Skip navigation

Category Archives: Writing

Grimoire Game is now available. E-books are available from most major retailers. Print books, unfortunately, are only available from Amazon or Createspace.

Grimoire Game (which I described in my last post), will be released December 30th.

It is currently available for pre-order. e-book versions are available at Amazon

Although there isn’t a pre-order, per se, the Smashwords page is up.  On the 30th, the print version will be available (only from Amazon or Createspace, unfortunately), and other e-book sites will begin to have the book.

Any reviews you leave will be greatly appreciated!

Soon, and hopefully before the end of the year, I will be releasing a novella titled Grimoire Game.

When two new college students, Austin and Caleb, can’t find a book of occult magic in their school’s ancient library, they decide to write their own as a game. They fill the grimoire with nonsense words and ridiculous ingredients, but when they try their first spell it works with frightening force.

 With each new spell they cast, the results become more unpredictable. Can they contain the power they have unleashed before it spins out of control?

I’ll provide an additional update once the exact release date is known.

One thing I am often irritated by when reading  is characters who make obviously poor decisions.   Movie characters aren’t immune, of course.

Of course, characters are allowed – and should be – human.  They will undoubtedly have foibles, and making bad choices is certainly going to be a part of that.  In real life, bad choices are usually a result of: incomplete information, poorly predicting the possible outcomes, or acting under pressure.  Most authors navigate this masterfully, showing why a character will make the wrong choice in a given situation.  The best writers will make you understand the character and their  so well, that you feel convinced that it’s their best option – or even a good option – at the time.

And then there are the characters who do obviously stupid things because they’ll be “fun” or just because they’re impulsive.  Even impulsive people have motivations, though, and even they understand when there are risks involved.  I can be impulsive myself, but there’s always a line that doesn’t get crossed.

A recent book I read, the first installment of the Cirque du Freak series (by Darren Shan) had one of those moments where I squirmed because the character was doing something just plain stupid.  Stealing a giant, deadly, and hard to control spider from a vampire?  Sounds like a great idea, right?  And why did the character feel compelled to do this?  In his own words, “I’m note sure . . .”

So to all my fellow writers out there:  If your character must do something stupid, at least give him a reason.

 

In early 2015, I’ll be releasing my next novel.  The exact timing will be determined by the remaining editing process.  Right now, I’m sending copies to my beta readers, though there’s still a lot of work let to do.

This will be the first book in what I’m tentatively calling the “Weight of Power” series.  Here’s my first take on the book description:

Since the dawn of time, the powers of evil have worked to destroy creation. Over the centuries, monsters of terrible power – Impurati – are created, each with the power to bring destruction to the world. Each has been turned back by the Guardians – warrior wizards whose purpose is to protect the world from these Impuarti.

But the Impurati cannot be destroyed. Instead they have been imprisoned, locked away for all time. Now someone is releasing the Impurati, making an army of these demigods. Can the current Guardians turn back this seemingly unstoppable force?

 

A portion of the books I choose to read are done specifically because they are popular.  This makes me feel terribly unenlightened, but at the same time, as a writer, it’s important for me to understand what is popular.  I’d like to believe that the most wildly popular books are also the best written, but this is usually not the case.

And so I found myself reading Divergent, by Veronica Roth, after its recent theatrical release.

The book is about a girl toughing it out in a dystopian future.  Apparently that’s in vogue right now.  There is enough different in the setup not to dwell too much on whether or not this work took its cue from the Hunger Games.  Besides, any time you compare works in the same genre, you’re bound to find similarities.  What I noted, though, was the similarities between Katniss and Tris.

Both heroines find themselves in tough situations where they are pushed to violence.  What surprises me, though, is how both brush aside these acts.  I understand that for both of them, these are intended to be unavoidable or emotionally charged.  I have trouble seeing it that way, though.  Specifically, at one point Tris tells a friend (who has admittedly given her reason for anger) that if he comes near her, she’ll kill him (?!).  At another time, she shoots a friend (who is zombie-fied) in the head.  She couldn’t have stopped him without killing him?  Seriously?  Admittedly, Tris shows some remorse for this, but doesn’t even think whether she had another option.

I certainly accept that literature is filled with anti-heroes, with moral ambiguity, and with otherwise good people who make bad choices.  We writers try to make our stories (even sci-fi/fantasy) seem real, after all.  But both Tris and Katniss are, as far as I could tell, intended to be relatable heroines, not anti-heronies.  If poor choices are made in the heat of the moment, shouldn’t this be reflected in the writing?

In the end, I did find Tris more likeable, and less self-centered, than Katniss.  Her shifting moods and varying application of selflessness was perplexing, though.  I haven’t yet been able to tell whether this is a character quirk, sloppy writing, or because she is “Divergent” – which in the context of the story might be an acceptable explanation.

I liked the book enough that I will probably continue the series, but I certainly wasn’t spellbound enough to be in a hurry.

Disclaimer 1: This post won’t be religious, per se.  I’m not in the business of convincing people to change their religious views.

Disclaimer 2: I am Catholic, which is the basis for my observations.

I attend Catholic mass (nearly) every Sunday, as well as (most of the) Holy Days of Obligation.  The readings we hear are mostly familiar, or extremely familiar.  Recently, the Catholic church updated some of the language to make it more modern, or to make the intent less ambiguous.  And I understand that.  Language evolves over time, and so the biblical translations will need occasional updates.  Anyone who has struggled through their first experience at Shakespeare understands this.

There is a part of me, however, that mourns the loss of the more elegant phrases that the previous version contained.  This strikes me particularly twice a year: at Christmas when the shepherds are no longer “sore afraid” and the angels proclamation is no longer, “fear not, for behold I bring you tidings of great joy”; and at Easter.  Christ once proclaimed to Peter that, “before the cock crows twice, you shall deny me thrice.”  Now He simply says, “before the cock crows, you shall deny me three times.”  As I mentioned, there is no loss of meaning, but the elegant language is now common.

It’s hard for me, as a writer, to accept this change.  How things are said is as important as what is said.  I can’t help wondering if this change, meant to help more people comprehend the message, is losing something.  God is after all, greater than we are.  Shouldn’t the language we use to invoke Him be on a higher level, too?

Check out my new website.

It’s still fairly basic, but this will be the best place for news about my writing projects.

I just read a fascinating article about making it in traditional publishing. It’s both illuminating and disheartening. And completely unsurprising.

The thing is, most of us have a good story or two (at least) to tell. Many of us would love the opportunity to tell them, especially if we made a few bucks doing it. And of these, there’s a pretty good percentage that actually sit down and make an effort of a draft. How many of these are decent writers, I couldn’t say, but the end result is an enormous number of unpublished works. I dare say that a fair number of these would sell, at least respectably, if promoted properly.

Some could see this as condemnation of traditional publishing, and supporting independent publishing. But the thing is, that this doesn’t solve the problem. We use publishers (even before the days of print-on demand and e-books) as much for marketing expertise as for gatekeepers. Trying to get your name out there and get published is no easier, and probably harder. Yes, you can guarantee that your book gets published. Maybe you can even assume that you’ll get a couple of sales. But there aren’t any more people “making it” this way than with traditional publishing.

In the end, no matter what path authors take, their sales are as dependent on luck as hard work and talent.

My oldest daughter (who is seven) wrote a story over the weekend entitled, “The Alien and the Princess.” I’ll give away the ending: After gazing into each others eyes, they live happily ever after.

I love it!