#writing

Achievement Unlocked!

Yes, I’m an Xbox girl, and I deserve an achievement badge for this one.

I finally finished the rough draft for Descent Into Darkness: His Revenge, the fifth installment of the series!  It’s been a long time coming, and the road to get here was pretty rocky for me.  Thanks to everyone who gave me the nudges and encouragement to keep it going.

But being written doesn’t mean it’s finished.  Other things have to happen before it publishes: the appendix has to be updated, the story has to go through a revision phase, followed by an editing phase, and the e-book cover has to be designed.  At present, I’m shooting for an e-book release in September 2014, and the printed omnibus containing both Part 4, His Command, and Part 5, His Revenge, is slated for publication in October 2014.  I’ll announce dates for each once they’re locked down.

Now I must get back to it.  Have a great weekend!

Taking a Day Off…

 

…from the day-job and the business.  Things have slacked off a bit, though we’re still fairly busy with back-end stuff for Trinity Gateways LLC.  My to-do list won’t be cleared for a little while yet, but today I’m stepping away from everything else to do some much-needed writing and re-outlining.It’s a gorgeous spring day.  The skies are mostly clear, the sun’s out, the temperature isn’t sweltering.  It’s that sweet-spot in the year for Florida, between the harsh chill of winter and pounding heat of summer.  It won’t last very long, either, so I’m taking advantage of it by stepping outside for my writing.

My backyard is an open one.  The little quad-plex condo I rent is one of several on the street, and the back has a fence on only two sides.  The patio is about as basic as it gets: a simple slab of concrete.  There’s a large maple tree that sheds a little shade on it throughout most of the day and the place came with a simple, hardy patio set consisting of one table and four chairs.  One days like this, while the rest of the residents on my street work or go to school, I like to dress the table and sit out there with a cup of coffee and my laptop.

Today, the squirrels are playing the maple tree.  There’s two of them twitching their tails at each other before darting off in search of something to eat.  The lizards and geckos have come out to find places to sun themselves, and a few birds are flitting about, from branch to branch, from tree to tree.  There’s a slight breeze, very few insects or pests, and right now there’s plenty of shade.  It’s about as perfect as it can get.

I wish I could do this more often.

He Begins

Descent Into Darkness, Vol. 1: He Begins

Yet Before I Get Started…

 I wanted to let you know that Descent Into Darkness, Vol. 1: He Begins, the printed omnibus including the first three e-novellas of the series, has been successfully republished by Trinity Gateways LLC.  The new cover is a big improvement over the old, and the map it features is a two-page spread of the entire continent of Orthanor.  I hope you like it as much as I do.

An Appearance in April

On 4/13/14, I and my fellow writers LJ Gastineau and Tricia Sparks will be at the North Florida Comic Con event at the Ramada Inn off Hartley Rd, Jacksonville, FL.  We’ll be at the Trinity Gateways LLC table, selling and signing books.  Be sure to come on by and say hello.  Also, a discount on our books is available to anyone who says that they saw us on Facebook or have visited our site.  Share with your friends, bring them along, and have some fun at the event!

And now I need to play with the words in my head.  Happy reading, and I hope to see on the 13TH!

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!

 

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!

 

Descent Into Darkness: His Beast is out!

Descent Into Darkness: His Beast, the third installment of the series, is currently available for sale via Smashwords and Amazon (Kindle) for $2.99!  It should be available for the Nook and other e-readers within the next week or two.

Synopsis

Two years have passed since the blood mage Ba’tvian Delthanurk had killed his former mentor and taken his student, the elven lady Nerisse se li Astorae, for his own. With the Mancers still on the hunt for them, the lovers travel into the northern wilderness during the dead of winter. There Ba’tvian continues to formulate plans for the future, while Nerisse struggles to overcome an ability that has now a hindrance. Yet as they seek solutions to their problems, another issue arises: a barbarian fleeing his people in the arctic Ice Fields will cross their path. He will bring with him his own set of dark skills – something that may be of interest to an ambitious blood mage…

And now a taste of what’s in store:

Sample Chapter

BA’TVIAN Delthanurk stared into the eyes of the man as his knife cut symbols into his chest.  He saw the grief, pain, mindless fear in the glassy depths.  In a few short hours, this northern trapper had been stripped of reason, of hate, and filled with loss, with suffering.

He was, he reflected, getting better at it.

Around him, his Shadowed Ones slithered in an accompaniment dance.  Light from the lanterns, fireplace, and brazier gilded their outlines, illuminating the corpses that littered the room.  They lay waiting for his creatures who had not yet begun to feed.  They would stave off their own hunger until he finished.

With the last rune drawn in living flesh, he drew back to check his handiwork.  The placement was precise, the lines clearly defined.  He was ready for the next step.

Up to this point, he had taken his time with his victim.  Now he quickened the pace.  Chanting the words to capture the life force as it was released, he cut into the body just below the ribcage.  He thrust a hand inside, shoving his arm up into the chest cavity as the man screamed, and closed his fingers around the sacrifice’s beating heart.  A deft twist, a hard yank tore it free of its moorings.

He felt it, the beginning of death, the ending of life.  It filled him, coursing through him like a drug, euphoric, erotic, exciting.

He brought the heart out, the body twitching, the vital organ still pounding in his palm.  Life force, blood-born magic – power – was gathered in as he raised it above his head, chanting.  Crimson liquid dripped down his arm.

He ended the chant with a triumphant phrase in a long forbidden tongue.  The heart flared with a red glow before turning black.  The ritual ended, he deposited the heart in a leather bag for later, motioning his shadows to take their reward.  While they swarmed over the dead, he looked for a wash basin, found one in the corner of the room.  He did what he could to clean himself up.

Ba’tvian didn’t bother with gore lying around.  He stepped around it, searched the larder, then the simple chests against the wall.  He took food and clothing; what the trapper family had possessed was warmer than what he wore.  With that in mind, he took the time to change out of his bloodied garb for the cleaner, heavier garments.

One of the chests had clothing of better quality than the rest.  Fur-lining, more ornamentation, a finer weaver in the fabric.  Trade goods, probably.  He had no desire to trade, but knew the value of having such items in the region they were in.  They could be a key into a settlement, if need be.

Coming upon a woman’s embroidered cloak, he glowered at it.  It was a beautiful article, colorful embroidery on brown velveteen with rabbit fur for lining and trim.  Nerisse would want it.  She wouldn’t ask for it, wouldn’t expect him to give it.  Yet she would want, would hope.  Then she would be disappointed when he didn’t give it her.

It was one of her more obnoxious traits.

The elven chit had her uses, however.  She had been his first taste of sex, served to slake that thirst when the need arose.  She was pretty, a little shy, an outward innocent.  People trusted her.  As bait, a lure, she did well.  Her Empathy, her ties to the earth found them game and shelter in the wilderness.  Her herb lore meant that their food was flavorful, their wounds or ailments treated.

In the two years since his old master’s death, Nerisse had proven her devotion, her convenience.  As his tool, it wasn’t enough.  He wanted more from her.

She was trying, however.  He could not say that she wasn’t.  Still, she failed frequently.  It galled him to find that flaw, that weakness, in a tool of his choosing.  He didn’t bother to hide that from her.  It spurred her on, made her try harder to succeed, to please him.

He had to admit that her growing desperation to be what he wanted was something he enjoyed.

Perhaps…perhaps it was time to give her more incentive, however illusory it might be.  He had been very careful not to make a commitment, though he demanded one from her.  He slept with her, used his attentions as reward or punishment.  There had been no gifts.  Calculating, he considered the cloak.  It might serve the purpose.  He stuffed it into a satchel along with the other trade items he’d selected.  Another bag held more ordinary, practical clothing as well as the food.  Having pilfered what he wanted, he deposited his loot in the snow a ways outside the cabin, then went back inside.

The shadows had finished their meal.  They turned their pale white eyes to him as he scanned the interior.  There was only one thing left to do.

“It will burn.”

Yes, lord. 

The sibilant voices sounded sated, pleased.  Those nearest the lanterns turned them over.  Glass shattered, oil spread.  Ba’tvian scattered the clothing he hadn’t taken about the floor, soaked blankets with oil stored in one of the chests if they weren’t already drenched in blood.  Once done, he led the way out into the cold.

He paused by the satchels, looked back.  A bare moment’s concentration, a wisp of freshly harvested magic, and the interior lit up like the sun.  When the glare faded, flames were consuming everything left inside.

Should a Mancer find his way here, there wouldn’t be much left to tell him what had transpired or who had done it.  One day, he thought, he wouldn’t need to be so careful. He had plans.

He hefted his loot and left.

Like it so far?  Get the unabridged version, including bonus content such as a map, glossary of people, places, and terms, and new chapters never befor seen, no on sale at Smashwords and Amazon (Kindle) for $2.99.

And While We’re At It…

Chapters 5 & 6 of Descent Into Darkness: His Command are now up for those of you interested in the rough draft.  Enjoy!

Two Weeks To Go

Editing and revision has taken over my life recently — or as much of my life as the day job is allowing these days.  I’ve just completed an editing/revision run through for Descent Into Darkness: His Beast, and there will be at least one — perhaps two — more before it e-publishes on 5/6/12.  That’s two weeks from now.  The printed omnibus entitled Descent Into Darkness, Volume 1: He Begins, which includes His Own, Her Lord, and His Beast, is scheduled to go to print a few weeks after that.  There’s still a lot of work for me to do before that happens so my blog posts will continue to be relatively short.

Meanwhile, work has not let up on His Command, the fourth in the Descent Into Darkness novella series.  The rough versions of Chapters 3 & 4 are now up.  Let me know what you think.

TrinityGateways.net Horror Anthology Submissions

Submissions are still open for the horror anthology, Shadows of the Mind.  If it’s horror, disturbing, and contains no graphic sex, we want it.  If you, or someone you know, would be interested in contributing to this anthology, please visit the Trinity Gateways Submissions Page.  We’ve gotten some really good entries so far and are looking for more.

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?

 

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