Beta Read! Short Notice!

Yep, it’s short notice time! I am going to start my Beta Read for “Tales From the Dream Nebula: Dreams Within Dreams” as of June 1st, 2022. It’s about 28500 words long, which is about 87 pages. The beta read will wrap up on June 30th. All those who get feedback to me by then will be considered to have participated and be credited.

For those who are interested in giving feedback before this goes to publication, email me and let me know of your interest. I still have some room for people to join in.

What you get:

A copy of the beta read manuscript and a questionnaire to fill out with your thoughts and proofread corrections (grammar/punctuation stuff me and my editors and alpha readers missed).

Please be thorough in your thoughts on what you’ve read. Yes I really want to know, even if you didn’t like something. Please be honest. Constructive but honest. My ego can handle negative criticism, just not trolling. };c<

I would also request as part of the process that once the book launches you can provide a review on Amazon, Goodreads, Smashwords, Kobo/Rakuten… wherever the book is released or even on your own blog. Anything that would help let people know what you thought of the book and get the word out. Of course, do tell what you really think. Even a meh/bad review is a help in some form, although I do love me some 5 star if deserving.

Your reward!

For participation, you will get a free ebook AND adding you to the thanks/acknowledgments section at the end of the book, so you can brag to all your friends you have your hipster cred and were in the first wave of this cool new universe! Beta readers will also be given future opportunities to be involved in other beta reads, and potentially other associated projects coming down the pike like RPG testing (in early development), music, associated art/merch options that can be set up going forward.

So whatdaya say? Sound like something fun to do with your Kindle/Reader this June while on vacation?

Let me know asap. This opportunity ends Jun 8th.

Moving Life Forward, Slowly But Surely.

A little treat for you all today. I have finally gotten the preliminary edits done on “Dreams Within Dreams”, the first novella of the upcoming “Tales From the Dream Nebula” series. So huzzah! I hope to be getting a beta reader group together by June, and a Oct/Nov release timeframe. Not sure yet on which will be the case.

Still considering on the artist though. I have one person in mind if I can afford and schedule for him.

Unfortunately, I was not able to go to Galaxycon, due to allergies/illness. Apparently there are some things about living in the mountains my body has not become accustomed to, and that is the early spring pollens. Ugh! So horrible. Then again, it seems like illness has just been washing around here getting everyone in some way or another. So many customers, offices and businesses are short staffed because nobody can seem to stay healthy for either a virus, allergies or infections. Covid is at least becoming a non factor, and people, with a few freaked out Covidiot holdouts are ignoring the fearmongering because let’s face it, just about everyone around here’s had it and is now naturally immune.

n114_w1150 by BioDivLibrary is licensed under CC-BY 2.0

Otherwise, our big disappointment has been the weather. Mother nature has seen fit to take out our new plum and peach trees. Just as the blossoms come out, BAM! We get hit with a freeze. As I write, the snow is flying outside. It’s quite a different experience for me when it comes to snow here. You can see on the mountainside so clearly where the snow melts on the way down and becomes rain, as the peaks get coated in white, while the valleys only a few hundred feet above our heads stay brown (and now increasingly, green.) The apples might make it, and the seedlings we’ve started, in our mini hot house that the cats love, are really doing well. This summer and fall is hopefully going to be a huge canning season. (Anyone know where we can pick up a bunch of Ball wide mouthed quart canning jars and a few thousand lids for same, cheap, in southern WV?)

Speaking of our cats, they breathed a sigh of relief as our plans for a puppy got put off. I believe in big dogs so we were eyeing some great dane/pitbull puppies, but the stars did not align and we couldn’t pull the trigger. So instead, we have chickens on order.

Photo by Yves Chaput on Pexels.com

I know right? But that’s because we’re both working hard to shorten our supply chain and start getting as local as possible for our basic needs. We’ve both come to agreement with trying to become much more self sufficient and since my wife works from home and I hopefully will be transitioning to that sometime this next year, it would work well for us.

Why this infatuation with moving toward subsistence choices? With the way inflation and supply chains are going, and particularly in the backwaters of the Appalachians, it’s not unreasonable to have to consider losing access to even basic food items. That means when I’m not working or writing, gardening and taking care of a small hen house is the order of the days. So books entering our personal library have been on gardening, herbal medicines, cheesemaking, how to do hobby farm things and raising cattle on mountain side sylvan pastures and food preservation. This will all come in handy when I start working on my third series set in the remnants of a Post American nation. Yes, it still will be sci fi.

I think I finally have nailed down the imperial seal for Xiao the Eternal, my big bad for the upcoming series. Please comment and let me know your thoughts. Can you see some of the hidden aspects hidden in “The Eye of Xiao”?

Now, as a treat for those of you who have been patient for more writing and information with “Tales From the Dream Nebula”, here’s an early draft of the first two scenes! Critique away in the comment section. Be brutally honest. I gotta know now if there’s something that’s like biting on tinfoil.

!!!Note!!!

As always, this is NOT the final draft. There will be grammatical errors and other small things that aren’t fixed yet. This is a preview draft of a work in progress. Although nothing major will probably change, it will clean up by the time it goes to press. This is a treat and show of appreciation to my fans who have enjoyed my work and are looking forward to seeing what I’ve been up to and making them wait on.

Dreams Within Dreams

1.

Winston stared at the black and white flickers of an ancient film on the television, and took another long sip from his glass. Heavy ice cubes clanked in the thick cut crystal tumbler. He shifted back and forth, getting comfortable on his living room couch. With a sigh, he traced his thumb along the diamond pattern, allowing himself to be lost in the fiction playing out before him.

On screen, a detective caught the dirty little stool pigeon in another lie, giving him the third degree by means of a sharp sock to the jaw. The mousy little bug-eyed man whined and groaned spilling his guts. A smile wanted to touch Winston’s lips, but apathy tamped it back down before it broke the surface. Mesmerized by the ancient entertainment from a planet and culture which no longer existed, he let his mind drift.

Humanity’s home was gone. Conquered by a malevolent cosmic force that carved up the Earth and Sun, swallowing it. Incorporating it into its incomprehensible form. All that remained of Earth’s people were the survivors who lived on the interstellar wreckage of the entire Sol system clinging to the remaining artifacts with bitter nostalgia. Now all humanity lived in the Dream, subject to its eternal master.

“Winston?” a woman’s voice called from somewhere behind him. He frowned and made an effort to ignore it. Emmy, his daughter, continued to play her quiet game on the living room carpet, pushing her dolls around in toy cars, making up her own stories.

“Winston!” the woman’s voice was sharper, his frown deepened. Was she even in the house? Where was that voice coming from, he wondered. It didn’t sound like she was outside, he thought.

“Hun, I think Mother is here,” his wife’s voice drifted in from the kitchen. Valerie was making lunch. Winston smiled at the clanking of dishes and the whiff of barbecue ham sandwiches.

There was a terrific pounding at the door, as Mother battered it with her fist.

“Winstaah-ahahahahsssssss-on-on-nnnn-stonn!” Mother’s voice stuttered and chipmunked from data packet loss as his anti-virus programs fought to keep her out. She must be trying to hack his home instance, and her connection had lagged out for a moment.

He sighed as she overwhelmed his local server’s security, again. A curse for all AIs rattled around his head.

“Go away, Mother!” he shouted over his shoulder, taking his eyes off the movie. He could hear Valerie leave the kitchen and walk quickly to open the front door.

“Val! Don’t let her in. I don’t want to deal with her cheis today,” he swore. There’s a reason I locked the instance.”

“Okay, Hun,” Val replied and went back to her cooking, humming a Stepford tune. Emmy ignored the racket while Winston turned up the movie’s sound.

“Oh for the love of…” came a growl from Mother. With a terrific splintering bang, she forced her way through the locked front door in a spray of pixels and static that rippled throughout the home.

“Nahq it!” Winston hollered spilling his brandy Old-Fashioned. He shot up off his couch and glared at her angrily. “Can’t you take a hint?”

Mother looked like a woman in her forties or fifties, dressed in a sharp dove gray suit, jacket with big shoulders, an A-Line skirt, and a bright white blouse on with a string of black pearls with a copper and emerald broach on her lapel. She looked like she had stepped out of the movie Winston was watching. Mother strutted into the living room on impressive heels. Her blond-turning-white hair was in a tight bun, with two strands framing her perturbed expression.

“Nahq it yourself! Billy Joe Bob and I have been pinging you for three hours. You know better than to log out when you’re being unloaded! I’m hardly surprised to find you here in your own little Levitown shrine watching old movies.”

“In costume today, Mother?” Winston stifled a snort of mockery at his freight broker’s appearance.

She sneered at his comment. “No. Your behnging server blended my avatar code in with your stupid movie,” she snapped.

“And so what if I’ve been down for three hours on the dock? Those lumpers normally take my whole ten hour break to get me unloaded. I’ve probably got another five hours left!” Winston snapped back.

“This was a hot load, Winston! They started offloading you the instant you bumped their dock. They’ve been done for hours, and have been screaming at me to get you moved! There are a lot of other loads waiting to get in here. Need I remind you, I do not take kindly to being screamed at by an overclocked wirey warehouse manager every five minutes while you play ‘Father Knows Bankruptcy’ in this… this…” she waved her hands around at Winston’s simulation, “Americana nightmare! And bankruptcy, I might add, is precisely what you’re facing if you get kicked off this account!”

Val came into the living room, wiping her hands on her apron that screamed Pre-Dream American Golden Age.

“Hun, would you like me to escort Mother out?” her pleasant voice held a hint of iron as server security warnings leaked into her voice.

“Try it and I’ll turn you into a thermostat subroutine, missy!” Mother snapped with a sharp taloned finger thrust at Valerie.

“Nahq it! All of you, shut up!” Winston shouted. “Fine, mother, I’ll get off the dock and get rolling.”

“That’s all I ever wanted,” Mother sighed and gave a patronizing smile.

He opened up the route planner app for his tug, the Sierra Madre. The ‘pending’ load interface was blank.

“Wait. They show I’m unloaded, but there’s no backhaul?” Winston asked. “I always get a backhaul.”

“Since you didn’t clear the dock right away, their dock lead decided to go with a different vendor,” Mother said, arms crossed.

“Come on! For sleeping three hours on his dock?” Winston whined.

“This isn’t the first time you’ve pulled this stunt with them,” Mother reminded him. “You were warned there’d be consequences. Once you’re rolling, contact the guardpost on the way out for further instructions.”

“And what the Purg does that mean?” Winston shouted.

“They wouldn’t tell me. Said they’d only talk to you.”

“Of all the bullcheis powertrips,” Winston ranted. “You’re my freight broker. You book my jobs. Get me a backhaul home!”

“I’ll see what I can do, but don’t expect much. Also, lose the attitude. I’m not going to be your punching bag thanks to your own self inflicted wounds,” Mother fussed and then vanished in a cascade of pixels falling to the living room carpet.

He stared stupidly at the pile she inserted into his simulation. The mess was an icon of rebuke and criticism of his actions and manner toward her. She could be petty like that.

Winston let out a growl that escalated into a frustrated scream as he ended his connection and exited from his home instance.

2.

Winston’s consciousness slammed back into his body with a myoclonic jerk feeling like he was dropped ten feet into his bed. He peeled off the induction rig headband, threw it back onto his pillow and gave a tired groan. The memory of his argument with Mother came forward as he rubbed his eyes.

There was a gentle knock at the door. Billy Joe Bob must have heard him wake up.

“Hoss, y’all gonna get up in there?” came the autotuned voice of his loadmaster.

Winston said nothing and swung his legs over the side. The Sierra Madre’s sleeper was roomy as tug accommodations went. Just big enough for a generous bunk, a small bathroom, kitchenette with ample overhead cabinets and storage lockers under the mattress. His rumpled flight suit felt grimy with sweat. No time to clean up he thought, looking at the cramped shower. It was time to get rolling. Grabbing a battered cap, he got up and opened the sleeper door.

Billy Joe Bob glided back out of Winston’s way as he shuffled into the cockpit.

“Mother’s all sorts of mad, and that dock boss has been bangin’ on the canopy off and on for an hour. Paint’s busted up on the side of the sleeper but nothin’ that cain’t be taken care of,” the industrial mechoid prattled on, like a dutiful but rather clueless deputy.

Billy Joe Bob’s face was warm and friendly, covered with a flexible skin of smartex. A sophisticated rubber that could mimic muscles almost perfectly, save for being rather glossy and in Billy Joe’s case, light gray. Biologic sentient were usually freaked out by an incomprehensible sensor suite for a head, even insectoid features disturbed most sentient beings. His human-like chest was covered in polished chromed alloy perched on top of a rotund “beer-belly” bulge under which sat a dish shaped like an upside-down wok at his beltline. This rested on top of a pile of nanomachines that looked like glittering black volcanic sand which reminded Winston of an ankle length skirt.

The mechoid’s arms were brawny caricatures made of the same nanosand as his lower body. They stuck to shallow dishes at his shoulders. It seemed like an incongruous mix of metal, rubber and grit but it worked as a whole. Just another hard-workin’ good ol’ mech.

The canopy’s particle shield was down keeping the cab dark, lit only by monitors and blinking LEDs of the Sierra Madre’s controls. An angry red pulse from the comm suite indicated Mother was on the line. The large number of missed messages snarled at him in a red insistent font from her and Omnifeed.

So what if he slept on the dock, what was the big deal? These facilities were always in a ‘hurry up and wait’ mindset.

Winston grunted at Billy Joe as he took the few steps to the trio of bridge seats in the middle of the cab. The co-pilot and navigator’s seats were always empty. They had remained vacant ever since Winston bought the Sierra Madre. Their jobs done by non-sentient AIs. It was just him and Billy Joe out here and he wanted it to remain that way. Even Billy Joe didn’t pretend to be a human. He just hung in his service rack for downtime or stood out of the way, secured to the deck by his skirt.

Flopping into the pilot’s seat, Winston pulled the crash frame down, and wrapped himself securely in place. He started to do a quick instrument pre-trip checklist. A smooth rumble grew as the grav fans deepened their vortexes. Their atmospheric draw transferred a subtle vibration to the Sierra Madre’s cab.

Green across the board.

The monitors on the pair of bulk trailers he was hitched to woke up and reported back their tractor beams were double hooked and working properly. A quick check of the dock lock showed the Sierra Madre was already free and at station-keeping. All was go for departure.

The message light continued its accusatory glare. With a sigh of resolution, Winston parted the particulate shield and the outside came into view in a bright golden glow.

The clouds went on forever in all the colors of the sunset. Darker blots of green, black and brown skylands drifting among them. These chunks of planets and asteroids floated in the endless sky of the Dream like the islands of Earth, before it was torn apart and incorporated into Xiao the Eternal’s empire.

Closer in, Omnifeed’s huge industrial complex was peppered with other draymen waiting for their dock, or jockeying back and forth to the anchorage point. Some had only one trailer hooked on to their tugs and tractors, others were pulling sky trains with more than ten over-sized containers. A one thousand trailer train streamed through the sky like a titanic snake.

The retracting shields slowly revealed more of this busy scene. As the shield plates locked back into their housing, four open intakes of gravity fans came into view. Dull rainbow flickers licked out from their open maws when something more substantial than gas was sucked through their gravity shear planes. When under power, anything that passed through the rings was crushed and mangled by the tidal forces.

Winston threw on the Sierra Madre’s running lights and fired up his nav computer’s course projector.

“Hoss, look out.” Billy Joe said and pointed out the window.

A man was flying from a tug parked danger-close to him on his Bumblebee flight harness.

“That jackass,” Winston grumbled.

The man landed softly on the Sierra Madre’s canopy. Looking down between his feet, he began making threatening gestures with a wrench, yelling in a language Winston didn’t understand.

“Get the behng off my hull!” Winston shouted and slapped the horn. A low chord of ear shattering sound shook the air. The irate pilot grabbed his ears and staggered. Winston smiled as the man was no longer cussing at him in his gobbledy tongue. Apparently he decided to tell Winston off without putting on ear protection. One hundred and forty decibels at close range will remind anyone of that mistake.

“Shut down number four, Hoss,” Billy Joe Bob shouted. The careless pilot had staggered too far back and was close to being dragged through the fan.

Winston’s hand was already hitting the emergency shutdown for the number four fan just as the gravity well plucked the careless pilot up and fired him through its maw. The tidal forces, though no longer fatal, shot the man through its open vortex at hundreds of miles per hour, zipping past Winston’s trailers like a musketball.

“Uhhh…” drawled Billy Joe Bob in horror, realizing what just happened.

“Way ahead of you, Bubby.” Winston said, now wide eyed and fully awake. That pilot’s Bumblebee protected him from splattering against something big and hard. At least the man could float back to his tractor, once he regained his senses, Winston consoled himself.

He sounded the Sierra Madre’s horn again signaling his departure from the dock with one long blast followed by a pair of short toots in the traditional signal for departing port. The Sierra Madre eased out of her dock and followed her assigned buoy path toward the guardpost.

Winston stared grimly out the canopy. His mind whirling on the repercussions of what just happened. It was not his fault. That pilot climbed onto his tug without proper gear. Inside a restricted area no less. The fact he saved his life by shutting down the grav fan in time made it all just a near miss. No one was really hurt. Right? Just pride and ego. Cheis, cheis, cheis.

“You think we’re in trouble?” Billy Joe asked.

“We’ll find out soon enough, Bubby,” Winston sighed.

A scrambled call came in to his comm suite. Priority one.

Winston tapped the channel open and his comms unscrambled the transmission.

“This is the Sierra Madre, receiving you. Over,” He answered as calmly as he could muster.

“Sierra Madre, this is Omnifeed Control,” said the professional sounding voice. The guardpost’s dataoids had voices modeled after the ancient cadence of flight controller speak. No matter what, everyone was equal in their eyes, or so the timber of their words implied.

“Go ahead Omnifeed Control. Over.” Winston squinted hard, fighting to keep it together.

“You are charged with violating Omnifeed site safety rules. Furthermore, you violated rules of professional conduct by failing to leave the dock when ordered,” the guardpost stated.

“Hey, he climbed on my hull! Without safety gear! I shut down the fan in time,” Winston complained. “Blame him!”

“Your objections are heard and understood. The pilot will be dealt with accordingly,” came the dataoid’s reply. Winston could hear the ‘but’ hanging unsaid. “Regardless, you have four previous violations of loading dock policy in the last five weeks. Your company, Harper Enterprises, is hereby suspended from all Omnifeed facilities for six months due to these infractions. After that time you may reapply to be an approved carrier.”

“Aw, come on!” Winston shouted at the digital sentient.

“For the safety incident, you are hereby personally permabanned from this specific facility.” The passionless words were worse than being cussed at.

“I’m being permabanned for him violating your policy? He climbed on me!” Winston shouted.

“His discipline is a private matter. Be glad if he is unharmed. In case there is permanent injury and medical bills, your legal information has been provided to his agent,” Omnifeed Control said without compassion.

“You have no right to do that!” Winston protested, slamming his fist against the armrest.

“That is the law in accordance with Xiao’s Imperial covenants and protocols of commerce. Hail, Xiao the Eternal.” the dataoid controller added automatically. “We, as a third-party witness, must report what was recorded to maintain good standing with the Empire. Omnifeed maintains the highest imperial commerce rating and will protect it with all due legal effort.”

Winston let out a defeated sigh, and as if she could hear it, his comm bleeped again as Mother tried to get through.

“Copy all that Omnifeed Control. Sierra Madre out.”

The other comm continued to blink as Winston sat there considering his situation.

Was this the start of the final plunge? He flew above the anchorage point toward the perimeter buoys that marked Omnifeed’s airspace boundaries, itching to drop the hammer and bolt out of there.

Would he be rockbound and stuck on the Imperial dole because he just couldn’t get work after the Sierra Madre was impounded and he was blackballed?

Omnifeed was his last regular client. Even if Mother could use him on another job was all low paying spot work from here on out. Last second frantic runs to cover mistakes for people who dropped the ball and deserved to get burned. Sure, you could look the hero doing that, but the hassle. Oh, my Xiao! The hassle!

Winston flipped the comm from Mother open but said nothing.

“It isn’t as bad as you may think, Winston.” Mother’s words were gentle.

“It certainly isn’t good. Did the payment process out?” Winston drummed his fingers against the arms of his seat.

“Yes. We’re paid in full, so there’s a little money in the kitty, but you can kiss your insurance goodbye. I have several texts to respond to from Omnifeed, and that moron pilot’s lawyer.”

“Did you see Omnifeed’s evidence?” Winston said with a little hope.

“I did. He was at fault and so I might be able to get a lawyer in to provide a good defense and resolve this with paying out only for some lost time and wages.”

“Mother, did I ever tell you that I loved you?” Winston said with a smirk. Behind him Billy Joe Bob let out an arpeggiated laugh.

“Eugh!” Mother let out a strangled retch. “You biomes and your erratic emotions.” Winston knew she appreciated his sentiment, otherwise she wouldn’t have called him such a dirty name as ‘biome’.

“Okay, I know we’re on the bubble, so what’s next, Mother? Am I untouchable now?” Winston asked, as he adjusted his course from the anchorage.

“I’ll put some feelers out and see what I can find,” Mother said and hung up before Winston could reply.

At least she hadn’t abandoned him, he thought with a sigh. She knew he slept plugged in his home instance to keep the nightmares away. Winston knew he screwed up but really, it wasn’t like he had been impairing himself on the job.

The Sierra Madre slowly passed a giant dirigible bulk hauler. Her gravity planes were shifted sideways toward Omnifeed’s digesters where they made SiCHON feedstock for nanofabricators all across the Dream. With a final flurry of pipes and silos, the Sierra Madre was past the outer markers and into open air again.

He flipped through his cameras to watch the Omnifeed facility recede behind him, and altered his course toward home on Pseudomaha. He glared at the big nanofabrication silos with the giant Omnifeed logo on their side. The facility disappeared behind a cloying yellow cloud of sulfur dust.

“Hoss, you want me doin’ anything right now?” Billy Joe Bob asked.

“You got chores left?” Winston asked, eyes focused on the traffic sensors. The little blobs of blue, green, yellow and red, slid past with neon trails in the holographic hud.

“Naw. Not really. Containers are empty and undamaged. We have an extra free day with ‘em before getting them back to Consolidated Freight for maintenance.” Billy Joe said.

“Rog that,” Winston said. “I got nothing for you then. Hit the rack and enjoy yourself. We should still have access to Omnifeed’s network for another hour or two of flight time. Might as well mooch while we still can. Otherwise, we’re ‘go-slow’ till Mother gets back to me. Maybe we will need that extra free day of rental to get home after all.”

“Rog that, Hoss.” Billy Joe went back to his rack in the back of the cab with a slithering hiss of his nanosand skirt and powered down leaving Winston alone with his worries.

Sample End

Till next time, vaya con Dios!

They Gots This Depression Goin’ On… (Among Other Things)

Photo by Rick Miller on Pexels.com

2022 had hardly begun when 2021 took a final shot at my wife and I, literally. Maybe I shouldn’t have given it the finger as it went out the door. And then this week…

I got a lovely email from the printer last week, and after a short investigation, I’m going to have to act on it. It seems that the cost for printing books is going up thanks to the second global great depression we have right now thanks to germophobicovidiocy caused shortages.

Unfortunately, it’s going up so much that it is forcing me to raise my prices on printed books to just keep pace. Mind you, my royalties are miniscule. I still make more per e-book downloaded than I do for these books which I shave off my profit margin to make sure I support local/small retailers allowing you lovely readers to order physical copies there.

I haven’t pulled the trigger on it yet, but it’s coming soon, and that means that the price on the back cover will not match because I don’t have the wherewithal at the moment to pay to have the books reset. Yes, to just change the barcode on the back costs me a set up fee. Six of them to be precise, and that’s not an expense I budgeted for, nor will any sales at the higher price cover it at the moment.

On a bit of positive news, I’m going to have details to announce of an upcoming podcast interview! I tape this week, and am not sure where I am in the podcast’s release schedule, but you’ll get more details once I know more.

And lastly…. Novella 3 for Tales from the Dream Nebula is now DONE! Yep, first draft in the can. It’s gone through some critiques and is now into my editorial passes. So far it’s been received by my early reader groups with great enthusiasm and excitement. That means although I’ve not released anything last year, I am setting up for rapid release starting (we hope) by sometime this Autumn 2022. If all things go well, we will also be looking at some interesting bonus extras to go with the releases! Gonna have to figure out how to set it up, and realizing that my website might have to change significantly in the not so distant future. Ugh, the business side of being an author. Hopefully I can keep things all together without getting too crazy.

…then again, isn’t crazy how things go, am I right?

Talk to y’all soon!

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

 

Book 3 is Approaching so Fast!

Just a quick note on the state of Book Three of the Akiniwazisaga.

“Into The High Places” is in the final stages of editing and formatting.  Barring any interference, the desire is to release by Labor Day.

As a little thank you for your patience from not getting it out in July, here’s an excerpt from what’s to come:

AKINIWAZISAGA - BOOK 3 - E-BOOK - FINAL

1. Beyond the Bounds of Law

 

Brother Finn looked back through the branches of the forest and down the path they had climbed to leave the Eitrfjord. Far in the distance, the last sliver of Lake Wanashiabinoogi shimmered, begging him to turn back. Finn stared at the bright flickers on the deep blue of water, palms sweating and his heart began to pound for a brand new reason.

“Just one more step, Bergie,” Finn muttered.

“All it would take is one more step, the lake would disappear from sight and my skoggang breaks,” he said to his ever faithful companion who only panted in reply. “I would become fredlause, you know? Unprotected by the law, any man who desired to take my life could do so without fear. Just like a wild animal… no reprisals… no feud… no trial. Only justice served.”

Glancing further down the trail at the small ad hoc company with whom he had thrown in his lot, Finn was still astonished with his reasoning. He gave Bergamot, his mastiff , a bittersweet smile. She waited patiently under her heavy packs.

“Such is my life,” Brother Finn said with a small snort. “Why should I even care about breaking my obedience to the Kyrkja so much? They were the unjust ones, but yet I remain chained to their ideas and authority regardless of its perversion,” he complained to her.

Misty sunlight sliced up the shade of the thick forest into glittering magical shafts. A still voice whispered in his mind, “The needs of the Forsamling are far greater than claims of the Orthodoxy. The purposes of God are grander than the vision of a few petty men in comfortable palaces.”

Brother Finn nodded a few times with the wise words that came from somewhere deep within, drew a cleansing breath through his nose and resolved to serve both his Lord and his Tign. Turning his back to the lake, Finn began descending the deer trail. The act completed his disobedience to the laws of man. His fate rested in the hands of God and Visekonge.

Far down the slope the group headed toward the sound of a babbling brook. No one had noticed Finn’s personal struggle or failure to keep up. Their long climb out of the Eitrfjord made them grateful to have a downward slope that quickened their steps. Finn could no longer see the rest of the party through the foliage but heard their voices echoing through the trees. They were much too loud for Finn’s comfort. Who knew what else could be listening among the curtains of green? He and Bergamot rushed to catch up. As the slope grew steeper, gaps in the canopy showed they were rapidly descending into a series of interconnected valleys. The white and gray peaks and palisades of the Ondeandkorgfjell fanned out before them, ominous and beautiful.

A branch cracked above and to his left. Finn had just enough time to see Friar Amr flying at him from out of a dense cluster of spruce with a bloodcurdling grin on his face. Brother Finn could not bring his harpoon to bear on Amr’s attack in time and was bowled over with a loud whoof.

Thyrnir charged out of some dense brush, barrelling down the grade. Bergamot wheeled on Thyrnir and growled, intercepting the other dog’s attack, knocking him down with her superior size, using her packs like armor. The two dogs tore at each other in a frenzy, while both their masters slashed and blocked each other in a blind tangle. Friar Amr’s strikes missed by a hair’s breadth with the barb of his harpoon but struck soundly with the blunt end. Brother Finn fought to gain distance from this savage attack.

Then just as quickly as it began, Friar Amr and Thyrnir vanished!

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Now On To Formatting! (and other news)

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Editing (with the exception of a couple technical whoopsies caught by proof reading ) is done!  I am so relieved.  Both Books 1 and 2 are now set to be formatted, sent to the printer and released.  I am hoping, barring restrictions that this will be complete in April.  A goodish month for me all things considered.

So what comes next?

BOOK 3!  The editing begins!  My goal is mid July, and although I set the deadline, it has some real world outside of myself backup to get it done. That means Beta Readers will be needed again by Early June at the latest, and a cover I hope by the same time.

And once all that is done, I can turn my attention to Book 4… which isn’t written yet, but it’s been building in my head.  I have certain scenes envisioned and now a few new characters, plot twists, questions to answer… not to mention ask!

When will that finish?  I’m not going to predict other than to say 2020.  I know that’s the year I want to start looking at audiobooks, and that will be the goal, but those will probably be pushed back till late 2020, after I finish Book 4 so it can all be done at once.  We’ll see.  This is long range blue skying it right now.

As for other things, Realm Makers 2019 in Saint Louis is fast approaching and I am both full of joyful squee and screams of terror.  Why?  Give away merchandise for attendees and a few choices on merchandising.  I’ve no idea what kind of good memorable give-away I can provide, but I want to do something nice.

What’s that?  You didn’t realize I wanted to do some merch for my books?  Oh yes… yes indeed I do!

What kind of merch?

I hope to do something with teeshirts and my covers and maybe hats with my logo on it.  We’re gonna have to see what I can come up with.  Honestly though I really need help with this stuff.  I’ve been researching companies to do it through, but I can’t afford to play with inventory, online stores, order fulfillment and all that jazz.  Heck, you see how good I am with this blog current!

That said, once I get some shirts designed for me to wear, I do hope to set it up for all of y’all to be able to buy them if you want.  That’s the hope on the clothing.

But nuff said.  There’s also one other dream item I’d love to do, but that would require some real help with someone who has know-how and the ability to help me set up a “Manufacture On Demand” setup.

What is this dream item?  Wellllll….. okay, I’ll tell you, just realize this is in the dreaming with no idea how to pull it off still:  Stuffed Bergamots.  Yes, Actually, I want to do stuffed doggies, same with Hawthorne (you’ll meet him later)  It’d be really fun to do stuffed versions of Brother Finn, Reimar and other characters…. or… something else!  HAH!  But that’s even more blue sky thinking so I’ll keep that in the cooler till it’s ready to start prepping.

So that’s the news right now.  Hope to give a hard date on the release soon.

TTYL

 

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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.

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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!

 

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Akiniwazisaga: Reissue & The Name is….!

First the big news.  Book 2 is with the proofreaders.  (One because I need someone to pick over the grammar and the other to pick over the proper use of Scandinavian languages to make sure I didn’t botch something really big.)  So next stop format city.  This seems to mean (barring any new disasters) that a January is likely now that real world concerns are out of the way.  What real world concerns?  Well, I’m not quite self sufficient on my writing earnings, so that means you get these books less frequently, and that means I have a real world job.  This last month I switched companies in a process that was a diagonal move upward.  Different company, similar position, but up the process chain.  On the positive notes, it means that I no longer have large chunks of time that I can’t write.  But it means I can’t edit at work like the previous position allowed.  So it’s an overall improvement in that regard.  It is also an overall improvement to my quality of life.

That’s what’s been going on in the life for me.  You can imagine what kind of toll it’s taken on my ability to focus on this work.  Don’t worry, I’ll get better as time goes by and I settle into the new position.

With that said… it’s time for the big reveal!

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As you know Book 2 is a much more sprawling novel as it is the first part of a trilogy story arc.  Yeah, couldn’t pack all that goodness into just one book, unless you wanted a 1200-1500 page monstrosity I can’t afford to print nor you to buy in one bite.  I do toy with the idea of making an “Omnibus” in the future that will be just that for the real collector.  We shall see.

 

I can hear you shouting “get on with it!” from the cheap seats.  Okay, okay!!!

Titles are not easy for me.  (Well, Book 3 was.  It practically handed itself to me on a silver platter, which is super rare.)  So after much consultation, thought, doubt and prayer, I found the name I think really fits, sticking with my convention of modifying Bible verses that speak to the character of the book.  In this case, it comes from the following:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

 

Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

 

And with that, Book 2 is officially christened!

 

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Cover by Paganus

 

Look at that!  Finn and Bergamot!  Had to put em in for you, because I know so many of you wanted to see Bergie.  😀  Wait till you meet the other two!

Other news:

I am also going to be experimenting with Kindle and books 2 – 4 will not be released wide, just on Amazon.  Book 1 will remain wide though, so don’t fret that way.  I’m just going to see if the advantages of being in the Kindle Unlimited are worth it.  If it ain’t, I’m going back and putting the books wide again.

The re-editing for the reissue of ALRDW has begun.  Slowly, but surely.  I do not expect it to take as much time as Inheritance Thieves, since it’s already in those final states and now I have a good process to use.

What is changing? The language is being brought up to snuff, the Encyclopedia (glossary for those not in the know) will be updated accordingly) and some technical typos will be fixed.  Many things that will help the ease of reading.  You’ll like it, trust me.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to you all.

 

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