Archive for the ‘Eye of Darkness’ Category

Here’s the next installment of In The Widening Gyre.

Chapter Ten

My goal was to have chapter ten done as of yesterday, and be finishing chapter eleven today. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Part of it was the family’s insistence on watching a double feature last night, but the biggest reason was, I think, just being tired. The double shift I worked on Tuesday didn’t help matters. The overtime will help, of course, but not as far as the story is concerned.

Some days I just can’t wait till I’m earning QYJM from all this. I don’t really want or need to be rich. I just want to earn enough to do this full-time.

I suppose, in a way, this is a discipline. Paying my dues, that sort of thing. If I can learn to crank out the volume needed to make it as a writer, then I’ll have acquired the discipline needed to make doing it full time a worthwhile investment. It’s not like I’ll ever take a full year to write a novel again. My goal now is one every two months (assuming I can even pull that off!). This way, I’ll be able to progress on all six series I’m currently writing.

My wife pointed out to me the other day that I’ve already released three books this year. True, the sequel to The Lost Scrolls had to be submitted to my editor at Ellechor, but I did finish the edits and release it to her. And, of course, I finished both Spilled Milk and Eye of Darkness this year as well. This means that I only have to complete three more and I’m on target.

If I can wrap up In the Widening Gyre by May (and I hope sooner than that!), then I can take two months to finish Topheth (July), and two more to finish The Tree of Liberty (September), which will give me the last part of the year to start work on the next installments of the Spilled Milk series, The Dragon’s Eye Cycle, and the third Jonathan Munro Adventure. None of them will be due until 2013, either.

I think, once I get the Spilled Milk series done (and I expect only three titles in that set, at most), I’m still gonna resist doing any more series until I wrap up at least two more. I really want to finish off Jefferson’s Road and The Dragon’s Eye Cycle, since both of these series have a clearly defined end point. New World Order (of which In the Widening Gyre is just the first installment) does as well, but the anticipated series is nine books long. That’s a major investment of time, so I can’t really focus all my energies on finishing the series just now. By contrast, both Jonathan Munro Adventures and Janelle Becker Books are somewhat open-ended. I can write as many books in those series as I can think up. And since each novel stands alone, it’s not like I’m gonna have people breathing down my neck like I do for the others.

I think, in the future, I’m might steer away from sequential series. At least, I’ll stay away from this many! Maybe one or two at the most, with some stand alone novels and series thrown in the mix. Still, by the time I’m done with what’s currently on my plate, I’ll have written 33 books.

Don’t think I can complain about that at all, actually.

I finally got around to reexamining the prices for my printed books via Createspace, and the good news is that I’ve been able to lower the prices on just about all of them.

Any lower on these prices and every sale would cost me money. Almost all of this price is printing costs. I make pennies for each one. But, every penny counts!

I’ve completed the review steps and such for both of these latest thrillers (in Eye of Darkness’s case: Fantasy-thriller), and now they are ready to be purchased. In about five days they’ll be available on, but for now, you can access them directly from my Createspace store.







Spilled Milk – $9.99






Eye of Darkness – $12.99


I have finished and released Eye of Darkness, and if you want to get a copy, it’s only $2.99 at Amazon and Smashwords (for non-kindle readers). While a fantasy novel is a little different from my “normal” fare, it’s still a thriller–just in a wildly different setting. At any rate, I hope you like it.

From March 4th through 10th there is a sale going on at Smashwords, and the book has been discounted there by about 50% (if I remember right).

All good things must come to an end, and finally, Eye of Darkness has done so! Woohoo! I have finished the book. 106,662 words and 55 chapters long. Now all that remains is to finish the map (and it’s a little different building one electronically than drawing it from hand) and drop it into the text. And a little editing, too, of course. Cover art needs a little TLC yet, too.

But it is relieving to be done, finally. I’ll wrap up these items in the next few days, and should be able to release it via Createspace, Amazon, and Smashwords shortly thereafter. Of course, the fun part will be learning how to incorporate images into e-books. Not something I’ve done before, but it’ll be a good experience.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to plunge ahead with Topheth rather than Tree of Liberty. Given that The Coppersmith is outselling both Jefferson’s Road books, it seems to make sense. I’ll still get TOL done before summer, I’m sure. Topheth already has 26k words or so and a pretty complete outline of where to go, so I should be able to ramp up the speed needed to finish it by the end of March. That’ll give me about three months to work on TOL before the end of June. Worst case scenario: TOL waits for a September release. Regardless, it’ll be cool to have these books and The Lost Scrolls coming out around the same time.

I’ve spent the last several days going through Eye of Darkness with a fine-toothed comb, clearing out some of my more problematic little “hobgoblins” and rewriting a few scenes that just didn’t click for me. And the good news is that I’m back on track with the novel, and rapidly closing in on the end. Whew!

In a way, this book has been a bit of a lesson in humility for me. I started it in April, and the goal was to churn it out as quickly as possible. Now, I suppose I could give myself the time off for NaNoWriMo (which I finally won this year for Spilled Milk), meaning I pretty much took off November and most of December. But that still means that it’s taken me about eight and a half months to write this book. Hardly the ten weeks I was hoping for.

It’s not that I can’t write fast (Spilled Milk only took seven weeks). It’s just that this story has turned out to be far more complicated than I’d originally thought. And bigger. About 25% bigger.

Oh, I almost forgot: I took a significant break from it to edit both The Lost Scrolls as well as The Elixir of Life (which I’m still working on). So maybe seven and a half months. About three times what I’d estimated. Stats like that, I should work for the Defense Dept.

Anyway, I’m going to stick with the plan and keep working on finishing books as quickly as possible. The sheer number I have to write has not lessened a bit. In fact, I just came up with two more Janelle Becker book ideas just yesterday: One is called No Honor. In it Janelle has to investigate a serial killer in Dearborn, Michigan who is disguising his kills as “honor killings” among the more fundamentalist Muslims there. The other book is untitled at the moment, but has Janelle infiltrating an environmentalist terror group that functions like a cult. That provides me with six Janelle Becker books. And if I want to get any of these written before I die, I’ve got to get cracking. Oy!

So I’ve had to take a break from writing for a little while. I could feel myself just really burning out, trying to crank out that many words with no real break. I’ve found that it’s helpful, every now and again, to read some fiction when I get like this. It’s kinda like refilling the tank. This week I’ve been enjoying Raymond Feist’s Flight of the Nighthawks. I haven’t picked up fantasy in awhile, so it’s been quite a treat to revisit one of my favorite authors. Given that I’ve been writing one of my own, it seemed a wise choice.

And I think it’s already paid off. I realized what’s been hanging me up about Eye. It had to do with how I was characterizing the fey in the book. I didn’t like it. Now, I’ve got a better plan that’ll require a little rewriting, but I think it’ll make the story stronger overall.

In the meantime I queried my editor about the next Jonathan Munro Adventure, and I got this as a response:

Please do send your manuscript! We give our authors preference for immediate reviews and feedback. Plus, we are working on the 2013 lineup.

So, with that in mind, I’ve been busily incorporating the edits my good friend Linda sent my way awhile back, and I hope to be sending on the manuscript in a week or so. But now, I’ve got to take the kids to their scouting meetings.

Posted: January 28, 2012 in Eye of Darkness, The Writing Life


Four weeks into the new year, and 26K words later (yes, I know it’s supposed to be 40K), and I’m still writing this book. I feel like I’m stuck in one of those fun house rooms where the closer you get to the door, the farther away it appears. I know I’m near the end of this book, but writing it is literally like dragging one word out of me at a time. It’s starting to feel like it’s never going to get done! Gaa! (told you there’d be whining).

On a positive note (I guess), I’ve got nearly 98K words written in this book so far. I’m currently working on chapter 52, and I’d swear I’ve only got another 10K words to write. Of course, I thought the same thing 26K words ago. Meanwhile, I’ve been able to go back through parts of it and correct some of the errors I’ve made, as well as insert a little more needful backstory in convenient parts so that more of the ending makes sense and the whole thing remains internally consistent. By far, the hardest thing to do with stories that contain magic is making sure you consistently obey its rules. Believe it or not, some people care about this kind of stuff, and I don’t want to disappoint.

I received some positive feedback and some helpful criticism from the folks over at regarding the cover art, which means I’ve gone back and done a little revision work on it to clean it up a bit and render it better than what I’ve had so far. It’ll work better as a paperback cover this way, so that’s encouraging. I’ll post the new cover once the book is released.

One thing I’ve been debating is whether or not to include a map. It’s not the most critical element, but in the fantasy stories I’ve read, I’ve always enjoyed looking at the maps to figure out where the characters are. Tolkien started the whole thing, and I might want to honor that tradition. If I do, I think I’ll have to hand-draw it first, and then scan it in. I toyed around early on with creating it digitally, but the process was just way too clumsy and time consuming, which is one of the reasons I’ve thought about leaving it out. Of course, if I do make one, I’m gonna have to figure out how to include the images in the e-book versions. Should be fun!

All right. Back to the grindstone.

Posted: January 16, 2012 in Eye of Darkness

Well, Eye of Darkness is nearly done. I can see the end in sight, but getting to it feels like climbing uphill through a wall of Jell-O. I’m reminded of something Winston Churchill once said:

Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a joy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress. Then a master. Then a monster. And just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the beast and fling it about to the public.

I confess: I am more than ready to kill this beast and fling it about to the public, but it’s taking a while to grind out those last few chapters that will bring this to a close.

At any rate, it occurs to me that I’ve yet to show you the cover for the book, so I’ve included it below.

So there it is. I hope you like it. The girl in the front is the Ronami woman, Avenyë, and the man on the horse in front of her is Lucas Veritatus, ex-Sheriff of the North Country. You can almost make out his eye patch in this small version.

So, hopefully soon, this will be up on Amazon and Smashwords. Then, finally, it will be time to crank out the next mile of Jefferson’s Road.

Heard back from my editor yesterday with the final edits for The Lost Scrolls. So, rather than working on Eye of Darkness, I’ve been re-re-re-reading (probably are a lot more “re’s” in there) my manuscript with a pen and a fine tooth comb, looking for little imperfections. An out of place comma. A word that should be capitalized. A missing hyphen. If I can get this done and back to her by Thursday, we’ve got a good shot of getting the book out earlier than the August/September date she’d told me about. Instead, we might be able to make May or even April. I don’t know how much more there’ll be to do once this is done, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless. At any rate, I’ll git ‘er done and back.

There is still something to be said for traditional publishing. For one thing, it feels more “real,” to me than indie pubbing (not that there’s anything wrong with indie pubbing). Just knowing that my book has been accepted and that someone else is willing to invest money into getting it into print is pretty amazing.

Both my friend Linda and my wife think I shouldn’t give up on traditional publication so easily (did I mention this already?). In truth, I haven’t. I’m all for any means necessary to claw my way to the best sellers’ list. There are some books of mine I know I will indie pub – sequels, for example, to works that have already gone through the submission mill and didn’t make it (but which are still selling. Go figure), like the Coppersmith or Jefferson’s Road. Others, like EoD, I might give traditional pubs a shot. If they take it on, great. If not, that’s what indie pubbing is for.

On a related note, I’ve joined the site, so if anyone wants to check it out or chat, give it a go.