Exploring Úr’Dan: The Firelands and the Northern Uplands

With all of the narrative shifts, outlining, and pondering I’ve done about The Warden of Everfeld: Legacy and related stories recently, I wanted to revive my world-building series.

And boy was I shocked to find that I haven’t written an Exploring Úr’Dan post in over a year! Here’s a refresher for all of us (myself included) of the fantastical ground we’ve covered previously:

Continue reading “Exploring Úr’Dan: The Firelands and the Northern Uplands”

June Write-Day: Summer is Looking Up!

May turned out to be an interesting month, although the first half is a blur to me. Honestly, most of the good parts happened in the last two weeks.

We had a nice weekend at the family lakehouse, where our son was baptized by his great-uncle the pastor. The baptism itself was a nice at-home affair, and was more about the family gathering than anything else. It also served as a great excuse to go boating and lounge in the sun, two of Teddy’s favorite activities (see above). Continue reading “June Write-Day: Summer is Looking Up!”

“Black Crow, White Snow” – Book Review

I picked up Black Crow, White Snow by Michael Livingston from Audible’s free Originals program. It was part of May’s slate of free shorts. To be honest, I had mostly ignored Audible’s Originals to this point; I just didn’t see much value in it.

But after listening to Livingston’s short story in just two days (it’s only 2.5 hours long), I’ll have to pay closer attention to the free books Audible offers. Continue reading ““Black Crow, White Snow” – Book Review”

Sometimes It’s Okay to Consolidate Your Narrative

Apologies for the late post today. I was helping a friend move some very heavy, very unwieldy couches across town. Although, I’m sure it will be Saturday by the time anyone reads this anyway.

I had a bit of a revelation recently regarding my first draft of The Warden of Everfeld: Legacy, and it’s really helped me focus my writing and plotting efforts, hopefully for the foreseeable future. Continue reading “Sometimes It’s Okay to Consolidate Your Narrative”

Poorly Written Headlines #2

This has been a bit of a slow week, so I thought I’d do another edition of Poorly Written headlines. It’s been a while since I did the first of these, so here’s a refresher on strategies to writing good press release headlines and sub-headlines.

What this headline does right:
  • Tells us the author’s name and book title (both redacted)
  • Tells us the genre: action thriller
  • It’s at least 63 characters long (depending on the real author and title length), but the phrase parallel universe would likely be cut off in listing pages, so all we’re really left with is the Who  and the What
What this headline does wrong:
  • Describes the book as taking place in a parallel universe

This headline is more of a statement than a news announcement. It reads as if it was pulled from a descriptive paragraph and slapped into the headline.

Why does it matter that this book takes place in a parallel universe? The vast majority of speculative fiction takes place in some form of alternate reality, whether it’s our universe with some weird shit happening, or a completely unique fantasy world.

Try searching for “parallel universe” on Google and you’ll get 500 million results. Add “books” to that search, and the top bar will show works by authors ranging from Pratchett, to Asimov, to Pullman. The book named in this headline is not competing with those names.

What could be done differently:

Basically, the back half of this headline is fluff; it has no real meaning, and it’s not doing the press release or the book it’s promoting any favors by being so generic.

Instead, the author could hint at why this parallel universe is interesting, or maybe provide a news announcement, such as the release date. Here’s an example without completely butchering the format:

[Author’s] exciting action thriller, [Book’s Title], will be Released this Summer!

It’s not perfect, but it provides some valuable information to the reader–they should check out this book and add it to their summer reading list.

What do you think? How would you make this headline pop more?

Steve D

An Open Letter to George R.R. Martin

Game of Thrones spoilers probably incoming. I’m not doing this ironically. I have already expressed my frustrations with the last two seasons of Game of Thrones, and I legitimately want to see Martin finish out his series the way it deserves. It would be really cool–however unlikely–if he read it.

So, you know… if you know him, pass this along.

Continue reading “An Open Letter to George R.R. Martin”

“Everything Trump Touches Dies” – Book Review

I listened to Everything Trump Touches Dies by conservative campaign strategist Rick Wilson on Audible. Narrated by Wilson and dripping with snarky disgust, ETTD  is an unflinching and unforgiving evisceration of the Trump campaign and administration through its first year-plus.

Continue reading ““Everything Trump Touches Dies” – Book Review”

May Write Day: Little Writing, Much Awesome

I did not write very much in April. I honestly cannot tell you what I was doing instead of writing.

I applied for a bunch of jobs. We road tripped around Lake Michigan for 10 days, and then… Awesome Con. Writing was completely lost in that mix, but it was still a great month overall.

Continue reading “May Write Day: Little Writing, Much Awesome”

Quarterly Sales Report: Awesome Con was Awesome

Awesome Con was fantastic. I talked to a ton of cool people, connected with a couple authors, and sold some freaking books.

I wish I had the budget right now to do more conventions, but I’ll just have to be patient. At the very least, I can plan to be at Awesome Con again next year. For now, let’s have a look at how well my first novel actually sold at my first convention. Continue reading “Quarterly Sales Report: Awesome Con was Awesome”