“What Am I But My Reflection?”

I’m getting worse about updating my blog, which is either a sign of being lazy or motivated, it really depends on your latitude. A big reason why is because I’m hard at work on the follow up to Terminus Cycle. I’m not going to shoot myself in the foot like I did with Terminus Cycle and promise that it will be out within a specific time period, though, I’m going to do my best to slow down and give this book the attention that it needs to help nurture it into existence. I’m not saying that I didn’t try with Terminus Cycle, either, or that Terminus Cycle was somehow not a good book, but I always strive to do better. I wanted Terminus Cycle out into the wild and I wanted it out as soon as I could get it out there.

My big hurdle right now is slowing myself down and reminding myself that being careful and meticulous will only make things better. I was recently reading some advice on revisions and read one author’s opinion that there are two types of writers; the first being the overly eager and the second being the overly careful. I definitely fall into that first category more often than I’d like to and usually don’t see the problems in my own work until a bit later, which has bitten me in the ass before.

I never really took revisions seriously before, in part, because my first draft is usually not bad and also because it can be hard to distance myself from my own work. I’ve always been able to barf up first drafts that are beyond acceptable, which is a good thing and a bad thing. With Godslayer there were some grammatical quirks and problems but when it came to structure, characters and general flow it was pretty cut-and-dry. Of course in retrospect another few passes of revisions could have made it a hell of a lot stronger of a book and made it better overall book. Terminus Cycle was more complicated and I made conscious attempts to do a few things that were a bit more complicated, narratively, to varying degrees of success. Looking back, sitting on it for another month and giving it a solid three or four more scrubs could have made it a tremendous book.

Terminus Cycle is still a fun book. I really do believe that it’s a fun story that is worth your time or else it wouldn’t be out in the wild and I wouldn’t be writing a sequel right now. This is just my personal neuroses and how I really, genuinely want books on the market that represent my talent, vision and creativity. It’s frustrating as an artist to fall short of your vision or disappoint yourself, which is why I’m taking my revisions very seriously with Andlios Book Two.

The good news is that I’m making great progress on my revisions and am truly happy with the book right now. It will only get better, too, which is great. It’s a good feeling to go back, read a few chapters, then stop and say, “How can this be better? How can I build tension better here? How can I make you care about this character more here?” While I did that in the past, my solutions were more shortcut than overhaul and I’m now really taking a step back and instead of worrying about doing too much am making sure that I don’t do too little.

So thanks again to everyone that supports me and enjoys my books. I promise that this next one is really going to be killer and that it will be in part from all of your great feedback.

“But I Walk On”

I feel kind of bad that I haven’t put a blog entry up over in a month now, but then again, I’ve been pretty busy and I’m sure that everyone understands it. At least I hope. Maybe. Who knows? Yeah.

Terminus Cycle was released on March 24th and here I sit on June 1st after it has been out for two months now. There are some good things to take away from the experience and some bad things, just like anything else. Some people really love it, some people like it, other people it didn’t connect with. That is part of what comes with the territory of releasing something to the public.

Like with anything else that I do, I’ve learned a lot from this experience and there are a lot of new tricks in my bag for the next book along with a few things that I know to avoid like the plague. I did a few things in Terminus Cycle that were different and some were effective while others fell flat or detracted from the rest of the book. Part of what is exciting about the whole thing is that I know that I’m continually getting better at what I do and while I might see something in Terminus Cycle that I’m not happy with or proud of, I know that I’ve done it better in my current work.

Over the past month I’ve had my share of doubts, concerns, ups, downs, insults and praise, so much so that it is a bit dizzying at times. What I’ve learned is that it simply needs to be taken in stride. If someone says something either good or bad and it comes from an honest place it can usually be picked out from the sea of hyperbole. Granted, the hyperbole can also be humiliating or ego-stroking, it’s just hard to really glean much from it other than shrugging it off.

All that I can do is thank everyone for reading Terminus Cycle and for the support. Even to those that didn’t want to support me, I thank you as well. Writing is an interesting journey and I’m happy that I’m taking it. I’m excited about what’s coming next and really can’t wait to ramp things up and really, hopefully bring my best into the world.

I’m revising my release schedule a bit and will hopefully have the follow-up to Terminus Cycle out soon, but all that I’ll say for certain is that it will be out before the end of the year. I really want to make sure that it’s as tight as it can be before I release it to the public.

How I Got My Start Writing Part I: The Early Years

There are days when I wake up and I wonder exactly what is wrong with me and why I so passionately wanted to be a writer. I’m not saying that I regret it or that it’s not what I want to be doing, because the truth is that I don’t want to do anything else. It’s been this way since I was a kid (although, if I’m honest here, I did want to be a scientist when I was a kid and then I wanted to be a pro wrestler when I was a little older). Not many people grew up with something that they were good at, worked hard on and then decided to do for a living.

A lot of kids have these crazy, distant dreams that they are told that they can’t achieve and for me writing was that. Even if it isn’t something crazy like being a rock star or an astronaut it still felt like it was beyond a mere mortal’s grasp. That view only really intensified while I was in college where I was taught about literary canon and how the only acceptable form of fiction is literary fiction. Sure, not every teacher explicitly said that, but the implications were heavy and somehow I still wanted to chase after that.

So where the hell did this all start?

I learned how to read at a young age. I’m not exactly sure what age that was, but I tend to just tell people that I was three because three sounds impressive and is a nice, odd number. I was a smart kid, I’m not going to pretend that I wasn’t, but I was one of those kids that learned things very quickly and then zoned out when teachers were trying to get everyone else up to speed. This meant that I daydreamed a lot when I was a shy, little kid and when I got older and more confident I would never shut up and caused trouble instead.

I remember in first grade that we had two different “reading groups,” and while they wouldn’t admit it; one was the advanced group and one was the remedial group. Like I said, I was a kid and I zoned out a lot. I already knew how to read, so teaching me how to do something that I already knew how to do meant that I just wasn’t paying attention. My teacher confused that lack of interest with lack of understanding, but after a few tests I was quickly pushed into the more advanced group.

What’s funny is that it was a very, very long time ago now and I still remember being led to the big, wooden table with the little plastic chairs and the teacher sitting me down and telling the kids to show me what they were working on; S and H together make a shhhh noise. All of the kids shhh’d me and I felt like an idiot. So it goes, right?

I prided myself on the fact that in the second grade I was reading grown up books, which, I don’t know, it was mostly Stephen King and the newly-approved Star Wars expanded universe novels (this was 1992), so it wasn’t exactly the toughest stuff to ever be released, but Hardy Boys books were really boring to me so I needed more. I remember gathering up a group of my friends to write a story together, although I’m not sure that anything ever really happened with that, but it still felt important at the time.

The first time that I ever really received any praise for my writing was in the third grade where there was a school-wide writing contest where a story from each grade was selected and would be read in front of the entire school. My story was pretty dark for a third-grader, a story about myself and the pond down the street where I’m kidnapped by pirates and endear myself to these pirates to be able to plot my escape. Somehow my mother died in the process as well, like I said, this was some dark stuff for a kid.

No, I didn’t win the contest. That was kind of a kick in the ass, but being a writer is all about dealing with setbacks with stride. The praise that I received was different, to say the least. The sixth grade teacher saw my story and was blown away by it. She asked me if I’d read it to her class and she ended up using it to shame them that a third grader was able to write better than any of them. That was kind of not cool to shame other kids, but it’s praise and I was a kid, I’ll take what I can get, especially considering that I was a smart kid but was never acknowledged to be one of the kids in advanced learning programs or anything like that.

It didn’t make sense to me why I didn’t win the contest and I’ll admit, when the girl who won stood up there in front of the school reading her Little House on the Prairie ripoff while dressed in a dress and bonnet I was pretty upset, but it wouldn’t be the last time that I faced that kind of setback or the last time where I was told that I was good at what I did, but not what people were looking for. That happened again the next few years with a State-run sci-fi contest in fourth and fifth grade before I sort of just lost interest in writing and decided that I wanted to be a professional wrestler or an artist. A kid writing about soldiers hunting down the devil or the end of the world was probably a bit jarring, I guess.

This wasn’t the end of my journey by a longshot, but there were a lot of factors that made me just sort of give up on writing for a long time. Most of them have to do with being a kid and writing not really being that cool.

I’ll pick up next time with more about this, but until then, have you picked up your copy of Terminus Cycle yet? You really should. It’s available in both Kindle ebook and Paperback. I made sure that there isn’t copy protection on the Kindle version so if you have another eReader that can read Kindle files you should be okay.

For those who would rather test their luck I’m running a giveaway on GoodReads right now which is running until the end of the month.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Terminus Cycle by Dave  Walsh

Terminus Cycle

by Dave Walsh

Giveaway ends April 30, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

Terminus Cycle Available Now

It’s pretty late at night right now, but I’m happy to say that Terminus Cycle has been released via Amazon’s Kindle.

Go ahead and click the graphic below to check it out on Amazon.

terminuscycle_cover

Don’t forget to leave some feedback after you read it by the way of a review on Amazon. It might seem trite but those reviews go a long way to tell interested readers what the book is about.

Also don’t forget to check it out on GoodReads and if you leave a review to cross-post it on there.

EDIT: I’ve heard some asking for a paperback and I’ve listened. It’s available now on Amazon.

 

 

Terminus Cycle Launches Next Week. Whoa.

A part of me has a hard time believing that next week is the launch of Terminus Cycle. My first book, The Godslayer, was very different. I’ve said that a ton of times but I can’t state it enough; it was an incredibly different book. Everything from my approach, attention to detail, polish to the genre and the style that it was written in. The Godslayer was a product of where I was as a guy who dedicated a lot of his time and efforts into combat sports. I’ve been writing about combat sports since 2006 and watching them for at least ten years before that.

They served a very important role in my life for a long time. I had done a lot, from reporting to editing to managing sites and even tried my hand at managing a few fighters. It was an interesting ride but I wanted off. The Godslayer was an attempt to do something on my own and work off of what I knew and what people knew of me; combat sports. My hopes were that it would be the end for me, that it’d be my meal ticket to stop the slough of writing about combat sports for good so that I could move on to just writing novels.

Things don’t always work out as planned, right? It sold pretty well, better than I ever expected (because you have to be realistic), but still wasn’t enough to get me to quit, especially when my name was out there more than ever. I was doing freelance PR, managing sites, getting a lot of attention and a lot of money coming in. The thing with me is that I tend to work a lot. It was this whole thing instilled in me by my father; work hard until you drop dead. I guess that’s what being from a New England Irish family does to one, right?

So I was working seven days a week for extremely crazy hours and I was miserable. Not just miserable, I was angry. I hated what I was doing and resented all of it. I resented the sports that I was covering for existing, I resented the fans, I resented the other media, I resented the athletes, I resented my employers who kept giving me money and I resented myself for doing the thing that I swore that I’d never do again; work overly hard at a job that I don’t love. My wife did some math and figured out that I could cut back considerably and everything would be fine.

It felt strange to me, in fact, I was torn. I hated what I was doing and it was eating me up, but could I really just give it up and become what I considered a freeloader? We had been having these discussions for a long time, over a year, actually. I still couldn’t bring myself to do it, but finally I had no choice, I was stopping everything and I was going to focus on my novels. It took time and I didn’t really shed all of my other jobs until February (which is a long time considering that I made this decision in August), but over that period of time I finished Terminus Cycle and got myself to where I am now, which is about halfway through the follow up to Terminus Cycle.

So next week feels like a big deal to me because this is a long time coming. It is also me moving into something that I care about quite a bit more than combat sports; science fiction. I grew up obsessed with science fiction, reading the likes of Asimov, PKD, Bradbury, Wells and many others. It had a profound impact on me (as did the Timothy Zahn Star Wars novels, if we are being brutally honest) and has left me as a lifelong fan of science fiction.

I’ve been brushing up on my modern science fiction over the past few months, but I felt that it was important for me to not read what else was out there before I finished up Terminus Cycle so that it wouldn’t have that many outside influences in it that readers would pick up on and either notice or be turned off by. But really, what pushed me back into wanting to do science fiction was the landing of the Mars Curiosity rover, re-reading Dune and watching the entirety of Babylon 5 for the first time.

I’m confident in Terminus Cycle adding something valuable to the modern science fiction lexicon now I just have to hope that others agree with me. I’ll find out next week and in the weeks following that for sure, but it’s still exciting to think that I’m putting something out there that I really want to be out there.

So don’t forget to pre-order your copy of Terminus Cycle before it launches on March 24th.

Also add Terminus Cycle to your GoodReads shelves as well.

As always I’m overwhelmed by the support and I can’t thank everyone enough.

Terminus Cycle Launching on March 24th — Pre-Order Now

For months now I’ve been posting blog entries about my “next book.” I’ve been vague as to not reveal too much information, I’ve been vague about release dates and everything else that I possibly could. Hell, I was even hesitant to announce a title — which turned out to be a good thing because I changed it recently. But finally I’m ready to make an actual announcement.

The first book of the Andlios series — Terminus Cycle — will be released on March 24th, 2015 on Amazon.com’s Kindle platform. Yes, I’m dead serious, the end of this month I’ll finally be releasing my second novel and it’s entirely different from my first one.

How different? Entirely.

terminuscycle_coverI can’t stress that enough. Terminus Cycle is a science fiction novel that is split into two parts. The first part is the last few weeks of an epic journey from Earth to a nearby, inhabitable planet, while the second part is what happens when Humanity lands on this planet. It features two protagonists who were born on opposing sides of the spectrum of the ship, the Omega Destiny. Jonah was born poor, Captain O’Neil was born wealthy and took his father’s place as the Captain of the ship. While they are two different characters, they have a lot in common and the story is both men coping with the lot in life that they were dealt and doing their best for the people around them.

 

Here’s the description of the book:

“Humanity never stopped growing or using resources, leaving Earth in crisis. The solution was a mission to send ships of immense proportions out into the expanse of space to colonize neighboring planets.

Jonah Freeman was born into the lowest rung of society aboard the Omega Destiny. He fought and clawed his way out of poverty only to find himself uncovering a conspiracy about the mission and their destination planet that could alter humanity’s history forever. On the other side of the Omega Destiny was Captain Peter O’Neil, born into wealth and the honor of being the Captain that would land humanity on its new home planet.

Freeman and O’Neil were born on different sides of the spectrum aboard the Omega Destiny but their lives are on a collision course all while their new home planet of Omega looms in the distance, growing closer and more mysterious every day. What greeted them when they arrived was not only shocking, but more dangerous than they ever imagined.”

So yeah, quite a departure from The Godslayer, right? I’ve also done everything imaginable for this book to not only make it successful, but to be as professional as possible. This required a sizable investment on my part, but I really believe in this book, believe in this series and want to give it the respect that it deserves. This means commissioning artwork for the book (which if you’ve been reading the blog entries you’ve seen evolve from sketch to final product) from the wonderful Jenn Blake back home in Rhode Island. It also meant hiring Liz DeGregorio to edit it, which really helped to bring a level of polish to it that I could only dream of.

I’d also like to take this time to thank everyone who read early versions of the book over the past few months. Regardless of the stage that you read it in, your feedback was all immensely helpful and I greatly appreciate your time, your patience and your honesty in this process. Things have come a long way since the first draft back in late November and I thank everyone who was involved for their assistance.

Now, I know that it’ll be a bummer for some of you that I’m not planning a paperback version right away, but the truth is that it’s a lot of work and in 2015 there is little return in it. I moved a good number of copies of The Godslayer, but literally 99% of them were via the Kindle marketplace. Seriously, less than 1% of my sales were the paperback. While it might be an inconvenience to some of you, let me remind you that you don’t need a Kindle device to read the book. You can read it from any eReader (if you have one), or there is a Kindle app for literally every mobile device known to man; Android, iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire and even PC and Mac. It’s 2015 and just about everyone has some sort of mobile device, from a smartphone to a tablet. If not, well, if you buy it and can’t read it reach out to me and we’ll work something out.

So, if you are looking to help me out or just to read a good science fiction book check out Terminus Cycle on Amazon. Pre-order it, if you’ve already read it leave a review. If you read it when it comes out please take some time to leave a review on Amazon and GoodReads (if you use GR). Seriously, you don’t know how much that helps. I’ll send you a Christmas card or something.

“Anyone can see it so clear”

I have really been neglecting this blog of late. I’ve set my sights on doing updates by the first of the month and the fifteenth, so I was due for an entry last week, but instead I opted to just work on my next novel a bit more. I know that it’s all still a bit confusing considering that I haven’t released my last novel yet, but the life of a novelist is one that is always ongoing. I don’t have a solid release date yet for Terminus Cycle, but I do have a window that will be somewhere in mid-March to mid-April, if that helps. There will be a pre-order page up on Amazon as soon as it’s ready and you’ll hear about it (probably a lot) from me.

Part of the job of any novelist is to read as much as humanly possible. It’s for enjoyment, inspiration, ideas and just to get a lay of the land in the market. I grew up reading science fiction but since college I kind of veered more towards literary fiction and postmodern stuff. This meant that over the last few months I’ve been reading as much science fiction as possible to see what is selling and what is getting traction out there. Some of it is good, some of it is great and some of it is frustrating.

Series are a big thing right now because there is an audience for them and they tend to be gobbled up by readers. This is of course the market that I’m looking to go after when I release Terminus Cycle in a matter of weeks. Originally I had planned on releasing two books this year; Terminus Cycle and the follow-up. Now after some discussion with my wonderful wife, Lori, we’ve talked about me cutting back on the outside writing that I’ve been doing (you know, the stuff that pays bills) and focus on trying to churn out three this year. It’s an aggressive goal but it is an achievable one, especially after all that I’ve seen and experienced in the lead-up to releasing Terminus Cycle.

Realistically I’m looking at a Spring release for Terminus Cycle, a Summer release for the second one and a late-Fall to early-Winter release date for the third one. That is a lot of writing, a lot of revising and a lot of work for me, but I’m confident in my work and believe that at least having the second one out as close as possible to the first will be a good idea.

I guess I have some work to do.

Rooks Across the Gates

The act of writing isn’t something that you can really give up on ever. It’s not something that you just do and find yourself “done” with. Right now it’s difficult for me to talk about my “next book” because in my mind my “next book” is the one that I’m writing right now. The book that I’m releasing next, the one that I’ve been speaking about for months and months on end, that book is my last book. Confused yet? Imagine trying to have polite conversation with people about what I do.

The next book that I’m releasing, which is titled Terminus Cycle (yes, I am finally confirming the title) will be out in the next month or two and is currently being lovingly tended to by my editor at the moment. The book that I’m working on is the followup to Terminus Cycle and it has me all excited again. I’m not saying that Terminus Cycle doesn’t have me excited, because it does, but most of that excitement was from a while ago when I was crafting the world, the characters and their stories.

What is exciting to me is that I’m writing the second book in what will become a series. I don’t want to make any sort of wild commitment as to how many volumes there will be in the series, but there was a lot of groundwork laid out in Terminus Cycle that I get to work with in the second book and I’m really excited about being able to do that. Terminus Cycle is where I got to build a world, introduce some pivotal characters and then show the reader the struggles that they went through to help make their galaxy what it turned in to.

A story like The Godslayer was pretty self-contained, which was how it was supposed to be. There is a very low chance that I ever revisit Alek Turner or his world mostly because I’ve already told the story that I felt was most important to his character. He was the central figure in that story and at the end he was the character that you grew to know and follow around, who cares about the other guys, really?

Growing up I was always into telling long stories and creating intricate worlds that would go on for as long as they kept my interest, so being able to once again build a “world” (quotes because this is science fiction and inhabits more than one planet) up from nothing and finding myself wanting to see the inner workings of it is really fun. There will be characters in Terminus Cycle that you get just enough of to make you say “well, I want to know more about this character, why isn’t there more?” There might even be characters that you don’t particularly like very much, but that will be in the second installment and you’ll get inside of their heads to better understand their motivations.

Essentially I am happy to be back to creating characters and storylines that arc over a long period of time and will be allowed room to breath and grow.

Now, the other thing that I wanted to talk about is the title to my book. I had initially settled on the title of Omega Destiny, which isn’t a terrible title, but I wasn’t really super happy with it. Titles and names are the things that I hate the most because if they don’t come natural to me they tend to be obnoxious. I settled on Omega Destiny and was prepared to use it until a simple Google search last night popped up a relatively new book on the Amazon marketplace titled Omega’s Destiny. Usually this wouldn’t be that big of an issue except for the fact that it’s male werewolf-on-male-werewolf erotica. I don’t have a problem with that by any stretch of the imagination, if you are into that, more power to you, but a recent release with a similar title plus the strange subject matter was just too much for me to handle.

The idea of someone searching Google or Amazon for my book after hearing the title and thinking, “well, I guess it was this” and giving someone else money is just too much for me to handle.

“I sometimes feel as if I’ve given birth to this island.”

Marketing is literally the worst thing in the world. There, I said it. It’s out there and the whole world can see it.

I have a pretty solid plan to market my upcoming book, most of which comes from stuff that I learned from the release of “The Godslayer.” I have a better idea of what to do and how to do it, something that I didn’t have before. This is very, very important. I also know what things that I shouldn’t be wasting my time and money on anymore, which might be more valuable.

I’ve had a difficult time sleeping over the past week or so because I’ll be laying in bed and thinking about ways to make my book a success. These lamentations have led to some really positive discoveries and also led to a lot of sleepless nights. It’s the good with the bad, right?

What I’ve discovered is that there are lots of people out there who want to give out advice on how to market a book but don’t have any actual advice to give. I’ve seen countless blogs taking advantage of the fact that this is a topic that is heavily searched for by many authors only for them to just give boilerplate advice. Believe in yourself? Interact with your audience? Have a blog? Use social media? Great! None of those things should be news to a writer in 2015. There are even people who are looking to sell you advice in the form of an ebook, seminar or one-on-one coaching session on how to market your book.

Now, I’m not a fan of judging people (who am I kidding, I’m a writer, that’s all that I do), but these people are awful. They are the pond scum marketing themselves as a new age cure of the publishing world and will often tout how they are a “successful author.” Successful authors aren’t trying to sell impressionable, young, confused and scared writers snake oil. Unless they are and I’ve missed the memo that an important part of being a writer is trying to make a quick buck off of people looking for advice.

I understand that it’s not easy out there for writers and that it’s not a field that yields crazy salaries. In fact, it’s a profession that is full of disappointment, heartache and endless hurdles. But man, this stuff is just sad. I’ve met some wonderful people out there in social media who are going through these same struggles, but it’s hard to ignore the bad ones.

This all being said, I’ve come up with a pretty solid plan to market this book and I’m looking forward to executing it and seeing how it all works out.

The exciting stuff that is happening is that I’ve started on the follow-up to this book already. I had a rough time getting into it, but now it has started to flow out of me again and it is very easy to remember why I love writing so much. I’ve never had a chance to write anything that sprawls quite like this series will, which is fun. There are going to be some unresolved issues in the first book, but I’m thinking big picture here and have already started working on these issues in the second book. That’s the kind of stuff that excites me.

Oh yeah, don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list (on the left bar) where I’ll only bug you for big announcements on my stuff and when I put stuff on sale. That’d help me out quite a bit so I don’t have to pay Facebook to “amplify” posts to actually reach people.

You could only win when I’m not afraid to lose

Movement. That’s where I’m at right now, the phase where there is movement. I’ve sent my novel off to my editor and now it is only a matter of time. The work that I have to do now is actually kind of the worst stuff. It’s the promotional stuff, it’s preparing for release and all of that other stuff. Bleh.

It is only compounded by understanding what comes after that, which is of course releasing said work into the world where people can say and think whatever they want about it. I saw this photo on Twitter the other day and it definitely made me laugh. It just shows that some people can absolutely love something you create while others will find something wrong with it. There might be some truth in the criticism, but it’s also just one person’s opinion. It’s important to weigh criticism and learn from it, but it’s even more important to not get weighed down by it and to believe in yourself.

What better proof than this?

fawltytowers

Yikes.

Like I said, my second novel is off to my editor at the moment and I’m kind of at a loss for what to do anymore. I’ve started on the follow up already, but for right now I’m kind of just enjoying not being super stressed for the time being before I have to go into promotional mode.

I write things, you read them. Pretty simple.