Real Life Blows Sometimes

Real Life Blows Sometimes

I’ve not forgotten about this place and I’ve not forgotten about my novel. I’ve been working on it and just have gotten so busy with other things that I’ve not found time to update this site.

Quick overview: Midnight of Lanar’ya is nearing completion of the first draft. I will be releasing a new edition of Twilight of Lanar’ya to correct a few formatting errors and typos that some of you have spotted (and thanks for those!) I imagine that there will probably be up to three revisions of Midnight of Lanar’ya before I publish it. I’m also planning to do a few things different with releasing it to take care of some of the problems I had with the release of Twilight of Lanar’ya.

And now, I’m going to get back to work on writing. The more time I spend on that, the sooner you’ll have the book in hand.

EU-FUCKING-REKA!

EU-FUCKING-REKA!

Twilight of Lanar’ya is now on sale in paperback (CreateSpace and Amazon) and eBook (Smashwords and Amazon).

Yeah, remember when I said I was going to have to start writing Midnight of Lanar’ya all over again?

I lied. Or rather, I was mistaken. I let the draft sit for a week while my mind wandered on to other things — namely trying to create a 14-character runic alphabet where the last seven symbols are mirrors of the first seven — and, lo and behold, I figured out the problem in the draft. I also figured out that the easiest way to fix the problem is not to start over but to finish the blasted thing already and then hammer out a few things in revision.

You people have no idea how happy this makes me. Really, you don’t. Having this realization hit you is like having great sex while being buzzed and finding out that your proposal for a city on Luna has not only been approved but has been built and NASA wants to fly you there for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

…don’t judge me.

So, I’m back on track with Midnight of Lanar’ya and no longer wanting to beat my head against the wall over it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some writing to get done!

Special props should probably go out to Eric Calderone whose rendition of “Back to the Future Meets Metal” was playing in the background and triggered the neuron firing that eventually led to the realization that I don’t have to start the draft over again from scratch. Thanks man. You’re awesome. Love the Mr. Trololo tribute.

Twilight of Lanar’ya is now on sale in paperback (CreateSpace and Amazon) and eBook (Smashwords and Amazon).

Quiet Heroes, all

Quiet Heroes, all

I’ve been to the shores of Omaha beach in Normandy. It’s a serene, quiet place where the waves of the Channel lap against the sand. The rocky hills slope gently there and are covered with green grass. In June, it’s an idyllic spot — far away from the bustle of Paris. The coast is cool and refreshing compared to the rest of France.

I’ve been to Caen. It’s grown in size but it’s still a quiet, rustic village in Normandy. The homes have small, rocky walls encircling the gardens that are every Frenchwoman’s pride. Children run up and down the sidewalks. People go to and fro on their errands, carrying bags or dragging caddies in their wake.

I’ve been to Paris. It’s a gem of a city filled with architecture that spans the eras from the Pax Romana to the neo-modern. I’ve walked the bridge from the Eiffel Tower, over the Seine. I’ve visited Notre Dame de Paris — I was married in Notre Dame de Champs just a brisk walk away. I’ve seen the Tullieries and the Jardin du Luxembourg. I used to read over by the Fountaine de Medicis next to the Sénat and feed the ducks and fish that make that fountain their home.

I’ve lived in France. It’s a beautiful country filled with wonderful people. Some of my best friends are still there and, though I’ve returned to my native land, part of me will always be in France. But, my ten years in France were made possible by my grandfather’s trip there back in 1944. He came across the Channel in the afternoon, when the worst of the fighting was over. He was part of the Big Red One and would be with them as they pushed to liberate Paris and then on to Berlin. My grandfather never really talked about his time in the Army and, to be honest, I never really asked him about it. He passed away when I was 10 years old so the subject never really came up. But he and countless other men stormed those beaches that I saw. The white sand and green grass must have been covered with blood and gore from the earlier waves of attacks. The ground was probably chewed up and muddy from the fighting. I doubt that my grandfather ever saw the beautiful country that his fighting made possible — once the war was over, he returned to his life back in the US. Just like the countless other soldiers, he set aside the nightmares he must have seen, went back to work, raised his children, and lived his life.

We call them the “Greatest Generation” not just because of the war they fought — we call them great because, once that war was over, they returned home, took off their Army uniforms, and went back to work.

Quiet heroes, all.

G.K. Masterson

Starting Over…Again

Starting Over...Again

Twilight of Lanar’ya is now on sale in paperback (CreateSpace and Amazon) and eBook (Smashwords and Amazon).

I’ve spent the past several weeks bashing my head against a wall with Midnight of Lanar’ya. I have three major arcs that make up the majority of the story line. However, one of them just is not working out. I’ve tried to rebuild and revise it but the more I tinker, the worse the draft gets. So, last night whilst riding in the truck on the way back from Pennsylvania, I reached the conclusion that I would have to start again fresh.

Over the next few days, I’ll be redoing the outline and rethinking the events I want to happen in the novel. I’ll also be issuing a new edition of Twilight of Lanar’ya that has a few typos corrected and a few formatting problems fixed that slipped past me in the first edition. Also, if you’ve purchased Twilight of Lanar’ya and are interested in getting a preview of Midnight of Lanar’ya, drop me a line over on my contact page.

And now, back to work on revising the outline, finishing up another project, and getting ready to merge my websites together since I’m getting sick of maintaining two separate sites.

Twilight of Lanar’ya is now on sale in paperback (CreateSpace and Amazon) and eBook (Smashwords and Amazon).

In Which I Make EVERYONE Angry

In Which I Make EVERYONE Angry

Right, I was raised not to discuss politics or religion publicly. Those two topics are guaranteed to incite strong emotions, cause the reason and logic centers of the brain to shut down, and result in nothing but hurt feelings.

Well, get ready for some hurt feelings.

North Carolina, in a move of stunning boneheadedness, followed the rest of the anti-liberty, anti-Constitution pack in amending their constitution to forbid the recognition of any same-sex couples. Yes, I am all in favor of gay marriage — or at least complete and utter neutrality in the government’s recognition of marital status. I think you should have to draw up your own marriage contract. I think that both parties involved should have to sit down, negotiate, discuss, and come up with a contract that they both sign. Then, the government’s job is to oversee the orderly enforcement of that contract. There shouldn’t be laws concerning child custody, visitation, support, alimony, or any of that crap because it should all be spelled out in the marriage contract you and your partner drew up. The only “regulation” I’d have on this would be that all parties have to be over the age of the majority. You’re adults, by Liberace’s sparkly suits! As long as you’re not physically harming someone or destroying someone else’s property, do whatever you want. Your neighbors can be scandalized and can decide not to invite you to their ice cream socials but they cannot use the law to force you to live the way they want you to live. God/Frog/Whatever bless America for that.

But then, I’m just logical and rational like that. Unlike the vast majority of my fellow members in the Homo sapiens sapiens club, I am categorically unable to turn off my logic and reason centers unless I am under the influence of some really fun substances.

Now, why am I riled up about this? Well, because, for one, it’s stupid to decide that a civil state can only be reachable by certain privileged members of a given society. That’s like saying that skin color should determine if you can vote, genitals determine if you can own property, and bloodlines determine if you can get a discount on an overpriced college education.

But, ya know what, my liberal/Democrat friends? You idiots brought this on yourselves! And the fact that you turn around and bitch about it — Madre de Dios that takes a special kind of stupid.

Why do I say you brought this on yourselves?

Set the time circuits for January 22, 1973 and let ‘er rip.

People deserve the government they get, and they deserve to get it good and hard.
–H.L. Mencken

On January 22, 1973, the US Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision in the case Roe v Wade. Later, the same body would reject its own trimester outlining and overturn state regulations on later term abortions.

Now, am I against abortion? Not really. I’m against late-term purely elective abortion, yeah. I’m not thrilled about abortion at all but it’s not my place to judge so I’d say that a sane rule would be “up to the point where the kid can live outside of your body. After that, it can only be by medical mandate in a case where the mother’s life is at an extremely high risk of ending if she continues the pregnancy.” Current jurisprudence in the US (for my European readers) is that, basically, a woman can have an abortion up to the minute the kid’s head comes out of the birth canal. In Europe — as I understand it — abortion is only allowed up to like the 22nd week of pregnancy (varying by country, I know).

Basically, the abortion group did an end-run around the legislature of every state in the union and had legalized abortion up to the moment of birth rammed down the throats of everyone. This, of course, galvanized the pro-life movement (seriously, Roe v Wade did more to ignite the fire under conservative voters and politicians than anything else in history), and has led to the politicization of the judiciary — the one branch of the government that, according to US history and political theory — is supposed to be neutral. By Craig Montoya’s bass strings, that was fuckin’ dumb.

Nowadays, watching the Senate confirmation hearings on any judge nominated to the Supreme Court is like watching a circus. I’m seriously waiting for some judge to be smart enough to remark “hey, ya know what? This whole thing about believing when life begins and beliefs about abortion is very close to a religious test for office — something expressly forbidden by the Constitution (Article VI, paragraph 3). As a matter of fact, by pressing this issue, you’re violating your own oath of office and could, theoretically, be considered guilty of treason. So, how about you stop asking me illegal bullshit questions, you look at my conduct as a judge, stop posing for the cameras, and we just get on with this before I file a lawsuit against all one hundred of you for violating my First Amendment rights? By George Carlin’s ghost, this shit is getting old.”

And it didn’t have to be this way, my friends on the left. It really didn’t. If you guys hadn’t pulled that end-run, elective abortion would be legal in just about every state in the union. It would be legal probably up to the point of fetal viability outside the womb — like it is in the Europe so many of you worship! After that, it’d be legal only under medical necessity. And then you guys wouldn’t have to sweat through every Republican administration wondering if the composition of the court was going to change, judges wouldn’t be subjected to the farce that is modern confirmation hearings, and we could all be getting on with our lives.

Additionally, you idiots also wouldn’t have given the conservatives the idea of cutting you off at the pass by amending state constitutions to forbid gay marriage in order to prevent you morons from doing another end-run around the legislative process! You guys paved the way for this epic own-goal just as surely as Art Alexakis has daddy issues. C’est incroyable, cette merde !

And don’t you folks on the right get too comfortable. The ass-reaming I just gave my friends on the left? That was what I like to call a “warm up.”

As Americans, there is only one document we should hold to be sacred and inviolate when it comes to politics, law, and government. That document is the Constitution of the United States of America. In it, things like a religious test for office are forbidden (Article VI, paragraph 3 — I referenced this earlier), and Congress is forbidden to interfere in matters of religion (First Amendment). State governments cannot pass laws that violate the Constitution or its amendments (Article VI, Clause 2). If a state law is in conflict with the Constitution, the Constitution wins.

Now, some of you have a book (or books) you believe are religiously sacred. I do, too (I’m an Orthodox Christian). In these books, you’re told that there are certain behaviors that are okay and certain behaviors that are not okay. Feeding the poor = okay. Killing people for no good reason = not okay.

However, your beliefs cannot — and should not — form the basis of our government. You should not pass laws regulating behavior based on what your personal guidebook says. If you’re going do that, then I’m going to write my own guidebook that says that it is morally required for me to punch you in the face. Then, I’ll get a majority of people to vote to make that a law and then I get to punch you in the face. Will that make it right? If you answer “yes,” to that, by the way, then, by Elvis’s hip gyrations, I fear for the fate of the human race!

If you use your majority status to enshrine your religious beliefs into law, putting the force of government behind them, then you really, really are not going to have room to complain when some other religion you find abhorrent does the same. You think gay marriage should be outlawed because of something you read in a book? Well, there’s a group of people who think that women ought not be allowed to go outside without a male escort because of stuff they read in a book. If they get to be the majority (an event that is not outside the realm of possibility) should they be allowed to amend a state constitution to require that women have male escorts at all times and have to wear a damned tent over their bodies? If you’re against that, then why are you okay with doing the same friggin’ thing when you’re the majority?

Scheiße! You can’t really be that stupid, can you?

And another thing — the Bible doesn’t really condemn modern homosexuality. It condemns visiting a temple prostitute. That bit of information comes from a Jewish friend of mine and since he uses the Torah as his book of religious reference, I’m pretty sure he knows what it’s talking about, right, Vic?

And, even if it did condemn homosexuality — it only condemns male-on-male homosexuality outright. Lesbianism? God’s cool with that otherwise He’d have made sure it got in the book. I mean, He wrote the thing, didn’t He? And don’t give me that “oh, it’s implied.” Especially don’t give me that if you’re Protestant. Protestants say that the Bible is literal but then do some serious goal-post moving when you get to the bit about Jesus being down with cannibalism (“This IS My Body. This IS My Blood.” The word is “estin” in Greek, “est” in Latin — the two languages used by the early Christian church. I’m pretty sure that if the Son of God wanted to say “represents” or “stands for,” He’d have used those words because He isn’t an idiot!) I refuse to let you get away with your goal-post shifting. Either the Bible is completely literal or it’s not. Pick one and stick with it for the love of Jon Bon Jovi’s lustrous locks!

Oh, Sodom and Gomorrah, you say? God wiped them out because they were homosexual? Really? So, you’re telling me that 1) Jesus is a liar or a moron and 2) If the townsmen of Sodom had been fine with just raping Lot’s daughters, God would have been okay with that because hetero rape is fine in His eyes but that gay stuff — that He has a problem with? If that is honestly your belief, then I am going to start worshiping the Flying Spaghetti Monster because I want no part of a God who will burn a town to the ground because gay rape is bad but would leave that same town alone after they gang-raped His servant’s daughters.

And, honestly, how do you rape a creature that has no genitalia? Jesus tells us that angels do not marry and are not given in marriage. The Bible tells us that marriage is supposedly for the begetting of children. So, it stands to reason that angels can’t have children. Since the whole primary function of breasts, vaginae, and penises is propagation of the species, then it also stands to reason that God didn’t give those things to angels. If they’re physical beings in the same sense as humans are, then they probably have nothing between their legs and just get mistaken for being male since they don’t have breasts. I doubt they have beards or body hair either (just a few other secondary sexual traits for those of you who think biology is a godless science). I don’t know for certain, having never knowingly encountered an angel (let alone asked said angel to strip to the skin so I could verify this) but, based on what the Son of God said, it stands to reason.

So, if angels are genderless, 1) how could you have sex with them and 2) how could it be considered homosexual sex? Homosexual implies that angels are the same sex as the other party involved. By George Takei’s epicanthic folds, that doesn’t make any sense, now does it?

Okay, so you’re giving up on the Old Testament excuses now? Wow, I didn’t even have to go into Onanism or eating shellfish? Oh, you’re going to throw the stuff from Paul’s letter to the Romans at me? Yay! This is fun!

The letter to the Romans deals with the fact that everyone is a sinner. No one sin is better than or worse than another. Paul talks about how those who don’t follow God inevitably become overwhelmed with their own sin and give in to it. How men (and women) grow so overcome with lust that they just screw anything that will stand still long enough. It’s not being homosexual and wanting to be in a committed, monogamous, loving relationship with some of your gender that is sinful: it’s being promiscuous or just having sex to have sex that’s condemned! The concept of modern homosexuality was about as prevalent as the concept of Jim Steinman’s superior musicality in the first century A.D. In case you’re wondering what that means — it means that 1) Jim Steinman is awesome and that people in the first century A.D. didn’t know this and 2) they also didn’t have the same concept of homosexuality that we’re discussing today. To them, it was pederasty or temple prostitution, not gay couples living happily together, committed to one another, and just wanting the same rights as heterosexual couples have.

In Acts 15, there’s the first council of Jerusalem where Gentile converts are told they don’t have to uphold the Mosiac covenant to be Christian. “You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.” Well, sexual immorality in the first century included oral sex or sex with the woman on top. So, if we’re going to use that one, well, then, I think all of us are going straight to hell. By Link’s left-handedness, hell’s going to be a pretty crowded place, it seems. I’m foreseeing a bull market in housing in Lucifer’s neighborhood.

Now, people, even if the Bible, Judaism, and Christianity did all condemn homosexuality as we know it today — that’s still not a good enough reason to deny gay couples the right to have legally recognized marriages. Unless you, the Christian majority, are willing to concede that a Muslim majority would have the right to dictate that all ladies wear burkas or a Hindu majority has the right to forbid us from eating delicious steak, then you cannot and should not say that just because you’re the current majority and your religious beliefs say thusly that gay people can’t marry their partners. But then, I’ve covered this already.

Some of you are going to come out and say I’m pulling things out of my ass or I’m just using “worldly reasoning” and “vain thinking” to proclaim myself “wise.” I got news for you: I am many things — short, smart-mouthed, sarcastic, and cynical among them — but “wise” ain’t on the list. God’s Word is eternal and unchanging, you say? “Everyone” knows that homosexuality is a sin, you say? Well, three hundred years ago, God’s eternal and unchanging Word said that the negro bore the Mark of Cain and that it was the white Christian’s duty to take them from their savage peoples and cultures and Christianize them. Also, since “everyone” knew that the negro was little more than an intelligent beast and that the white Christian was given dominion over the earth, it was the white Christian’s place to enslave the savage negro. Three hundred years ago, God’s eternal and unchanging Word was pretty clear on women owning property — they couldn’t do it! It belonged to their husband or their father who was the head of the household, as God had so clearly ordained. And women voting? Perish the thought! “Everyone” knew that women were incapable of making rational decisions — it was her husband or father’s duty to vote. She could not be counted on to carry such a heavy responsibility. Not even one hundred years ago, “everyone” knew that interracial marriage was against God’s eternal, unchanging Word. God had clearly ordained the races and decreed that there should be no intermarrying between them, right?

Oh, no. Those were all interpretations based on societal prejudice of their eras. God never said any of that. Man just put those words in God’s mouth — just like some of you are doing now. People just justified their positions of power or their place within the majority as being reason enough for imbuing the law with their prejudice. By Meat Loaf’s wasted youth, you mean that none of that is really in the Bible unless you deliberately misinterpret it! Well, slap my ass and call me Leonard Nimoy — it’s true!

At any rate, in the long run, it doesn’t matter. All of those state constitutional amendments will get repealed. Gay marriage will become legal. It’s just another hurdle for those of us who have actually read, comprehended, and who uphold the entire Constitution to clamber over. But, I’d really like to give another round of applause to the liberals who used the court to ram their beliefs down the nation’s throat in 1973 and gave this idea to the conservatives who are now using their state constitutions to ram their beliefs down our throats. Good going there, everyone! I’ll bet you’re all so proud of yourselves for taking this sacred American document and wiping your asses with it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go do some serious, serious drinking. ><

Works in Progress

Works in Progress

I’ve not posted much in the way of an update because I’ve not had much to say. Work continues apace on Midnight of Lanar’ya. Sales of Twilight of Lanar’ya are going fairly well. All told, I’m pretty happy with how things are turning out. I hope to have the first draft of Midnight of Lanar’ya finished within the next couple of weeks and will be looking for beta readers to give it an eye over and give me some critical feedback before I go into Editor Mode.

In unrelated news, I’ve also bought a bass guitar and have been teaching myself how to play it. That’s going fairly well. And, I’ve dusted off my US WoW account and gotten my character to 85 and have been gearing him up with an eye towards raiding again.

All in all, life is going well. My job is going nicely. I get paid to browse techie sites and post things to Facebook and Twitter. That’s awesome. I’ve really got nothing to complain about at the moment.

So now, I shall return to working on Midnight of Lanar’ya!

Twilight of Lanar’ya Has Nothing To Do With Meyer’s Twilight

Twilight of Lanar'ya Has Nothing To Do With Meyer's Twilight

Twilight of Lanar’ya is now on sale in paperback (CreateSpace and Amazon) and eBook (Smashwords and Amazon).

…I’m not sure how people got confused about this but there were a lot of comments in the moderation queue about the vampire series Twilight. The only thing that Twilight of Lanar’ya and Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight have in common is the word “Twilight” in the title.

Twilight of Lanar’ya deals with the twilight era of the Lanarian Empire. It’s the time just before the Empire falls completely into collapse. I picked the name because it really is the “twilight” of a once-great civilization. Think of it as being something like the post-Augustinian Rome or post-Peloponnesian Greece.

Now, I have nothing against people who like Twilight. It is an okay time-waster. My brother enjoyed the books and I’ve read them. I just found them to be a little young for me. The characters were too one-dimensional, the plot was too pedestrian, and the angst and drama reminded me far too much of the melodramas from high school. Of course, that series was aimed at teenagers and not 30-somethings so, to each his own, I suppose. I tend to prefer sagas like A Song of Ice and Fire or the Stormlight Archives or the Wheel of Time. I like characters with a lot of depth, a lot of facets to their personalities, and I like larger-than-life action.

So, if you came here hoping to get a book like Meyer’s Twilight or to talk about that series, you’re in the wrong place. I do hope you do get my book and give it a try but I’m not in the same genre as that series (I write swords’n’sorcery fantasy, not urban paranormal fantasy) and I’m not targeting the same audience (I’m going for 16+, not 10+). If you did get here because of Twilight, feel free to stick around and to expand your reading horizons a bit. However, let’s not have any major flame wars or trolling over that series. It’s like fighting over whether or not you like a burger with the works or like it plain and simple. Everyone has different tastes.

As for me, time to get back to working on Midnight of Lanar’ya!

Twilight of Lanar’ya is now on sale in paperback (CreateSpace and Amazon) and eBook (Smashwords and Amazon).

Time Gaps…Why I Use Them Even If I Hate Them

Time Gaps...Why I Use Them Even If I Hate Them

Twilight of Lanar’ya is now on sale in paperback (CreateSpace and Amazon) and eBook (Smashwords and Amazon).

I think my #1 pet peeve in some works is time gaps. You get to know one group of characters and then, bam, you’re 4000 years later with a whole new bunch to learn. Sometimes, this tool (I hesitate to call it that) can be used effectively. Brandon Sanderson does it quite well in The Way of Kings and Robert Jordan really got you drawn into The Eye of the World with a prologue that takes place 3000 years before the story proper. However, with some other authors, it’s clear that it was just a crutch to cover the fact that they didn’t want to actually build up their characters and do a proper transition.

In Twilight of Lanar’ya I do have several time gaps. I wanted to set the prologue in the early days of the Empire and then show how Andral was coping with being an elf flung into a human world. I also wanted to show events that would be referenced in Jarl’s life but without having to create a monster-sized book. So, I used time gaps. The characters I used the gaps with were all built up either before or after the gap so I didn’t fall into the “I didn’t want to develop characters” trap but I did feel somewhat guilty about how often I was using time gaps.

Well, I’m hitting a point in Midnight of Lanar’ya where there’s going to be a bit of a gap. I’m in the homestretch for writing the first draft and if I can just sit down this weekend, undisturbed, and get some serious work crunched on it, I will definitely have the first draft finished by the end of this month.

Still, I hate using time gaps within a book. A gap between books is okay. A gap within better have a damned good reason for being there or else I’m going to need some sort of strong signal that “A Lot Of Time Has Passed.”

Anyhow, I’d best get back to working on Midnight of Lanar’ya. Apparently a bunch of people have finished Twilight of Lanar’ya and are bugging me to finish the next book already because they want to know what’s going on.

Twilight of Lanar’ya is now on sale in paperback (CreateSpace and Amazon) and eBook (Smashwords and Amazon).

Adventures in Self-Publishing Part III — Formatting: Why Must Everyone Want Different Formats?

Adventures in Self-Publishing Part III -- Formatting: Why Must Everyone Want Different Formats?

Twilight of Lanar’ya is now on sale in paperback (CreateSpace and Amazon) and eBook (Smashwords and Amazon).

So, having finished my first publishable novel and decided to self-publish, everything should have been simple. I just upload the files, find someone to do the cover and the maps, and then push a button and it’s all done, right? Right?

Ha. I wish.

Finding a cover artist was simple. I talked with my friend Daniel and he recommended Keary Taylor. I checked her out, liked what I saw, and contacted her. We went through a few rounds before we had a cover that was awesome.

I spoke with several people about maps and finally got my friend John-Paul Gorgoroso to tackle that issue. Once I had the maps in hand, it was time to upload.

And it was time to start playing the “Will It Work” drinking game.

Uploading to CreateSpace was simple. I selected the file, uploaded it, did the interior check, uploaded the cover, and ordered a proof. I did wind up having to make some formatting revisions to the first proof but the second came out perfect. It helped tremendously that CreateSpace provided a pre-formatted document. All I had to do was copy my text in to it, keep the formatting from the CreateSpace document, fix a few things here and there, and then, voilà, I was done.

Uploading to Smashwords, on the other hand, was not so simple. First I had to read their guide. I opted to read the HTML version in my browser so I could bookmark and browse between sections as needed. However, most of their anchors didn’t actually go anywhere. Then, even after I had meticulously followed all of the steps, their MeatGrinder still couldn’t handle having a first paragraph intent at the start of each chapter and it kept throwing my dividers out of alignment. After a few hours of growling, cursing, and wishing the MeatGrinder could at least tell me which friggin’ page the problem was on, I managed to get a workable draft uploaded and ran a quick check on it.

Then I had to repeat the process for Amazon Kindle since Amazon doesn’t automatically accept the requests from Smashwords.

By the time I had waged and won (barely) the formatting war, my head was spinning and I was wondering just why I had thought this would be a good idea to begin with.

Stay tuned for Part IV: Planning a Marketing Campaign!

Twilight of Lanar’ya is now on sale in paperback (CreateSpace and Amazon) and eBook (Smashwords and Amazon).

Adventures In Publishing Part II — Agent, Agent Where Art Thou? Eh, Screw It — Self-Publishing!

Adventures In Publishing Part II -- Agent, Agent Where Art Thou? Eh, Screw It -- Self-Publishing!

Twilight of Lanar’ya is now on sale in paperback (CreateSpace and Amazon) and eBook (Smashwords and Amazon).

Finishing Twilight of Lanar’ya took me about three months total from start to completion. So, by August 2011, I had a fairly final draft ready. I just needed to fine tune a few areas of it and then I’d be ready to publish. So, I did what all writers who don’t know better do.

I started looking for an agent. (Even Neil Gaiman thinks it’s a bit of a waste of time).

If I knew then what I know now, I’d have saved myself the hassle and published a hell of a lot sooner. But, I was hung up on going the traditional route. I felt confident in my work and knew that the market had matured a good bit. I felt that I was easily better than some of the junk filling up bookshelves (Twilight, anyone?) and that I was on par with other big author’s earliest works. Certainly my writing had benefited from reading a lot. I don’t have the hubris to say I’m as good as Terry Goodkind or Terry Brooks but I do think I’m at least as good as some of the early stuff from Dragonlance (back when the world of Krynn was still being formed and the authors kept writing themselves into corners).

I sent Twilight of Lanar’ya to about fifty different agents. I heard back from about half of them. Mostly rejections, of course, because publishers are iffy about taking on new talent with it being so easy to self-publish and to distribute online. Plenty of bookstores and closing up shop for lack of customers and inability to compete against Amazon. Almost all the rejections I had acknowledged that my book was 1) well-written, 2) interesting, and 3) had potential but it’s gotten damned hard to sell a trilogy from a new name and, as I said, publishers are becoming very risk averse.

I did hear back a couple of tentative offers but nothing that I really liked on follow-up. Basically, if I was going to have to do all the marketing and negotiate the deals with bookstores myself and the publisher was just going to print a run and then charge me for it, why not just self-publish instead? At least with a print-on-demand service, I don’t have to worry about a publishing house playing games with the numbers until I have to take them to court to get my royalties the way Peter Jackson had to take New Line to court to get paid for The Fellowship of the Ring (which, according to Movie Industry Magic Math, did rather poorly). Perhaps big publishing houses don’t do this, but then, if I’m going to be doing all the footwork myself with no help, why should I get substantially less money than I would if I went indie?

So, I started looking into self-publishing.

My friend and fellow author, Daniel A. Kaine, had self-published his book, Daeva: Dawn of Darkness and so I went to him for advice. He gave me a few pointers and so off I went.

Now, lest anyone think self-publishing is easy, let me be blunt and say it’s not. Self-publishing is definitely not for the faint of heart. Self-publishing requires that you be your own editor, your own proofreader, your own marketing department, and your own format specialist. It requires that you study the market and the trends and that you set your prices according to what the cost of print-on-demand for your work is and how much of a royalty you need. A few people have gotten fantastically wealthy from self-publishing but, for the most part, the vast majority of us will not be able to quit our day jobs.

So, having decided to self-publish, I had climbed one mountain only to find a whole range of the things in front of me…

Check back in a few days for Part III of this saga — Why Formatting Is The Bane Of My Existence.

Twilight of Lanar’ya is now on sale in paperback (CreateSpace and Amazon) and eBook (Smashwords and Amazon).