Book 4 Update

Hello all.

I know, I know, I was going to try and write here more often. Again, I’ve failed miserably.

Have any of you noticed a harder time getting motivated and/or happy? This year, it seems very difficult to do either. I wish I could give you some grand tale of conquering illness, or surpassing nigh impossible odds, but I’d be lying. In truth, I’ve just been horribly depressed.

And that is the round-a-bout way of saying book 4, Ragnarok, is taking longer than expected.

With the previous three books, I wrote, then deleted, then got off to a good start with the second try. It’s taken me six attempts to get this book right. The good news is, I’ve finally found that point. And yes, I’m well beyond just the start, but not nearly as close to finished as I’d hoped.

I won’t lie, this book scares me. One last chance to make this series special. One final moment to leave the reader (you) satisfied and feeling their time was worth giving. Some days it feels like an impossible task.

But I keep writing.

No firm release date today. I’m sorry. Right now, I think it would be realistic to say expect it around the same time as Resonance–early December.

I’ll work harder.

So that’s the pathetic exscuse of an update–I’m alive and working on the book. Which I suppose is better than many alternatives.

Thanks for hanging in there. I promise I’m doing what I can to make it worth your while.

Until next time, hope life is treating you better than well,

JR

Resonance is Live!

Book three of The Bleeding Worlds, Resonance, is finally here! I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this one. Writing it was a tough battle. I can’t say why, but I struggled. At the same time, there’s plenty of things in this book I’m proud of.

Perhaps the hardest part was accepting it needed to live on its own, instead of being the final book. When I gave myself entirely to that realization, the book seemed to come together much faster.

Thank you for your patience. Hopefully, you won’t wait as long for the next one, as I’m already laying groundwork for Ragnarok. Some scenes are written, and I’m working with a new piece of software called Scapple to help plot the book before writing in earnest.

Until then, enjoy Resonance.

All the best,

JR

Looking for places to purchase The Bleeding Worlds, Book Three, Resonance? Go to the book page for links to a variety of retailers.

Book Three (Resonance) Update

Hello Everyone.

Sorry I haven’t posted much here lately. Just thought I’d give a quick update on Book Three’s progress.

In two weeks, the cover will be revealed and preorders will begin on Amazon. I don’t have a finalized release date right now, but I will when the preorder begins. I can say it will be in November.

And yes, that’s so much later than I had hoped and planned.

This book has proven very difficult to write. I can’t begin to explain why, because I’m not too sure of the answer. My thinking is it has more to do with me personally than it does the actual material. To be honest, the story has me pretty excited. It took me places I hadn’t originally planned for, but am very glad I discovered.

And as a little heads up, the cover will be entirely different from the original work in progress I posted earlier. When I decided to split the last book into two, I didn’t think the direction of the cover was correct, so that’s gone back to the drawing board too. I look forward to sharing the new, and finished, cover with you in two weeks.

Thanks for hanging in there. I know this one has had several delays, and I am entirely to blame. I can only hope when you finally have it in your hands you think it was worth the wait.

More soon,

JR

Does the Creator’s Opinion Matter?

Don’t worry, this isn’t a religious debate. It’s in regards to an idea I was introduced to via a video on YouTube (link will be at end of post).

Background

If you’ve followed the blog for a while, or my Twitter/Facebook/YouTube feeds, you’re probably aware that I am a fan of anime (Japanese Animation). One of my favorite series of all time is Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Evangelion (Eva, or NGE, for short) was an anime in the mecha genre released by Gainax in 1997. Depending on who you talk to, it either revolutionized anime or was a narrative mess. Regardless, it has had a long and lasting impact on the fan base and particularly on the mecha genre.

The video I recently watched was in regard to the creator of Eva, Hideaki Anno, being quoted as saying he didn’t understand all the fuss. That in his opinion Eva was a simple show with a lot of symbols and such thrown in just to make it look cool. The video then asks a simple question; Even if that is what Anno thinks, does it matter?

Creators, not Interpreters

I’ve published two novels and have several more works either underway or in the planning stages. Each of them means something to me. I’ve tried to weave meanings into them that may never be apparent to anyone other than myself. But does that give me the right to tell every reader what their own interpretation and meaning is?

Assuming we release art (by which I mean all forms of expression) for more than just profit, we must be seeking an emotional response from the people who view and consume that art. Art is conversation, not lecture. If I wish to convey a specific message and it fails, I have no one to blame but myself. On the other hand, if a reader finds an entirely different message that means something to them, who am I to say they are wrong?

Our personal interpretation of art and evaluation of its merits is informed by our own experience and emotional core. Since no two people have lived an identical life, there is bound to be a difference of opinion. If anything, that prospect thrills me. I find it disheartening that any creator would devalue their own work, and their fans’ opinions, in such a way. Besides, if a work contains symbols and archetypes that are just thrown in without any thought to how they belong, the audience is generally intelligent enough to realize it.

Once my words are on paper, my job is finished. I won’t be hovering over your shoulder as you read, pointing out my intended subtext (good thing too, that would be creepy). Some will love the words, others hate them. To some, the words will speak to them, while others will be left feeling cold. That is the nature of art, and I have no place to tell someone whether they are right or wrong.

This also speaks to the cardinal rule of authors, which is to not make comments on the reviews left by readers. Certainly, if the review is nothing but personal attack, issue should be raised, but when someone presents a well thought out and balanced criticism, it shouldn’t be ignored. In fact, it should be heeded. There are many unfortunate instances where authors didn’t keep their mouths shut. Their insistence that the audience was wrong did nothing but damage their careers and alienate the very people they supposedly wanted to reach.

In Harbinger, I left a few dangling ideas and story bits. I did that because I wanted the ideas planted, but didn’t want to fully address them until Suture. These dangling ideas were probably the most cited issue people had with Harbinger. And so, in Suture, I sought to leave no dangling ideas. By the end, characters are in precarious positions, and there’s still one or two mysteries left, but they are ongoing ones, not one off sentences that are never addressed again. You the readers, who voiced your opinions, made me change mine. In the same way, Bleeding Worlds Book Three might be influenced by the response to Suture. Like I said, it’s a conversation.

So if you’re an artist, make the best art you can. But realize the moment it leaves your hands, your exclusive right to say what it means is at an end. And if you are a consumer of art, let your heart tell you what it means without fear of being “wrong.”

Talk further soon,

JR

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.