Friday, April 29, 2011


Well, progress on the Expired Reality novels - my upcoming young adult sci-fi/fantasy series - is coming along nicely. The first novel, Endangered Memories, is in the final edits and should be finished and ready for formatting by the middle of next week. The second book, Lost Birth, is in my editor's hands as I write this. And I'll be starting work on the third, but not final book, Dark Horizon, next week.

With the series debuting this summer, and Endangered Memories set for a June release, I am going to start introducing everyone to the characters of the series starting next week via my blog. I'll share magazine clippings and other artwork that served as inspiration, and give a glimpse into the backgrounds of my characters so you can get a feel for where they're at when the series starts off.

Also today, the Indie Book Blog gave me an opportunity to share a little bit about my series - Check it out if you get a chance - the post has a Smashwords coupon for a free ebook of Picture Perfect, a novella that gives some background into Drather, a mercenary character from the upcoming series.

Have a great weekend everyone, and I'll see you all on Monday!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Learning To Delegate

For the longest time now, I've been a self-published author. And while being a self-published author has its challenges, the thing I've loved the most about it is that I'm in control of every aspect of my publishing journey - cover design, formatting, story, characters, marketing, etc., etc., etc. Some may even say I'm a control freak when it comes to my content. But can you blame a writer for being a control freak over the world and characters they have created? I think not.

However, I am slowly and painfully learning to delegate.

Case in point? My cover designs. For a while now I've been going back and forth on what I want the covers for my upcoming young adult series - Expired Reality - to look like. When I released the first two books in the series a few years ago, I tried to go simplistic with the design - a symbol which had to do with content within the story.

Not my best work, but I figured it was helping me work toward branding.

Yesterday I had a great writing meeting with my good friend Jelani Parham. He's an illustrator and fellow writer, and when I opened up a discussion on what fonts I should use for the new covers, the conversation turned into me asking him to draw some of my characters from the series and help me with the cover design.

This wasn't easy for me to do. To give control to someone else to draw my characters? Even though he's a good friend of mine, it's hard for me to let go. But I've always liked Jelani's art style and he's read the first two books in the series, so he knows what would be most appropriate for the covers. Having his help will also give me more time to write and work on marketing - two things that take up the majority of my time anyway.

As soon as he's gotten some sketches done and we have a good idea what direction the covers are going in, I'll post some images here. In the meantime, if you want to check out some of what he does, head over to his deviantART page -

Monday, April 25, 2011

Writing Prompt #9 - Crimson Rose

I wanted to post this earlier today, but I'm still getting back on my game after my vacation to California last week - which I will detail in a post later this week. 

So, without further wait, here is this week's writing prompt. Remember, you can write as little or as much as you'd like, and if you want, you can post your response to the prompt right here. **All work is under copyright of its authors**

Here we go....

Your character(s) is in a field of wild roses when she/he notices that one of them has blood dripping from its thorns. Taking a closer look, they notice a trail of blood leading out of the field...

Brittany hesitated when she looked out on the horizon and realized the field butted up against a wall of trees. The forest of Feralden, a terrible place of darkness and creatures so vile she had only seen them in her nightmares. She couldn't go in there - wouldn't go in there - just to satisfy a curiosity. A curiosity that was slowly gaining speed.

Looking down on the rose again, she noticed the blood was drying somewhat quickly on the sharp thorns of the flower's stem. Whose blood was there on the rose? And if they were wounded, why would they run into the dark forest?

Brittany turned to leave the field in the opposite direction of the forest when she heard a soft whisper seep out of the trees. "Find the doorway to the other world."

Who said that? And how was it she was able to hear a whisper from almost a quarter mile - if not more - away? Her curiosity tore at her like the teeth of a panther and she suddenly found herself moving toward the forest, her mind screaming at her not to do it, but her body rebelling with every fiber it had within it.

When she reached the trees, she felt a frightening chill sweep across her bare arms, pulling the hair up at the back of her neck. She could see nobody, nothing but trees. Trees and darkness. The sunlight was barred from reaching the forest floor thanks to the shield of leaves gracing the tree tops. 

Brittany stepped into the forest, her eyes scanning the floor for the trail of blood. Although her eyes couldn't make out the dark spots against the forest floor, she didn't have to go far to find who had been bleeding. A young man in a tattered white shirt and black pants lay on the ground at the base of a tree. His hand was gripping something jetting out of the side of the trunk - a knob.

She rushed to him, oblivious to any dangers she might encounter. When she reached him, he looked up at her with glowing blue eyes and whispered, "The other world." Brittany watched as his hand slipped from the knob and he closed his eyes. 

He was dead. Brittany reached her hand out to the doorknob, grabbing hold of the cold brass. She felt power within that knob, great power. When she turned the knob, a door opened in the tree, emitting bright colorful light into her face. She knew it was her destiny to step inside, to enter this 'other world' this dead man at her feet had spoken of. 

And so she entered the trap that the forest had laid out for her...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lost Birth Is Off To The Editor

Well, it was close, but I made my deadline and finished revisions/rewrites to Lost Birth last night. I just hit SEND on the email transfering it to the very capable hands of my editor, and now it feels like a huge burden just lifted from my shoulders. Isn't that how it usually feels when one finally finishes a manuscript?

Now that the book is out of my hands, it's time for some R & R. Heading to California for a little bit to see family and get out of this heat. Supposed to be 95 here in Arizona this coming weekend, but only 69 where we're heading. :)

Next week I will be starting work on Dark Horizon, the third book in the young adult series I will be releasing this summer. I also got back edits to Endangered Memories, the first book, so I'll be working on those at the same time. I'll also be getting back to posting, and to my usual marketing efforts. I hate having to put everything to the side to have finished Lost Birth, but it was a necessity.

I'll see all of you when I come back. Enjoy the weekend!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Approaching The Finish Line

I posted last week about my progress on Lost Birth, the second volume in my upcoming young adult sci-fi/fantasy series, and I am very near to approaching the completion of this draft so I can send it off to my editor. My editor just handed me her edits on the first volume in the series, Endangered Memories, so things are right on track for a summer release of the first three volumes in this series.

Because of how close I am to finishing Lost Birth - and the fact that I am going on vacation toward the end of this week - my posts are getting put on the back burner until I return toward the end of next week. I really wanted to do a writing prompt today, but I ended up working a twelve hour day on my revisions on Saturday, so I wasn't able to write up anything new.

Writing prompts will be back starting Monday, April 25th, as will the rest of my posts on self-publishing and writing. When I return from my vacation, I will be starting work on the third volume in my young adult series, and I'll also be working on the next email newsletter issue. Click here to sign up for it.

Some great things are coming down the line! Hope to see you all on the other side. For now, I'm crawling back into my writing cave to finish this up...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Finishing Up Lost Birth

I know I have been in the habit of posting on self-publishing on Wednesdays and writing on Fridays, but for the rest of this week I'm going to be hiding in a cave (or library), trying to get Lost Birth finished, so you probably won't see any more posts from me for the rest of the week.

Lost Birth, for those who don't know yet, is the second volume in my upcoming young adult sci-fi/fantasy series coming out this summer. I am already behind on my goals for the year - planned on having the third volume done and in my editor's hand by now - but it's not a big deal. Life happens. We gotta roll with the punches.

So, I'll be spending most of my time either in my office, at the public library, or at the local coffee shop trying to bust out this novel before the middle of next week, when I have to hand it off to my editor.

In the meantime, if you want to check out one of the characters from my upcoming YA series, check out the novella I put out a little while ago - Picture Perfect. You can find it here at my website - - where you'll find links to purchase it for various ebook readers. Only 99 cents, and it's been getting some pretty good reviews.

Wish me luck, and I'll see you all on the other side. I'll be back for sure this coming Monday with another writing prompt. ;)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Writing Prompt #8 - Snowflake

So, it hit 101 degrees here last week and I've officially decided I will be moving out of Arizona in the near future. I have my eye on a spot in California, but I need money first. Until then, I decided I'd make this week's writing prompt winter themed.

Remember, you can write as little or as much as you'd like, and if you want, you can post your response to the prompt right here. **All work is under copyright of its authors**

Here we go....

Your character(s) is standing in the middle of an iced-over lake, staring up at the sky as a snowflake drifts down toward them...

Salina caught the snowflake on her tongue, just like Drew used to do in the earlier years of their relationship. She waited until it melted, made a wish - for the snowfall to never stop - and then sat cross-legged on the surface of the lake.

Pulling the small notebook from the pocket of her jacket, Salina opened it to the place she had bookmarked earlier and began reciting the words scribbled on the pages -

"When the earth breaks, the wind will fall silent. Stars fall from the darkened sky like the snowflakes in winter. As the Great Witch wanders, the one called Chaos rises up, challenging those who would defy the coming war. While my soul, a dark doorway, seals shut to protect the contents within, your love is the key to open it wide and empty my heart of the hatred and violence I feast on."

Salina shut the book and stuck it back into her pocket. Standing to her feet, she was careful not to slip and fall through the ice. That's how Drew died three days ago. She found it to be no coincidence that he passed from this world shortly after he had written these words in his little notebook. Salina knew the Great Witch existed, hunting humans on other worlds. Her dreams had told her so.

But the one called Chaos...she had never seen him before, not in her dreams, not anywhere. Drew always told her that if she wanted to know about anything in this world, she should look in a book. That even though we called most novels fiction, they were far from make-believe. Most of what people wrote were really their dreams, and dreams opened the doorways to reality.

But so did love. Out of her other pocket, she pulled a small heart-shaped locket. Inside, she stuffed the paper fortune Drew had pulled from the cookie at the Chinese restaurant a week earlier - "The blacker the midnight, the brighter the moon." Salina tossed the locket out across the surface of the lake, watching as it slid across the solid surface, spun a bit, as if it were ice skating, and then stopped, the silver surface glistening in its white surroundings.

"I loved you with a love that unlocked doors," Salina whispered.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Bit Of Catch Up

Usually on Fridays I try to post about my fiction and/or my writing process. Today though I don't have much to post because I've been trying to complete my latest project, Lost Birth. Lost Birth is the second volume in my upcoming young adult sci-fi/fantasy series, and I'm already behind on the deadline I set to give it to my editor. So, I've been pushing hard the last couple days to reach my new deadline of April 13th.

This young adult series is a much bigger undertaking than I originally thought it would be. Originally self-published back in 2007, the first couple books in my young adult series were given great praise over the storyline and characters, but great criticism over the grammar and editing. This was my primary reason for wanting to revise the books. But revisions have turned into rewrites and the project is taking a bit longer than I expected.

That's okay though. I'd rather create something of quality and get it out in due time than rush a project out the door and regret it. My editor should be giving me back her edits to the first volume in the series, Endangered Memories, in the next couple weeks. And after I hand Lost Birth off to her, I will start work on the third volume in the series, Crystal City. I only have a draft of that one done - it's not a complete novel yet - but I am still aiming for a summer release for all three titles.

Meanwhile, in between writing sessions, I've been trying to stay caught up with blog posts and marketing efforts. I'm in the middle of writing a guest post for The Inner Bean on what I've learned from reviews. I'm also still on the hunt for those willing to read and review the books I have already released. As a self-published author, each review I get - regardless of the criticism - is like finding a little gold coin. And it seems sometimes they are about as hard to come by.

Amidst all the writing and marketing, I'm also getting jazzed about the coming baby. My wife and I find out this Monday if we are having a boy or a girl. I am hoping for a little girl. Team Eden all the way!

Okay, enough blogging. I have to get back to work. I'll be back on Monday with the weekly writing prompt as always. :)