Monday, February 4, 2008

I'm sorry for staying away so long...

God, I'm getting bad about keeping up this blog. You see, I started it specifically to follow my writing of the Gatehouse series and the process of getting it published. But, well, the first two books are written... and the publishing process is S-L-O-O-O-W. There's been absolutely no motion on the novel since my last post, months ago!
So I've actually been working on a book that's not part of the Gatehouse series. Unfortunately, it's not going so well. I'm finding it difficult to write. The story doesn't move me as much as the Gatehouse, as it turns out. Don't get me wrong, it's good, but it's just not as important to me as the Gatehouse. And book 3 of the Gatehouse is really wanting to get out of me, but my agent has told me to work on something different, since she can't market books 2 and 3 until book 1 sells.
I don't know what to do at this point, actually. It's not that I'm getting discouraged... I've only had a very few rejections, and the book is still under consideration by a major publisher. And I knew that the process would be slow. I just didn't know that working on something new would be so difficult.
Now, all that being said, I've also branched out and worked a bit on my comic book projects. The Ring of Auberon is currently being re-worked for entry into the Zudacomics competition ( ), and if nothing happens there, will be re-worked into an actual, official pitch instead of a contest entry, and will be submitted to some places like Shadowline or Dark Horse. I've also worked up several new pitches, and am actively seeking artists to work on them.
So, that's my update. Not much going on. I wish (lord, do I wish!) that I had more to tell you folks, but like I said... publishing is slow!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter: It's all over now

LOOONNGG post coming here!

Well, I must say, I've found it difficult to keep up a blog, or keep up with my forum posts, since going back to work. I've also been finding it difficult to write. Not difficult to know WHAT to write, just difficult to get around to it. Writing was something I was able to accomplish on breaks at work at my last job, and then... well, whenever I wanted, during my unemployment. I'm finding it hard to actually have to "schedule" time to write, and then to stick to that schedule.

So this weekend, I decided I absolutely needed a break from even worrying about it, and maybe something to spur my creativity so I would feel the urgent NEED to write. So I was definitely looking forward to the release of the final Harry Potter book.

Don't read further unless you want spoilers!

Just kidding. I wouldn't do that to you. I, along with about five million others, am a very fast reader, and finished the book in just a few hours, but I would never spoil anything for those throngs of fans out there slavering to discover all the secrets for themselves. I'll leave that to whoever those schmucks were who scanned the whole book and put it on the Internet a few days ago, or whoever it was that decided that Wikipedia needed to be IMMEDIATELY updated with every significant detail of the book! I'm just going to give my own vague impressions here, trusting that my readers (if I can be said to have "readers") actually want to experience the end of the story for themselves. So there will only be a few sentences of review here.

Before I do that, though, I just want to touch on that whole spoiler thing. Don't get me wrong, in certain circumstances, I'm not averse to spoilers. For my favorite comic books, sure, I sometimes enjoy a little advance warning about what's coming. I find it entertaining, as well as a good marketing tool for the comic companies. Oftentimes, I'll buy something based on an advance review of the comic, or spoiler pages I've read. With TV shows I'm really bad about it... I almost ALWAYS want to know what's going to happen on Smallville. Who the newest FOTW is going to be, what DC canon character is going to show up in a totally new form just for TV. But as an author... albeit an unpublished one... I sympathize with J.K. Rowling. A bunch of folks out there are saying she should just let it drop. Who cares if someone got an advance copy of her book? Or 1200 someones? Who cares if it was posted on the Internet? The fans are going to buy it anyway, it's not going to affect her bottom line.

At this point, does anyone really think Rowling cares about her bottom line? Richer than the Queen of England, people! And that's pretty rich!

She cares about the product of her work, and pleasing her fans. She cares about seeing her carefully laid plans come together, and the excitement she's managed to generate over all these years for the culmination of this story. And yes, like every other author, she gets a perverse pleasure from seeing the shock, surprise, and emotion on peoples' faces when some unexpected twist they've written sincerely moves a reader. No, I'm not saying Harry Potter is incredible, heart-stopping literature, but no one can deny that it's become a serious phenomenon all over the world. And to be honest with you, I'm a fan... I love the books. Not my favorite series, but still, I've thoroughly enjoyed every installment. And I honestly feel for the woman that this pall was placed over the proceedings for the final release at the very last moment. And if it were me, and the release of my novel (first, second, seventh, or millionth!) was coming up, I'd be mortified to find out the entire text had appeared on the Internet. Then again, judging from the fans I saw in our little town's B&N release party, no one even noticed outside the big newspapers.

Now... on to the review...

It was good. Go buy it.

Not enough?

OK. Let's see.

Without giving too much away, then...

J.K. Rowling managed to tie up just about everything, every loose end you could think of, in a nice little bow. Everything (just about) is explained. Everything makes sense in the end. And you can tell that she meticulously plotted these books out from the beginning. There were plot points and simple comments from as far back as book 1 that turned out to have far more significance to the overall story than I would have believed.

OK, so not EVERY question ever asked by a fan is answered. But some of the questions us fans can come up with are pretty... ummm... nit-picky. So let me clarify and say, every question that J.K. Rowling intended from the beginning to be important to the story, was answered.

As far as the flow of the book, and was it an enjoyable read... it flowed pretty nicely, overall, and I certainly did enjoy it. There were a few parts that dragged a bit, and a few parts that seemed just a tad repetitive, but they were things that needed to happen. You'll have that over the course of a story that takes seven books to tell. Look at Jordan's Wheel of Time series... every third or fourth book is basically just filler, to get people from here to there and set up the exciting events of the next three or four. But those slightly dragging parts weren't overpowering, and the story flowed quite well from one concept to the next.

For the writing style, this book is a very drastic change over every book prior. Each book has had a darker and darker tone, especially since Goblet of Fire. Half-Blood Prince was pretty dark all around. But this book is by far the darkest, most adult of the entire series. This is reflected in Rowling's writing style. She uses far less flowery speech, and far less humor. In fact, a lot of the sense of delight and wonder in this magical world is missing, replaced by drama, fear, and angst. But that's most certainly to be expected, and even desired, when a story has followed its main characters from childhood to adulthood during what have to be considered perilous times.

Who lives? Some people. Who dies? Some other people. That's about all I can say on that, other than to point out... well, death and loss are pretty prominent in this book. Then again, so is self-sacrifice, triumph, and celebrating life.

So, all in all... I liked it. I don't think it's the best book of the series, but it was a highly satisfying ending to the story. There were sad parts (starting less than 60 pages in), there were happy parts, there was triumph and loss, and the ending... well, read it yourselves.

Anyone else have any thoughts? On the review, or on the mini-scandal leading up to the release? Feel free to comment.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Lordy, lordy, it's been a while.

Hey, folks... wow, it's been more than a week since my last post! Sorry for the delays... I've been busy busy busy!

Started my new job. I'm loving it so far... I like the location, the plant site, the guys I'm working with, and the job itself. It's less than ten minutes from my house! What could be better?

And oh, lest I forget (which I can't, because I'm obsessed at the moment...), the comic book challenge entry is DONE!!! And entered! And looks GREAT! The artist, Erick Marquez, really outdid himself. I can't sing this guy's praises enough... he did an amazing job bringing the characters and scenes I gave him to life. You can find our entry page in any of these locations:

Still no word from my agent... she's been in NYC for about a week, pitching my novels. I hope to hear something soon, either while she's still there or when she gets back. Fingers still crossed!

So anyway, sorry for the recent absence. I'll be sure to post more in the future.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Sparse Blogging Lately

Well, I've been falling behind on my blogging chores lately. I have no excuse aside from general busy-ness.

The Ring of Auberon comic is coming along. More art has been posted on the MySpace site if anyone is interested. The page we're entering has been completely penciled now, and partially inked. Color should be coming soon as well, and then it's back to me for lettering. 8 days til the deadline... getting nervous! However, on a positive note, I have scripted pretty much the entire first issue. It needs some tweaking, but the general idea of it is down. So, once we enter the contest, the plan is to really get moving on the art so that we can have a solid pitch to make assuming we're in the top 50.

The novel front is also still moving forward. My agent should be in NYC as we speak. I hope to hear back from her soon about how her trip went. With as many pitches for me as she's planning to make, I'm hoping one or two connect. I'll update you on that as soon as I have any more info.

And finally, I have a start date for my new job! Yay! Next Wednesday... the day before the Comic Book Challenge deadline... yipes! That means I'm going to have to really bust my butt, use up all my free time, once I have those completed pages. I'm very excited about the job, though. I've been trying to get on in computer services at this plant for a LONG time. It's so close to home, pays so well, and hopefully will be a stable enough job that I'll be able to really set down some roots again.

School's almost out... meaning my son will be heading to his mom's house for the summer very soon. I'm of two minds on the subject. A summer off from the responsibilities of being a single dad is looking kind of nice... but two and a half months without my son isn't really looking so nice. Ah, well... I've endured it before, I can endure it again.

So that's what's been going on. Busy, busy!

Oh, also... check out our dedicated MySpace page at as well as our Picasa website at under the username RingOfAuberon. Thanks for the interest, and we hope we get your vote in the challenge!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Comic Book Challenge 2007: The Ring of Auberon

Well, I think it's time to start showing off some of the work we've done on the Ring of Auberon comic book pitch. I've put quite a few of the preliminary sketch work done by the artist up on my pics page, so check them out. I've also started a totally new MySpace page which will be our forum for posting new artwork, story synopsis, all that sort of thing. We'll have sample pages available soon, as well. So check it out, and tell all your friends about it! When the contest rolls around, assuming we make it past the preliminary rounds, the public gets to vote on their favorite... so we're going to need you!

The dedicated MySpace page can be found at

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Keeping Things Moving

Well, things are moving forward in several areas of writing for me.

First off, I've still been polishing the script for the Ring of Auberon. It's going great, and I'm beyond excited about it. The artist for the project is working on the excerpt page for the competition. And beyond that, my agent has said that if we don't win the contest, she would like to take a look at the project and possibly represent us in finding a publisher.

Secondly, my second pitch for the contest may be going forward after all. A very talented artist I met on MySpace, who was too busy before to work with me, has decided that he can possibly help me out. I'm working on a script page for him, trying to make it an exciting scene, and he's going to try and get it inked before the deadline. So if we can make it in time, I'll be involved in two collaborations for the competition!

And finally, my agent is getting ready to go on a trip to NYC to pitch projects face to face with several editors. She's made a lot of appointments with some of the major houses, and has already had a few requests for advance copies of The Gatehouse book 1 so they can familiarize themselves with it before she meets with them. I don't know about you, but that sounds pretty promising to me!

So things are looking up on the publishing front. I'm pretty hopeful some good news will filter back to me soon.

On a totally unrelated note, I'm still waiting on an official start date for my new job. Why is it that these background checks take so long? There's nothing to show up on it... are they digging back to my elementary school days or something? I've never been arrested, never been in jail, never been accused or convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, never so much as tried illegal drugs... I've only ever gotten one speeding ticket in my whole life! What's the deal?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Strange week

So... it looks like I won't be doing the technology refresh in Evansville after all. You see, my drug test was fine, of course, but the background check was delayed... and then delayed some more... and then some more. For some reason, they couldn't get all the information they needed, and kept putting off my start date.

So then, Thursday of this week, I get a call out of the blue from a recruiter that has a job opening right here in Mount Vernon for the largest employer in town. It's for a PC break fix technician. The pay is only a bit less than the technology refresh, but it's a 3-month-to-direct-hire position as opposed to a temp position. It's also maybe ten minutes from my house. AND after 3 months, there's a full benefits package.

So, no brainer... I said sure, I'll interview. The company called me up that afternoon, very interested, and gave me a phone interview. I talked to the recruiter about an hour later, and was offered the job. I'd still heard nothing back about my background check at the other place, so I only had to think about it for a few minutes... I said absolutely, I'll take it.

Well, Friday I got a call from the other company. My background check was complete, and they were ready for me to start on Monday. I gave the recruiter the bad news, that I had accepted a position with another company, and explained why it was a better opportunity.

And he was TICKED. Big time. He told me I should have informed him that I was interviewing for other positions, and that it was unprofessional. He told me that they'd put a lot into getting me that position, and that I shouldn't have told him I'd take it if I were considering other offers. Basically, he tried to bully me into changing my mind and working with them.

At that point, I stopped the guy and explained to him that I had NOT been interviewing with other companies at the time I'd accepted the job. In fact, if I'd been able to start on the day I was supposed to... 4 days before... then it wouldn't have been an issue. I explained that it was a very sudden thing, that I'd gotten the call about the job and gotten the job offer in the space of two hours, and that I would probably not have taken it if I'd already been working for them. (That wasn't necessarily true... it's a GOOD opportunity.) Regardless, I told him that there was nothing underhanded going on, it was just too good an opportunity to pass up.

Well, he calmed down a little bit at that point, but he was still pretty ticked off. He made it clear to me that his company, and the company he represented, would not work with me in the future if I happened to be looking for a job again.

So I'm a little upset about the whole deal. Here I am, out of work, out of money, and I'm supposed to wait indefinitely while they keep pushing back my start date even if a better offer comes along? I think not! But it bothers me a lot that I've now got the label of "undependable", at least with one contract company out there. That's a bad thing, since the kind of work I do is almost always handled by contractors these days.

But what was I supposed to do? This new offer was from a place where I've been trying to get on for years. It's hard to get your foot in the door out there, and I couldn't pass up this chance now. This is the kind of company that people retire from, not the kind where they work for a few years and then move on.

Ah, well. Hard choice to have to live with, but an easy one to make, I suppose.

OK, rant over. Now let's talk about writing.

I've been scripting and synopsizing like mad for the Comic Book Challenge. I never did find an artist for the second pitch I had in mind, which is too bad, because it would have been a good one. But the artist I'm working with on the fantasy pitch is very talented, and he's got a great feel for where I'm going with the story. I'm really looking forward to working with him. So far, I've sent him two script pages, one from early on in the story and another from the climactic moment. I've also scripted out about ten other pages, working in order from the beginning. The story is coming along nicely, and I think it's something that will appeal to a lot of readers. So wish us luck! And stay tuned... if we make it to the finals, we're going to need all of your votes!