Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Release: Ignite

I've just released Ignite, a free short story that mixes the genre of political thriller with a dash of romance. It's about a tragic love affair that was never meant to be, set against a violent vortex of social unrest. 10,000 words. Here's the blurb:
An unlikely couple finds love in the vortex of violent social upheaval. Can their relationship survive their differing political stances? A terse political thriller, infused with an uncompromising romance.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Point Blank Idiocy

Every time a writer uses the phrase "point blank range" to mean "extremely close range", God clubs a baby seal to death with a physics book. Just because most of the English-speaking media uses the phrase incorrectly does not imply that you must, too.

In ballistics, it is the distance at which a projectile will hit the ground if you perfectly level a gun and fire it, which can be over 300 yards for high powered rifles. That's three football fields, which is obviously the opposite of "extremely close range". And if it's a handgun and its PBR is only three feet, then your gun sucks, because the PBR on even the most piece-of-crap squirt guns is about 2 yards.

If you must use the phrase and the victim is indeed at very close range, use the qualifier "within". Within point blank range is perfectly acceptable, because the victim's range falls inside the range of PBR, but by saying "at point blank range" implies the victim was shot at the gun's maximum PBR.

Think of the goddamned baby seals next time, won't you?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Procedural Language Generator

As of late, I've been spending far more time tinkering with linguistics for my tastes. For instance, I took a three day diversion from a paragraph to figure out the linguistic rules set just to establish a two word phrase. The language is from a far-off country called Eshet, whose citizens wear a particular style of ankle-length toga. The fashionable people of Anchorest love the style, but in order to continue to sound fashionable they kept the name straight from the Eshan language, which is lor nobre in Eshan, and never mind that in their own language it just means 'the long cut'.

Granted, that far-off land is pretty important and the language will end up being used a lot more than those two words that it initially spawned, so the time isn't necessarily wasted. It could just be better-spent doing some actual writing.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Decimate the Lightning Bugs

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” Mark Twain

Let's talk about the word decimate. It's a lightning word when used correctly, but more often than not it's used as a lightning bug.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Goodreads and the "Community"

Here is an interesting perspective on Goodreads and the "community" that it has created.

First, I have to say that I really like Goodreads for all of the reasons stated in the article. It gives a place where authors can engage readers and vice versa. It gives a good "landing place" for your novel. It also connects to your blog, so that what I'm typing here will show up there eventually. Goodreads is a great site for authors and readers.

Dealing with negative reviews is tough, however. As authors, we spend so much time with our work that it is easy to be sensitive about it. The books we write are like our children, and nobody wants to have their little snowflakes criticized. That being said, though, once we bring our work to the table and release it, it's up to the public to judge it, even if we might think that judgment is unfair, incorrect, or even spiteful in origin.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Risan Bracelet Design

This is a preliminary design of the "entwined, opposed serpents" that appears in my upcoming novel, Fallen Rise. The symbol is used in several places, such as the design of a pledge bracelet, the cross-guard of a sword, and a banner. It figured heavily enough that I wanted to see it visually, so I built it using a CAD program called Campaign Cartographer 2, followed by a pass in Photoshop. The snake heads are stylized and do not represent a specific serpent,though they are closer in design to the heads of venomous vipers. I'm also considering making a more iconographic version for a chapter header flourish.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fallen Rise: Book I statistics

Fallen Rise is the first novel in the the gritty, epic fantasy series that I have been writing. It is the story of a noble woman who has fallen into disrepute, and her search for redemption in the eyes of her people. Here is Chapter Two, the introduction of one of the main protagonists.

The novel is broken into two books, and the first draft of Book I is pretty much complete. I've said that before, however I wasn't entirely satisfied with the notes on which it ended, so I added another chapter, which serves to both ratchet up the tension and clarify the stakes. With a little bit more work, it could potentially be published independently, if it weren't for the fact that there are no resolutions to any of the problems, as Book I ends with all the protagonists in crisis.

I've yet to decide how I'm going to proceed when it is all finished, whether I'll try to shop it traditionally or whether I'll try to self-publish again. Offering the first half of the novel for free might be a way to sell the series.

Here are the first draft statistics for Book I:

Chapters: 24
Words: 63,133
Cut Words: 24,528
Average Words Per Chapter: 2630.5
Book I Estimated Words: 60,000
Total Estimated Words: 120,000
Project Status: 52.6% complete

Characters: 345,979
Average Word Length:  5.48
POVs: 7

Deceased/Named Characters: 10/42

I'm 2.6% over budget in regards to my word count, but I'm not terribly concerned by that. I hit close enough to the mid-point that I'm satisfied, and there is yet some editing to do, besides. Everything seems on track to end at about the 120k word mark, and overall I think I'm in a pretty good position in regards to the story arc and overall pace.