Category Archives: Journal


Busy Season… and I don’t mean writing

So I started a new position back in October, where I work with an accounting firm, which means my work hours ebb and flow with their busy season. Right now is the height of their busy season, which means I’m working as much as I ever have in my life.

But I’m still writing, even if only a little bit day by day. I’m most of the way through the first draft of Book IV of Arts Reborn… which makes me feel sad that I’m so behind in publishing the rest of the series.


2.5 Novella has been through several rounds of edits, and beta reading but needs a final polish.

Book III has been through one significant edit, and an alpha read, but still needs more work. I like it even better than Blood of the Water, which in turn I liked better than Brush With Darkness!

Once things calm down around May (or so they tell me), I’m going to push these next few books through to publication.

I feel really bad for anyone who has read book II and is waiting for what comes next. If you contact me directly (G+, Facebook, Twitter, contact form, or responding to the mailing list e-mails), then I’d be happy to hook you up with a pre-release copy of the next one in the series.

Back to work.


Irregular Writing and Reading Update #1

You may have seen that I’m no longer a regular co-host on the To Be Read Podcast. I had a great time being one of the three for more than a year, but the demands of my new job and how it’s rearranged family life around here squeezed out time for the podcast. The entertaining John L. Monk has taken over for me, and is doing a great job. And I’ll still visit from time to time, but more likely in the slower summer.

Part of why I stopped is that I wanted to make sure I maintain time for new writing despite the busy schedule. I’ve done that, and I’m more than halfway through the first draft of Book IV of Arts Reborn.

For those of you newer to Arts Reborn, you might be wondering where Book III (and the 2.5 novella) went? The life update above answers it in a roundabout way.

The novella (which takes place between books II and III) is very close to finished editing. When I have a little more time, I should do one final pass and get things finalized for publishing. I feel bad for anyone who has been waiting a long time, so if you’d like a sneak peek, send me a message here, on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ and I’ll find a way to get you an advance e-book copy.

Similarly, book III is complete but still needs more editing. For the time being I’ve prioritized continuing forward on book IV over getting those two published. But if you’re waiting on book III as well, the same offer stands as for the novella.

So what have I been reading before bed, and sometimes on my commute?

I finished The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, possibly Haruki Murakami’s most acclaimed book. I liked it a lot, with that Japanese magical realism he does so well. I probably liked 1Q84 even more, but it’s still very good.

Speaking of returning to favorite authors, I got to read an ARC copy of Greenstar Season 3 by Simon Canton and Dave Higgins. This one was a LOT of fun. Their brand of comedic sci-fi (blended with a bit of fantasy and more this season) really works for me.

If you haven’t checked out the earlier seasons, definitely go enjoy them first, and in fact, they have the first few episodes set up as a free sampler! Try it out, risk free!

On recommendation from one of our former guests on TBR, I started reading the much acclaimed Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian. Yes, the one that was made into a Russell Crowe movie. Very detailed and ornate descriptions of the period in this intro to an epic (13+ books?) historical series that is considered by many to be the best nautical historical series ever. I’m liking it so far.

What have you been reading? And if you’d like it to be my next novella and/or book III, let me know!

As always, if you click on a link and buy something, Amazon may deign to send a few pennies my way.


MyTBR#54: David Wright Has All the Martian Gifts

This week on the To Be Read Podcast we were joined by David Wright, co-author of Yesterday’s Gone and so many other books with his writing partner Sean Platt. He had introduced Patrick Stemp to a book he loved called The Girl With All The Gifts, by MR Carey, and they pitched me (and you, the listener) on it, then had a spoilery discussion of the book. If you think you might read the book, stop listening to the podcast once they mention spoilers might be coming!

Then come back and enjoy listening to Dave talk about books he’s reading, which we don’t get to hear enough of. But maybe MR Carey and Tad Williams have converted him back into a regular reader of fiction outside of Collective Inkwell re-reads!

Patrick had more to celebrate, because I finished his #1 book of 2014, The Martian by Andy Weird. And more importantly, I loved it too and heartily recommend it to anyone. I don’t really ever read hard sci-fi, but this was fantastic. The science is core to the story, but the main character’s personality makes it fun, shining all the way through. I also loved the other perspectives from Earth, etc, and it gets really intense so many times but especially as it builds toward the climax. Highly recommended. Get over the bits of swearing (directed to my wife), because this guy is stuck alone on Mars. I’m sure the movie with Matt Damon will be great this October; they just swapped up the release date with Victor Frankenstein.

And if you haven’t read Andy Weir’s free short story, The Egg, check it out.

My son and I finished Uderzo and Goscinny’s Asterix and the Picts (and are revisiting some of the other Omnibus editions as well.

I also started an ARC copy of Kevin Tumlinson’s Evergreen, which goes on sale tomorrow but is up for pre-order. Really enjoying it so far. A thriller with a supernatural twist, with the main character able to absorb the memories of people he touches, but only for 30 minutes at a time.

NOTE: Yes, if you happen to buy one of these from Amazon based on my recommendation links, they’ll throw a few cents my way as a thank you. Or go get the book out of the library (I love my library), buy it in a used bookstore, or borrow it from a friend. If it catches your eye, you’ll find a way.


Arts Reborn Series Update! (Beyond Blood of the Water)

I just realized that I’d been updating the Facebook page with some of my minor updates on where the next two books stand, but hadn’t done it here in the blog… which I really should do first.

So here’s the update.

Kallara’s Song
is the name of the novella that comes between book II, Blood of the Water, and book III, is very close to finished with editing. I’ve got a couple more passes and one more reader than I need to pass it through. Hopefully that should be happening in the next couple of weeks.

The cover is also underway, and I’m excited about the concept, and even did a little painting for it myself, which was a great reconnection to what Simon does in the books. More on that very soon.

Book III: formerly Winds of Turmoil
I’ve just finished a second round of revisions for Book III, which will no longer be called Winds of Turmoil. It’s getting a new name that’s a better fit for the book as a whole, and I’m just finalizing that in the next couple of days. My first reader loved it and thought it was even better than Blood of the Water, so I can’t wait to get it out to everyone else.

I’ve also been writing a few related snippets to keep writing while I go through all the editing. Some flesh out the myths and legends of the various peoples of the New Sea area, and others are getting deep into the heads of some of the minor characters as we transition together from book III to book IV.

Yes, I should be breaking ground on book IV this week.

It has taken me longer to get the novella and book III out the door than I anticipated, but I think the effort was worth it, and you should be seeing more frequent releases for the next while. Should be an exciting summer!


TBR#46: Raptors Playoff Edition


You may not know, but I’m a pretty enormous Toronto Raptors basketball fan. I’ve been a season ticket holder for 15 seasons now, through all the lows and this season a sort of a high (mid-season struggles notwithstanding). Tuesday night I was at the Air Canada Centre for game 2 of their playoff series against the Washington Wizards, which unfortunately was one of the most depressing games I’ve ever been to live. And happened to start right at the same time as the To Be Read Podcast this week, so I didn’t get to join in on a great topic: Favorite Fictional Locations with special guest author P.T. Hylton.

Give it a listen, and I’ll get to my reading update after next Tuesday’s show.

In the meantime, Go Raptors! Down 2-0, but hopefully the boys represent themselves well in Washington tomorrow and Sunday to bring things home for at least a game 5 so I can see the boys one more time. Win 2 in Washington and we have ourselves a series.

Arts Reborn: Book III is done!

Well, at least as a first draft. Lots of editing to come, which will take a while yet.

I’m very excited about it, and think it has the potential to the be the best yet in the series. Lots of familiar characters from the first two books (and the novella which you haven’t had a chance to read yet).

I can’t say yet when I expect to have all the editing and beta-reading done yet, especially since I need to finish another round of revisions on the novella first. And let this one sit for a bit so I can approach it later with a fresh eye. But I’ll definitely keep you posted here.


Launch of the Beyond The Gate Anthology

It’s finally here, at all the major retailers!

BEYOND THE GATE contains short stories from 23 different authors all set in Engine World, where steampunk and fantasy collide.

Among them is my story, Dreaming Mountain, set in a village in China in 973AD, just as the fantastical elements of Engine World intrude on our world’s history.

Have a read, and if you like my story, make sure to let me know, because I’d like to write more in that corner of that world, and might move it up in the schedule.

It’s been a such a fun learning experience working together with Eric (project management), Amy (developmental editing), Kayla (beta reading), Stacy (cover design), Lisa and Monica (project feedback) and everyone else involved in the Beyond The Gate anthology. But none of it would be possible without Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant writing the story and creating the world in The Dream Engine, as part of Fiction Unboxed. They inspired us, and let us play in their world, and Sean even contributed the Foreword to the book.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing and compiling it.

The Dream Engine explored this city. Now you are invited to go Beyond The Gate.

Twenty-three authors will take you over, under, into, and beyond the Fog in this cross-genre compilation of short stories.

From time travel to romance, young adult to horror, science fiction to historical fantasy, you’ll discover tales that delight, intrigue, and maybe even shock you.

This is only the beginning.

FREE everywhere except Amazon, where we’re trying to get it free… stay tuned.



Beyond The Gate cover

Beyond The Gate Anthology

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve got a short story coming up in an anthology set in a shared world, and today I can show you the cover:

That lovely design was courtesy of one of Stacy Claflin, one of the other authors involved. It was an exciting project, and I’ve been hard at work beta reading and assisting EW Pierce who has been coordinating the anthology.

My story is set in an alternate history of China, around 1000 years before The Dream Engine, while the rest of the stories are set in and around the steampunkish alternate Britain of the main story.

You can find out more at Beyond The Gate. It will be releasing for FREE this November, and I’ll let you know when it’s out so you can take a look.

And if you haven’t read The Dream Engine go grab yourself a copy today. It’s only $0.99 and is a great read.

Meet My Character: Elysia

ChrisCoatI have the distinct pleasure of being a part of another Blog Hop, this one focused on characters. I was tagged by Chris Turnbull and you can read about his character Joe on his website.

Chris has written for many years but 2014 has seen him complete his first novel entitled: The Vintage Coat, which Chris hopes to release early next year.

Chris currently works at the University of York, and enjoys many hobbies including Reading and Writing, Photography and last year he began learning the keyboard.

In October 2012 Chris was Civil Partnered at Ullswater in the Lake District National Park to his long term partner, they have been lucky enough to get on the property ladder this year where they spent many months renovating there house.



Getting to Know Elysia

Now on to my introduction to Elysia, one of the main characters in my Arts Reborn series.

1) What is the name of your character? Is she fictional or a historic person?

Elysia, a fictional 18 year old sculptress. She was initially a secondary character in my book, but after I wrote a short story about her, my readers fell in love with her and I wanted to write more about her too, so she naturally assumed a larger role.

2) When and where is the story set?

She lives in Attarsus, an island city-state in the Izar Archipelago, which is part of the Pazian Republic. The Pazian Republic is the dominant power around the Near Sea, ruling by the power of their legions, in a time reminiscent of Rome at the time of Caesar.

3) What should we know about her?

Would you rather read a short story about when she was younger?

Read She Had Eyes For Only What Could Be.

Otherwise the next few sections have spoilers. 🙂 It’s short.  I’ll wait.

Back? Here’s the summary version.

She loves her father dearly and does what she can to help him with his bakery by day, but her passion is sculpture and how she can explore her magical Talent through her art. She practices as much as she can, with her mentor Xelos, a kind old master mason and Talented sculptor himself.

She’s focused on her art to the exclusion of general societal expectations, like becoming a wife and mother, or even pursuing romantic interests.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

Everything is fine until a handsome young legionary shows up, but what she notices is his budding Talent. When she hears about the darkness coming back into the world, her mentor’s worst fears are coming true and she’s determined to help.

5)What is the personal goal of the character?

Initially, just to take care of her father, and become all she can with her Talent. But if the world needs saving, she’s ready to play her part. And she wouldn’t mind getting to know this young man better.

6) What is the title of the novel, and where can find out more?

Brush With Darkness is Book I of the Arts Reborn series. It’s available worldwide on Amazon as an e-book or paper book.

7) When was the book published/when is it due out?

Book I was published March, 2014, and Book II: Blood of the Water, in August. I’m currently working on a novella set in between books 2 and 3, as well as book 3. Elysia may just appear in all of them.


E.W. PierceUp next week we have E.W. Pierce, an awesome author that I’ve had the pleasure of working with recently. We both have stories in Beyond the Gate, an anthology of stories inspired by The Dream Engine by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant, due out in October 2014.

E.W. Pierce writes fantasy and sci-fi stories rich with wonder and peopled with flawed and interesting characters. He is currently working on a post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel where immortals rule from gleaming fortresses while the subjugated masses are left to scavenge the irradiated wastes to survive. The first book of the series is due out in November 2014.

When not reading or writing, E.W. likes to unwind with video games or tabletop games with his family. He posts about some of their misadventures on his blog.

Twitter – @EW_Pierce
Google+ –