Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Update- I'm not dead yet!

I realize that I haven't been posting lately, so I just wanted to make it clear that I'm not dead.

My computer is still in the shop. I might get it back around July 1st, but even that is uncertain. So until then, I'm not really blogging or promoting that much.

I will say that I am making progress on The Shadows of Caldreth and I got a pretty good review the other day. It was a five star review by a fellow author, and it has been posted on Amazon US, Goodreads, Smashwords, B&N, and his website. Feel free to check it out if you haven't already seen it.

I will also say that I'm doing pretty good for my first half-month as a self-published author. How many books have I sold? Well, I'm not telling that yet. It's standard practice for self-published authors to reveal their sales figures, but I don't want to post the numbers yet. You can expect to see them around July 5th when I'm sure that all the sales have gone through for June.

I also have a nice bit of news for everyone that has read/bought Through the Flames. Provided that I can get the cover art for The Shadows of Caldreth by the end of July, I'll be uploading the book on July 31st.

And I can guarantee that The Shadows of Caldreth will be no less than 90k words long, so it'll be about 40k words longer than Through the Flames. I also have the rough outline for The Witch of Akabar done, and I can say that it will probably be twice as long as The Shadows of Caldreth. It's always been my plan for each book to be longer than the previous one.

But anyways, I don't want to bore anyone with the details, so I'll stop here.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Computer Problems

Well, this is going to be a short post. My laptop has been infected by a virus. I should be able to get it fixed by next week, but there's no guarantees there.

My online presence is mostly restricted to what I can manage on my phone for now, though this is being typed from me parents' home computer.

I'll do my best to reply to messages and comments in the meantime, even if it takes me a little while.

Sadly, this happened on the same day that I started writing The Shadows of Caldreth. I'll be hand writing it (pencil and paper) until my computer's fixed.

Anyways, that's about it this time around.

Thanks for reading this.

(Oh, and I'd like to give a shout out to another great series of books, The Shadowdance Trilogy by David Dalglish. I decided to read the two books of the series that are already out since my computer's down, and I have to say that David has outdone himself again.)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

Well, it's June 20th, a rather big day for me. It's my 20th birthday, to be precise.

So what is this 20 year old doing today? Well, I'm actually at work right now. This is a scheduled post. But I am starting to write The Shadows of Caldreth later today.

Originally, I had planned on not starting it at all until July 1st, but I changed my plans a few days back and was going to start it on the 21st. I can't put it off any longer though. Caleb's tale needs to be sold, and so it shall.

I had planned on reading 12 or so books between writing Through the Flames and The Shadows of Caldreth.

That plan was a failure, but I did read a few books.
Let's see... I read:
Most Likely by Craig Hansen
The Weight of Blood (The Half Orcs, Book1) by David Dalglish
The Cost of Betrayal (The Half Orcs, Book 2) by David Dalglish
The Death of Promises (The Half Orcs, Book 3) by David Dalglish
The Shadows of Grace (The Half Orcs, Book 4) by David Dalglish
The Sliver of Redemption (The Half Orcs, Book 5) by David Dalglish
Night of Wolves (The Paladins # 1) by David Dalglish

Plus, I bought the Trylle Trilogy, the first two books of the Shadowdance Trilogy, and The Sword and the Dragon (The Wardstone Trilogy, Book One).

I won't be reading any of the latter books for a little while though. I was struck by inspiration a few days ago, and it's not going away. I need to write now, not read. Plus, I'll need to sit down and do some reading next month. New Spring finally comes out on Kindle, which I've been waiting about 9 months for. The Shadowdance Trilogy is going to wait until David puts out the final book though. I'd like to read it all the way through.

Now, I'm not going to do an in-depth review on The Half-Orcs like intended. Instead, I'm going to give a brief opinion on it and post the links to my reviews over David's books.

Simply put, The Half-Orcs series is an amazing series. It had officially put David Dalglish as my favorite author. I'm not saying "favorite self-published author" either. I'm saying that I prefer him over Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, R.A. Salvatore, etc. His writing has seriously impressed me that much.

If you like traditional fantasy, check it out.

However, don't go into it until you read this one line: The Half-Orcs series is dark.

Parts of the series are difficult to stomach, even for me. There's something exciting about the series though. You see Harruq and Qurrah, the two half-orc brothers. They are about as dark as they come without truly being evil. And then, you bring in an evil, manipulative man who tempts them.

At its heart, the series is about redemption.

And if you want to try something by Mr. Dalglish that isn't so dark, check out Night of Wolves (The Paladins # 1). It's set in the same world at The Half-Orcs, but it's not nearly as dark. Even though it's a short book, it's one of the best books I've read all year.

The Weight of Blood (The Half Orcs, Book1) by David Dalglish
The Cost of Betrayal (The Half Orcs, Book 2) by David Dalglish
The Death of Promises (The Half Orcs, Book 3) by David Dalglish
The Shadows of Grace (The Half Orcs, Book 4) by David Dalglish
The Sliver of Redemption (The Half Orcs, Book 5) by David Dalglish
Night of Wolves (The Paladins # 1) by David Dalglish

Anyways, thanks for reading. As always, I appreciate the time you give up to read anything I write.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sample Sunday- 6/19

Here's a sample from Chapter 22 of Through the Flames. Enjoy.

* * * * *

Caleb walked straight through the open gates of the camp, his palm resting on the handle of his knife as he did so. He kept his hands away from his sword, as if he had no fear about walking into the lion’s den unprepared.

How’s this for bold?

Had it not been for the anger filling him at seeing the men that massacred Kirakath, Caleb would have smirked at what he was about to do. But the anger was nearly overwhelming.

One of the brigands, a short, bald man with arms as thick as his legs, rose to his feet as Caleb approached. He had a slightly glazed over look in his eyes, making it clear that he was been drinking a little already. The way he stood steadily made it clear that it he was still sober enough though.

“Are you the Black Crows?” Caleb asked loudly, catching the attention of the fifteen men that had been situated around the campfire.

“You’ve heard of us, eh?” the bald man asked with a wicked grin. “You’ve got some nerve, showing up here. We don’t play nice with strangers.”

“My name is Caleb of Kirakath.” The sudden introduction threw the brigand off, but the knife that Caleb unsheathed and threw had an even greater effect. It sunk to the handle in the man’s abdomen, forcing him to scream loud enough to wake the whole camp up.

The scream only lasted a moment, however.

Caleb had drawn his sword, dashed forward, and brought the blade around in a swift arc, beheading the bald man with a single stroke. His head flew a few feet away, where it hit the ground and rolled into one of the nearby tents.

“I’m the one who’s going to kill you,” he said plainly, his eyes shifting between the men that stood before him.

* * * * *

I hope you enjoyed it.

Anyways, if anyone is interested in obtaining a review copy of Through the Flames, leave a comment on this blog post or send me an email. I'd be more than willing to give a copy of the book from Smashwords in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

2 Days In

So I have now had my book online at Amazon for 48 hours. In that time, I've received 10 sales from Amazon.com and 1 sale from Amazon.co.uk. I've sold none at Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, or Amazon.de, though I didn't expect to sale any at the latter.

It's a bit depressing having so few sales at this point. After all, I announced it to all my fanfiction readers, and it was made clear to the people I interact with through forums/Facebook/Twitter/etc.

Sure, I didn't expect there to be 100% crossover between my readers and those people, but I had expected more.

I realize that I got my hopes up a bit when I saw 11 sales in my first 24 hours, but I guess that's to be expected.

I guess I'm going to need to come up with a strategy. I've submitted Through the Flames to a book blogger, I've submitted for two interviews, and I've done some self-promotion on Twitter, the Meet Our Authors forum over on Amazon, the fantasy forum over on Amazon.co.uk, and on Kindle Boards.

Anyways, thanks for reading.

Stay tuned. Tomorrow, I'm going to do a review on The Half-Orcs series by David Dalglish. I'll be including a review on Night of Wolves (The Paladins #1) in that post.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I'm Officially an Indie

It feels nice to say this.

I'm now a self-published author.

Yep. Through the Flames is up on Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Amazon DE, along with Smashwords. It's been uploaded to B&N too, but it's being slow.

It's been online for close to three hours, and it's showing that I already have three sales, so that's pretty nice.

To everyone that has read this, I thank you. You've stuck with me through the boring times when I was just another wannabe writer. Hopefully, things get better now that I'm an author.

Thanks again.

PS. I have links to the "Through the Flames" page on Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon DE, and Smashwords in my a gadget to the right.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Through the Flames- Complete

That's right, Through the Flames has been completed. It's been written, edited, and uploaded. It should go live on Amazon within the next 24 hours.

There have been a few major changes from my most recent updates.

For starters, the length of Through the Flames has been cut quite a bit. It is now 25 chapters (including the Prologue and Epilogue) and about 55,000 words long.

This isn't a bad thing. Yeah, I wanted it to be twice that originally, but Through the Flames is special in many ways. It's the first book, so it being short is a way of saying, "Don't want to invest in a 100k word long novel to see if you like my writing? Well, you don't have to." It's also the only book in the series that I plan on dropping to $0.99 permanently, though that won't happen until August.

I actually stressed over the length of the book, despite that, but I started relaxing when I saw a favorite author's debut novel's word count. The book was The Weight of Blood by David Dalglish. It's less than 70k words. His newest book, Night of Wolves, is 55k words.

While I don't need to follow the actions of others, it's comforting to know that I'm not setting a precedent of any sort.

Secondly, I've decided that I will start working on The Shadows of Caldreth on June 21st, the day after I turn 20. This decision was made so that I'll have 71 days to write the much longer sequel.

That's in comparison to 46 days for Through the Flames, by the way.

Thirdly, I changed the ending of Through the Flames to match what my characters really wanted. As such, Katie of Caldreth has suffered a role change. Let's leave it at that.

Anyways, I'll post again when Through the Flames shows up in the Kindle store.

I'll be posting reviews for about 7-10 different books soon too. Among them will be the five books of the Half-Orcs series and the first book of the Paladins series, Night of Wolves. I'll probably also review Freedom's Sword by JR Tomlin and the Trylle Trilogy by Amanda Hocking. I did receive a review copy of the former after all, and I'm in need of reading a few more of Amanda's books. I've only ever read Switched.

Thank the stars for my ability to read multiple books in a day.

Anyways, have a good one.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Through the Flames- Prologue

It's a day for samples, Sample Sunday, so I'm going to post the Prologue of Through the Flames below.

It's short, but that was done on purpose.

Cain Fell drummed his fingers on the table before him as his eyes were trained on the piece of parchment that was laid before him.
His dark gray eyes took in the subtle penmanship of the words. A great deal could be learned about a man from studying the way he wrote.
He shuddered as he came to the conclusion that he did.
Word from him is never good, even when it sounds like it… like this.
Cain’s eyes rose from the parchment and scanned the contents of his large canvas tent. Everything seemed to be in place. His bed and the wooden chest next to it were untouched, as always.
Satisfied that there was no one hiding in the tent, his eyes returned to the parchment and he stroked his dark brown goatee. “So he finally wants to make his move, does he?”
The thought was not displeasing, though annoyance began to creep up.
I should’ve known he wouldn’t do it himself. He always hated getting his hands dirty.
He shook his head at his associate’s letter. He truly could not find it in him to be surprised by it, even a little. It was just his associate’s nature.
“Very well then,” Cain mused as he began to roll the parchment up. “The Black Crow will do your dirty work.”
I can’t say I know why you want us to go after such a backwoods little village, but that’s not a surprise. You always liked keeping secrets. Nonetheless, Kirakath will fall.
With that, Cain slid the rolled up parchment into his tunic and made his way to speak with his men.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

How I come up with ideas and plan

This post will be rather straightforward.

I'm going to discuss how I come up with story ideas and plan.

Some people start with a concept, a theme, etc.

I always start with a character. Even when I'm dealing with a fantasy world of my own creation, the protagonist (or the rarer option, the antagonist) is the first thing I come up with.

When I come up with the character, I generally already have a story idea because my characters are always created with a conflict in their lives.

Caleb's conflict is his quest for revenge. I simply took that quest and expanded on it to come up with the concept of my series, The Sword of Kirakath.

That's really all I do. I guess it should be a bit more thorough, but the rest is something that I work on as I go.

Now, I'll briefly go over how I plan.

I've attempted to write a story without planning at all. My hatred for rewriting convinced me that it was a bad idea.

I've attempted to write a story by planning everything. My characters rebelled against me because I tried to make them do something they didn't want to do.

Thus, I generally only plan the beginning, the middle, and the end. Thus, my planing usually equals up to be three paragraphs.

I do, however, generally go back in and write a single sentence over what each chapter is going to be about, but I only do that later on when I know the characters extremely well. Even then, they occasionally rebel.

Well, that's it for now.

Thanks for reading.

I doubt I'll post again until I finish Through the Flames.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Quick Update

Okay, so I'm giving an update on The Sword of Kirakath now.

I'm behind my first three schedules, but I'm on time now. In short, I've just finished the first 21 chapters of Through the Flames, along with the prologue. I'm at 50,000 words, which is the minimum word count for a novel, according to Wikipedia.

So now, I'm going to talk about something I've gone through lately with Through the Flames.

To begin with, Through the Flames was intended to be 125,000 words, which would be 75,000 words more than what I have at the moment.

Now, it will be somewhere between 75,000 words and 90,000 words. I seem to have overestimated myself. Writing 5,000 word chapters us far more difficult than I had imagined. To get an idea on how long 5,000 words are, open up a paperback book or open your Kindle to any fiction book at its normal font size. Turn the page... nineteen times. That's about 5,000 words.

The estimate of a 125,000 word book was based on a 25 chapter book with 5k word long chapters.

I revised that to a plan of 35 chapters at 3.5k words, which would have given it the same length.

Then I learned something very important. Through the Flames isn't meant to be that long. Some of the planned chapters would have been impossible to make 1,000 words long unless I fluffed them up in a Tolkien-esque way.

So now, the length of Through the Flames will only be 30 chapters, including the prologue and epilogue. I've established a 2.5k word minimum word count for the chapters, which is something like 5 times the minimum word count for James Patterson. I only put the minimum word count so low for one reason.

Chapters should not be defined by length but by content. Making a chapter shorter or longer than it should be will affect quality negatively.

In the interests of letting this stay fairly short, let me just say that Through the Flames will officially be finished on June 7th, so it'll be up between then and my birthday. It just depends on how soon I can get it edited thoroughly enough that I'm happy with it and can't find any mistakes using text to speech.

Thanks for reading. Next time, I'll be talking about how I come up with story ideas/plans.