Archive for the ‘Current Projects’ Category

5
Jan

Not going to make it

   Posted by: amrath

(sigh) I am not going to make my 1st Quarter deadline for “War God’s Will”.  New baby, day job, and some personal matters. I am now gunning for a summer release. I think that gives me enough time to finish. What I can promise is that I am definitely working on it, and it’s coming along well.

 

10
Aug

Roadmap

   Posted by: amrath

Faith from Goodreads asked me about my intentions regarding the number of books in the series, and I realized I haven’t actually laid this out anywhere, so I’ll do that.

Given that this is a story that spans a thousand years or more, I have the notion that for any particular time period, there still needs to be decent closure. I know well the nuisance of waiting for something to resolve over decades, or of dealing with a story that simply has no end. I think one can tell a long, epic, interconnected tale and still have good resting points, and to that end I intend to write the series in “arcs of three”.

What I mean by that is that each arc will cover the events of a specific time period, and probably be three books of moderate size, say 100k-150k words or thereabouts. That’s how this first arc is planned and being delivered, and I think that’s the right length to be able to develop a quality product and release on a relatively timely schedule. The characters of one arc may or may not be prominent in another, but their story within their arc will resolve as best as possible within the larger conflict. The larger conflict will remain, as this is a saga spanning many generations. There will certainly still be questions readers will have, but those questions won’t be cliffhanger cheese that by the time you hear the resolution, you don’t actually care anymore. They will be more broad, like “What will happen to Nihlos in the future” versus “I wonder if Ahmed will somehow avoid being melted in the lava he was falling toward when the last arc ended.”

The next arc will be set roughly 20 years after the resolution of WGW, and I certainly intend to do a full arc for the Great War in the past, so that is at least 9 books. The future story line might expand into two arcs, depending on how I decide to go with things, and could bring it to 12, but that remains to be seen. No current plan for anything beyond that, though there is plenty of room for stories in the millennium between those two times, so plenty of space for more if I change my mind.

Let’s call it the Agile method of book series development: the project will grow over time, but I intend to try to make regular deliverables that will function well on their own.

 

7
Aug

Book 3 Status

   Posted by: amrath

So, time to get really cranking on “The War God’s Will”. It’s about 90% plotted out in very detailed synopsis form (which is basically all of the action and dialog with pretty much no scene description or inner voices, just vague notes for expansion in final form (because that’s how I roll, I writes the book before I writes the book, you see). The missing 10% is the finale, which used to exist but got chopped off because A) it didn’t really feel right, and B) a key player did not survive the final version “Mad God’s Muse” and thus it’s broken. Don’t get me wrong. I know how it ends, basically. It’s the little things, the connections, the symmetry of plot points, that’s the last bit I am working up, and those propagate backwards….

That being said, it’s pretty solid, and a number of chapters are at first draft status. I think I am well on target for making the first quarter 2017 schedule.

26
Jul

Time to get back to work

   Posted by: amrath

I have a couple of days left before MGM launches, but it’s done, or at least as done as I can make it. That means I really need to be pushing forward on War God’s Will, the final book in this arc. (Yes, there are several arcs. The next is about 20 years from the current time, and at some point, I intend to go back and flesh out the Great War as well. There are lots of good tales to tell in that period.)

Oh, I also finalized a short about a bisexual gunslinging foulmouthed exorcist I started on a dare last year. Think Raylan Givens with a cross. I still have to put a cover on it, though, and I’ve been so focused on things lately that I haven’t had much time to work with Cory on one. I’ll get it out soon enough I guess.

 

25
Jul

It never ends

   Posted by: amrath

Mei! MGM is out Friday, and the typos, they keep coming! It seems one never finds them all. I just ordered the ten copies for my giveaway, when a friend found a couple more. (sigh) Well, those of you who win the giveaways, if I ever get famous, you’ll have something unique and valuable, so I suppose there’s that.

So much work editing and trying to get the word out, I almost forget what it is to write.

 

16
Jul

Advertising: I’d Prefer a Root Canal

   Posted by: amrath

It’s inevitable: you have to get the word out. I started this venture some years back with the foolish notion that somehow people would just find my work and if it was good enough, it would flourish. Yes, painfully naive, but there it is. I took the lack of success as “not good enough”, until the few people who had managed to stumble on my work corrected me.

So I began the year with a promise to myself that I would figure out how to do this. I have studied a lot of thoughts on promotion, and there are as many takes on what is best as there are which god or gun is superior, which is to say “not quite infinity, but almost”. (Asymtotically approaches infinity?) Wait, come back, I’ll stop with the math jokes right now.

So, I’ve tried free giveaways of “The Dead God’s Due” on KDP. Not all that successful, a handful of books downloaded, nothing more. It’s just hard to stand out, as there are lots of free books. You can pay to get the word out. I did that, and got around 2500 downloads. Sadly, I think the ‘free book junkies’ are more collectors than anything else. I would have thought I would have gotten a review or something, even a hate mail, out of so many downloads, but in truth, I wonder if anyone read the work at all. If they did, they certainly had nothing to say.

Finally, I tried Amazon’s pay-per-click ads, and it seems to actually generate some small interest. I decided to work on my blurb to perhaps attract more clicks, and cancelled the one ad to replace it.

Suddenly, the ad is rejected. “Your cover doesn’t meet our guidelines.” It did before, but suddenly it doesn’t. After a week and a half of wrangling back and forth with customer service trying to work what could possibly be the problem, I finally wring an explanation out of them:

“In this case, the ad was rejected because of the skull. I know that this might not be consider as violent as other objects that a cover may contain, however, Amazon’s priority is to respect our customers and readers as much as possible, so the policies regarding what an ad can contain are based on what a person consider offensive. Since our customers involve adults and children, with different beliefs and tolerance of what they consider offensive, we take this matter very seriously and that why images like this can’t be advertise.”

Yes, that’s right, a freakin’ skull, you know, the same symbol even Disney has no problem using in children’s shows. The universal symbol for poisoning. The cover of many editions of Gray’s anatomy. The thing you see plastered on billboards and filling the shelves in October. It’s verboten. It might offend someone. (I couldn’t care less about the opinion of a hypothetical quivering pool of jello who would be offended by a skull. I don’t even believe such a person exists.)

Okay, what is acceptable in an attempt to depict an evil god? Dunno. Spend another hundred bucks or so on your cover and we’ll arbitrarily reject it again if we want.

Ok, maybe I can advertise my cowboy exorcist story instead. Nope. No guns, either, and I am guessing a demon would also be “offensive”. My vampire-zombie-soldier story? Nope, no blood, even if it’s just a tiny spatter on the title. Apparently, anything that suggests tension, conflict, or that not everything is warm and fuzzy unicorns farting rainbows has the potential to be offensive, which shoots pretty much any honest cover for horror, war, or non-unicorn fantasy right in the face. It’s nearly impossible to commission a cover I know will pass muster because the interpretation of what is acceptable is completely arbitrary. Oh, you have a jar of peanut butter on your cover. Clearly that would offend people with peanut allergies, cover denied.

Still debating whether I will change the cover for DGD, or gouge out my own eyes with a spoon over the madness of it all. While I am deciding, I guess I’ll see how Goodread’s ads work for me. Of course, I’ve been awaiting an approval on that campaign since Thursday. (bangs head on desk)

It’s absolutely mind numbing how risk averse the publishing industry has become. In a business where free speech should, by rights, be held in the highest esteem, lawyers and crybullies have boxed us in to the point we can barely create at all. I feel like I am in the Death Star garbage compactor. (Ad rejected, the word “death” may offend some audiences).

Could we please just shut down all the garbage smashers on the detention level?

22
Jun

   Posted by: amrath

I am in the home stretch for the second book in the series. It’s finished, but I want to make sure it’s the best I can possibly do with the time I have. I can’t take a pass through and not find something I hate, some thud I want to change, some passive voice tossed in that could be excised. It will never really be ‘done’, in that I can no longer find fault with it. It will only be ‘done’ in the sense that I must let it go and move on.

Since I actually set up the preorder page on Amazon, I hard a hard time limit, and that’s probably for the best.

 

4
Apr

Finalized “Dead God’s Due” blurb

   Posted by: amrath

I never had a good ‘back of the book’ description before, so I wrote one I think will work. What do you think?

“The world will become as ash.”

So says a thousand year old prophesy of doom, but prophesies can be denied if men are bold and strong. A band of elite desert warriors crosses the sea, hoping to turn aside the coming apocalypse. Their leader, Prelate Yazid Valerian, seeks the mythical city of sorcerers, Nihlos, the “City of Nothing” spoken of in scripture. There, he believes, he will find allies and answers to his questions.

But finding a lost city is the least of his challenges. The people of Nihlos have their own ancient scriptures and warnings, ominous tales of legendary, implacable enemies called Southlanders who will someday return to destroy Nihlos. The Southlanders are said to be powerful warriors; tall, dark-skinned men, strong of arm and broad of shoulder. Yazid and his men are a perfect fit.

As the inevitable clash of cultures looms, Yazid must face the truth: he and his men may well be the cause of the very catastrophe they intended to prevent. The end of the world will not begin in his own land as he had imagined.

It has already begun here, in Nihlos.

26
Jan

It’s about time

   Posted by: amrath

Ok, milestone in the 3rd novel, one that took me much longer than I imagined it would: I’ve sorted out the locations and character movements into a correct timeline. I am now convinced that this is perhaps one of the more difficult tasks facing an author who tries to create a long, exciting, and believable tale.

This wasn’t all that important in the past novels. They encompass a longer period of time, months or years. There is plenty of gray area regarding when events take place, and when it does matter, the timing is fairly obvious. The third novel, however, takes place over the course of a week, and is basically the part where all of the characters run up against the consequences of their actions, interactions, and values. It moves very quickly, one event on the heels of another, and characters reacting to those events. For it to make any sense and keep momentum, certain things must occur in a certain order, and in addition, the places where the storylines touch as they all converge have to have the characters in the same locations.

It’s very easy to make a complete mess where some characters seem to have been standing about doing nothing important for hours or days, despite the fact that they had urgent motivations, simply because there is no sensible way for those they are to interact with to travel to meet them in the right amount of time. That’s the problem I had, and it required some analysis and some plot changes to get it to all fit into place. And it’s what I have fixed.

All of this is done in a very detailed outline form, with about half the chapters written to first draft status. Now, finally, I can get on with actually writing the remaining chapters, confident that none of my characters will need a jetpack (except, of course, the ones that actually fly)or a touch of narcolepsy to explain their presence in crucial scenes.

2
Sep

The front fell off

   Posted by: amrath

Ok, as of 1 Sep, I am counting myself as recovered from this summer’s massive burn, and therefor am hitting the third book hard every morning. Though, to be honest, this may be spotty this week, in that September is planting season in Florida, so I will be spending a lot of the mornings prepping the garden spot this week, before it gets to hot to work outside. It will be late morning before I hit it, for now.

So the first order of business is dreaming up a better final wrap to “War God’s Will” than is currently planned. There is good stuff at the beginning and in the middle, but the end is broken. Not only does it have central action by a character who died in “Mad God’s Muse”, it’s just not all I would like. The events do not meet with the tension I want, and the characters are not all as important as they need to be.

So we fix. Still would love to have some ‘alpha’ readers who might be interested in discussing the work as it progresses.