My Life and Blah, Blah

For the miscellaneous entries

…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!

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.

Happy Holidays!

So I’m a little late for Christmas and a bit early for New Year’s.  Still, I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas, and will have a festive New Year.  Enjoy your friends, family, and parties if your having or going to them.  Myself, I’m hosting a LAN party for New Year’s — and I’m looking forward to the playing Halo.  :-)  Whatever you’re planning, I hope you have fun and stay safe.

Just a quick reminder: for those of you waiting for story updates, they will resume in February, 2013.  The update schedule will be posted sometime mid-January.  Check back for details in the next few weeks.

Until then!

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.

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!

Love Staying Busy

I can honestly say that I haven’t been this busy in a very long time.  Let’s forget about the 40-hours-a-week day job and the overtime that’s been required of me over the last 4-6 weeks.  Let’s just look at everything else — which is more than enough.  Writing a set number of chapters every week for Descent Into Darkness: His Command, editing through/reworking the map for/creating the cover for Descent Into Darkness: His Beast, editing through/formatting/creating the cover for/researching printing options for the printed omnibus of Descent Into Darkness Volume 1: He Begins, reviewing submission entries with LJ Gastineau for the Trinity Gateways horror anthology Shadows of the Mind, working on/acquiring ads for the Trinity Gateways newsletter which comes out in late June 2012, dealing with the business setup for Trinity Gateways, and personal things such as helping out my future sister-in-law’s wedding preparations.

On one hand, I am very tired.  It’s a lot of work, a ton of time involved, which means that I don’t typcially get very much sleep.  I’m craving some quality shut eye time, closely followed by some quality Xbox time.  I don’t know if many other writers, traditionally published or self published, go through the same thing.  I do know that video game developers have a similar experience in the course of their work — crunch time, they call it.  I’ve borrowed the term for my own pre-release process, which took up the majority of my time in the last month or so.

Yet, on the other hand, I am extremely happy.  While I’m not crazy about working what amounts to 2.5 full-time jobs, I absolutely adore the 1.5 jobs I have to juggle in around the day job.  Writing’s in my blood, the business of writing, of publishing is a constant fascination — even my crunch time periods.  I love doing what I do.  One day, I’d love to make that all I do, but I’m realistic enough to know that will take a great deal of time and work to accomplish.  Still, that’s the dream and I’ll do whatever it takes to get there.

To succeed in anything, you have to love what you do and want it badly enough to make it happen.

This Week’s Update

Today I’ve posted the rough draft Chapters 7 & 8 of Descent Into Darkness: His Command.  I hope you enjoy it.  Now I’ve got to get back to work — I still have to make my chapter quota for the week.

Until next time!

 

A New Descent

The abridged rough draft of His Command, the fourth installment in the six part series, has been launched. You can read Chapters 1 & 2 HERE.

His Beast has been taken down completely, save for a few sample chapters. The unabridged version of Descent Into Darkness: His Beast will be released as an e-publication on 5/6/12. For anyone interested in reading the unabridged versions of His Own and Her Lord, the first two installments of the series, they are currently for sale at most online e-retailers, such as Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

Juggling Isn’t Always Easy

As you might already know, I’ve been loaded down with mandatory OT at the day job, which has greatly impacted the time I’ve allocated to writing. Thankfully, it hasn’t impacted my posting schedule. While my writing productivity hasn’t been the greatest during the last few weeks, I’m happy to report that I still have content to post, and that the amount of OT has been decreased. The OT isn’t gone – I wish – but has lessened. Hopefully, I can get back on track with writing soon.

The thing about juggling is that you have to absorb any shift in the established routine you’ve set for yourself. Not only is it akin to being thrown an extra object to juggle, the bloody thing’s a different weight and shape. It messes up the routine, and you find yourself fumbling with the objects as you attempt to keep them in the air. Try as you might, you will occasionally let one fall to the ground.

It’s frustrating. When you’re suddenly handed 10-15 extra hours to work at the Evil Necessity, it almost always means losing a “free day” – time you’ve slotted for some serious keyboard pounding. That loss might mean a dropped ball, and you may not have the time to pick it up off the ground and work it back into the juggling routine.

There are ways to handle it. You can short yourself on sleep to write, grit your teeth, bear the extra load, and pray that you’ll be able to make your goals, or, if given the option, refuse the work. Weigh your options, analyze your priorities, and make your decision.

Writers don’t give up, don’t give in, and don’t set our writing aside. We find the space to compromise, the time to jot down as many words as we can, all the while dreaming of the “big break” in publishing or winning the lottery so that we can pursue our true calling. Sometimes we have to make the really tough and onerous decision to cutback on writing (not give it up, just do it less often) in favor of the day job. It’s not an easy one to make. For those who make it, it’s temporary, brought on financial/economic necessity. Yet once the need for it passes, they go back to writing like they used to.

It’s the never-ending tug-of-war, one that we can’t stop participating in – at least, not until we’re writing full-time. Once we stop the tug-of-war, we stop dreaming. We stop writing. Whole worlds die in that instant.

That’s something I refuse to let happen to mine. What about you?

 

Just A Short Note…

I’m keeping this post a bit short this time around as it’s a busy day for me.  The Evil Necissity that is the day job is showing how evil it can truly be; I’ve been put on mandatory OT for the foreseeable future.  Because of this, I won’t be moving to more frequent posts on the site starting in April as I had previously planned.  Sorry, folks, but I got to pay the bills.

Descent Into Darkness News

The unabridged version of Descent Into Darkness: His Beast will be available for sale as an ebook at the beginning of May 2012 and here’s the cover.  I hope you like it.  The last rough chapters for this story have been posted for those of you who follow it.

The fourth installment, His Command, has been started and rough chapters will be posted during the next update.  The update schedule will be revised later today so please be sure to check it out this afternoon.

Frozen Reflection

My good friend, LJ Gastineau, has just published her first fantasy YA ebook entitled Frozen Reflection.  Congrats, LJ!  It’s currently on sale at Amazon and via Lulu.com.  It’s a fun variation of the Snow White tale with a few twists, and is a fast read.

Getting back to work, so I’ll leave it at for now.

 

Graphics Galore

I’ve been working on a lot of graphics lately.  The world map for the Descent Into Darkness series is being updated with locations from the latest installments, then I have not one but two covers to work on upcoming releases in the same series.  In addition to that, LJ’s been tagging me for help on the formatting/layout for her own cover. Thankfully, writing hasn’t taken a back seat to graphics work.  The two are running neck-and-neck, though.

Speaking of writing…

The Status Quo

TrinityGateways.net Submissions Still Open

If you write horror and are interested in submitting a story for this horror anthology please visit the TrinityGateways.net Submissions page for requirements and guidelines.  You will be paid for submission if it is accepted. If you have questions, e-mail aquisition editor LJ Gastineau at submission@trinitygateways.net.

Descent Into Darkness: His Beast

The rough draft is finish and is in the editing/revision phase.  Since I entered this phase before the last chapters were posted, you will continue to see rough draft chapters updated through the end of March.  Within the first week or two of April, all rough chapters will be taken down and replaced with the chapters.

The cover art for His Beast is not yet complete.  I’ve been juggling several graphic projects, as indicated above, and haven’t been able to concentrate on it as much as I would like.  I hope to change that this week.  Once the cover is completed, I’ll announce a definite release date (as opposed to release month) for the e-book and will post the cover for everything to see.

Descent Into Darkness: His Command

The fourth installement for the series now has a real title!  I’ve already started work on the story, which has, in turn, prompted additions to the world map.  Once I begin posting rough draft chapters, I’ll add the teaser description to the Descent Into Darkness series page.

Descent Into Darkness: He Begins

The omnibus, which includes first three installments of the series, is still on schedule for a May release date.  I’m aiming to have it published (e-book and in print) in mid-May, a week or two after the e-release of His Beast.  Work on the cover art will begin after the cover art for His Beast is finished.

I’m compiling the Appendices at the moment and am wondering if anything else should be included, or expanded.  If there’s something more you’d like to see the Appendix for He Begins, post it in the comments.

Reminder

Printed editions of He Begins will  be available for sale at Ancient City Con in July at the TrinityGateways.net dealer table.  If you’re in the area, drop by!

Update Changes

Starting in April 2012, there will be changes to the update schedule.  I’ll be posting new content more frquently, and there may be other changes as well.  most of you know that I’m also a founder of TrinityGateways.net, and our sites are linked.  We’re looking to implement some new features that will impact my personal site.  As things get locked in, I’ll post more info on that.  Right now, it’s still in the “let’s see what we can do” stage.

That’s rpetty much it for now.  It’s back to work for me!

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