Archive for the ‘Spilled Milk’ 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


So I decided to take the plunge and start my “Hunger Games”-esque novel. I’m tentatively calling it In the Widening Gyre. I say “tentatively” because my daughter Sarah informs me that it’s not a good “teen” title, because nobody knows what a “Gyre” is (Gyre = gyration, a spiral. Sheesh!). She’s probably right, but it is the opening line of Yeats’ poem. Unless I rearrange the wording and go with Things Fall Apart, which is supposed to be the next book in the series. I dunno. I have to think about it.

At any rate, I have the book outlined now, and I’ve pretty much wrapped up the first chapter and am into the second already. The chapters are a bit longer than what I normally write, but I don’t think that’ll be a problem. I’ve also chosen to do something a little different: I’m writing it in print-format. Rather than double-spacing it on 8 1/2 x 11 paper, I’ve set the document properties to a book setting, and I’m justifying the text, as well as using the fonts and so forth that I plan to use when the book is printed. I’m hoping this will save me some major editing steps, as I can see the book unfolding before me as I anticipate it will look once it’s finished. If this plays right, I may start doing this for all future books as well. I confess it’s a little odd, letting go of the formatting style I’ve grown used to for so many three decades, but I think it’s the right choice. We’ll see if it comes back to bite me in the hind end later.

On a related note, my print version of Spilled Milk has been delayed by production problems. Most notable is the fact that I’ve had to convert the file from Microsoft Word to OpenOffice format, so that I can use the pdf converter OpenOffice provides that neither my version of Word at home (2003) nor at work (2010) provides (for some reason, they never installed it at work). But this morning I discovered that my Word at workcan create the pdf after all. I can sneak it in through the “send to” function, where the pdf converting has been enabled. This means I no longer have to go through the entire document fixing all the page break errors that were created when I opened the Word doc in OpenOffice (it didn’t like the section breaks I used to change the header/footer information from the first few pages through the rest of the book. For some reason, OpenOffice wants to use just one header/footer throughout, whereas Word allows you to create as many as you want. Unless I’m doing something seriously incorrect.). Regardless, I should have the file ready to go on Thursday at the latest.

Oy! The perils of proofing!

No matter. I’m back to work on the book now. If I can crank this out as fast as I hope, then I PROMISE I’ll get right back to work on Topheth and Tree of Liberty before Spring is out.

(no title)

Posted: March 15, 2012 in Spilled Milk, The Writing Life

So my daughter is all over The Hunger Games, and I’ve spent most of today (when not parenting, working out, working, or writing) thinking about the way trends shift here and there. For a while it was Harry Potter. Then vampires were all the rage (leading many to speculate that the next great teen trend would be more paranormal stuff.). Instead, it turns out dystopian is the latest craze.

Which is even crazier, ’cause I write dystopian. Of course, my dystopian is meant for adults, rather than teens (especially teen girls). I talked it over a bit with my daughter, trying to get a handle on what makes a teen dystopian novel so appealing. She suggested it wasn’t just the sky-is-falling motif, but that there were a few key elements: 1) a malevolent, controlling government, 2) the teens are more virtuous than the adults (who too easily compromise), and 3) a love triangle between the main characters – typically a girl having to choose between two guys.

Mind you, I haven’t done anything with this, largely because a) I have way too much to write already and b) I don’t trust trends to last long enough for me to crank out a book (although I did do Spilled Milk in only seven weeks). But this hasn’t kept me from speculating about whether or not I could start my New World Order series, and give it a spitfire teen female protagonist. I’ve got nine titles in that series, and only the roughest of outlines to work from. All the titles come from Yeats’ poem The Second Coming, which I have reproduced below. I’ve highlighted the titles in bold:

Turning and turning in The Widening Gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things Fall Apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The Blood-Dimmed Tide is loosed, and everywhere
The Ceremony Of Innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely Some Revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The Darkness Drops Again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its [The] Hour Come Round At Last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

So there are the titles in their context. The temptation is to try and produce the first novel quickly, along the lines of what I accomplished with Spilled Milk, perhaps even in first person (as it seems easier to write fast in that POV, even with all its limitations), in hopes of capitalizing on the hunger for more dystopian teen fiction.

I may take a stab at it. I may decide to just let it go. I must admit, however, that I’m a little hungry for something I write to take off at the right moment, but that hasn’t happened yet. And maybe never.

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!

is now available on for 99 cents. Here’s the link if you want to take a look:

Spilled Milk tells the story of Gerrold Smith, a man who chooses to become a terrorist to rescue his children from a corrupt foster care system. I hope you enjoy it! I promise I’ll be releasing more soon. Eye of Darkness is nearly complete, and then I’m going to tear into The Tree of Liberty, the next installment of Jefferson’s Road.

Content Advisory for Spilled Milk:

No sex (some discussion of rape and child pornography), some violence (guns, bombs, and car chases), mild profanity (no blasphemy). About 79,000 words (roughly 300 pages printed).

is now available through! I’m very excited about this new release. Spilled Milk started as a NaNoWriMo project almost two months ago, and quickly grew beyond what I’d thought it’d be to the story it is now. Not only did I finish the 50k words in 30 days (that’s the NaNoWriMo challenge), but I kept going with the story until the whole thing wrapped up about a week ago. Seven weeks from concept to completion. I’ve wrapped up the editing (yeah, I know, a week to edit?!) and built the cover art (see? –>), and now it’s up and ready for you to enjoy!

Naturally, I’m releasing it via Amazon as well, but they take a little longer to review their books than Smashwords does, so I’m giving you the address for the Smashwords version. I’ll post the Amazon link as soon as I have it. Also, the book will be available in print through Createspace soon, though I’ve run into a little snag with converting the file for them.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

What would you do to protect your kids? For Gerrold Smith, a widower whose children have been taken from him by the courts, the answer is to hold the city hostage. What starts as a random act of violence quickly escalates into terrorist activity, and as Gerrold discovers the city’s dark secret he must choose between saving his own children, or sacrificing them to save even more.

At any rate, I hope you enjoy it. It’s a little darker than my Jefferson’s Road series, but still enjoyable.

Content Advisory: No sex (some discussion of rape and child pornography), some violence (guns, bombs, and car chases), mild profanity (no blasphemy). About 79,000 words (roughly 300 pages printed).