Friday, September 12, 2014

Sprinting to the finish line

"Hey, Ryan," you say, smacking a baseball bat against the palm of your hand. "You haven't given any writin' updates lately. What gives? You avoidin' your obligations to bring out a second book?"

No! Don't beat me! You'll be happy to know that I've been blitzing editing like crazy for A Wizard's Gambit. When I did the math, I realized that I couldn't possibly make a Christmas release, so I buckled down, dropped my other projects, and have been working over time. My wife said I should dedicate this insane pacing to Breaking Bad, because she's been binge watching it while I've been working away. :)

I still don't know if it will be out for Christmas. I hope so. All I can do is work as fast as I can, and hope for the best. I have 14,000 more words to edit, and then it's off to my aunt for one last check.

I'm so excited to get this book out. I was howling the other night as I read through one of the scenes, and my wife looked at me with an expression that said, "This had better be funny, because if you wake up the kids this will be your last laugh!" I told her what scene I was editing, and she smiled. Kelly, William, and Jim are my favourite minor characters.

While I'm waiting for round two of edits, I'll be slowing down my pacing, but working toward writing book 3 so there's less lag time between releases. I don't want my readers to have to wait too long to see how the series ends! Plus I'm curious how it will wrap up, too - I have a few ideas floating around with one standing out as the likely conclusion, but I'll just have to wait and see what I feel like when I get there.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

"Meet my character" blog tour

+AmyBeth Inverness invited me to play along in a blog tour where we answer seven questions about one of our characters.
I've chosen this weaselly bloke from my upcoming epic fantasy:

1) What is the name of your character?  Is he fictional or a historic person? 

Sarentha Wyrmstriker is a fictional character. He was created by my friend Stu Creighton for one of our gaming sessions, and I've heavily modified him.

2) When and where is the story set?

A Wizard's Gambit starts out in Tamor, the capital of the Tamorran Empire. It immediately follows A Noble's Quest, beginning the morning after the end of that book's final chapter.

3) What should we know about him?

He's flawed - sarcastic, short, weak, unattractive. But he's also highly motivated to change his life for the better. 

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?

His main conflict is his station in life. Being a simple peasant is hard and thankless. I don't know that anything "messes up his life" because he's already been at the bottom and is working his way up. He sees opportunities when life throws challenges at him. Probably the only thing he would consider a wrench in his plans is his love for a woman who will not return his affections. But that just drives him harder to better himself.

5) What is the personal goal of the character?

Sarentha wants to amass wealth. Having grown up in an orphanage and having nothing, he thinks life will be grand when he has enough money to buy everything he's ever wanted. That sounds pretty naive, and even he starts to realize it part way through A Wizard's Gambit.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

As I mentioned before, this book is called A Wizard's Gambit. I have a sneak peek on my blog (click here), a promotional video on YouTube, and I'm always up for chatting about my work if you want to find me on Google+. I also have a fan page over on Facebook, but I've given up on the platform over their disregard for privacy rights, so the only time I'll post anything there is for major announcements like book releases.

7) When can we expect the book to be published?

I'm hoping before winter this year, but as late as Spring 2015. It depends on how fast we can get it edited and out the door. I'm half way through my first round of edits with my editor right now.

To continue with the blog tour, I nominate +Andy Goldman, +Lisa Cohen, and +Shen Hart

Friday, August 29, 2014

Turkey's #1

It's true, Turkey is the country with the most hits on my blog this week, edging the USA out of that coveted position! Thank you, Turkey! Maybe it's because we had a Masters student in our lab from Turkey, and she has spread the word to her family about my book... if so, thank you! Or maybe you just stumbled here and find my writing diary interesting. That's great, too! Happy to have you aboard. :)

Five books are off to Fan Expo this week! A fellow Guelph writer, Alexander Dundass, has gone there and offered to take a few of my books to spread the love. I'm looking forward to sharing a table with him again at GenreCon later this year!

For fans of A Noble's Quest, you will be happy to know that I am half way though editing A Wizard's Gambit! And when I say that, I mean 1/4 of the way through, because we're still going to do a second pass on the book after this draft to try to catch anything that we've missed along the way.

I'm also working on a "Friends" section for my wordpress site where I'll be listing a bunch of authors I've met over the years to help boost the signal for their writing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Star Wars: The Whole Force

I'm slowly picking away at my first fan fic. The idea is if I have a few minutes here and there, I can write a few lines for fun... maybe 100-200 words at a time.

It's over on Wattpad if anyone's interested. There isn't a heck of a lot there yet. About 400 words. I'm not going to bother linking to it, other than here, and maybe after it's got some meat to it.

I came up with the idea of the Exuberant a while ago when I pondered the question of WHY the Dark Side is so hard for the Jedi to sense. The answer I eventually came up with was that the Jedi and Sith are quite different, but not true opposites!

Think about this... the Sith are power hungry and ferocious. Is the opposite of that... calm and defensive... or maybe happy and loving?

Instead of a linear relationship, I view it on two axes.

1) Defensive to Aggressive
2) Angry to Happy

The Jedi sit on the Defensive end of the spectrum, but are smack between Angry and Happy because they refuse to feel any emotion strongly. Maybe a true opposite to the Sith would be Happy and Defensive.

So I'm taking the Sith as being Aggressive and Angry, and the Exuberant are Defensive and Happy - they are true opposites, allowing them to sense each other through the Force without difficulty.

I've gone waaayyy back in time, so don't expect to see any familiar faces here. :) 

Without further ado... 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Racing right along

I finished the second draft of Cattle and sent it off to for them to take a look at. I hope they accept it for the anthology, but I know they're starting to build up steam and have a lot of people interested in taking part. So we'll see!

I discovered the ability to make animated gifs from Youtube videos this week and had some fun with that... 

My first attempt was with the A Noble's Quest video that +Harvey Bunda put together for me...

Unfortunately the conversion only works in whole seconds, so I can't cut out that fraction of a second that Eliza shows up in this title gif, and it looks weird if I start it a second later.

I wish I could add an extra half second to this one. I can't quite fit the title and the whole image into 10 seconds. I might just have to live without a gif for A Noble's Quest.

I love the way this one turned out. The scene pans quickly, so there's time for the whole cover plus the title.

In more important news, three more chapters of A Wizard's Gambit are edited.

I'm going to be putting some paper back copies of A Noble's Quest out there at some conferences. There are three that I'm hoping to do... Genrecon is here in Guelph, the Eden Mills Writers Festival is just east of Guelph, and I might be getting some books into Fan Expo, too!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Character Cards

My next (and last) Indiegogo campaign is somewhere in the not-too-distant future, and I've been doing some pre-planning with the amazing artist +Harvey Bunda  (check out his website).

He has already suggested doing full paintings of the cover art for the three books - these will be unique paintings, signed by both of us, one for each book.

But I wanted something else that would be unique to the Indiegogo campaign that won't be at such a high price point. So here's my plan:

I need $500 for developmental editing, so I'm going to put that as my "goal." If you reach your goal, you get a higher percentage back. If you miss your goal, Indiegogo keeps more of it.

I will have a stretch goal of $750 for the cover art. For every $100 above my goal, I'll toss in a free character card to anyone who has ordered a perk that requires delivery to a physical address.

I'm not set on which characters will get their own cards yet...
Thomas, Sarentha, and Eliza are obvious choices.
I'd likely do Lord Winston, Ramar Wettias, Ben, and Thurzin.

Beyond that, I'm not so certain. Honestly, 7 characters is probably more than I need. What are the odds I'll raise the entire $1250?

Well, my hope is that now that I'll be finishing up the trilogy, maybe people who like a full series before they start will just order the whole thing through the Indiegogo. I'll be making the whole trilogy available through one e-book perk (probably around $10) and one paper back perk (no idea on the price, yet). 

And unlike the usual "thank you" perk for $1, I'm going to give anyone who donates $1 a background image for their desktops. It'll look like this, except with the third cover finished:

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Heading to the Ranch was supposed to be a simple job. But when Kyp arrives to pick up one head of dairy cattle, she is faced with a moral dilemma; she fears the animal might be sentient despite scientific claims to the contrary.

The sci-fi short story is sitting a little over 8600 words right now, and I'm going to leave it for a bit before going through it for my second draft. 

This is the short story I've been working on for the past few weeks for One of their next Theme-Thology anthologies is The Lost Episodes, where readers will get a sampling of all the themes that have been covered so far: Invasion, Day I Died, New Myths, Real World Unreal, and Mad Science.

Editing on A Wizard's Gambit is coming along nicely.
I got chills reading the end of Chapter 5 while going through it.
I am up to Chapter 8, continuing to hit my goal of editing 3 chapters per week. 

I got my first beta reader feedback on Demon Invasion, and I've got some work to do (not really surprising). It's great to get feedback so I can zero in on the problematic bits.