The second part of the Redux Project is now live!
Base Metal expands the world of The Sword and gives alternative context to First to Fight, spinning up the coils for the coming release. Highlights of this volume include a parasitic/symbiotic AI that lives in the main character's brain, even more banter, and the utterly incorrect use of an anti-materiel laser.
Click the pic to get the book!
Book One of "The Sword" Redux Project is now live!
Sergeant Brian Clausen is a straightforward man. He's a soldier. His team solves problems, stops bad guys, and goes home victorious. But his newest mission is not what it seems. Beset by deception and hidden grudges, this mission will threaten far more than his life.
Join Clausen and his team as they suit up for combat in "First to Fight". Click the image to get to get the book.
Just popping in with an update. You may notice some revisions on the website as I prep for the Redux Project release.
What is the Redux Project, you ask?
It is a complete remaster of my debut novel "The Sword", expanded and revised. The first book was way too large, being near-impossible to print and dangerous if dropped from height. It got great reviews and responses, but the most common criticism was "this should be a series". (The second most common criticism was "I threw my back picking this tome off the table, could you find lighter paper?")
While at NASFIC 2019, I spoke to several veteran authors, who lent me invaluable advice on improving the text as a multi-volume work. Combining this guidance with the growth I'd had as an author since that book's release, I began to lay out a complete rework of the material, and this is the result.
So, let's run through a couple common questions:
Why a series?
To be honest, it always should have been. As a first time author, I focused way too hard on getting everything into one text, and that resulted in a book which sacrificed integrity for space, and was still too big to print. By splitting it into multiple volumes (ranging from novella to full novel), I can cover the depth and breadth of the novel with far greater detail.
There is a dramatic expansion in content. Entire previously cut-for-space characters, concepts, and plots have been re-added, now with room to breathe. This is the same story as the original book, but told in far greater fidelity.
Just about every damn word. I've come a long was as an author since that first book, and one of my first decisions was that if I was going to remaster this book into a series, I was going to put 110% of those lessons into bringing this world fully to life. When I published The Sword, I was giddy at the thought, "holy crap, I have a book". That giddiness led me to accept compromises that I now would not. The Redux Project will be the story I always wanted to tell.
What about us who bought the original?
I would never forget about my earliest supporters. You mean the world to me! Once the Redux Project is completed, and all volumes released, I will re-upload the original work, updating the material within to the newest standards. This will be for sale as large digital file for new readers, but those of you who already purchased the original need merely update your files. Unfortunately, this new version of the series will be impossible to print without inventing new book-binding methods.
It's big, ya'll.
I think that covers everything. The link to the first volume "First to Fight" is now up for pre-order. All files will be DRM free, so purchase if you want to support, and be sure to leave a review!
So I've discovered something about myself: I like to work in silence.
I'm not dead. I'd even say I'm better than my life-mean; the past few years have been a wonderful upward trend. I'm hard at work on the new book, but it's a long ways off.
If you asked for an ETA on that book, I'd say "couple years". I like to aim for quality and I do all the work myself, which means I have to use time as my currency instead of paying an editor. Working a decent day job means that I can't just sit down and crank out content, and I don't want to be that guy who posts every week for two years, saying "new stuff soon". It's out there. I'm working on it. It'll be done when it's done.
Now, on a cool note, I got a review from an awesome book reviewer: Erica Robyn. I put the link on the button below. You should totally follow her blog and check out her reviews.
In the last post, I laid out why I was embarking on a new project - radical transparency in writing and selling. Here I'll to lay out why this is so radical for me.
There are two things I hate doing most in life: asking for help and sharing core feelings.
I've always been a private person. Friendly, sure. I've heard the word 'gregarious' used on a couple of occasions. But that's surface affect - a mode of extroversion learned by participating in way too many role-playing games until I'd learned to adopt the persona of "super-friendly laughing guy".
It's a role I'm good at playing. I enjoy it. I'd describe it as "nearly me".
"Nearly", because it hides an important fact - no one ever gets below the surface. I'll talk politics and religion with strangers, and we'll part as friends. I can make conversation with someone I met at a bus stop, or in line at the checkout, or just sitting at a counter. I take pride in bringing the newest coworkers into the social network. I listen. I give honest feedback. I make jokes. I laugh a lot. I mean all of it, and I love making friends.
But I don't expose my core. No tragedies. No fear. No desires. Those are mine and mine alone.
I like to imagine this analysis of the self as a castle diagram (because I am a massive nerd). Outside of the walls are the city - the public life. Inside the gatehouse is the courtyard - for friends and family. Inside the core is the keep itself - the personal. I think most people have some version of this, a series of ever-tighter circles of ascending trust. Where I differ from most is that I keep my outer walls nearly always open - I'll talk to almost anyone, anywhere, anytime, and do so easily - but I keep my inner citadel tightly locked.
Which makes talking about my writing something of a double-edged sword. There's nothing more personal than a construction built from your own thoughts, forged with careful and determined labor over a period years, drawn from a lifetime of experiences, learning, and beliefs. I think this is true for any form of art - the work itself is the truest expression of the creator.
So here I am, a person who prides himself on being private, engaging in a craft which at its core involves vomiting up the deepest contents of my mind for the whole world to see. It's a bit of a contradiction.
I think I was always okay with it because I wasn't telling my story. I was constructing worlds for people meant to be appreciated separate from myself. A level of removal, perhaps, from the core I so jealously guard.
And yet, here I am, spilling all of this personal data. Why?
Because I'm flipping the meta. I'm going to talk about my process, my failures, and my triumphs, and I want you to understand that this is something very alien to me.
Which brings me to my second point, the other "thing which I hate".
There's a proud tradition that runs in my family - never ask for help. If you were drowning, and someone asked, "hey, you need a buouy?" Your response could only be, "I got this" or, at worst, "I wouldn't say no". This isn't to say that you shouldn't accept help! Accept it graciously, if it came. Always offer it, if you saw an opportunity. But never, ever ask.
I think the idea is that "everyone's got a lot of shit on their plate right now, don't make that worse". Basically: pull your own weight and don't be a burden. The upside is that you learn good self-reliance and can get out of a lot of scrapes that would bury other people. The downside is that you tend to drown when you can't swim.
With the Flipping the Meta project, I've decided to buck this tradition, and have recently launched a gofundme. The idea was spurred by some new friends, and I think it could help me reach a larger audience. I'll go into more of my reasoning, which works would benefit most from this funding, and what drove this particular decision at a later point, but for now, I simply wish to say that I have done this thing which is supremely unlike myself.
In the next posts, I'll be going over what my methods of writing have been up until this point, what has worked, what hasn't, and how I got smuggled into the Hugo afterparty.
I hope you all have had a wonderful week, and I'll see you soon!
This post is a bit different than anything I've done before. Up until now, I've been mainly professional, keeping a solid "marketing" veil between myself and the reader. That's changing, and I am dialing the communications pipeline wide open. Read on for the "why":
Today is a new day, like every day that came before. The sun comes up, the sun goes down, and hopefully we all end the cycle a little wiser.
Last week at this time I was at WorldCon76. It was some of the most fun I've ever had. I met some great people: the Shrubbery on my right, the Mexicanx Initiative to my left, both filled with awesome passionate people. Across the aisle, there were other self-published authors, jewelry vendors, and a clothes shop. Everyone was there, bringing their A-game and showing their best work. It was inspiring.
My friend Matt came with me. He was super helpful. We sold books to a lot of people, gave business cards to a few more, and sent everyone away with a smile. Then, we partied with our fellow nerds and made tons of new friends.
I'd describe the convention as a victory on a level I was completely unprepared to accept. I'd gone with the intent of meeting a handful of people, learning how the convention scene worked, and adjusting my behaviors for future years. I did all that and more, to an entirely new order of magnitude. It was awesome.
Coming home from that, though, was a bit like coming down from a high. Real life returns, and with it, the daily grind. Get up, go to work, lift heavy things, write words, go to sleep, repeat.
The closest thing I can describe it is like when I came home from a high-school retreat. I'd spent much of school specifically avoiding any "lame" events like class retreats (Catholic school), so when some of my more religious friends talked me into going my senior year, I was apprehensive. Then I went, and it was like I'd been hurled into a jet turbine shooting "human experience" through my core. In that weekend, I understood how cults get their power. I understood the power of communion.
Then it was gone, and I was back in school.
But me, being a data-driven person, I kept a record of how I'd processed the humanity overdose, in all its glorious moments. I locked the experience into my "positive and interesting" vault, in case I needed to draw upon it for writing.
This experience was made of the same substrate, delivered in the same mechanism, and I remembered the best parts of that long-past retreat: how I documented the experience, how I leveraged it towards improving my interaction with the universe, and how I'd gained perspective.
I've spent the past week working on integrating what I'd learned at WorldCon, and I think I'm ready to engage in the next stage of my writing career, a little project I'm calling "Flipping the Meta". Over the next couple of weeks and months, you'll be hearing more from me on this blog and through my social media. I want to open up the channel between myself and my audience, and let everyone see what I'm doing and why I'm doing it.
I hope you'll find this journey entertaining, and for my fellow creatives, perhaps even enlightening. Success or failure are equal in potential, and I welcome them both with open arms.
Enjoy the ride as we embrace of the unknown and all it brings. Feel free to comment, question or advise, because we're all winging it on the edge of known territory.
The post here explains it all.
There's also an extended excerpt from "The Sword" given as a thank-you to the hive mind.
I've updated the website with details about the new book. I should be launching very soon...
I'm currently neck-deep in edits of my next novel, Threshold. It's a little different, as you may notice - it's not set in the distant future, but tomorrow. It's not military science fiction, but a thriller/comedy.
What this novel does share with my prior work is a commitment to delivering strong characters, witty banter, and plenty of things that explode.
While it will be some time before this novel sees print (and I'll let you know more as we get closer), feel free to get a taste of what's coming by clicking the button below!