Saturday, June 8, 2013

New Blog & Author Website

Um, I moved. Didn't I tell you?

For anyone visiting this page to learn more about my work, please go to my new author website at 

You can find weekly humor posts, articles about the craft of writing, and my FREE weekly serial called "Deadtown." Let's spend a few days and catch up, shall we?

Thank you for all the views, messages, and support. The journey continues...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Public Domain - A New Play


It's all over the place, man. You can't escape it, either. You don't want to be early for work, but you hate to stay late. It dictates when we sleep, tells us when to eat, and is always there to make us nervous during tests. The cold, unrelenting fingers of time have even taken hold of that most glorious of social networking sites - Facebook.

Time takes no prisoners and shows no mercy.

Time is inescapable.

You want to know another secret about time? It helps heal wounds.

You see, I went through some pretty dark and angsty stuff a few years ago when my mother passed away. All the typical grief, negativity and apathy that comes with a traumatic life event. So when one of my best buddies from high school asked me (for, like, the fifth time) to write a play for him four or five months after my mother's passing, I felt like saying, "Stuff it. I'm a sad little bubble boy who hates the world."

But despite the way I felt, the story started coming to me. It came in goofy bits and pieces and for a long time, I didn't know if I could keep it up. The funny just wasn't there. And that was scary.

I kept writing, and rewriting, and giving up a little bit here and there. Then my buddy always prodded me back to the play. I published a few books and short stories while I was still trying to get my head around this thing that was supposed to be fun and upbeat and positive.

It felt like I was on an impossible quest in some dark, rain-soaked fantasy world and my goal was to find the rare baby unicorn who burped rainbows and smelled like cotton candy. Only, my path was blocked by looming mountains and ominous storm clouds that seemed to just hover over my head no matter where I traveled.

Then one day, almost a year and a half later, the clouds went away and I stumbled upon that tiny unicorn of awesomesauce. The sadness had just kind of disappeared and, to my surprise, life was still happening. And in great ways, to boot. I immediately knew that meant one thing - the show had to go on.

I dug my heels into the dirt and I started writing for realz. My goal was to get the play finished soon enough for my buddy to produce it at his theater this fall.

Lo and behold - it's finished. Ladies and gentlemen, "Public Domain - A Stage Play" is alive and kicking.

My first full length stage play will be produced in late September at the Central Christian Theatre in McPherson, KS. Soon after, I plan to make the script available for purchase on Amazon; my goal is to toss it around to some of my other friends who happen to work in or for production companies. And beyond that?

Only time will tell.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Writer Returns...

A Public Service Announcement

How To Kill A Blog:

1) Promise a format change and then never follow through
2) Quit posting comments on other blogs
3) Leave your blog alone for months at a time

In just three easy steps, you can slaughter the momentum of your own blog!

End PSA.

So far, 2012 has not been my best year for promotional and creative activity. To be honest, I had a rocky start since I started the year in a job that was eating every hour of free time I could find. At the same time, I was having trouble finding a balance for my creative life; in short, my writing productivity dropped dead.

I discovered it is nearly impossible to write when you are depressed about work and financially drained. In my case, there was always this sense of shame when I sat down to write; it’s a strange, nagging voice in the back of my head that says, “You shouldn’t be doing this right now. You should be looking for a better job.” And once that voice started whispering, I couldn’t concentrate on anything creative.

But lo and behold, that voice has disappeared. In March, I took a job that I absolutely love. It’s been almost five years since I felt that way about work. It’s a joy to get up and go to the office in the morning because I totally dig my coworkers and, most importantly, I am proud of the work I do for the company. It’s a real blessing.

Coupled with the fact that I’ve finally found a scheduling balance that allows for writing on a regular basis (instead of stealing precious hours at night), my creativity has jump-started itself. The past few months since taking the new job have been mostly about getting on my feet and making sure life is back on track for my wife and I; but now, it’s time to face that ominous blank page with a confident grin.

It’s time to write.

I’m currently working on the next installment of Divine Intermission, a series of fantasy novellas available exclusively on Amazon right now. At the same time, I am writing two stage plays with two separate friends and I am planning a new series of science fiction novellas for kids.

And looming over all those projects is the one that keeps me going: I am working on the sequel to my debut novel “Children of Aerthwheel.” It is in very early stages and most likely won’t be available until next year sometime. I am uber-jealous of prolific indie writers like Amanda Hocking and SM Reine; one day, I hope to churn out the books as quickly as they do.

So, I’m back. And I’m going to stay here for awhile, if you don’t mind. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Books, books, and more books!

After months of anticipation, the print version of my debut novel "Children of Aerthwheel" is now available on Amazon. Click the cover below to buy the book or leave a review.

Divine Intermission Books 1 & 2 are also available on the Kindle store right now. Click the covers below to go to the pages or to leave reviews.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Changing Gears

I decided 2012 is the year I quit acting like a noob. This doesn't change the fact that I will always feel like one; but there's no reason to reveal to the world at large at any given time that I am indeed nervous as hell.

Wait, I just did it again, didn't I?

With three books under my belt, along with a few published short stories, I decided it was time to do something different with the blog. You might have noticed the title is different; if not, go ahead and look. I'll wait.

See that? No more noobish business. This blog was originally designed as a way to, well... adverstise. I thought if I published a book and had a blog, then I could just market myself that way. And my plan was to document some of the tribulations that I might experience as an indie author. Share my pains and joys, losses and successes.

You know, share all the writerly things that only other writers care about.

There are three problems with that assumption. The first is that nobody likes spam. I wouldn't want some stranger tossing spam all over my site, so why should I be comfortable doing it myself? That's not marketing. It's just annoying.

Secondly, I realized over the course of five or six months that the whole "chronicle your journey as a writer" blog has been done.

To death.

There's not much more I can contribute to the discussion about indie publishing. It's tough, you have to work your ass off to get results, Amanda Hocking's contract with St. Martin's Press is "controversial," and JA Konrath is pretty much the indie publishing version of Yoda - only with more beer.

The third problem with my initial idea of what this blog should be is that a blog about writers and written for writers may definitely attract other writers. That's fine. I've met some awesome people by networking through the blog.

But a writer survives on one thing and one thing only: READERS. Yes, there are writers who also read. However, most indie authors are in the business of promoting themselves. It's not that we are insincere; it's just that have books to sell.

Quick experiment: fill a hotel conference room with dozens of sales people and see how meaningful the conversations become. Watch for the verbal tug of war, the pointless upstaging and outdoing of one another.

This is essentially the same thing that happens when you only surround yourself with other writers. Please don't misread this and think I dislike being amongst other writers. That's definitely not the case. You learn things, you develop ideas, and you get inspired. It's just counter-productive after a certain amount of time; you lose sight of what the goal is supposed to be.

An author's number one goal should be to find and RETAIN readers.

What does this mean for my blog?


I started a feature late last year (before a day job kind of broke my schedule like a battering ram destroys a door) and it was called "This Is Me..." The idea was originally developed as a children's book (and it may still be turned into a book this year). I'll be launching that feature again next week.

And beyond that, I'll just be talking about the stuff that interests me. Fantasy, science fiction, horror, popular culture... I'm a big nerd and it's going to be pretty obvious that I'm a card-carrying Freak. You have been warned.

On a final side note, go check out Chris Hardwick's book The Nerdist Way. I know, I know. He's not an indie and for the price of his ebook, you could buy twelve copies of my novel. I get it. But he has some pretty awesome tips for getting the best out of life. That is, if you're a nerd.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Divine Intermission now available on Amazon!

For the two or three people who may have been anticipating its arrival, the wait is over: book one of Divine Intermission is officially live and available as an ebook exclusively on Amazon's Kindle Store. That means if you are an Amazon Prime member, you can borrow the book at no cost. If you're not a Prime member, you can still get the book for a mere 99 cents.

In other news, I ran across this article (via Io9)about Amanda Hocking and how she is "still the exception" in the publishing biz. Anyone who reads about indie publishing should know that she is an indie author who, after selling over a million copies of her work, signed a $2 million book deal with St. Martin's Press. The author of the article goes on to describe "hybrid authors," or those who are at once published by legacy houses while continuing to self publish their own work.

What we have to remember is that Amanda Hocking's experience couldn't have happened five or six years ago. Sure, JA Konrath was blazing a trail along with a few others.

But when we look at Amanda Hocking or John Hartness or Kerry Schafer, we can't get jaded and say, "Oh, they're exceptions to the rules. Indie authors getting signed to publishing houses? That's not how it should be."

We have to stop thinking in terms of, "This is not how it's supposed to happen." Instead, we need to frame our experiences and the experiences of others in the indie publishing industry in terms of What Is Possible.

Is it possible to write and publish my own book? Yes.

Is it possible to reach a global audience with my fiction? Yes.

Is it possible that a publisher might want to relaunch my work one day? Yes.

Is it possible that I might be more successful without that publisher's help?...

What do you think?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Novella That Wasn't There...

According to my last blog post, today was supposed to mark the debut of my novella "Divine Intermission."

Well, plans changed.

I'm still shooting for a January release, but it probably won't happen this week. I could spend a few minutes coming up with reasons why it didn't go live when it should have... instead, I'm just going to talk about some other things that have been on my mind the past few weeks.

If you've been paying attention to my blog since the beginning, and have been able to withstand all the times I've dropped off the grid, you may have noticed my growing fascination for serial fiction and short novels. Since I'm still less than a year into the indie publishing gig, I'm still experimenting with ways to get my work into the hands of readers.

My first experiment of the year is this series of novellas collectively called "Divine Intermission." The plan is to publish the first four books of this series throughout the year.

My gut instinct has been that ebook consumers are going to be more interested in shorter novels. It's like the weight loss advice that says eating several small meals is better than eating a few large feasts. Some of my fiction will be available in bite-sized morsels.

And I think this is where we're headed as indie authors.

Some would say that shorter fiction indicates more simplistic writing, which could also suggest that an author is writing to the lowest common denominator. This criticism is, of course, ridiculous.

Anyone who's tried to pack the power of a novel into the body of a short story knows that brief fiction does not equal easier fiction.

For a clear example of the shorter being more complex, take a look at the following two pieces of fiction:
578 printed pages

110 printed pages
If indie authors begin focusing on novellas or novelettes or just shorter novels, we may see a surge in author innovation and a rejuvenation of the craft itself. In fact, I would argue that the rise of ereaders may also give rise to a new golden age of fiction... that is, fiction of the shorter persuasion.

What do you think? Are readers hungry for tiny morsels or enormous feasts?