Yes, I am still working on Tale 3. It is not finished but I hope to release it in 2023. Thank you for your patience. I know this has been a long process. I recommend following me on Facebook for more current info. I will announce once the first draft is completed.
I'm not the most prolific of bloggers or writers, am I? What's been happening in the last several months? Well, I've moved twice and settled down in Omaha, the land where I grew up. I work at two dental offices. And I get at least two emails a month asking me when I'm going to finish the Tale of Light and Shadow series. This post is for one purpose only:
I plan on having some news this summer on that. In the meantime, I sincerely do appreciate everyone's patience. I know it sucks to wait on a book. I've been waiting years for the next book in A Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin. But as I've said before, I will publish book three. It's just a matter of time.
I've decided to post the first part of Super Six in its entirety for my fans and readers to check out and give feedback. Super Six (the novel) is divided into three parts, and I'm posting Part One for you to read. You are welcome to just read it for fun and torture yourself until the rest of the book is finished and published, or you can download it and treat it like you are an editor and leave your thoughts and feedback for me to use in future drafts.
The best way to do the latter option is to download the word doc below, mark "Track Changes" in Microsoft Word, and then email me the finished product when you are done. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you impress me enough, I may even ask you to become a Beta reader for me, which means I'll see if you want to read my novels and offer good, helpful criticism and commentary to help me polish up my novels. A good Beta reader offers more help than just say "Wow! Loved the book!" Or "This really wasn't for me." They go into specifics about things they liked, things they didn't like, and try to figure out what bothers them.
Keep in mind that this is still the 2nd draft of Super Six, so it's not terribly polished and there may be mistakes. So you are certainly welcome to catch that kind of stuff like grammar, spelling, punctuation, but it's not required. I'm looking more for what's working and not working as you read the story.
I've included PDF and Doc formats.
So ... it's been a long long time since I've posted. The good news is that since my last post I've published Psion Omega and written a new novel. YAY!
Also during that time, I met with Shadow Mountain and discussed the sales and future of A Tale of Light and Shadow. Unfortunately for everyone, the two Tale books are just not selling well. Shadow Mountain Publishing loves the books and wishes they had done better. I love the story and want to tell it. However, the readers aren't responding.
For the most part, reviews have been good. In fact, they've been pretty solid. Most people who actually buy it really like it. But that hasn't translated into good word-of-mouth sales. The publisher tried rebranding the books with new covers to make them look like romance novels. (I vehemently opposed this decision), but it didn't make much of a difference.
When we met they said that they are very on the fence about publishing #3. When they asked me what I thought, I was honest. I am at a point in my career where I can't write books that no one wants to read. I realize that Tale 2 does not give the reader much closure. And I have written at least half, maybe more, of Tale 3. I know how the whole thing ends. But if I ever want to reach my goal of becoming a writer who can write full time, I can't work on a book that will sell a handful of copies. That's just the crappy truth.
And frankly, I can't finish Tale 3 and self-publish until the rights revert back to me. I don't know much about that process, except that it will happen eventually. So will there be closure? Yes, hopefully. Someday. If nothing else, I'll figure out a way to let people know how the story ends.
I'm very sorry about this. But that's the way the business works. Shows, movies, and books sometimes don't get to reach their proper conclusion because they aren't popular enough--for whatever reason. Some people have said this series is better than my Psion series. I don't know if that's true. I like them both. But Psion has resonated better with more readers.
In the meantime, I've written Super Six and am now working on the second draft. I still plan to launch another series called Unknown or Clone or something. Not really sure what it will be called. I've written large chunks of it. I'm really happy with how much writing I've been getting done these days, but it may be awhile before anything gets into readers' hands. I am legally obligated to show Super Six to Shadow Mt. for their possible selection. I'd also like to show it around to agents and see if I can manage to snag one of those. If not, I'll self-publish it.
In the meantime, you're welcome to contact Shadow Mt about A Tale of Light and Shadow and demand that they give you more. I don't know if it will help much, but it never hurts. I will try to do a better job of keeping you informed. Here is the first 3 chapters of Super Six (2nd draft). It's about I'm sure it's a little rough, but I'm happy to hear your thoughts (praises or constructive criticisms) in the comments here or on Facebook or twitter.
I know I've been AWOL a lot this summer, but I am slowly working on Tale 3 and starting some research as to what may end up being my next book. Super Six has hit the backburner for now simply because I am not sure what is going to be so awesome about it. (It probably sounds worse than it is.) To be quite frank, I feel a little bit like an abandoned swimmer in the middle of the ocean with endless opportunities and possibilities around me, but unsure which way to go.
The Psion series was always my anchor, or my boat if we're continuing with the swimmer analogy, and now I'm not sure where to go. I've still got to publish Psion Omega, but that work is almost done. And now I'm having a hard time deciding what to do, what to write, what's really interesting to me at the moment. I've got ideas. I always have ideas. But I want to write something that's truly awesome and gets me excited the way Sammy did.
The Psion Beta audiobook is moving forward. We had a slight setback with Commander Byron's voice. The narrator thought he was from Kentucky, not Kansas, so now all his dialogue needs to be re-done. But I expect you'll get that in Aug. sometime. If you want to have the whole series done, please support the audiobook because we aren't going to record Gamma until we've recouped the cost of the first book (needs to earn ~$2000 in sales).
Fortunately, my narrator, Jeff Simpson, is doing a fantastic job. All the characters have their true accents: Brickert is Irish, Jeffie is Norwegian, Sammy is British (south african), Maad Rosmir is Indian. It's a lot of work and he's doing quite well. I hope you enjoy his work and get the audio book.
Also, for those of you who've read Secrets of Neverak (Tale 2), we could really use your help spreading the word on Goodreads and Amazon with reviews. Please take a few minutes and share your thoughts on the book if you've read it. The Psion books could always use some reviews too. Nothing motivates an author more than knowing people love his books. And frankly, I could use a little reader love. Is this me fishing for reviews? Maybe a little. But more just fishing for a pat on the back. Or a literary foot rub.
I got Psion Omega back from the Beta readers and all of them were very pleased and offered great insights into improving the story and character arcs. Sometimes I don't know what I'd do without them. Since Psion Gamma (or even Beta for one), these six people have read and offered great feedback:
John Wilson (a friend from dental school)
Britta Peterson (also my cover artist, and her husband read early draft chapters of Psion Beta while I was still in undergrad)
Ben Van Tassell
So now I'm working on Psion Omega, the 4th draft, and going through chapter by chapter to tighten up plot and character points, clarify and expound on things, etc. Fun stuff, really. I think we are on track for a September release! However, some of you are having a hard time waiting, so I will release a chapter a week for the next few weeks. Please keep in mind that I still may go back and edit these chapters more, so I'd recommend re-reading them when you get the final product. However, I don't anticipate them changing too much.
So after doing a lot of thinking and reading and reviewing of notes and stuff, I've decided that my next project will be Super Six. I was torn between this and more books in the Psion Universe, but decided to go this route for a few reasons:
1. It's totally ready to go w/ a full fleshed out mythology and characters.
2. I've already written 65 pages of it.
3. I have a clear vision for the first book and the series as a whole.
4. I'm excited about it.
I don't know whether I'll self-publish it or shop it around first. I think I'm contractually obligated to at least show it to Shadow Mt. and see if they like it, so I'm sure to do that first. However, I really enjoy self-publishing and may very well ultimately pursue that route. We shall see. Lots of time to decide which direction to go.
A little bit about Super Six:
1. It's a mashup between Avatar: The Last Airbender and 1984.
2. Main character is Jack, who suffers from panic disorders and haphephobia.
3. It is an alternative history story.
4. Sci-fi/fantasy mash up.
5. International cast similar to Psion Beta.
More details to come in the future. Meanwhile, Psion Omega is being read by my Beta readers. So far the feedback is very positive.
Psion Omega is really coming along. I finished the second draft today. And now that I can breathe a little easier knowing that the book doesn't totally suck, I am thinking, "What next?"
I've never finished a series before. Obviously, I still have ATOLAS, but sales aren't going too well for that series, so I am not rushing into work on a project that may not have a future. The second book is turned into Shadow Mt and I've written a good chunk of the 3rd. The whole book is mapped out, but unwritten.
I have so many ideas in my head, some are even partially written. Super Six, the Clone Saga, Hunt, The Ring Maker, Grim Land. All of these are working titles for books I have in mind. I just need to figure out which one I'm most passionate about and see what happens. One thing I may consider is Hunt because it's a standalone story. [Who knew they existed?] And I've written a third of it. I may even post a sample chapter for you to read and you can tell me if it's something you're interested in reading more of.
However, I'm also interested in finding an agent. I haven't had any luck on that front, so part of me wants to write something I can shop around and get serious looks at. I'll need to take that into consideration as well. [Recently Sam Shepard of Jabberwocky Literary Agency rejected me!] I've also thought about rewriting Psion Beta and improving it to attract a publisher, but I fear that may be a waste of time.
When you read Psion Omega, you may see subtle signs that are setting it up for the next series in the Psion Universe: the Clone Saga. However, I don't want to give you the impression that I will drop you with ANOTHER cliffhanger ending. I promise that you will have PLENTY of resolution. No, not all your favorite characters will survive, but you'll at least be able to sleep a little easier not wondering how Sammy is going to get out of that underground bunker in Rio or some such mess.
And if I do push forward the Psion Universe like I plan, it will be in such a way that readers may feel enriched by the first series, but will certainly not need it to understand what is going on. I hope you readers will enjoy the final book. I know some people hate seeing characters they love die, but, well, it's a war story. Bodies have dropped in every book.
I know. I know. I know. I know many of you expected Psion Omega over a month ago. And all I can say about why you don't have it is because I refuse to publish a book until its quality is good enough for the money I charge for it. Also, I hadn't written the first draft until just a few months ago. :)
Unbeknownst to you, I've been writing the 2nd draft of the book, and it's going well. I'm over halfway through, and expect to finish it in February. Then I will run through it again to make sure everything makes sense. And then it will go to my beta readers. (And yes, I already have beta readers.)
They will get a month to read it (April?), criticize it, praise it, whatever, and then I'll rewrite it in May and June. Then I will format it so it looks nice for your Kindle/paperback/Nook. And by SEPTEMBER! I hope to release it.
So there you go. September.
Long live Sammy!
First of all, to all my readers, happy holidays. I apologize for the lack of updates recently, but I've been busy with work and moving into a new house, which includes painting, hauling, shopping, cleaning, and sorting.
I've had some people recently ask me for some advice on self-publishing, so I'm going to give whoever wants it some advice if they decide to go this route. I am still very happy that I self-published, and would do it again in a heartbeat. I've done well, better than most probably, but I think anyone can do well in this regard if the writing and presentation is good. So, without further delay, here's my advice:
1. Put out a polished, great product. When I first published Psion Beta, I was shocked that it had so many errors, and I vowed to never let that happen again. So I paid people to edit the book after that. Since then, I think I've cut down dramatically on internal grammar and punctuation errors. 2-3 errors in a book is understandable and forgivable, but more than that becomes a distraction. I highly recommend paying for this service if you can afford it.
2. Have a plan to put out books regularly. I have tried to self-publish a book a year. Psion Omega is the exception, mostly because of the Tale series that popped up unexpectedly. However, the book will be out next year, finishing the series. If you can't put out at least a book a year, you may find yourself losing your audience. Consider pre-writing the entire series, and then releasing them every 6-12 months.
3. Rely on word of mouth to advertise. People talk about books they read. They post about them in social media. Don't be afraid to ask your readers for reviews. A new authors NEEDS them. Be bold, but not annoying. I have seen little success in paid advertising for self-published books. Weigh the cost vs benefits of giving your book away from time to time in order to spread the word. Consider discounting it to attract readers.
4. Cover. Cover. Cover. I think my covers have improved as I've self-published more Psion books. Britta Peterson and I work together on them, and I know she's improved as well. I'm proud of the covers I have, and I know that a cover can make or break whether someone buys a book. Pay the price to get a solid cover.
5. Don't lose hope. My first month, I sold around 4 books. Then 11. Steadily it grew. It takes time. Believe in what you've written and continue to write. Series will sell better than stand alone books. People like series. I don't know why. They just do.
6. Consider your publications options carefully. I choose to distribute the Psion books through all ebook channels at first, then pull them exclusively under the Amazon umbrella because that's where I seem to make most of the money. However, Nook, Smashwords, iBooks, etc all offer different experiences. Try them all before deciding on one.
I hope this helps those of you who are considering this route. If I've missed anything or you have more questions, please sound off in the comments. In the meantime, Happy Reading and Long Live Sammy!
I am an Author.
And a dentist. And a husband. And a daddy. And a movie lover. And opinionated.
1. Super Six:
-First draft finished
2. Tale 2: Secrets of Neverak
4. Tale 3