signature … stop writing other books! You have to finish the Jefferson Road series! 😉
:p – No worries, Greg! It’s getting written!  But I’m determined not to rush this one. I’ve no plans to finish it before next Spring as it is, and I want to be sure I get the story right. I don’t know what that says about my other books (naturally, I want to get them right as well). Maybe because it’s a six book series I feel more invested in it. Or maybe because I feel that this series, more than anything else I write, is more prophetic. I dunno. It’s just different with Jefferson’s Road. I’m not writing it for fun, y’know? I mean to say something with it. Something important.
Anyway, guess I’ll get back to work now.