LTUE Convention

Where have you been? You’ll probably never guess…

Where have I been?

Busy.

Ok, I’ll give a little more detail.  I think you’re entitled to know why I haven’t posted anything substantial here in over two months.  A lot of things have happened.  Primarily, I haven’t written much.  What I have written I’ve posted about on my Facebook page.  There are a couple different projects I dabble with from time to time, including helping out an artist friend of mine, Garrett Hamon, with a webcomic.  As I said, I haven’t written much, but not because I don’t enjoy writing anymore. I very much do.  A lot of it is health related.

I worked really hard from the time I signed the contract on Sands until the Mythica novelization was finished.  Ridiculously hard, truth be told.  All together, it was 5 full novels and 3 short story anthologies from July 2015 through November 2016. It equated to almost 700,000 words inside of 18 months, which averages out to 1300 words a day, every day.  That may not seem like much, but since my writing time is limited to when the kids are in bed, and half my writing time was taken up in revisions and editing of books, on top of the day job and regular life responsibilities, it made for a year and half of not much sleep and poor health on my part.  The result was that over the new year (2017) I discovered my blood pressure was 169/111 when I couldn’t stop shaking and my splitting migraines simply wouldn’t go away.

Needless to say, something had to change.

I took a step back to consider some aspects of my life.  I decided I needed to slow down on the writing front a little and work on things that weren’t large stress points for me.  My last full novel, the Mythica project, was a huge point of stress for me.  Deadlines were ridiculous, the source material limited, and the overall project less than ideally organized.  What was more, that stress compounded on the regular stress of a 9-5 day job and being a parent, husband, and responsible adult.

I decided I needed to change my sleeping and eating habits.  I needed to do life a little differently.  If you saw me at the LTUE Symposium a week or so ago in Provo, UT, you know I didn’t come for the same amount of time I normally do.  I was only there a couple hours each day.  Why?  Well, I needed the mental break.  I needed the emotional break.  I needed to step back for a bit and recharge.  Events are exhausting, mentally and physically.  For an introvert like me, it’s also riddled with anxiety.  I’m getting better at being in large social settings like these, but I’m still an introvert at heart.

So, in short, I’m still here.  I’m still writing and working on things, I’m just doing it a little more slowly than before and allowing myself time to take care of my health.  There are other factors involved as well, but that’s been the main thing.  I love hearing from people who’ve enjoyed my books and if there’s anything you’ve had questions about – book related or not – let me know.

I’m working on some shorter fiction right now, outside of the webcomic, and piecing together parts of a massive epic fantasy I hope to take to a large press once I have it completed.  Think Way of Kings (Brandon Sanderson) meets Furies of Calderon: Codex Alera (Jim Butcher).

As always, READ ON!

Categories: LTUE Convention, Standard Updates | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Purple Shirt got me my First Publishing Deal

Anyone who has been around me at author events (conferences, symposiums, signings, book tours, etc) knows I am always wearing a purple shirt.  The exact shade of purple varies but, without fail, I am always in purple when I’m at writing events.  Only a few people, however, know why.  I think it’s time I told the story.

Shannen Crane Camp - Brains anyone?

FanX16 – Shannen Crane Camp – Brains anyone?

It began in February 2015 at the Life, the Universe, and Everything Symposium.  I had hit the point in the convention where my brain was on overload and simply could take another panel’s worth of amazing guests talking about anything.  They could have been telling everyone where to to find a pot of leprechaun gold and actually meant it – it didn’t matter.  My brain was done. So I decided to take a break, clear my head, and work a little on the book I was writing at the time.  I found nice comfortable chair, plugged in my laptop, and forgot about the world around me.

Now, I’m an introvert at heart and I was enjoying my time alone with my work after the press of bodies and social interaction the convention had brought.   So when someone sat down next to me and cleared their throat, I was a little frustrated and still felt a little – for lack of a better term – “headachey.”  I heard a feminine voice ask me what I was doing.

Naturally, I responded with something like “I’m just checking on stuff.”  I don’t remember the exact words, but it was something like that.

Mass Author Signing with Josi Russell

LTUE 16 – Mass Author Signing with Josi Russell

“Are you working on a book?”  Why was she still talking to me?  Had I not given her a good enough answer before?

I responded with “No” and thought the conversation was finished.

“Oh, that’s too bad, I’m Helena Steinacker.  I’m the Acquisitions Editor at Future House Publishing.”

I immediately regretted my earlier frustrated answers and tried to figure out how to recover from something like that.  Thankfully, Helena had a great sense of humor and irony and we had a great conversation there while both of us were sluffing classes.  She gave me her card after I told her about the books I was working on and asked me to send her one of my manuscripts.  I nodded, not knowing what else to do, and Helena got up to go to her next class.  As she was leaving she turned and said something that’s stuck with me ever since.

Signing Event

King’s English Signing Event – 2015

“By the way, the only reason I stopped was to tell you that I liked your purple shirt.”  And then she left.  A few months later, I had a publishing deal with Future House Publishing based, in large part, on that conversation.

At the time, it was pure happenstance that I was wearing purple.  Now, I do it to remind myself of how it all started and that no matter how tired I may be, “frustrated answers” only work once.  Plus, being “the guy in the purple shirt” has grown on me and makes it easy for people to find me.  So, if I’m ever out your way, just look for the guy in the purple shirt.  I promise I’ll be more eloquent with you than I was with Helena.


Remember to sign up for the Readers’ Club below for email alerts when new books come out.  Book 3 in the Sharani Series (Sands & Storms) will be out later this summer and those in the Readers’ Club will have first dibs at free Advanced Reader copies.  If you haven’t signed up yet, do so now and secure your copy .

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Categories: LTUE Convention, Musings, Sharani Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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