Friday, June 21, 2013

The Writing of Not Quite Home is Complete!

In October of 1996, teenager Michael Bailey and his family were on their way home from a family vacation when they were run off the road by a semi-truck and perished. The only survivor of the crash was Michael's older brother, who was also driving, and he left Anderson shortly after and never came back.

This was the tragic story of Michael Bailey, a character who was briefly mentioned in my first novel Cicada Song, but don't worry if you haven't read Cicada Song. Michael's fate isn't a spoiler, as it was only a minor plot mentioned in passing. But ever since I first wrote that scene, I wondered about Michael's unfortunate brother who survived and left Anderson to never return... at least through June of 2004 when Cicada Song took place. What happens to a guy who looses his entire family in an accident that he may or may not have caused? Where does he go? How does something like that affect his way of thinking? These questions stayed with me as I went on to other projects. Then I had a rather obvious epiphany. Why don't I find out?

So I spent a year or two playing with story ideas that could expand upon Michael's older brother, each idea building upon the other, and when I had the idea of expanding Cicada Song into a series focusing on the town of Anderson, I knew that this was the next story I wanted to tell. Due to constantly going back and editing Cicada Song and the Adventures of Flitter & Plank, and then writing and editing of From the Ruin of Extinction, I felt like I would never get around to telling the ultimate fate of Micheal's brother, but the time did eventually come and I've been hard at work on it for months. I was saddened when I had to take yet another break when I decided to go ahead and publish From the Ruin of Extinction. And then when I returned to it, I felt like it would never end. But end it did.

As of today, June 21, 2013, the writing portion of Not Quite Home... the story of Michael's brother, now known as Adam Bailey... is complete. There will still be at least two or three rounds of edits that will fine tune his story so that it's as enjoyable to the reader as I can make it, but know that I am extremely proud of how his story has turned out and am glad that I thought to expand upon it. Also, liking how a small plot in Cicada Song grew into the major plot of Not Quite Home, I planted the seeds in Not Quite Home for the next Anderson novel that I'm tentatively calling Janie's Gift. I won't say what those seeds are yet, but you'll find out eventually. It won't be immediate, though. The next book that I've scheduled myself to write is the sequel to the Adventures of Flitter & Plank called the Temptation of Flitter. That'll be a short children's novel, so it won't take long. Then after that is book two of the Refuge series in which From the Ruin of Extinction is book one. That will take quite a bit longer.

But first I must edit. I hate editing. It's no fun, but it must be done. Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Writing Update for June 8, 2013

Starting now, I will begin providing updates on my blog ( and by connection, my personal website ( intermittently to keep my readers up to date on the projects that I'm working on and what's coming next. I'll divide the updates into sections so you can skim to find the products you're interested in, but I hope you'll read through it all and maybe find interest in something that you didn't even know I was working on. A novice writer can hope.

From the Ruin of Extinction: Refuge Book 1

This Christian Fantasy novel is completely finished and ready for publication. The only thing hindering it is the book cover. I planned out the cover and Ryan Campbell, my book cover guy and images guy, was able to put together a wonderful looking cover. The only problem is we needed a certain image that we couldn't find free to use online, or even to pay for, and so we will have to create that image ourselves. Once that is finished, and hopefully it will be in the coming weeks, we'll finish up the book cover and I can get it out to you guys.

The Anderson Series

I've done a recent update on Cicada Song, fixing some minor comma issues and things of that nature. The Paperback is updated and ready to go, but I'm holding off on updating the eBooks because I want to link From the Ruin of Extinction in there, and I can't do that until the book cover is finished. So when From the Ruin of Extinction comes out, Cicada Song's eBook will also be up to date.

As for the sequel that I'm currently writing, I'm very proud of how it's turning out. I'm 22 chapters into the story as of the writing of this update, which I estimate at being a third of the way through. It is still tentatively titled Not Quite Home, but I'm open to changing that title. I have other options that I'll be posting on facebook soon for people to give me their opinions on, but for now, Not Quite Home is sticking... even if my wife Holly doesn't care for it :)

As for the story itself, it's a new story starring a new character named Adam Bailey. If the name Bailey sounds familiar, it's because he's the older brother of Michael Bailey, Sara Campbell's first boyfriend in Cicada Song (don't worry, that's not a spoiler for those of you who haven't read Cicada Song yet). The majority of the characters from Cicada Song make appearances in Not Quite Home, some are even decent secondary characters, but overall it's a new story starring new characters with a new sense of romance, mystery, and suspense. I'm trying desperately to write it so that, even though it takes place two years after Cicada Song, it doesn't ruin anything in case someone reads Not Quite Home first and then Cicada Song. And man, I'm having a blast writing it.

The Flitter & Plank Series

I've updated The Adventures of Flitter & Plank due to there being quite a few errors in the most recent edition. This occurred because I entrusted the editing of the story to a retired editor but foolishly did not proofread his edits. He did a great job but somehow managed to add in mistakes that weren't there before, such as replacing the letter "o" with the number zero, or changing words to be grammatically correct when they weren't intended to be. Plus, I've grown as a writer since publishing this book, so I just wanted to do an overall edit to clean it up.

In the process of this edit, I came to the obvious conclusion that I probably shouldn't include Cicada Song or From the Ruin of Extinction to the "other books by this author" section because they aren't children's books. So I removed those from the eBook edition and have just uploaded the updated copy for new readers. The Paperback edition still has Cicada Song listed, but I'll be taking that out soon and update the files for my future readers.

After a wonderful experience that you can read about in my previous blog, I've decided to write the second Flitter & Plank novel once I finish Not Quite Home. It will be a quick project, hopefully taking me only a couple months from beginning to end, but it's something that I've had several kids request, including my daughter Kelsey.

Tentatively, the book will be called The Temptation of Flitter.

I will begin the writing of the second Refuge book following the second Flitter & Plank story.

The Quest for Light

When I first started writing, I wrote an epic-length fantasy adventure that I always wanted to go back and redo. That became From the Ruin of Extinction. I planned on doing the same thing to my second novel, a Young Adult fantasy novel called The Quest for Light. However, I've recently looked it over and have decided that it didn't need rewritten, just a lot of editing. I've begun converting it from present tense to past tense and have began some series edits on it. It's sort of a project between projects, and I'll release it whenever it's finished. I don't know when that will be. You'll know when I know more.

I had originally planned The Quest for Light as a series, though the first book is completely stand alone. I don't know if I will continue with that plan yet, as I have more than enough projects to keep me busy without adding follow ups for The Quest for Light, but it might happen. I still love the ideas I had and would love to come back to them. Maybe if I get some good feedback, then I'll move forward. We'll see.

Other Non-Novel Projects

The art is currently being turned in for my short comic book story in the third volume of ICONIC through the Comicbook Artist Guild. The original artist had other obligations come up and left the project, so I now have a young, aspiring artist who is having a lot of fun drawing my story. The overall project is progressing nicely and is scheduled to debut at the 2013 New York Comic Con. Once I get a link to where it can be bought online, I'll add it to my website and let you guys know.

This is an audio drama that I've written for a local film-making company called Witch Doctor Films. It will be included as an extra with their upcoming film starring the same character, though the audio drama is a separate story taking place after the film. The story has been recorded by the voice actors and I believe it is being edited right now. I'll keep you updated as to when it and the film will be released.

Yeah, this one's new. My friend Tom and I began writing a comic book years ago but it fell by the wayside for various reasons. Well, we've decided to give it another go as a series of graphic novels, but this project is still in its early stages, so I don't want to say too much. We're tweaking the plot and layout and I'm working on pulling an artistic team together. When we feel confident enough to give out more information, I'll be sure to fill you in.

The Future!
I plan on working on Rumor throughout the Summer between my novel projects. The Quest for Light will come out when it's ready, but I don't know when that'll be. I'm guessing sometime after The Temptation of Flitter. As for my planned novels, here is the tentative schedule as to what I am writing when. Note: All titles are tentative.

Not Quite Home (The Anderson Series: Book 2)
The Temptation of Flitter (The Flitter & Plank Series: Book 2)
Refuge Book 2 (No official title yet)
Janie's Gift (The Anderson Series: Book 3)
Refuge Book 3 (No official title yet)

I have a lot more stories in my head that I plan to do after these, but I don't want to plan too far in advance because you never know what can change. I hope to finish these books around Summer of 2015, but we'll see how that goes. Things are always flexible, as is the order of these projects. I might throw in another Flitter & Plank novel between Janie's Gift and the third Refuge book. In addition to these, I have at least three more Anderson novels already planned, another fantasy series that might end up being Young Adult, a paranormal novel, and a graphic novel idea. And there are others that aren't fleshed out enough to call an official idea, but they're on their way. And of course, there is the chance of me continuing The Quest for Light after that book launches.

So there you have it. You are now entirely up to date on my writings as of June 8, 2013. More updates to come as things change, but until then, tell your friends and family. Spread the word!

"You're the author of Flitter & Plank?!"

I had a pretty amazing experience a couple weeks ago. I intended to write a blog about it at the time and just forgot, so here it is now.

I write on the side, but my main profession is that of a janitor for the Hamilton City School District. I clean at a series of non-school buildings, but on occasion I am pulled to fill in at an actual school building, and those are the days that I love the most. On that particular week I was pulled into Highland Elementary school as the acting morning custodian. I love being with kids, but that was one school I hadn't been in much, so I wasn't expecting anyone to really know me.

Well, I was collecting breakfast garbage and was passing by a restroom where a class was taking a break and noticed the teaching eyeing me. After I'd mostly passed her by, she stopped me and asked if I was a writer. As it turned out, she recognized me from the back cover of the Adventures of Flitter & Plank. She mentioned that she had pulled Flitter & Plank from Highland's library and read it to her class and they loved it. The kids were excited when they realized that I was the writer of a book they'd enjoyed.

Following that, I went into the library and talked to the librarian. As it turns out, she hasn't been able to keep the Adventures of Flitter & Plank on the shelf all school year. For someone who considered Flitter & Plank dead in the water due to low sales (maybe 2 copies a month at most on Amazon), I was surprised to learn that it was so popular at one of my local school buildings. That teacher didn't even know that I worked in the district when she read it, so there wasn't even any "local pride" being portrayed. She and her students simply liked it based on its merits, and that's a wonderful thing for me to hear.

Well, the week moved on by and on Friday, the last day I was expected to be there, I was covering lunch duty when a little girl got my attention. I came over to her and she whispered, "Can I have your autograph?" I'll be honest... I could have wet myself a little right then. I've had friends and family ask me to autograph a book as I handed it to them, but I've NEVER had someone that I didn't know ask for one. I was so excited that I rushed from the lunch room and found a notebook in the custodial office. I wrote an autograph for her and when the other kids realized what I was doing, they flocked me wanting autographs as well. I signed about seven or eight pieces of paper before I ran out and told the kids to have the teachers make copies to pass around. They sat down, some disappointed that they didn't get a personal autograph, and the lunch break went on.

My last few minutes of that Friday consisted of me heading for the door when I was stopped by a young teacher who found out through the autographs that I was the writer of that book. She was very impressed and went on and on about how much the kids have been talking about me. She planned on checking the book out for herself when next it was available. Needless to say, I was pretty excited.

Having gone through that, I've been thinking about my planned writing schedule. I'm currently working on the second Anderson book, tentatively title Not Quite Home, and I planned on writing the second Refuge book after that (Refuge book 1 will be coming very soon once the cover is finished), but now that I've had quite a few kids asking for more Flitter & Plank, I'm going to write the sequel to that following Not Quite Home. It'll be a quick write, and I already have most of it planned so it shouldn't take me too far off my schedule. My youngest daughter Kelsey has been asking to help write a second Flitter & Plank for a couple months now anyhow, so it's a good time. I wrote the Adventures of Flitter & Plank to share the experience with my daughters. If at least one of them wants to work on a second one, then I definitely want to get it done while she's still interested. And who knows, it might make some of those Highland kids happy to read it.