7 Minutes about Free Books

Before I start the timer: As of this posting you have about 80 hours left to get Origin of Storms, my epic space opera adventure novel, for free on Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B084DH8D5Q

Alright. On with the show.

Origin of Storms is free right now, and I have been doing some active research on giveaways and free copies of novels over on the bestseller lists of a couple Amazon stores. Turns out, even without moving a whole lot of copies, a book ranks in the top 100 as long as the cover is nice and the ask isn’t too big.

I wonder if my ask with Origin of Storms is bigger than most of these free Science Fiction stories.

You see, as I discussed yesterday, the book is set in a VERY odd science fiction universe, one that defies comprehension by most people when I try to tell them how it works.

That’s an obstacle. The same could be said for the fact that book is over 600 pages long. I like a long book, but this one is currently my longest volume, and it’s scifi, not epic fantasy, so the genre expectations are different.

Even so, I’m pleased to see people downloading some copies.

I guess there isn’t much to say beyond that I’ve been told free series starters are dead on Amazon. Maybe that isn’t true? I don’t really know, and the book is only on sale until the end of October, so I probably won’t find out if it would do well permanently free.

For years now, I’ve wanted to do a sequel to Origin of Storms. One is in the works, but it’s far from completion. After I’m done with this post, some dictation is in my future.

Wish me luck, friends.

I like to type. I like to talk. Combine these two, and dictation should be fun, and it often is. As long as I don’t lose sight of my purpose in the moment and second of the process, I do alright.

The clock is ticking down.

Thanks for reading.

I’ll be out of here at the beep.

More than 7 Minutes into The Pillar Universe

I like some of the fictional worlds I’ve created. I love most of them.

One I love the best is also among the oldest. I created the first inklings of the Pillar Universe (As seen in the pages of the Forces of Empire series) when I was just a kid, definitely not yet 10 years old.

My thinking at that point was based on Star Wars, the original trilogy, which my parents showed me frequently at the time. Already a big fantasy fan, I fell into space opera or space fantasy (Whatever you call it) with a little more sense of what I wanted to do with my life.

I wanted to tell stories, and I knew pretty fast I liked originality.

While my feelings on originality have changed a little, the universe I created from the thought of “Star Wars plus something new.” have only increased in intensity as I developed the universe.

When I was a kid, I thought the least original part about Star Wars was the ‘geography’ (In a manner of speaking). I wanted to make a universe unlike any other, and for my hubris I ended up with one.

The Pillar Universe is a space opera setting, far-flung science fiction, without the physical hallmarks of traditional science fiction: planets, stars, even the void of space itself was replaced. In my case, I replaced the planets with pillars.

Pillars, in this case, are infinitely tall cylinders of stone with cores inside that go from light to dark and dark to light based on the passage of intervals of time. People live in caves within them or on outrcps arond the surface of these huge cylinders, but they don’t have gravity (The physical laws are different too, but that’s a longer digression).

Everything would fall into the airy, cloudy, abyss of space if it doesn’t have somewhere to land.

The abyss is breathable atmosphere, mostly. So much for the vacuum of space. But say hello to the wonders of storms the size of our solar system, massive hurricanes strong enough to hurl flying ships from the sky to tumble into the forever of mist below the storms.

But I missed a spot, didn’t I? The stars.

Where does heat and light originate? Well, some pillars are geologically active, but I figured that wasn’t enough. The equivalent of stars in the Pillar Universe come in the form of mighty serpentine creatures that are born in hives within some rare pillars and then fly out to find a new home as they mature.

These critters are called solnas, and they are nuclear generators crossed with dragons. Stars…in their multitudes (Please, pardon the Les Miserables reference). These creatures scan the cores of the pillars, which themselves are naturally occurring rudimentary computer systems, and the solnas use the data they garner to find the next place to start a hive to reproduce.

As you can see above, the geographty of the setting is rather steep.

If any of that sounds intriguing, check out Origin of Storms (It’ll be free on Amazon.com from the 27th of October to the 31st, by the way). Here’s a link.

That was well over 7 minutes, so I’m changing the title. Hope you stuck with me through all of the above.

And thanks for reading.

10 Minutes of Relaunch: Orphan Mage

Hey everyone, Orphan Mage (Shifter Empire Book One) is out now. I’m not going to bore you with my usual apologies over not posting more often. A writer’s gotta write, so that’s what I’ve been trying to do and fiction is my bag, far more than blogging.

The latest book is actually a relaunch of the first three books from my older Spells of the Curtain series, which are no longer available. I originally wrote the three novellas as one novel, so now I’ve put them back together as one book.

For those not familiar with the world of Shifter Empire, and haven’t read the novellas, let me fill you in on the book.

Edmath Donroi is a rarity, an orphan who received training as a mage in the Empire of Zel. He has a unique gift to speak to any animal, but unlike the shapeshifting nobility of the nation, he can’t take the form of any of them.

His first love, Chelka, is a Squid Princess, and his best friend Brosk is a prince of the Whale Tribe. That’s the kind of person who becomes a court mage in the empire due to the expense of training. Edmath’s life has been lucky to a point.

When he encounters a murderous boy with a grudge against mages on the way to the imperial city the danger of his bloodline’s past begins to arise. The imperial gardens are a place of grand power, but diplomats and mages of the rival nations make the place perilous as well.

I love this book and the series that follows it. This first book is also one of touchstones for an effective personal writing rate.

To start this book, I took a Saturday and wrote as long and as much as I could. I got over 12,000 words that day. I was swept up in the story, to be honest. I think if you check out Orphan Mage you’ll be swept up too.

The novel is sword and sorcery with a geeky protagonist and an emphasis on sorcery.

Thanks for reading.

Storybundle time!

Hey everyone! I’m pretty excited today, because I’m in a storybundle.com bundle, available right now at www.storybundle.com/steampunk.

Kevin J. Andersen assembled a super-team of books and authors, including little old me. My contribution, Tenlyres, is still one of my best works and there are 12 other books in the bundle, up to and including the novels Kevin wrote with the great Neil Peart of Rush fame (May he rest in peace) .

I can’t say enough good things about the bundle (And my inclusion in it). The bundle is pay what you want, with $15 US required to get every book and not just the first four.

Anyway, this deal is a limited time. I’ll be spreading the word far and wide, naturally. From the date of this posting the bundle has around 30 days left. Click here to get the bundle, share, and enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

My Website may Change and other Thoughts

Hey, folks!

FIRST: I have just 3 review copies of Forces of Empire book one still available. If you’re interested in BIG space opera with epic themes, give the link a click. Now on to the blog post.

SO.

I’m emerging from the trenches of editing and publishing, and I have to say, I like what I’ve been doing in the book world over the past few weeks.

My website, mentalcellarpublications.com needs an overhaul, and I am no doubt losing long-term readers because of my relative primitive presentation over there.

Anyway…

I’ve got good news on the audiobook front. I am having auditions over at ACX right now for narrators to read both Tenlyres and Origin of Storms. Those audiobooks will likely be out sometime in spring 2020.

Also, I have a Pillar Universe short story in Contact This, an anthology assembled by a friend and fellow author, J.R. Handley. That’s a bunch of first contact science fiction stories, rolling around on Amazon.com right now.

Finally, if you like my work, Shadow Prince really is coming soon. Watch this blog for further news.

Thanks for reading.

I gotta get back to the books.

Until I write here again… share and enjoy!

(More Than) 7 Minutes About My Developing Process

Hi everybody! Here we go again, another seven-minute blog.

Run while you still can.

I switched to dictating my fiction last July. After six months of dictating my work, I’m still in getting used to the ins-and-outs of my process. I now produce words 3-5 (Or more) times faster than I did when typing.

I can now create stories far quicker than ever before… in theory. My first mostly-dictated release was Demon Scroll, an epic fantasy novel I launched back in September 2019. As of January 2020, I am really pleased with the results of that book, especially with the slight revision to the opening I did post-publication. A lot of older authors could be a little secretive with the process of their work. Personally, I’m grateful for those who are more transparent.

In that spirit, I’d like to explain a little about my process. Hell, this could take a bit longer than seven minutes.

Buckle up.

When I typed, as I did for more than sixteen years, I always maintained a pretty regular per hour and per-minute rate. I typically managed between 20 and 30 words a minute. Only rarely would I attain a words-per-minute rate of more than 30 for any amount of time. My personal fastest as a typist, with very little correction while working was about 40 words-per-minute while composing at break-neck speed, but I only could keep that up for 5 or 10 minutes at a time.

Those numbers are a little slow for how fast my sentences come to me.

Dictation speed varies a little more for me. At my slowest, I go about 75 words per minute when speaking into a voice recorder. Pretty fast, right? Recently I concluded that rate is what I start at when pacing around or walking outside. Sitting comfortably in a chair? Over one hundred words per minute became pretty normal for me last summer.

I’m still learning.

Yesterday, I attained a rate of 138 words per minute for one of my sessions. That is crazy to me. I did nearly 2500 words in 17 minutes. I’m honestly still kind of knocked out by how fast that chapter appeared in my mind. I don’t see the words while I dictate (If I can see them, I slow down to about my typing speed). I make no corrections and create both freely and sloppily while dictating. The result, however, is I can dictate a 100,000-word novel in just 14 hours of chattering into my recorder.

Editing takes a lot more time than that. I can’t edit 10,000 words in 2 hours. The basic clean-up takes something along the lines of 5 hours for that many words. Spending so much more time on editing than rough-drafting is a major change to my process.

I’m a full-time writer, so the project I’m starting this year is to work 7-8 hours each day on writing and editing combined. I think things will shake out to allow me to write and clean-up about 10,000-12,000 words each day. I am excited to start putting my new process to use to get more books published faster.

I should note, my editing process does not end with clean-up but clean-up is the longest leg of the editing journey where I currently stand. Anyway, I hope to be back with (Probably less number-intensive) posts about my work and my process in the near future.

For now, I gotta put the blog away and get to work on fiction.

Thanks for reading.

Boy oh boy, that was more like a half-hour of blogging.

Happy 2020 and stay safe out there folks.

If you want to support me, check out my Amazon author page and give me a follow there.

Until next time.

7 Minutes of Demon Scroll Launch Day

Demon Scroll launches today!

The book is out! After just over 50 days, Demon Scroll has gone from concept to release. The link above will take you fantasy fans to Amazon.com where you can get the ebook for 99 cents US if you get it before the 9th of September 2019.

I loved creating this book and while it was my first (Almost) fully-dictated novel it most certainly will not be the last.

Writing by dictation is counter-intuitive procedurally for me. However, as a tool it cuts down on the time it takes me to write a rough draft by a considerable margin.

I created all the major elements of the book, including the cover and the internal map.

How did I, who until recently suffered from major lack of energy on top of depression and anxiety, amass energy to do all this in less than two months? I guess I owe the result to a stable situation in my life when combined with the addition of a CPAP machine, which I started using in late June. I never imagined the effect the machine would have on my life and my work. I’ve never possessed more get up and go as an adult.

Mentally speaking, I am very happy to add my thanks to Julia Cameron’s book, “The Artist’s Way” for helping me clear the mustiness from my mind each day with morning pages prior to dictating each day during my rough-draft process. Anyway, that’s 7 minutes.

One last thing. The first edition of the ebook lacks a dedication just on account of my hurry to release the novel. Hopefully that’s all I’ve forgotten going into publication.

This one’s for Joe.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

Demon Scroll is Near!

Hi folks. Woah, it has been a bit since I announced the approach of my first full-length epic fantasy novel, over a month.

In that time, I managed to complete the rough draft of the book and am most of the way through the edits as well.

I’m very proud of the book, Demon Scroll, which is up for preorder at a nice low early bird price right now. Launch day is on September 3rd, 2019. The 99 cent price point won’t last long after that, so check it out as soon as you’re able.

Thanks for reading. I will leave you with a link to the book.

Demon Scroll

I’ll be back before launch day.

As always, thanks for reading.

Seachange. Epic Fantasy incoming!

Hello, everybody.

As many of you know, I’ve tried my hand at publishing science fiction this past six months, but before that I published a series of short fantasy novellas. That series was called The Spells of the Curtain, which now has a compilation of the first five books out on amazon.com right now.

That isn’t the main reason, I’m writing, however.

I have a new book I’m working on. This one will truly be epic fantasy, in the vein of Sanderson, Jordan, and Tolkien as well as many others.

I am in the process of creating the new book but it’s already up for preorder on amazon.com. Demon Scroll is the name of the book, but you can’t read it yet. That brings me to the true point of this post.

There is something out there in my new series I’m proud of and you can read right now.

I previously wrote a little story in the same world, featuring a character who will return in Demon Scroll. That little story is called “The Crimson Suitor” and it is available FREE on bookfunnel.com right now!

Here is a link.

Give the story a read, and start getting hyped for the novel, coming September 3rd. The world of these stories is one I love dearly and have been working on for over a decade. The story you can get for free is kinda short, but you’ll be able to get the full-length 500+ page ebook on Amazon.com for just a buck on launch day.

Thanks for reading.

And if you’re a writer, keep writing. You only fail if you give up completely.

Take care of yourselves, folks.

Delay of Release

Hi everyone!

Sorry for not blogging as much as planned. Honestly, though my mental health has been improving I’m still far from tough in that (Or really any) arena. I don’t have any other excuse for taking so long to edit book 2 of the Pillar Universe series.

After I sent Storm Fleet to the proofreader I took a week to start writing a different story for fun. While I enjoyed the writing, that may have been a mistake as it pushed back the release of Flame Wind, book two in the series when combined with my general difficulty in writing additional scenes for the story.

Anyway, I’m pleased to say that Flame Wind is currently with the proofreader and I will have it published as soon as I get it back and make any necessary changes. Thanks for your patience, especially if you picked up book one. I fully intended to release book two on January 19th (My birthday, incidentally) but through my own slowness that became impossible. Thanks for reading, and I hope 2019 treats you all as well as it possibly can.

Talk to you soon, and have a cover reveal for Flame Wind while you’re here.

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