A blog about trying to become a published novelist from an Indie Author. You'll find advice, humor, and stories about what I've learned from my own mistakes, as well as great advice I've gotten from other authors. It's a long road that keeps on going, but the things you'll see and experience along the way can be very interesting.
The long wait to replace my now deceased laptop has unfortunately been extended due to circumstances beyond my control like, car registration, car repairs, books for my wife's college classes, etc. Luckily I am on vacation this week, or rather a 'stay-cation' and am working hard to get our upcoming anthology edited and ready for beta-reading. We hope to have this process completed by the end of this month.
In the meantime, with our time and resources being a little limited, we decided to offer the first sneak peek into the anthology itself. We hope this peek will intrigue and delight you all, since it will be the first of several leading up to the day of the book's release.
So without further ado, here is a snippet from the first of the twenty plus tales that will appear in the collection we call: "The Vampyre Blogs - One Day At a Time":
FROM THE DESK OF CAPTAIN BRIAN WESTON OF THE UNION ARMY – June 30th, 1863
“A Letter To My Wife”
My Beloved Madeleine,
I know you have been troubled by how distracted I seemed last we were together. I know I told you it was simply the weight of being responsible for not one but two companies of men. But with our division on the eve of what may possibly be the biggest battle we’ve faced to date, I feel it only right to explain myself in case I fail to return, especially with the approach of our firstborn mere months away. I want our baby to know that my thoughts were never far from home, nor was there a mistress or dalliance that had captured my heart. There has only been you and no other.
Actually, it is an old friend, whose unexpected return one cold night in January, who has occupied so much of my mind. Of course, you will correctly surmise that I am referring to young Nathaniel Stewart. After believing him lost at Mary’s Heights, his sudden reappearance weeks later raised more than a few eyebrows and murmurings among the men. But then it became clear he had come back to us not as a deserter, but as a hero.
Why did I not mention that last fact to you earlier? I have been under orders from the President himself to be remain silent on the matter, but with the war so unpredictable, and having recently just escaped death thanks to young Nathan, I feel it only right that you know everything.
As I already indicated, it began early this year, January 2nd. Night had fallen and my men had already turned in for the night when a carriage arrived. It had been stopped at the gate and then sent right through, which is highly irregular. Even Colonel ----, had not been notified of the late arrival, nor was he summoned to the meeting that followed. Instead our late night visitors came straight to my quarters.
Being a soldier, I am accustomed to being awoken at odd times, but upon seeing who my visitors were, I was so taken aback, I almost forgot to snap to attention. Discovering the President himself in your office wishing to speak to you, is not a position a mere captain is used to finding himself in. Even more shocking was finding a member of my company, and long time friend whom I believed had perished at Marye’s Heights, standing next to such our Commander in Chief.
“Nathan?” I breathed, before finally remembering my place and greeted the President smartly.
“At ease, Captain,” my superior instructed. “This meeting is of course not a social call, but a matter of great delicacy. It will help decide the fate of this young man.”
My legs nearly failed me. Seeing Nathan alive after nearly a month’s unexplained absence, I had feared that I would have to brand him a coward and order a firing squad come morning.
You know of course from long habit that in spite of the almost decade difference in our ages, I look upon Nathan as a younger brother. Perhaps, it was losing my own sibling, that I sought to fill the gap in my life created by his passing and Nathan was a good fit. Plus it was because of me he was able to join our company, in spite of his young age and sometimes questionable health. So you can understand how the very thought of having to order his execution for desertion clutched my heart with an icy vengeance...
Favorite read this summer! Filled with murder mysteries and British wittiness that kept me laughing all throughout the adventure. Haven't found a book with good dialogue and a sense of humor for a while.
Overall, I'm pleased with the mix of romance + adventure + mystique put together in 'The Bridge'.
Happy to see that there are writers who still put so much time and effort in to character development and story.
Want to see more? Just click on the link below to read more reviews about "The Bridge" and the other books in our Para-Earth Series:
Hello everyone… when
last I left you, I had promised to discuss some of the writing projects
currently under way in the Para-Earth Series, and that is exactly what I intend
to cover in this entry.
Currently there not one, not two but over seven books under construction so to speak.
Each is at a
different stage of development as far as length, but all are still only 1st
drafts.So there’s still a lot more to
do on them, but progress is being made.
start with the book that will be released this coming November/December. This one focuses mainly on my vampyre Nathan
and his friends. Before I released the
first full-length novel starring Nathan last year, he and his friends had been
the focus of a blog I started back in 2014 appropriately called “The Vampyre
Blogs – Private Edition” (You can click this link to see the latest story: http://thevampyreblogs.blogspot.com/).
The purpose of
the blog was to introduce readers to Nathan and company in a series of blog,
e-diary, and e-journal entries and raise interest for the novel. After three years there are now over 50
different stories of varying lengths that have appeared on the blog. However, this also means that there are a lot
of pages for a newcomer to try and scroll through to find the earliest tales or
even the beginning of the more lengthy tales which can stretch from one to six
has been a common lament that has reached our ears. So just in time for the holidays, Helen and I
have been gathering some of the earlier entries and are putting them into the
first of what we hope will be a number of anthologies. Mind you, this anthology will NOT just
contain old stories. Brand new tales are
being added that have never appeared on the blog before, giving the readers
something more to enjoy besides the convenience of accessing the earliest
tales. Some will be written solely by me
or Helen, while others will be a joint venture, so you’ll be getting a taste of
both our combined and individual styles.
Furthermore, as in the novel, the entries will be written from the points
of views of various characters who appeared in “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming
as I mentioned earlier, we are planning more anthologies involving other
never-before-seen tales of Para-Earth encounters starring characters from “The
Bridge” and “The Ship” as well as brand new characters who may become part of
our growing cast. The first of that
anthology will hopefully be coming in 2018, we’ll keep you posted on that
the meantime, what other projects do we have that are currently in the works?
the long awaited sequel to “The Bridge” and “The Ship”, currently titled "The Door"...
...stars Alex Hill,
Veronica Ross, Cassandra Elliott and Julianna Cloudfoot is currently weighing
in at 60,000 words. This one has been a
long project for me because I’ve been expanding the cast and finding the weight
cumbersome at times. As in previous
novels, I’ve tried to keep a mystery going, while also playing fair and giving
hints to the audience as to what’s really going on. Furthermore, this book will address certain
unanswered questions from the first two books about the mysterious white-haired
man who has plans for Cassandra. As well
as provide more insight into Rachel’s baby.
It will also open the eyes of certain characters into past experiences
they’ve had and even begin the first major crossover between this part of the
series and the Vampyre Blogs characters.
hoping to have the first draft completed and the second under way by the end of
this year. From there my goal is to
release it mid or late 2018. I will make
sure the release date will not interfere or overlap with the Para-Earth anthology
mentioned earlier. I like to give each
installment its moment in the spotlight, as well as release books more
frequently than I have in the past.
course, working with two other authors is also allowing the series to build up
a reserve of books to make future releases more regular and frequent (a goal
I’ve been hoping to see come true for a long time).
next novel(s) to be released after that will hopefully be “The Pass” and “The
Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties”. Both books
are currently under way, with “The Pass” being the more advanced of the
I mentioned in the previous entry, “The Pass” takes place during the Civil
War. Espionage, intrigue, paranormal,
and Para-Earth all come together in this epic tale that draws upon actual
historical events to make the tale even more exciting. My partner Rich has been dutifully scouring
history books and maps to make sure timelines, maps, modes of travel and how
long the journey from the east coast to the west (before the Trans-Continental
railroad was available) are completely accurate.
most of the characters are original, certain historical figures will be
appearing in the book as well as a ‘cameo’ by our favorite vampyre (whose
origins are also directly connected with the Civil War).
But wait there are still more projects in the works, which I will cover in my next entry. Until then, take care and keep writing my friends.
In the last two years, so much has been
changing for me when it comes to writing.
For starts, I completed my first collaborative work with my wife Helen,
which became “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.
As I’ve said in previous entries, she has been my sounding board, my
adviser on both science and science fiction, my rock, and my inspiration.
Shortly before work was completed on
the “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”, a friend from high school days, Rich
Caminiti, asked me to look at a piece he’d been working on for a number of
years. I read what he had done and
quickly saw he was in the same boat I had been back in 2009-2011. A story idea which needed some serious
direction, scene cutting/editing, a little more cohesive connection between
ideas… but a SOLID concept. As we talked
more, he asked me to help be his mentor and after having read my first two
books he wished to know if we could work on a project together and I
agreed. Like Helen, Rich is a huge
knowledge of science fiction as well as computers and actual science, so I
found the idea very appealing. After a
few sessions of kicking around ideas a joke was made about vampires in the old
west. But not just any old vampires, oh
no. We started thinking about Chiangshi,
or Chinese “Hopping” vampires. We had
some serious laughs, but for me history repeated itself.
Taking a few steps back to four years
ago, I had sworn I would never do a vampire story unless I could introduce a
whole new angle to the idea, that also allowed my creation to be highly
recognizable as such a creature. Furthermore,
any vampire of mine would have to be science fiction based and be able to fit
into my Para-Earth series. Yet at the
same time such a being needed to have typical vampire powers such as being able
to shape-shift, turn to mist, and be strong.
But it would also have many of the usual limitations and needs such as
avoiding sunlight for extended periods, sleep in the ground and of course drink
Clearly this was a tall order and
probably out of my league. Yet no sooner
had I said this to myself, when the beginnings of an idea began to germinate in
the back of my mind and soon Nathaniel Eoghan Steward was born. But even then I had to consult with my wife
Helen to help me decide on what kind of life-form could turn an ordinary man
into such a being. But she quickly
thought up several possibilities based on actual life-forms that actually exist
in today’s world that would suit the purpose and we were off and running.
Now we fast-forward to two years ago
with me and Rich joking about Chinese vampires in the old west and once more
the seeds of an idea began to take root.
Drawing upon his knowledge of history and the Civil War, we soon came up
with a working idea of espionage and the seemingly supernatural working
together towards the last year and a half of the Civil War. We were even able to pull in some Native
American lore and actual historic events to create “The Pass”, which is still
under construction at the writing of this entry.
At first, in spite of Rich’s
hopefulness that this could become part of the Para-Earth series, I
hesitated. Not because I was possessive
of the series, but I simply was unable to see how the story could be
incorporated into the overall concept.
The tale we were creating seemed so much more fantasy/horror, and I
could not see how it could be incorporated into the Science Fiction aspect of
the series. Then about a week ago, while
taking my usual hour long drive to work (which is when I do a lot of ‘braining’
for various story ideas) a thought struck me that made the entire story itself
come together in a way I hadn’t seen before.
This brainstorm also allowed it to fit perfectly into the Para-Earth
series, allowing me to take a step I had planned long ago for the series. Adding another new writer to it.
You see, long ago I had been inspired
by HP Lovecraft who of course created the Cthulhu Mythos which continues to
grow to this day long after his passing.
While still alive, Mr. Lovecraft allowed and even invited other authors
to build upon his mythos and help expand it.
Some of those who joined in were August Derleth, Robert Bloch, and
others. And as I mentioned before,
modern day writers, including Stephen King, have continued adding to the mythos
and bringing new life to it.
So when I began the Para-Earth series,
I knew right off the bat I had created something with near limitless story
possibilities, more than I alone could ever cover. Therefore, I planned that as the series
progressed to allow others, who proved their writing skills and ability to
stick close to my vision, to help expand and build upon the series. To date, I’ve only allowed my wife Helen and
Rich to be part of the writing for the series. However, in the years to come I hope to invite more writers join us. But that is something for another entry. At the moment, the three of us have our
hands full with several stories currently under way and more to be started,
which I will cover in the next installment of this lengthy entry.
Until then, take care and keep writing
for the delay in posting this second section, but I’ve been having issues with
the Kindle version of my first novel “The Bridge”. Amazon has been alerted to the problem and
are working hard with me to get the problem resolved. I’ll be creating another post here sharing
what happened and how we got things resolved shortly.
In the meantime, back to our discussion about working and juggling multiple stories…
where was I? Oh yes, why finding that I
could work on multiple stories was such a big deal for me. Anyone who is creative will tell you that
when you have that creative mindset going it gives them a surge of satisfaction
that’s like no other. Our minds love to
be active and focused on something. But
for artists, writers, musicians, anyone who’s got a creative mind, not having
the brain working on something can be frustrating. You start to feel stale, or like you’re not
doing your part somehow. This is a big
part of why writer’s block of any kind, can be so frustrating. We get that adrenaline rush and excitement
when we’re creating, so to find ourselves stuck can actually be devastating
over time. The more you’re in a rut the
angry you become with yourself. So in my
case, having multiple stories to work on means I’ve always got something to
keep the old noggin busy and have that adrenaline flowing.
there’s a genuine excitement to coming up with a new idea/concept, new
characters, and situations. Mind you, you can get too caught up with generating
new ideas and scenes without getting anything down on paper or your
computer. Even if you do manage to get
the ideas down if you’re too busy just creating and generating, you may find
you wound up doing nothing with all those fantastic ideas and have nothing to
show for it in the end. So watch
yourselves. Been there and done that, so
I know of what I speak.
finishing a piece can be every bit as exciting as creating so don’t deny
yourselves that pleasure. Even if it’s
just a short story, completing one can really raise you spirits and keep the
creative juices flowing.
do I keep harping on keeping those creative juices flowing? Because in my case, any victory is
important. As someone who suffers from
Fibromyalgia, I can tell you any victory, however small helps. It can be a daily battle to accomplish even
the smallest tasks during a Flare-Up, and keeping your spirits up while
fighting great pain is essential. So
every victory, no matter how small, counts.
just as important is the fact that we’re training our brains to think and
operate a certain way.When I hit a
roadblock on a piece, working on something else for a while actually gives one
part of my brain time to rest.I’m not
worrying about the story I’m stuck on, I’m problem-solving another one.Then when I go back to the piece I’d been
stuck on I come at it with fresh eyes and a more open mind.I’ll look back to see where I got bogged
down.And since my brain has been
solving other problems, my mental muscles are up for the challenge and may come
up with something totally new that blows the writer’s block away.
it always work? No. I may have to come back to a piece multiple
times before finding the way forward, but it does happen.
you, at this stage of my writing career, there is one drawback to working on
multiple projects, it takes me a long time to get one completely finished. Yet, there is a bright side to this. You see, several of the works I’m currently
involved with are over halfway done already.
And since I don’t like to release more than one book at a time, this
means I will soon have a number of finished works that I can parcel out over a
period of 2-3 times a year. This of course satisfies the readers’
cravings for more...
While at the same time I get breathing space to build up more pieces
for later release. For me, this is one
of the biggest benefits of working multiple stories. In the short term it can seem a bit of a slow
process, but when looked at in a bigger picture, it means you’re building a
reserve for yourself that can help keep your audience happy and allow yourself
some breathing room during those slow productive periods.
that’s all I have to say for now. Until
next time, take care and keep writing my friends.
When I started out on this writing journey, I never saw myself as someone who could a whole bunch of writing projects going at the same time. That kind of thing was reserved for some of the great prolific authors like Isaac Asimov, who was notorious for working on multiple projects on a regular basis. The man insisted on having a portable typewriter or two wherever he went. And if he couldn't get his hands on a typewriter, he'd pull out a pad of paper and a bunch of pencils/pens and wrote the old fashion way, long hand.
But me, I could never picture myself even thinking about working on more than one story at a time. In fact, the very first novel I started working on was set in the early 1800's and I had gotten about 2/3's of the way through the tale when my wife pointed out that a historical piece would be harder to market. On hearing this, I gave it some thought and put the story aside and began a whole new piece which eventually turned into my first published novel "The Bridge".
After finishing that book, I thought about going back to the piece from the 1800's, but wound up moving forward with my current characters, one of which had connections to the family who were featured in my unfinished work. However, moving forward was still difficult. I was taking college classes which of course made excessive demands on my time. But that was only natural. School had to come first, however when we moved to Marina so Helen could attend CSU Monterey Bay, I took two years off from studies and focused more on my writing. Which in turn led to my finally finishing "The Ship" which I released back in 2014.
From there I began work on a third book with those characters, which is still underway at this point and time. What happened? I was having difficulties in building the story, things were getting too complicated. Too many characters, too many ideas, it was turning into something too unwieldy. Yet I still wanted to be writing, so I wound up putting it aside and started up "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home".
With that book I had a more clear idea of where I wanted things to go, who the characters were, and how it would end. Plus, I had a co-author, namely my wife Helen who had been my consultant on the first two books. Mind you it still took another 2 years before this book was ready to for release, however I didn't mind it so much. Why? Because I had started up another blog, called The Vampyre Blogs - Private Edition, http://thevampyreblogs.blogspot.com/ where I was regularly writing short stories involving different characters who were to appear in the novel. The idea behind this was to build an audience for the book before it was released and create a loyal following. Yet by doing this, something wonderful happened.
I wound up training my brain to think about more than one story at a time. Writing all those shorts, was a great exercise and now I find myself thinking about multiple storylines on a regular basis. Now why is this such a big deal to me? I'll tell you in my next entry.
I know, I know, I'm cutting things off just when things are getting even more interesting, but this post is getting pretty long and I still have much to say. So please be patient and I WILL have the 2nd installment up in a week. Until then, take care and keep writing my friends.
First I'd like to thank everyone who took advantage of my "Hobbit Birthday" party. Over 30 copies of "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" were snatched up. While I would've loved to have seen triple digits, I'm not going to complain. The book got into more readers hands and that is always a good thing in my opinion. Hopefully, this will lead to some more reviews. Sadly, Nathan and company have been stuck in the single digits as far as reviews go on Amazon, with absolutely none on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords.
So I'm going to offer everyone who is interested the opportunity to get a free copy of the book (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, PDF, even paperback) in exchange for a fair and honest review. Reviews are important to bringing a book to a wider audience. We all know that whenever we think about purchasing a book or almost anything these days, we check online to see what kind of rating the item has.
Naturally, I'd love to see a lot of 4 and 5 star reviews, but I leave that up to the reviewers. I ask for honest and I mean it. If you found the book wasn't to your taste and you don't wish to leave a review, just let me know so I'm not left in limbo wondering what happened. The only thing I ask is that the reading and the review be done within 2 months of you getting the book. If by chance you volunteer and life gets in the way, again just let me know. Life happens to all of us including yours truly, so no worries. Just stay in touch is all I ask.
So if anyone wishes to be a reviewer, please e-mail me at:
Please include your name, e-mail address, and what book format you want and I'll be in touch with you shortly.
On another note...
I'm happy to announce that there will be an anthology involving my vampyre and friends, which will be released this December. This volume will contain 'select' short stories from my other blog "The Vampyre Blogs - Private Edition" (link: http://thevampyreblogs.blogspot.com/). The reason for this is that I've been told by a number of people that they find it hard scrolling through a bunch of old blog entries to find the short stories, even though they really want to read them. And since that blog is over two and a half years old, I know there's a lot of stuff to wade through.
However, the anthology will not just contain stories from here, we are including 4-5 brand new stories just for the collection, which will NOT be reproduced here. They will only be found within the pages of the anthology itself. The total number of tales to appear in this first anthology has yet to be decided so stay tuned for more details.
In other news:
Book 2 of the Vampyre Blogs is now officially under way.
At this time "The Vampyre Blogs - Family Ties" release date should be early October 2018 (which is why I'm releasing the anthology in the meantime, so as not to leave you all high and dry without anything new). The story will take place two weeks after the conclusion of the first novel and will open with Nathan's return, along with new trouble brewing.
The presence of Isabella will raise new questions and concerns for all who dwell under his roof, while an unscrupulous developer tries to influence the upcoming town council elections so he can get his hands on 1000+ acres of land Nathan's home stands on. Then there's Marisa's father. Are the cancer treatments he's receiving really helping or will Nathan have to undergo a procedure that could leave him more vulnerable than ever to an attack from an old foe he believed had been vanquished?
Finally, "The Door" which has been plagued by numerous starts and stops has been growing and is coming along very nicely. This book continues the saga of Alex, Veronica, Julie and Cassandra and will wrap up several lingering story fragments including who the mysterious white-haired man is that has been stalking Cassandra for the last year. It will also reveal why the ghostly Brandon has watched over the heiress all these years, as well as introduce some new characters who will play a pivotal role in the entire Para-Earth Series in the future.
So as you can see there's a lot going on in the writing department for me and I hope the results will please and intrigue you all.
Until next time, stay tuned to this blog and keep writing.
And don't forget to grab a slice of cake to enjoy while you're at it. Remember, cake and reading go hand in hand, as does sharing this link with everyone you know. The party comes to an end at midnight on April 3rd to spread the word and thanks for coming.
For those of you not familiar with a Hobbit Birthday Party it goes like this...
My birthday is coming up on March 30th, but instead of asking for presents I'm giving one away to anyone who wants it. The present in this case is a FREE Kindle copy of "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home"! The catch... none.
I simply want to get the newest installment of the Para-Earth Series into the hands of as many readers as possible, because word-of-mouth is THE best promotion tool out there.
So stay tuned and start spreading the word. It all begins on March 30th and will last until midnight April 3rd. That's a whole five days to grab a copy and meet the newest vampyre in town. What is he like?
For starts, he does NOT sparkle. He's much more your traditional style of vampyre: drinks blood, sleeps in dirt, shape-shifts (animals, mist, etc.). Best of all but he's a hundred and fifty years of fun with life experience both here and in other versions of Earth. Want to learn more?
You can check out some of the free short stories over at his Blog site:
Or take a sneak peek into the novel itself at:
So start spreading the word and marking your calendar to take advantage of this opportunity. You'll be glad you did...
Well, we're mostly settled into our new place, so the dust is slowly settling from all of that.
Well mostly settled.
Still unpacking and organizing where we want things to go and how, but that's just normal after a move.
But sometimes figuring out how to organize your story and where you want certain events
or revelations to go can also be pretty tricky. It can even lead to problems I'd never
thought about, like Writer's Block. Or, as it was with me recently, STEALTH WRITER'S
Now what I mean by that is a kind of Writer's Block you aren't even aware of. To give you an example, this is what happened to me. I had finished a particular scene in my current novel and had moved way beyond it with the rest of the story. But for some odd reason, I kept finding myself going back to that scene and wondering about it. It would happen every so often then I'd get back to where I actually left off writing. But soon enough I was back to that scene again. And slowly my whole writing process came to grinding halt as I kept studying that scene and dwelling on it. It took me a week or more to realize what had happened and that I needed to fix that scene in some way to make the rest of the book make more sense and feel complete.
At this point you can see what I called it "Stealth Writer's Block", and I had a bad case of it. I kept turning that one scene over and over in my mind, like I was working on a Rubik's Cube. I got so desperate I turned to a Magic Eight Ball and started juggling it just for giggles. Giggling at this point is not a good sign. If you find yourself suffering from this, please see a doctor at once. Preferably "Doctor Who".
Ah, much better... Seriously, I find watching something I really enjoy sometimes helps me get past writer's block. It allows my mind to wander, while being entertained. A part of my brain analyzes the story I'm watching and breaks down its pacing, plots, subplots, characterization, etc., while the rest of my mind is being entertained. Then I'll compare what I've analyzed with the scene I'm stuck on and poof, inspiration hits or in this case insight.
After watching my shows and sorting through my musings, I finally realized what was wrong with the scene, nothing. It was fine as it stood, it even worked well with the overall feel of the novel. So what was bothering me about it, you ask? I could expand and change it ever so slightly to important provide foreshadowing for events coming later in the novel.
So I went back and made the adjustments I envisioned and cranked out between 3000-7000 words in a couple of days. I even cut down the overall word-count for the novel at this point leaving myself room for extra scenes I had in mind for the climactic final battle. For those who are wondering why I'm worried about word-count I'll address that in one of my upcoming blogs. It is something all writers have to be aware of when you are creating the final version of your work which you intend to send to agents or publishers.
Now I have my book back on track and its looking much better. The story seems more gripping and the overall flow feels more natural to me. So beware of the dreaded "Stealth Writer's Block", it may appear at any time. It may even have its claws sunk into you at this moment, if it does I have this advice. Take two episodes of whatever is your favorite show and then call your manuscript in the morning. Once it shows up for breakfast give it a really good going over and see if any tweaking might be needed.
Until next time, take care and keep writinge, keep writing.