An audiobook version of Frostarc will be available in Summer 2013.
I have been working with Lucas Kitchen of Media Kitchen to put together an audiobook for my novel.
Lucas is in the business of storytelling. He has voiced audiobooks, done some of his own writing, and produces films and documentaries.
I came in to contact with him through an audition of his at the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), which is an Amazon platform. Lucas has a great storyteller’s voice, and I was impressed by his professionalism. The audiobook is in production at the moment, but I can’t wait to hear it in its final form. I am sure Lucas will bring out the best my story has to offer.
Eran deserves the recognition for her amazing skills. I was so very impressed with the cover once she finished it. Upon completing the work, Eran told me that she “had a lot of fun with this one.” I’m glad she did, and I’m also glad that Frostarc was the inspiration for this great success.
For anyone looking for a book cover or other artwork, you would be doing yourself a favor to check out eranfolio.com and consider Eran for the job. She was a pleasure to work with. Eran is very professional and respectful, and listens to any concerns you may have over the content of her work. I will be reaching out to her for any future projects, and you should too!
The Communication Arts 2013 Illustration Annual is out now. Pick up a copy if you would appreciate seeing some of the world’s best illustrations, animations, and other designs. There are print and digital versions available.
I’ve enabled myself to write almost anywhere. It started out as a need, and it turned into a plan that has taken years to develop.
The place of all places I’ve decided to write this blog post, ironically, is Starbucks. Coffee shops are the go-to spot for most aspiring creatives and number-crunching business folk alike, but what if you could create while being anywhere?
Years back when I was in college I bought a massive iMac with my student discount. For a long time the only place I could write was on that beast, sheltered in my own room with the door shut tight and not a sound to interrupt my thoughts.
What a lousy way to work.
I lived with my girlfriend and five other roommates in the heart of a college town full of hooting sorority chicks, hollering frat boys, and persistent bumping beats. My sacred grove was nothing more than a cardboard box in the middle of a non-stop Burning Man extravaganza. Something had to change.
I had to escape my room. It wasn’t working anymore, and my iBeast wasn’t moving from its cave. A laptop was the next solution. My girl had one, but it was the size of a coffee table. A dinosaur of an HP. I knew I couldn’t be lugging something like that around, so I invested in an affordable, lightweight netbook. I feared that the small keyboard would hinder my typing, but after a couple days of use I couldn’t tell the difference. In fact I’m still using it to this day, and I’m typing on it right (write) now.
So I would take my netbook to the library. Solitude found once more. Hurrah! It worked, for awhile. Then I began to view the library as an office, the study room my cubicle. I had to venture out, and I learned how to concentrate amid the hustle and bustle of coffee shops and beer joints. I was becoming a real writer now, one of those hipsters you see blogging away while sipping on a latte. Mmm.
But more issues arose. My netbook was great for typing and blogging, but at the time I was putting a novel together. I couldn’t focus on the small screen while editing, nor use it well for formatting and layout. My iBeast was ideal for the work, but I had since moved beyond my room. I was lazy and didn’t want to transfer the files between computers, especially since one is a Mac and the other PC (they still don’t get along well to this day). Emailing the files to myself worked for awhile, but they became too numerous with all the edits and I couldn’t keep track of the mass of look-a-like file names or which versions were the most recent.
And then I acquired Google Drive and used the cloud service to sync the folders on my different devices. The cloud is like a friendly mediator, or a marriage counselor. Now my two ends of the computer spectrum have at least found some common ground. I can write anywhere I want with my netbook, and put it all together nicely on my iBeast back at home.
I have several notebooks too, of course, but I’m not very good at keeping one with me at all times. I have a large sketchbook that I like to draw some of my ideas out on, and a small moleskin notebook I keep next to my bed for late night thought sessions. And when I get really desperate to jot down an idea before it flies away I bust out my old cellphone a type up a draft text which I save for later.
I’ve designed my gadget wardrobe to suit my lifestyle so that no matter where I am I have a way to grab a hold of my ideas, scribble some notes, or, on the best of days, compile blog posts and piece together stories.
My debut novel, Frostarc, will be free to download this weekend.
The entire ebook novel will be available this Friday (March 1st) through Sunday (March 3rd) at absolutely no cost. This is a great opportunity for those looking to get a free gift for a friend. If you have enjoyed my novel, or know of someone who may enjoy it, please share it!
A science fiction adventure novel set in an apocalyptic world, topped with a smattering of horror and garnished with sprigs of space pioneering and the old west. And you say I can wirelessly transfer it to my Kindle e-reading device without paying a penny? Boy howdy what a deal!
No more nothing. I’ve done enough nothing. No more “taking a break” after publishing my first novel. No more lamenting over the life-changing experience it turned out to not be. No more not writing.
In a followup to my previous post which asked the question “Book One is Done. Now What?” I am now exploring what entails the process of moving onward.
I have not written in a long time. I have been editing for ages, but other than a few quick bursts of unfinished prose I have not written anything in…years.
I wrote the first draft of my first novel in 2008. In 2010 I wrote a second draft of it. In 2011 I wrote a third. That is the only writing I have done. It was all editing throughout and after that. Completing my first novel sucked the writing spirit right out of me.
I am not done with writing. I don’t despise writing. What I mean to say is that my desire to finish, to complete my first novel took precedence over writing for fun, over starting new stories, over creating new characters.
And now that it’s done, I find myself wondering how to write. It’s been so long since I’ve tried to create something new. I mean really tried. How do I compose a story? How to I bring to life a believable character?
How did I do it before?
And so I had to find that spark again. I needed inspiration. I browsed the Reddit writing community I frequent, Googled articles and blogs, and I read for fun. The only fiction I’ve read over the last several months was my own novel, over and over again as I tried to edit it to perfection.
And I thought about writing. I stayed awake in bed at night thinking about what I enjoy about writing. I opened up my old writing files, random documents full of half-constructed plots, broken characters, hastily recorded settings, and unfinished stories that I just couldn’t get quite right.
And there I stumbled upon one story I had started years ago. I had rewritten it’s opening scenes several times with different characters and skewed plot lines, but I was never able to make it work. I read through it, and as I did all sorts of colorful ideas and bright possibilities lit up my mind like fireworks on a dark night. This broken story which had frustrated me to no end in the past was now acting as a catalyst for my mind, reinvigorating it with the creative fire I had been searching for.
I got the creativity back. The spark plugs were firing, but I was still without any gas to get the motor running. I had ideas again. Great! But having to start all over again, needing to put new words down on a fresh document, beginning from nothing– that was another obstacle I needed to muscle through.
Patterns, routines, and goals were what I needed. Balancing a full-time job and a social life could not be an excuse. There is always time, and when it can’t be found it has to be made. Through my writing community I found this bit of advice from Joanna Penn. I followed some of her guidelines and now find myself writing just about every day.
I bought a big wall calendar and am using to track my word counts. I wanted to set for myself a strong daily word count goal. Of course I want to be at my best and write five novels a year, but I had to be realistic. 2000 words per day (wpd) was too much to start out with again. I have done more than that in the past, but I would have just scared myself away by setting such a high goal. 1200 wpd is what I decided to set for the month of February, and I can up that goal next month if I feel I can make it.
In this past week I’ve met that goal nearly every day. I don’t look at the days I didn’t make my 1200 wpd goal as failures because I still made an effort and I still wrote every one of those days.
I know that there will be days I miss with a big fat zero, but that’s ok. I’m writing again. It’s fun, and it’s a struggle, but I’m doing it. This is how I am moving forward. This is the “now what?” I was trying to figure out, and this is how I am continuing onward.
I have reached my goal. Friends and family have expressed their pride and exultation. Frostarc has sold a handful of copies and I’ve been asked to autograph a few of those. It’s been fun and silly. It’s been short and bittersweet. Now what?
I want to say onward to the next novel, and that will most likely be the case, but I can’t help but feel humbled by the experience. The goal was to publish my novel, but as soon as that task was completed, the instant I clicked the final button to publish the book, that goal was washed away and replaced by another. Another goal that may take a long time to accomplish.
Other than a brief moment of relief and joy, I felt little satisfaction in completing my book. One day it was the highest priority on my list, and sometime between that day and the next it had dropped off my radar completely. Overnight my novel had transformed from an amazing achievement into a small stepping stone at the beginning of a long, rising path.
There is a choice to make. I can be happy with the fact that I have completed a novel and move on to another tangent, another goal in life. Not many people do you meet who have written and published a novel. It will forever be a great talking point, something I can boast about with just pride. It’s something I can share with family and friends for the rest of my life.
Or I can choose to go onward to the next novel. This path doesn’t diminish the importance of my first book, but it increases the scale to a lifetime of work, skewing my perception of Frostarc away from being THE book to being merely the FIRST book of many years of hard work to come. This choice would turn that pile of Frostarc books on my bookshelf into a source of encouragement and inspiration, a reminder to keep going forward. I could choose to leave it be as a standalone piece, and smile every time I look at the novel.
But I will move onward. I want to. I want this work. I want this chance to leave behind a legacy, even if it a fictional one. I want this to be who I am; not just a small part of my young life, but a large part of my entire life.
So onward to the next. Maybe it won’t take four years this time around. Maybe it will be shorter, maybe longer. However many months or years it takes, it will be better than the last. And so will the next, and the one after that.
One small stepping stone succeeded, and on to the next.
I wonder if this is why so many authors are depressed drunks. Completing a novel didn’t change my perception of life like I expected it to. It filled no gaps in my soul or heart, and may have in fact widened them.
My advice on self-publishing: Don’t even think about it until your novel is completely finished.
A year ago I started looking into self-publishing and the independent author surge alongside the ebook phenomenon. A year ago I was getting prepared to put my novel into publication.
A year ago.
And now twelve months later I have finally done it. For a long while I had spent too much of my time researching self-publishing, figuring out how to format for ebooks, learning the market, trends, tips, tricks, and techniques. All that while I could have been finishing my novel, or starting on the next project.
Interest in self-publishing is fine, and I would recommend self-publishing for authors looking to remain independent, but a writer needn’t worry about it until he or she has a complete piece of work.
It takes all of an hour to format a book properly for an ereader, and another twenty minutes to make an account and upload a completed book onto Amazon or any of the other ebook programs. That’s all.
Any delusions of grandeur or secret knowledge attained by hours and hours of market research are false and cumbersome. It will only delay getting your work onto the market. After completing a novel and after uploading it into the market should the independent author concern him or herself with knowledge of the market.
To sum it all up, don’t waste your time thinking about self-publishing until you are ready to publish. There is little to gain from it until your project is ready.
Write. Write well. Edit better. Finish it, then focus on publishing it.