…And I’m Back

 

It’s been a long time

Last year was a rough one, and this year, while it’s full of promise and excitement for me, is shaping up to be a challenging one.  But before I get into what’s going on now, I’d like to take a moment to review what went on before — and perhaps give you some insight on my online absence last year.

2013 closed out with some pluses and some disappointments for me.  The disappointments: Descent Into Darkness: His Revenge was still not finished, Trinity Gateways LLC, the publishing startup I’d founded with fellow authors LJ Gastineau and Tricia Sparks, had taken up more of my time and energy than I’d anticipated, I’d taken some financial hits (some pretty hefty car repairs), I still have a full-time job that demands most of my time during the week, and, on a much more personal level, there was some emotional upheaval.

I was aware that a new business was time-consuming.  Knowing and understanding, however, seem to be two separate things, and while I had thought I understood it and was prepared for it, I discovered that I hadn’t, and I wasn’t.  The first quarter of the year was sucked up like water into a dry sponge by accounting, taxes, and then last minute cover design and publications.  By the end of the second quarter, I’d managed to carve out time for my own writing, but only after fulfilling my responsibilities and commitments to Trinity Gateways LLC.

Admittedly, part of that was poor planning.  We’re small – only three people manning the machine, so to speak – and we were trying to make deadlines that we’d set for ourselves while juggling learning new applications, all kinds of financial stuff, and diving into new responsibilities.  There were obstacles and a huge learning curve.  Collectively, we met some of our goals, and missed the boat on others.  Posting free content on the site took a huge hit simply because there wasn’t enough time to generate it.  One publishing deadline was pushed back and my own project, His Revenge, got put on hold.

The struggling plot in DID: His Revenge was both a wonderful lesson and a burgeoning cross to bear.  I wasn’t able to touch it much in the first four months of the year, but when I picked it up in May, I knew there were problems.  I dug into the material, studied the notes I’d made on the story, went back through what I’d written, and still I wasn’t sure where the issue lay.  There was one – at least one gargantuan problem that sat like a big, fat toad in the pond.  More, that ugly toad wouldn’t stop kicking up the mud from the bottom to cloud the water.

Though I couldn’t see that bloody toad, I could tell it was there by the signs it left behind.  Some of the scenes felt flat, characters wouldn’t cooperate (yes, this happens and it’s annoying when it does), and the pace dragged.  I revised whole sections, pulled several characters out entirely for use in a later story, edited the chronology, pored over my maps, studied my appendices, and though there had been some improvement, things still weren’t right.  I ended the third quarter by throwing the His Revenge down and seriously contemplating a bonfire.

Then I picked it back up, brushed off the dirt, and set it in a drawer to come back to later.  That freakin’ toad got a reprieve and croaked contentedly in its muddy, watery home.

By this point, I needed distraction.  Aside from the frustration with writing, my personal life took a grave turn when my grandfather fell ill after surgery.  Add family holidays, conflicting schedules, and the generally hectic nature of the season, it became a kind of barely controlled chaos.  Thankfully, it was also the beginning of our hiatus period; otherwise the chaos would have been worse.

Through it all, one thing remained consistent and wholly within my control: Trinity Gateways LLC.  It was my distraction as it required more of my attention, so I gave myself over to it, helping to push out another title by LJ Gastineau.  Since I was determined that the next tax season would not be a repeat of the first, I began tax preparations early.

Life went on, Thanksgiving came and went, things settled down just a bit.  Then my grandfather, who had been in recovery from the bout in September, fell ill again.  It’s hard to know someone is in decline and be powerless to do anything about it.  It takes over your world for a bit, until you can manage to shake yourself loose and concentrate on the things you can do.

December began with more positivity than I’d expected.  My grandfather’s condition seemed to improve, and I was finally able to identify that loathsome toad in the pond that was DID: His Revenge.  It came down to a single sentence in the appendix, one that I’d forgotten about, and somehow missed in my previous read-throughs.  It changed an entire plot thread and exposed flaws in two anothers.  I spent a good deal of time outlining, revising, and evaluating.  Some chapters wouldn’t fit the changes I needed to make, and almost everything I’d written thus far had to be overhauled to one degree or another.

Christmas was a wonderful highlight to the end of the year.  The reprieve, though, was brief.  As 2013 ended and 2014 began, I was hit hard where it counted most: my grandfather went into the hospital just after Christmas and passed away just after New Year’s.

Death can knock you down when you least expect it.  For me, it knocked the words right out.  I couldn’t write a thing for two weeks, and it didn’t help that I got sick after the funeral.

Despite the sorrowful start, 2014 shows some promise.  This year’s tax season was much easier than last year’s, and I’m back to writing His Revenge now that the taxes for Trinity Gateways LLC have been completed.  There’s still a lot of work to do for the business but we’ve learned our lessons there.  We’ve got things planned out more, we’re all on the same page, and we’re acting more like a three man team, then as solo authors.

Ongoing Projects

As for me, His Revenge will be completed this year.  I’m not sure when yet; I’ll have a better idea after I finish implementing all the plot changes.  I’ll let you know once I figure it out.  On a related note, I’m having the cover for the printed version of DID Vol. 1: He Begins redone and will announce its republication date once that’s ready to go.

There’s also another book in the offing, one completely separate from Descent Into Darkness, that’s being polished.  I’ll get you more details there when we’re closer to publication.

Back-End Conversions

Trinity Gateways LLC had to make some serious decisions this year.  One of those was finalizing the conversion of titles from self-published to published-by-the-company.  It was something we had been putting off, mostly due to the cost involved, but we took the plunge.  This process requires a lot of work, time, energy, and personal drive.  There are benefits, however, that make it worth doing.

We own the ISBNs, control the information registered to them, and the fiscal end of things will become more simplified.  Doing this also allows us to revamp our interior layouts and refresh covers as needed.  Some layouts have been completely over-hauled, others just tweaked.  Overall, we’re left with a final product line that looks much better, and will be in a position to start looking at other opportunities that could strengthen our business.

It’s a process that’s both enjoyable and a nightmare.  Yet there’s this wealth of satisfaction once the process is finished for a title.  Once it’s all finished, I think we’ll throw a party to celebrate.

The Book Title Catalogue

We’ve been talking about this thing for a while now, and have been passing out a proto-version of it on CD at the events we attend.  Once updated with new information, i.e. ISBNs, covers, etc., we will upload a PDF file of our book title catalogue to the site for you to access and download.  This will make its appearance on the site no later than May 1, 2014 – earlier, if we can manage it – and will include series summaries, a teaser/synopsis for each book, the book cover, ISBN, format availability, and sample chapters.

Posting

Due to time constraints and workloads, I’m afraid that I won’t be able to post free-to-read content this year.  That said, I will be posting sample chapters of my soon-to-be-published books in the month or so prior to publication.  I’ll also be updating my page at least once a month with news on publications, appearances, etc.  So check back to find out what’s going on and when.

Until next time, folks, happy reading!

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