Tag Archives: novel

Sweetening the Release Day Pot


Don’t sit there like a bump on a log. Preorder my book!  Re-blog!  Re-tweet!

Last week I announced that my new book The 14th Mansion releases on all the major eBook outlets on July 1st.  I started a promotion — free downloads of the two previous novels for everyone who pre-books (<—click here for links to the most popular sites).

Now I’m sweetening the deal.

If you re-blog this post, or re-tweet the tweet below, I’ll add your name (or twitter handle) to the dedication of my next book! 

Look, this is your chance at a slice of immortality.  And, if that’s not enough, when I hit the big time — I’m on the NY Times Bestseller list, sitting across the desk from Jimmy Fallon and what-not — you can say “You know that writer who hosted SNL last night?  He dedicated a book to me!”

So go ahead.  Prebook.  Put your name in the comments over here and get your free downloads.  Re-blog and re-tweet so you can live forever in a book dedication.  All for the low, low price of $3.99.

Another Update: The 14th Mansion

Rough draft was supposed to be done by 5/15 and it wasn’t.  Finally got it wrapped up in August.

Then I gave the rough draft to my editor (a.k.a. my wife) and she said there were some fundamental flaws.  Let it sit for a month, went back, and found out she was being nice.  It’s a worthless, steaming pile of cow dung.  It’s gonna take an additional five thousand words and some serious rearranging to make it right.

Sorry fans (all three of you), this thing isn’t going to be out until first of the year.

Update: “The 14th Mansion”

Writing Progress 130528I was supposed to be done with the next book — “The 14th Mansion” — by 5/15 and I’m not.  I let things interfere, and that was dumb and regrettable.

But I’m not looking back.  New goal is to be done by July 4th.  About 25,000 words left, give or take, then the editing part comes.

Sorry guys, release date is probably going to be September/October instead of July.

First Two eBooks Now Available

My first two novels are now available for download on Smashwords.com.  No word yet if they’ve been accepted into the premium catalogs at Sony, Barnes & Noble, etc.  More to come!

Chatters on the Tide (free)

Ghilan ($4.99)

The Tarot of Character Development


Every writer has tricks and odd habits, idiosyncrasies and methods for starting a novel. Some outline like crazy, some not at all. Some like to base characters on figures from myth and fairytale. And so forth.

My favorite tool is the Tarot.

I start with an idea, a general plot, theme, and feeling that I want the reader to experience when the last page is turned.  I create a list of major characters and their relationships.  Then I get out the cards.  The deck in the picture is the one I bought with my allowance as a teenager in the ’70s, the only deck I’ve ever used.

I complete a reading for each major character using the Celtic Cross format. This process tells me where they’ve been, where they’re going, what’s vexing them, and so on.  I read as though I’m reading for a real person, and try to bring all my intuitive skills to bear.

Once that’s done, I revise the plot, theme, and message to incorporate all of the great detail gained from the Tarot process. At this point the characters take on a definite ‘life.’  The Tarot readings have a profound effect on the process, often taking the original story idea in a different direction than I had previously  envisioned.

I then clearly conceptualize the end of the book, the climax, the point at which everything comes to a head.  Starting at the end, I work backwards to create a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline, layering in the events, character interactions, and sub-climaxes so that they build toward the climax.

Next to each chapter in the outline I estimate how many pages it will take to relate the material.  I then add up the numbers and make sure I have enough to make a novel.

Once that’s done, I start writing at the beginning, at page 1.

Call me crazy, but I don’t think my methods are that unusual.  After all, the Tarot have been used for centuries to help unravel the personal stories of living people.  Why not fictional ones?


“Chatters” up on the lift so I can check the undercarriage

Today I took down Chatters on the Tide, my slip-stream novel from 2009.  It’s going into the shop for a quick overhaul, and will be re-released when Ghilan gets released soon.  The plan is for both books to be available through Smashwords next month, but that depends on what my trusted editors have to say when they’re finished pouring over the manuscript, and how long they take to finish their reviews.

Once I get their feedback, I will need to spend some time making any necessary changes, preparing the files of both novels, etc.  The goal is 8/15/12, but I set that in February, and novels just aren’t as easy to write as they seem at first glance (no matter how much outlining you do).