Descent Into Darkness

Anything having to do with the Descent Into Darkness series by Doris Ross.

…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!

Hey, It Works!

Apologies for the delay, folks.  I was having issues with the server connection timing out last night and couldn’t post as scheduled.  That issue is now resolved (yay!) and I’ve posted Episode 25 of Spartans: The AWOL Squad.

DID Isn’t Forgotten

The first chapter of His Revenge, the fifth installment of Descent Into Darkness, will be posted as soon my timeline stops rewriting itself.  This was something I encountered with His Command, where my starting point for the story kept resetting itself as the plot developed — and I realized that there were a few things I needed to seed earlier than the original first chapter despite all my outlining.  Unlike that previous instance, however, I’m lacking backlog to post while I work out the kinks.  Thus AWOL has made a reappearance in the posting schedule.  Please be patient with me while I work this out and enjoy the offering.

Most of the kinks I’m dealing with surround a new character, one who is scripted to play a significant role much later on.  His backstory is more in-depth than some of the characters I’ve introduced, his motivations heavily rooted in certain events of his past, and while the details are vital to his portion of the story, they do draw attention away from the focal character(s) of the series — Ba’tvian, or, as some see it, Ba’tvian and Nerisse.  Because of that, I’m contemplating writing a short story for just this character for online posting.  It would relieve His Revenge of the burden of introducing a new character, and may just straighten out those kinks I keep running into.

We’ll see how it goes.  Until next time, happy reading.

Another Year Begins…

…and I don’t know that I’ve ever been so pressed for time.

Update Schedule Is Up…Sort Of

We have an initial draft of our content update schedule posted here.  We’re still compiling it so please bear with us.

There are several things we’re dealing with this year that we haven’t had to deal with before.  In June 2012, Trinity Gateways became an LLC which was great, wonderful, fantastic.  Yet it means more work: taxes and annual reports to be filed with the state to name the top two.  Some of this couldn’t be started until Janauary of this year, which means that we — especially me — have been really busy.  So busy, in fact, that I’m behind on my writing goals and that’s reflected in my portion of the posted schedule.

So apologies to those of you who are awaiting more Descent Into Darkness.  I’m working to get to it as soon as I can.

Newsletter Submissions

We are still accepting submissions for the next newsletter.  We’re looking short or flash fiction, poetry, or articles relating to writing, reading, publishing, or story-telling in some way.  Please see our Submissions Page for more information.

Only A Writer

I was recently promoted at the dayjob.  Yay!  It means more duties.  Boo.  Lol, that said, I took it because I was already doing most of the work and wanted the raise that came with the new title.  The raise comes just in time to pay for car repairs; one of the drive belt tension wheels has deteriorated to the point that the belt has come off.  Having this happen while driving to work downtown is not fun in the least.  I’m going to give those moments of sickening panic to some poor character later down the road.  Another character will get my disappointment and resignation of not being able to enjoy that new raise.

Only a writer would torment fictional people this way.

Ages Have Passed…

And many, many apologies given for the lack of posts.  I did not intend to take a leave of absence this long.

They Say That Life Can Throw You A Curve Ball…

It threw me about four.  The first curve ball can be called Family, and it was made up of a wedding, out-of-state visits, increased demands on my time, a disruption of electric service (don’t ask), a couple of non-functional vehicles, and a few other things that escape me at the moment.  Now don’t get me wrong; I love my family.  i appreciate them in every way.  Still, all of that had a greater, and more prolonged, impact on my schedule than anticipated.

The second curve ball was the horror anthology I worked on for Trinity Gateways LLC.  It was an enjoyable, educational experience.  It is, unfortunately, an experience that’s still ongoing.  We’re working with a different print and distribution service and it’s the little things that proven to be the trickiest obstacle to work around.  That will hopefully come to an end very soon, though.

The third curve ball was Descent Into Darkness: His Command.  The novella took much longer to conclude because of curve balls 1 and 2 — and because the bloody thing kept changing the scene sequences on me.  I have never had a story that’s bucked the outlines the way this one has.  It was very like a rodeo bronco, trying to throw me off at every turn.  Now that it’s finished, I’m trying to get His Revenge, the next in the line-up, off the ground.  It’s making me build a launch pad first, though, so it’s been a slow starter.

The fourth curve ball was software education.  I upgraded some of the software I use, and switched over to a new software suite that will help with e-book conversions.  I’m constantly learning new things — techniques, features, ways around limitati0ns — and it’s slowed me down me some.

These are not excuses for neglecting to post.  They are reasons, but even reasons can’t don’t make my absence “okay”.  So, once again, many apologies to those of you who have come back looking for updates and found none.

Descent Into Darkness: His Command

The cover of Descent Into Darkness: His Command by Doris Ross, the fourth installment of the six part Descent Into Darkness novella series.

Goal Accomplished

Descent Into Darkness: His Command was published on 11/3/12.  It is available for all e-book readers via Smashwords and Kindle, and is currently being distributed to other e-book channels, such as Barnes & Nobles and the iBookstore.

Descent Into Darkness: His Command Teaser

The Mancers are falling, hunted and slain by the blood mage they call the Monster of Menie: Ba’tvian Delthanurk.  With the aid of his companions, the elven lady Nerisse se li Astorae and the barbarian Ibestor, he has begun a quiet war, leaving nothing but death in his wake.  As he blazes a bloody trail across the breadth of Orthanor, he will make new allies, meet his enemies head-on, and carve his name deep into the history of Einlienn.

Yet the decision to fight comes with heavy consequences.  The Mancers will not die easily under his blade, nor will they stand by to watch their brethren perish.  With a single message, they have set in motion events that will force the Monster’s most devoted follower, a once-intended priestess, to make a terrible choice in order to survive – and when Ba’tvian gives his command, that choice will be no choice at all…

Check out the Descent Into Darkness: His Command page for sample chapters.

A Reminder

November, December, and January comprise what is considered the “off season” for the authors of Trinity Gateways LLC, myself included.  There may be sporadic updates/posts during this time but nothing scheduled.  I’ll still be plugging away, though, so look forward to fresh material in February 2013.

A Fast Note

I’m still mired in publication preparations for the Shadows of the Mind anthology that will be headed to print on 8/31/12, so I can only make a brief note here.  The rough Chapters 21 & 22 of Descent Into Darkness: His Command have been posted.  Enjoy.  I’ll write more once this project is off my plate.

Last Call

We’re gearing up to finish work on our anthology project, Shadows of the Mind.  At the same time, I’ll be starting publication preparations for Descent Into Darkness: His Command, the fourth installment of the series.  August and September are going extremely busy for us at Trinity Gateways, and me in particular, so story updates may be delayed in the coming weeks.  Check our update schedule for any alterations in our posting dates.

Trinity Gateways Submissions Closes 11:59pm EST, August 1, 2012

Just a reminder, all submissions for the Shadows of the Mind horror anthology must be in before midnight this coming Wednesday, August 1.  Please don’t rush when sending us your stories; double-check the guidelines for formatting and submitting before emailing it to us to ensure that your entry will be considered when it is received.  Our editing team has been seeing a lot of entries that have not followed our guidelines, which is problematic for us.  We want to consider your work so please read through everything on the Trinity Gateways Submissions Page.  If you need clarification on anything we require, please email submission@trinitygateways.net with “Question” in the subject line.

The Rough Draft Will Be Pulled In September

Descent Into Darkness: His Command will be pulled off the site in the first week of September as I begin the editing/revision phase.  From that point on, only the sample chapters for this story will be up.  His Command will be released as an e-book on October 28, 2012.  I’ll upload the cover art for it as soon as it has been completed, which will probably be in late September.

September

Is going to be very busy, as previously stated.  At this time, I don’t have any online updates planned for this month, but will add things to the schedule as my project deadlines allow and things pop up.  When story updates resume, I will let you know.

In the meantime, I need to get back to reviewing submissions.  Until next time!

 

We Survived ACC

Cover of the printed book, Descent Into Darkness, Vol. 1: He Begins

Cover of the printed book, Descent Into Darkness, Vol. 1: He Begins, now for sale on Amazon!

Ancient City Con ended yesterday.  We’re still tired from the weekend, but are so glad we went.  I was there with Trinity Gateways LLC, passing out our free newsletters, selling my printed book, Descent Into Darkness, Vol. 1: He Begins, hosting panels, making connections, and talking with everyone who came to say hi.  Everyone who dropped by the table or attended one of our writing panels gets a big thank you from yours truly for the interest, the sales, and the conversation.  You’re the reason we do this, so thanks!

Also, a special thanks goes to Kevin A. Ranson, author of The Spooky Chronicles and ghostwriter for MovieCrypt.com, Brett Link, also of MovieCrypt.com, T. S. Robinson, author of Mirror of Opposition, the steampunk gals from the Good Ship Sappho, K. M. Asano and Kevin Coryell of DraxisWeb Productions, both fellow authors and panelists — it was great meeting up with you all!  You made a great con even better!

Finally, thanks to the ACC Art and Con Directors, Henry Livingston and Chris Gabaldon, for having us.  We’re already looking forward to being there next year!

In Case You Missed Out

I still have copies of my book on hand so if anyone would like to buy a signed copy, send an email to me at darkdescent@dorisross.com for more details and include “Book Purchase” in the subject line. Descent Into Darkness, Vol. 1: He Begins is $13.99 + $2.99 for shipping and handling (a total of $16.98).  I am currently unable to accept credit card payments but I can take PayPal, money order, or check.  Supplies are limited so this is first come, first served.

Another Reminder

Trinity Gateways LLC will be closing submissions for the horror anthology, Shadows of the Mind, at 11:59 pm EST on August 1, 2012.  If you’ve got something you’d like to see in the collection, please be sure to get your submissions in.  If you’d like to know what we’re looking for, or need a refresher on our guidelines, visit the Trinity Gateways Submissions Page.  If you have any questions, please e-mail submission@trinitygateways.net and put “Question” in the subject line.  Thanks!

Now that the con is over, it’s back to work.  We’ve got submissions to review and I’ve got an e-book to finish.  Until next time!

 

One Week, A Release Date, & A Submissions Deadline

I’m posting a little early this weekend as Sunday, the usual day I post, will be loaded with errand running.  I’m seeing to some last minute details in preparation for Ancient Cit Con next weekend, July 20-22.  For those of you who don’t know about it, it’s a multi-genre convention in Jacksonville, FL, catering to gamers, anime, science fiction, and fantasy.  I’ll be on several panels at the con with my fellow authors from Trinity Gateways, LJ Gastineau and Tricia Sparks.  We’ll have a table in the dealer’s area, selling our books and connecting with readers.  If your in town, stop by for a chat and pick up a good read.

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Publication Release Date Determined

Descent Into Darkness: His Command, the fourth installement in the series, will be out on November 3, 2012, as an e-book.  I have only 9 chapters left to write, then I’ll step away from it for a month before beginning my editing/revision phase.  I’ll continue to post rough draft chapters through August, then the story will be pulled from site as I get it ready for publication.  This is the longest segment in the series so far, and I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

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Reminder: Trinity Gateways Anthology Submissions Closes August 1

For any of you still looking to submit disturbing short stories in the horror genre for the Shadows of the Mind anthology, the cut off is August 1, 2012, so please be sure to get your submissions in.  As assistant editor on this project I’ve seen some really good stories come through and I look forward to seeing more.   If you’d like to know what we’re looking for, or need a refresher on our guidelines, visit the Trinity Gateways Submissions Page.

Even if we don’t accept your story, we are giving constructive feedback so that you will be able to learn and improve as a writer.  We’ve had several authors who have improved their stories, resubmitted, and been accepted so don’t get discouraged by a rejection email from our Acquisitions Editor, LJ Gastineau.  Every good author knows that constructive feedback or criticism is vital to the development and growth of every writer.  Since we’re both authors and editors, LJ and I will do what we can to provide that feedback for the submissions we’re reviewing.  Yes, it takes longer to go through the stories in our inbox, but it’s also something that we believe in.  Seeing those resubmitted stories, seeing the improvements made, and being able to accept them is a wonderful reward.  It’s our fervent hope that we will never see the day when we can’t take the time to give that feedback.

 

Welcome, July

Jacksonville, FL, has been hot.  First Tropical Storm Debbie tries to drown us, now it feels like summer is trying to bake us.  We’ll reach a happy medium several months from now but will have to hang in there until then.  Fall cannot get here fast enough.

What’s Been Happening

We’ve just wrapped the Trinity Gateways Newsletter, so I can now spend more time on other projects.  Currently, I have a cover to design for Tricia Sparks as the artwork’s come in, and LJ Gastineau has sent me a few stories that I need to review for the anthology we’re putting together.  Then, of course, is my own series work.  I’ve had to scale back on my writing in order to get the newsletter out before the end of June but am pleased to say that I’m back on track as of this week.  Descent Into Darkness: His Command has now broken 36,000 words and 110 pages in MS Word, making it the longest installment of the series thus far.  It feels like it has about another 10,000 words left in it, maybe a little less than that.  It’s due out in October but I hope to have to it finished by the beginning of August in order to get it edited by Tricia Sparks while I work with LJ Gastineau on finalizing the horror anthology, Shadows of the Mind.

It means that the busy trend of the last few months won’t be slowing down any time soon.

While all of this is going on we’re prepping for Ancient City Con, July 20-22, 2012.  I’ve received my shipment of Descent Into Darkness, Volume 1: He Begins to sell at the Trinity Gateways table.  Most of the promotional materials have come in at this point, and we’ve gotten almost all of the display components for the table setup.  We’re excited about the con, seeing old friends, making new ones, and are looking forward to a good time.

Now For The Update

The rough Chapters 13 & 14 of Descent Into Darkness: His Command are now up for those of you who are interested.  Happy reading and enjoy!

Just A Quick Post

There’s a lot on my plate today and I’ve gotten a very slow start.  The caffiene’s finally kicked in, so I can now draft a post that actually makes sense.

My Current Projects

Most of you may know that I’m a member of Trinity Gateways, and that we’ve opened submissions for the horror anthology, Shadows of the Mind.  As an editor for the project, I’ve been working with Acquisitions Editor, LJ Gastineau, in order to review submissions and give constructive feedback where applicable.  As writers ourselves, we know the value of a good critique.  Doing that takes extra time, but we believe in doing what we can to promote a writer’s growth.  It’s our hope that the authors are able to use our feedback to strengthen their writing.  Right now, our submission deadline is August 1, and we go to print on August 31.  An announcement will be made when the book is available for sale.

In addition to the horror anthology, we’re also looking at our next anthology project.  Once we have the details ironed out, we’ll post it on the Trinity Gateways Submissions Page.

Another Trinity Gateways project is the second newsletter for this year; I’m the layout editor there, as well as a contributor.  It’s due for release on the site later this month and will be available as a free PDF download.

I’ve been writing the fourth installment of Descent Into Darkness.  My publication deadline is in October; I’ll post an actual date for that in the next month or so.

The printed omnibus entitled Descent Into Darkness Volume 1: He Begins is currently out on Amazon; I just approved the final proof.  The edition includes the first three installments of the series: His Own, Her Lord, and His Beast.  I’m working on getting distribution for it elsewhere and will make an announcement once that’s done.

As for graphics work, I’ve got the map to update — again — and cover art to assemble for Descent Into Darkness: His Command.  I’m trying to get a head start on it.

Oh, and while I’m think about it…

A Reminder

Trinity Gateways is still taking submissions for the Shadows of the Mind horror anthology.  We’ve gotten some excellent entries so far.  There are still slots open so anyone who is interested has until August 1, 2012, to get their stories in.  Please visit the Trinity Gateways Submissions Page for requirements and guidelines.

Content Update

The rough draft Chapters 9 & 10 of Descent Into Darkness: His Command have been posted.

Until next time, folks!

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