Hostiles, book 3 of The Galactic Mage series, began its Version 3.0 phase on Monday. My last Beta reader has been in one of those hectic life places lately, so I’ve decided not to wait given that everyone else finished up nearly two weeks ago. I think I have everything I need now, plus I’ve had almost a month away from the project to think about it, thinking ahead to the next part of the series, which I’ve given the working title of the Tidalwrath Trilogy.
My main goal in the revisions will be to work on character consistency, weave in some more bits of detail for the next books, and the big revision is how I work the ending. I need to make some subtle shifts in how I execute that, and I’m considering writing an epilogue, which I don’t normally do. I think some readers might want to see some stuff that I don’t think really NEEDS to be in the story, so that would be a way to handle it. I may end up not using it, though, in the same way I didn’t use the prologue I wrote for Rift in the Races or the prologue I wrote for The Galactic Mage. But we’ll see. And yes, I realize all of this is cryptic since you don’t know what the ending is for Hostiles in its current version, so, well, I’m trying to be candid without giving anything away. Maybe one day I’ll cobble together a little book of missing prologues and epilogues, or do a special edition. That might be fun.
Tidbit 1 – Ilbei Spadebreaker Prequels
I’ve gotten a lot of love (and hate) based on the character Ilbei Spadebreaker. And because I simply adore him and would love to write more stories with him, I have been using some of this time waiting on my last Beta reader to outline a first book for him in his own prequel book (books or trilogy). All I can say is I think books about him will be just plain fun, and they would serve very well for building up some foundation and back story for Kurr and Prosperion.
I’ve got a kickass storyline about three-quarters worked out, so it’s just a matter of time to finish that process and I’ll be ready to go. I’m not sure if I’ll write it before I write the fourth book in TGM series or not, but we’ll see. For now, I’m calling it Ilbei Spadebreaker and the Polecat Menace.
Tidbit 2 – Hostiles Cover Art
Cris Ortega has graciously agreed to do the cover for book three, and once again we have begun the process of working out the basic design. Fortunately, she did not laugh or throw up on my horrible concept sketches. Well, she might have, but she was nice enough not to tell me if she did, so that just goes to show how nice she is to work with.
She did point out that my idea is way too complicated and screwy and that apparently I can’t just have her paint the whole story all at once onto the cover. Apparently there are some kind of principles of aesthetics and style that have to be considered when making art, and you can’t just jam all your characters and all your best space ships and orcs and dragons and orbs and planets and stuff into the same single book cover and expect any of it to be visible. I wanted to understand why, but I was too busy whining. So now I’m waiting for her to send me back her version, which will be based on style, beauty and genius rather than on beer, anal retentiveness and my perfect score of 10 on the nerd scale.
Tidbit 3 – A Fish Story Revisions
I know most people who find my blog are fans of my fantasy and science fiction stories, but I do write “regular” fiction too. I even like to think it is of the literary variety, although I suppose one might argue that point with me. I wouldn’t fight very hard, merely say I do my best and the rest is up to the cloud readers who see the puffs I blow out from the skies of my imagination.
Anyway, for the eleven people who have read “Auction Yard,” my next and full-length run at literary fiction is called A Fish Story, although that may change as a title, since I noticed a number of other books on Amazon have that name already—sigh, but hardly surprised. It is close to done and nearly ready for my editor. I made a full pass through it this month while waiting for Beta readers to go through Hostiles, and I am nearly through another pass after that one, though I have stopped now to work on Hostiles. I have a mortgage to pay and there is little to no money in that sort of thing. I will take it up again when Hostiles is with my editor, though, because I think it’s a very cool story that touches on important things.
A Fish Story is a modern story about a young man named Dean Sardelle who works in his family’s pet store, a fish store that specializes in boring gray fish. It’s a story that addresses issues of our modern age, looking at a culture that has so many of its 20-year-old young men living with their parents still. An age where the Internet controls thought in big ways. An age that gives us something that might be post-feminist to the point of being pre-masculinist. It’s about influence and belief and commercialism, and questions the value and nature of work and being worked over. It’s a lot of stuff, or at least I hope it is.
I had a lit professor I took several classes from, one who has particular expertise with women’s literature, look it over and she really liked it. She gave me some great insights for the revisions I’ve been doing. She called one of the primary characters, Midas Murphy, “Quasi Magical,” which I think really hit on the head what I am trying to say about how many parts of the American modernity seem to be. (And yes, I realize I have moved back into the cryptic realm again, or something quasi-cryptic, so I’ll stop).
Anyway, for those of you who like to read outside of the fantasy and science fiction realm, or even those who would fancy a story with a quasi-magical character as fantasy enough, I hope you’ll give that one a try when it comes out. If you want to see what my literary work looks like, at least a brief glimpse, have a look at the short work/novella/novelette “Auction Yard.” I think it’s a rocking good story, but it is definitely outside the genres of fantasy and sci-fi.
Tidbit 4 – Gift Shop in the Works
I’m working on a gift shop for the website. Well, I’m not, someone far more competent with HTML is, but coming very soon I should have a store up through which fun things like The Galactic Mage series posters and smart phone covers and that sort of thing can be ordered. My wife and I realized that we get to go around with phone wallpaper and bookmarks and other stuff that sport The Galactic Mage characters on them, but nobody else does, and there might be a few who would like to. My daughter has even been working on a few other characters, characters not yet depicted on the book covers, for use as well, and all of it can go on things like shirts, coffee mugs, bookmarks and more. Wait till you see her version of Shadesbreath. Wow, she did a great job on him. I’m trying to get her to work on Ilbei next. It’s kind of hard to pick though because Queen Karroll would be fun, and so would Roberto and even Captain Asad. So many characters, so little time.
Anyway, the gift shop is in the works. More on that as it comes along, but should be pretty soon. And before you think, “Oh great, now he’s just trying to make money,” all I can say is, “Yeah, actually, I could use some.” You do realize that the beer required to drive an imagination to the point of concocting some of the stuff I come up with comes at a considerable cost. Not to mention, being a self-employed writer has yet to include such amenities as health care, so I’ve got to at least try to ramp it up a little as a businessman. Apparently you can’t just lie about thinking about dragons and hot chicks with lasers all the time. I can hear my father’s voice in my head telling me, “Grow up, son. Welcome to the big boy world.” (It’s funny, I actually want to mumble about hating the big boy world, and yet here I am only yesterday helping my young son do his first 1040EZ form, all the while him mumbling and fussing and me saying, “Grow up, son. Welcome to the big boy world.” Funny how stuff comes back around, eh?)
Tidbit 5 – There Is No Tidbit 5
Yep, that’s it. Thanks for coming by and reading. I really do appreciate all the support and the comments and emails people send, the reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and B&N, and just all the awesomeness that people send my way. I can’t tell you how fulfilling it is to be able to live on the work of my heart. It is the great joy of creativity and liberty, and I think it is truly the essence of the dream that is described by the phrase “American dream.”