Friday, December 31, 2010


I've been looking back and thinking what a really big year this was. It was certainly the most productive year I've ever had with two full length novels, 25 short stories and all the the pre-history and character work I've done for Welcome to Nowhere. I estimate somewhere over 400,000 words. Despite the fact that I had written four novels and a dozen or so short stories before I never really considered myself an author. I really can't explain why but it just didn't feel comfortable saying it like I didn't really deserved it until the Starpoint Mountain series was finished. It wasn't until then that I felt like I'd earned it and can introduce myself that way.
I'm gearing up for the next level in 2011. I went to Keokuk today and my friend Per nideo taped me reading excerpts from the books. He's going to edit them and add music, sounds, and visual effects and put them up on youtube. I'm also meeting with Susanna next Saturday about doing video trailers in character. She's excited about it and has the talent to make it work. I've got most of the costume already made but still need to get a leather vest or jacket that can double as armor. In addition I've had Fredd Gorham, a professional artist, doing sketches to bring some of the characters to life other than Gallif. So far he's done Lincilara and Luvin and I'm planning on doing Blinks and Jakobus next and then some of the villains.
On top of all this I'm still hoping to hear from Jupiter Gardens Publishing in January that they want to buy the series. I'll wait another week and then send them a reminder to see how they are doing.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


I've been working a lot on the science of the story this week. There really isn't much to go on as far as where in orbit around the sun these stations would go so I've had to make a few educated guesses. Also did a schematic of the station in Printshop.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Spent most of this week putting the characters together. When I originally designed the space station and crew I had 32 characters, but after a while I thought that was just to many for the size of the station and the time frame, 2050-2075, so I cut 9 of them and was down to 23.
This week I did character backgrounds for all 23 giving them all a birth date, family, where they grew up, went to college and why they joined the space service. Also gave most of them some dark secret that they don't want anyone to know.
After that I started to detail their responsibilities on the station but found out the some of the originals posts either over lapped or were unnecessary. If I only had 23 crew members did I need to have two people in charge of planning their meals and exercise programs? No. So I ended up getting rid of 4 of the positions. I didn't immediately cut those characters designated to those positions. There were some of them that I particularly liked the way they turned out so I gave them other jobs. One I ended up switching from a male to a female character. I feel pretty sure that these 19 will stay.
At one point I started to think that nobody in their right mind would ever put these people together on a space station. One of them has been addicted to just about everything, another believes they are having conversations with god and a third has no plans to ever set foot on earth again. It'd be nuts to confine them together on their own. Then it occurred to me that, one, it is a government operation and, two, that is where the drama comes from.

CAPTAIN: John Farbrother

EXEC OFFICER: Brenda Olivo

TECH LEAD: Marilyn Kent



SCHEDULER: Maria Gonsalves



MECHANIC: Natoya Bengala


MECHANIC: James Benjamin

ELECTRICIAN: Nicholas Picker



DOCTOR: Michael Dietrich

NURSE: Kelly Spaulding

AGRICULTURE: Clarence Nicklebody



NUTRITION: Michael Thorpe

ENVIRONMENT: Jennifer Kaplan

ENVIRONMENT: Rachel Tanner

Saturday, December 11, 2010


It's interesting how the different books take shape. I started Secrets of Starpoint Mountain by just sitting down and writing. I had a few basic ideas about the characters and the history of the land but that was it, just winged it from that point on.
This one is starting completely different. It takes place on a space station and I started by deciding what kind of crew this station would have. I figured out the organizational structure of the station from the captain and his command crew down to the individual science groups. It came out to 32 different stations but I felt that was to much so I streamlined and reorganized the staff down to 23.
Deciding to stick with that I worked on the characters. I gave each of them a name, age, ethnicity and a brief paragraph description of their character, history and relationships with other crew members. It turned out to be quite a diverse group and I made sure some of them do not get along very well, actually, they hate each other. Some of them have very nasty secrets as well.
Then I went back and wrote a history of the space program from 2030 to 2075 when the story takes place. Then went and rewrote it with more details including a technological war with China and failed mission launches. Also worked out some of the station lingo.
Next week I'm planning on doing more character details.
It's funny how the creative brain develops this. I don't really think about it or plan it it just plans itself. I suspect it's because canvas for this book is so different from Starpoint Mountain. In the books I had a whole world to travel through with lots of opportunities to introduce new characters. This one is a closed space with limited characters so I think I have to know them from the start. I'm also going in to this as a one book project. The first book I wrote, Timelash, I looked at as a trilogy, so was the Dr. Who book, and Starpoint came out at four books and twenty-two short stories with opportunities for more. I really don't see this going for more than one book.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


What an odd time it's been. I finished the fourth book ten days ago and I realized this week that I was actually missing it. I missed the characters and the world and it felt so odd not to be thinking and creating events there. I still have all the rewrites to do but, as satisfying and as proud as I am, it's just not the same.
I went back and realized that from the start of the first draft of the first book to the first draft of the fifth book was 258 weeks. Holy Cow! I lived in that word with those characters for almost five years. No wonder it felt depressing not to be there anymore. Don't get me wrong! It's not like I am giving them up forever and will never go back, the seeds are there, but I was so engrossed in that world it feels like post partum depression not to be going there.
I figured there are two things I need to do to get out of the slump. The first is to dive in to the rewrites and really work hard on them. I've slacked on the rewrites while doing the original work and the book I originally said was going to be ready this year is far from it. Time to get to work.
The second things is to get writing new stuff again and I've done three short stories this week. The first one, Death Plus 25, has been an idea I've been thinking about for a long time. It's a very dark and serious story. After that I wrote Final Thoughts of a Dying Astronaut. I've been thinking of that for a long time as well and it is, no surprise, also a dark and serious story. After that I wrote a completely new story that just came out of the sky this week. It's called The Cedar Rapids Doll Collectors Club which is a bit creepy but was great fun to write. It was the first time since finishing Starpoint that I had the excitement of doing new work.
It's also an ego thing but, until I finished the fourth book and the story was done, I never really thought of myself as an author. I finally feel comfortable referring to myself that way.

Monday, November 29, 2010


On November 24th at approximately 5:30 p.m. I finished the first draft of the fourth and final book in the series. I spent a lot of time the few days leading up to it in tears when some characters had to die but I also felt really good about things. I'm incredibly proud of it. I spent the rest of the day just smiling.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


It was quite an odd week writing this book.
On Monday I had to kill off a character. It was one that I had originally introduced as just a one shot in the first book cause I wanted to use a cool name and ended up being one of the few characters that shows up in all four books. They just took on a life of their own and became more important as the story went on. I felt kind of bad that I had to kill them off but I felt it was necessary to keep the drama and the threat strong. I wanted to make sure that the character wasn't just a red shirt so I had to think back and will strengthen a few things on the rewrite. I also made sure that the death had an effect on Gallif and Luvin. It hurt them and, at the same time, gave them strength.
Sometimes it feels weird to be upset about the death of a character. I asked a few friends about it and was relieved to find out I'm not the only one who's had that experience. I also remembered a guy in a writing class that I took when I was at UI who made it clear he didn't give a damn about his characters. It made the stories difficult to read and there was no emotion to it. I think if an author doesn't care about their characters then there is no reason the reader should.
There are two big finales in the fourth book. One of them I've been prepared for since the first book, I knew how it would end, but the other one has been itching me and coming together a bit at a time as the story developed. It's a do or die scene and I knew if it didn't work the whole thing would fall apart.
Friday, however, the sky opened again and all the elements fell in to place. The characters were in the right place at the right time. I wrote 8 pages, about 3200 words, in a six hour period. It felt great. It all came together so well I bet I spent an hour just smiling and it felt really good. I looked back at it today and feel it's some of the best writing I've ever done. It's still odd to think of myself as an author.
I'm really thinking I'll finish the book next week. It'll be just in time to celebrate at ChicagoTARDIS.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I met a owner of a small press publishing company at Icon and talked to her about selling the publishing rights for my books to her. She was very nice and we really hit it off. Spent a lot of time talking about it at ICON and have to wait a few months for her and one of her editors to really take a look at it. What impressed her the most was that I had done so much to promote the book instead of just writing it and hoping someone might buy it. I've submitted it to contests, charity auctions, and newspapers for review. We are putting together a recording if me reading excerpts from the book and adding visuals for Youtube. We are also putting together a video trailer. It's just waiting andkeeping my fingers crossed now.


Had another good week writing. Though I didn't turn out as many pages as last week I still covered lots of territory. I had some important combat scenes to deal with and it took a while to set up even though I didn't completely write them out. I worry that if I write the fight scenes out in detail the first round that, when I do the final draft, the action will get stale. What I do on the first draft, the, is write down just the important points and a few details. The stronger points about what happens to who, who gets wounded, who works well as partners, who fails, etc. In the first book I even went as far as to go through each combat scene and make sure I never used the same verbs twice in combat. I didn't do it in the second one and I think it kind of hurt the scenes in the long run. When I can I'll take time to go back and do that.
The other thing I did is decided which of the main characters in the books will die and how. I spent a lot of time working it out and chose carefully the fate of the characters. I want to make sure that there is some meaning and drama in their deaths. If I'm going to kill them off I want to make sure there is a reason or their deaths effect somebody in some way.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Another very successful week. It's very exciting the way things are coming together with the mix of characters, story and combat. The real challenge I'm having is how to build up the tension before everything is revealed. I keep in mind for there to be any real drama and suspension that I have to keep a credible threat. The hardest part of that is it means that someone's going to have to die. It was hard enough killing of some of the characters in the first book when I'd only known them for a short length of time. Doing it now won't be easy.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Had another good week writing even though I didn't get as much done as last week, only about two thirds. I'm not at all worried about it because it is really the most complicated chapter of all the books so far. It's tentatively called "Secrets Fall" and is really the game changer chapter. Almost everything that's been going on in the books leads up to this. None of the characters have any secrets anymore, their true plans are exposed and sides are drawn. It has to be handled just right, can't be rushed and can't take to long, so I really have to work on making sure everything happens in the right way. It's one of the exciting things about writing.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


The great moment of refocusing I had a few weeks ago has really paid off. It's been one of the best weeks writing I've had this year. I've written some very dramatic scenes that really hit home the themes of these books. They just have a flat out discussion on how dangerous racial profiling is and how important the individual is. They also talk about how easy it is to forget that and old habits are hard to break. One of the things I'm really proud of is it's not the main character that instigates this conversation even though she is an example of how to change it.
I was wondering if the readers might not be sure of just how much what they have seen up close is effecting the world of the story so I wrote a chapter on how this is playing out to the average citizen. To take time out of the main characters and stories seems kind of risky. I don't want the whole thing to feel like it came to a stop so I had to work hard to make the characters represent easily recognizable but entertaining people.
Some nights I'm dead tired and can barely stay awake but my creative mind is still rolling. I'll actually doze of briefly but my hand is still moving. What it ends up is just scratches but it's a weird feeling.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I took part in the 2010 Iowa Authors Fair last week and it was quite an amazing and eye opening event. Lots of other authors there to share ideas with and get info from. It coincided with the Iowa Librarians Association conference and that opened a whole new venue for me.
I had always been advertising my book series as Fantasy Adventure. I had never thought of it as a Young Adult book before but, when you take everything into account, I suppose it really is. It was pointed out to me that the Young Adult market is what librarians are looking for and, thanks to Harry Potter and Twilight, the best selling genre in the world. As I spoke with them I explained that the main character is a 17 year old girl and her friend who is 15 year old boy. I also explained that when I write I keep in mind a good PG-13 rating but there there is a lot more intense stuff seen on TV these days than in my books. They loved that.
I'm going to keep checking for a second round of sales over the next few weeks. One of the librarians said she had to check through their regular distributor first and then could go outside. I also told them there is a discount now if you buy then through One said she wanted to assign it to her junior high class.
I've also started the process of making it available for digital media at Amazon for Kindle. I've held off on this for a long time but some of the other authors, and news reports on CNN, say how digital sales are bigger than printed books. I just set it up yesterday at Amazon and it should be available sometime this week.


I had an exceptionally good week. Details of that in the other post. Now that I have better book and act titles it's all coming together a lot faster. Got a great deal of writing done and everything feels more focused. I was worried that I might not be able to get it done by the end of the year but I don't think that is a problem now. Looking really good for an early December completion.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Had a good week this week. Finished the 2nd act of the book and have everything in place for the finale. The subplots that needed to be finished or finished and most of the characters have changed over the series so I'm really proud of it.
Oddly enough the book is coming together much the same way the first one did. It's coming together in the wrong order. like the first one I couldn't even decide on a title until I was half way through it. It sounds silly but it was just the way my creative mind works. It wasn't until I was half way through the first one before I changed the title from Battle for Starpoint Mountain to Secrets of Starpoint Mountain. I had been calling this one Gallif of Starpoint Mountain for a long time. I didn't like it. It wasn't very exciting and I felt like it was misleading when I would write scenes that didn't have her in it. Each act gets its own title and I had changed them time and time again and I never got a handle on them.
Finally, this week, the sky opened and a those problems were solved into a much more exciting title and acts. Something that better describes what's happening in the book. I'll give you the act titles and see if you can figure out what the full title is. Email me with the correct answer abefore the end of October and I'll send you free copies of all four books in the series. The first two are available now and the third and fourth one will be available in 2011.
The ________ of Starpoint Mountain
Act 1: Fuel
Act 2: Air
Act 3: Spark
Any guesses?

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Bad week with not a lot of work produced. I made some big decisions but just didn't get a lot done. Real life got in the way.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I'm approaching the end of the 2nd act. I was worried about one of the plots not finishing as well as I'd hoped. Another great moment when the sky opened up and this surprise twist landed on the page. Love it when that happens.


I've been working on this book for 14 weeks now. I finished the third book in the same amount of time but I haven't written as much. I averaged out about 15 pages a week with that book and doing about 10 a week with this one.
It's a lot harder and more complicated than the third book and I mean that in a good challenging way. I'm finishing up some of the characters and sub-plots and it's difficult to do without making it seemed to rushed or simple. I've done that with one of the bigger threads and I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. I work hard to make it a satisfying but surprising solution that the reader won't expect.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Had a very productive week again. Have everything set up for an exciting second act that, if I did my job right, will be a big surprise. Should have the first half of this act done by the end of the week. The big challenge is to come up with twists that the reader doesn't expect but are one hundred percent believable.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Did a lot of jumping around this week. Lots of starting a scene than restarting it and having trouble getting in to the flow. I think it was because there was such a big shift in tone from the first act that this part of act two took a while. The first half of the second act follows three characters returning to a place they've visited in 'Shadows of Starpoint Mountain'. I was having trouble blending the three characters together and kept jumping back and forth. Finally decided to just stick with Blinks during the first chapter and called it 'The Art of Being Me." Once that felt good I it really started to roll.

"There are five of us and one of you," their leader threatened him.
"Well, actually there are six of you but I have something you don't."
"You're bluffing."
"No, really, there are six of you."

Once it was clear that there was a new tone for a a while the second chapter was quick and I able to spend some time with the other two characters.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


A good week's writing. Each book is divided up into three sections and structured like a three act play. I finished the first act this week. I've got Gallif in a really bad situation but there enough things going on around her to get her out. Best part of it is I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to do it. Seriously. I don't know which one to use. Isn't that fun?

Switching gears for the second act was rough. I'm leaving that cliffhanger and going some place else for the entire act. This one is lighter and involves more characters in their own situations. I wrote the first paragraph several times before it finally felt right and did an entire scene that got completely scrapped.

Love it.


I posted two adverts for actresses at the UI theater building. It was perfect timing because they were holding auditions for this season's productions so the place was packed. There were lots of them that I would love to cast as Gallif. I made sure that I put on the adverts that I was a UI theater grad and hope that will give me some street cred. I'm going to wait a week or ten days before starting the final decisions and gearing up for the actual productions. I figure if they are interested I'll probably hear from anyone there fairly soon.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I found out earlier in the week there there was an Iowa Book Project that holds an Iowa Author's Fair every year. I'd never heard about them before but it sounds like it's a rather large event. This year they are holding it at the Coralville Public Library and scheduled at least 50 authors from Iowa. I sent an email to the state coordinator who asked me a few questions and said she would check and see if there were still slots available. She said there were and passed my info along to the local coordinator. Got home from work Friday and there was an email with the application form attached and a notice that the deadline to apply was August 21st. Saturday was August 21st. I filled out the app and got the info they requested together and went ahead and dropped it off at the library Saturday morning. I didn't want to take a chance and I figured it was worth it.
It sounds like this is a big thing. It is run by the Iowa Librarians Association and there are 1400 members of that so that is a lot of possible buyers. They would be librarians coming in to buy books for the year. This means they are working on an established budget but they would also be more willing to buy if it sounds good. It is also open to the public so that could add other interested parties.
The Author's Fair is Wednesday, October 13th.


I had a pretty good weeks worth of work. I love it when things happen in one chapter and I don't realize how or why until the next. It's pretty fun. I figure if I don't it's can happen that way the reader won't know why. Sounds crazy but as long as it is a legitimate explanation I'll take it. I'm approaching 50,000 words for the first act of the book. It feels like it's a bit more than 1/3 of the final product. The second act won't be as long and the big finale is, frankly, anyone's guess. It may be very short and intense or I may stretch it out. It'll depend how well it all falls together and that is the fun part.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Really slow week this week. Only got six pages written. Nothing much else to report. Just wishing the heat would go away for a while.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


The first act of the book is heading towards a cliff hanger now. The first three books have gotten shorter each time and I was actually worried that this one might end up being the shortest of the three but I don't think it's going to happen that way. It's around 40,000 words now and still developing quite well. There are some opportunities to reference things that happened in the first book that I didn't expect.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I didn't realize it had been three weeks since I had written anything here. I worked lots of overtime, twelve twelve hour days, and things outside of work, other than writing, just got left behind. It's been going pretty steady on the writing front. I'm enjoying bringing some of the characters that have been in the background in the first three books into the light for the fourth. They were there in some form or another so I don't think it's totally unbelievable that they are becoming actively involved in the story now. It's fun to be in the fourth book and still having more characters to feature.
Sometimes I'm really thrilled by the way things work out. I had a chapter cliffhanger that I was so happy with I kept smiling for an hour.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Had a nice week working on the book. Enjoying expanding the universe by bringing characters who have been in the background into the foreground but keeping the focus on my main character.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I looked back and realized I've written approximately 169,680 words this year. One full length novel, 22 short stories, and, so far, six chapters into another novel. Best year I've ever had. I think one of the things that I'm proudest of is that it's the fourth book in the series and I'm still introducing new and original characters and places to go to. At the same time some of the characters who made appearances in the first novel are becoming very important now. It's going full circle on a lot of subplots.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


I was looking for new ways to advertise my book and read this article suggesting using youtube to put up video advertisements. I talked to my friend Per who has a business doing videos for people and has been doing films of his own for years. We talked about it and he volunteered his services to produce some advertisements of my book.

We need a Gallif. We need someone who could portray her for these spots. Most of what we are looking at is videos with narration, but, if we found someone who was willing, I would actually write a few performance scenes. Either way, if we find someone who is interested we will work with her to whatever she is comfortable.

Physically we need someone who is, or at least looks, to be in her late teens. Long, curly hair, preferably red but we could always use that as part of the costuming. She needs to have the build of a rugged fighter who could stand toe to toe and then take out orcs, elves and even giants.

If anyone you know might be interested in doing this for us feel free to pass this a long. If they have any more questions about the character they could go to and see art and read about her.

I'll be happy to answer any questions and your help will be greatly appreciated.


I got into the grove this week and it really took off. I wrote 25 pages coming out to three chapters and about 10,500 words. What really set it off was one of those things I really like about writing.
I thought I might have written into a corner cause I had Gallif in a position where she needed an ally but all the other characters I've introduced needed to be someplace else. I wasn't sure how I was going to get her out then it occurred to me that there was one character who had been established in the first and second books who, because of her ability to heal injuries, could believably be in the position to heal Gallif's wounds. That really got the groove going and it was the third best week's writing I've done this year.
One of the things I'm really proud of these books is that, even in the fourth book in the series and I'm introducing new characters and visiting new places in the Land of Starpoint.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I'd finished working on the short stories last week. Originally I didn't want to start this book for a while because I thought it might be confusing doing the 2nd draft of one book while working on the first of another. There were times when I was trying to do the 1st and 2nd draft of The Shadows of Starpoint Mountain at the same time and it was getting mixed up. Sometimes I'd be typing a scene into the computer that had the same characters and location as characters I had written by hand the same day. It was getting hard because I would think of a new idea but couldn't remember if it really was new or something I remembered having done the previous week.
I thought about it a lot but I don't think it will be a problem. The third book and the fourth are very different in location and characters. The third book dealt with the Others in the swamps and was almost entirely located there but the fourth book has a few scenes that take place there but they are completely different in tone and characters. It also spends more time with Gallif back in the foreground and those scenes that are tired to the earlier books she doesn't appear in.
So I sat down and looked over the notes that I had written down as to where the fourth book goes, rewrote them a bit and figured out some of the details, then started writing. I started with the introduction of a new character, did two pages, then realized it was pretty senseless and completely started over. Originally the character was going to be a silly comic character just in there for a laugh at the start. He turned much more serious and will now be in the book for a significant part.
Funny how that works some times.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I wrote the 22nd short story for this collection this week and decided it's the last. I'm very proud of them but it's getting to be more of a labor because I don't want the ideas to get repetitive.
To finish it off I I went back to the very first story I had done. I was never really happy with it, it just didn't work, and I couldn't get a good grip on it. I couldn't decide what the point of it was and finally decided to center on the king of the Giant Lords and what kind of a person he is. Also brought in the queen who only has a small appearance in the books and is never heard from again.
P.S. Went looking for pens and they must have just been out last week. I got twelve of them. ;-)

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I have to admit there are times, if something works, I get into a habit that's hard to break. When I was doing Doctor Who: Shadows of the Past I picked up a notebook to organize my ideas. It worked out so well I had to go out and buy the exact same style of notebook. When that was half full I went out and got another, then another. I still have fourteen of them on the shelf next to my computer that I've never used.
When I started writing the 3rd book I bought a new pen because it just looked like a good pen. By the time I finished the first draft I'd gone through eight INC CLASSIC GEL pens and had bought a few extras to be safe. So far I've used three of them on the short stories and I'm trying to keep a few pens ahead so I'll never run out. Last Friday I went to pick some up and they were OUT! They didn't have them anymore! Not only did they not have them in stock but they didn't even have the empty slots to put them in. AAAARRRGGGHHHH!!!! I stood there for a good ten minutes going over the pens again and again and again. I'm really upset about that and I've gone to a few other stores to try and find them but no luck.
Bit silly but I'm seriously upset that I can't find the right pens!


Had a much better writing week this week. I wrote a very strong and dramatic story about how Gallif originally met Rayjen and was invited to the school. When I run out of steam I keep remembering to go back to Gallif. I like that character and when I bring her to the foreground I feel more comfortable. Saying that I think there's only a few good ideas left for short stories then I'm going to start the next book.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Only wrote six pages this week and it was my lowest week this year. I worked two twelve hour days, I got new job responsibilities at work, and he got our first blast of hot and humid weather. Not really a great week.
I think I'm running out of ideas for the Starpoint Anthology. I've done 18 so far and have two ideas left that I want to work out.
Not sure what I'm going to work on next. Even though I'm still doing the second draft of Ghosts of Starpoint I'm tempted to go ahead and start the first draft of Gallif of Starpoint at the same time.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I wrote two more stories this week. I was really happy because they weren't the dark and edgy stories that I've been writing in the past.
One was a fun action adventure story with Gallif and Luvin on a field trip from the school stumbling across an evil caster. It wasn't anything to fancy, I just wanted to flex my action/adventure writing muscles but I did accidentally come across a new monster to use in the next book.
The second one was about the character Rosario who is a student at the school. It starts out dark but ends on an brighter note for the character.

Monday, May 17, 2010


They announced the stories chosen for the Short Trips audio and the 5th Doctor and Nyssa specials. My submissions weren't on either of them. I didn't really surprise me because, if they had chosen mine, I would have had to have heard something from them by now. I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't get picked or asked to do something more, but I can live with that. I'm a bit disappointed that they didn't handle it better. I thought they could have at least had some generic "Thanks but no thanks" to send out as they went along and sorted through the the submissions.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I wrote two stories this week. I've noticed how I'm much more comfortable and relaxed when I write stories about Gallif. They don't go as dark and edgy as the others.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I found this website that has listings and info on agents and I've been going through it pretty closely. There are a few that just weren't for me. One of them wasn't looking for fantasy and adventure stories and another just wasn't interested in anything over 100,000 words. I've sent submissions or queries to:
Wolf Literary Services
Scribe Agency
Foundry Literary + Media
The Knight Agency
Lisa Dawson Associates
Bradford Literary Agency
Curtis Brown Ltd.


Some of the ideas I've had just haven't worked. I wanted to write a story about an early king of the Giant Lords and what happens to him when he leaves the capital city, in secret, to tour the land and fight out what the citizens think and feel. Great idea. It just didn't develop into anything once I got him out of Spring Field. He just went walking around and had few cute experiences but it never really was going anywhere. I just ended up stopping and putting it into the file. Maybe I'll go back to it later.

I wanted to right the back story on the villain Zaslow from the first book. I established it in the book that he went to infiltrate and possibly dismantle some of the followers of the evil gods. He learned all about them and was so close that he was easily seduced by what they offer. It's a good story, I'm really quite proud of it, but it just got darker and darker as it went and turned out to be quite horrific. I'm thinking it stands on its own very well and, maybe, I might be able to sell it as a horror story.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I'm sending a proposal to an agent today for the Secrets of Starpoint Mountain. I sent them a proposal for Time Web Tremors and they gave me a very odd response. They didn't actually say no they just said they felt it needed more editing. Also looking at several other agents to submit to this weekend.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I was feeling really odd after finishing the first draft of the third book last week. I had spent so much time working on it and writing had become so second nature it seemed like I was being lazy or forgetting something. It occurred to me that I could still write new stuff and rewrite Ghosts of Starpoint Mountain at the same time without going to far astray. I was thinking that there must be lots and lots of short stories that I could tell that take place in the Land of Starpoint. Some ideas came to me that dealt with the main characters at some point earlier in their lives and other ideas were people and events who never appear in the books. I made a list of possible stories and wrote:

Wishes Hope and Dreams
Best Ever Day
Destined for Adventure
The History of Fire
It Isn't Easy Being A Giant
The Rise and Fall of Ern Kabernackle

The first two are stories about a very young Gallif and her little brother, Veret, growing up and the third is a young Blinks going out for his first adventure:

"If he was attacked by and orc, aquilus or four-headed montique he would be ready. He wasn't actually sure there was such a thing as a four-headed montique, or any montiques at all, but if there were he was going to be ready for them."

The other three are completely independent stories. These are also really short stories with the longest being about 1200 words. The longer ones start next week.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I finished it! It took 95 days and tops out at 100,000 words. It's one of the best writing experiences I've ever had.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


It turned in to quite a good week for 13. I spent the first few days stumbling around but finally took off. I wonder if the reason it was so rough was because I knew what scene was coming. It was an incredibly tense and emotional scene that I knew was going to make me cry. I had tears in my eyes and had to stop and do something else for a while to keep it from going to far. I told people it was hay fever.

I can't believe how emotional I can get over some of these scenes. This is the third time I've been so in to the events I had an emotional reaction out of it.

I made a tentative cover for the third book. I used the alternate cover that Jesse painted for the first book and did some redesign on it to make it work. I still need to get Jesse's permission.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Had another spectacular week with 26 pages or approx 10,500 words. It wasn't an easy week either.
The first challenge was a speech by Lincilara that's a real game changer. There were a lot of things about to happen and I had to make it believable that one speech by a tiny figure could have such an effect on what was happening just by words. I did a lot of work on it, rewrote it, scratched that out, rewrote it again, scratched most of that out, then thought that the straight forward approach would be the best. I'm really pleased with how it turned out.
The second challenge I had was a battle that takes place at the start of one of the chapters. It was very exciting and I had lots of fun with it and patted myself on the back. Then I went back and reread it and decided I just couldn't use it. I want to keep it a PG-13 rating but it went too far. Even though it's an evil creature and the only way to stop it is to kill it there still had to be a certain level about it and I can't have them kill it in a cruel way.
I feel self-discipline is one of the most important things a writer can practice. If it was something that wouldn't make me feel comfortable to read by someone else then I shouldn't do it, either.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


It was kind of a difficult week. I'm not sure why but things weren't flowing very well. Everything I wrote the first day I scratched and started over again on the second day.
After a bit of fumbling around the sky opened and I ended up rethinking the finale for the book and wrote out a chapter by chapter storyline. It helped me refocus where things were headed and gave me an even bigger cliffhanger.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


The editor of our town paper asked me to write about how the books were written. This was in this weeks edition with a few changes he made:
Officially, my first serious attempt at writing a novel was a science fiction adventure called Timelash. It took me years and years to write and I eventually offered the few people who had read it $5.00 not to tell anyone about it. After that I wrote a few short stories here and there but writing was really something I did in odd moments without much progress.
Several years ago that all changed when I saw that BBC books was accepting unsolicited proposal for their Dr Who book range. Having been a fan of the series for about as long as I can remember I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I was determined to make it work so I set about writing Dr Who: Shadows of the Past. I understand a lot of writers will start with the proposal and, if there is some interest, go ahead and write. I’ve never felt comfortable doing things that way so I did the opposite and wrote the novel first.
In the past one of my problems with writing was self discipline. I’d think about it for a while, a few weeks, a month, then write something over a few days and go back to the thinking phase. Knowing how much I was wasting time that way I sat down and forced myself to write every day. No matter what I sat down at least once a day to write. Some days I’d get home from work at midnight and add a question mark, some nights I’d take one out, but there were also nights I’d be up until sunrise. I kept at it and thirty weeks and 110,000 words later I finished a novel. It was great, I was proud of it, and I sent my submission off to the BBC.
Considering it was a novel about time travel it’s ironic that timing was against me. Just after I made the submission the BBC announced that they were reviving the series and, to avoid confusion with new fans, bringing the book ranges to an end. That was it! It could have been a classic story, piece of junk, or something in between but I’ll never know if it would have been published or not. The other downside about writing that book was there was there was only one place I could send it to get published so that was the end of the road.
There were two good things, however, that came from the experience. One was that I had gotten into the habit of writing every single day and it was second nature to produce fiction. The other was that I was now confident I could do a full length novel. It was time to write without a net.
So I spent some time tossing around a few ideas and one night I started to wonder about a mountain so high the people thought it could reach the stars. What kind of secrets would be found there? That was the idea that started this project. That was easy. The next step was to create the characters that would inhabit this world that was the hard part.
The first character was a 17 year old, then a 22 year old young man, then a 16 year old orphan. The ideas were coming fast and furious and they were all incredibly boring. I couldn’t stand any of them. I might as well have called them Ben There and Don That because there was nothing in them I hadn’t seen before.
Going back to Dr Who, all things go back to Dr Who, I remembered how much I liked the main character I had introduced. Ok, so, there were three good things that came from the unpublished experience. This character was smart, she was tough, and she was exciting to write. With a few changes in her own history I transplanted her into the Land of Starpoint and, after that, everything fell into place. With Gallif as my main character I started writing on December 8th, 2005, my birthday, and 54 weeks and 170,000 words later the first draft was done.
Then I had the decision of where to take it to get published. The two choices were to shop it around to agents and publishers. That is the traditional way of doing things but it’s a long and difficult process. Most publishers won’t even look at your work without an agent and most agents won’t look at you without having something published. It’s a catch 22 that you can wait in limbo for months to get a generic rejection slip. The other choice was self publishing. The advantage of it is you have complete control, no one finalizes your book but you, so you know what gets published. The down side of it is, even though it’s print on demand, you also have to pay to get it together. No big machine to take care of the advertising either. Lulu publishing was the best option I could find.
Rewrite, rewrite, title change, rewrite, corrections from Molly and a fantastic cover from Jesse followed and The Secrets of Starpoint Mountain was officially unveiled in the world of self-publishing in January of 2008. At that point it was too late to turn back. More writing every day and corrections from Molly, Beverly, and another cover from Jesse and Shadows of Starpoint Mountain is on the shelves. The third book in the series, Ghosts of Starpoint Mountain, well underway and I expect that to be on the shelves in another year.
A fourth book? Yes. After that? To be continued…

Sunday, March 14, 2010


After last week being so good this one was a struggle. I stumbled around a few times so I finally wrote a very brief outline for the third act. After that it got smoother and I managed 15 pages. I averaged out on Friday and figured I've written 70,000 words in ten weeks. I was originally thinking that I could do this book in twenty weeks but I'm starting to think t may come down to fifteen. It'll end up around 100,000 words which is the shortest of the three but still about 20,000 words longer than the average book. I get the feeling that the fourth book, however, will be a big one closer to the first book.

The strangest problem I'm having with this book is I'm introducing so many characters that when they come back a few chapters later I forget their names. It's really strange but I'm also excited that here I am in the third book and I'm still bringing in new characters and taking it to new places.

I wrote a bunch of character arcs before starting the book but haven't gone back to check on them yet. It one of the weird things that happen when I write. The only thing right now that I know I'm going to work on in the rewrite is the same as the last book. I need to expand the world so that you can't get from point A to point B so fast.


My first professional advert will be in the June issue of Realms Of Fantasy. They have 25,000 subscribers and I'd love to get 1% of them.

The place that takes care of their advertising offered to do design an advert for me. I thought maybe a fresh new look would be good. The advert they sent me to approve as just the files of the front and back of my postcard advert next to each other with the review from the Cedar Rapids Gazette on top. It was confusing and complicated and the pictures weren't even. So I went and did my own and came up with this design. Just to experiment I did three different versions of it and sent them the green.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


This, I'm pretty sure, was the best weeks writing I've had ever. I wrote 28 pages, finished the second act of the book, and started in on the third and final act. I picked four pages at random and averaged them out to 412.5 words per page. It comes out to 11,550 words. It included a fight scene that was so intense I could feel my heart rate pounding when I finished.

I'm really proud of the way these characters are working. Sometimes I almost forget it's giants and dwarves talking and have to remind myself to add the fantasy elements back into the story. Those are the things I'm really proud of.

This one will, however, also have the biggest battle I've ever written in it in the the third act. It's going to be complicated to write and I imagine it'll take longer to manage that than anything else. When writing combat scenes, whenever possible, I try to tell the whole thing from one person's point of view. I think that works best to keep the battle on a personal level and that way the reader won't get lost in the action. It's not at all unusual to have someone, at some point, take a quick glance to see how their friends are doing so no one gets forfotten in the action.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Each novel is divided up into three books or acts that indicate a big location or story change. I finished the first act of this book this week with a honking big cliffhanger. I guarantee you will not see that one coming! I'm really proud of how well that turned out.

I have to admit I am quite amazed that I'm this far into the book already. Only 8 weeks and I've written almost 50,000 words and I get the feeling I'll hit the middle point in a week or so. It'd be nice if I could do the whole novel in twenty weeks. It took thirty weeks to do Doctor Who: Shadows of the past so this would be quite an accomplishment. Even if it is a short as 100,000 words that's still longer than the average book.

I still think it's kind of funny that these books are getting shorter but I know that shrinking will stop with the third book. The fourth one will really have to be a big one.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


I've been very flattered by what people are saying about the second book. It's very exciting to see how much people like it. Now that it is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble I can start sending out notices to the papers and hope someone really picks it up.

The hardest thing to get used to is when someone comes up and will quote my own book back at me. It's very complimentary but it's still kind of surprising. I have to admit there was one time it caught me so off guard it took a while before I realized it!


Really had the best week writing so far and that's saying a lot because I've had lots of good weeks. I wrote 20 pages over a four day period and they came together really good. I worked out the average words on three pages at random and it totals out to just under 8,000 words. At that rate, for this book to date, I've got 44,000 words done. Like the other books this one is divided up in to three sections with each being a different act and change of locations or themes. I'm very near the end of the first section.

I've noticed the books are getting shorter. The first book was 170,000 words and the second comes in at 128,000. I really don't feel this one will go over 110,00o or so unless the sky opens and a whole new subplot falls out. I can't deny that there have been sudden changes like that before so I wouldn't make any bets on the final length yet.

There's lots of new characters showing up in this one. Sometimes, when those characters return in another chapter I have to go back and look them up. It's silly but there are so many of them I forget what their names are! YIKES!

Friday, February 12, 2010


I haven't heard anything yet about my submission to Big Finish. They said they hoped to have them all read by the end of February. I don't know if that means they won't contact us until after that or not. I guess 'no new is good news' in this case.

They also opened up for more submissions. They are bringing back the Short Trips range as audio adventures instead of printed anthologies and were looking for short stories that could eventually be read by an actor from the series. The limits was 2,500 words and no previously existing friends or enemies but all 8 original Doctors and companions were fair game. They stressed to remember that this is not a play but a short story.

I submitted a 1st Doctor and Susan story set directly before An Unearthly Child.


Had a really good week and maxed out a 17 pages in four days.

I wrote one scene that kind of got away from me and I'll have to really think about whether I can use it or not. I keep in mind that I want a PG-13 rated book but it went over the edge and well in to an R rated scene. At the same time I think it might be okay cause it's a step up from a scene in the first book. It's keeps the whole thing fresh by doing something new and taking the characters a bit further.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I've contacted the people who take care of advertising at Realms of Fantasy magazine and talked to them about putting something in the April issue. They will do a professional layout for a 1/6th page posting. It's the most I've invested in the series so far but they have a circulation of 25,000 readers.


Had a really good week writing again. One of those nights when they sky opened and a bunch of ideas not only fell out but they landed in just the right order! Brought a whole new character out that has a major effect on Gallif that I didn't expect.

Spent four hours trying to figure out how to get Gallif and Lincilara across a river. Too dangerous to swim, worked on the possibility of having her fly, finally figured out a cool way to have her walk across.

Friday, January 29, 2010


I took some time this week and put together a proposal for Big Finish's Doctor Who audio range. There are several restriction as to what they were willing to look at and that was a bit more difficult than I had expected. They wanted one 25 minutes story with the 5th Doctor, Nyssa, and no more than three original characters. I tend to write big, all the books a bigger than the average novel, and doing a 25 minute story was pretty constricted. I looked over all of the Dr. Who short stories I have written and the only ones that would fit into the time frame depended on some knowledge of previous events in the Doctor Who universe and those were forbidden. For a while I tried to think of a Twilight Zoneish story with a bizarre twist at the end but that just wasn't working. Once I decided to go with a straight character story it came together quite fast. I'm hoping that it not being a traditional adventure, no monsters of villains, may make it stand out. The writing of the actual script took about three hours.


Actually only did 7 pages this week which is the lowest so far for this book. On the other hand a new character showed up I wasn't expecting and she really solved some problems I was having with character motivations.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Had a really good week writing. I got 15 pages written by hand but there are two intense combat scenes so it will translate into much more in the final version. Usually three hand written pages equal four typed pages so it'll be twenty pages. I usually don't write out details of the combat scenes in the first version, just a few quick notes. That way it feels fresher and more energetic on the final version.

It was a also a good moment when the sky opened and a new character fell out. I didn't see her coming but she ended up having a major effect on three of the established characters. That is what makes writing exciting.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Big Finish has been doing Doctor Who audio adventures featuring the original actors in their original roles for a decade. Occasionally they open up for submissions from new authors. I submitted once before but got turned down. They have now opened up for a two week window. Unlike before they are very specific in what they are looking for. It must be a 25 minute stand alone adventure featuring the 5th Doctor and Nyssa. I'm going over all of my ideas I've ever had and trying to rework them in to this frame. I'm even taking time off from GHOSTS to put this together.
To tell you the truth the number one reason I wrote the novels is to eventually have enough clout to write for DR. WHO.


I got an email from the agent I submitted to today. It's a bit odd. It doesn't say yes but it doesn't completely slam the door in my face, either. They said:

"Thank you for querying with TIME WEB TREMORS. Unfortunately we feel that the book still needs an edit and thus we cannot accept it at this time. We wish you the best of luck with TIME WEB TREMORS and in all of your future literary endeavors."

I'm thinking of sending the SECRETS OF STARPOINT MOUNTAIN as well.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Had another really good week. 6000 words and I'm about midway through the fourth chapter. Hardest part was a very important speech that Gallif gives and I wrote it four times to get it in to shape.


I'm 99% sure it's ready to go as is right now but I'm not going top approve it until I get my proof copy. I learned that with the first book and it cost me a lot. I made some changes on the cover, front and back, and I want to see how they look. I know that it should be fine because I used the exact same art that I have all the other times and only changed a few of the words but you never know how it will look. So I'll just wait until I actually have one in my hand before I consider it done.

Strangely enough, even though I haven't approved the book, it is available directly from Lulu. It seems a bit odd that even though they need a final approval to market it on Amazon, B&N etc, they can go ahead and sell it on their site.

They ask for keywords for people doing searches on topics. Originally, I just put down a few obvious ones and figured it was covered. Then it occurred to me that the more times I can get it to show up on searches the better. I ended up writing 65 of them but they only allow so much space. They are all legit connections, well, maybe not Harry Potter, but if you do a topic search on Lulu for these words you'll get my book:

female warrior, fighters, politics, torture, prejudice, discrimination, chains, bondage, dwarf, elves, dragons, casting, magic, wands, swords, daggers, library, books, myths, legends, dungeons, skeletons, Harry Potter, roleplaying, ghosts, leather, sorcery