Category Archives: Writing

Note on the Dragon’s Breath Series and an excerpt

As some of you know, I’m in the midst of writing Cast by Flames, the final book in the series with Bailey and Aidan (not including the spinoff). There is a lot to cover in this novel, but it’s coming along well so far, and I’m finding it easy to write. Well, except for one little twist.

Long ago when I released the first book, I let readers know this one would not contain spicy elements. Some may recall this, some may not, and people who started it later probably never knew about that promise. I wanted readers who prefer not to have naughty parts in stories be able to enjoy the series. Also, I’d rather that when my boys get older they can pick these books up and it not be awkward. I’ll just have to steer them clear of the others.

Having said that, it was tough to stay within my promise while writing Torn in Flames because obviously Bailey and Aidan had a lot of pent up passion when they reunited after five years. I had to walk a fine line to show that without it going too far. It wasn’t easy! Since beginning Cast by Flames, it has gotten even more difficult. As I was writing the final part of chapter five, I deviated into “forbidden” territory because I just had to get it out of my system.

Later, I mentioned it to the readers in my Facebook Fan Group and how I’d have to heavily edit the scene later. There was a large response of people who thought I should still share it somehow (ideas varied on this). I ended up revising the scene with a lot more of what I wished I could have written had I not been holding back (even with crossing the line a bit). Then I posted the 1700 word scene in the group. They loved it.

I know I have a lot of readers who are not in that group who may wish to see it as well. As a result, I’m posting it below. Keep in mind that this scene takes place in the midst of the next book, so there are some brief mentions of things going on in the story, but they are vague without context and shouldn’t feel like actual spoilers. No one who has read it so far has had an issue.

If you’re still with me and want to read it, continue below. Please do keep in mind this is just a draft and has not been edited except me running through a few passes to try catching any typos/issues. Hope you enjoy!

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Torn in Flames dragon map and character sheet

In anticipation of Torn in Flames releasing in a few weeks, I have a question for you all. I have a map of where all the pertinent dragon territories are in the U.S. My beta readers and editor found it helpful to keep track of clans in the story. There are more mentioned in this installment than previous ones.

Keep in mind, it is a generic map I altered with colors, name labels, and territorial lines for my purposes. It’s out of my price range to have a professional do it, unfortunately, but it does the job. I referred to it many times while writing the novel. I just can’t include it in the ebook because I got the country outline from a separate source. This map does not list every clan that exists because if they have no relevance to the story or my personal notes then I’m not taking the time to name or outline them. So a blank area does NOT mean it’s free of dragons. I already had this question and they know who they are, though in their case they were just messing with me. I will say the Cast by Flames (book 7) map has an even more comprehensive map because I did have to add a lot more clans for that due to the plot, but you won’t get to see that one yet.

Also considering creating a Torn in Flames character list explaining who is who if there are enough interested people. I make a spreadsheet for each novel I write, but those have a lot of details that are for me. This would be a cleaner version in a PDF document with a couple of details on who each person is for this installment to use as a quick reference for readers.

Please let me know in the comments below (or on Facebook) if you all would be interested. It would take extra work on my part, but I would be happy to do so if readers think they’d find the map and/or character list helpful.

If this does happen, I’ll let you all know when the document(s) are ready and email them to those who wants them prior to the book release.

Writing and publishing updates for September 2022

I’ve got a few news items for you all. Mostly, it relates to the Dragon’s Breath Series, but also a side note about the Sensor Series.

First, Stalked by Flames is no longer free and back to its regular price. I hope everyone who wanted a copy managed to grab it over the last few weeks. In the coming days, I am going to start pulling the Dragon’s Breath Series off of the other retailers so I can start enrolling the eBooks in Kindle Unlimited. This is going to happen one at a time, so those who are still working their way through the series from Nook, Kobo, etc have a reasonable chance to get the next installments before they’re gone. After that, the series will only be available on Amazon. I know times are tough right now, and for some readers, it’s easier to borrow books.

For those who have already read Captured in Flames, I’m sure you’d like an estimated release date. I’m shooting to have Torn in Flames out by Christmas, but I won’t say for certain until I’m farther along in the book. I know many of you are itching to find out what occurs next, though, so I have posted the first two chapters (almost 10k words) on another page on this site. You can read them here. I’m working on the novel every chance I get because I definitely don’t want the wait to be long for this one!

Also in regards to that, Torn in Flames is the sixth installment and then there will be one more afterward to wrap up Bailey and Aidan’s story (making the total seven). I plan to do a spin-off with Galadon as well once the main series is complete. His will be more romance focused, but still plenty of action. If all goes well, book 7 and his novel will come out next year (2023).

As for the Sensor Series, some people have been asking if I’m totally done with it. Obviously, I’ve had a lot of other things going on with my life and needed to wrap up the Dragon’s Breath Series first before considering anything else. Having said that, I’m still wanting to do at least one book with Kerbasi because he’s fun and the most requested. Please let me know your thoughts.

My website has been a complete mess

Weeks ago, I began to run into problems with not being able to log into my website. We tried all sorts of fixes, hoping to figure it out for ourselves, but I also needed to use my time to handle edits on Captured in Flames since that had to get back to the editor for a final pass. It had a tight deadline if I wanted to stay on track with my publishing goals. I told myself I’d redouble my efforts on the site once I turned in the manuscript. Well, I got the book finished in time for the editor this past week, so that’s the good news.

The bad news is that we (my father who was helping and myself) finally relented and contacted the website host who concluded my site had been hacked. They said I had the option of hiring a security specialist to clean it up or use a backup file. I didn’t want the expense of a specialist so I told them to go with the most recent backup before the problems began. Unfortunately, many of those files were corrupted. The best one to use was all the way back in April of 2016!

I thought about it for a bit and finally succumbed to the inevitable. Without my website, I can’t reach my full audience to keep them updated. They took that old backup and got everything running again yesterday afternoon. Of course, that meant I was back to an old theme, plugins, widgets, outdated pages, banners, etc. It drove me crazy to look at it all and know some readers might stop by the website and wonder what was going on with it. The most recent post was from April 2016, so you get the idea. I had only one Dragon’s Breath book out and none of the Dark Destiny Series. A lot had happened since then.

For those of you who don’t follow me in my Facebook fan group, I had another baby boy a little over 15 months ago named Dean. He’s great and I love him so much, but like his big brother was at this age I cannot get near a laptop without a meltdown. He loses his mind if he sees me on it.

Thankfully, Dean is much better at taking naps and going to bed at night. My firstborn, Adam, saw it as a challenge to make him sleep and keep him down for the night until he was three years old. Now that he’s four, he is much better about that and even good at entertaining himself while I work (usually). The second boy still wakes 2-3 times a night, especially when teething, but he can be relied upon to go to bed on schedule. This allows me to sneak time to work on my book during his nap and after he’s in bed (assuming there is nothing else pressing that must be done while he’s sleeping like shower). This is how I was finally able to get back to writing again.

Anyway, I worked on the website until 1:30am last night updating my theme, pages, header, and adding back the posts between 2016-present that I felt couldn’t be lost (I skipped dozens of others). They look like new since I couldn’t carry over the comments or even back date them. Also, though I checked boxes declining sending notifications of those re-posts, I have heard some people still got them. My deepest apologies for anyone who got slammed with those updates and I promise there will not be anymore since I managed to knock them all out before bed! And if it’s any consolation, Dean had an usually restless night (likely due to teething), so I got woke up every hour until around 8:00am when he was wide awake and ready to face the day. I’ve ran on fumes and coffee since then.

Today, during Dean’s nap today I got a lot more done on other necessary modifications like my Contact page, security stuff, and book pages. I still have some minor tweaking left to do, but the rest of it isn’t urgent. I’m switching my time back to working on formatting Captured in Flames so I can get it up for pre-order as soon as possible. Also, I really want to post the first two chapters in the next couple of days so you all can get a taste of what’s to come.

Once again, I apologize for any inconvenience and promise I’m working every spare minute possible.

Self-publishing and expectations…

Recently I had a visitor to the website who asked several questions about my self-publishing experience. There wasn’t a good way to keep my responses short, though I tried at first. Instead I’m putting my answers in a regular post so that anyone else who is curious can read them as well. Here goes:

“Could you please talk about your experience?”

Publishing is a lot like riding a rollercoaster. Some days I’m on top of the world writing good stuff and hearing back from readers who enjoy my work. Thanks to all those awesome people who commented on my last post! Other days I might have trouble moving forward while working on a scene and/or catch some criticism of one of my books that makes me think I’m the most horrible writer in the world.

There are days I can’t imagine having any other job and that it’s the absolute best. Then I have days where I question why I released my stories for anyone else to read because, obviously, I completely suck. What was I thinking letting anyone see the crazy ideas that come into my head?

Writers have to be deeply in touch with their feelings in order to produce quality work. This is important, but can also make the whole experience more difficult from an emotional standpoint. If a reader is disappointed with your latest book you feel like you let them down though you honestly wrote it the way you believed it had to be written. I thank God for all my encouraging fans. They’re what has kept me releasing the next ones, though I’d probably never stop writing regardless.

“How you went about it. What was the process like? What pit falls did you encounter?”

For how I went about it, you must keep in mind I was writing for a few years before I published and that Darkness Haunts was not my first book. It was simply the first I thought worth sharing with the world. So when I made the big decision to publish I waited nearly a year from the time the first draft was completed before self-publishing it. I queried agents, entered it into ABNA (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards), and also learned everything about publishing I could.

I researched cover artists, editors, ebook formatting, paperbacks, and a lot on marketing. Though I refused to change to a genre that might be more salable (people were saying urban fantasy was a dying genre), I did study my market so as to gauge my expectations. I also followed other authors and read about their experiences, soaking up every bit of information I could.  At the end, I even changed the title to something more fitting and catchy than the original.  It wasn’t Darkness Haunts until two months before I released it.

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