News updated on the 13th of each and every month.

November 13th, 2019 update:

My non-fiction project received a TON of useful feedback, so much so that I've spent the last few weeks incorporating it.

Hopefully I'll be done by the end of the month and can get back to editing, which is where my energy needs to go.

Still, it's been a nice break, and I know having multiple projects is useful for when one gets stalled or stale over time.

On a related note: my eyes are about 95% improved since the summer: all I have to deal with now is daily fatigue with the occasional tweak of eyestrain, which I can definitely manage using the odd Aspirin. It's a HUGE relief to be able to do my day job on a computer for long hours (with regular 'eye breaks' )and still be able to put in writing time at home of an evening.

I'm back on track!

October 13th, 2019 update:

I took on a different project for the last month, putting my novel editing aside briefly to work on some non-fiction.

It was good to stretch my writing skills in a different direction, and I hope that what I've done can be turned into some publishable work soon enough. As it's somewhat sensitive subject matter (and related to a pen name different from my main fiction one) I can't talk about it here, so my apologies.

If it does end up seeing publication, I'll drop some hints here, you can be sure.

However, I have to ensure that those people who WON'T like what I've created don't find their way back here too easily.

Cryptic update: complete! Thanks for visiting, and again my apologies: if I felt safe talking about the project here, I would, believe me!

September 13th, 2019 update:

Things are 'looking' better now.

Six pairs of glasses and three different optometrists later, my eyestrain's down to 'occasional' ache at the end of the day' from the 'agonizing pain requiring Aspirin and cold cloths every evening' levels it had reached by the start of Summer 2019.


The last optometrist I went to was a 'problem specialist' who determined that I needed *prisms* in my glasses, which the other two somehow MISSED? After ordering a THIRD set of glasses (3 pairs: daily, computer-distance and close-up: PRICEY!) and trying them out for the last 2 weeks, it's made ALL the difference.

Now, as my eyes FINALLY start to heal, I can get BACK to working MUCH longer at a stretch on my writing!

Expect more news soon.

August 13th, 2019 update:

While my eyestrain has been reduced, it hasn't gone away, but I hope a specialist appointment today will shed some insight on why it's happening and not going away despite my efforts - crossing my fingers!

I've also been reading the autobiography of my favourite writers, J. Michael Straczynski "Becoming Superman" and it's hard going: it's GOOD, but it's hard reading... he's had one HELLUVA childhood and maturation process.

Inspiring though: makes my own troubles look like schoolyard scuffles.

July 13th, 2019 update:

Huzzah! My eyestrain has been reduced by about 90% thanks to a timely trio of new glasses delivered in only a week!

There's still lingering strain (no damage, I hope) that makes for pain at the end of a workday, but I;m managing it with cold washcloths and rest, along with the occasional Asprin for inflammation. I hope that in a month or two they'll just be twinges.

I'm also on VACATION as of yesterday, so there's PLENTY of opportunity to write this week, prioritized among my other long-neglected tasks. I'm looking forward to a few solid hours each day, made possible because I'm not ALSO staring at a computer screen at work for 7.5 hours.


June 13th, 2019 update:

My eyestrain has returned with a vengeance, so the last two weeks of June have been difficult for me.

From what I can tell, I need new glasses, as even taking 'eye breaks' every 20-30 minutes at work isn't helping much.

Considering my last 'eye upgrade' was in 2014, it's been a pretty good run, though it's surprising how quickly the eyestrain has occurred in the last few weeks.

Just goes to show that you can't always depend on your body to keep up with your hard work.

So until I can get some new specs, I'm going to have to take it easy on my eyes at the day job, and rest them in the evenings.

Ever onwards.

May 13th, 2019 update:

I'm on vacation this week, so I'm editing for 6-8 hours a day, with breaks.

This is the sort of focus I prefer when I'm writing: nothing else going on, no energy wasted on other, less important things.

It's also going to be cloudy all week, with some rain, so it's PERFECT weather for writing.

Good thing I prefer to work at home, rather than in coffee shops, pubs or patios - cheaper, too.

Back to the pages!

April 13th, 2019 update:

Editing and writing, that's ALL that's going on right now. Eat, sleep work: rinse and Re-Pete, if you will.

Since that's not all that exciting to talk about, here's a GREAT writing resource to keep you occupied for a while:

Honestly, there's so much there that you could spend a month or two combing through the early-career writer's resources Jane's provided, almost all of which are FREE: my favourite four-letter word!

Have fun, and I'll see you next month!

March 13th, 2019 update:

Still writing, still editing, still dreaming.

This draft will be done soon, and sent on its way to agents.

Then it will be time to move on to the next project, which I'm looking forward to doing: a new creative challenge!

Feb 13th, 2019 update:

Odd how what you write seems prophetic in hindsight, sometimes.

I had a big life change last week, and it clarified some things for me, along with what I've already suspected:

There's not much in my life more important than my writing, right now.

Everything else, ALL else, keeps turning me back towards my writing and kicking me in the rear solidly in case I hesitated.

Fascinating, and frustrating in some ways, since dreams don't seem to survive reality's harsh daytime glare.

Still, if I'm going to do JUST one thing, it's helpful to know that I know how to write well, and in time that can only improve.

If I spend enough time doing it, that is. 5am rise, write, work, dinner, write until bed, and do it again = Rinse And Re-Pete.

Happy Valentine's Day to you all tomorrow.

See you next month.

Jan 13th, 2019 update:

New year, same work. I hope everyone had a good holiday season!

No changes: steady bits of editing every day, despite the eyestrain. I've found and been using a neat little program called Negative Screen, that can reverse a display's screen colours easily, which has been helping a great deal; no more sunglasses at night to edit! My eyes still complain if I stare at the screen for more than 20-30 minutes of a night, but at least I can get SOME work done each day.

Getting up earlier in 2019 is also a big priority: if I'm up at 6am, I can get in a good hour of writing in the 'quiet' zone before the neighbourhood wakes up and I have to get along to work anyway. Seeing as I've cut back significantly on my social media dwell-time in the last six months, I have to be careful not to fill that precious morning time with catching up on the trivia of the world...

Not Giving Up is a good theme for 2019, one I'll be putting on a sign in my workspace ASAP.

Back to it, then.

Dec 13th, 2018 update:

Everything's status quo here for the holidays.

I've been working for the last few months to get a solid work-life-writing balance going, and making some hard decisions.

This month, I think I'm finally feeling more balanced, and that's a good sign for 2019.

With less on my mind of a day, especially the day job and finances, my subconscious is already producing more muse-level ideas in the last few weeks than it has since the spring. Proof positive that good choices CAN lead to good results, but only if you're patient.

That, dear readers, is a quality I have in spades.

Persistence is a close second though, and that's what you need to be a writer: to never, EVER give up. No matter what.

2019 looks to be a GREAT year with the table cleared for nothing but writing, freed of the nagging worries that haunted me in 2018.

Heck, if we're lucky, the mess down in the USA will get resolved in the next few months: THAT will make a WHOLE bunch of people around the world MUCH happier AND worry less.

I suppose that's my Christmas Wish right there. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Nov 13th, 2018 update:

A bit about Twitter, and why it's such a good place for writers (delayed from last month).

Twitter is all about immediate connections, of getting 'access' to people for direct interactions - similar to email, but in a far more public way. People from all walks of life can connect over common issues or, as is more often the case, argue about their differences.

However, for writers, Twitter is a way to connect directly with other writers, as well as agents, editors and even publishers - sweet! It's a place where agents can use hashtags like #ManuscriptWishlist to post what they're looking for, so that writers on the hunt to sell their work can connect. It's a fabulous, direct-driver method for keeping your eye on the publishing industry's pulse.

Even better, established writers will offer advice and insights, often things that just can't be found easily anywhere else. Having an established writer talk about their experiences getting published, what it's like to be on a book tour, the methods they used to edit their latest bestseller: all of that and more is pure gold to writers who are still outside the 'gates' of the publishing industry.

Which, as a metaphor, is falling out of style, especially with self-publishing, but that's a whole 'nother topic.

Back to the trenches!

Oct 13th, 2018 update:

Not much to say really, save that I'm still editing.

It's a long process, and one that every writer does a little differently.

For me, it's going into the edit with pages of notes: ideas about what to tweak, what to add, what to smooth out... hundreds of details I've been thinking about since the last draft, and that I want to ensure make it into this one without issue.

That takes time.

For those thinking "Hey, can't an editor do some of that?" the answer is: no.

Editors edit, and writers write. I have to have a draft that's as complete as I can get it, in every aspect (plot, character, theme, setting, spelling, grammar, author voice, and all the other myriad details that make up a finished novel) before I can think about hiring an editor or two. Who don't work cheap, and not should they: the services of a quality editor can make a good novel great!

There's different kinds of editors who look at manuscripts, and each one has a different job: Developmental, Copy, Substantive and Proofreading edits all perform different tasks when going through a novel's drafts - you can learn more about them all here.

Suffice to say, I'm still some months away from a finished fifth draft... but it's coming together.

All it will take is time, and concerted effort, both of which I have enough of, most days.

Now, back to the wordsmithing!

Sept 13th, 2018 update:

The business side of writing is just as important as the writing itself: if nobody knows about your work, or you have no understanding of how to market it or what to do when it comes to submitting to an agent, then your writing will languish unread.

One place that's become important to me as a writer is Twitter, which is odd as until this year, I hadn't given it much thought: too toxic.

That's still true, but if you take the time to make Twitter work for you, then things like this happen:

I'll mention more next month about the uses Twitter has for writers, but for now, I'm happy to bask in being mentioned. :-)

Aug 13th, 2018 update:

June, July and August have been difficult months for me.

As I mentioned last month, I've been making some life adjustments to better enable my writing to occupy more of my time.

There's been a TON of stress involved from other fronts on top of that, so things have been... unkind and chaotic, to put it mildly. It's again fortunate in my mind that I have a day job that requires little of me in terms of mental effort AND is low-stress; I'm quite lucky, though for more than a few days in the last few months it's been exhausting in every sense of the word. Fortunately, my family has been extremely supporting, as has my lady, and work's been accommodating to a little time off here and there, so again:

I'm damn lucky.

But, onwards, right? The books won't write themselves, and even if they did, who would read that kind of auto-drivel?

I did manage to get a better writing setup for my room in July: I picked up an old but gently-used laptop with a HUGE 17-inch 16:9 screen to use as a writing station. Coupled with a vertically-oriented external monitor, I now have the ability to do some serious editing.

At least once I get the laptop working properly: while I've installed Windows7 to make it more usable, there's profile saving issues...

Ah well. I can still use a red pen and paper, right?

July 13th, 2018 update:

I've gone radio silent for the rest of the year, at least when it comes to social media.

This decision comes after examining my available time, and what I'm doing with it: I came to the conclusion that social media, even if regulated, is too distracting, as I can get things stuck in my head that linger too long when I should be writing.

So, no more FBook or other social browsing until 2019, or my first book's draft edit is done, whichever comes first.

This will be helped, in part, by my day job, which requires little mental effort and produces little stress - every writer's dream, really.

I just have to make use of it, for as the Baen rejection shows: I'm Not Quite There Yet.

Back to work.

June 13th, 2018 update:

The Live Slush Reading was.... well, live, and you can see it on Baen's channel here. If you're curious, my reading spot in the video is at 1:01:19 and the two full hour-long Baen readings are both on their channel.

More thoughts next month.

May 13th, 2018 update:

Incredibly, just a few days ago I learned the date of the Live Slush Reading this year:

It's next week, on May 16th!

It will be happening online on the publisher's YouTube channel, in two sessions at 10am EST and 2pm EST. There were 15 submissions, five more than the minimum they said was needed to make it worth the time to sic some editors on the pile - you can watch live here.

Now, I've taken the editor's advice and given my novel a pseudotitle, because if it gets ripped to shreds, then I don't want the ignominy following me around for the rest of my career. This is a learning opportunity for all the authors involved: we have to go into this knowing we might not be as good as we hope, but that we're there to learn from the experience.

I'll leave you to guess which story is mine... but if you've been following me here on the website, you'll know immediately.

Wish me luck!

April 13th, 2018 update:

Some big, BIG news this month:

Through unusual circumstances, I've submitted my novel's draft to a publisher for a look-over as of April 1st 2018!

As I only found out about the submission window five days before the deadline, and had to work in some edits, I spent all of that week feverishly polishing things up to where I felt the major changes I'd been making in 2018 were up to my standards. I also had to prepare a new 'submission' version, which led to some minor fixes and formatting tweaks on March 31st; always the case!

But, I got it in, and it's going to be looked at SOON, likely within a few months' time - exciting!

More details next month, when I'll have more info from the publisher to share.

Wish me luck!

March 13th, 2018 update:

I can feel my spirits lifting as the weather inches towards spring by degrees.

Much like my draft, it's a matter of measuring progress in total, adding each bit together to keep oneself motivated.

I've been reading on and off lately, catching a few shows in NetFlix here and there as well to keep my imagination fed and avoid getting 'stuck in the box' of just my own writing. Newer shows I've recently enjoyed are Altered Carbon and Voltron: Legendary Defender, both of which are heavy scifi offerings with much to recommend them... and being on Netflix certainly helps the watchability.

Picking up on reviews for books to add to my read-in-2019-sometime list, I've noticed that reviewers of late have complained that books are 'too short' in that they feel they haven't really got to know the characters and the world before the story's over.

Thankfully, I don't feel that's the case with my novel: at 140,00o words, it will still need some trimming by editors, but by no means will anyone call it too short!

See you again soon, thanks for dropping by...

February 13th, 2018 update:

It occurred to me that I've not spoken much about my writing inspirations here, which I feel are important to note.

I'm an avid reader, though admittedly mostly scifi and to a lesser degree, fantasy. I've slowed down in the last few years as life's got in the way, but I still do my best to consume at least a couple of books a month, which is a far cry from when I was reading 3-5 books a week when I was thirty years younger... libraries were the only way I could feed my appetite then, and comics couldn't do a thing for me: far too short, and I'd not learned to appreciate the art as much as I do now.

However, when I first started getting my writing engine going six years ago, I switched gears from reading to writing purely to make more time: the less I read, the more I could write... and as an added benefit, I'd be less likely to influence my writing.

So there you have it: where I've been informing where I am now, and where I'm going, all in a nutshell. Back to editing now!

January 13th, 2018 update:

Welcome to a new year: things are looking up!

Ask any writer about time management, and they'll likely say "Never enough to do it all in a day," and mean it: most writers I know work a day job, fitting in their writing before AND after work, often burning the midnight oil. Wordsmithing is labourious, even for fast typists.

There's also a truisim: the harder a writer's working, the less they write about the work, and that's pretty much going to be 2018 for me.

These updates will be here monthly, but somewhat shorter: the work's important, but I still want to keep those checking in updated on how its going. In brief, my health is improving while overall stress is reducing; a good combination, that.

More next month!

December 13th, 2017 update:

Still status quo on the editing: Draft 4.5, The Really Final One, is coming along healthily.

At the same time, my physical health is still in flux, which is causing difficulties with being able to write, as some days I can't stand or sit for more than 30 minutes at a time, which obviously makes it hard to edit. I've been patient and persistent in my efforts to return to good health these last six months, and despite some setbacks, I'm feeling better overall more than I have been since the summer.

I hope to be back in 'Hey, did I just spend a WHOLE DAY not feeling any significant pain in ANY body part?" shape in the next couple of months, helped by swimming, not pushing myself and doing my best daily to relieve tension through breathing exercises and focusing on the positives of getting my book Out There Soon.

It's helping that I feel this Draft 4.5 will be knock-your-socks-OFF great, thanks to my friend's recent feedback, and when the draft's done I'll get my critique group to dig into it over the course of a month to iron out any remaining fuzzies.

Then it's off to Agents and Publishers in 2018 - for real, no take-backs, this time. I've too much else to do to wait any longer!

Happy Holidays to you, and see you here in the new year!

November 13th, 2017 update:

Sometimes, I just can't believe my good luck...

Earlier this year, a friend of a friend moved to Victoria from Ontario, and though we'd connected online through FBook, we'd not managed to meet up in person. However, he did ask about reading the latest draft of my novel to give his feedback, and promised to fill in my multi-page questionnaire, so I was hopeful that I'd get a few solid tidbits from him to tweak my draft with.

HOO-BOY, did he deliver, and in SPADES!

Incredibly, he wrote up nearly 10,000 words of feedback on my draft, and almost every word of it is spot-on in terms of context and the reasoning behind the comments, as well as suggestions as to where to go with it - and ALL of it delivered in a positive, constructive way along with praise for the quality of my writing. 

I was stunned: it's by far the most concise-per-page feedback I've received to date, which I suspect is because my friend was unfamiliar with my book... but being a scifi fan, and a programmer, he dug in with gusto to comment chapter-by-chapter. My critique group has been wonderful in their ability to deliver excellent feedback to date, and today my new friend did the same in the space of just a few week's reading time... an AMAZING feat!

To be honest, I'm now looking at at least doing a Draft 4.5, if not a full revision, given the scope and detail of his notes. I'll be discussing most of the major points with my critique group this month, to see if they agree as they're most familiar with my draft, but my head is reeling...


October 13th, 2017 update:

Time's passing by, and I've received some of my beta reader's feedback, with more forthcoming shortly.

For the most part, it's been positive, and the parts that weren't are the most useful as they show what needs tweaking. That's what feedback's for: to point out things I've overlooked, or ill-considered, or even just written wrongly compared to the rest of the novel.

I've already edited in the first few passes of minor mistakes and spelling errors, while considering how to best effect some of the other feedback. I'm waiting for the other beta readers to get theirs in first though, before I sit down and consider any major changes as needed... because in the end, I'm the one writing the book, and have to decide what feedback is valid, and what I can let go safely.

All in service of creating the best book possible to send out, sooner, rather than later!

September 13th, 2017 update:


The fourth( and final! )draft of my first novel was completed as of 11:01pm on August 18th, 2017!

*deep breath* It was a damn hard thing, editing for a month solid, made more complicated by the fact that my abdominal issues didn't heal as quickly as I'd hoped - I had to edit standing up by my bedside for weeks, among other complications.

By the end, I was flying through the scenes, weaving and working in the Flow just as I should have. It was tiring, exhausting work to juggle hundreds of details on the fly, but I let the story guide me and in the end, I believe it's a FAR stronger draft than I'd have imagined.

But I've now finished, and I'm extremely pleased with how things have turned out. Now it's up to my beta readers to look it over for the next month or two, hopefully catching minor issues while they peruse the work and tell me if it's solid. I've asked them to fill out an 8-page questionnaire as well (during or after their read) to help ensure that my edit's been on-target in tightening up this draft air-tight.

Work on Book 2 has resumed as of September 1st. :-)

August 13th, 2017 update:

It's almost done - huzzah!

On my July vacation, I completed entering ALL of the hundreds of notes I've made over the last year. That alone was a huge success, as every note did things like tightening up the story, added details, fixed small (or large!) errors... everything that makes the book better.

Then I started in on the line-by-line edit, poking and prodding words into proper paragraphs, shaving sentences down and whacking words into place. It's a full edit, going through the book from Chapter 1 to Chapter 40, all 145,000 words - a big job, but absolutely critical to make the leap from a third to a fourth( and final )draft.

Last night, I hit the 80% mark, with less than a hundred pages to go! I've been getting two full chapters edited a day, which has been a stellar pace that's only picked up as I near the end of the edit... I can feel the energy of the book permeating my muse!

Immersing myself in the novel like this for the last 6 weeks has been incredible. I'm eyes-deep in the story, every day, which is where an author should be when they're feeling the Flow. Waking, writing. Working the day job, while thinking about writing. Coming home, doing all the fiddly tasks of a day to get them out of the way... then writing some more.

There's not much else to say, except by next month, the finished draft will be in the hands of my readers.

Then it's off to find an agent, or even a publisher directly!


July 13th, 2017 update:

I'm in the home stretch... and it's looking good!

I haven't been feeling the greatest for the last few months, mainly due to life stress: I've been extremely tense, and that's affected my health in odd ways. For whatever reason, the tension's manifested itself in my core, strong enough that it feels like I've done a hundred sit-ups in a row most days, though without the abs-of-steel benefits - just the soreness. Considering I was only able to eat soup most days a few months ago, I'm getting better...

But, what's a writer to do? I change positions every few minutes and keep editing, sore stomach be damned.

I feel the best when I'm writing, losing myself in the world I'm immersed in, with the characters I care about, to see how I can best tell their story. I'm almost there too: just another few weeks, and I'll feel like I'll have been able to do the fourth draft justice. I have ten whole days off my day job starting today, so I'm going to make the most of it: it's going to be a writing vacation!

I wouldn't have it any other way - back to the book!

June 13th, 2017 update:

What a month since my last update!

The flood of new ideas, plot-polishes and connections has pushed me to get up earlier every day, so much so that at 6am my eyes are springing open on their own. I've been editing for a few hours before AND after work each day, which has kept the momentum going. I've swapped around a few scenes, added detail and trimmed a few slow spots. The book is an organic whole in my mind, and I'm moving from spot to spot as I edit, making sure changes and additions are balanced throughout as I go along.

It's incredibly exciting, and every day I finish up, I know I have an even better story...

There's not much more to say beyond that: my life right now is edit, work, edit, sleep and repeat, with interruptions now and then for family - even my friends aren't seeing me much of late.

Of interest as well: I'm looking at getting some art made up by the end of the summer! Just concept sketches, mind you, but I've always known that people respond quickly to visuals, so that's also on the burner to cook up in the next few months - keep an eye on the Artwork section for updates!

Now, back to editing - by this time next month, I should be DONE the fourth draft!

May 13th, 2017 update:

It's only a little over 2 weeks until my May 31st deadline, so I'll keep this short - I need to get back to editing!

Things have been... intensifying: every day, new ideas come flooding in as I work, which has been wonderful. It means that my Muse is kicking into high gear, ideas feeding each other daily as connections are made and

Fortunately, my tasks at work have shifted the last few weeks( great timing! )so that I'm able to spend a good part of my day with headphones on, listening to music which has helped my Muse immensely. I prefer to just search through YouTube for music of the Epic variety, no vocals, with classical / orchestral setups: electric guitars and wailing non-lyrical songs sneak in, but I excise them fast.

In short: the next 2.5 weeks are going to be crazy, but as I'm over halfway through my edit, they're also going to be good.

April 13th, 2017 update:

My May 31st self-imposed deadline is fast approaching, to have the final draft of my first novel completed.

To be honest, it's making me a little nervous; what if I've overlooked something so obvious that I can't see it? Or, maybe I haven't done as good a job as I might have if I'd given myself more time... these thoughts and many others are ones that have been running through my head, but while I have to acknowledge them, I don't have to let them take control of my creative process.

The bottom line is: it's already taken too long, and I need to get the first part of this project out the door sooner, rather than later.

Last weekend, I also talked again with a publisher, attending the second of Bennett Coles' seminars on publishing. It was highly informative, as this time he brought us clarity regarding the publishing process, from the first glimmer of desire to publish novel in the eye of the author to the final product sitting on the bookstore shelf, waiting for readers to discover it. It was well worth the nearly 3 hours we spent in his knowledgeable, energetic and enthusiastic company.

I was again struck by how much of the process I already knew, but as they say, the devil is in the details!

Which is why I'm sweating this fourth draft to get it done, to make sure that it's the absolute best thing that I can do before it gets seen by a publisher or handled by an editor. What gives me hope is that the authors of so many published books out there that I read haven't taken nearly as much care with their words as I have, and so I think I have a good shot at catching a publisher's eye with the quality of the work that I'm producing.

March 13th, 2017 update:

This weekend, I talked with a publisher.

To be more accurate: I went to a small seminar with a local publisher, who also happens to be a friend of mine and a published scifi author.

I met Bennett Coles five years ago, when he was finishing work on his first novel, Virtues of War, a military scifi piece that I thoroughly enjoyed. He's gone on to great success since, signing a publishing contract for the scifi trilogy and is working on finishing the third book soon. Grab yourself a copy of the series when you can, it's a gripping read from start to finish.

As well as being a successful author, Ben's also gone on to found Promontory Press, a local publishing house / small press that specializes in working with first-time authors, among which I count myself. As part of reaching out to local authors, he's running a trio of seminars to peel back the veil of mystery on getting published, and I attended the first of those this past weekend on the 10th.

I happily discovered that in my last few years of research into the business side of the writing life has paid off, as I was familiar with many of the subjects Ben brought up, as well as the misconceptions new authors tend to have about what it takes to be a successful writer. The two-hour-long seminar was incredibly informative, and I'd learned much about the subtleties of the business from a publisher's perspective. Things like what's considered a bestseller in Canada( 5000 copies, that's it! ), how long it takes a book to reach the market( 2-3 years )based on trends, shelf space, etc and how long it stays the focus of the publisher's eye when it does( 6 weeks! ).

The bottom line: educating yourself as a writer about the business side of your work will give you a huge boost in confidence, and let you climb past many folks who just can't be bothered... and so achieve less than they might have otherwise.

I intend to arm myself with as much knowledge as I can, so that any missteps I might make are small ones, at worst. After attending Ben's seminar, I'm again confident that I'm doing the right thing by making my first book the best it can be before sending it out, despite the time it's taking... but steady, detailed work will pay off in the long run, as the best-polished book shines brightest.

February 13th, 2017 update:

It's been an interesting month since my last update, health-wise.

Nobody, especially an author, likes it when life gets in the way of getting the words written down, but sometimes that's the way it is.

I was shocked to discover that in less than two weeks after Christmas, I'd lost over 10% of my body weight due to the severity of my illness. Not being a particularly large person( 5'8"-ish and averaging around 160 pounds of semi-exercised weight )it was an eye-opener when I weighed myself at the beginning of this month to find that there was a lot less of me around than I'd thought.

For some, this would be a dream come true post-Christmas, when the effects of heavy holiday eating come knocking on your door. Heck, it's safe to say that I made some people's New Year's resolutions come true as well, but in my particular situation, losing nearly 15 pounds in two weeks isn't a good thing at all, considering that I've not been in the best of shape for the past year anyway. I even had to deal with some significant lingering anxiety issues last week, but once again it was mind over matter, and I prevailed.

But, that's just one more thing you have to deal with...

Ask yourself: what am I going to do about it? Keep fading, or fight back?

Obviously, I've chosen the latter. I've been eating continuously for the last two weeks, smaller portions and healthy snacks all day long so that my not-so-great digestion can handle the influx well enough. So far, I've gained back about three pounds and feel less wrung-out tired, though again I have to get back to exercising regularly. Which I can do now, as I've been given the go-ahead by several doctors last month, as long as I take things easy and are member to stretch both before and after any light exercises.

2017 should see me get back on track, health-wise and writing-wise: I'm not giving myself any other choice but to just do.

January 13th, 2017 update:

Ah, life.

It's strange, to think that we're given the same amount of time each day, to do with as we please... and at day's end, so much of that day seems to have flitted by, worn down to a nub of intentions that seem inadequate for the aspirations we started out at sunrise with.

For myself, each day is a gift, but one that of late I  have to claw back from the hands that seek to tear it from my grasp.

Sometimes there's nothing you can do: what happens, happens. Three weeks ago, I was all set to enjoy Christmas with my family, and a long unbroken week of holidays off work to sit down and devote to editing my work. Then, on Christmas day, I had a migraine hit me... and worse followed. I quickly became so ill I had to be hospitalized, to then spend the rest of the week recovering slowly at home, able to do little more than wake up each day to try to recover from the worst whatever-it-was bug that's bit me in decades. This after getting the flu shot, as I always do, which didn't make a lick of difference, as a resting heartrate of 160 at 3am will attest - ouch!

There's more to it than that, but suffice to say: it was scary, and it sucked, since my writing plans all went up in smoke, as did my vision of a relaxing week's holidays in general.

But you have to persevere. I choose to think of every obstacle to my writing as the universe trying to STOP me from doing what I know is good work, and I can't... won't deprive my readers of their chance to decide for themselves if it's been worth all these years of effort on my part, because that's what it's all about:

To tell a good story, despite all the odds.

December 13th, 2016 update:

Better late, than never, as the saying goes.

As a writer, you're always living with the duality of creating your own work, while constantly comparing it to others... and not letting that get in the way of creating your own work. Strange, I know, but that's how it is: impostor syndrome often crops up for artists as well. For me, it's often a case of 'Oh, Other Writer has created X number of works while I've been struggling with this ONE... why is that?' and more along those lines.

But you can't do that to yourself.

Claudia Christian recently released her debut novel, co-authored with a good friend and part of a planned series - lovely to see! Yet my immediate reaction was "Man, she's written a book, and more are on the way... why is MY book taking so long?" etc etc. Bad thoughts.

However, I've been following Claudia's career and activities for a whole now, so a little history-digging later, I realized that she first began her authorial steps FOUR years ago... at the same time as my own novel was first taking shape in my mind. Comparatively speaking, we're both on the same path, at the same point... she's just pushed a little harder, and has better connections in the industry.

Moral of the story? Keep writing your own works, and celebrate when people you know and/or respect get their stories out into the world.. which needs more of everyone's work.

November 13th, 2016 update:

I had a dream last night that I was one of my characters: my protagonist, Niishe.

This was the first time I've ever dreamed about being a character from one of my stories, and it caught me off-guard, as it wasn't a dream about Adventure or action or anything to do with the story she hailed from.

Instead, it was a dream about helping people.

Waking up this morning, that thought was still with me, that I dreamed about being someone other than myself but that I knew very well... and whose actions I understood. In some way, I was dreaming about myself, in that I also highly value helping others, as part of my own moral center that I can count no matter what.

In dreaming that I was Niishe, I was perhaps reaffirming that the center of her character contains a pillar founded on helping others, which she is much more qualified to do than I am, given her gifts and abilities.

I also think it's press event that I dreamed of being her this week, after feeling so helpless watching the election events unfold in the USA a few nights ago. I wonder what it would be like if we lived in a world where superheroes existed, where people had to abilities far beyond the norm...

Though I wonder: how many of them would use those abilities for good?

October 13th, 2016 update:

I'm still healing - slowly. Too slowly, but what else can I do?

The weeks I spent resting with my legs up has resulted in my having strained my right inner adductor muscle, I suspect because my right leg was laid over to the side for too long each day. I had no idea that this could happen, and it's been a painful discovery to make, leaving me to stagger around this week with the cane on my right side to try and put as little weight on my right leg as possible. Even so, it's been hard to fall asleep at night with the discomfort.

I'm just going to have to keep plugging along, doing my best to pay attention to what I'm doing every minute of the day so that I'm not inadvertently hurting myself along my path to a full recovery. All the while trying to write and revise my books.

These latest physical setbacks haven't helped, especially as they've been dragging on now for months. I just keep getting blindsided by things I never saw coming in any way and every one of them keeps adding time the clock between me and success. Yet...

Four years ago, I finished writing the first draft of my first novel, and to date I've managed to get
two more drafts
completed as well as get halfway through a
book. Looking at things that way, I've managed to do something major each year since the first words were put to paper, but I too often look back and think of all the time that could have been spent writing instead of dealing with life's many issues.

This is why I have to let the negativity go, and just press on.

I have a lot left to do, but I've come so far and I have a much better idea now where I'm going, despite all the distractions( major and minor )that keep cropping up along the way.

I'll get there, under my own power. The only question is how fast I'll be going once I arrive...

September 13th, 2016 update:

Working through pain is better emotionally.

The physical? Not so much.

For the last month, I've been waylaid with a nagging foot injury, one debilitating enough that I had to take three weeks off work in order to recover enough to be able to go back to work - there's some irony in that. Frustratingly, it occurred through no fault of my own, just a series of coincidental events that together resulted in me waking up very early one morning in some serious pain.

The other frustrating part for me was  not being able to write during my downtime, as I couldn't spend more than 30 minutes at a time in anyone seated position and had to get up to walk around with a cane in order for my foot tendons not to stiffen up.  As you can imagine, this didn't allow me much time to write on a regular basis each day, though I did try to keep doing other things. I did manage to keep productive, especially as my computer's main drive decided to take a hiatus from working properly at the same time as my injury, so I spent the first two weeks off restoring everything back to how it was previously and then improving on it, since I had the time. Fortunately everything was backed up on several different  drives and the cloud, so I lost no work whatsoever - just time.

There's always too much to do, and too little time.

August 13th, 2016 update:

Revision: slow but necessary!

Sometimes, to go forward, you have to go backwards a little bit. Much like the parable of the bow and arrow, in order to hit your target, you must first be drawn back to aim and then fly forward again.

This past month, I've been going through my old documents for my first novel, collating and trimming items to make them more coherent. This is important in order to create a single depositories for information on characters, setting, technology, culture and the other components that make up a novel. Having to search for all those items scattered amongst different documents is time-consuming; when going through the revision process for another draft, you want to be able to find your information quickly and easily, even if it originated in your own head.

The revision process itself is going well, and I finished physically reading through the third draft, covering my novel in hundreds of small sticky notes in addition to the other electronic notes I've made. Putting those together, I'll be able to create a fourth draft that's as integrated as it will ever be before a trained editor gets their hands on it, which is all I can ask.

As always, there's still a lot of work to do, but being smart about it means that you don't end up doing the same work twice or even more often,  which slows down the entire process. Considering that I've been working on this trilogy since 2012, I certainly have put enough time into it to want to ensure that any further efforts are as directed as possible.

July 13th, 2016 update:

This month: a special treat!

Part of the creative process is being able to envision your world, to see some( or if you're lucky, most of it )in your mind's eye. The skilled writer can translate that vision closely for the reader, so that those reading your words see something close to what you originally had pop into your brain at 3am when you're too excited about the unfolding story to sleep...

Yet it's often hard for writers to visually show their imaginations; we use words, not paint or pencil or digital pens.

However, there are ways, if you're creative, persistent and willing to learn new skills - and I am!

I ran across a couple simple 3D software programs called iClone and CrazyTalk, from a company called Reallusion. They're designed for the novice 3D user to dive into and get things working pronto. So, me being me, I dived in and a few hours later, had this to show( clicking on the link in the picture will open a new window to see the full video ):

All things considered, I'm really pleased with how things turned out, given my total lack of skill with 3D tools in general. I made a face-only version as the first test, but decided to go with this one, as it gives a better sense of the full character in her battlesuit...

Besides, when it comes down to it, I succeeded: Niishe lives, for others to see, in a representation very close to that in my own mind!

How's that for cool factor? Score one for the writer!

June 13th, 2016 update:

Not half-bad, if I do say so myself.

It's been a year since I last re-read my first book from start to finish, and that's been intentional. AS I said last month, it's common advice to writers to let their work lay fallow, so to speak, before re-reading it in order to come at it with a fresh mind.

In my case, I let it sit for a year before reading it in full again, which I've been doing for the last week this June. I've poked at parts of it on and off during that year, but never just read it as a full story until now. I needed time to process things and to think about how everything fits into the next books in the trilogy.

So far in the reread, I've surprised myself by liking far more than I thought about the third draft. While I'm not blind to the fact that writers shouldn't really like their own work too much, the work that I've created in this third draft a year ago still holds up when I look at it with my even-more-experienced writerly eyes.

That's not to say there's no work to be done still; far from it.

The purpose of this reread is to generate new ideas and to let me tweak the third draft in a multitude of places and so come up with the fourth draft. As I read, every few paragraphs I see places where some small changes need to be made and every chapter eyespot places where some major points can be inserted to better serve the book overall.

I'm enjoying getting reacquainted with the entire story all at once, an experience most unusual for the author of any story that they may be far too familiar with.

Plus, it's just plain fun to read it again anew!

May 13th, 2016 update:

One's writing should go fallow, on a regular basis.

By that, I mean that you should let it sit and age properly a bit, then come back to it for a re-read.

This is important, as it gives you some distance from the creative push that put the piece together in the first place, and so you gain some objectivity when you go back to review it. What seemed like genius in the first rush of flowing words might not look so stellar after sitting in a drawer for a month, which is what it's all about: pulling out your 'Built-In BS Detector' as Harlan Ellison often said, and seeing if your work passes muster. Heck, if even SOME of it does, then you've got something to work with!

Myself, I'm re-reading the entirety of my first novel's first draft this coming month. 

I'm doing this so I can immerse myself again in the world, the characters and the story, to get all those familiar thought patterns swirling again in a creative cauldron. It's difficult though, as I know the words so well that every tiny little error jumps out at me as I read, pulling me out of the story. I have to keep pushing to just read, not as an author but as a reader, in order to ignore the smaller errors( they can be fixed later )to concentrate on the bigger picture: what parts of the novel need help, and how to go about it?

This is the final draft before I send it out to publishers, so I have to get it 'right' - or at least as good as I can make it without paying $1500 to $2000 for a professional editor to look at it. Which I don't feel I need at this point, based on the years of feedback from my critique group as well as my beta readers: any editing I pay for will be of the fiddly kind, looking at grammar, punctuation and things like POV errors or the like. Not "This character is flat, and this plot point is left dangling" or "This part about X is totally unbelievable." None of that; I've already worked out the major bugs and this draft is going to shine, once the final polish is done.

But first, I have to finish the re-read, to pull on my scifi socks again, so to speak.

Oh, and happy Friday the 13th! :-)

April 13th, 2016 update:

This weekend past, I attended the 2016 Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, WA.

What an experience, for a writer and for a fan of scifi / fantasy!

Apart from the numerous panels interesting and useful for writers, there were a metric ton of cosplayers out in force. Nothing inspires the imagination like seeing people in costume, wandering around the convention and posing in-character for pictures. This year's ECC seemed especially packed with MANY talented cosplayers - have a look at these five talent-packed galleries:

I myself went in costume, as did my lady, but I could only manage a few hours before I had to get out of the cosplay due to the heat( note to self: build in MUCH better cooling options before next time I wear it! )yet I still had a blast as a USCM grunt from Aliens. The costume took me about 60 hours to make in total( with lots of help! )and while I didn't make it into anyone's 'Best of' galleries, I still had fun:

I also visited the EMP Museum, where they were hosting two exhibits of SciFi and Fantasy memorabilia, including the very armour that the character Hicks wore which I based my costume on - so exciting to see, and so much of what was on display was inspiring to me as a fan as well as a writer. It's events like ECC that get me all fired up again to create, and I hope to attend at least one a year from now on to keep my creative juices boiling. 

Or I could just wear the costume again and reach boiling in about twenty minutes...

March 13th, 2016 update:

Perspective's a vitally important thing for a writer.

Why, you ask?

It's all about the writing, and how that should take precedent in one's daily life - not an easy thing, never had been. The never-ending juggling act of balancing work, sleep, social responsibilities, cooking, cleaning and all the other myriad things tends to overshadow one's passions, as things that 'need to get done' take precedence over writing.

It doesn't have to be that way.

For me, I flip the perspective, to get a better mental handle on how important my writing is and to give it priority.

Instead of saying 'I have to make time to write today' and trying to fit in that time around other things, I do the opposite. I say 'I have to get a few things done in the time I make away from writing' - and it works. Flipping that simple mental switch, making writing the priority above all other things, means that you'll always come back to it, no matter how busy your day is, or what you're doing.

Flip the switch, and write: it's that simple.

February 13th, 2016 update:

More feedback arrived this month!

This is only the second beta-reader feedback questionnaire I've had returned for my Third Draft, and I'm thrilled with it.

Not only does it give me in-depth answers to many critical questions I posed about the draft, but the beta-reader who completed it is about as far removed from the process as you can get. They don't normally read scifi, don't know me personally and had no idea what the book was about apart from the back-cover blurb... so their feedback is all the more valuable!

Again, I can't stress enough( ha! )about how important this is to creating the next draft of the book.

This beta-reader had mostly good things to say about the draft in general. They had some excellent observations about a few things I hadn't considered, and I'll be using those to fine-tune more than a few things in the next draft this spring.

In addition, they didn't like my villain, which is the exact opposite reaction that my other beta-reader had six months ago, going so far as to say that he was a 'typical' villain, which is great: I have to work harder now to make him all the more unique and atypical.

Feedback is the meat and bread of a writer's craft, so vital to it that I can't imagine my story now without all the additions needed that I have gleaned from readers - too few, alas, over the last few years, but more than Sum Zero, all the same.

Back to work!

January 13th, 2016 update:

New year, same goal: write!

Looking at what I have to accomplish in 2016 for my novels, a few things seem obvious.

First, I have to finish up the 4th draft of Book 1, which will likely take 3-5 months, 6 on the outside, depending on how deep an edit it becomes. I have huge piles of notes to comb through for edit notes, hundreds of things to add in... keeping in mind all the while I need to reduce the size of the draft by about 10% for good measure.

Not an easy job, that.

Once the 4th draft of Book 1 is complete, I'll send it out to a publisher - several, if they allow it. That's the first Big Part of 2016.

Second, I have to dig into finishing Book 2, which will be greatly informed by how Book 1's draft edit turns out. There's plenty of bits that need planting and tuning in Book 1 to pay off in Book 2, so there's another 3-4 months of work right there - minimum.

Third, I'm starting a home business in 2016, which will likely start to ramp up in the summer and eat up more of my time from there on in for the rest of the year. Meaning that the most time I'll have to write will be in the first half of the year, so I'd best get to it ASAP.

See you next month!

December 13th, 2015 update:

What inspires you? What has influenced you?

These two questions are intricately linked, looking at the past and present together. For me, much of what I've read and watched in the past continues to inspire me, along with new ideas that come along as I go about my day, sometimes from the oddest of places.

It's important to know what's vital to your imagination, what cues up the dance that goes on inside a writer's head all the time.

Appropriately, with The Force Awakens opening this week( wahoo!!!! )I'll say that from a young age, Star Wars has inspired me.

Not in a blind, fannish way, but in a much bigger sense: it showed me what science fiction( and by extension, Fantasy as well )was capable of. Rich visuals, deep backstory, interesting characters, exciting action, big stakes... all that and more are what filled the screen( and my young boyish mind )when I saw Star Wars for the first time. Each time after that, I took more away from the experience, while always retaining that sense of wonderment that I'd Seen Something Great yet again. To know that I'd been given a glimpse, for a few hours, into a richly-realized universe with astounding potential for storytelling, and was also just plain fun to poke around in.

I want my stories to have that effect on people. To leave them curious for more, to wonder about the motivations of the characters they meet and the histories of the people that I'm writing about. Not in an abstract, distanced manner, but to care about getting those answers, because of the way I write. I want to create depth and breadth in my worlds, to leave the doors open for my readers to explore on their own and get curious about the goings-on in places that I don't focus on in the main storylines. I can only do that by building a rich world, through a lot of hard work, that will allow me to set my stories up and watch them play out as I write each novel in the series.

That's how my influence drives me, to ask those questions and then try to answer them in my works... mostly.

After all, it's no fun to get all the answers right away, is it?


November 13th, 2015 update:

Music is an often overlooked aspect of writing, one that receives little press.

That's unfortunate, as it's quite often the part of the process that enables the creative mind to stretch itself.

I have a playlist I listen to, on a regular basis, when I'm trying to get into the mindset I need to experience my world and its characters. A couple of dozen carefully-chosen songs each speak to me about different aspects of what I am writing, setting me into the right mood and frame of mind to craft what's needed for the story.

Different types of music help me when I'm not trying to be specific; Enya's my go-to when I'm not sure of where I need to be, just to relax. As I've been listening to her for more than half my life, my mind is well-trained to kick back and de-stress when those specific songs caress my ears; it's almost a Pavlovian response, and is incredibly useful when I'm trying to switch mental gears after a long day to get into my writing of an evening.

Some songs have inspired story ideas, through repetition of music or certain phrases / words. There are some epic music mixes that instantly set me into specific states of mind, vivid visualizations of scenes that are real enough to reach out an touch. The wonderful thing about music is that I can replicate that effect every time that I listen to those exact tracks: the emotions tied to my visuals are that powerful and that clear in my mind.

If I wasn't a writer, I hope that I'd be a good musician. The great ones, well... they can change the world. 

Just like writers.

October 13th, 2015 update:

Let's talk about interdependence.

I'm discovering that writing a book is not an isolated process, in many ways. Leaving out the basics like character, setting, plot and the like, when dealing with the trilogy you still have the think in terms of the entire series.

This means that for those authors who write one book at a time, often they have to crib around what's already been written in order to have the following books make sense. Details may need to be flubbed in order to accommodate sections of the first book that don't fit well with the sequels.

Since I'm writing all three books in one shot, for the most part, I have the luxury of making every single scene in each book match up as close as possible with every other scene. By this, I mean that I can ensure that an early scene in book one sets up a whole plotline that doesn't develop until late in the second book or even the third; it's up to me how complicated I want to make it, if necessary. And by complicated I mean leaving the various plotlines together so that the payoff is more than worth the wait, as long as I sprinkle some foreshadowing and other subtle hints along the way for the reader.

Going out this series as a new author, I think this is the right way to do it. I can look at each and every part of all three books, examining minute details and tweaking them so that everything is written as a contiguous whole. This is a far better situation to be in, as modern readers are quite observant of even the smallest details and even if everything matches up between all three books, it has to make sense: that's my job as the author, to present something that the reader nods in agreement with as they're going along and doesn't jar them out of the story.

So far, so good; once Book 2 is done then the smaller details of Book 3 will clarify substantially.

September 13th, 2015 update:

Feedback is vital, as I've mentioned already a few times here.

It's strange how only a little encouragement is needed to give writers the strength to push on with their projects.

Take this morning, for example. I had breakfast with someone who is exactly halfway through reading the third draft of Book 1, and who until they picked up the book was unfamiliar with the story. It's that sort of unfamiliarity that I crave for beta readers, to see how they perceive all the things I've woven into the book, if they pick up on some or most of what's layered in there.

This morning was wonderful just for that, as this reader had some highly useful (and often complimentary) things to say - all of it solid feedback. They spoke about the characters, what they liked and disliked, of the depths they suspected were present in some and the motivations of each, for good or bad. The reader asked about the reasons behind other story structures, why I did some things the way I did and if I would be providing more detail about other aspects of the story - hopefully more, in some cases!

I should note that this reader is an extremely well-read writer as well, familiar with all of the myriad nuts and bolts of what makes up a good story. They know what's necessary and what's not, what's fluff and what's substance and above all else, have read widely enough to have many references for what a story should be... and what makes a bad story.

to have such a reader tell me so many positive things about my work was extraordinary. To have them ask about plot points I've layered in, some very subtly, was rewarding to me as a writer, since this reader wanted to know more about things I've only hinted at. This is important, because in writing this series, I don't want to put even half of what I've created out in the open: backstory should stay backstory, supporting the main tale but being just present enough to pique the reader's interest to dig deeper, later on, once they've finished the book - perhaps even re-reading it, to gain a better understanding of things I've only mentioned in passing.

That's really one of the keys: weaving enough substance into my books that it rewards readers who pay attention, giving answers( here and there )to questions that they themselves ask about the places, people and plotlines present in the telling of the tale.

As a reader, that's what I crave. As a writer, that's what I want to provide with every turn of the page in my novels.

PS - I made some minor updates to the site overall and 2016 will see the implementation of some long-overdue features, I hope!

August 13th, 2015 update( as of Sept 1st ):

Funny how last month I mentioned time..

As it turns out, my timing for writing was terrible this month.

Having set aside 10 whole days of vacation to spend writing at least 5 more chapters of Book 2, I failed to take into account one thing, something that I couldn't have foreseen before going on vacation:

Getting sick.

About four days( and two chapters )into my vacation, I came down with a severe( and unexpected )case of cellulitis. For those of you unfamiliar with the illness, I suggest Googling it... but do NOT, for the love of mike, search out the pictures; you won't sleep well.

Fortunately, I sought out hospital help quite early and so avoided any nasty, possible life-threatening complications, but the experience left me drained of energy. I spent the last two weeks of August off work, recovering with nothing but bed-rest and random frequent naps as I was under heavy antibiotics( they make you tired ). Everything( including updating this site )went by the wayside as I worked my way, slowly, back to a healthy norm.

Which brings us to September and a new month, which I hope to use to make some significant progress on Book 2. Having( almost )fully recovered from my illness by now, I am back to work at the day job and am finding I have more energy( at last! )still once I am home again... which is necessary to spend hours every evening being creative while crafting chapters.

Here's hoping that September will see the progress on Book 2 take place that I wanted to make in August!

PS - happy anniversary to this site, I made my first blog post a year ago this month!

July 13th, 2015 update:

Time is one of the hardest things to understand about writing.

You have to make the time, not find it, in order to get your writing done. Good writing comes from good habits and establishing a routine is one of the keys to moving from an amateur who writes when the mood strikes them to a professional who can write no matter what mood they're in.

Right now, I'm in the stage of moving from amateur to professional, honing my craft, as it were, in all the ways that are needed in order to become better at what I do - day by day.

Part of that is knowing that I have to make the time no matter how long or short of a day I've had. Work, friends, family, social obligations and all the thousand things that eat away at our measure of time in a day have to be balanced against the time that can be used for writing.

I always know that no matter how much time I devote to writing, I'll never have enough. Being able to find better ways using my available time is the bottom line to better writing, in my mind. Getting other non-writing things done efficiently, early and with for that means that I can get another page or two done of an evening, all of which adds up.

That's how novels are written, and I still have a series to develop. Time is not my friend, for the next long while.

June 13th, 2015 update:

2015 is halfway done and so is my second novel... almost.

Books are never finished, not really. Like the old saying goes: art is never done, only abandoned at a certain stage. Which is a funny thing, because it used to be that once art( like novels )was released into the world, it was hellishly hard to ever get it updated.

Not anymore. In this age of instant-info, web-driven content-pushing interconnected media, it's now as easy as releasing a patch for a game... or a book. Amazon, for example, allows authors to regularly update their works across reader's libraries, even monthly.

My question is: why would you want to do that to your readers?

I'm going at a steady pace writing my trilogy, meaning that I'm not rushing. Each chapter, each scene is a piece of a larger puzzle that I'm assembling as I go, from the plans I have in my head - and those plans can change, especially if I come up with a better idea. So my novels will morph, if you will, as I go along: things thought of while writing the second( and eventually third )book will affect things in the first book... and so I'll have to edit that book too, to keep everything in agreement.

Which is why it's better that I'm writing all three books in one smooth progression, instead of releasing them one at a time. I can make all three the best they can possibly be, in essence one BIG contiguous novel, before I release them. All the little pieces will fit just so.

Sure, all the books will have to be professionally edited, but the point is to make all the necessary editing focus on small details, not big ones. Being in no all-fired hurry to 'get my books to market' so to speak, until they're as good as I can make them, a solid whole, is my plan. Having smoothed out all the major( and most of the minor )bumps means that the editing process, when I get there, will be one that polishes the trilogy to a blinding shine, instead of just making it nicely smooth so that the big bumps aren't as jarring.

I want my books to shine, so that when you read it I have a sense of pride in my work... and you get a sense of satisfaction that you're enjoying the best possible work I can produce.
Being the writer that I currently am( and the better kind that I want to be ), that's going to be some good reading.

May 13th, 2015 update:

Here's a special treat this month, something visual!

One of my beta readers was so taken by the main character, Niishe, that she made a sketch and shared it with me - and now you:

I was waiting to share it here until I had not only her permission, but that it would be coloured. However, as that doesn't now seem to be likely to happen soon, I've received the OK from Astra to post the sketch this month. It is also in the Images section of this site.

As with the cover image already posted, Niishe's colouration consists of a variety of red shades, with darker tones for her hair. Her eyes have a black sclera( surround )with golden irises and black pupils. She also looks rather contemplative here, compared to her usual let's-get-it-done-now attitude... but more about that another time.

I should mention a little about how thrilled I am to see this sketch. As a writer, you hope that your words, carefully crafted, will plant images of sufficient complexity in the minds of your readers, that they will see something close to what you see in your imagination.

In this case, I think I succeeded, because the proof is staring right at you above: my character, brought to life in another's mind and transferred into a stunning visual portrait. Astra Crompton has captured a true vision of Niishe, one I'm privileged to bring to you here.

What more could I hope to ask?

April 13th, 2015 update:

I have to think of everything when I am writing – everything.

Really, it does boggle the mind. Readers assume that the author knows all there is to know about the fictional universe that the author is creating, little realizing that's a mind-boggling task that gets very little credit, when it comes down to it.

It's rather unbalanced, in a way. The reader gets to see only a tiny fraction of what the author’s intention is when it comes to the world being created. Several sentences that appear in a book could have pages of related research and backstory to them, but it's the job of the author to ensure that only the relevant points appear for the reader, carefully constructed so that they support the story while providing the intended verisimilitude for the world being created.

World-building is a huge topic all by itself, but it's simple enough to get a grasp on if you simply look around you: everything you see would have to be created in the author's mind, along with everything else you can't see. Absolutely everything on the planet, the other planets in the solar system, the local star group, the galaxy, the universe… you get my drift.

We have to think of every little detail, and then pare it down to what’s important for the story at hand.

The reason that it's such a vital job to come up with as much detail as possible is, in my opinion, the difference between a gripping fictional world and one that seems to be a stage that's set with just enough dressing to tell a story and no more – once that sort of so-so story is done, it all fades from the mind of the audience far too quickly.

I am aiming to create a universe with such depth that I can tell as many tales as I like there and my readers will want to know more every time they finish a story. It may take me a little longer, but remember that if you're reading a story of mine, every sentence has a huge amount of hidden work behind it, long before ever entering the editing phase.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

March 13th, 2015 update:

Work continues apace on Book 2!

This is the long stretch of the process: the middle. The glorious pre-visualization stage is long past, when all the ideas are jumbled together to see what comes out of that glorious muddle. The plot outline( if you do outlines, many writers don't )is also done, or at least in decent shape; perhaps some proto-scenes are sketched out in a few paragraphs. You may even have visual sketches done, along with a ton of research material that really fired you into writing the first few chapters.

Now here you are, almost a dozen chapters in, and it's a game of time: how much can you devote to actually writing each week?

If you plan well enough, you can get in 10-20 solid hours a week, social obligations and day jobs notwithstanding. Less if you have family obligations, hobbies, lots of close friends or other activities to nibble away at the time you could be writing.

For me, I've pared things down to a day job and some social obligations. The writing's top priority for 2015: Book 2 needs writing so I can get to Book 3, where the really neat stuff happens. None of which matters without the first two books, of course!

So it's write, plot, edit a little, re-plot and mark off the chapters as they fall into place for the next few months.

It sounds rather pedantic, but trust me: I'm worn out after many of those scenes. Stringing them together into a beautiful series of jewels to present as a finished work will make your eyes dance in delight, I'm hoping.

Let me know if they do a waltz or a tango, will you?

February 13th, 2015 update:

The second update of th
e year is here! I'm excited to say that 2015 is off to a great start, in that I've managed to free up even more writing time for myself for the foreseeable future. With the large quantity of time a writer requires to properly apply themselves to their craft, this sort of thing is most welcome news.

I'm also pleased to report that my critique group has given a firm thumbs-up to Book Two. They have said that the portions they have read to date mesh extremely well with the story from Book One, continuing and expanding the plotlines and characters.

That makes me rather happy and far more comfortable with exploring what I have in mind for both Book Two and Book Three.

That's the thing about writing: authors need feedback. Not just any feedback, mind you, but detailed points from trusted folks who are quite familiar with an author's story in question. I've been fortunate to have found a critique group that has stayed together for years now, enabling each of us to become thoroughly familiar with one another's works. That familiarity is vital in providing a foundation for solid feedback, which again I'm so pleased that I've been getting on a regular basis from my group.

See you again next month - if you haven't seen my video yet, have a look below!

January 13th, 2015 update:

The first update of the year is something rather special: a video interview!

The video is spoiler-free, just me talking about the series. BIG thanks to my talented friend, videographer Chris Goldsmith, for shooting and editing all the footage for this video!

I hope to include another few video updates this year as I progress in my writing of Book Two and continue editing the next draft of Book One. 2015 is off to a great start, with work on Book Two progressing nicely towards a finished draft by late Spring 2015... and somewhere in there I'll have made a large dent in getting the fourth draft of Book One running along.

Keep checking back for regular updates and welcome to a new year of possibilities!

December 13th, 2014 update:

It's the busy time of year; I'm sure you can relate.

I considered updating the site News a few days late, so I could include something exciting, but the timing's not quite right - yet. I'll save it until the January update, when the surprise should be tidy and polished, ready to present.

In the meantime, I spotted the image below on a friend's website. This past summer, I had sent him one of the few copies of my third draft for him to provide feedback on, and when he was done he put the book away in a safe place. I'd say I'm in good company in my friend's collection of signed books by well-known scifi and fantasy authors:

Don't get too excited though; it's not a complete novel, sorry. I'm not so amazing a reviser than I can whip the third draft of Book One into shape in only a few short months. It will happen though; patience.

More feedback and ideas keep coming in, seemingly every day, which is fantastic as it keeps my creative juices bubbling.

I should also have the email signup ready by the end of this month. Keep your eyes peeled for that, so you'll be among the first to know when The Thirteenth Helliion hits store shelves, sometime in the not-so-distant future.

Happy Holidays to all!

November 13th, 2014 update:

It doesn
't do any good to have an update ready, but not be able to upload it.

After returning from my NYC trip at the end of October, things were rather hectic for the next few weeks. Enough so that I didn't pay close enough attention to a few things and ended up falling ill a few days ago - on November 13th, as it happens.

Apart from that silliness, I've updated the site as soon as I was able to put two coherent thoughts together.

First off, it appears that my series has its first fanart!

A beta reader was so taken with some of my characters, that they sketched up three of them in short order. While I've been happily pestering said reader to allow me to post the images posthaste, they are 'tidying them up' and as such, I hope to have them on the website in one of the next few updates.

On the writing side, I've been getting some excellent feedback from several beta readers. They've noted some excellent points that I'll be incorporating into the next draft, ones that I think will truly make the story even better, if I can say that.

All for now; time's best spent writing the novels, not updates, but I shall do my best to keep you all in the loop - without spoilers!

October 13th, 2014 update:

The month of October marks the start of my monthly updates, on the 13th of every month.

Debuting in this update is a sample chapter! Selected from one of the initial chapters of Book One, the sample is an entire chapter that gives you a look at both sides of the story: the Dwiimm and the Hrack each have their time in the limelight.

On a personal note, I will be traveling to the states in a few weeks time, to attend an invitation-only reception being held at   BAMcinématek in NYC! I received the invitation last month from The Henson Group, as I was one of the Top 20 Editor's Picks in their 2013 AuthorQuest contest, out of almost 500 entries. I feel very lucky and rather honoured to be attending, all the more so because this is the first time that I've been invited to an event because of something I wrote.

That's a special thrill all it's own, for any writer.

Writing-wise, I have a feeling that Book Two isn't going to be completed by the end of 2014. I suffered a setback in September, due to some feedback I received that rocked me back on my heels, but I believe I've recovered for the most part and put the best light on things. Any feedback is helpful and though this struck close to home, it's made me think harder about each word I set down on the page. given that I'm writing an entire trilogy at once, I have the unique opportunity to make all three books a tightly interwoven whole.

However, that means a significant number of pieces all have to fit together perfectly from the get-go, even before an editor has a look at the manuscripts. Time is the resource that has to be measured in such cases, used for re-writing and tweaking each linked part of each book until they're polished smooth and you'd swear the books were written in one continuous flow.

More on that process in another entry. For now, enjoy the fall weather!

August 13th, 2014 update:

Welcome to the very first Official Update post for this website - one of many to come! There's a LOT of info to catch you all up on, so I'll try to keep things focused to begin with.

Where to start... well, why not at the beginning and we'll run on from there?

Back in 2011, the concepts for what would become The Dwiimm Saga coalesced in my mind. At the time, I had decided to leave my full-time job of 11 years to pursue a life of words... and I had no idea what I'd be doing for a day job while writing. It was a stressful decision but one I felt that I needed to make.

The change seemed to delight my muse, who filled my mind with images of alien worlds, other dimensions and many other wondrous things throughout the first half of 2012. They all built up until I just had to get them written down in one cohesive whole... and so it began!

Those ideas became The Dwiimm Saga, of which The Thirteenth Helliion is Book One. Currently, the novel is in its third draft and it's almost ready to send out officially! I'm hard at work on the first draft of Book Two, with the aim to complete the draft by the end of 2014, four months from now - it won't be easy, I have to confide.

Which brings me to the next step I'm currently working on: finding an agent and through them, a publisher. It's a big, tricky world out there now, with all sorts of confusing information regarding self-publishing, e-books and the role of traditional publishing. For myself, I've decided to start with the traditional route and go from there, to see if any agents / publishers will bite. Given the solid form of my current draft for Book One, I think I've got a good shot at it.

This site will be updated monthly, on the 13th of the month, with news and other tidbits from my process, both past and present. I hope to bring you along for the ride, so to speak, as well as offer glimpses inside the world of the Dwiimm( and the Hrack! )so that you'll want to see what else there is to discover when the series becomes available - in whatever form that might be.

Thanks for visiting and drop back soon - I've quite a lot to tell you about.

Peter Ehm

PS - if you haven't already, consider adding yourself to The Dwiimm Saga email list* to be notified when this site updates. Read the Terms there to satisfy yourself that the only reasons I will ever email you will be with Dwiimm-related info; I despise spam and those who sell emails to spammers, worry not!

*email list signup coming soon!