Tag: Cold Iron (page 1 of 6)

New Year, New ‘Do

Well. This is looking a bit more professional and whatnot, isn’t it?

It’s been over a month since my last entry here at Blue Ink Alchemy. That I can only chalk up to travel, changing seasons, a few unpleasant cycles of mental states, and general shenanigans involving real life things like looking for work, juggling financial woes, and finding tiny moments of catharsis. It’s been a rough ride.

But here we are! It’s 2015. A new year has dawned. New challenges await on the road ahead. And new projects will be hatched and, hopefully, nurtured into fullness with a little time, attention, and care.

The second novella, Bloody Streets, will be assembled and readied for publication as soon as I can afford a professional photographer and designer to tackle its cover. I plan on contacting the same team I used on Cold Iron (ladies, you know who you are), but I need to be a little more financially solvent before I can do that sort of outsourcing. I have some information on freelancing that I plan on capitalizing as you read this. I continue to interview for dayjobs of various kinds in an effort to keep the lights on, the pantry stocked, and this very site going. I might (emphasis on might) begin streaming my efforts to improve in Hearthstone, discussing various topics of the day while yelling in frustration at Priest players I encounter.

And on top of all of that, I’ve started work on a new novel in earnest. I will not say much, other that it is aimed for young adults, has been rather carefully researched so far, and deals with witchcraft, other worlds, tolerance, hard choices, and intestinal fortitude.

This year is going to be a good’un. I can feel it.

Self-Publishing Self-Critique

Simmering on the back burner is something I’ve been working on for over a year. It’s relatively complete. It’s got a beginning, a middle, and (in my opinion) a pretty cracking end. I’ve gotten people to look it over and agree it’s at least decent. And yet it sits there. It simmers. It waits.

Because it isn’t ready yet.

Cold Streets is going to be my second self-published novella. And as veteran self-publisher Chuck Wendig will tell you, there’s nothing second tier or ‘minor leagues’ about it. While you don’t have to go through the rigors and the wait and the hoops of the traditional publishing model, part of the trade-off is that the onus of the actual publication process is on you, the writer. You have to be your own PR. You have to be your own editor. And you have to be your own critic.

Despite the good words from my test readers, regardless of what polish and improvements I plan on making, the fact of the matter is, I am the sole arbiter of quality when it comes to what I write. And if something I’ve written isn’t good enough, it won’t see the light of day. That’s why I shut down Godslayer, and it’s why Cold Streets continues to simmer. I want to publish it, sure – it’s decent enough to warrant that – but I don’t feel it’s quite good enough yet.

They say you only get one chance to make a first impression. With Cold Iron, I held back on lining up the cover and arranging publication until I felt it was ready. And even as I fired it off, I felt there were things I could change about it. But it was prepared, and worked over, and good enough for other eyes. It may not be perfect – most of my work may never be perfect – but it worked well enough to earn some decent sales and good reviews. Cold Streets needs to be better. It will be, but it isn’t yet.

That’s the price we pay for publishing ourselves.

Well, that, and paying for talented folks to help us with our covers and whatnot.

Writer Report: Hard Part’s Over

Courtesy floating robes
Courtesy Floating Robes

Cold Streets is done.

Well, the first draft is done, anyway. The sequel to Cold Iron (which, as a friendly reminder, you can buy here or here) was born out of a desire to lay a foundation for future, full-length projects. Once I take up the editing hat and really get down to business, it’s my hope to have a workable draft that’s ready for prime time near the end of the year. Then it’s a matter of lining up another breathtaking photo and some fantastic design work for a cover, and maybe, just maybe, it’ll be on the virtual shelves in time for a lovely holiday gift.

That’s kind of a tight deadline, and I need to line up the backing capital for the cover & design work, but we’ll see what happens. I won’t make petty demands of talented people. I know how that goes when I’m on the receiving end of it.

Once I get test readers tearing Cold Streets apart, it’ll be time to try something new. Godslayer has been rather neglected recently because of the demands of my schedule and everything else going on, and it’s past time I put together an outline for that, and perhaps a character/world-building bible. I’ve thought about picking up Scrivener to make organizing and reorganizing things easier, but we’ll have to see if the budget can accommodate that. And then there’s the matter of Morgan and Seth. I’m not done with them and their near-future slightly-screwy Philadelphia just yet. I have one more novella planned, Cold Light, to round out what I’ll be calling the Lighthouse Foundation trilogy. And as I said, from there it’s on to longer, more substantial works in that world.

Writer Report: Brief Respite

Bard by BlueInkAlchemist, on Flickr

This is my week between travel in August. Otakon is behind me, and PAX Prime is ahead. The trip to Seattle will be much longer than the one to Baltimore, and I’ll have a bit more Internet access while I’m there. Reluctant as I am to check a bag, I think it’s going to be necessary. I can’t travel as light as I did for a long weekend, since I’ll be in Seattle for entire week and change. Thankfully, most of the people I’m staying with will have laundry they’re willing to let me use. I love having an adventure on the horizon.

Cold Streets is inching towards the first draft finish line. I wrote a scene on the train last week, and I’m closing the gap towards it. I’m excited. It’s the last big confrontation, and while I’m pretty much done with action for the novella, there will still be tension and drama, and hopefully a few more character revelations. I hope I’m doing this one better than I did Cold Iron. Proud as I am of my first published literary child, I know it’s got some flaws and rough spots. This is a good way to iron them out, I feel, and get feedback and even a little cash flow going.

I’m going to keep at it, keep carving out writing time in raw, bloody chunks, keep looking to a future that has more and more good aspects to it the closer I get.

Writer Report: Back On Track


I’m still not writing as much as I would like in a sitting, but I’m writing more and it’s consistent in that it’s happening every day, now. Cold Streets is back on the front burner and bubbling away nicely. I know I will have to go back and do a bunch of editing and rewriting. But I need to at least get the concepts, scenes, and beats out of my head and on to paper before I can properly mess around with them. And there’s only one way to do that!

In the hopes of keeping people interested in my work and with an eye towards better promotion, I’m happy to announce the following: for the rest of 2012, until January 2 2013, Cold Iron is on sale at Amazon for $0.99. If you haven’t already, you can get it for your Kindle right here. If you have already downloaded and read Cold Iron, tell a friend, leave a review, send me a comment, something along those lines.

I’ve gone back and forth about how to approach the former fantasy novel, and whether or not it will be a trilogy. Looking over the story, the complexities, and the things I want to discuss through and with the characters, I think that yes, breaking it up is probably the way to go. It is my hope that, as winter goes on, I can put together more notes, form more thoughts coherently, and finally take the red pen, scalpel, darling-slaying shotgun, and all-important flamethrower to my original manuscript to craft the first novel of the Godslayer trilogy.

Last but not least, I still believe that science fiction stories do not need to be constrained to a single type within their own narratives. There’s no reason a good character-driven story can’t begin life as one thing and slowly become another. The Fellowship of the Ring has a whimsical, homey start in the Shire, but by the end, darkness and peril are all around and it’s hard to imagine how things can get worse. It is that grounding in whimsy that makes the end, and the next two books, so powerful and resonant. It has been done in fantasy many times; why not in science fiction?

I’m not comparing myself to Tolkien by any means, I just think that it might be an experiment worth trying.

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