Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Hope of Memory [Update 28] World Notes

First off, all versions of The Distant and Wilders are available again.  All issues have been fixed.  Yay me.

Secondly, I'm still working on Rom Tar, of course, though it's slow going.  I have tons of notes on details that I wanted to add into the book, but I'm having trouble working some of them in without it sounding forced.  Others I've decided to not bother with (not important enough).  Hopefully I can get them all taken care of by the end of the month and move on to the next draft.  At that point the content will be set in stone.

World Notes

Thirdly, I've spent a lot of time during the last few months writing what I call "world notes."  Basically the additional history and background that I hadn't outlined prior to writing the trilogy.

Most of this content will not be in the trilogy, but it's important that it's all there so I know where everything has come from.  I'm also outlining what happens after the trilogy is over... that way I can work clues in now.  So that way if I ever decide to continue the story (not out of the realm of possibility), it will make sense in the context of everything else and not feel out of place or tacked on.


And fourthly, I'm considering doing this for the first time.  If you don't know what that is, check here:

I generally like getting a first draft done as soon as possible, and I'd really like to get a jump start on the next novel I have planned.  But I also want to get Rom Tar finished so I can move on for sure and not have some other thing hanging over my head.

So I'm still undecided.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Hope of Memory [Update 27] Status Report

I haven't posted in a while... not that anyone has noticed.  This is more for my own records and transparency than anything else.  But I've been working a lot on Rom Tar, don't worry.

However, as I was re-reading The Distant to ensure Rom Tar was consistent with it, I realized that some parts are simply bad.  Like cringe-worthy, and it was pretty upsetting, considering I went over that book so many damn times.  I thought it was good, but apparently my writing and editing skills have actually progressed a lot in the last 3 years.  And perhaps that's part of the perils of self-editing, I don't know.

As such, I've removed The Distant and Wilders from purchase temporarily while I work through a "second edition" of The Distant.  So you can't buy them right now.  The Distant will get a second edition update.  Very little of the storyline will change - one minor scene will be cut, otherwise it's a lot of cosmetic and wording issues.  Wilders will be largely unchanged, aside from a few inserted details and some Kindle formatting issues.

I figure if I'm going to make an update, I might as well do it now to both, since I hardly sell any copies at all.

If you've bought the Kindle versions of those books, you'll get any updates automatically when I publish them.  If you got a trade paperback, then perhaps one day that old edition will be a collector's item.  If you provide me with proof you have a First Edition copy I will send you the Second Edition for free.

They should be available again very, very soon.  I'm working hard to get them done.  Kinda embarrassed I let The Distant sit out there for so long with these issues, but we all make mistakes, I guess.

EDIT: Both ebooks are back online.  :D  Trades unfortunately will be another two weeks, due to the proofing process.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Hope of Memory [Update 26] Wilders Released!

It only took 2 1/2 years, but I've finally released Wilders, Book 2 of The Hope of Memory.  It's now available in trade paperback and eBook formats.

The trade is through CreateSpace.  It's available both through the CreateSpace site and Amazon (US and many of their international sites).  Here are the US links:

CreateSpace - Trade Paperback | $11.99
Amazon US - Trade Paperback | $11.99
Amazon US - Kindle eBook | $2.99

For the Amazon version, I've enabled most of their features, because I can.  The book has:

Matchbook = If you buy the Trade paperback, you can get the Kindle eBook for FREE
Kindle Lending Library = If you have Amazon Prime, you can borrow the eBook for FREE
Lending Enabled = You can lend your copy of the eBook to other users
KDP Select = Occasionally Amazon may offer the eBook for FREE for a limited time as part of a promotion
No DRM = I don't care about DRM anymore

The eBook is exclusive to Amazon for at least 90 days, to be able to use these features.  If I get feedback that people would rather have the eBook in a non-Kindle format, I may switch it.  But you can get the Kindle app on any phone or tablet now, so it's not like it isn't accessible to virtually everyone.

Rom Tar

Yes, I know there are three books in a trilogy.  I've been editing Rom Tar for about a month now, and it definitely won't take 2 1/2 years to release.  Primarily because I don't need to write another book before this one is complete (I wrote Rom Tar before editing Wilders).

There are some sections I need to rewrite, but nothing major.  I'm really looking forward to getting the third book out... writing a trilogy is harder than it seems.  I'll have a preview of the cover up soon.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Apprentice Adept - The Retrospective

Anyone who's read my previous Retrospectives (The Wheel of Time and The Belgariad/Malloreon) might have noticed a mention of Piers Anthony.  He's another of the first set of authors I discovered as a teenager, when I first started reading fantasy and science fiction.

Piers Anthony has been active for nearly 50 years, having published a whopping 166 novels through December of 2013, according to his website.  His very first book was Chthon in 1967.  He's still writing today, though I feel his quality has dropped off considerably and he self-publishes everything now, aside from his long-running Xanth series (easily his most popular work, and the only thing he still has on a traditional publisher, with 39 total entries).

Anthony himself is a fascinating writer, though.  Here are some fun facts:
  • He's 81 years old.
  • He lives on a tree farm in central Florida, near Inverness
  • He hates Windows and devotes sections of his newsletters, blogs and author's notes to complaining about Linux alternatives and how he can never get things to work correctly, even though he could save himself so much time and heartburn by simply using a Windows machine that works perfectly fine and can do everything he wants it to do.
  • He hates editors tampering with his work (more on that later) and is very outspoken about it.
Photo courtesy of

I could fill a whole blog post about him and his quirky ways, but I have other things to talk about.  In my Retrospective Conclusion post, I'll provide some references if you want to research him more.

The Quest for All Novels

Back to his works.  I became obsessed with Piers Anthony after discovering him and in the mid-90's began a quest to collect all of his novels, many of which had gone out of print by that time.  Every time I went to a used bookstore, I'd check the Anthony section for something I was still missing.  Every town I visited when travelling - I always made a point of finding at least one used bookstore for an Anthony check.

There were two books I had particular difficulty acquiring: Thousandstar and Pornucopia.

Thousandstar is the fourth book in the Cluster series.  I would always find the others in that series, but never Thousandstar.  Don't know if it had a shorter print run or that I was just unlucky.  Either way, I must have checked 40-50 bookstores (I'm not joking) before I finally found it.  Sadly, I don't even remember where that was... I want to say Chicago, or maybe one of the places I went to in Iowa.  Somewhere in the Midwest, as I lived in various places around there between 1991-2002.  But it was a joyous day when I did.

Pornucopia was somewhat of a legendary book at the time.  It was an erotic fantasy, totally different from anything else he had done, with a very small print run.  Only once did I actually handle one of the original hardbacks: at a bookstore in Chicago, that wanted $90 for it.  At the time I barely made enough to make ends meet and $90 was way too much for me.  I just wanted to read it... I wasn't concerned with what edition anything was.  So I had to content myself with looking at the copy they had and walking away.  If I found it today I'd buy it for sure, though.

Anthony later self-published a lot of his out of print works and I was able to read Pornucopia then.  He even wrote a sequel, The Magic Fart.  They are interesting reads, to say the least.

Of course, it's much easier to acquire his works today.  Anthony has self-published many older titles and websites like eBay provide older editions at the click of a mouse button.  But at the time, it was fun filling out my collection and reading a lot of Anthony's lost gems.  Most of his early work was science fiction, and nearly all of it was great.  I carted the Anthony books (over 100 at that point) along with me every time I moved, and finally was able to showcase them properly when I bought a condo in Reston, VA.

Losing Interest

It was during that time (2005 or so) that I stopped collecting his novels.  I had been very disappointed with his recent work, particularly the ChroMagic series, which I thought was utter crap, and decided to move on.  I stopped reading him and before I moved across the country in 2011, I donated the majority of his books to the local library, keeping only my favorites, mostly 70's and 80's works.

Unfortunately Anthony had a penchant for extending series further than they needed to be, tacking on volumes that weren't necessary, in my opinion.  He'd write a great series with a good beginning and end, then ruin it with a few extra books.  It was like whoever originally published it knew it was best left alone, but he didn't care and simply took it elsewhere.  He did this with a number of series:

Xanth — 9 with Del Rey, 30 more with 4 other publishers 
The Apprentice Adept — 3 with Del Rey, 4 more with Ace
Bio of a Space Tyrant — 5 with Avon, 1 more self-published
The Incarnations of Immortality — 5 with Del Rey, 3 more with 2 other publishers

Now, I can't fault Anthony for wanting to write whatever he wants.  He clearly earned that over the years.  Much of this activity he says is from editors tampering with his work, and he simply decided to take his business elsewhere.  Obviously I don't know for sure, but it always happened after a clear closure on each series.  And the quality dropped off each time, so maybe editors tampering with his work was a good thing?

Or maybe I'm just reading too much into it.  Ba-dum-tish!

The Apprentice Adept

This brings me to the focus of this Retrospective, The Apprentice Adept.  A fantasy / sci-fi trilogy published between 1980-1982, he later extended it to seven volumes between 1987-1990.  The focus of this Retrospective will be the original trilogy only.  I'm not going to cover the four extra he tacked on later, which really should have been a separate sequel series rather than entries in the original one.  I wasn't a fan of them and besides, they were part of the Anthony books I donated in 2011, so I can't even read them now without buying them again.

The original trilogy was the first Anthony I ever read.  I honestly can't remember the last time I read them, though... it has to be at least 15 years ago.  I've forgotten much of what happened, so this will be a unique Retrospective.  I remember them being great, but that was with a teenager's mindset and experience.  I've read so much since then... how will I feel about them now?

As always, there will be spoilers for the entire series in each blog post, so if you don't want the series spoiled, you should hold off reading these until you've read the entire series.  If you don't care or have already read it, then dive on in.  Check the links below or the Fiction Retrospectives link at the top of every page.

Book 1 - Split Infinity (1980)
Book 2 - Blue Adept (1981)
Book 3 - Juxtaposition (1982)
Retrospective Conclusion

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Hope of Memory [Update 25] Wilders Finalized

I'm finally done with Wilders.  It took a lot longer than I had anticipated (writing on it began on 6/6/2012), but I'm happy with the final product.

The final word count came out to 153.5K words, which is 15K shorter than Book 1, The Distant.  This means with less page count and so I'll have to tweak the spine of the cover, since it will be thinner.  Shouldn't be an issue... but I could probably pad the text a little to inflate the page count and make the graphics work easier.  But I'd rather not do that.

Anyway, the novel should be out on trade paperback and Kindle eBook by next month.  Then it's on to the finale, Rom Tar.  Yay me!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Hope of Memory [Update 24] Back Cover Summary

I'm wrapping up my final draft of Wilders before formatting it for publication, working through a few minor consistency details, and after a bit of toying around I finally came up with a summary for the back cover (which will also be the summary for Amazon, etc).

It's a pain to write these things sometimes... you want it to grab someone's attention and not give away too much, yet it has to be short.  For this series I'm keeping them under 100 words.  It took a long time to figure it out.  I probably wouldn't be a good marketing copywriter... I can't come up with these things fast enough.

Anyway, for Wilders, this is what I've got:

The Uses of Kutad

"Kutad should only be used as a last resort for sedation, prior to a mercy killing or breeding.  Some houlves will try to resist.  Kutad is necessary in these circumstances to relax them, make them pliable."

- from Keryca's Treatise on Breeding

The Moon Star has disappeared, and the winds have come, an omen to those who remember.

To the north, the winds glide across the waves of a narrow sea, where a houlf is waiting for her friend to return.

To the east, the winds whistle through the yawning holes of a crashed starship, where wilders are growing anxious.

To the south, the winds skip along the road between human cities, following an unlikely alliance.

And to the west, the winds dance over a mountain lake, where a beast has found a new purpose.

Like The Distant, it features one of the Tenets from Keryca's Treatise on Breeding, along with a vague summary.  There might be a few minor changes before final publication, but thought I'd share something to make it look like I'm making progress.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Hope of Memory [Update 23] Wilders is Coming

So I haven't posted about my progress on The Hope of Memory in roughly 10 months.  I'm starting to feel like George R.R. Martin here, but at least it's only been a little over 2 years since my last book, and not the ridiculous 5 that GRRM has going right now.

But anywho... Wilders is almost ready for publication.  2015 was a year of great change for me, and a lot of things happened that took my attention away from writing.  But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

As I mentioned before, both Wilders and Rom Tar have been written for a while now.  The Wilders first draft was finished about 3 years ago, while Rom Tar was completed a year ago.  I'm about done with Draft 6 of Wilders now, and I think the next will be the last.

Over the years I've come up with my own process for writing and editing, to polish my work into shape without involving an editor.  Yes, I self-edit my books.  Many will tell you this is a mistake and you should NEVER do it, and I know it sounds condescending, but I'm telling the story I want to, MY story, and I think any writer worth their weight should know how to properly edit prose, even their own.  Don't make someone else do it for you... you can do it yourself if you take the time.

My Revision Process

Here's basically what I've come up with after self-editing a few books now:

Draft 1 = Handwritten draft
Draft 2 = Typing out first draft, fix content as I go along
Reading 1 = First read through, take notes on things to fix
Draft 3 = Hardcore line edit, fix content issues (adding / deleting)
Draft 4 = Audio reading (read the entire thing out loud)
Draft 5 = Grammar and spellcheck (via Word, etc)
Draft 6 = Checks (limit certain words & phrases, term consistencies, word stats)
Reading 2 = Second read through
Draft 7 = Any remaining fixes

In the future I'd like to add beta readers into the mix, just to get impressions and to make sure things work as written, but for now I can survive without it.

The initial draft aside, Draft 3 usually takes the longest, because I slowly go through every sentence and fix everything I see.  For Wilders this took me 8 months.  Hopefully it won't take so long for Rom Tar... I want to get it out before the end of 2016 and move on from this trilogy.  I have another story that I'm really excited about (and which I might start writing this year for a change of pace).

So stay tuned... Wilders is coming.