Tag Archives: Alleged Real World

In 2018: Going Long, Working Backwards

{this space left blank to allow time to roll your eyes at another New Year’s Resolution post}

 

{All good? We continue}

National politics aside, I think it was a very good year. Pessimists, you’re excused from reading the rest of this. I’m becoming a bit less tolerant of you anyway… but at my day-job I showed some progress (some, let’s not get carried away) highlighted by issuing more documents at the head of a small team of co-workers (an activity we refer to as “herding cats”, a slight exaggeration) and by a return trip to South Africa (about which enough could never be said).

With the family, it was twelve more months of enjoying Genna’s progress as a musician on both flute and voice, while my lovely wife “gave as good as she got” in her fight for full health. I still have not written about the incredible trip to Germany we were gifted by a woman who has to rank as the best friend I hadn’t yet met last July. This is not the blog post in which you will be reading about that.

Oh yes, and I completed my fantasy series Shards of Light, getting the third installment out by Independence Day and shipping the finale earlier this month, publishing ASAP. That final book was a pretty big psychological moment for me, wrapping up the threads of an adventure that first saw the world back in 2011 and has been burning in my mind far, far longer than that.

It’s been a year for  long trips and tales.
Come 2018, I start new ones.

Going Long

First in other people’s business, I plan to issue reviews of four long-ago epics, supposedly big influences on LoTR and predating Tolkien’s work. Two are done and dusted as of today, and this is part of what I mean by Going Long. I believe it’s rare for anyone to immerse in such huge stories anymore, which augurs grimly for my own ambitions as an author! Shards of Light was my first effort to bypass that problem, with four serialized tales under the single saga. The first two installments are “bite-sized” to any epic author or reader. But by the time I’m through with you, the story is longer than any other single cover I’ve put out. Try the first one, see if you like where it’s going. Just remember, it’s really going somewhere.

I’ll put my reviews of The Worm Ouroboros and The Well at the World’s End here on the site soon as I can wrap my head around what’s just happened to my soul (each around 300 pages). I’ll try to list arguments why you as a writer or reader would want to do the same (while admitting the reasons you could give it a miss instead). These are both important books in ways I did not expect, but I’m still untangling how much of what I think is personal as opposed to provable.

Working Backwards

And then I’ll dive back into writing, again Going Long with a sequel to The Plane of Dreams, called The Test of Fire. Like so many of my tales, it’s always been “there” back at least to the 1990s, but this particular portion of the canon was the one most recently “triggered” by events in the Alleged Real World, in 2008. This is the adventure that got the whole chronicling thing started: so once you’ve read it, you’ll have a good idea who to blame if that’s your preference.

Test of Fire won’t be overlong by itself, probably about the same as Plane of Dreams (114k words). But it’s actually third in the series, and here’s where I’m Working Backwards because the tale I tackle after this will be the first! Yes, there was a time before the heroes of Plane of Dreams came into Wanlock, the story of how they gained the fabulous wealth and momentary fame they brought into the start of that epic, and I’m going to tell it. Eventually. So far, the only thing I know for sure about the story is that it will have to be titled The Blank of Blank. But for fans of Qerlak Barleybane, Galethiel and anyone who missed hearing more of a certain three young adventurers, plus a pair of new fun-to-hate bad guys, good news in 2018. You’ll have a tale that takes these heroes, if not to the end of the story, at least further into time than I have ever clearly seen before.

After that, we go back to the beginning and tell that story, by which time I’ll need a word to describe the mirror-image of deja vu (when you read about the first time stuff happens yet it still seems familiar somehow). But that’s for another day. Who am I kidding- year.

The Faire-est of Them All? 2017 Review

I thought I should give a brief round-up of the times I got up from my desk, left my house and met someone in the context of my writing. And I start out with one item already on the to-do list for next year: don’t finish your activities before the calendar ends! I do have some rather serious distractions and am still seeking a better routine with more events on it for the future. Here’s how I did this year.

Bear Library Author Day: April 1st (no, seriously)

How Far: like, thirty yards.     How Often: many times before

The Sales:

One or two books. This was a panel for aspiring authors, where the ultra-prolific Liz Dejesus and the uber-poetic Shannon Connor Winward presented alongside myself for several hours.

The Tales:

I can’t lie, these panels are terrific fun because you get exposure to colleagues and how differently they feel as well as to aspiring writers from all angles. I could tell people walked out more energized from being around that atmosphere, and the staff at Bear Library really understand how to support the writing community.

Dover ComicCon: August 19th

How Far: one hour’s drive.     How Often: my second fair

The Sales:

This is the haymaker of live events for selling. Nothing an indie author needs that a raucous, well-organized convention of several thousand happy people can’t help fix. Perfect mix of cosplay, interest in heroism, lots of other items for sale, food, the whole nine yards. It’s by far the biggest load-out, complete with tent, three chairs and oh yeah- a family! But all worth it, sweltering heat or no. I had even better sales than the year before (which was also a record setter for that year). No question, the ComicCon is irreplaceable.

The Tales:

Probably the number one memory of the year was the several customers who marched up and said “where are the sequels”. Repeat sales in person, yeah that will boost the old self-esteem you betcha’. I helped run a panel with the indomitable L.S. King for over a dozen participants, and they kept us after with all kinds of questions, clearly very energized by what we said. My daughter Genna made a great impression with her Kermit outfit, while I eased off the full-wool Solemn Judgement look and just went a tad Renaissance for the day.

No way I would miss ComicCon.

Bear Library Author Day: September 23rd

How Far: like, thirty yards.     How Often: many times before

The Sales:

This time, bupkus.

The Tales:

A very cool day. I teamed once again with Liz Dejesus on a panel to a smaller group of very energized and interesting aspiring authors. I put up my bit on creating a killer first-line of a novel and I could see they enjoyed it a lot. This was one of those times I felt like we did some real good out there, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw a book or two come out in the next year or so from folks who attended (though we weren’t the only inspiration they had of course!)

Hockessin Art and Book Fair: November 4th

How Far: less than half an hour away.     How Often: my third fair

The Sales:

I moved several titles to new folks this year, but overall I had the impression that the Art vendors did better than the book folks. But I knew my fortunes were assured because my good friend Bernie Schmidt came up all the way from Virginia, AGAIN (he did it in 2015) to patronize the Tales of Hope, hauling away so many copies for himself and his family, I probably should have given him one of my bins. Seems unfair to count them as sales, when the motivation was so obviously friendship. But there’s no reason friends can’t be Children of Hope, and Bernie certainly has that down.

The Tales:

Chatting with my table-mate LS King came easily: once she had coffee I could hardly get a word in edgewise. Fellow epic author Dan Ford was at the booth right next door and I got to chat him up about several networking-type topics. This was the first year they had reading stages, for us to give a little excerpt of our work to folks at the food vendor-end of the room. The acoustics of all gyms are exactly the same, but it wasn’t terrible- those who wanted to hear us could. I have a video of my reading from Bernie, the start of “The Eye of Kog”, and I heard Dan and several others read their bits as well. I hope they continue that idea next year, maybe with a nice stand for the mike so we can turn pages without cursing.

Dover Library Author Day: November 11th

How Far: one hour’s drive.     How Often: first time event

The Sales:

I’m not gonna’ lie. Had some nice folks say hi, but that was about it.

The Tales:

Great chatting with the other authors, Liz and LS and several I had not met before from various walks of the writing universe. The library’s a good space with potential, but the traffic was all for the medical insurance sign-up they had going on at the same time, and people trying to get their kids on Obamacare weren’t terribly interested in laying down the green for an escape reading adventure. We did a panel that afternoon with about a half-dozen folks, mainly young people, and the questions were quite good.

Next Year, Gotta’ Do More

I’m targeting ComicCon, at least one round at the Bear Library, and I want to add First State ComicCon, CecilCon and Ocean City to the rounds if I can. That would be about as much as I think I could possibly take on as long as Genna’s in school and we have just the one car. I really love getting out to meet and chat with fellow authors and readers. Now if I could just score a radio appearance somehow…