Friday, August 1, 2014

Book ideas

I'm not sure I want to dive right into the next Illuma series after I finish my current trilogy. I have some ideas for stand alone books that I'm toying with.
I might put it up for a vote to see which idea is most popular...

1) A bullied teen unlocks a terrifying power. After he first uses it, he is visited by his future self and given a mission. He is to destroy an enemy he hasn't even met yet before she can gain prominence and bring genocide against their kind - the Gifted.

2) Jack Johnston is an ex-sniper from the Federation Forces in the year 3020. These days he's doing mercenary and assassination work to pay the bills while dodging Federation agents who want to see him hanged for his crimes. He's just landed a huge contract with an easy mark. A pacifist named Cain is making a circuit of the worlds in an attempt to unite humanity, and it's Jack's job to put an end to his tour. But when Cain's right-hand woman Lilith gets thrown into the mix, Jack dies, and that's when his life gets really interesting.

3) Adventure tourism in the melting ice caps leads to a discovery in tunnels carved out from water runoff: a human is frozen deep beneath the glacial surface. But analysis shows that the being is more than human, and more than dead. A battle that has lain dormant for thousands of years is about to erupt anew, and humans are the weapons.

4) Three siblings have it pretty easy living at home with their parents, an overbearing Archknight Paladin for a father, and a smothering mother who is a Wizardess for the King. But when the king summons them because of some vague prophesy, Gregor, Sardo, and Traythaius are forced onto a path they are ill-prepared for. Can a mercenary, a stable-hand, and a tailor end a 400 year old war?

Okay, #4 isn't actually a stand alone book. That's the first book in the four book Strongblade Siblings series. I figure I should put it on the table, because I might just continue on with it if people enjoy the Empire's Foundation trilogy.

One thing's for sure: I need to write more. Even if the stuff I write past the Empire's Foundation trilogy doesn't get published, I just love it as a creative outlet.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New throat, new video

My throat feels 100% better now after going under the knife (oh quit being so dramatic - the whole thing from numbing to cutting took less than 5 minutes), so I've remade my prologue reading video. It's got some small changes compared to the old one, and ooohhh... background poster (sorry for the fuzzy quality - it was either focus on me, or the poster, and I won [barely]!).

You also might notice some slight stutters if you watch the video closely. I did some minor editing to remove other stutters!

Enjoy!


My plan is to do another similar video, but with a scene from the book that showcases all three protagonists without giving any spoilers. I'm thinking the extended scene that I used for a previous #SaturdayScenes that illustrates why Eliza's on the cover. I really enjoy that whole sequence, and it isn't available for free anywhere, so it would be new content. [I'm so excited to get some new writing out there to give actual new content to fans!]



I'm also looking for beta readers. I finished a second draft of my upcoming novella, Demon Invasion, and I'd like some people to take a peek at it and see what they think. I'm looking for general feedback on things like pacing, characters, and storyline. It's not professionally edited yet, so it will be a bit [really] rough.
Also, you need to not be bothered by really awful names.
There are a lot of fantasy readers who hate ridiculous names. If you're one of those people, don't bother offering to help. You'll be throwing your e-reader across the room on the first page.

There are names like...
Azcydokl (Acid-oh-kul)
Czoqdayx (Sock-day-ks)
Gotrelxzid (Got-relcks-zid)
Rtiqgovdel (Rr-tick-gov-dell)
Xarto Klendyz (Zart-oh Klen-diz)

I have put a glossary at the end with a list of demons and how to pronounce their names. I just put some sort of mental marker on a name and skip actually reading it.

Anyway, here's the blurb I put on my website. Let me know if you'd like to check it out. It's only 25,000 words so it shouldn't take too long to get through.

Fleeing his fiery home world, Glezxnodin seeks to make a name for himself and guide his fellow demons to a better life. Their invasion wreaks havoc upon Illuma, but they learn that although their kind had once been dominant, the lesser races have risen up. Can Glezxnodin’s demonic allies rise to the top, or will they fall to a foe even more terrible than they left behind?

Friday, July 25, 2014

New Website & Writing Stuff

Don't worry, I'll be keeping this writing blog. I like having a weekly diary where I can talk about what I've been up to, whether it's writing, editing, or reading.

But I wanted something that looked a bit more like a professional website, and less like a laid-back pool of thoughts and goings-on.

Its home (for now) is http://ryantoxopeus.wordpress.com/

It's not much to look at, but I mostly just wanted to try out Wordpress because I keep hearing about it, so I'll play around with it for the next little while until I get it to be what I want.
Then I'm considering paying a bit for my own domain and getting a real website up.

But that might wait until I've at least got the second book out for sale. Even though it's relatively inexpensive ($50 for a year), we just don't have anything extra to put into our hobbies right now. Maybe if I do another print run on my book and do well at a con or two I might put some aside for a real website, but for now we'll just have to wait and hope nothing else breaks down!



In other news, my wife finished reading A Wizard's Gambit last night. She's got a list of things for me to fix... words that weren't quite right, or overused (sometimes using the same descriptor twice in one sentence... ugh - this is why we have beta readers and editors!).

Although she loved it, I asked her to put some thought into things she liked, things she felt could use some work, and things she didn't like at all.

She had one suggestion for a more sizable change, because I sort of glossed over a major event later in the book, and she felt the sacrifices and hardships of the people should have been emphasized more. So I'm going to look into making that change.

She also said one part at the end made her sad, but that's not changing. ;) 



Also, I've been working away at re-reading Demon Invasion, my upcoming novella that deals with Glezxnodin, a powerful demon lord who is first introduced to readers in the prologue for A Wizard's Gambit.

It's... not going to be for everyone. I know there are some readers with a real hate-on for weird names. I usually gloss over complicated names, too. But it's a book about a small army of demons. The story is quite a lot of fun. There's lots of action and intrigue, and I think there's a demon in there for everyone to get the shivers from.

I've also added a glossary at the back for anyone who really wants to know how to pronounce each demon's name. I'm not even sure I mention all of them by name in the story (probably not), but they'll all be at the back with a brief physical description.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Realm Keepers: Episode 1 review

The Breakfast Club meets Gandalf



+Garrett Robinson and Z. C. Bolger bring us this fun adventure which is the first segment in a larger story and thus gives the reader a chance to sample the work and see if they're interested in continuing on with it.

For those familiar with John Hughes' The Breakfast Club, imagine those characters being dragged to an alternate universe with magic where there are hoards of bad guys trying to kill legions of good guys... possibly because the bad guys wear black, and the good guys are all in bright gleaming armour. Maybe the brightness offends the eyes of the shadow people, I don't know. The Bad Guy seems to be evil just cuz.

It's FULL of cliches. Everything about it is cliched. But it pokes fun at its cliches with Calvin's character who figures out everything that's going on because he's read all the fantasy novels. I don't know yet if I'll continue on with the series... I might pick up the second episode to see if it starts to distinguish itself as something different, or if Gandalf - I mean Greystone - will continue to talk to them about how awesome and unique they are and tell them all about their destinies. I read a few reviews of Episode 2 and it sounds promising... switching the POV among the 6 main characters sounds like a fun idea, and seeing how Calvin was probably the funniest/most interesting of the bunch, I like the idea that he's up next for POV.
I won't get the full book yet, but I'll likely pick up Episode 2 soon.

4/5 stars

If you're interested in checking it out, this first episode is free! Check it out here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Derelict Review



I just finished reading +Lisa Cohen's science fiction book Derelict.

It is great!

As a matter of fact, I think it's the best indie book I've read, and I'm going to put it in my mental list of books I'd suggest for my kids to read when they're older.

The four main characters are well fleshed out and following their individual stories fully immersed me in their lives. Each character had problems with their parents (who doesn't at that age?), but as the story unfolds you learn more and more that puts you fully in the kids' corners.

I think the only thing I found to be somewhat unbelievable was how each of the four kids on the backwater space station was a genius at something. Ro and Jem with their programming, Barre with his music, and Micah with his botany. If there were other young people on the station, I don't remember them being mentioned, but the fact that it's a lightly populated base makes it statistically improbable that you'd have 4 kids who are undoubtedly geniuses.

That one minor point aside, the book was incredible. Just when you think things can't get worse they do. I was waiting for one other shoe to drop at the end, but it didn't play out the way I anticipated. And that was fine. I like being wrong sometimes, and by the end of the book I was more than ready for the kids to have one less obstacle in their paths!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fast-paced, intriguing stories with no shortage of action and suspense. This was an easy 5/5.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Goodbye Facebook (again)

I've heard of two stories lately that have driven me away from Facebook. They've had a long history of ignoring people's privacy concerns, and now that they are looking to actively sell our data to advertisers, and information has come out about unethical research being done with their platform in the UK I'm moving out.

As some of you may remember, I left Facebook a long time ago for Google+ (find me here). The only reason I came back was because I wrote a book and wanted to spread the word through as many social media sites as possible. I have accounts on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn for the same reason. I don't use any of them regularly except for Google+, where I post daily.

I've been irked with Facebook for some time now. Between having more advertisements in my stream than posts from people I know, Facebook harassing me to give them money when I have a post that does well for my writing fan page, and the "guilt trip images" that circulate like the plague there (e.g., My REAL friends will repost this..., Only 3% of people will share this..., etc.), I find the site more of a nuisance than anything.

To those who have followed my fan page there, thank you. I appreciate the support you showed me, but I'll be starting it up over on Google+.

I know my wife will be staying with Facebook because there isn't an app for Google+ on the Blackberry (If you know of one, let me know!). So if you're family, and you want to see pictures of the kids still, you can look at her stream. I never post pictures of the kids there anyway, since Facebook owns any pictures you post, and sells them to advertisers. (So does Twitter and LinkedIn, apparently... good thing I don't post anything substantial to either of those)

So, farewell Facebook.

To my friends and family who staunchly refuse to leave the NSA's/advertiser's wet-dream social media site, you have my other contact information, and I have yours. We'll keep in touch. :)

(My account will still exist - other sites that I use, such as Goodreads, use Facebook to log in. I just won't be logging into Facebook directly anymore)


Friday, July 11, 2014

Freedom to write

This has been a busy summer so far, and it might be quieting down a bit now. With both of my scientific conferences out of the way, holidays over, and things moving right along at work, I might be able to get more writing done.

That's not to say I haven't been writing. I have 20,000 words done on A Hero's Birth, and I finished writing my novella Demon Invasion. Both of those happened after my last draft of A Wizard's Gambit went out to my editor and beta readers.

I just feel like I have been slacking off a bit because I've had 2 or 3 weeks this summer where I've done no writing. I hate that feeling. Now that I'm committed to getting this trilogy done, I want to pound away at it until I'm finished. That will (hopefully) mean that the third book won't take as long to bring out as the second one is. I took quite a long break after A Noble's Quest was released, because I didn't know if people would even like it.

But after receiving kind words and wonderful reviews, I know I'm hooked on this now, so there's been no pause, other than those where I've been unable to write.

So here we are, 20,000 words into the book. Approximately 120,000 to go (rough guess based on the length of A Wizard's Gambit... it might be longer), leaving me with 40 weeks of writing if I do 3,000 per week.

I just looked at the calendar, and that brings me to April 11th, 2015: my birthday! Sounds pretty karmic to me.