Quick Update on Suture

The first draft is complete.

The first read through and edits are done.

The book is being sent out to my three beta readers tomorrow.

Yes, we’re progressing nicely to seeing this one released in July. I’m very happy with it. I hope you all enjoy it as well.

Talk to you soon,

JR

PS, Here’s the official book description…

suture-cover-thumbSuture. An organization created by immortals who once walked the Earth as Gods. A place containing eras worth of secret agendas.

Gwynn joins believing he will learn about his abilities, assisting to protect the world from the Veil.

Instead, he finds an ancient evil stalking him. A face from his past shows up in an unexpected place. And ghosts that prove to be very much alive.

Faith, friendship, family. All are tested within Suture.

Book Two of The Bleeding Worlds Series

Suture Cover Reveal – and a new Harbinger cover to match

Hello everyone. So I’m managing to keep my promise and returning with further news regarding Suture, The Bleeding Worlds Book Two.

The specific news today is to reveal the cover for Suture.

While I enjoy the cover Harbinger has sported for the past eight months, writing Suture made me want a change. I hesitated to do it, but I wanted new covers that would feature the series title more. So my cover designer and I went back to the drawing board and came up with the following….

harbinger-new-small-res

And now, for the cover of Suture…

suture-cover-web-res

The male models are images by GraphicPAStock http://graphicpastock.deviantart.com

All other photography and editing by Carolyn Macpherson.

Hope you all like the new covers. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

An Update – Where is the Sequel?

Hello everyone. I’m sorry for being away so long. Truth is, I’ve just been pouring every bit of creative writing energy I have into writing Harbinger’s sequel, Suture. However, I visited my Amazon page tonight, and saw that someone had asked about an update regarding Suture. Funny enough, Amazon won’t let me post directly to that thread because I haven’t purchased the book, so I thought I’d answer here and hopefully it will be found by the person wondering.

Back in January, I mentioned I was about a third of the way through Suture. By March, I’d completed half the book. Then, about mid-March, I threw it all out.

It’s a daunting task to look at 35,000 words and decide that only a tenth might survive. But after reading some of the comments left on Harbinger, and weighing my own feelings, I decided it was the right thing to do. So I started over.

Currently, I’m working on the last two chapters. I’m very pleased by how this new draft has worked out. My hope is to have a completed first draft by the end of the week. Then edits, then release.

The good news is I’m a much faster editor than I am when writing the first draft. Giving ideas shape is so much harder than making the shapes slightly prettier.

So my goal is to have Suture released by July.

I know, I had originally said Spring. At that time, I didn’t know I’d be starting over so late in the season.

It thrills me that people are still picking up Harbinger, and based on comments and ratings, a number of you are enjoying it. Right now, I feel confident that if you enjoyed Harbinger, you’ll find more to love in Suture.

Thank you so much for hanging in there. In the next week I will have more news, including the cover reveal.

All the best, and talk to you soon (I promise).

JR

Proof – A Short Story

There once was a man who loved a woman more than he was able to express. He needed her in a way that went beyond reason. So one day, he said to her, “My dearest, I love you more than words can say, how may I prove my love to you?”

The woman, caught in her own delusions of grandeur, thought little of the man, and believed herself above him. She was beautiful, desired by all. So she decided to have fun with the man’s affections. “If you wish to prove your love to me,” she said to him one sunny day, “climb the highest peak at the fringes of our valley, and jump off the edge. If your love for me is as great as you say, it will bring you back to me unscathed.”

“My dearest, I will return to you soon,” he said, and with that he was off.
The trip to, and up, the mountain was arduous. But he never lost a step, never thought of giving up. He had faith in his love, and he knew it would deliver him. When he reached the top, he looked out over the valley, to the distant west where his village and beloved lay.

He hesitated only long enough to draw one last breath, then he stepped over the edge. For a moment, suspended in air, an angel soaring above the world, he felt free and alive. But all too soon, the air slammed into him as he plummeted towards the ground. But all the while, his faith in his love was unshakable. “If I die, my love was not worthy,” he thought, “But if I live, my love will have stood the greatest test.”

As the bottom neared, he felt the wind gather beneath him, lifting him gently, so that when at last his feet touched the ground, they stepped lightly, and he stood unscathed. Faith had been his wings, love had been the wind he soared on.

He returned to his love.

“My beloved, I have climbed to the highest peak, stepped off to prove my love for you, and I stand here unscathed. My love is strong enough to deliver me back to you.”

She eyed him skeptically. “Do you have any proof that you have done this?” She asked slyly.

“Only my word.”

“Well, as much as I wish to believe you, words are easy to say. Go to the ocean and bring me a beautiful pearl. When I see such beauty that you have found with your own two hands, then I will know you love me.”

“My beloved,” he said without hesitation, “I will bring you a beautiful pearl.”

And with that, he left for the seashore.

For thirty days he toiled in the waters, searching for a pearl. But he knew his love was strong enough. He knew that his faith in his love would deliver the pearl. For thirty days he worked, and for thirty days, his stomach was never empty, and the heavens gave him comforting weather. On the thirtieth day, he pulled a most beautiful pearl from an oyster and set off to return home.

“My beloved,” he said, “I have returned with the most beautiful pearl the ocean’s contain. Do you believe in my love for you now?”

The woman was caught off guard, but her greed and hunger for material possession knew little bounds. “This is indeed a great token of affection. But truly, if you love me, you will provide a place for me to live with you. But if you are honest in your feelings, you will know that no small house will do. Our home must be as grand as your love for me.”

And so, the man left his village once more. For two years he toiled, working on the house that would befit his love. For two years, the land provided him food, shelter, and supplies. He never doubted his love, and he never lost faith in the future he foresaw.

When the house was completed, he returned home.

He did not know, but in his absence, a great fire had consumed his beloved’s house. She had been left scarred and broken. Those who had looked
upon her beauty with desire now looked at her with disgust.

The man entered the room, and without a hint of hesitation, he took her damaged hand, and looking her deep in the eyes said, “My beloved, I have built a grand home for you. Do you believe in my love now?”

She felt such pain. “I am ugly now. In appearance, and I can now tell, I was in side as well. I have mistreated you and used your love for my own gain. You don’t need to pity me. Please, I know you wish to leave, and I bear you no ill
will.”

The man smiled at her lovingly. “Lady, please believe me, I only see beauty with my eyes, and feel your inner beauty with my heart. I love you more than words can say. How may I prove my love to you?”

But with forgiveness and dedication, he had proved what no mountain, pearl, or house could ever prove. And in their grand house there was only trust, happiness, and a grand faith in each other’s love.

Progress on Harbinger’s Sequel, Suture

Since Harbinger released, I’ve been pouring my writing energy into its sequel, Suture.

While I don’t know that I’m the one who should be giving writing advice, I figured someone might find an interest in my current writing process.

Yes, I say current because I believe that as I continue to grow as a writer, my process will evolve. At least, that’s my hope, because my current process is tedious at best.

Right now I’m 23,000+ words into Suture. I’ve accomplished this through some forethought, much humming and hawing, and just forcing myself to spew words. Thankfully, this haphazard approach has yielded something that is starting to look like a decent first act. This is a pretty critical time in my process and it’s when I bring in the big guns. My wife.

See, my wife is a voracious reader who devours everything from Nietzsche to Twilight. She’s a massive Star Wars nerd who can recite the original trilogy from memory and who can have an intelligent conversation about why the fourth Indiana Jones movie never should’ve happened. In short, she’s perfectly suited to tell me if I’m on track or missing my mark.

Because of the loose way I plot on the go, I need this feedback at the approximate third way mark. At this point, I’ve written enough that I have a clearer path for the rest of the novel. On the other hand, I haven’t written so much that I can’t handle axing a few thousand words to change a direction or two. This feedback helps give me direction. But more than that, it helps to give me some confidence.

Writing is a wonderful and horrifying hobby. Creating worlds and characters feels magical, but words on a page feel like an invite for self criticism and, at times, loathing. For every sentence I love, there are dozens that make me shudder. It’s why some authors take forever to release a novel. Having someone tell me I’m on the right track helps bolster my confidence and allows me to carry on to the end.

So Suture is getting the third-way-there preview. I’ll let you know how it goes in a couple days.

Another Year Ends

December 26, 2012. The day after Christmas.
According to a variety of people who’ve dedicated books and movies to the subject, I shouldn’t be here. None of us should be. Despite them, the sun came up, and, for better or worse, the human race began another day.
Truth be told, taking emergency calls at my day job, listening to the misery visited upon people by stupidity, poor judgement, or acts of the universe beyond their control, it’s easy to be cynical and think it wouldn’t be so bad for the world to continue without us. But then, I’m also a father, and I’m glad the world is still here so my sons can grow and discover.
Apocalypse avoided (though I subscribe to the belief that there never was one, that the Mayans meant something entirely different). Perhaps it’s more important than ever to draw a slow breath and reflect on our year.
I could get political. I could talk about gun control, economic restraint, and putting aside petty rivalries so nations don’t come undone. I could mourn and cheer, cry and laugh, and no amount of any would be enough to sum up 2012. It’s the last time my generation will see the year, month, and day be the same number, and it’s the last scheduled apocalypse people have been fearing.
It’s the first year I made a resolution and put forth the effort to see it done. It’s the first year I looked in a mirror and thought that perhaps, after years of doubt and desire, I was a writer.
Writing isn’t just a hobby any longer, it’s also a responsibility. When I released my book, and people purchased it, I realized I’d made an unspoken pact with those wonderful people. I promised that I would continue to write and finish the story I asked them to become invested in. It gives writing added pressure, but also greater reward. My words aren’t just mine anymore, they belong to others, and that feels both wonderful and frightening.
I have similar feelings about this passing year. It was filled with fear, anger, and uncertainty. The year felt heavy and overburdened. Maybe it was the messages of doom or because the nations of the world were embroiled in changes of government and economies. I’m not sure. But the world didn’t end. Perhaps the universe, God, whatever you want to call it, made an unspoken pact with us. No sudden apocalypse, so we better do the best we can. We have time, we should stop wasting it. Our lives are each great stories, we should work hard to make them meaningful to satisfy our readers.
I hope 2013 is a turning point. I hope that if the Mayans had some sort of precognition, it was that they foresaw a shift in attitudes and a renewal of our world.
Dare to dream this year, and dare to chase those dreams. Let your words, thoughts, and deeds, belong to others.
On a separate, yet related, note, I want to say a heartfelt Thank You. It took almost three years to write, edit, and publish, Harbinger. In the past two months, almost a thousand people have picked up the book. Those who have taken the time to leave feedback have had many kind words to say. As 2012 draws to a close, one of my dreams is coming true. And it’s because of you wonderful people.
Thank you. I wish you peace, love, success, and dreams, for 2013.

Some Reflection a Month After Release

As we sit upon the precipice between November and December, it seems like a good time to take a look back at the past month and what it has meant for my little novel, Harbinger.

I released the book on October 30th (though that date varied by vendor depending on how fast their systems processed the files). I did this with modest fanfare. I announced it across my social networks, posted the news here on my website, and then proceeded to post samples of the book on the various sites that allow you to do such things (Scribd, Wattpad & Figment to be precise). I approached one person to see if she would do a review, but that’s yet to happen. After the first few days, I stayed quiet about the book. I didn’t continue to flood my Twitter feeds, nor did I post on Facebook every day that people should read my book and PLEASE give me a nice review on Amazon. I’m not great at that sort of thing. If anything, I would’ve just come off sounding whiny. So I continued to look at other places where I could post some news, samples, etc.

So how has the book done? Well, I’d like to think it’s exceeded my expectations for its first month of life.

  • In week one, I sold 12 copies through Amazon.
  • In week two, I sold 4 copies through Amazon and 1 copy through Kobo.
  • In week three, I sold 18 copies through Amazon and 1 copy through Smashwords.
  • In week four, I sold 116 copies through Amazon, 1 copy through Kobo, and 1 copy through Apple.
  • This week could see my sales top 140+ on Amazon.

So within five weeks of release, Harbinger will have sold about 300 copies.

I have no idea how this compares to the experience of other Indie Authors. I have no idea what magic I cast in week four that sent sales into the triple digits. I suspect it’s because I made enough sales in weeks 1-3 that the book started showing on Amazon’s Customers who purchased this also purchased…. type lists. On Amazon, more sales=more exposure=more sales. Also, it was about week three that I posted the first four chapters on Scribd. Over 100 people read those chapters, and I have to wonder if some of them then went and bought the book. In short, this is all dumb luck, and I’m at a loss to provide hard evidence of what happened.

It could be just the time of year as well.

So now I enter into the next phase of trying to generate some interest in the book. Print copies have finally arrived in my hands and I’ve set up a book giveaway on Goodreads (check out the contest here).

I hope that this will create some more interest in the book and keep the forward momentum going.

But this perceived success has given me reason for pause. I had planned to plow ahead and work on a separate novel, Gloom, and then work on the sequel to Harbinger, Suture. But I feel an obligation to these wonderful people who’ve given my book a chance. I’ve decided to focus my energies on completing Suture and temporarily shelving my other projects. It hurts a bit, seeing as how Gloom is over 50,000 words, but I know if I keep dividing my energies, I’ll fall behind on Suture-or deliver a book that pales in comparison to the first. A step backward would mean the end of my writing momentum. So, since no one was really all that eager for Gloom and Seeds, I’m putting them on the back burner until Suture has been finished and is seeing the light at the end of the edit tunnel. I’ve also decided to not even try to write anything new that could be a series. One series at a time. Any other books will have to be content with being oneoffs.

So there it is. My progress and my reflections. I know, maybe a little dull, but I felt like all this had to be said… if only for myself 😉

Thank you for all your support and time. If you’ve read Harbinger, send me an email and let me know what you thought.

All the best,

JR