There and Back Again: A Realm Makers 2021 Story

I’m back safe and/or sound, though the rumors of my soundness seem to be greatly exaggerated. I know several of you are wondering why I don’t post stuff before or during RM when I go, but that’s purely for safety reasons. So I save it all for now.

The Gateway Arch… and a train. I like trains.

I am so absolutely positively grateful to have been among my fellow Realmies again. I MISSED YOU GUYS SO MUCH! Awkward hugs and high fives all around.

Last day out the door with my darling bride.

The highlight in many ways was getting a chance to talk more than a couple times with Frank Piretti. I mean come on. As his keynote mentioned he felt like (and we all concurred) he is a professor emeritus of so many of us Christian authors out there. Particularly spec fic. I just wish I’d have gotten a picture with him, and not just with him talking to my wife at breakfast. (sorry, not sharing. too personal and private. Plus it’s a bad angle, for both.) So here’s a different candid shot. See if you can guess the author by their hands. LOL.. just kidding.

Playing Guillotine with Rob Story, Kat Vinson, Emily Haese (spelling?), Elizabeth Liberty Lewis, Kate Prater & and a quick round fill in by Megan Ward (I believe that was her last name).

The best moments from cons like this are often the candid ones not in classes and just by happenstance. You also never know who you’re going to touch and who will touch you back. The Clevandence sisters (apologies if misspelled) made my night at the book fair when I asked her what her favorite scene was in my first book, and I loved the writing of that same (grisly) scene too. It was a real highlight for me to talk like that.

For those who don’t know or realize, authors often love hearing back from their readers personally. Especially for us small indie authors. Too often we publish into the void, like every author and never know if we touched your lives. To hear when we do brings us all a spark of joy. Of course if we ticked you off, sigh, please extend us grace. We’re sensitive souls and may know the thing that ticked you off wasn’t our best efforts to. Kinda like a sports star who has a famous bad play regrets their mistake too. But still, it reminds us we’re not alone. We are touching others out there. So never be shy with your (positive) feedback, and be gentle (but honest) with us when we goof.

This year, my darling bride got me to cosplay for the awards banquet. It was a spectacular time. She had a whole backstory about the 1950’s librarian who’s favorite hero came to life for her. The story evolved through the night and was quite quite cute. But I have several pictures I got with people I have a real soft spot for in my writing career. Some I can share.

I was very happy to be friends with two winners of the Realm Awards. Very proud of their achievements that night and had some great conversations with so many people.

All in all, going to Realm Makers was a wonderful reminder of the good things in life. This last 24 months since I was at RM in the flesh has been a rollercoaster. In many ways I’ve ended up in a far better place, but at times… just I’m reminded to be grateful for what I have.

Oh, and I have leftover paperbacks and a few hardcovers from the consignment store. I’m toying with doing something special with at least one set of the books, but am also considering selling a couple sets of autographed copies. What do y’all think about that? Of course, I’d have to figure out how to set up a store, paypal and all that. I dunno what options are available. We’ll see though. Of course, if you want to encourage me, let your thoughts be known in the poll below.

Okay, more soon when there’s stuff to say!

Illustrator Wanted!

I am looking to hire a professional comic artist for “Tales from the Dream Nebula”.

It is a raygun gothic, “nanopunk”, high adventure graphic novel series.

-Expected project size:

— Initial crowdsource pitch materials

— Character and set piece design

— Some marketing images for merch and stretch goals

— a short (up to 10 page) teaser

3 Graphic Novels are currently planned, ranging from 64-96 pages each.

Release of future graphic novels depending on success.

Look/Style

Art Deco/Art Nouveau/Streamline Moderne similar to old serials, but with modern comic sensibilities.

Must be able to draw visually exciting, high tech machinery, airships and technology.

Able to provide finished color art (pencil/Ink/Colors). Previous industry work experience highly preferred, but will consider the right up and coming artist.

If interested, you can connect with me through DM on Discord or my contact page here.

Road Trip! (& a Life Update)

I wasn’t sure this was going to happen. Really really wasn’t, but I put it on the altar for the Lord to make the decision.

This last week I got my answer. The City and County of St. Louis dropped their masking mandates and the hotel is being all mealy mouthed on following local ordinances. So I’m going back to Realm Makers! (Those of you on my Discord channel learned about this last week of course.)

So cue up the house sitter so the cats don’t get lonely-

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Bwing us tweats, hooman.

-aaaaaaaaand it’s time to go hang out with my fellow Realmies in the flesh again! I’m so glad it’s back in St. Louis, even if it’s now an extra 3 hours of drive time for me. At least the first half of it is going to be very pretty coming out of the mountains.

I’m not sure if I’m going to do the consignment store this year. I could, and I have something I can get for the gift bag if I can find a printer in time. I really didn’t prepare because I didn’t expect to go. Oh well, even if I don’t bring anything since finances will be tighter this year, it is still going to be very much worth my while.

I guess what made me the most enthused about this year is that the guest of honor is Frank Piretti. His “This Present Darkness” was the book that made me realize that you could write about the spiritual warfare side of Christianity in a refreshing and interesting way that was an evolution of a pair of my all time favorite Christian books, “The Screwtape Letters” and “The Great Divorce” by C. S. Lewis. Seriously, if you’ve not read those two, check them out. Amazing stuff. Piretti took the concept and ran. If things are going berserk in your life and you have no idea why, I highly encourage you to read “This Present Darkness” too. It may make some personal sense to you.

As for my writing, I’ve been getting scolded for leaving Akiniwazisaga on the back burner too long in my alpha reader’s eyes, and I have another fan who’s been telling me to hurry up so she doesn’t run out of series to read. She doesn’t want to wait for the conclusion of the story. Thanks guys.

Lately the writing focus has continued on the third novella in the Tales From the Dream Nebula series. Making sure you all get your money’s worth out of it before I let it out the gate. The first two novellas have hit the editing stage, and once that’s complete, we look at doing the script for the graphic novels.

One big discussion that’s started up though has been merchandise. I’m curious to hear what others would love to see as merchandise to buy from Akiniwazisaga. Apparel is coming (yes I know I’ve said that for a while, but we’re finally getting ready to move on some of this. The easy answers are of course typical book merch like coffee mugs, posters and bookmarks. There’s been some talk of different things too (I personally want a life sized plush version of Bergamot, but oof, the cost of making custom toys. I don’t even want to think what it would take to make Popvinyl toys even. A much bigger fan base to be certain)

Anyway, I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on merch ideas they’d love to see associated with Akiniwazisaga or the characters.

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Trials, Tribulations & Pre-Orders

Been a long time, and mostly not my fault.  I’ll take some of the blame and most of the credit on this.

Apparently WordPress is somehow entangled with Facebook.  Since I find Facebook reprehensible and evil, I’m moving my social media presence to Discord.  There you will be able to get the most up to date information on what’s going on and even hang out with me from time to time.  No hard set schedule, but that’s where I’m moving stuff.  I’ll still maintain a presence here as a reference point until I find a new platform to operate off of that will direct people to the Discord home of Resonant Point.

Follow this link below, sign up if you haven’t already, and it will let you join up through either their website, a downloadable app or mobile app (which is actually really sweet).

Entre nous!

https://discord.gg/zU2DMWH

Now, this has been kind of part of the reason why I’ve been away so long and why things have not hit deadlines without a peep.  Outside interference of a technical sort. Another is that work.  My dayjob is not playing nice with me and so I don’t have a lot of energy to write or the inspiration to do so, let alone format (which I find nothing short of torture).  I used to think editing was bad.  It’s not.  It’s just boring and tedious.

And the last is I wanted to hire out for someone else to help me with formatting and prepping the files for the printer.  Well those plans fell through, and I fell into a technical funk that I just couldn’t break.  The last 3 times I went through processing this for ebooks I wanted to gouge my eyes out.  Well, till yesterday, I was stuck.  Unwilling to do this critical work that had to be done.  I do apologize for that.  But I’m a complex little pirate.

Yesterday, one of my fellow realmies helped me out and I discovered that I had the tools all along, and I just didn’t know how to use them properly!  So I fixed the issues, and it looks pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

That means the ebook is going up for pre-order for January 2nd.  So all you people with your Christmas money can get a copy!  I’m going to try and have the print books ready at the same time but it will depend on whether or not Amazon gives me crap about linking them.  So bear with me.

Pre-Orders starting any hour now for January 2nd release.

AKINIWAZISAGA - BOOK 3 - E-BOOK - FINAL

Coming January 2nd!

Now why then?  Well, with waiting so long it just makes sense to release a book next year as well, and give me the time to get the 4th book out maybe same time next 2021.  Sooner if I can swing it. Remember, that’s a deadline, and what did I say about them in my last post?  That’s right… wave at them as they drift by.  But now that I got this workaround for this blog, I’ll post more details when they’re more concretely available.

So there we are.

Can’t wait for it to be over and I can move forward and complete this story arc.  Reimar’s been so patient. ;D

 

Triskaidecaphobia… The Editing Edition

I was told by a friend that Ernest Hemingway once edited the last page of one of his novels over 150 times till he had it right.

Well.  Chapter 13 of the Book 1 reissue has just exacted such torture on me.

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For the love of little green pickles I just could NOT get that chapter to work right.  Every trick and redesign of “Dangerous Hours” refused to play along.  Nay, it revolted against me!   It is an important and I needed to get it right.  It had to sound right as well as look right.  One change lead to a half dozen corrections, then it didn’t sound right so I had to go over it again and again and again.

Oh! for the tranquility of writing the first draft again!  Editing is not my favorite task as a writer, but it is essential.  You, the readers, have entrusted your imaginations to me, and I need to be a good caretaker of that trust.  Unfortunately I now know how writers become alcoholics, I think. I really began to wonder how I let this book out into public like this.

Then I had to remember, this was as good as I could do at the time.  I now have the benefit of over 1200 more pages written to the saga now.  Yes, you heard correction.  That’s 4 more novels worth of stuff.  Not that all of it’s going to release any time soon, but it’s there and growing.

But, after no less than 125 passes through that thirteenth chapter… it’s ready.  Redundancies gone and bad phraseology banished to the tune of 500 words!  Furthermore, when I realized that I could not envision the scene from my own writing, I backtracked and found better ways to explain the images I saw in my own head.  Talk about a gauntlet for my creative soul!

But forward we go.  I’m locking down chapters after my editor, who should be nominated for sainthood for many reasons beyond just tearing my work apart, has done a final pass through.  That means very soon, I will be moving forward and fixing even more stuff.  The struggle will have been worth it in the end.  I am proud of the work again after having severe doubts about my own efforts.

And just so you know, gentle readers, all authors struggle with impostor syndrome.  Even ones like Stephen King who doubt their skill if they did not have their name to get readers.  Don’t believe me?  See Richard Bachmann.  Game, set, match.  It’s a universal for anyone who wants to be good at their craft regardless of what it is.

I also was given some very good advice by fellow author Kerry Nietz who reminded me that I should be careful on the re-edit and to watch that I don’t lose my voice.  A sentiment I do agree with and am now redoubling efforts to preserve the original tone and not let familiarity dry out the work like an overcooked turkey.

So, patience please, and if you can find it in yourself to extend a little grace as I muddle through, I promise to make the wait worth your while.

 

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Progress Update: January & Beyond

Life keeps chucking curveballs at me, but I’m getting a few solid dingers from time to time.

white and black anchor with chain at daytime

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So why isn’t Book 2 out?

Honestly?

Book 1 is still getting edited for reissue.  I am 95% done with Book 2 (basically formatting) but Book 1 has been an absolute beast.  Combined with my issues surrounding my new day job, I’ve had a dickens of a time getting focused on the work.  On a positive note, it will be worth it, and you’ll get a “twofer” when the release happens.  The schedule for book 3 is uninhibited yet.  I only worry about book 4 at this point.

So Books 1 and 2 will release as soon as I can manage, and then we move on to editing Book 3 and writing of Book 4 in between.

Now, something else that is sapping my creative strength has been a new series that is demanding my attention.  I’ve been taking notes, thinking about characters and worldbuilding for that too.  So some of that energy has been diverted.  The intent is to not work on that till book 4 is in editing, and then bang out the whole trilogy.  Yes this new project is designed to be a one off trilogy, written in serial format.

So what is it?  Once again, I don’t write clean genres.  It’s going to have elements of Film Noir, Pulp Adventure, Dieselpunk, Cyberpunk and Space Opera.  It’s an awesome concept with a twist I think will really be fun for those of you who like mangling tropes.  So when it comes time to start working on that, I’ll have y’all put your axes up, strap on your ray guns, and put on your aviator shades, cuz we’re gonna go save humanity!

 

airplane silhouette on air during sunset

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Almost There: Edit, Polish, Format, Publish

Yep.  The big edits are now done.

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I’m getting feedback from my editor on it, and I should have the beta readers copy off to my team by the 21st.  Not bad if you think about it.  Only 2 weeks later than I hoped.  So for Book 3, I will know to budget about 1 chapter a day.  So I should start editing that in December at the latest.

I will say that I had a very painful time with doing the edits.  So many chapters needed serious work.  Reading outloud to yourself is time consuming and often just tough.

So what is my process before beta release?

Incorporate the changes from the editor,  panic and scream about it all.
Use a text reader to listen to the book, catching any minor corrections that come up.
Format.
Send.

What comes after?

While the beta readers are doing their thing, I’ll be trying to finalize the title and contacting the cover artist and scheduling him in.  I honestly still don’t know what I want for either.  This happened on the first book too.  Not till the last month did I have the title, or the right scene picked for the cover.  Hope the artist is still available.

And affordable.

I already know what I want to do for book 3′ and 5’s cover.  LOL

Like to give another thank you for my team of Alpha Readers, you were a great help!  Welcome aboard to all Beta Readers (I still have a spot or two left I can bring in, so… contact me if… y’know… you want in.

So there you go.  A quick little update to keep you informed.

And only 2 weeks behind ideal release?  Hey!  I like this!

I see no reason why it won’t be available for…

brown pinecone on white rectangular board

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Delays Delays

Okay…

Editing is a beast.  Particularly when you’re doing two edits at once that often require a third comb through.  I vastly overestimated my output.

That said, I’m on chapter 32 of 42.

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I’ve suffered also a “real job” delay in having to cover vacations and so I’m working a long stretch of 12 hour shifts that thanks to the holiday have resulted in an extended visit from Mr. Charlie Foxtrot.  With a small encore next week.

What does all this mean?

The Beta Read will hit a little later.  At best Sept 21st (that’s what I’m praying God allows me to do).  Otherwise, it could be up to the last week of October.  Of course this means that the book will go on sale a little later, but still in time for Christmas, instead of being ready for Black Friday.

So do not dispair!  It’s coming.  It’s happening!  It’s going to be awesome!  You beta readers are going to have a lot of fun and a clean manuscript to pick at.

And for those who are “Johnny-Come Latelys”… you still have a chance to get involved in the Beta Read.  I have a spot or two left I could shoehorn you in.  Best contact me right away through the site though.

Also, there’s been a nice little surprise as I polish these chapters.  The book is a LOT more topical and deep than expected.  Lots of themes that apply to today unexpectedly.  I didn’t consciously set out to write them, but the editing has brought them to the fore.  This has made a much more engaging and… hmmmm…. is controversial the right word?  I dunno.  But you’re gonna go ‘oh wow!’  a few times.

Sooooooo, no pressure.

Except on me.

Who still isn’t sure on the title…

or cover…

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Cross Post from Realm Makers Group

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Cross posting for those Christian Speculative Fiction writers thinking about attending Realm Makers Consortium next year, but are feeling too insecure to do so:

~~~~~

Okay, I will admit here, I was in the same spot when they announced for this year’s conference. This was my first writers conference of any kind and a lot rode on whether or not this went well. I hemmed and hawed the first time I looked over the itinerary. I didn’t know why I should bother.

I’m a stone introvert after all, hate crowds and generally have a low tolerance for several things in life. I have many coping mechanisms, but they all lead me drained and wanting to hide under the bed with dust bunnies to comfort me. (That’s why you never saw me at the after party kinda stuff. I was face down and foaming in my bed lest I was something other than my coping sunny faced insanity)

But… I had a very caring editor yell… literally yell at me and say go. So I signed up. No clue what to do, I just closed my eyes and said okay. I do not for one second regret it. I decided that I’m going to leave all my anxieties at home, force myself to drive 8 hours… through Illinois… and meet people and maybe possibly learn something that might help me grow.

I also made a conscious, terrifying decision that I was going to talk to people I normally would never dream of doing so. If someone looked scared like I felt, I’d reassure them. If someone talked to me, I’d screw on a smile and put myself out there to be embarrassed and maybe rejected because I had NOTHING to lose. If it all failed… pffft. I go back and hide in my cocoon and have learned a valuable lesson. I had to believe or at least pretend to believe that just about every person new there felt the same way.

Even as the ‘point of no return’ for registration and backing out of the hotel came up I still almost cancelled. But I didn’t. You will not regret it. One of the editors on the opening night panel (I think it was Steve Laube actually… the Dream Crusher for those of you who were there) said that Realmmakers is a “safe place to fail”. It is. It is the most welcoming place I have had to fail at. To have people you never expected to like your cockamamie idea to squeal with joy and shout “COOL!”

There is little more gratifying and soul soothing than that. Even if you haven’t published, but are trying to get published…. you have no excuse. There is a significant and loving portion of Realmies that are in the same boat as you! Team up! Encourage each other! You never know when your story may be what is needed to push another out of the valley of their own self doubt and despair and God has said “I am delegating this task to you. You are the only one who I can trust do this right. No pressure. You got this.”

So… next year… if you have the cash to do it, can manage a way to clear life out of the way… GET HERE! If for nothing else, you learn you are not alone. This FB group pales in comparison to the intensive therapy you get when meeting these people in person. (no offense guys, but you’re better in person)

There is nothing more valuable to lose than what you gain by showing up, sticking out your hand and saying “hello”. Sit at a table at breakfast and ask someone you never met before to sit down and break bread (or eggs and bacon. Lots of bacon) with you.

There. All excuses erased.

See you there next year.

 

adult agreement beard beverage

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Busy Bee. That R Me.

July has been kinda crazed in many ways for me.  Hence why so few posts.  Books 2 and 3 are done.  I just finished the Story Grid edit of Book 2 yesterday, and the week before that, I was at the Realm Makers Consortium 2018 Conference for 5 days.

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A blast was had, and I learned I neither suck at writing, and I have so much more to learn.  Seriously, the classes were phenomenal (with one exception that for a Christian Speculative Fiction Conference was a seriously sour note… but easy to forgive.  I keep thinking of the Niles and Frasier Crane definition of a perfect meal, where everything is perfect, except for one small flaw to pick at for the rest of the evening.

I will be going back, barring the apocalypse or some other minor but inconvenient tribulation.  :cP

No I don’t have pictures.  I don’t like pictures of myself.  I look like a couch with a goatee and an arm brace.  Who needs that kinda pressure?

That’s been July.  Busy editing, learning and generally finding things to fix in my book.  Hoo boy, it’s going to be an interesting edit.  I’m now scheduling two more passes through the book on my own where I do an out loud read through as well as another pass to get it looking nice and polished before I send it over to my editor.

My editor and I had dinner last night, and we talked about what scene to use for the cover.  Originally I wanted to do a triptych for the next three books, but alas, I do not think it’s going to be.  So I’m going to just be happy that I found a scene that portrays Brother Finn and Bergamot I like.  The other four scenes I seriously considered just all had fundamental flaws for how to portray the book best.  Also, you didn’t get Brother Finn like on the ALRDW cover.  I probably should contract the artist soon, if this is going to be a November release.  Yeah, it’s looking like that’s possible.

Still don’t have a title though.  Just the working title, which is going bubye.  Need something more fitting for the aesthetic.  I may wait till my Beta Readers get back to me.

Ohh!  That reminds me!  Beta Readers!  I’m going to put out an open offer for some people to get involved in the beta reading process.

What does this mean?

Ideally I would like to get between 10 and 20 beta readers.  I know that seems like a lot for some authors, but well, I like getting lots of feedback to consider.  I am writing something I want, but it also needs to satisfy you readers.

It will be for the month of September with a hard deadline of probably the last week of the month.  The date is not settled on yet.  I’m going to be a bit more strict this book, but I would love to get some of my fans involved.  I will also consider creating a Discord channel for us to be able to discuss the book.  Or perhaps we can set up a discussion forum on the blog here, or through Minds.com.  Again, haven’t decided but that will firm up, depending on participation from you guys.

Of course that means you will be rewarded with a free Ebook for your participation if you get in and provide the feedback I need once the book releases.

As a consequence of the conference (say that 3 times fast), I will not be doing a pre-order.  I found out Amazon changed their algorithm and it now screws over rankings for those who do pre-orders.  So if I do, it’s going to be less than 5 days if I do it at all.  So thank Amazon everybody.  Speaking of which, I’m probably going to go Amazon Exclusive for these next three books and see how that improves or hurts my sales.  See what Kindle Unlimited will do for me.

Lastly, I have a hardcover here that I am wondering what to do with.  It was supposed to go with me to Realm Makers, but showed up a few hours after I had to leave.  That means I have no current plans with it but the ideas are simmering.  I’m sure there are people out there who would like an autographed copy of the book.  But what to do for a contest for it?  I was thinking about fan art.  Be a shame to throw a contest and nobody came.  So if you like the idea, best let me know.  Something fun for a run up to Book 2’s release.  So, thoughts?  talk to me now for this is the time.

Well, that’s all for now.  The plan is:
August: editing
September: Beta Read
October: More editing, cover and formatting
November: Final polish and release (Late Nov publish date most likely)

Repeat process for an April Release of Book 3.

Repeat process for a November/December release of Book 4 (if all goes according to plan).

So there you have it.  Hope you like it.  Let me know what you think!

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