Monday, April 10, 2017

The Punishments of Talon manuscript completed!

After three rounds of editing and feedback from selected friends and family readers, I'm pleased to announce that I've completed the manuscript for The Punishments of Talon. I've worked it into the standard manuscript format (instead of the ebook submission format that I find easier to write in) and have started reaching out to agents for representation.

Why an agent instead of self-publishing as I did for the Bladesmen Lords series? It's a good question, and one I find difficult to answer coherently even now. I enjoyed how the Bladesmen Lords series went. Writing, self-publishing, doing book signings at local bookstores - it was a blast. But with my day job, I never found the opportunity to push it up to a wider level than "local" - and at the end of the day I just came away slightly unsatisfied from the experience. Self-publishing needs a ton of self promotion to work well, self-promotion of a type that I'm still learning how to do properly.

Don't get me wrong - even "traditional" publishing these days involves a lot of work and self-promotion. Even if The Punishments of Talon gets picked up by an agent and a publishing house, there's a ton of work that will be expected of me as an author. It's a different sort of work, though, and comes with guidance I look forward to receiving. Having tried the one route, I want to give agent representation and traditional publishing a shot with this one to see how it goes.

Anyways, I'm having some delicious cherry hard cider tonight to celebrate as I start submitting my manuscript. Wish me luck!

Monday, December 5, 2016

First round of proofreading complete

Welcome to December!

I've found proofreading to be an effective alternative to focusing on the crazy world of politics over the last few months, and last night finally concluded the first round on my latest novel. As expected, I ended up adding about 10,000 words and it's now right around 125,000 - or approximately 350 pages in your standard paperback format. Some of that was entirely new 'scenes', but most of it came from fleshing out existing passages, adding bits of color and detail, and a few additions for consistency's sake throughout. Because the novel flips between different points of view in alternating time periods, it's been very important to make sure certain topics line up properly throughout the entire story.

Next step is working through a printed copy and reading the whole thing out loud. Once that's done it's time to decide the best way to move forward with getting it published!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

First draft complete!

After almost exactly 12 weeks of writing, I'm pleased to say that the first draft of the manuscript I'm currently calling The Punishments of Talon is complete. It clocks in at right around 115,000 words, which I expect to expand by a good 5,000 to 10,000 more by the time I've completed revisions and additions.

I'm quite happy with how the story turned out. It is the first book in a series tentatively titled Slaying the Overlord which I expect to be either 3 or 4 books when complete. The book is entirely disconnected from my prior works, but if you liked them I suspect you will like these as well.

Starting with City of the Lords I've started keeping track of how long it takes me to complete each step of a manuscript. Some interesting statistics about the first draft for those who enjoy such things: It was written in 56 separate writing sessions at a total time of about 47 hours and 40 minutes. I averaged almost exactly 2000 words per session at an average of about 51 minutes each.

Now it's on to a first pass of editing, then I'll print it out and make notes by hand. Plenty more work to do but it's enormously satisfying to look at the manuscript and know that the core of the story is entirely in place.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

New projects and updates!

I got very little writing done in 2015. Real life intervenes in all sorts of ways, and it can be hard to make time when other things are jostling for attention.

The first half of 2016 had a few miscellaneous projects - everything from a book about 1960s China to a children's book - but nothing that stuck for more than a few chapters or the equivalent.

But inspiration is a funny thing. Right at the end of May I got a new idea that fleshed itself out pretty quickly in my mind. And out of nowhere things opened up so that I could make a little bit of time for writing again. After putting my first words on this project down on June 1st, I'm up to over 20,000 words in a week by taking an hour here and an hour there. With a full novel being somewhere north of 100,000 words, that's a damn good start.

Perhaps more importantly, the ideas for this one keep coming steadily. I know where I want to go with it - that's rarely an issue - but I also know a lot of parts in between. See, I rarely have problems coming up with the seeds of a story, and the ending is often easy to pick up, but I can have trouble getting lost somewhere in the middle. I have dozens of ideas that peter out after a few thousand words because I just can't figure out how to get from point A to point Z. What about all those spots in the middle? What are they up to? That's part of why I found it easier to break the Bladesmen Lords series up into multiple books within each novel. Take City of the Lords, for example. It's three different stories, with the latter two basically overlapping, from three different viewpoints. Instead of one 120,000 word book, I had a much easier time writing three separate 40,000 word books that twined together to make a single novel.

But this one's coming along easier. I've got plenty of material, what I think is a compelling story with interesting characters, and now I just need to keep finding time.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Jan's Paperbacks BOGO Sale

On Saturday, May 16, Jan's Paperbacks in Aloha, OR will be holding a special Shop Local: Buy One Get One sale. Buy a local author's book and get a used paperback for free! To make it even better, a number of local authors (including me!) will be meeting patrons at the store throughout the day. I'll be there from about 3pm to 6pm, so come on over and support a local business and Oregon authors!

Friday, March 13, 2015

What next? Why switch?

Over the last few years I've posted here and there about where I get story ideas. The very first post I put up on this blog had some thoughts on that exact subject. Deciding what to commit to, though, is a different problem.

I can pull up dozens of ideas quickly, just by accessing the right place on my computer. Everything from half-finished thoughts to dozens of written pages in a variety of genres. Actually deciding to work on something and commit to completing it, though, takes a lot more thought than just jotting down a topic to look at some time later.

At this point I've written four novels, of which I've published three. Someday I might go back to the first one, but it would take some serious rewriting to bring it up to where I am now as an author. The next book I want to tackle is very different from any of these four - the three Bladesmen Lords novels in a fantasy/steampunk world, and the first one in an alternate Earth modern day setting. But before deciding for sure, I need to set some time aside and dig through those old ideas to make sure none of them grip me more than what I currently have in mind. It might be that I go through all of them and instead get excited for another Bladesmen Lords novel, but I suspect I'll return to that world some ways down the road instead of in 2015.

So, unless my browsing through other ideas brings a hidden gem to light that excites me more, I'll likely dig into my next project soon - a "near-future" (set within the next century) sci-fi action novel. It's a significant change of pace from the Bladesmen Lords novels but variety is the spice of life. If nothing else, I want to show that I can write in a variety of areas and produce consistent quality.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

2015 plans

A new year has arrived!

Here's some thoughts on what I'd like to accomplish this year:

- Get a good start on, if not finish, my next book. This title is likely to be something unrelated to the Bladesmen Lords series.
- Set up a few readings and/or signings for the Bladesmen Lords books. I've got a few things lined up that should shake out over the coming months.
- Get the Bladesmen Lords books placed in more local bookstores.

I've got some additional odds and ends going on - for example, I'm helping a local student out with some questions for a report on self-published authors. But in general my plate from last year has been cleaned up and I'm ready to take on a new set of writing!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Bladesmen Lords trilogy available at Smashwords

I've made the Bladesmen Lords trilogy available at Smashwords.com for all three novels: Lord of the CityCity of the Lords, and Worlds of the Lords. They're available there with a sample download of the first 20% of each novel if you'd like to try them out!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Worlds of the Lords now available to order

I'm pleased to announce that Worlds of the Lords is now available for ordering!

Worlds of the Lords: published October, 2014. Volume 3 of the Bladesmen Lords series. ISBN 978-1502456854. Buy now as a trade paperback from CreateSpace, a Kobo ebook, or as a Kindle ebook!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Events and Distribution

First off, I wanted to say that I greatly enjoyed the signing that Debbie and Jody graciously put on for myself and Giando Sigurani this past Saturday out at Jan's Paperbacks. Thanks! I had a lot of fun chatting with the bookstore staff and the customers who came out on a somewhat damp day.

So... what's next for Worlds of the Lords? I still have a lot of work to do! I need to get the eBook versions (Kobo, Kindle, Nook, etc.) cleaned up and set for distribution alongside the other two books in the series. I need to order more books and get some sent out that have been requested as signed copies. Last but far from least now that the trilogy is complete I need to take another crack at setting it up on a bigger distribution network (Ingram Spark) which is easier for bookstores to order from directly. That makes it a much better deal for larger and smaller bookstores alike (from Powell's on down) to make space for it.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Proof copy of Worlds of the Lords!

I got a present in the mail yesterday:


After a quick review and flip through, I resubmitted the cover (I brightened up the image and shifted everything down a little) and ordered my first batch of copies for the book signing!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Worlds of the Lords is ready!

I am pleased to announce that I've ordered proof copies of Worlds of the Lords, the third novel in the Bladesmen Lords series. It's exciting to complete the trilogy with what I hope is a satisfying story for everyone who enjoyed the first two novels.

The first physical copies will be available in a book signing I'll be doing at Jan's Paperbacks in Aloha, Oregon on Saturday October 18 from 1:30pm to 4:30pm. Join us and get your copy signed while browsing an excellent selection of new and used books. I will have all three novels there available for purchase. If you're struggling to decide on a present this holiday season for someone you know who enjoys fantasy novels, the trilogy would make an excellent addition to their bookshelves!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Schedule locked in for the third Bladesman Lords book!

Manuscript editing is finished, the book cover is lined up for a delivery date, and I'm getting feedback from the people I passed the final copy out to. I will be ordering proofs of the next title by October 1 from the printer, and should have printings of the final product in my hands by October 15th. It will have been almost exactly a year and a half since City of the Lords was released - far longer than I would have preferred, but I like to think that my busy day job and a summer wedding are pretty good excuses for the delay.

I wanted to give special recognition to Sharri Jeffery, a customer at Jan's Paperbacks (a local bookstore) who has come out for every signing I've done there. Since she first read Lord of the City she has eagerly asked when each new installment in the series is coming out, and despite some health problems keeps hanging on waiting for the next book to arrive (whether it's mine or someone else's). An author could hope for no more inspiring a fan than that. To paraphrase her words, she refuses to pass on while there's still that next book in the series waiting for her! Thanks, Sharri, and may you read not only my next book but plenty of others in the years to come!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Out-loud editing

I'm pretty much finished with my second round of edits for the third Bladesman Lords manuscript and wanted to talk about how it works and why I do it this way.

Once I finish a final readthrough of a manuscript and make whatever corrections I can on the screen, I print everything out in hard copy and go through the entire thing out loud (or at least whispered/mouthed). I picked this step up based on advice I read on another blog (sadly, I have long forgotten which one) back when working on Lord of the City and it can be astonishing how much it reveals.

Here's the kinds of things I recognize during this step -

1. Some sentences just don't "sound right" when spoken. The words don't flow well, the syllables get mixed up, or a certain sound might get repeated in an unpleasant way. The muscle memory of our spoken language triggers different perspectives than simply reading words on a screen. Should my books ever get turned into audiobooks, there's a lot of potential ugliness there which can get detected at this stage.

2. Typing and editing in the trade paperback format that I use causes me to miss some repeated words or overused phrases that might not happen to be on the same page. Printing and editing in a different format helps bring these to light.

3. This is the first chance I've had to sit back with the text away from a computer screen. I have an opportunity to read it in a different frame of mind and a different physical stance than I do while writing it or during the initial rounds of editing. Subtle problems can be brought to light which weren't seen on a screen.

This process takes me about 10-15 minutes a chapter, during which I mark up the manuscript I've printed out. My next step is typing up corrections to the items I find, which may range from typos/extra spaces to entire new paragraphs to better explain an idea or rewrites of sentences or scenes based on problems. That step ends up being pretty short, all things told, just a couple of days worth of work. For reference, this third book is 47 chapters long (in three parts just like City of the Lords was), so the full out-loud manuscript readthrough has taken me between 9 and 10 hours.

What's the next step? Distributing my final draft to friends and family to read through. I'll give them a week or two to come back with suggestions after which I'll make changes (if any). The cover should be done by then. Everything is on target to have a proof coming from the printers in the first week of October, and if things work out right I'll have physical copies sitting in my hands within a month of today.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Book 3 Progress and more!

The summer has been a busy one! It's gone by in a flash, consumed with writing and wedding preparations. The third book in the Bladesman Lords series has a completed rough draft manuscript in front of me, and I've started the last round of edits reading through the entire thing out loud. The cover art is being worked on by the excellent Jeremy Gregory, the same artist who worked on the first two for me. Great progress and I'm on track to release the book this fall!

In more exciting news, I was asked to be the featured author in the newsletter for Jan's Paperbacks this month. I submitted a short article on my thoughts about how we all need variety in our lives and sometimes it's good for us to push beyond what's familiar. Check the newsletter out here: http://eepurl.com/Zritf - it looks like the link hasn't been updated yet but it should be soon.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Influences by other authors

I've noticed a trend in my writing over the years. Or rather, not my writing so much as my creative direction. After reading a book by another author (a good one, anyhow), for a few days my mind wants to go in a similar direction as that other author. It's something I was not fully aware of when I started jotting down ideas as a teenager, and now looking back at some of those early scribblings I can definitely tell where some of them stemmed from.

While I recognize that this is not an uncommon happening, it's something I have to watch out for as an author. I don't get nearly as much reading time in as I'd like these days, but when I devour a book by one of my favorite authors I need to recognize the fact that it may influence my writing for a short period afterwards. This doesn't mean that I avoid writing altogether, but it does mean that I need to try and inoculate myself against undue outside influence. I do this by reviewing my previous writing longer in preparation for each stint of new authorship, and even just recognizing that there may be an issue there is enough to help inoculate my mind.

This isn't to say that it's all bad, of course! Everyone - author or not - is going to be influenced by their most recent reads. Our creative impulses are all shaped in one manner or another by those who have come before us, whether it's a desire to compete or imitate. I wouldn't want to disregard the influences I've had from other authors, I just want to set aside the immediate impact of any one specific book or series at a point in time.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Looking ahead in 2014

I'm well past Part 1 of the third book in the Bladesmen Lords series. Progress! With that in mind, here's my writing goals for this year:

- Finish writing the third book by mid summer or earlier.

- Complete editing by the fall so it can be released sometime in September or October. This will be impacted by my upcoming wedding in early August for good reason :)

- If possible, I'd like to write a novella in 2014 that I have in mind. It's (maybe?) aimed at young adult, I'm not sure, but I'm not sure it's got a very happy ending. Should be a good little story though.

As always, my main challenge is available time. I never seem to have the time and mindset to write as much as I'd like; if I did, I'd be finished with the third book in less than a month. We'll see how it goes.

I hope everyone enjoyed their winter holidays and has a great 2014!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holidays approaching!

The November Kobo eBook promotion went well - thanks to everyone who participated! Reviews at Goodreads for Lord of the City or City of the Lords are always appreciated, no matter which method you've chosen to read them.

I greatly enjoyed the events in November, both the Reader Party and the signing at Jan's with fellow local author Moses Soloman. Chatting with readers and authors is always fun; feedback is crucial to shape the way I write moving forward.

Speaking of writing, Book 3 of the Bladesmen Lords continues to progress (though slower than I would like, of course). I'm just about done with Part 1. As with City of the Lords, the book will end up divided into three sections with clear divisions between each part. As I approach the end of the first part, unfortunately, I've realized that I need to make some significant changes to Part 2 and thus I'm back to outline work there. That's a good thing and I feel certain it will result in a stronger story, though it will slow the writing process down a little bit.

I hope everyone enjoys the last few weeks of 2013. I'm looking forward to 2014 and publishing the next entry in the Bladesmen Lords series!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Who wouldn't want a free eBook or two?

I had a lot of fun at the Reader Party over at Jan's Paperbacks this weekend. Kobo - an eReader company - sponsored the event and put on some helpful workshops for us authors. They set up promotional codes for many of the authors who participated; these codes can be used to snag a free copy of each eBook. They're downloaded through Kobo, but you can use the Kobo app on your computer (or iPhone, or Android device, etc.) even if you don't have a Kobo reader.

For each of these links, apply the PROMO code jansbooks at checkout time. Once it's applied, the system will recognize that you've made your selection free and you won't need to fill in a credit card or any other form of payment (unless you're picking up other books too, of course). The code is only good until 11/30/2013.

Here's the link to snag a free copy of Lord of the City:

http://www.janspaperbacks.com/ebook/1230000117290

In addition, here are links to books by the other authors who participated. The same promo code works for all of these, so try them out and enjoy!

Jack Whitsel, Shadows of Kings - A desperate coalition of principalities stand in the forefront as the Harhn and Darkfey threaten to exterminate the domains of man.

J. Steven York, The Unwinding of Liberty Brass - Some say the Clockwork Cowboy was actually a Confederate Artilleryman called Liberty Brass. But for Liberty Brass, the trail seems ready to end almost before it begins. In a half-destroyed barn near the Gettysburg battlefield, on a dark, rainy night, two clockwork men, both damaged in war, meet. In the hours that follow, a terrible secret is revealed, a fateful judgment is made, and only one can survive to see the morning sun...

William Hertling, A.I. Apocalypse - Leon accidentally creates an evolutionary artificial intelligence when the Russian mob coerces him into building a new computer virus. The virus quickly adapts, first bringing down the world's computer infrastructure, then developing intelligence, communication, and an entire civilization of AI. Leon must race against time and the military to find a way to befriend or eliminate the virus race before billions die.

Jamie Brazil, The Commodore's Daughter - Fifteen-year-old Jennifer Perry dreams of traveling the world, a dream that will never happen now that she's promised to a man twice her age. But what can she do? Run away. To Japan, where her survival is uncertain. Learning the ways of her new world, and the code of the Samurai, she uncovers a plot to ambush the American sailors. Now she must risk her own life in order to save her Commodore father.

Meljean Brook, Fire & Frost - Elizabeth has spent the past five years running from her father; her father’s huntsman, Caius, has spent the past five years pursuing her. But when he finally catches up to her on an airship flying above Europe’s zombie-infested cities, Elizabeth discovers that Caius isn’t the only danger she has to fear—and now that he’s found her, Caius doesn’t intend to let her go…

Darcy Burke, His Wicked Heart - Jasper Sinclair, Earl of Saxton, made a bargain with his devil of a father to marry a proper deb. Instead, he becomes entangled with a sometimes actress, Olivia West, determined to improve her situation. Destitute and desperate, she agrees to one night with Jasper, hatching a scheme to take his money and keep her virtue. However, Jasper uncovers her deception and vows to claim what he's owed.

Darcy Burke, Her Wicked Ways - To save his orphanage from collapse, Montgomery "Fox" Foxcroft leads a double life as a highwayman. Banished debutante Lady Miranda Sinclair is his salvation—until she rejects him. Out of options and falling for the heiress, Fox must risk what principles he has left and take advantage of her wicked ways—even if it ruins them both.

Maggie Faire, Chameleon: The Awakening - Camryn Painter is a 16-year-old freak of nature. She's a human chameleon... one who transforms into the image of whoever sees. Escaping from a medical research facility, Camryn discovers a magical forest world. Striking a tribal alliance between what she once believed were mythical beings is her only chance of survival... if she can just control her power and figure out who to trust.

Caroline Fyffe, Montana Dawn - She thinks he’s an outlaw. He thinks she’s a runaway. One thing they both know for sure—her baby is going to be born right now, with or without his help. MONTANA DAWN: Book One of the McCutcheon Family Series. Come meet the courageous men and women of Y Knot, Montana Territory, 1883!

Paty Jager, Secrets of a Mayan Moon - What happens when a brilliant anthropologist is lured to the jungle to be used as a human sacrifice? Anthropologist Isabella Mumphrey heads to Guatemala to save her job at the university, but drug trafficking bad guys, artifact thieves, and her infatuation for her handsome guide wreak havoc on her scholarly intentions. DEA agent Tino Kosta, is undercover, but the appearance of a beautiful, brainy anthropologist heats his Latin blood taking him on a dangerous detour that could leave them both casualties of the jungle.

Paty Jager, Marshal in Petticoats - When a down-on-its-luck mining town makes accident prone Darcy Duncan marshal after she shoots a bank robber, she puts every effort into helping the town. Gil Halsey has been running from his past and finally found a place to settle, until a scrawny greenhorn marshal turns out to be an enticing, young woman who lures him from his path.

Maggie Jaimeson, Undertones - As a music major who sacrificed everything to become master of the upright bass, the last thing Michele Scott thought she'd be doing is touring with an Americana and Bluegrass band. But to tell the truth, she loves it. Not so much the irresistible David Blackstone. Balancing her career, life on the road, and a long-distance relationship isn't for her. A girl just can't have it all... or can she?

C Morgan Kennedy and Therese Patrick, Author Marketing 101 - Returns to the basics of a strategic marketing plan and reinterprets corporate terminology so that it applies to novelists and small business owners. Through interactive exercises and demonstrative case studies, new and established authors will learn how to: o Develop a professional and engaging author persona o Identify overarching themes and colors for their stories o Apply these colors and themes to their marketing collateral, web design, and point-of-purchase (POP) displays o Identify and target their audience o Utilize their author persona for customer (reader) interactions o Develop a detailed marketing plan with actionable tasks and key deliverables to successfully launch their latest book

Delilah Marvelle, Lady of Pleasure - Educating one's self in the art of love takes time... Lady Caroline Arabella Starling has been in love with her older brother's best friend, Caldwell, since she was thirteen. Unfortunately, too many things keep getting in the way of proving her love. Her four younger sisters, her mother, her brother, all of society and the man she loves himself. But where there is a will, there is a way, and Caroline is about to redefine not only respectability but true love.

Delilah Marvelle, Romancing Lady Stone - At forty, Lady Cecilia Evangeline Stone thinks she has everything a woman could ever want. A title, a fortune, and four children who make her proud. After a marriage of convenience that was anything but convenient, she has no desire to complicate her life by including a man in it again. When her eldest son announces his engagement to a Russian actress in Saint Petersburg, Cecilia sets out to do what any good mother would do: stop the wedding. Unfortunately, destiny has other plans...

Lucy Monroe, Annabelle's Courtship - Laird Ian MacKay must wed, and to none other than an Englishwoman. With no use for sentimentality, he develops a list of unflattering if practical requirements and thinks he has found them all in Lady Annabelle. He's not prepared for her refusal, and even less so for her sensuality and independence. Love is anything but convenient, but nothing less will convince this blue-stocking to marry.

Elisabeth Naughton, Marked - THERON—Dark haired, duty bound and deceptively deadly. He’s the leader of the Argonauts, an elite group of guardians that defends the immortal realm from threats of the Underworld. As unrest in the Underworld threatens, seven warriors descended from the greatest heroes in all of Ancient Greece may just be mankind's last hope…

Elisabeth Naughton, Wait For Me - A woman without a past. A man desperate for a reason to live. Two lives about to converge.

Jean Sheldon, The Woman in the Wing - This entertaining historical mystery takes place in a World War II defense plant in Chicago and offers a glimpse into the lives of women who served at home during the war. Meet the Rosie the Riveters who built the planes, and the Women Airforce Service Pilots, the WASP, who flew them.

Jean Sheldon, An Uncluttered Palette - If your palette is cluttered, your painting will reflect that clutter. The words Rayna Hunt uses to introduce her students to the world of oil painting apply to more than her art. When an accident destroys her painting hand, she begins a difficult journey to recover her skills, a journey made more challenging after she becomes a suspect in a case of forgery and art theft.

Jessa Slade, The Darkest Night - Wishing you a demonic Christmas… Possessed by an angelic entity, Cyril Fane fought evil with a fiery golden sword until he was beaten and left for dead by a malevolent force. Now darkness and doubt haunt him. Bella McGreay, mysterious mistress of the Mortal Coil night club, has secrets of her own to keep. As they barricade themselves against the joys—and terrors—of the Christmas season, they’ll have to decide whether the shadows or their secrets are more dangerous, or if together they can find a way to the light after the darkest night.

Jessa Slade, Hotter on the Edge - On the edge of space... On the edge of danger... On the edge of desire... Three novellas of science fiction romance: All That Glitters by Erin Kellison To Buy a Wife (A Dark Future Novella) by KC Klein Enslaved by Starlight by Jessa Slade Winner of the 2012 InD'Tale RONE Award for best Short Story/Novella "HOTTER ON THE EDGE is an exceptional trio of sci-fi romance novellas… Creativity, strong characters and interesting plots make this one a winner." 4 1/2 stars—Top Pick from Night Owl Reviews

Christina F. York, Rodeo Royalty - Tyler Forrester plans to be a rodeo princess, and get the attention of Brad Young, the hottest junior cowboy around. But when Tyler’s friend Amee decides to help her find some scholarship money, the plan gets out of control faster than a seven-second bull ride. Thanks to Amee’s meddling and a large pile of scholarship money, Tyler is headed for Valenta, a tiny European country, to spend the month of August as a temporary princess, and her rodeo plans are headed for the last round-up. Tyler is a long way from her friends, her family, and her horse. Sure, there’s a hot prince, but he can’t make up for everything she’s missing. Or can he?

J. Steven York, The Best Devil Money Can Buy

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Organization

When I started jotting down ideas for stories many years ago I didn't have a lot of foresight in the way of organization. Even today those ideas are stored in a batch of electronic documents with seemingly unrelated titles, lumped together only in a 'stories' directory. Some I can remember just by glancing at the name of the document, but most I need to open up and scan through to remember what they were about. Some have nothing more than a half-page of notes, others have 10,000 or more words and the start of a real structure.

Since I started publishing I've become much better about organization. The Bladesmen Lords series has plenty of artifacts related to it now, from promo posters to original pictures of the cover art to the stories themselves in various formats and drafts. Partway through writing City of the Lords I organized all of this better instead of throwing it all in a single directory and trying to remember what belonged to what. The third book - which is progressing well, by the way - is set up alongside the other two but separate so I can keep its assets properly catalogued.

I've lost a lot of hard drives over the years, and I sorely miss a batch of story ideas that disappeared over a decade ago. They're gone now, but I remember enough bits and fragments that I wish I'd properly backed them up. I know better now, and keep copies of all my latest works spread through several areas both within and without the house. That doesn't help the organization - it's easy for things to get out of sync - but it keeps ideas from getting lost.

Start organizing early! Someday I need to spend a few days and go through all of those old ideas to retitle them, group them where appropriate, and make sure I can get to them easily. Don't wait as long as I did.