Early Access is here, and it’s on Patreon now! For the past year, I’ve been working on a way to deliver Early Access stories to you so you can read and support my work before it’s published. Today is the day where it all comes together.
Starting with my brand new novella The Peculiar Case of the Luminous Eye, you can read my upcoming works before anyone else. In fact, the entirety of Peculiar Case is available in early access right now. Read it today!
The Peculiar Case of the Luminous Eye
A distraught client comes knocking in the dead of night seeking Willem, a detective specializing in supernatural anomalies. Her employer, a wealthy recluse with macabre sensibilities, suffers from an otherworldly disease—ghostly blue parasites live in his eye.
Willem set’s to work at what may become the most dangerous case of his career. With the help of Dr. Florence, a gifted surgeon and Willem’s infatuation, they seek to save their client’s life. But things are worse than they feared, and soon it is they who will need to be saved.
Early Access is a new feature I’ve put together on Patreon—it’s how you can read my upcoming works before they’re published. They’ve gone through several rounds of editing, including a developmental edit, beta read, and a round of high-tech machine-learning-fueled proofreading.
While Early Access works will have several free to read parts, to gain access to the entire story you’ll need to be a Patron, which you can become for only $1. Great news, that $1 will also earn you my complete library of ebooks! That’s 2 published novels, 3 short stories, and 1 Early Access novella. And if you stick around, there are 2 more novels planned for Early Access in 2019.
Lately, I’ve been contemplating my goals and the steps I need to take to accomplish them. I’ve been reading lots of books on psychology, success, and becoming a thriving artist. One thing I’ve learned is, if you don’t define your goals, put them out there, and define the steps that will lead you to success, then it likely won’t in the way you imagine happen.
So I’ve once again updated and redefined my goals, and now I’m putting them out into the universe to see what happens. My goals are lofty, but I know they’re achievable if I work deliberately.
In the coming year, I have one major goal and several sub-goals that will help me achieve it. Let’s start with the big one.
What I’m listening to while I write this post:
6,000 dedicated fans
When I say dedicated fans, I mean the people who eagerly await my next release and jump on the opportunity to buy my next book. That’s a high number and will be difficult to accomplish. But it’s also a deliberate number.
I’ve read that an artist with a following of 6,000 fans should generate enough income to survive off their art. While I likely wouldn’t quit my job at this point, it would set me up financially to invest in polishing my writing, marketing, and packaging far more than I can now.
Originally, I was thinking of setting my goal lower. 6,000 dedicated fans is a lot, after all. But I’m taking some of the advice from 10X Rule by James Clear which argues that you should set goals 10 time higher than your initial estimates.
I think that’s a smart plan, so I’m setting my primary goal for 2019 high and taking deliberate actions to accomplish it.
What follows are my sub-goals that will support my primary goal of 6,000 dedicated fans in order of priority.
Regular release schedule
The past two years I’ve been working hard on preparing for regular releases. I have several projects in the works that are starting to see the light of day in one form or another.
To keep this sustainable, I plan on alternating release from full-length novels to short stories or novellas then back again. The end game is to maintain a cadence of releasing something every six months or so.
This will take a lot of work, but I think with the alternating formats, it will be possible. In fact, I’m currently set up to release 3 books in 2019: The Peculiar Case of the Luminous Eye, Grim Curio, and The Gin Thief: Episode 2.
Build a robust creative team
Of course, publishing content is my top priority. You’re not a novelist unless you publish novels. But building a “creative team” is just as important. Art isn’t created in a vacuum, and I don’t intend to be a solitary author who rarely emerges from the shadows.
I want to create a thriving community of like-minded people. People who actively participate in the creation, production, and distribution of art. And before I sound too snobby, I’m really talking about everyday readers like you.
There are several ways you can participate. To be a part of my creative team, you first need to sign up and make it official. There’s really no commitment, just a desire to read, review, share, or finance my art and in return receive special access and cool rewards.
Fix back catalog issues
I have a few wrinkles I need to iron out in my back catalog. The two big one have to do with Discovering Aberration and The Gin Thief.
Discovering Aberration is held back by an awkward intro and editing issues. I attempted to fix them a few months ago but went overboard on my edits. So starting in about two weeks, I’m going to tackle this problem once and for all! It’s driving me nuts.
Next, I have The Gin Thief: Ep 1 that’s been waiting for a second episode for years. I’m not happy that this has taken so long, but I’ve talked about reasons in the past. Now I’m talking about solutions. It’s time to get a move on, and in the early months of 2019 Episode 2 will be written.
Part of my new release strategy is to release Early Access content regularly on Patreon. Patrons help me finance things like editing and cover design. In return, they get ebooks, Early Access content, and more.
The Peculiar Case of the Luminous Eye is the first work to hit Early Access. It’ll have a proper announcement in the next week or two. As long as I keep the quality of my Early Access works high, I think I’ll be able to attract fresh blood.
Most authors focus their marketing efforts online, and as a result, it’s easy to drown in the noise. Of course I’ll use the web as best I can to get the word out about my work, but I believe offline experiences are more important now than ever.
In 2019 I plan on offering offline experiences whereever I can. These may come in the form of mailers, printed and signed Early Release chapters, etc. I want to create cool things that you can touch and interact with.
My first instinct was to write 100 patrons. Attracting patrons is hard as hell. But I need to aim higher than that and work smarter at it. If 1,000 of you offer your patronage at any level in return for free books, Early Access content, and even surprise gifts, I’ll be able to afford extra polish on my releases.
Next year, I really want to schedule a Sci-Fi / Fantasy convention tour so I can meet you in person. Conventions are where I’ve always been the most successful at selling books and attracting fans, so this would be massive. I don’t know if I can finance this on my own, but with enough patron support, I will definitely be able to.
What’s the end goal?
6,000 dedicated fans is a tall order, but it’s just a step on the road to my lifetime goal. By the time I die, I want to be considered one of the best writers of my generation. I want to be known for pushing genre conventions, embracing literary elements, and having created more than one masterpieces. I want my fiction to affect the world.
That’s lofty, I know. But other people have done it before me. Why not I? It’s always been a dream of mine to labeled among the best storytellers. So every year, I need to take steps toward making that happen.
2018 was all about improving my writing. 2019 will be about spreading the word. And 2020? Who knows. All I know is the struggle will continue, and every year I’m getting one step closer.
The world is a messed up place right now. No two ways about it. I could list everything wrong with the world, but I think you already have a pretty good idea. So I’ve decided to pick an issue, and by the end of reading this, I hope you’ll join me and try to save the world.
What’s the worst that could happen?
People fret about politics a lot right now, and believe me, I see a lot of concerning stuff. Stuff that literally disgusts me. But what I’m talking about isn’t a political issue. It’s a world-wide issue. And it has its sights on us and our children.
I’m talking about climate change. Please divorce from your mind politics for a sec. I believe the implications of climate change are real, but even if it’s not a sure thing, I think I have a sane argument why everyone, no matter you’re political leaning, should do something. And that something doesn’t need to be difficult.
Why should you care?
Everyone agrees there is climate change occurring at this point. Even right-wing politicians admit there is change and it’s measurable. Their argument now is that there’s no way of knowing whether or not humans are causing it.
Let’s say we’re not the culprit. Is that enough reason to not attempt to save our planet? That’s like arguing against car insurance. I don’t think I’ll be at fault, but if I get in an accident, I want to be covered.
So, whether climate change is real, or whether it’s our fault, those aren’t the issues. The issue is, we’ve measured it, experts say it’s happening, we should take out an insurance policy just in case. We should take steps to save the planet, whether or not you’re certain it “needs” saving.
But how can I make any difference?
First, don’t depend on our government. They are inefficient in the best of times. The government won’t save us in time. They’re too short-sighted, too focused on their next election, too preoccupied by lobbyists, to beuracratic to make a difference when we need it. And we need to start now.
That means it’s up to us, the consumers of the world, to make daily choices that affect the planet in a positive way. A few of us alone will make a dent, but en mass? Friends, we can change the world. All we need to do is take small steps in their daily lives, buy products that support our need for a planet to survive, and companies will notice and adapt.
Trust me, they bow to the flux of the market. And who is the market if not us? Where your money goes, they will follow. That’s what speaks in this world, that’s what forces change. Cold hard cash. But you don’t have to make a donation. All you need to do is make a few small changes in your shopping habits.
Fight climate change in the grocery store.
There are many things we can do to help the planet, but if our efforts aren’t focused, they will dilute. We need to attack this problem one step at a time. So let’s start with one of the worst offenders. Let’s start by stopping our support of the largest emiter of greenhouse gasses in the world.
So if you care about our planet, if you want this to be a place your children can grow up in, then please cut back on the beef and dairy.
I hate the idea of it too. I love eating hamburgers and I enjoy milk in my coffee. It won’t be easy, but we need to make an impact where it will do the most good for the planet.
To begin, cut your beef and dairy consumption by half. If we can get a movement of pro-earth thinkers cutting back on beef, even cutting it out entirely, we’ll be taking a major step toward saving the planet.
Besides, you’ll probably lose a few pounds in the process. Save the world and look sexy doing it.
Please consider this. Tell your friends. It’s our home, our children’s home, that’s at stake. We need to take steps now.
Nimona, a graphic novel by Noelle Stevenson, is a cozy read. It takes place in a world where the bad guys are often more admirable than the good guys. The hero and the villain have a backstory that adds depth to what could have been a fairly shallow story in less caring hands.
In fact, you could say that about every aspect of Nimona. It could’ve easily fallen into cliche, but never does. It’s familiar enough to be comfortable but different enough to be unique, and the ending will give you the feels without pummeling you over the head EMOTIONS.
I think Noelle Stevenson was very smart about how she added complexity to Nimona. Every major character has a secret, a defining flaw that shapes how they view the world. It’s an excellent device that creates compelling character arcs for all without belaboring the storytelling.
Beyond this, there’s an underlying sweetness to the characters that took me by surprise. This is where the coziness comes from. Things have happened to them that forces them to be at odds with each other, but there are stronger forces that keep them coming back to each other even in the worst of times.
But even though it’s sweet doesn’t mean it’s bland or without a touch of darkness. Every character has a hidden depth, but I don’t want to give any of it away as it’s integral to the story being told. Suffice to say, what you see on the surface of any character is a result of something else that will be revealed in time. It’s a balance that works really well.
The artwork is simple yet charming. The characters have just enough complexity to keep you engaged the whole way through. And the plot has one or two twists and turns which aren’t earth-shattering, but they are solid and fun. If you want an easy read that promises to be a good time with a perfect ending for the story it’s trying to tell, then I highly recommend Nimona.
I drew a balloon. I’m experimenting with drawing a series of things of a similar shape. No significance to anything really, except for there are a ton of balloons in the house from my kids 6th birthday. He’s so big now! Anyway, hope you like it. Trying to get back into drawing consistently again.
How much of your memory actually happened? Are you sure your perception of reality is correct? If you can’t remember the details of a movie you saw last month, how can you be sure the memories of your life—those imaginary images that define who you are in relation to the world—are memories at all?
You make up your memories anew every time you remember them based on all the information at hand. That means based on your current condition, or even the current social climate, the things you are remembering have actually been altered by your own brain. It happens to all of us. And the more you remember, the more the memory changes as it’s rebuilt over and over again.
I’ve been thinking about this lately since I started reading the book You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney which dives into the many tricks your brain pulls on you that alter the way you perceive the world and yourself. Get this. How can you know who you really are if your brain is constantly shifting the things that define you?
There’s no way in nature, that’s for sure. Only human invention gives us a way of peering back to see a version of ourselves that used to exist but has since been transformed by endless rewriting. Things like pictures, video, audio recordings, and even writing are can give us that glimpse. But even that is filtered through your current mind.
So when you watch a video of your younger self, you can imagine the feelings you might have felt. But the more you watch it, the more your memory of those feelings are rewritten, gradually transforming into a numbness. The more you remember, the more numb you become.
Maybe searching our past in an effort to define who we are is a bad thing. I don’t think this is a fresh idea. You’ve heard the phrase, “live in the now.” Lately I’m thinking that’s more relevant than I ever gave it credit for.
To be honest, I don’t remember a lot about my childhood. There a little images here and there. I remember stories that I’ve told about growing up, stories I’ve told myself, but I don’t really remember the experiences. I wonder if I’m alone in this, or if others remember only the stories the way I do.
Leave a comment letting me know how your memory works. Do you actually remember events? When you think back, does it feel like you’re reliving a scene from a movie, or is it far removed from that? Are you like me, and everything’s a story of a story of a story?
And if you’re memory is altered with every remembering, how can you be certain of who you really are?
This blog post was inspired by You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney.
I’ve been talking about making this series for about two months now, and I finally got around to making the first episode. Welcoming to Behind The Novel, the series where I’ll share my novel writing process every step of the way.
Originally I was going to just jump into showing you the writing process, but after a little consideration, I thought it best to start with the most prominent tool I use: Scrivener.
So this first episode is a brief introduction to Scrivener. You’ll learn why I like it, what benefits it provides, as well as be reminded that masterpieces are written using everything from Microsoft Word to typewriters to pen and paper.
So if you can’t afford Scrivener, never fear. In this case you’ll be in good company. I don’t think Dante used Scrivener either when he wrote The Devine Comedy.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video. There are more on the way.
I’m juggling a lot of projects right now which is keeping me really busy. But from the perspective of an outsider, it may seem like I’ve been twiddling my thumbs.
Despite the void that is my recent releases, I’ve actually been progressing nicely on a number of projects. In the last year, I wrote a novel, edited another, began work an a novella, rebooted my newsletter, began a YouTube channel, and I even took some time to plan a surprise for you guys 🤫
In light of all this, today I’m taking a moment to share the status of nearly every single project I’m working on. So let’s get started.
Before diving into the specifics, let’s take a look at the current order of releases any dates attached—because I don’t do that anymore 🧐.
Super secret short story 😮
Discovering Aberration: Revised Edition
The Gin Thief: Ep 2
The rest of The Gin Thief episodes.
Grim Curio (perhaps released in the middle of Gin Thief episodes)
Half-price Hitman (we’re talking at least two years out)
My goal here is to hit a cadence of at least one major release every year from here on out. The one caveat is The Gin Thief episodes. I consider 2-3 episodes to equal one major release.
When you want to move a freight train, it takes a while to build up steam, but the momentum carries it forward. So I guess my books are a freight train or something.
Don’t be surprised if a short story or two get thrown into the mix. I’ve been contemplating starting a pattern of releasing a short story between each novel with a collection released every few years. Why not?
Ok, now on to the specifics.
Discovering Aberration: Revised Edtion
A few months ago I revealed I was fixing some issues that Discovering Aberration was facing. Technical errors and irregular pacing made it into the release, so I took it upon myself to clean it up and rerelease it before I strike out on this second stage of my publishing career.
I finished editing the book several weeks ago then passed it along to my editor. A few days later I heard back from her. “I’m so sorry,” she said, “But it lost a lot of the charm in the rewrite.” 😱
On the upside, she hardly found any errors. Sooooooo……. I guess that’s a win.
I overdid it, plain and simple. Now I need to go back through it with a lighter touch, so a second round of edits is in order. sigh.
Together, we’ve come up with a strategy to address this nightmare. I’ll go into what we’re doing in another post, but we think we can keep the improvements and not lose any of the charm along the way.
It’s going to take some work. I suspect this pushes back the release a couple months. But I think we’ll still hit a 2018 release date. I mean, please let me hit this dateoccasionally one. Please? Fingers crossed.
The Gin Thief: Episodes
The delay of DA: REis sadly going to affect the release of The Gin Thief: Ep. 2.
Delays have this cascading effect that isn’t much fun. I really don’t know if Episode 2 is going to squeeze in 2018 anymore (didn’t I once promise it out by February 2018? See why I gave up on release dates), though I remain pessimistically hopeful.
I’m trying hard to make 2018 happen, but it may turn out to be an early 2019 release. Sorry. For real, sorry. But it’s coming.
After Episode 2 is released, I’m going to soldier on and draft all of the remaining episodes in one go. Then I’ll set them aside much like I did for Grim Curio, focus on finishing Grim Curio, then return to the episodes for a final round of edits.
Grim Curiois currently in a state of hibernation. The draft is done, beta reads are done, editing round 1 is done. Now I have some rewrites to do before it goes through the editing process again, but I won’t start rewrites until after the release of The Gin Thief Episodes are all drafted.
I think this strategy will lead to a stronger novel while also keeping me on track to push out those episodes. It’s not easy to write this way, but I think it’ll be worth it in the long run.
Get it? Green Day? I’m taking the long view. Like the Green Day song. Wow that’s a stretch.
And at last, we come to Half-price Hitman. This one is just a small side project which isn’t actively being written. I’m using it as a way to demonstrate my writing process to patrons.
So occasionally I’ll document myself in one stage of the writing process or another using this as an example. It’ll eventually turn into a full-fledged project, but it has no release date in sight. If you become a patron you can see it evolve as I share everything behind the scenes.
As for the super secret short story…
Delay’s aren’t fun, and I need to get something new out there.
I thought I’d have Discovering Aberration: Revised Edition out within a couple of weeks, but since that’s no longer the case, I wracked my brain for a way to deliver something to you without a substantial time commitment on my part. It had to be something I’d already written, something good enough to see the light of day, something I could put out there and be proud of in less than 2 weeks.
Tall order. But I found it!!! Get this, it’s still super secret. I’ll tell you this, it’s a short story that has an indirect relation to both Discovering Aberration and Grim Curio but isn’t directly set in either universe. And it’ll be free to newsletter subscribers and patrons.
That’s all from me today. Hopefully there’s something in this list that you’re excited about. And if so, why not subscribe to my newsletter. There are some cool benefits nobody even knows about yet (plus you get a free copy of Discovering Aberration).