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This last week has been trying. But let’s start with the good stuff.

Yesterday I posted four new designs to RedBubble. One is a christmas theme, and I have a few more of those but won’t be posting the rest of them till November. I also have some Halloween themed items I’ll be putting out by end of month since Halloween is just around the corner.

I also finished writing book two in my litRPG series, and book three is on it’s way. I even got the commission going for the covers on book two and three, and they are starting to look awesome already. Time to get an editor.

However, writing this week has been really slow going. There are a bunch of forest fires in the western USA right now, and lucky me I’ve got bad asthma so I have been barely able to function for much of the week. Today I feel almost normal, except for the sinus headache and dry throat. I can deal with those for the most part, but today is so much better than the rest of the week has been. I even had to go to the clinic for breathing treatments one day, and my body just wants to sleep to conserve energy because it can’t get enough oxygen. It’s hard to do your job when  you keep falling asleep at your desk.

It’s the weekend. I’m going to take this weekend to recover, and enjoy the sleep even if it makes me feel like I’m not doing anything, because next week I need to be able to go to work and… ya know… work. But hopefully it will clear up some more and I’ll feel better by monday.

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Posted by on August 17, 2018 in On Writing

 

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FINISHED! Book 2 done!

I just finished the first draft of Steel Heart, book two in my litRPG series.

I finished the first book, Steel Soul, in June, and the second book today. That’s two months of writing. I’m getting a little faster.

Both books would be in the novella category at the moment, about 100 pages I think. Each is a full story on its own, but part of a bigger story. I’m going to go over them one more time, add in some details, some foreshadowing, and other plot things that I can add now (since I haven’t published them yet) which will add a few thousand more words to them both. I expect they will both still fall in the novella range, but I’m okay with that. A story should be as long as a story wants to be, and each of theses has a definite end point.

I’ve already started book three, which I might be calling “Steel Trap”, I haven’t decided yet. I also know this isn’t the final episode in the story. They are finally going to meet someone pulling all the strings, but it won’t be the end of the matter by any means. In fact…the game might start falling out into the real world. We’ll have to see. I’m still discovering the plot as I go as well.

Also, I wanted to let you know that The Ring is free this weekend. I won’t be putting short stories, or any litRPG into KU anymore, I’ll be taking them wide, so this will be he last time this particular story is available for free for a while. I will probably make a few of my short stories perma-free just because it might a few more eyes on my books, but for now I’m just writing more, and saving releasing them all at the end of the year. Look for that!

Currently ready to be edited:
Steel Soul
Steel Heart
Costume Shop

Working on:
Half Blood Sorceress book 2
Steel Trap

If I can get everything done….I’m working on it! I know that Costume Shop needs to come out on October 1st since it’s a Halloween story. I would like to release a book a month every month after that. I’ve got three so far!

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2018 in On Writing, Updates

 

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Free Books & Mid-Year Check In

First the free books:

Small Bites 1  – Three fantasy short stories.
Prophecy by Barlight – A comedic short story about self fulfilling prophecies.
Dark Angels – Four short stories about fallen angels.

I’m letting you know about them now because I’m taking all of my short stories out of KU and putting them up on other platforms. Now is your chance to grab them.

Now onto the rest of the post.

Every year I do a stats post to show what I’ve done and if I’ve improved or not. This year I’m also going to do a mid year check in. It’s a lot of stats and graphs, and chatting about writing so if you’re not interested in the numbers you might want to skip this one.

First, here are my weekly numbers for how much I’ve written. You’ll see the big spike at week 17. That’s the last week of April when I started writing my litRPG novel. Since then I’ve been writing more often, and more consistently. Plus I’m enjoying it again.

I’m going to admit it, writing last year was more of a struggle than it has been in a long time. This year I’ve written double every month, and in April when I decided to write something entirely different it changed completely. I started writing a lot, and looking forward to writing again. It was less of a struggle. And that, all on it’s own, showed me that I was on the right track.

But all the improvement I’ve done it hasn’t touched on 2015/2016. They were my best writing years so far. During that time I wrote the Witch’s Trilogy, and started my Half Blood Sorceress series. During 2017 I finished the first Half Blood Sorceress novel, and published a few short stories…but it was a struggle.

This year I started with book two in the Half Blood Sorceress series, and shifted to the litRPG. That shift has been a breath of fresh air. I even feel like I can go back to book two in my Half Blood Sorceress series to complete it. And that’s what I would like to do over the rest of this year, and next year…Finish more of the things!

I’ve got a few short stories I want to finish and publish, but I really want to focus on the novels. I have two first in series out and the second in each of those series is just sitting on my computer. Waiting. So it’s time I change that.

Anyway, if you made it this far thank you for reading. I guess the moral of the story is follow your passions, they might lead you somewhere good. And if you’re stuck try something new, even if it’s just for a little while before going back to the original thing. It might get you unstuck.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2018 in On Writing

 

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Working away….but it’s fun!

Yesterday was a busy busy day. I’m in the middle of updating everything in my catalog, and…that’s a big job.

Currently I have 25 books out, most of which are short stories. I’ve been updating the back-matter, authors notes, and just about everything else, then republishing them. Plus…I’m finally going wide. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, at least with my short stories, but it’s been a task since there are so many of them. Now that I have a couple more books ready to be edited so I can publish them I think it’s the right time to get this done.

So, over the next couple of weeks that’s what I’ll be doing. Editing, reformatting, and uploading my books as they drop out of KU. If you are in KU and you want to read any of the short stories you should do that now while that is an option. I know some of them are dropping off the beginning of next month, and the rest will be out in the next three. So by September all the short stories will be out of KU.

As for the writing, I put in another chapter or two of the second book in my litRPG. I figured out the rest of the plot. And I started work on the third book. This is going FANTASTIC! Expect to see them starting to appear in another month. I want at least two and a half books complete before I start publishing. This, along with Costume Shop and another short story will give me a chance at getting a lot of new books out there for you. The last month and this month I wrote more than 11,000 words. That’s double what I was doing before. It’s good to feel creative again.

Also, Small Bites 1 is free this weekend. I’ll have a few short stories free during the next few weekends to take advantage of their last bit of time in KU. This will be the first one.

Also I will be streaming occasionally. If you’d like to come over, chat, ask questions, or see what I’m doing stop in and say hi. I will be drawing, painting, doing different crafts, or writing. I might even do a few small games here and there.

Till next time, happy reading.

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2018 in On Writing

 

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Steeling my soul!

It’s been a few days. I finished book one (Steel Soul, here’s a first chapter) and I’m off and running on book two. I’m currently on chapter five right now, and working my way up to the big fight. I can already tell this book is going to be twice as long as the first, which is great because the first book was pretty short for a novel.

What I love? I’m developing the game world a lot more, creating new characters, and also developing how this game works with other games on that timeline. In this futuristic world setting all of the game worlds are centered around one hub and you can move between worlds. I can’t wait to get to explore some of the others. A world in which you can eat as much delicious food as you want and never gain a pound because it’s all virtual? A world of steam punk and gears? A world of futuristic super heroes and tech? Yes, all of them and more!

But FIRST they have to survive their encounter with a not so happy hacker who might want to make their offline life a little worse.

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2018 in On Writing

 

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Steel Soul – Chapter 1

Chapter 1

I couldn’t get over the smell of it. The world seemed slightly stale to me, almost like a gym locker.

I definitely was not in a gym locker. In fact it looked like an old village you might find in Holland, pre cars,, complete with tulips in every yard. The stones clicked away beneath my feet as I walked around the little clearing, and the grass at the side of the path squished a bit when I strayed from the path, just like back in the real world.

With everything looking and feeling so beautiful it seemed odd that the flowery area smelled like a gross gym locker. Shouldn’t it smell like a spring day? Maybe the head set I had couldn’t produce the correct olfactory signal. I’d have to get it checked.

On my third pass around the area another figure materialize, their back to me. The faint glow of immunity shimmered over them as it did with anyone just entering the game in a safe zone.

I squinted just over their head and saw the blue letters hovering there.

Cassidaya Briefoot
Level 1 rogue 20/20 HP

She was not what I expected.

“Cas!” I called.

Startled, she turned around, and jumped back another foot. Definitely a rogue with that move.
“Who goes there?” she asked, blades ready.

“Really? I’m right here in front of you,” I snarled, shifting from one side to another. The armor was lighter than I thought it would be, and the spiked shoulders only impinged on my vision a little. “Cas, it’s me.”

“Freddy?” Carla asked.

“No, my names Jupiter here, remember? And you’re Cas. Who else would it be? We spawned in together.”

“How would I know? This place is huge! Someone else could have spawned in at the same time.”

“With the same name?”

She shifted from foot to foot, the dusky skin of her avatar shimmering in the sunlight. Her face actually blushed. Bloody hell, but the graphics were good.

“I didn’t think to look at your avatar name,” she said, sheepishly.

“Ah,well just focus just above my head a bit. You’ll see it there.”

Her eyes moved to the spot above my head and unfocused for a moment. She would see my own stats and health, also level one, but as a fighter I had almost twice as many hit points.

“Now stop fooling around,” I said, giving her another smile. “We’re in spawn, we can’t hurt each other here anyway.”

She relaxed, and I took a moment to look over her avatar. Willowy, with long black hair streaked with blue dye. Her chocolate colored skin fairly gleamed in the sunlight, and she wore a triangular mask that covered her mouth and nose, but left her cheeks visible for blushing. There were stylized shark teeth emblazoned across the mask.

“I thought for sure you’d be an elf or something,” I said.

“Humans get more perks available at higher levels.”

“Already min maxing? I should have known.”

“Well I’m not surprised you took dwarf. You and your obsession with beards.”

“It is pretty glorious, isn’t it?” I said, stroking the beard in question. Through my haptic gloves I could feel the rough bristly beard, and the thick braids on either side of my mouth. I couldn’t grow a beard offline, just a tiny little scraggly stubble that looked more like a rabid bear rug than a beard, thanks to my mixed genetics. But here I could be anything, so of course I went with the beard.
“What are those?” she asked, pointing at my spiked shoulder pieces.

I turned from side to side, showing off the evil looking shoulder spikes.

“Like them? They’re Dadron’s Blessed Shoulders, a pre-order perk. It doesn’t look like much, and it has crap for armor, but it levels with you so you never have to get another pair of shoulders again. Might save me in the long run.”

“You pre-ordered?” Her avatars eyes grew wide, her mask clad chin dropping a bit in a good illusion of shock.
“The first mmorpg on an Octo-Nerve VR system? You bet your sweet blades I did.”

She rolled her eyes, turning her back on me.
“Alright, alright, I guess I can’t fault you that much,” she said. “Come on, genius, let’s go find a quest.”

Steel Soul, like any other mmorpg of the age, made it simple to find the first quest. There was an npc right next to the spawn point clad in the shiniest armor, rendered in exquisite detail, just walking back and forth on the cobblestone.

“Should we group before we go in?” Cas asked.

“Maybe,” I said, “ I’m not quite sure how this all works, I just jumped in.”

“You call up the menu with a cupped hand moving from the left, like you’re pulling something,” she said, miming the action.

I tried it and a floating menu appeared. My name, Jupiter08, was written in neat blue script at the top. Right underneath it read “Level 1 fighter, 32/32 HP”. Beneath that were several menus. Inventory, skills, friends, options, and a few others. There was a soft ring in my ear, and an orange marker appeared next to friends. I tapped it and saw a request from Cas at the top.

“You’ve got this all figured out already?” I asked, as I tapped the accept button.

“Only the basic controls. I read a few things, watched a let’s play last night, and got the gist of it all.”
“You read all that, but couldn’t look up how to read avatar names?”

“It didn’t come up.”

“Well, you’re elected group leader then, oh wise one. I’ll follow your lead.”

She rolled her eyes at me again. Oddly it felt just like we were back on the college campus. She held the same simmering disdain for my witty humor.

“Who goes there?” asked the npc as we walked up to him. Cas gave me a look as if to say ‘see, he gets it’ before answering.

“Cassidaya Briefoot,” she said with a half bow.

“Jupiter Rocklore,” I said.

“And why are you here?” he asked.

I blinked at this. It was an NPC, a computer algorithm searching for keywords. We just had to say the right keywords to get it to give us the quest. But it wasn’t giving us much to go on. Most algorithms mentioned a word, or phrase, to further the conversation. What would this NPC react to? Greed? Altruism? An NPC of little words made finding the quest a little tougher.

“We’re adventurers seeking fame and fortune,” I said with a smile.

“Adventurers? Pah!” he said, spitting on the ground.

Well, greed was out.

“You lot are the reason the town is in ruins!” the NPC said.

I squinted above his head, looking for more information and saw his name light up in soft blue text.

Captain Thanas Lightbringer
Level 30 1000/1000 hp
Captain of the once glorious elven village, Trelisa, now one of the sole survivors tasked with restoration.

Rebuilding a ravaged city didn’t seem like much of a quest. Probably fetching supplies, but at level one I couldn’t be that picky.

“Adventurers like us?” Cas asked. “What happened?”

Captain Thanas looked back over his shoulder at a tall building at the end of the plaza. It was the only three story building in the village, and there was foul green smoke coming out of all the windows.

“I’m sure you can smell it,” he said, and spat in our direction again before walking away from the plaza.

“Well, I think we know where to go,” I said.

Immediately a card popped up in front of me.

Quest Granted: Noxious Smells. Find out what caused the green fog in the Trelisa mayor’s office.

“The mayor’s office, huh?” Cas said. “I was wondering why it smelled like gym socks around here.”

“I thought I had a broken olfactory device.”

“Doesn’t look like it. Shall we go?”

I tightened my grip on my hand ax, the only weapon I had at the moment, and nodded.

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2018 in On Writing

 

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There is something to be said for fun

I’ve been working on my second novel for The Half Blood Sorceress series for a while, and pushing through the knots I made in the plot, trying to unravel everything. It was getting to the point I just didn’t want to look at it anymore.

So I set it aside for a week and wrote something different. Here we have a graph showing my word count per week since the beginning of this year. This week I set aside my usual work and I wrote a litRPG. I’m currently about half way done with it, and loving it. I love that the words came so easily, even though I didn’t really have a plot at the beginning. But the plot really took a hold, and after talking to Bjorn about it a bit he asked a couple questions and that made the plot so much better. It became a full story instead of just a little snippet of an adventure.

So far I have written at least twice as much each day on this new story. Something about it is just fun to write. And that fun keeps me coming back to it, writing more.

I think the Half Blood Sorceress became work instead of fun once the plot got so out of hand that I was actually considering rewriting ten chapters instead of just editing it. I’m still considering rewriting, or dropping a few of the chapters, and that doesn’t seem like much fun, so of course I have put it off some more. But don’t worry, I won’t be doing that forever, just for this week.

You know that saying “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”? It isn’t entirely true. Bjorn works a lot, and he loves what he does. But even when you love what you do there are some days when it isn’t as fun, and he has to slog through a bit to try and get it complete. He keeps going because eventually the work will be done and he can get back to the fun part. There is something he loves just waiting for him to complete the slog so he can get back to the good part.

It’s the same with any skill, really. Learning a language? You have to practice. Learning an instrument? Repatition isn’t fun, but you learn faster that way. Writing? Sometimes you just have to push through and get it done. Throw away, cut, rewrite, and continue.

And sometimes you need to set it aside for a bit and have some fun. Knowing when to do that is the trick. Knowing what the best course of action, and what you can finish, makes a huge difference.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2018 in Updates, Writers Block

 

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