Thursday, December 18, 2014

Year End

Hello blogosphere

I've been so neglectful of you lately! I'm sorry. But I wanted to write and tell you some things to come.

Author / web designer / marketing expert / publishing wizard Carrie Butler did a "Breaking it Down" episode where she evaluated my personal web presence (at my request) and offered some suggestions. It's located here. You should go have a look at it. Especially if you are trying to establish yourself online. If you're into it, have a look at all the others she's done as well.

So. To come.

In the next couple of weeks I'll find myself with a few days off work. During that time, I'm going to apply all the notes I took from Carrie's vid/rundown. I especially liked her idea of a central theme... Makes me think brand. This would be helpful since so many of my websites look nothing alike.

It's also entirely on me right now to move forward with Mr. Jason Tasi's debut art book and get it published as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, my desktop's monitor went out.

I've learned the hard way that it simply held too much power over my life. Its death left a glaring hole in productivity. There was a time when my productivity loss meant nothing to anyone but me. It's not that way anymore. Tasi's art book, to be produced and published by Sky Island Publishing, is literally at a stand-still. I hate this for him. He wanted the book out in time for Christmas and I did, too.

Stick around. I'll try to update youse guys more frequently.

I hope you enjoy your Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Pancha Ganapati, Yuletide, Newtonmas (Grav-mass), New Year, and every other holiday you celebrate!

Stay safe

Friday, November 14, 2014

Introducing Jason Tasi & The latest on Sky Island Publishing

I've used el blogo to introduce artist Tracy E Flynn who collaborated with me on A Sawmill's Hope (check out his work on the Compendium!),
fellow blogger, artist, and author Brandon Ax,
editor (and many other things) Jamie Cain,
and, most recently, metal rocker Jonny Atma.

It's high time I introduce, here on the blog, my latest collaborator in all things Silexare and Sky Island Publishing - artist Jason Tasi.

Quick flashback
I met Tasi (that's Mr Tasi to you) back in the mid 90s in the small northeast Georgia town  where I grew up. It's universal that there's not much to do in small towns but get in trouble and waste time, but he was already drawing, dreaming. I was dreaming, too. But more-so getting in trouble and wasting time.

Flash forward almost 20 years
Another small town in northeast Georgia. I find out Tasi's tattooing at a nearby shop. At this point my dream is crystal clear - Unleash Silexare to storm the earth with an onslaught of fantasy stories and art focusing on epic monsters inspired by worldwide legends. 

So I go talk to Tasi. To say that I found in him a kindred soul is an understatement. He's been drawing for a long time. A long, long time. Amassing an arsenal of skills and a collection of art in the same way Saruman amassed an army of 10,000 orcs. Except Tasi's army won't fall at the Battle of the Hornburg. (sorry to go all LotR)

I'm always looking for more artists. And Tasi was looking to publish some stuff of his own. Turns out, I have a publishing company, thanks largely to the Kickstarter I ran late last year. It's funny how these things work. So he and I started talking and plotting and bouncing around ideas. It was exciting. It still is. I'll cut to the chase.

In the next year, Jason and I are going to conquer four projects. Four books. Sky Island Publishing will add four titles to its library.

I will give details as they arise. But if all goes as planned, the first will release BEFORE 2015.

David, this all sounds very rushed! Do you guys know what you're doing? Maybe you should slow down, take a breath, stop and think about all this!

I'll be honest. The worst thing about doing something you've never done is that you have no idea what you're doing. But that's also the best thing, if the molten-iron blood of a trail-blazing, pioneering adventurer surges through the channels of your anatomy!

Besides, I have about as much chance of stopping this now as I do using my face to stop an unmanned school bus rolling down Mt Everest!
I'd have a better chance using a flamethrower to stop a fire racing over the surface of a lake of gasoline!
I'd have a better chance using a crimson cape to halt a herd of rabid, stampeding bulls!
I'd have a better chance extracting dinosaur DNA from a mosquito preserved in a lump of amber, then fusing it with the DNA of a modern day reptile and... you get the idea.

No better way to end this blog than show you a bit of Mr Tasi's contributions to Silexare so far.

This is Jason's interpretation of Lesovik, the Unwithering. Follow this link for details and a brief excerpt from A Sawmill's Hope.

This one's of Elibubo. Being one-of-a-kind, her race is unnamed. She's the pet of one Aureo Bombastis Ro'evoahal Seltys - an alchemist living under a mangled tree in the Unwithering Woods. Here's her page on the Compendium.

If you want to see more of Mr Tasi's art, have a look at his DeviantArt page.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Jonny Atma

"Oh, hi blog!"

[Bouncer bars the door. David looks surprised for a moment then smiles.]

"Ha ha ha. You don't understand. I work here. This is my blog."

[David tries to walk in again. Bouncer blocks doorway. David stumbles back. Smile gives way to concerned look.]

"I see. I haven't been around in a while. You don't recognize me."

[David pulls out ID and shows it. Bouncer glances at it. Doesn't move, only scowls. David shakes his head and sighs deeply.]

"It didn't have to be this way. If you'll just have a look at -"


[Bouncer has leaned back against the alley wall, eyes drifting upward lazily, back sliding down the bricks. A mosaic of blood and fractured skull glisten in the dim light, right behind where his head just was. David tucks the revolver away and steps over Bouncer.]


I like metal. And progressive rock/metal. And concept albums (particularly Dream Theater - Scenes from a Memory, and Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence). And video games. And video game music.

A few years ago, I ran across a fellow on Newgrounds called Jonny Atma (Jonny Death maybe), aka GaMetal.
In case you aren't familiar, Newgrounds is a place where you can upload music or art or games or videos, if they were produced by you. People browse all the content and get together and collaborate. Artists find musicians, developers find animators, and so on.

I don't know how popular the site is now. I use Soundcloud to post my music publicly, despite that Soundcloud cuts a bit of the quality of MP3s upon upload. There's an app for Soundcloud, making it more accessible and portable. There's not for Newground.
{But here's my Newground page if you wanna see it - }


I found Jonny Atma. He was awesome. He produced metal versions of my favorite video game scores. And he did it alone, whether he sequenced or actually played live instruments.

Eventually I stopped frequenting Newgrounds so much (and as a result, missed some opportunities to collaborate with game developers, but oh well). I then discovered GaMetal's Youtube channel.

This is, for now, one of my chief sources of entertainment if I need some instrumental music accompanying me, which I do a lot while writing.

I decided to give him a shout out largely because of this track, which I'm embedding below - Legend of the Seven Stars

In 1996, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars was released on SNES. The soundtrack was composed by Yoko Shimomura, and inspired by works of Koji Kondo (who composed most of the Super Mario Bro and Zelda games since forever) and Nobuo Uematsu (who composed most of the Final Fantasy games since forever).

The soundtrack she produced was brilliant. Still is. Some say this job was the turning point in her career. She went on to compose for the Kingdom Hearts games and a shiton of others (She'll be composing FFXV. omg). Unfortunately, not all music connoisseurs can stomach the 16-bit sound of the soundtrack, and so songs like this are lost on them.

Luckily, some of us are cursed with tireless imaginations and can't HELP but see the potential in such tunes, despite their presumed technological inferiority. Thank God.

Because now there's this.

Eventually I'll write in depth on why I'd dedicate a post (one might say an entire month of my blog) toward a Youtube channel vidgame soundtrack rocker.

Short answer - I'm impressed by Jonny Atma, I appreciate his work and him making it public and accessible. One day I'd like to have the time to do this myself, so don't say you weren't warned.
Also, word of mouth and user ratings/reviews are the future. We all have a voice of some sort. Some of us are lucky enough to have the freedom to use it. Don't squander it, says I.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


January of 2013, I procrastinated working on ASH to draw up some character concept art for a work in progress.

Then, the entire month of April '13, I posted daily for the A to Z challenge, going into some detail on 20+ different aspects from the same story.

In September '13, Brandon Ax called me out in his blog (which, go check out his blog if you haven't!) to talk briefly about my next big project. By this time I'd already shelved ASH, not realizing I'd run a successful Kickstarter for it in December '13.

In March '14 I delved into the process I adopted to sort out a story with 20+ relevant characters.

I released A Sawmill's Hope last month, giving me no excuse but to dive into the thick of Turesia.

BUT in my typical procrastinating fashion, I decided, instead, to draw. This video (here's an actual link) is a time-compressed look at the third draft of a map of Turesia. It's 2+ hours squeezed into 9+ minutes, meaning for every second that passes in the video, about 13 seconds of drawing took place.

I'd like to discuss the music chosen for a second. First of all, to whomever eventually reads this story, I'm sorry. I didn't start writing it thinking I'd write the most tragic tale I could possibly imagine. But I'm afraid it will be. And so the music I would choose for a book trailer would reflect that.

Prelude to Liberation

This song feels like an entity has given its very hardest effort to make the best of a catastrophic situation... Like a girl planting flowers in the ashes of a destroyed city. To be honest, it's a little more upbeat than I'd choose for a trailer.


Ugh... I can hardly listen to a note of this song without tearing up. Feel free to laugh at that. But in my mind I've adopted this song as the theme for the entire story. If there was a book trailer that highlighted the emotional, tragic, or otherwise painful moments of the story, this would be the song.

The Ultimate Treasure OR Seize the Artifact for Tallness

Finally, a song to match the action packed moments. This song best reflects one particular scene. A violent king has been granted the war he's always wanted. He's finally free to loose the terrifying force of his entire nation on his damnable enemies. This song reflects the freedom he feels, standing on the prow of his ship, like Leo on the Titanic, rushing over the Faithless Sea to crush his foes once and for all.

The Battle of Red Cliff

I'm just digging this song / score right now. If you're into Chinese history / legend, check out the film Red Cliff. It might be my favorite movie of all time (today, anyway).


Locations mentioned in the map -
Faithless Sea

Thanks for reading. I'd like to promise to release Turesia in 2015. We shall see.


Thursday, August 28, 2014


Book is live!

My debut has officially launched and is currently for sale through various vendors, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Websites are live!

Sky Island Publishing - In its current form, it doesn't need its own individual site. A page on will suffice. It's here that I will hopefully deposit title after title after title...

I really need to come up with a logo... 
The Silexare Compendium - This is the one I'm the most stoked about. Fantasy lore and illustrations. I'll be adding new entries and uploading art frequently.

Also, I updated the Follow page on the Silexare website to accommodate a bunch of different profiles (Amazon Author, Blogger, Facebook, Google +, Goodreads, Soundcloud, Twitter)

By the way, here's what I'm taking to Dragon*Con

I promise it'll be more done/organized/professional by then... maybe. The truth is, I'm not there to sell stuff. I'm there to represent and introduce Silexare to whomever might listen.

Throughout Dragon*Con, connect with me via Facebook or Twitter to stay up on pictures, signing-booth guests, and to get a general idea of where I am / what I'm doing at any point!

I hope you guys have a good weekend!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

My own story

In November of 2011 I began writing an outline for a story. December 27th I wrote the first words, "Deep in the forest..."

Time passed. I wrote and wrote. Read and read. Learned and grew and changed course and changed course again.

October of 2012 I began to follow the method I'd learned. The generally accepted one. I queried a lot of agents, asked them to have a look, to consider it, to give me a chance. Because that was how to get a book on my bookshelf. That was how to get Silexare alive.

The agents weren't interested. Some sent automated emails saying "No, thank you" a couple weeks after I'd poured out my heart to them. One or two actually typed the rejection emails out. The majority never acknowledged I'd attempted to contact them.

I wondered what I'd done wrong, what I was doing wrong, why I couldn't just get a bite. I considered maybe changing the story so they'd like it better. Surely I could do something they'd like. Maybe it needed more romance or a love-conflict. Maybe I should change the sex of the main character. But what if they still didn't like it? Should I give up?

That's how I spent a year of my authorial career. Then one day in October of 2013, I had a quiet, peaceful, volcanic-eruption of an epiphany.

My dreams are my own. Their dreams are their own. Stop trying to merge the two.

About ten months later, on August 11th 2014, I pressed "publish" on Amazon KDP. This was almost three years after starting writing. Almost twenty years after the first time Silexare crossed my mind. But this epic occasion felt a bit empty.

I mentioned it to a few people I'd done it.
"Congratulations!" they said. But I was numb.
"How does it feel?" they asked. I felt exactly as I did before. Exhausted but with work to be done.

I trudged through IngramSpark's process. It was frustrating and complex. I put together a cover, front and back. Went through the entire document, adjusting spacing, headers, chapter titles, illustrations. Finally I got my file uploaded. I pressed "publish."

This time I didn't mention it to anyone. And I'm sorry. Some of you have been waiting a long time to hear about this.

Still it felt weird. I still had (have) a ton of work to do. Website stuff, pledger prizes, artwork, promotion...

But today (written Thursday, Aug 21st),
I pulled into my driveway from work. On my front porch was a box. I had a good idea what it was. I went around back and let Jax out of the pen. Got the dishes out of the car. Waited for Bray and Simon to get home. Then I went and looked at the box. It was pretty banged up. There had been options to have it sent first class or with special accommodations. But those were more expensive and frankly, I'm scraping the bottom right now. So I brought the box inside and opened it slowly while Bray watched from the blue recliner.

Here's what was inside.

I don't know about you other published authors out there. But it wasn't until this moment that I realized what I'd done.
This is all I had wanted. I just wanted a book to hold in my hand, to put on my shelf. I just wanted a book to hand to my son, or my mom, or my wife. That's all.
Well, here it is. I did this. And now, it's mine.

To all seventeen agents who told me no or ignored me entirely, (and yes, I consider seventeen a lot. It's a hell of a lot more than I should have ever queried) I'd like to say two things.
First -
This is all I wanted, you mother@#$%ers! Was it really too much to ask?

Secondly, and most importantly -
Thank you.

Because now Silexare belongs to me. Sky Island Publishing belongs to me. The Silexare Compendium belongs to me. A Sawmill's Hope belongs to me.
And it belongs to whomever decides to give it a chance.
This is all ours. And I can't wait to share it with you.

Please allow me to offer a word of advice for those of you who are where I was:

If you want your own book sitting on your bookshelf
Don't waste your time lurking on forums, seeking validation for your ideas.
Don't waste your time begging agents to look at you, consider you.
Don't waste your time reworking your query and synopsis and pitch over and over and over.
Don't waste your time studying an agent, an editor, a trend.
Don't waste your time on people who will never care more for your dream than how much money it can make them.  

Just get up and go put a book on your bookshelf. 

For all of you who've already put a book on a shelf (whether virtually or physically, traditionally or independently)

You have made a permanent mark on literature that NO ONE can ever take away from you! I hope you loved every bit of the process as much I did and I hope for your sake, for literature's sake, and for your fans' sake (no matter their number) that you do it again!

This is very poor self-promotion, I realize. That's ok. Self-promotion isn't my intent with this post. I just want you to know what I had to learn. There are options.

If your intent as an author is something besides what I mentioned above, and you're interested in the traditional publishing system, I'm not judging you or encouraging others to judge you. It's just not for me.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The state of ASH!

The picture says it better than I can!

Here's a detailed update, copied straight from the latest message to the pledgers (AKA, the Silexare Army)

Regarding the book

I've received all art and have grafted it into the final manuscript. 95% of story-level edits are finished. I estimate two - four hours remain to be done. 85% of line-level edits are finished. I estimate one hour of work remains.

Ebook - I had originally considered formatting the book to several formats, for all the various stores and platforms. Then I became aware of a handful of key factors that changed my mind. 1. If you own an electronic device, you have access to Kindle 2. Kindle is the single largest distributor of ebooks, anywhere. 3. If I can narrow the learning curve down and convert to a single ebook format, everyone gets their book quicker!

That said, A Sawmill's Hope ebook will be available via Kindle devices. If you don't have a Kindle, there's a free app for your PC, MAC, Iphone, Android, or tablet. If you're the individual keeping Nook in business, and would prefer to read it on your (the last remaining) Nook, fear not. I have a solution for you, too.

If there's another device on which you'd like to read A Sawmill's Hope and no other means is available, I can accommodate you. Trust me.

Physical Book (hardcover, softcover) - While I'd like to throw a single, brilliantly orchestrated launch and infiltrate every orifice of the literary world simultaneously in a glorious penetrata Silexari trifecta, I am but un hombre, with only dos handos. And since I don't have the marketing muscle of Simon & Schuster, Penguin, Hachette, or any of the other crumbling behemoths, no one would notice anyway. (This is ok. The truth doesn't hurt so much unless it catches you with your pants down. And I don't wear pants unless I simply have no choice.)

So as soon as my educks are in a row, I'll be blazing the lines of Lightning Source / Ingram Spark and get youse guys' books printing.

I've been keeping the Kickstarters informed with private updates but from this point forward, I'm probably going to document the completion of the other prizes on my blog, despite that only a select few are receiving Silexare schwag this go round. I just want to share the experience. Who knows, you might realize you have enough (or can produce enough) exclusive intellectual property to launch your own crowd-funded event.


Art - Map is done and printed. Cover is done, soon to be printed (within the week). Prints of Tracy's work are in hand, soon to be printed (also within the week). FIVE computer wallpapers are done, five to go (I'm getting a little crazy with these.) These will double as marketing devices in the weeks to come. The signed, rough, and original inks from Tracy are on their way to me via snail-mail (and you have no freaking idea how stoked I am about that!).

Music - The SoS albums are near. I just have to go down the road and pick them up. I wish I could make that sound more shady... The DL exclusive albums are 75% mastered and ready to go, just needing to be burned to CD.

Now I have one more bit of news regarding August and I'll let you get back to your lives...

Details to come. :)


Friday, July 25, 2014

On Editing - Death to Weak Verbs

I'm in the final stages of A Sawmill's Hope edits and I haven't come up for air in ... I don't honestly know how long. My video games are getting super jealous.

I want to take a second and mention some of the line-level edits that have recently transpired. This took place after most of the story-level issues were dealt with.

One of the stages in edits - one that could be considered another draft - was to eliminate weak verbs. Especially ones I use on rapid fire. Some of you writers are thinking, "I've seen this advice before. Nothing new." Perhaps, but I'd like to share with those of you who haven't.

The words I'm guilty of abusing are as follows (And it was my editor who initiated this elimination process by pointing out the words' frequency)

Glance - He glanced back, She threw a glance, he glanced sidelong, etc.
 * edits took ASH from 55 to 16 instances of this word.

Turn - He turned back, turned to face him, turned from red to purple, eyes turned down, etc
 * went from 246 to 120 instances of this word... 246 is a lot. eh? Just wait.

Grew (grown) - River grew wider, it grew dark, he'd grown silent, etc.
 * 74 down to 23.

Look - He looked down, she looked over, he looked hurt, it looked tall, they looked ominous, etc
 * 420 instances down to 173. Seriously. This is my guilty go-to word.

Began to - He began to question, it began to shake, before he began, etc.
 * 73 to 27

I stopped keeping count after that. The next words weren't so guilty. I'd already done elimination process on them.

Become (became)
Feel (felt)

In and of themselves, there is no inherent danger in these words. Like adverbs, there is a place for them all. But, like sniffing military-grade monkey tranquilizer, there's danger in excess.

Regarding Glance and Look (and Turn when it is referring to body movement during a non-action scene) - I first need to determine if the word is necessary at all. If the scenery or dialogue is so weak I need to keep the focus on who is looking at whom, then there's a bigger problem. If the ruins on the Lake of Four Falls look ominous then perhaps they are ominous and removal strengthens the image.
If removal is not an option, here are alternates I found (yes, I right-click and look at synonyms. If it fails to satisfy, I google "synonym glare" and find Glower. Perfect.)
Peer, peep, stare, glare, eye, examine, scan

Regarding Turn, Become\Became, Grew\Grow\Grown - When these words are used a certain way, like to describe a transition or change or such, they can be improved upon.
Some changes are simple - if a river grows wider, it widens. If Brandal's face turns red, it reddens. Sometimes they offer unique possibilities. If an elk grew still, it froze OR solidified. If the road the party traveled became congested, perhaps it squeezed in on them, leaving your reader with a sense of claustrophobia.

In certain situations the weak verb is surrounded by so much action that enhancing it would detract from the scene as a whole.
If the aggravated alchemist grows wilder with each arrow that thumps into his breastplate, don't focus on the word, aim for his face!

For you writers, what are your go-to weak verbs that must be weeded out and ground beneath your heel?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Quick Update!

(this post pretty much mirrors the latest Kickstarter update I posted)

A Sawmill's Hope will not release in June (obviously). I'm sorry. But I'm stoked about the momentum of current progress so I felt the need to share!

Regarding Edits - By next week Jamie will be doing the final pass on the manuscript. Meanwhile, my copy editor will be doing her thing (line editor? The one who fixes grammar). After that's finished, it's just a matter of transforming the finalized book to ebook and print format!

Regarding Art - Tracy has provided enough finished art pieces for me to work on the Kickstarter prizes (prints, wallpapers, etc). Those are underway.

While we're on the subject, here are a few previews. I could not be more excited about Tracy's work!

In order as they occur - Hunting in the Rain, The Surrounding Forest, Old Man Hastr, Nasties in the Woods, Moderate Resolution

I meant to post this about one week ago but my laptop's harddrive pooped out on a mission trip in Brunswick Ga (will prob write a blog on that trip) and I wasn't able to get much writing done while there.

Alright. Time to get back on it. See you guys soon


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Prolonging Childhood

We were hanging outside the house the other day, sitting around the fire pit making s'mores with some neighbors and their kids.

Maybe you already knew this. But kids ask a ton of questions. All the time. Sometimes it's just "Why?" Sometimes it's "what are you doing?" ... even regarding the most obvious or mundane task, like arranging the tarp over the firewood or holding the skewer over the fire to melt away the excess marshmallow.

Sometimes I see what I can get away with. See what I can get the kid to believe. But that's easy. Kids believe anything. Maybe because they trust adults, maybe because they're a blank slate and all they have to work with is imagination sans inhibitions.

But I had a revelation. I like hanging out with the kids, not just because they are energetic and adults are docile, but because they're curious. Which means they're trying to learn. They're bettering themselves, whether they look at it that way or not.

A lot of adults don't ask questions anymore. Because they're too cool to care about that. Or too smart to need your input. Or they already know everything they need to know. Idiots.

But kids. Kids are smarter than that.

What are you doing?

"I'm changing the light bulb."


"Because the old one burned out."



At this point you have a choice. The easy thing to do is make something up, shortchange them, deflect them, ignore them

"Because the gnomes inside lost their torches."
"Because that's what light bulbs do."
"What's your mom doing? Go find her."
"Is that Bubble Guppies I hear on the TV?"

Or pretend to give a good answer while actually repelling them with technical jargon.
"The filament that provided illumination evaporated due to prolonged exposure to a roughly 4,000 degree Fahrenheit electrical current over problematic hotspots in the tungsten coil."

Worst of all, you can treat their curiosity as an annoyance. It's an easy thing to do after a long day of work and about two hours of "Why?"  But don't be that person. You'll quench their flame.

Afterall, there's an alternative.

You could look that kid in the eyes and enlighten them.

What you say might change that child's life. They might grow up to invent the next technology of luminescence because of something you say right this moment. You literally hold the future of the world in your hands. Because let's face it. Humans run this. And all grown humans were kid humans once (*subject to change as scifi and reality continue to merge).

But I don't know the answer.

Google does. How do you think I just learned the filaments in light bulbs are made of tungsten? We live in the most information-rich era that's ever been. If you are reading this right now you have access to a every answer that's ever been recorded. (ie. Can you melt wood? )

But I don't have time to answer each and every little question.

Make time. Make the world a better place. You can do it in your own living room while changing a light bulb by using that big mouth you love flapping anyway. Put it to good use.

But he asks so many questions! It's annoying.

Go to the corner! You are a grown human being, able to wipe your own butt, and an inquisitive child is more than you can handle? No desert for you.

If you respond to curiosity with intolerance, you're basically taking a dump on the planet. 

I urge you to reward curiosity. Whether it be your kid or someone else's. And don't resist helping that kid because of something their parents did or failed to do. I don't buy into many "ism" words. They're a load of political bull-diarrhea. But blaming a person for the crimes of their parents is ignorant and petty and perpetuates the divide.

If a kid asks you a question, do the world a favor. Make them smarter. You might even get smarter in the process.


On the subject of kids...

I was going to write this regardless. But it just so happened that I ran across the following links while this blog was in the works.

This one is Alison Gopnik, a child psychologist, giving an enlightened presentation on Ted talk. Very cool stuff, whether or not you like kids or babies. Check it out if you have twenty minutes. It's way more likely to better you than twenty minutes worth of news, sitcoms, Facebook or reality TV.

What do babies think?

This next link takes less time. Some of you know I'm a fan of Kickstarter. It's the platform from which I pre-sold my debut novel to so many of you lovelies. This project is from LeVar Burton, who is trying to invigorate Reading Rainbow. Yes, they're currently over 3X the goal. But I trust them. And I'm all about kids reading. What business-savvy author wouldn't be?

Bring Reading Rainbow Back for Every Child, Everywhere.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Conspiracy theory / Need a high-dollar suckin'?

Today my wife gets home from work a good deal before me. She calls me while I'm still at work and I answer.
Bray  "Are you on your way home?"
Me   "No."
"You are?"
"So you're on your way home?"
"... What's going on?"
"You're on your way?"
"Lover. What the hell is going on?"

At this point I was sure she was on drugs of a hallucinatory manner, which was a bit disconcerting as A. She was home alone with our child, B. She's never done psychotropics that I know of and C. She didn't invite me.

She responds quietly, "There's a vacuum salesperson and they won't leave."

Me  "Give them the phone."
Bray   "..."
"Give them the phone, I want to talk to them!"
"I'll call you back."

So now I'm a bit annoyed, because I'm wondering wtf. And I didn't get to wonder wtf into a stranger's ear who seems to be harassing my wife.
I call her back in about 10 and she tells me the story.

[If some of these details aren't spot-on, I apologize. A lot of conjecture has happened in my mind since the incident.]

At about 3pm, a late 90s, early 00s model, dark-colored Expedition eases down our street. We're the last house in a cul-de-sac so that in itself is a bit unusual. Vehicle stops and a passenger exits the vehicle with some unmarked cardboard boxes and makes for our front door. The driver stays in the vehicle, idling in the road.
I'll add that our neighbors are pretty close by. We don't live in last-house-on-the-left solidarity.
Jax (our little baby doggie) is on the backporch already because Bray was getting some cleaning done and it's easier with the resident little baby puppy out of the way. ... Ok, he's not really little.
A knock at the door and Bray answers to meet a late-twenties, tobacco-toothed lady pushing a product. Bray told the lady she wasn't interested. And not ambiguously. Bray doesn't waste words or smiles. (No offense, love. You know I'd have it no other way.)

So the lady consents but with a "parting question."
"Can I just get your opinion on something?"
The next thing Bray knows, the woman's inside unpacking her box and scattering crap on our carpet. And by crap I don't mean stuff. I mean shit.

She proceeds to demonstrate for upwards of 40 minutes, vacuuming Simon's recliner, a square of rug, offering to vacuum in our bedrooms and on our bedspread (to which, wtf?). The Expedition idles a bit longer and then drives off. In the meantime, Bray doesn't move from the window. In fact at one point, tired of looking back and forth between this lady on our carpet and a tinted-windowed, drive-by mobile in the street, she locks the deadbolt.
"What? We aren't convicts," the saleslady says.
What the what? Who said anything about convicts?

She continues her pitch, occasionally making attempts to see the rest of the house (Bray blocks her) and asking the occasional question, such as "What kind of dog is that?" to which Bray replied, "He's a pitbull."
I'm glad Bray didn't let Jax inside. I'll tell you why later.

Finally, Bray's tolerated about as much as she can. And, with little boyo Simon about, she wasn't going to get snarky. But she did ask the lady to leave. The response is a heightened pitch. So my wife responds in kind.

Suddenly, the lady is talking about kids she has to feed. She's talking about the contest she has to win by selling more vacuums. She's talking about how her boss won't pay her if Bray doesn't let her shampoo the carpet.

Finally Bray said, "You have 2 minutes to get out of my house or I'm calling the cops."
"But it will take me more than that to clean all this up!"
Oh my God... If I'd been there her junk would have been decorating my front yard and her ass with it.
Bray said, "Ok. You have 5."
The lady proceeded to tell Bray, "You're mean." and "I thought you were cool at first."

Did I mention that this vacuum cleaner costs $3000?

It does.

The vacuum cleaner costs $3,000.

The vacuum cleaner...


Three thousand dollars.

Was the saleslady lost? Did a company that produces vacuum cleaners of that caliber really make such a colossal blunder in the selection of their audience?
Don't get me wrong, our cul-de-sac is a on a pretty street with green trees and pretty houses and smiling faces. But I'd be surprised if there's a $3,000 vacumm cleaner IN THIS ENTIRE ZIP CODE.

I get home from work and Bray tells me some more of the story and shows me the flyer. The lady phoned her driver/manager to say "it's not in their budget at this time." The driver/manager came back, collected her and her box, and they proceeded to visit every house on the street that would let them in the door. That is, unless Bray was able to call the person first with a warning. Eventually someone did call the cops and had them removed. Apparently they didn't have the paperwork to do what they were doing. But they soon got a license from the courthouse and were right back at it a street over.

Allow me to show you the flyer.

But first... You've heard of Dyson, right? High-quality vacuums. They sell models for upward of a thousand dollars.
Here's an advertisement of theirs

courtesy of
Simple, right? And yet attractive. Not unlike the actual vacuum. This is a high-dollar machine from a high-dollar coporation. That they spent a significant amount of time or effort or both on advertisement is evident in this picture alone.

Now, can you imagine what kind of visual wonderment would come from a company that sells $3,000 vacuums?
You don't have to imagine it! I've got a flyer right here!

courtesy of my trashcan


I wish, dear reader, that the poor quality of this document was my fault. I wish I could tell you my scanner is to blame for the pixelated logo top-left. Or the confusing formatting. Or the vague "Includes:" contents. Or the smudges, dots, and wrinkles. Or the fact that this advertisement is a TOTAL BOWL OF BOILED BUFFALO BALLS!

They couldn't even print the image from the source? They had to scan it and clone it all janky looking? They couldn't even be bothered to re-type that line "LOCALLY Owned !!!!..."
I don't know what it said before they covered the word up and scanned and reprinted... But I doubt it looked as bad as it does now!

When Bray handed me this, I was flabbergasted. What part of the presentation or advertisement or any of it was worth a down payment of that much money? What were they thinking?
It was with this in mind that I went outside and cut the grass. And while cutting the grass, my mind built the answers.

What if they didn't accidentally choose the wrong neighborhood as I'd first thought? What if the prices were that high and the salesperson that horrible to ensure a non-sale?
But if they weren't there to sell, then what? What if her questions about our house and dog had an ulterior motive... as if to relay info to someone who may pay a later visit? Were they casing the place? What if "The vacuum isn't in their budget at this time" really meant "They have a big-ass dog?"
I am glad Bray left Jax outside. He has a bark that can send shockwaves through solid cement and when his hair stands up, he looks like he'll rip your lungs out and leave you standing there. But the truth is he's a big ol' pillow.

"I'll eat your face."

Hmmm, eh? Quite the stretch, I know. But fact is stranger than fiction. And if you don't believe that, just open your eyes.

I hope I never have to resort to illegal means to feed my family...

But if I do, I hope I never have to do it at someone else s expense...

But if I do, I have an idea.

I'm going to take up a salesperson job. I'm going to pretend to sell the most expensive product I can, door-to-door, while actually casing out homes to see which is ripe for easy pickings. That I'm not the friendliest of people is actually a qualifier for this job. I don't want to mess up and actually get a sale. I'm going to find a neighborhood that definitely houses some medium-to-high dollar, lightweight electronics, jewelry or other valuables... But not so nice a neighborhood that I actually might make a sale. I understand that I'll have to lie and trick my way into my victim's household to scope it out but that shouldn't be too hard. And while they're in the process of asking me to leave, I'll act defeated, despite that I've gotten exactly the information I came for. If they do call the cops and I'm escorted out, it won't matter.

After all, it won't be me returning two weeks later at an opportune time, in possession of thin gloves and a healthy knowledge of the home's layout. It will be my accomplice. Different person, different vehicle.

Yeah. I think that's a solid plan.

Too bad someone's already thought of it.

Now, if an upstanding, door-to-door, Kirby Salesperson reads this and gets ruffled at my criminal libel about the pinnacle of vacuum sellers that is Kirby, know that my only experience with your company sucked, and not like it should have.
As much as you represent Kirby, with your shining cufflinks, impeccable honesty, and fresh breath, so did the lady that cased my house today.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Editing ASH / Thanks, Jamie

**Those of  you who are participating in the A to Z are troopers! I didn't have time this year to participate or to even log on daily but I'm digging the topics I've seen. Stay strong!**

I'm wandering about for the first time in the Mirkwood that is the editing process. Not edits in general, like ones I've done myself. I'm referring to the process where you send a person your book and they equip a hammer and a helmet and attempt to beat the stupid out of it without the resulting unbound stupidity killing them to death.

I want to share this process with you for a couple reasons. I haven't posted in a while. And this process is, to me, awesome. It's a bit like surgery for a story.

Before this I was new to the "Review" tab of Microsoft Word (despite that I work at a technical college and have sat in for a teacher's advanced Microsoft Office class). It only took a little while to see how it all worked and I've gotten quicker and cleaner about it... much to Jamie's relief, I'm sure.

So here are some changes Jamie offered in the first 85+ pages of the manuscript. The changes he makes are ALL suggestions. I'm free to listen or ignore. I'm free to get defensive or get smart. I try to choose the latter.

What a great example of why I need an editor. I'm sitting here all smug about funny little Aedron, cluttering about with his blanket until Tahkaan gets enraged. So much so that I miss the obvious dumbassery.
Thanks, Jamie.

Yes, I do think Brandal's speech should match that tone. And so I've rewritten the entire scene, giving more weight to Esmond, Blaire, Samberd and the story Brandal tells in general.
Thanks, Jamie.

This one's a bit trickier. When something's underlined with no comment Jamie's basically saying it didn't sit well with him (I'm paraphrasing).

My initial reaction was, "Nah, it's good. Next!"

Then I looked again. "Ok, change transport to wagon. Tonnes is fine. Done and done. Next!"

Then I thought about it. He wouldn't have underlined it if it weren't a weak spot. And my goal shouldn't be to make the story passable. It should be to make each and every sentence gripping and unique and perfect. To do ANYTHING less would be squandering the dollars of my pre-orderers / pledgers / purchasers. And they don't deserve that.

So here's what I did.


Jamie hasn't seen it yet. His red pen might devour it like piranhas on a leg of cow. But as yet, I've executed something mediocre.

Thanks, Jamie.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Some rough sketches for A Sawmill's Hope

Feeling excited.

I'm writing this today because ASH's illustrator, Tracy Flynn, just sent me a fresh batch of roughs.

bridge remains

You may look at the above and not discern much worthy of note. A few silhouettes.

I'm sitting here with my mind blown because I know the gravity of the scene and I'm afraid Tracy's going to nail it and totally own the book!

boats leaving

father and helstem

shadows of the lake
I've adjusting their titles a bit and cropped out some authorial notes to avoid spoilers. But i couldn't just keep these to myself.

Some of them will be the first entries of the Compendium.

I hope you enjoy them. I personally can't wait to see the finished pieces!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Into my process - Turesia

When I was rewriting A Sawmill's Hope I wrote a post describing how I was organizing the story and the point of view characters - How I was writing all the way through, one character at a time so as to keep firmly within their voice instead of having to jump back and forth. It worked very well, making each character at least a bit unique from the others, so I'm doing it again for Turesia. The difference is that in ASH there were 5 point of view characters, 5-10 significant side characters. In Turesia there are 14 POV characters and about 15 significant side characters.

One reason this complicates things is because of the potential for huge advances in plot that break up an individual's point of view. For example - Kraus is drunk and ambushing passerby's on a highway the first time we're in his POV. The next time, he's been arrested, fought monsters in Keswall, sworn loyalty to Torvald and is escaping from Orcanes. A lot has changed! His voice needs to reflect that change, so as to keep his arc smoothly transitioning. I need to know exactly where he's been, where he's going.

To keep it all straight, I made an outline of an entirely different sort than last time. I think this outline would have been most useful if I'd done it first, before my train wreck of a first draft. Then again, I might not have discovered some of the details on this outline if I hadn't tried writing through first.

Red = Dead
(yellow = presumed dead)
I've zoomed out to include as much of the chart as possible and to keep it illegible, to avoid spoilers.

This is actually all the significant characters, not just the POVs. Each row is a character's individual journey. The X axis represents the flow of time, from left to right. In this way I can refer to this while writing to see where everyone is, what just happened and what's about to happen.

It's also extremely useful once you determine a starting point and ending point for a character emotionally. Bilbo Baggins would have started on the far left as comfortable and self assured, not terribly motivated but living a quiet, orderly life in the bubble that is the Shire. By the time we reach the far right, he's in the Shire once more but has undergone some serious character reformations. In the middle would be all the inciting incidents - spiders, elves, barrels, goblins, dragons, battles, treasure... The fun parts.

To me, the more well rounded a character begins (especially if they're quite unlike how they'll end up) the more hell they have to go through to transform throughout the book. If you use your imagination, discovering that journey is the most exciting part of being a writer.

This outline came about once I realized the story had become bigger than I knew how to handle. Necessity is the mother of invention, they say and I must agree. If you've written a (I hesitate to say epic...) large-scale story and found yourself lost amongst the details, characters, and side plots, what technique did you use to keep it sorted? Or did you blindly forge ahead, hoping for the best?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

IWSG March 2014

IWSG, brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh, occurs once a month. It exists for writers to voice their insecurities and offer advice. The official website, continues to be a priceless commodity in my studying and research. Any one interested in writing to have a look!

I've got a very niche subject for IWSG today. And after writing it out and having read this post again in its entirety, I must admit - It's not the most grievous of quandaries.

I'm writing fantasy that takes place in Silexare. There are certain trades and skill sets that are going to need to measure things in a precise manner, like engineers, mechanics, surgeons, physicists, apothecaries, and so on. In its history, Silexare has experienced a lot of similar challenges as as we have. And although they have certain extraordinary ways of dealing with issues, they've arrived at some of the same conclusions as us, regarding health, physics, aerodynamics, weaponry, agriculture, economy, and especially measurement. This brings me to my current dilemma. To what systems of measurements should I adapt that will least distance my reader?

Allow me to illustrate:

"Scribe, I've looked over your report of the beast but there are some details about which I'm still unclear. How big was it?"

"At least twenty feet long, if I remember correctly." 

"Ah, feet. The unit of measurement exclusive to North America... On Earth... how utterly not-fantastic."

"Did I say feet? I mean he's just under eight yards!"

"Oh, yards. Like a touchdown. On tv." *yawn*

"No no no, he's seven meters long from snout to tail!"

"Meters? What is this, science fiction?"

"Argh. He's about twenty paces!"

"Paces? Like strides?"

"No a stride is like three paces."

"According to whom? A dwarf? A giant?"

"I'd guess a human?"

"How tall? How vigorous a stride?"
"Uh, well... um  -"

"Moving on. Your report says the beast's firey spit can burn at 1,000 degrees Farenheit?"


"You mean Farenheit like this grouch? From Earth?"
Danny G. Farenheit. Thanks,

"No! I meant Celsius! 538 degrees Celsius."

"Oh I see. Celsius. Like this shmiling shmuck."

Mr. Celsius. Thanks, Wiki.
"No! I -"

"Moving on. The gestation period. You said it lasted from January 1st until October 1st?"

"... That's correct... ?"

"Says here  about 37 weeks."

"... correct."

"259 days."

"... yes."



"I see."

"... that's it?"

"So you're telling me not only do we have seven day weeks just like Earth, but distance in time from the month of January (which just happens to be named after Janus, an Earth doorway god) to October (which literally means eight despite it being the tenth month) is exactly the same as on Earth?"

*sigh*  "... I guess I am."

"Therefore, the circumference of Earth, it's distance from the sun, the sun's circumference, and every other tedious factor that might play any part whatsoever on the perceived passage of time for Earth is not just similar, but identical to that of our world, thereby greatly limiting potential for spectacular events in this or any future book?"

*sigh again*  "Weren't we talking about a beast?"

"We were until you threw me out of the story with your Earth words. Begone."

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Refresh Button - Saturday, Feb 15th.

I hadn't been woods'ing in a while. Not with my brother Evan and my son Donavon and Jax the dog, anyway. So we packed machetes, knives and raw ground beef and hit the woods near the Broad River.

Within the forest, some really big trees had fallen. Some had fallen because others fell against them. Yet others had simply fallen. Not because they'd died. Probably because of a particularly strong wind.

Upon seeing a stretch of Five of the fallen trees, my gut reaction was sadness. So many trees, all so tall, so majestic. They were so old, had seen so much, they made up so much of the forest. They had offered so much to the forest, contributed so much... in the past.

But lying on their side, these Five trees were much easier to climb. And once I'd climbed one I discovered a view of the forest I'd never experienced. I could see for miles. Down the massive hill, across the Broad River, up the slopes on the far side that still wore snow and out over a pasture I never even knew was there.

It was in those newly accessible branches that I had an epiphany.

It is sad that the Five big trees fell. When they did, they took down others with them. Others whose only crime was to exist in their vicinity... in their shadow.

But the bigger the hole that is left, the greater the chance for new life.

In the roots of the fallen trees were masses of dirt, wrenched free of the earth and exposed for all to see. It seemed ugly at first... like the remains of a bad wreck. But the dirt was rich... The perfect place for new life to grow. And what better place for new plants than in the woods, free of the enshrouding canopy of these Five enormous trees?

It is sad that the Five big trees fell. But it was inevitable. Because trees, like everything else, can either grow, or die. If they continue to grow, all life around them becomes stunted, receiving only what little sunlight and rain they let pass. And that's not a forest. It's just Five huge, bloated trees, taking everything for themselves.

Here's to new life.

PS. On an unrelated note (or not), there's a website I'll be posting a permanent link to in my sidebar called It's very informative for anyone considering making writing their career. Go have a look at this particular post, for example, and see what I mean.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Silexare Compendium

Quick Reminder - Alex Cavanaugh's book Cassafire is $.99 until February 10th! (today!) Go have a look!


For a while when I was a kid, cards from Magic: The Gathering were some of my favorite things. Playing the game is fun but isn't necessary to appreciate the cards. The best cards have a whole story inside.

If you don't believe me, have a look.
Reya Dawnbringer. Her name provides a hint of her purpose, her strength.

We know Reya is of Good alignment because not only does she require white magic to cast, but she revives a creature every turn... And she's an angel, it says it right there.

Examining her picture gives us more of the story. She's armed, winged, and somewhere between a fiery sky and a fiery earth. There's a battle going on.

Then there's the quote. And that's what grants her voice.

"You have not died until I consent."

No contractions. As if she's from an older time, and yet it's not cumbersome. Spoken with authority. This is no question. "Get your carcass out of the mud and get back to fighting!"

When I would buy a new pack of cards as a kid, I'd spread them out and look for only the cards with a quote. I always wondered but never knew where I might read more of the stories in those pictures. Their world seemed awesome.

Okay, now hold that thought.

I've had an idea for the Silexare Compendium for a long time. I wanted it to display some entities of my stories and of the world of Silexare and eventually have things interrelate and become a web of information, vast and complex. But I wasn't sure of what details to spill... What info to reveal and what to hide. And I knew one thing for sure - If I make a website with a bunch of fantasy names and blocks of written text, it's going to bore anyone to sleep. (Yes, I'm well aware of the irony...)

Drew Cochran and I started the site a couple of weeks ago. I told him ideas and he wrote code. I looked at what he wrote, was impressed, and gave more ideas. Sometimes he'd tell me a better or quicker way of doing what we wanted to. Sometimes my demands involved him broadening his programming horizons.

It's still a work in progress, but here are a couple of images of the site. And please know, the main strength of the page is in the database behind it, with every entry of every table tied to another.

Rekkdyls - Almost as vicious as they are viscious
Art page - Here's where user submitted art will be displayed
Upon launch, entries will consist of people and places and beasts that are referred to in A Sawmill's Hope. I don't know how many entries there will be. But there will definitely be a bunch of art. And although the Art page, for the time being, will belong largely to Mr. Tracy Flynn, my goal is to open the page to other artists to contribute as well. I want to awaken creativity in my visitors.

When I saw the following page, complete with images, description, and a quote, I had an epiphany.

Yes it's still a bit rough. But if you were paying attention to the first half of the post, you'll understand why I was subconsciously drawn to this design. It mimics the Magic cards I used to love. Except now I can click Tracy's name and see all his art on this site! It says where the quote is from right there beside "First Mention" and all art that's been submitted on Vodnik is there for me to peruse!

Gosh I'm freaking in love with it. I know, "get a room," right? I'll shut up about it.

But if this website is able to stir up a creative desire in just one person, then I've done some good.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

IWSG February 2014

IWSG, brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh, occurs once a month. It exists for writers to voice their insecurities and offer advice. The official website, continues to be a priceless commodity in my studying and research. Any one interested in writing to have a look!

While we're on the subject of Alex, check it out - his Sci Fi book CassaFire (list price $15.95) will be on sale from Feb 4 - 10 for 99 cents! For those of you not familiar, go have a look and read a sample!

CassaStar was just the beginning...

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron's days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it's a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren's civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan's technology and strange mental abilities.

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron's unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy...

As for my own contribution to IWSG, I'm choosing to take the time I would be writing here to finally get out in the blog world and see some of you guys I've been neglecting for so long.

See you guys soon.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Change up + Sky Island Publishing

Dig the change? Yay? Nay?
It's still a work in progress... I just wanted to make some logos. After all, Photoshop + video game soundtracks is one of my favorite pastimes.

Incorporated in that new background are five of the Seven Pinnacles of Creation - the Sky Islands, the Peak, the Suntree, the Forevergreen Forest and the Great Beast. I left out the First Sea and the Eternal Night... Partly because they'd be hard to sum up in 250x250 pixels. Also because it was 1am and I had to be at work at 8am this morning.

in case you're curious

I'd grown tired of the white text on black backdrop. It really does play hell on the eyes. A revamp of Silexare is in the works, too. It's even worse.

But also I have two new websites to design and build. On January 13th I secured a couple of URLs (which I'll mention once they're live). One will be for Sky Island Publishing, LLC (which, as of the 22nd is officially a thing! Aaaagh!!!!!!)
excuse the watermark, it seemed the thing to do

The other will be the Silexare Compendium (to replace what was here), housing details and artwork for the world of Silexare. Basically, since I have several stories in mind for Silexare, I'd like there to be a sort of central location or hub for knowledge, moderated by someone who truly knows. I'd call it an 'enrichment' if I didn't know the foul truth... and that is I need a compendium because I'm garbage at remembering what I've told you and what I haven't.

I think what excites me the most about all of this is that under my own supervision, I can release books and stories and details as soon as they're ready, not on some NY corporation's schedule... Not under their moderation "in case I'm about to release something embarrassing"... Not to "best saturate the market in a time of ripeness based on the trends of..."
Ok, I have no idea what I'm talking about.
But I want to release no less than one book a year.

The next time I write you I'm going to add some of the latest from Mr. Tracy E Flynn (who, in case you didn't know, is illustrating A Sawmill's Hope).

Until next time

Enough about me. What's got you excited these days? If you care to tell me I'd love to listen.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What Works? Online Marketing Symposium - Kickstarter

"Do you ever wonder why some books become bestsellers while others can barely be given away? Why some businesses succeed and others fail? How does a blog post or a YouTube video manage to go viral? Is it a matter of luck or is there some magic formula for success?"

This is a blog hop! Follow this link to where Ninja Alex introduces the event and scroll down a bit to find other bloggers participating!

I'm writing on the subject of Kickstarter because I just ran a successful project for my debut fantasy novel - A Sawmill's Hope. I'm fully aware that what works for one person won't necessarily work for another, so I'll simply tell you what worked for me. I'm not going into great detail on my video or the prizes I offered. Those decisions were made as a result of comparing about 20 similar projects and taking extensive notes.

What worked
Facebook - Before I launched the Kickstarter I went on Facebook and dug through my entire friends list. I found the individuals who I believed would care and I proposed to them - "If you click 'share' when the event goes live, I'll give you a free book."
Each message I wrote was personalized, even to individuals I hadn't spoken to in years. It was easy because I believed in the project and I wasn't asking them for money. Just a moment of their time.
Most agreed. And most shared. I sent people the link to share throughout the duration of the event, several people per day so as to keep Facebook saturated throughout the event. There were people from all over North America sharing the Kickstarter. And not only did they share, but their friends shared and so did their friends' friends. Some even pledged.

Blog - I spoke about the Kickstarter several times before the project and then again several times during. I was as open as I could be, sharing details on the event, the video, the illustrator and editor I planned to hire, the artwork, the prizes and, of course, my heart in the matter. Several blogging friends took the initiative and helped spread the word during the event. Several pledged as well.

**Before I go on, please know that I didn't grovel for pledges. I tried not to even come out and ask (although I kind of did toward the end). I wholeheartedly believed in the project and I believed if the right set of eyes were to fall upon it, magic would ensue. I stayed positive on my blog and on Facebook and Twitter and wherever else, despite the raging storm of doubt inside me.**

What maybe worked

Enrichment - By about 1/3 of the way through the project, it occurred to me that people were genuinely interested in reading my book. I was a bit surprised... I don't honestly know why. Maybe I'd just never felt that gratification. It was pretty amazing. So I decided to "Enrich the Kickstarter" by offering secrets of the world of Silexare or the development of the story to anyone who would make any pledge whatsoever.
At one point Arianne "Tex" Thompson used the phrase "Silexare Army" for those who'd already pledged. I adopted it wholeheartedly and occasionally addressed my pledgers as if we were the front line of a great raging battle. Good times.

**If you follow my steps, I urge you not to be surprised when people pledge. Plan for people to love your story. After all, you do. And if your heart is in it, I promise you'll find more than a couple kindred souls. You just need to push your project to as many people as you can.
Now, we can't all have Nicholas Spark amounts of kindred souls... But I'd be superbly surprised if your heart is so unique that no one else on earth can identify.

Holiday Season - I couldn't tell you what's the best time to launch a Kickstarter project for a fantasy fiction novel. But that I launched mine in the North American season of giving didn't seem to hurt.

Business Cards - I had these made for when I ran into someone face to face and had the opportunity to share the event. Were they worth the investment? Technically, yes. Will they be for you? That depends on where your social strengths lie.

What I'd do better
Longer span - My whole argument was that "I just need to get this in front of fellow fans of fantasy fiction and art!" And yet I launched my project with a run time of only 26 days. I did it because I was impatient as hell and yet I wanted the project over before it got too deep into the holiday season. I didn't want the project competing with anyone's family time.
Kickstarter stats will tell you that about 30 days run time is the sweet spot for success.
Mine pushed it really close. I hit the goal within 4 minutes of the deadline. Please know there was some hooting and hollering done in my house that night.

Local Bookstores, Newspapers, Radio stations - These are venues I attempted to contact during the event. By then it was a bit late, with the way things take time. I urge you to contact those sources before you even launch the event.

Stretch Goals - If you future Kickstarters take anything from this post, let it be this. Cut all unnecessary expenses! You may be like me, wandering around and thinking, "Wow, that project reached $1,000,000? For that stupid thing? That one hit 600% of their goal and they're making that piece of junk? I can easily get away with $4,900. It'll be a breeze!"
No. It won't. You're going to have to fight for every $5 pledge you get. Marketing a Kickstarter is a full time job. Money doesn't just rain down from the sky on you.
Cut those unnecessary expenses. Make them "stretch goals" - goals that come available once the initial amount has been met and there's still time on the clock. Because with Kickstarter, if you don't reach the funding goal, even if you're $5 short, you get nothing at all.

I hope I've offered something useful here. Please feel free to ask me anything I didn't cover.
Make sure to visit the rest of this blog hop!

See you guys.